Report condemns UK over British women and children held in Syria

British women and children captured after the collapse of the Islamic State in Syria are being held in “barbaric” conditions and deprived in a “systematic way” of their UK citizenship, according to a report on their conditions.

a man sitting in a tent: Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

As many as 35 British children and 15 British women are detained by Kurdish forces in two camps, al-Hol and al-Roj, along with thousands of children and women from Syria and around the world. It is Europe’s equivalent of the Guantánamo Bay detention centre, the report says.

The investigation by the London-based Rights and Security International charity says British intelligence officials regularly enter the camps. Once individuals are identified, it is alleged, their UK citizenship is usually swiftly withdrawn.

The report is published the day after the lawyers for Shamima Begum appealed to the supreme court for an opportunity for her to participate in a legal challenge over the removal of her British citizenship.

Conditions inside the camps, according to the study, are “fundamentally unsafe” and amount to “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” – a breach of human rights. The organisation sent a researcher into the camps earlier this year.

On average, 25 detainees a month have been dying at al-Hol, it is alleged, with children living in tents and suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and hypothermia. Some have died from burns when tents caught fire or been killed in fights.

Guards are said to have shot detainees, sexually abused others and are ordered to forcibly remove boys from their mothers when they reach the age of 10.

“The camps in which they are being held are fundamentally unsafe environments in which physical violence is common, the conditions are barbaric, and psychological trauma is rife,” the report states.

It adds that women are placed in solitary confinement for months for alleged involvement in unrest or for possessing mobile phones. Last year, a child was reported to have been shot and killed when a stone he was playing with hit a camp guard.

The study urges European countries to fulfil their “legal, political and moral responsibilities and immediately repatriate their citizens”.

Documents, which have been released as part of the Begum case, show the UK regards women in the camps who travelled out from Britain as a national security risk and does not want them to return home. According to a summary of the case against Begum, the Home Office believes “there are no substantial grounds” to think that the 21-year-old faced “a real risk of mistreatment” during her detention detained in Syria.

The two camps are run by the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, Europe’s ally against I in north-east Syria. A few detainees are said to have been repatriated, including some “British children who were repatriated in November 2019 and in September 2020”.

a man sitting on the ground: Women captured after the fall of Islamic State in Syrian outside tents at al-Hol camp.

© Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
Women captured after the fall of Islamic State in Syrian outside tents at al-Hol camp.

Yasmine Ahmed, the executive director of Rights &

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COVID-19 puts British women at ‘crossroads’ on workplace equality

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – British women are at a “coronavirus crossroads” in the fight for workplace equality as COVID-19 threatens to reverse decades of progress while also causing a dramatic shift in working culture that could help them thrive, a report said on Friday.

The government should lock in the positive changes with a law requiring almost all jobs to allow flexible working, said the report issued on Britain’s Equal Pay Day – the date on which the gender pay gap means women effectively start working for free until year-end.

“Throughout the last century, crises comparable to the pandemic have been forks in the path of history,” said Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, a leading women’s rights group which issued the report.

“The coronavirus crisis puts us at a crossroads again, and it is clear that this applies to the gender pay gap.”

COVID-19 has disproportionately hit women’s careers, with studies finding they are more likely to work in sectors badly impacted by the pandemic and are picking up a heavier load of unpaid childcare and chores than men.

Britain’s gender gap in hourly pay narrowed to 11.5% in 2020 from 13.1% in 2019, according to the latest data, though the Fawcett Society said the figures did not reflect the fact that many women had cut their hours to do childcare during lockdown.

While the pandemic poses serious threats to women’s workplace equality, the dramatic rise in home-working and flexible arrangements could benefit mothers who often struggle to combine work and childcare, Friday’s report said.

There are also signs of progress in data showing that fathers doubled the amount of time they spent doing childcare under lockdown, it said, though women were still doing more.

However, the report warned that women would only benefit if the government took steps to cement in the positive changes and protect female workers from discrimination.

The Young Women’s Trust, a feminist organisation, also called for action in response to the pandemic, including launching a state jobs and training programme for young women and requiring employers to publish redundancy data by gender.

Women’s rights group Equality Now backed the calls for change, adding that Black and other ethnic minority women were also being hard hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout.

“COVID has shone a spotlight on equality disparities,” said Alexandra Patsalides, a lawyer at the group.

“Now is the time for the government, policymakers, and employers to truly revolutionise their policies and mechanisms so as to ensure greater opportunities and support to women from all backgrounds.”

Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit

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Virginia Chadwyck-Healey on the British brand with jolly accessories you never knew you needed

Apple placemat, £22; Pyjamas, £135; Wost Blouse, £142; Crab placemat, £38, all from The Jacksons

I particularly loved this cable knit jumper by Quinton & Chadwick. I had never even heard of this brand before researching this piece. This is why I love my job. That and the fact I was totally unaware, before writing this column, that I needed (or in fact wanted) a dachshund jute bag in my life (now I’m dropping hints to my husband) or that I’d want to decorate our lockdown dinner table with loud, bright mats in the shape of rainbows and lobsters. But “due to Covid”, it is just this kind of adornment that will breathe energy into our evenings, in place of friends’ laughter and red wine flowing. Actually the red wine will still flow, but the table will come to life thanks to The Jacksons, rather than our much-missed friends and family.

We’ve all learnt from Lockdown Part 1 that we have to continue to make an effort to dress, to exercise, to eat healthily, to differentiate between week and weekend, so Lockdown Part 2 should hopefully see us all spend more time cooking, laying the table, lighting candles – all those things we extinguish from our mealtimes in favour of Netflix and supper on our laps.

If you are wondering how I came across The Jacksons, it is a most apt story. “Due to Covid”, a long-lost friend and her family made the decision to leave London and move to the country. Where did she end up? In our village. Where do her boys go to school? The very same school as my children. We met up for a coffee to discover where life had taken us in the past 10 years. She told me about “this brand she goes out to Bangladesh to help”. I took a look at said brand out of pure inquisitiveness and… here it is in today’s column. You see, every cloud… even a very large, grey Covid cloud.

Ginnie’s favourites this week…

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British Fashion Designer Richard James’s Mayfair Penthouse


Location: Mayfair, London

Price: £2.5 million (US$3.26 million)

This duplex penthouse that sits atop a converted modern office building in stylish Mayfair has been the home of celebrity fashion designer Richard James for the last 15 years.

The five-story Pollen Street apartment building has just eight units, including Mr. James’s two-bedroom penthouse on the fourth and fifth floors.

Mr. James, a Savile Row tailor whose celebrity clients include Elton John, Prince William, David Beckham, Daniel Craig and George Clooney, is known for his slim and modern tailoring and bold use of color and pattern, according to published reports. In 2018, he was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by HM The Queen for services to fashion, and that year, the brand opened its first New York store on Park Avenue.

More: One of London’s Oldest Homes—Which Hosted Benjamin Franklin—Asks £2.5 Million

Mr. James “purchased the penthouse as a brand-new property” in 2005, listing agent Robert Britten said. “It is one of the most stylish contemporary apartments in Mayfair.”

It is also just a few minutes walk from the apartment to the Richard James contemporary menswear store on nearby Savile Row.

The open-plan penthouse has “wonderful floor-to-ceiling windows which fill the living spaces with light and provide a fantastic bright and airy ambience,” Mr. Britten said.

The apartment is arranged with the timber-floored reception room, the entertaining areas and the open kitchen on the upper level, with the two bedrooms on the lower floor. There is a 125-square-foot wraparound terrace on the upper level and a balcony on the lower floor.

More: Final Penthouse at London’s Islington Square Development Lists for £4.3 Million

The 27-foot-long dual-aspect reception room offers rooftop views over Mayfair, Mr. Britten said. It features three sets of double doors that open onto the terrace, which borders the entire living space, he said.

The custom kitchen is “lined with silvery-gray units and white limestone worktops,” he said.

On the lower floor, the penthouse has a large principal bedroom suite with a walk-in wardrobe and a second bedroom with a west-facing private balcony.


The 1,199-square-foot penthouse has two bedrooms and two full bathrooms.

From Penta:David Hockney’s Landscape ‘Nichols Canyon’ Could Fetch $35 Million


Along with the terrace and the balcony, amenities and design details include floor-to-ceiling Crittall steel-frame windows on both levels that bring in bright, natural light; a vaulted skylight in the kitchen; a luxurious limestone-clad main bathroom; under-floor heating; mood lighting; white plastered walls and built-in storage units.

Neighborhood Notes

Pollen Street is a “quiet pedestrian street lined with cafes and shops and is dominated by elegant historic Victorian and Edwardian buildings, which are either commercial or have apartments on the upper floors,” Mr. Britten said.

The Mayfair neighborhood has many chic clothing stores and high-profile restaurants, including Sketch, Sartoria and Cecconi’s Mayfair, he said.

More: London Sees Increase in High-End Home Sales Despite the Pandemic

Agent: Robert Britten, Dexters (Mayfair office)

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Prince Charles discusses fashion in British Vogue

  • Prince Charles, 71, discusses fashion in the December issue of British Vogue
  • Admitted he pays attention to ‘detail and colour combinations’ when dressing  
  • Bemoaned the rise of ‘throw-away fashion’ and said people should repair instead
  • Daughter-in-law the Duchess of Sussex guest edited an issue of British Vogue

Most often seen in a tailored suit and sensible shirt, Prince Charles hardly has the most fashion-forward royal wardrobe. 

But that doesn’t mean the heir to the throne, 71, is indifferent about what he wears.

In an interview for British Vogue, Charles revealed he pays attention to ‘detail and colour combinations’. He also bemoaned the rise of fast fashion, saying he prefers to repair his clothes and shows rather than buy new. 

The interview, published in the December issue, is accompanied by a new photo of Charles surrounded by beautiful pink hydrangea shrubs.

In the pink! Charles is interviewed in the December issue of British Vogue. The story is accompanied by a new photo of Charles surrounded by beautiful pink hydrangea shrubs

It was taken by fashion photographer Nick Knight, who previously photographed Charles and the Queen for Her Majesty’s official 90th birthday portrait. 

Asked by editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, a friend of the Duchess of Sussex, where his ‘sense of style’ comes from, Charles replied: ‘I thought I was like a stopped clock – I’m right twice every 24 hours. But… I’m very glad you think it has style. I mind about detail and colour combinations.’

He added: ‘I happen to be one of those people who’d get shoes – or any item of clothing – repaired if I can, rather than just throw it away.’ The royal is known for re-wearing his favourite coats and suits over a number of decades.

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Prince Charles said the ‘British fashion textile sector is of enormous importance’ but that he believes there are ‘huge’ opportunities for designers and manufacturers to invest in sustainable fashion and focus on ‘repair, maintenance and reuse’.

‘It seems to me there are huge opportunities, particularly now, within the whole sustainable fashion sector, to counter this extraordinary trend of throw-away clothing or throw-away everything, frankly,’ he said. 

Charles revealed how he has tried to start a ‘thrift market’ at his educational centre Dumfries House, where things could be brought to be mended.

Eye for fashion: Charles revealed he pays attention to ‘detail and colour combinations’ of his clothes. Pictured, the prince shows off a number of patterns in an outfit worn last month

He added: ‘When I was a child, we used to take our shoes down to the cobbler in Scotland and would watch with fascination as he ripped the soles off and then put new soles on.’

Students from the Modern Artisan Project – a fashion training programme co-founded by the Prince’s Foundation – are about to launch a clothing collection with commercially viable sustainability at its core. 

The prince said many of the students trained in high-end fashion and sewing skills by the

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Two British women subjected to Qatar strip-search ordeal, UK confirms

Two British women were among a group of travellers subjected to compulsory intimate medical examinations while flying through Qatar in early October, UK authorities have confirmed.

a large passenger jet flying through the air on a cloudy day: Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

British diplomats have formally complained to Qatari authorities and Qatar Airways about the strip-search examinations, described as “absolutely terrifying”, and sought assurances they will not be repeated.

Women caught up in the forced checks have described being asked to disembark from their flights in Doha without explanation and led through the airport to underground areas where they were told to get into waiting ambulances. Inside they were told to remove their underwear so a female medical professional could examine them to see if they had recently given birth.

a large passenger jet flying through a cloudy sky: UK diplomats have formally complained to Qatari authorities and Qatar Airways about the strip-search examinations.

© Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP
UK diplomats have formally complained to Qatari authorities and Qatar Airways about the strip-search examinations.

Related: ‘I was absolutely terrified’: Australian witness recounts Qatar strip-search ordeal

The government of Qatar said on Wednesday that the “urgently decided” search was prompted by the discovery of a newborn baby placed into a rubbish bin. The child is alive and in the care of authorities. Qatar said it regretted any distress caused.

“We are providing ongoing support to two British women following an incident in Doha,” a spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said in a statement. “We have formally expressed our concern with the Qatari authorities and Qatar Airways and are seeking assurances an unacceptable incident like this cannot happen again.”

The Australian government confirmed earlier this week that 18 women on a flight from Doha to Sydney had been subjected to the compulsory medical examination, including 13 Australian citizens and five people of other nationalities.

Passengers from 10 flights leaving Doha on the evening of 2 October were affected, Australian officials said. It is not clear if the British women were on the flight to Sydney or one of the other planes that were targeted.

The incident has become a major scandal in Australia where the government has denounced the treatment of female passengers as “unacceptable”.

“The advice that has been provided indicates that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent,” a spokeswoman from the office of the foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, said this week.

The government is under growing pressure to strengthen its response, however. The Labor opposition demanded that Payne, pick up the phone to her Qatari ministerial counterpart to register her protest, because “people are outraged that Australian citizens were treated in this way”.

Cross-party members of parliament’s security and intelligence committee on Thursday pulled out of a formal dinner at the Qatari ambassador’s residence in protest at the incident.

Qatar’s record on women’s rights has in the past been criticised by human rights groups. Among points of discrimination highlighted by Human Rights Watch are a penal code that “does not criminalise domestic violence or marital rape” and a personal status law that

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The BFC is launching a new project that celebrates Black British fashion and culture

uk   london   couturier designer joe casely hayford

Joe Casely-Hayford in 1997Getty Images

The British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion has announced its second project, The Missing Thread. Created in partnership with the Black Oriented Legacy Development Agency, it will celebrate Black British fashion and culture from 1975 to today.

The project will run a series of programmed events, culminating in a major exhibition in summer 2022, which will help to reference, educate and present many Black cultural narratives and design contributions that are pivotal foundations within society.

“The fashion industry currently lacks a resource of vital Black British contributions from a cultural, design and socio-political perspective, having erased many important historical narratives,” the BFC said in a statement. “The cost of neglecting these stories is detrimental to the industry as a whole. Going forward, design knowledge and history must be taught with an appreciation and awareness of the cultural contributions of all races to the fabric of British society.”

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The project has been inspired by designer Joe Casely-Hayford and will honour his powerful legacy after he paved the way for Black designers working in the UK today and altered the course of this trajectory.

“The need for far greater accountability in our industry has become increasingly apparent over the last year,” BFC CEO Caroline Rush said. “Black fashion contributions are at the core of Britain’s reputation as a creative hub yet continue to be overlooked. We are extremely excited to work with BOLD on this project which aims at restoring and acknowledging cultural contributions to one of the UK’s most creative industries.”

This afternoon, the long-term project will kick off with a discussion on Show Studio’s Instagram account about Casely-Hayford’s career. ‘Joe Casely-Hayford: An Icon For Our Times’ will dissect the themes of identity, Britishness, heritage and the relationship between street culture and fashion.

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To find out more about the project, head this way.

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Almost half of British women do not self-examine for breast cancer

Almost half of women do not check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer, and one in 10 never do so, a survey has revealed.

a woman wearing a white shirt: Photograph: Stuart Pearce/Alamy

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Stuart Pearce/Alamy

Women who do not look for changes in their breasts should get in the habit of examining them, as early detection of lumps and other symptoms could save their life, experts say.

In a representative sample of 1,086 British women, 47% said that they did not regularly check their breasts for any lumps or changes to their appearance, which may indicate that cancer is present.

Specialists in breast cancer said the findings were “a cause for deep concern”, as most cases of the disease are identified when a woman has spotted a change and gone for a medical examination.

“It’s worrying that almost half of women don’t check their breasts regularly for new or unusual changes”, said Lady Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Now.

Asked why they did not look out for changes, 46% of those who had not been diagnosed with breast cancer said they “forget” to do so. Others cited embarrassment or a desire not to bother their GP. “[That] highlights the urgent need to engage women with the importance of regularly checking their breasts, as an action that could ultimately save their life,” added Morgan.

a woman wearing a white shirt: Specialists say women should examine the entire surface of their breasts, armpits and as far up as the collarbone.

© Photograph: Stuart Pearce/Alamy
Specialists say women should examine the entire surface of their breasts, armpits and as far up as the collarbone.

Related: Charity says nearly 1m women missed breast cancer check in pandemic

A lump is the most common change that may suggest a cancer. But other symptoms include nipple discharge, dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast, the breast looking red or inflamed, and swelling in the upper chest or armpit.

Morgan reassured women that most changes turn out not to be evidence of breast cancer. “[However], when it is, a woman noticing a potential symptom and getting this checked by the GP are often the first steps that lead to diagnosis. Early diagnosis increases the chances of successful treatment, which can prevent women from dying from the disease, meaning the importance of regular breast-checking cannot be underestimated.”

Women should make checking their breasts a part of their routine, for example when they are in the shower or when putting on moisturiser, said Manveet Basra, Breast Cancer Now’s head of public health and wellbeing. Examination should include all of the breast, armpits and as far up as the collarbone, she added.

Around 55,000 women and 370 men a year are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. The disease claims the lives of 11,500 women and 55 men every year.

Dr Rebecca Lewis, a breast surgeon in London and secretary of the Doctors’ Association UK, said: “The survey from Breast Cancer Now showing that 47% of women do not check their breasts regularly is worrying, but echoes in my experience what we see in breast clinic.

“All women should be

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Spotlighting 500 Years of Women in British Art, From Tudor Portraitists to the Bloomsbury Group | Smart News

Oct. 22, 2020, 2:13 p.m.

She served as a court painter under four Tudor monarchs—Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I—and earned a notably higher salary than fellow court favorite Hans Holbein. But Flemish artist Levina Teerlinc remains little known today, and scholars cannot definitively attribute any works to her hand.

Like many women artists of centuries past, Teerlinc’s relative obscurity stems from the art world’s male-dominated bent. As historian Louisa Woodville writes for Art Herstory, 20th-century experts studying the Tudor period tended to focus on painters whose “attributions [were] less tenuous”: namely, Holbein, known for both his full-scale portraits and miniatures, and Nicholas Hilliard, a master of portrait miniatures of members of the court.

A new show at London art gallery Philip Mould & Company seeks to spotlight Teerlinc and other overlooked female artists, drawing attention to their unheralded contributions through a sweeping survey of British history. According to the gallery’s website, the 25-work exhibition—titled “Pioneers: 500 Years of Women in British Art”—celebrates women “who defied the status-quo,” from 16th-century portraitists to avant-garde 20th-century figures and contemporary artists.

Clara Birnberg (1894-1989) Dawn, c. 1912
Clara Birnberg, Dawn c. 1912

(Courtesy of Philip Mould & Company)

“You now have a lot of museums and private collectors who are looking to fill gaps represented by female artists,” gallery director Lawrence Hendra tells Frances Allitt of Antiques Trade Gazette. “They are improving representation which means there is more demand and greater attention to works by female artists than there was before.”

Artists featured in the show—one of a series of events scheduled to mark London Art Week—include Mary Beale, whose Portrait of a Gentleman (1680s) exemplifies the sumptuous style that won her acclaim during the Stuart period; Sarah Biffin, a 19th-century portraitist who taught herself to sew, write and paint despite being born without arms or legs; and Clara Birnberg, a pacifist and suffragette who epitomized the “new woman” of the 20th century. Joan Carlile, a 17th-century artist who principally painted women, and Anne Mee, one of the “few professional female miniaturists” of the early 19th century, per the gallery, also appear.

Anne Langton (1804-1893) Martha Bellingham, wife of General Walsh, 1832
Anne Langton, Martha Bellingham, Wife of General Walsh, 1832

(Courtesy of Philip Mould & Company)

Dod Procter (1890-1972) Lydia, c. 1926.jpg
Dod Procter, Lydia, c. 1926

(Courtesy of Philip Mould & Company)

Teerlinc, meanwhile, is represented by an intimate portrait miniature of Edward VI. Likely painted between 1550 and 1553, Philip Mould & Company notes that the work’s “evident quality” and “great attention to detail in the costume” support its attribution to Teerlinc but adds that “a more definite conclusion is not yet possible.”

Portrait miniatures were a popular fixture at Tudor court. Speaking with Natalie Grueninger of the “Talking Tudors” podcast, art historian and Philip Mould consultant Emma Rutherford says the medium evolved “from these very powerful, relatively formal portraits to something much more secretive.” Perfectly sized for concealment in a noblewoman’s bodice, brooch or locket, the pint-sized paintings played a key role in marriage negotiations and love affairs, which were, according to

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Bambuser Enters Pilot Agreement with Iconic British Luxury Fashion Label for Live Video Shopping Throughout Q4 2020

STOCKHOLM, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Bambuser AB has signed a pilot agreement to power Live Video Shopping for an iconic British luxury fashion label. The agreement gives the customer the right to use Live Video Shopping at a fixed cost of 35,000 GBP (approx 0.4 MSEK) during the 3-month period beginning October 2020. 

This is information that Bambuser AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was sent for publication, through the agency of the contact persons set out above, on October 20, 2020.

Contact information

Maryam Ghahremani, CEO | +46 8 400 160 02 | [email protected] or visit  

Certified Adviser

Erik Penser Bank AB | +46 8 463 83 00 | [email protected]

Bambuser is a software company specializing in interactive live video streaming. The Company’s primary product, Live Video Shopping, is a cloud-based software solution that is used by customers such as global e-commerce and retail businesses to host live shopping experiences on websites, mobile apps and social media. Bambuser was founded in 2007 and has its headquarters in Stockholm.

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