TIME Bizarre

Monty Python Song is the Brits’ Funeral Favorite

Baby Boomers in the UK play “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” more than any other track

Correction appended Nov. 22.

Who gets the last laugh? The British, it seems, after a study out Friday revealed that Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is the most-played song at funerals in the United Kingdom.

The relentlessly optimistic song was written by Eric Idle and first appeared in Monty Python’s biblical satire Life of Brian in 1979. The song tickled the funny bone of a generation with the juxtaposition of its lyrics—“If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten, and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing”—and the characters singing it in the comedy classic, a chorus of people being crucified on a hillside.

The findings come from a survey of more than 30,000 funerals in the UK by The Co-operative Funeralcare.

The irreverent track pushed out more traditional songs for the No. 1 spot, including “The Lord is My Shepherd” and “Abide with Me.”

The song lyrics do strike a particularly comforting note for a funeral.

For life is quite absurd
And death’s the final word
You must always face the curtain
with a bow
Forget about your sin – give the
audience a grin
Enjoy it – it’s your last chance
anyhow.

So always look on the bright side… of death.

Other hit classics to make the Top 10 Most-Played list in the humor category include “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, “Ring of Fire,” by Johnny Cash, “Bat Out of Hell,” by Meat Loaf, and The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno”—“Buuuurn baby burn!”

Well played, Britain. Well played.

Here’s a video of the folks from Monty Python singing this very song for one of their own.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the movie in which the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” first appeared and the year it was released. It was Life of Brian in 1979.
TIME uk

U.K. Independence Party Wins Second Parliamentary Seat in By-Election

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, shakes hands with Mark Reckless in Gillingham
Nigel Farage, left, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, shakes hands with Mark Reckless, the former Conservative Party MP for Rochester and Strood, during the by-election ballot count at Medway Park in Gillingham, England, on Nov. 21, 2014 Suzanne Plunkett—Reuters

The key win, six months before the general elections, puts pressure on David Cameron

The U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) struck another significant blow to British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday, winning its second parliamentary seat in two months from a constituency that Cameron had vowed to win at any cost.

Mark Reckless, who joined UKIP from Cameron’s Conservative Party, won the Rochester and Strood by-election that was triggered by his defection by 2,920 votes, the Guardian reported.

UKIP continues to extend its influence over the voters six months before the British general elections, in what many say is a worrying sign for Cameron’s leadership. Cameron’s humiliation is compounded by the fact that he went all-out to secure a victory, demanding three visits to Rochester from his MPs and going there five times himself.

“Whichever constituency, whatever your former party allegiance, think of what it would mean to have a bloc of UKIP MPs at Westminster large enough to hold the balance of power,” Reckless said in his victory speech. “If you believe in an independent Britain, then come with us and we will give you back your country.”

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Friday’s “massive” victory makes next year’s elections anybody’s game. “All bets are off, the whole thing’s up in the air,” he said.

TIME feminism

Watch Notorious Pick-Up Artist Julien Blanc Say Sorry

The disgraced PUA told CNN: "I feel horrible"

After widespread backlash from around the world, notorious pick-up artist (PUA) Julien Blanc has attempted to apologize for causing offence.

The self-described “leader in dating advice,” Blanc works for LA-based company Real Social Dynamics and travels the world teaching seminars and “bootcamps” to men on how to meet and seduce women. Though he’s certainly not the first PUA to cause controversy, many felt that Blanc crossed the line from sexist and offensive to violent and dangerous when videos and photos surfaced of him describing and demonstrating grabbing women and forcing their heads into his crotch.

In one video, he can be heard telling a group of men, “In Tokyo, if you’re a white male,” Blanc says in one video to a room full of rapt men, “you can do what you want. I’m just romping through the streets, just grabbing girls’ heads, just like, head, pfft on the d–k. Head, on the d–k, yelling, ‘Pikachu.’”

MORE: Julien Blanc: Is he the most hated man in the world?

But after the backlash prompted the Australian government to revoke his visa and other countries around the world to consider similiar measures, Blanc said. “I 100 percent take responsibility,” Blanc told CNN. “I apologise 100 percent for it. I’m extremely sorry. I feel horrible, I’m not going to be happy if I feel like I’m the most hated man in the world. I’m overwhelmed by the way people are responding.”

Blanc also maintained that he did not teach his customers to choke or abuse women and passed off a picture of him with his hand around a woman’s neck as a “horrible, horrible attempt at humour.” He added that much of the controversy was over comments and actions that had been “taken out of context in a way.”

Yet he did assure Cuomo that he would be “re-evaluating” everything he had put out online and everything he would be putting out in the future.

[CNN]

TIME Britain

Watch as the Man Who Wants to Be Britain’s Next Prime Minister is Taken Down by a Former Pop Singer

Myleene Klass attacked Ed Milliband over policy for a new tax on properties worth more than $3 million

Ed Miliband, the beleaguered leader of Britain’s opposition party Labour, was taken down on Monday night by a surprising foe: former UK pop star and television presenter Myleene Klass.

The clash took place on the UK panel show The Agenda, where both Miliband, who hopes to be voted in as Britain’s next prime minister in next year’s election, and Klass appeared as guests. Klass wasted no time in taking Miliband to task for his party’s proposed tax on homes worth £2 million ($3.1 million) or more — widely known as the “mansion tax” — in order to put more funds into the country’s National Health Service (NHS).

“For me, it’s so disturbing – the name in its own right: ‘mansion tax’” said Klass, who rose to fame in the early aughts, when she took part in Simon Cowell’s reality TV show Popstars. “When you do look at the people who will be suffering this tax, it’s true a lot of them are grannies who have had these houses in their families for a long, long time. The people who are the super, super rich buying their houses for £140 million, this is not necessarily going to affect them because they’ve got their tax rebates and amazing accountants. It’s going to be the little grannies who have lived in those houses for years and years.”

For his part, Miliband seemed unprepared for the attack, in spite of recent criticism in the UK press and rumors of backlash from within his own party. He responded to the criticism by noting, “I totally understand that people don’t like paying more in tax. The values of my government are going to be different to the values of this [current Conservative] government.”

Yet Klass continued to grill the politician on precise figures, while questioning whether the tax would actually help improve national health care.

“You may as well just tax me on this glass of water. You can’t just point at things and tax them,” she said.

Many people watching the interview took to social media to comment on Miliband’s weak defense:

 

 

 

 

Of course, there were also viewers who were turned off by Klass — who has an estimated net worth of £11 million ($17.2 million) — arguing that a tax on millionaires would cause suffering:

 

 

 

TIME Crime

Revenge Porn: Man Jailed In Britain As US Lawmakers Prepare New Legislation

15 states have outlawed revenge porn but it is legal in most of the US

As modern technology has allowed for the rise of selfies and sexting, it has also allowed for a new form of betrayal: revenge porn. The act of posting or sharing explicit images or videos of a person without his or her consent can wreak havoc on a person’s personal and professional life.

In the UK last week, campaigners scored a win as Luke King, a 21-year-old man from Nottingham, England, became the first man in Britain to be jailed for posting revenge porn.

A 12-week sentence was handed down on Nov. 14, after King pleaded guilty to harassment, after posting a naked image of his ex-girlfriend to the mobile messaging service WhatsApp. The woman, who hasn’t been named, had sent King the photo while they were still together. After the break-up, King threatened to upload the photo, which is when his ex first reported him to police. Although he was warned by police that posting the image online would be a crime, King followed through with his threat in August.

King’s case is the first in Britain since it was announced in October that a new legal amendment will deal with revenge porn directly. King was prosecuted under an existing law, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, but those found guilty under the new amendment — which is currently going through Parliament — could face up to two years in prison.

The District Crown Prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service East Midlands, Peter Shergill, said at sentencing, “Prosecutors are now following guidance issued in October that clarifies how we can use existing legislation to prosecute perpetrators of these intrusive offences.”

But the direct attack on revenge porn that the UK has taken raises the question of whether the US will follow suit.

There is no current US federal law against revenge porn, because, as University of Pennsylvania law professor Paul H. Robinson notes, “under the US Constitution it is the states that have the police power and it’s not within the power of the federal government to create criminal law offenses unless there is some special federal interest.”

And, in fact, many states have been making moves to criminalize revenge porn. According to the End Revenge Porn campagin, 15 US states already have passed laws against revenge porn and those laws actually have been used to prosecute men who’ve posted naked photos of their former partners. Another seven states have also introduced legislature against revenge porn. The problem, however, lies in the many remaining states where revenge porn is legal.

Though some believe that existing laws against harassment or copyright infringement could be used to tackle the problem, many individual cases have proven that revenge porn often slips through the cracks. As Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Maryland and the author of Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, noted in Slate last year, “Harassment laws only apply if the defendant is persistent in his or her cruelty.” Posting a single explicit image to a highly-trafficked site could have disastrous consequences for the person pictured, but it wouldn’t count as “persistent.” What’s more, copyright only applies if the image was a selfie as the photographer (or videographer) owns the rights to the image.

So what will it take to ensure that revenge porn is illegal across all of the US?

According to Mary Anne Franks, a University of Miami law professor who is working with Californian Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier to draft a federal bill that would criminalize revenge porn if passed, pushing a nationwide ban has been difficult because “there’s a general prioritization of the First Amendment in the US” and “we [have been] slow to come to the realization that this isn’t an infringement of free speech.”

To pass US-wide laws, it’s essential, according to Franks, to reframe revenge porn from a free speech issue into a privacy issue. “We don’t view an image of someone’s naked body as [deserving of] the same privacy as someone’s medical records,” she says, but suggests views are shifting.

Franks notes that campaigns such as End Revenge Porn, which is part of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, and Women Against Revenge Porn have done much to spread awareness about the issue — 12 of the 15 states with laws against revenge porn passed them within the past two years. That awareness, along with the widely publicized hacking of celebrity nude photos, has done much to shift people’s perceptions about the harm that posting a nude image without someone’s consent can cause.

Unfortunately, until all of the US is covered by anti-revenge porn laws, there are millions of people for whom a total loss of privacy is only a vengeful upload away.

TIME U.K.

Here’s Why Britain Is Freaking Out About Sandwiches

A right-of center newspaper sounds the alarm over the country's perceived lack of qualified sandwich-makers

On its Monday front page, right-of-center British newspaper The Daily Mail splashed out with a particularly pressing question: “Is There No One Left In Britain Who Can Make A Sandwich?”

The headline and subsequent story describes the challenges facing an Irish convenience food producer called Greencore Group, which supplies prepared sandwiches to the majority of Britain’s supermarkets. According to The Daily Mail, Greencore Group’s new factory in England hasn’t been able to recruit enough born-and-bred Brits to its staff and so they’ll be looking to hire hundreds of workers from eastern Europe. As the Mail has long been known to take issue with immigration policies in the U.K., the sputtering headline isn’t exactly a surprise.

The Mail‘s attempt to start a conversation about immigration instead turned into social media pile-on — with many taking to Twitter to jokily note the headline’s prescience, and sharing photos of their own botched attempts to make a decent sandwich:

Read next: See Kate Middleton’s Stunning Fashion Evolution

TIME Surgery

Paralyzed Man Walks Again After ‘Miracle’ Surgery

Polish doctors used cells from patient's nose to heal spinal injury

A man who was completely paralyzed from the waist down has learned to walk again after Polish doctors transplanted cells from the patient’s nose into the damaged part of his spine. This pioneering research offers hope for treatment to millions of people around the world with spinal cord injuries.

The patient, 38-year-old firefighter Darek Fidyka from Poland, was left with a completely severed spinal cord after being stabbed four years ago. His doctors had given him a less than 1% chance of recovery but thanks to revolutionary surgery carried out in 2012 Fidyka is now able to walk again with a frame. “It’s an incredible feeling, difficult to describe,” he recounts in a BBC documentary to be aired Tuesday “When it starts coming back, you feel as if you start living your life again, as if you are reborn.” Fidyka has been able to resume an independent life and is even able to drive a car.

The procedure was carried out by Polish surgeons in collaboration with British researchers at University College London. Professor Geoffrey Raisman, who led the U.K. research team, called the breakthrough “historic” and said what had been achieved was “more impressive than man walking on the moon.”

[BBC]

TIME ebola

Heathrow Airport Starts Screening for Ebola

Ebola screening to begin at London's Heathrow Airport
Passengers walk at Heathrow Airport in London on Oct. 14, 2014. Andy Rain—EPA

A health official says he expects a "handful" of cases to enter the UK

England’s Heathrow airport began screening passengers for Ebola Tuesday.

Arrivals from at-risk countries in West Africa will be subject to filling out a questionnaire and having their temperature taken before the process gets rolled out to other terminals within Heathrow and then other airports including Gatwick and Eurostar. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that although the UK’s Ebola risk is low, he expects a “handful” of cases to enter the region, the BBC reports.

Health officials said anyone suspected to have Ebola will be taken to a hospital, while those who are asymptomatic but high-risk, having reported prior contact with patients, will receive daily follow-ups.

Journalist Sorious Samura, who traveled back from Monrovia, Liberia, through Brussels and into Heathrow, told The Guardian that he underwent the screening — but noted that it was optional.

“I could have just come throughout without any screening. That is how scary it is,” he said. “They asked for various details, about the symptoms, whether you experienced any of the symptoms, did you experience headaches, vomiting and things like that, and then they did my temperature using the normal equipment that you put in someone’s ear.”

“[The screening] appears not to be a scientific decision but a political one,” Dr. Ron Behrens from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told The Telegraph, noting that it will benefit few but disrupt “large numbers of people.”

Health Secretary Hunt said that approximately 89% of people entering the UK from impacted regions would get checked, since some might take an indirect route in the airport that avoids the screening area. He added, “This government’s first priority is the safety of the British people.”

Read next: Ebola Health Care Workers Face Hard Choices

TIME United Kingdom

Angelina Jolie Made Honorary Dame by Queen Elizabeth II

The honor was bestowed upon Jolie during a private ceremony on Friday

Angelina Jolie was made an honorary dame by Queen Elizabeth II on Friday. The actress was presented with “Insignia of an Honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George” for her work fighting against the use of sexual violence as a weapon during periods of war.

The film star has been known for her charity work throughout her career. In June, Jolie hosted a global summit to end sexual violence during conflict in London alongside the British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

TIME Environment

Garlic Is Being Used in the U.K. to Cure Trees of Deadly Diseases

Autumn Colours Begin To Show In The UK
Autumn colors begin to show on trees in Royal Victoria Park in Bath, England, on Oct. 7, 2014 Matt Cardy—Getty Images

The bulbs contain the compound allicin, which can fight bacterial and fungal infections

It might not be great for vampires, but it turns out garlic can be very good for trees.

Trees in the U.K. are being injected with a garlic extract to cure them of deadly diseases, the BBC reports.

“Over the last four years we have treated 60 trees suffering badly with bleeding canker of horse chestnut. All of the trees were cured,” said Jonathan Cocking, an arboreal specialist involved with the development and deployment of the treatment.

“This result has been broadly backed up by 350 trees we have treated all over the country, where we have had a 95% success rate,” Cocking told the BBC.

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial properties and can fight fungal infections too.

The injection device, which is being deployed in forests in the English Midlands, is made up of a pressurized chamber with eight tubes that inject the allicin solution directly into a tree’s sap system. The needles are positioned to ensure the even spread of allicin all around the tree.

According to the BBC, scaling up this method of treatment is costly and impractical. However, it can be used to save trees of historic or sentimental value.

[BBC]

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