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Canada needs a national public transportation system

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THE CONVERSATION
This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis an…

Snubbing China’s Belt and Road Initiative could be disastrous, expert tells Mario Draghi

Italy risks provoking a “disastrous” economic boycott if it pulls out of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, according to an expert who helped arrange the deal.

The prospect of Italy’s withdrawal was raised by Mario Draghi, the prime minister, who has signalled a sea change in dealings with China. He called it “an autocracy that does not adhere to multilateral rules and does not share the same vision of the world that democracies have”.

More than 100 countries have signed up to the initiative[1], under which China hopes to build a globe-spanning road, rail and sea transport network. In 2019 Italy became the first G7 nation to join. The Five Star Movement, then at the helm of its coalition government, sponsored the deal despite

References

  1. ^ the initiative (www.thetimes.co.uk)

JENNI MURRAY: I was run over by an e-scooter…

JENNI MURRAY: I was run over by an e-scooter… they must be controlled

  • The Government is currently trialling e-scooters in 30 cities including London
  • Jenni Murray says a teenage boy on an e-scooter once crashed into her 
  • Columnist argues scooters should be licensed and display a number like a car

Driving home from dinner with a friend the other evening, sober and well within the 20mph speed limit, I was shocked to find a vehicle undertaking me at speed.

I thought e-scooters were not capable of surpassing 15.5mph, but this one was clearly going considerably faster than me and gave me a terrible shock as it wobbled by. Did the culprit have lights? No! Was he wearing a helmet? Absolutely not.

The Government is currently trialling e-scooters in 30 cities and towns across the UK including Bournemouth, Liverpool and several London[2] boroughs. But this looked privately owned (which is against the law), souped-up and, frankly, it scared me to death. Nor should he have been riding it at all outside certain permitted parts of the capital. I slowed down, terrified that if he came off into the road in front of me, I could be responsible for his serious injury and possibly demise.

It’s not the first time I’ve had an encounter with one of these deathtraps. The other occasion was far more scary because I had no personal protection from my car.

The Government is currently trialling e-scooters in 30 cities and towns across the UK, including Bournemouth, Liverpool and London. Pictured: London's walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman

The Government is currently trialling e-scooters in 30 cities and towns across the UK, including Bournemouth, Liverpool and London. Pictured: London's walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman

The Government is currently trialling e-scooters in 30 cities and towns across the UK, including Bournemouth, Liverpool and London. Pictured: London’s walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman

I’d been walking the dogs in the park. The exit takes you directly onto a wide pavement alongside a busy road. I emerged from the park and bang! A teenage boy on an e-scooter crashed into me.

I managed to keep my footing — just — and hung onto the dog leads. They barked; I screamed in pain, shouting, ‘What on earth are you doing on the pavement?’

He shouted back, ‘F*** off you old bag!’ and scooted off into the sunset. Could I trace him and report him? No. There was no way of identifying him or his vehicle apart from blue jeans, black sweatshirt and a cap. The uniform of any teenager.

I was bruised and shaken, but it could have been much worse. A 65-year-old film actress, Lisa Banes, died earlier this week, ten days after being mowed down by an e-scooter in New York. The first electric scooter death in the UK happened in July 2019. Emily Hartridge, a TV presenter and YouTube star was killed when she collided with a lorry in London.

An ITV investigation found hundreds of injuries have been caused by this new mode of transport, as well as evidence of dangerous driving, anti-social behaviour, drunkenness while riding and plenty of complaints about them from passers-by.

I’m with Nick Freeman — the road traffic lawyer, known as Mr Loophole for his talent for getting celebrities off driving offences — who has launched a parliamentary petition for greater control of e-scooters and bicycles. He’s right when he points to the risks faced by cyclists and scooters and the threat they present to other road users and pedestrians.

Jenni Murray (pictured) said cyclists and scooters should be licensed and display a number just as a car or lorry must

Jenni Murray (pictured) said cyclists and scooters should be licensed and display a number just as a car or lorry must

Jenni Murray (pictured) said cyclists and scooters should be licensed and display a number just as a car or lorry must

Helmets should be required, together with effective lighting at night. Cyclists and scooters should be licensed and display a number just as a car or lorry must. They should be fined for breaching the Highway Code — running red lights is commonly observed — and have their licences taken away for riding drunk. None of this can happen if we can’t find them, so a registration number is essential, prominently displayed.

Of course, there are obedient cyclists, just as, I’m sure, there are level-headed e-scooter users. Cycling is good for the rider and for the reduction of pollution, as the new scooters are said to be. But there are lots of us using the roads as fear of public transport continues during the pandemic and, surely, it’s only just that we all share the same rules.

Meanwhile, consideration for the pedestrian, so often neglected in concerns about road safety, must not be forgotten. The pavement is for us and only us. I’ve been seriously thinking it’ll be us who need a crash helmet for our walks if the current climate persists.

  • As A survivor of breast cancer, I’m horrified at the number of women, an estimated 10,000, who won’t have had the treatment they need during the pandemic. I understand the fear of going for a mammogram or to see a GP. I was frightened in March last year when I was called for mine because there was talk of a new killer virus. But I went.

Don’t be put off. A huge backlog needs to be cleared. The NHS is doing its best. Don’t delay. I’m clear for 15 years.

Believe me, it’s safe and it’s worth it.

Too right, you should say sorry Giovanna

Jenni said Giovanna Fletcher and her husband Tom (pictured) were right to pay back the taxpayers' money from claiming furlough to pay an employee

Jenni said Giovanna Fletcher and her husband Tom (pictured) were right to pay back the taxpayers' money from claiming furlough to pay an employee

Jenni said Giovanna Fletcher and her husband Tom (pictured) were right to pay back the taxpayers’ money from claiming furlough to pay an employee 

How interesting that Giovanna Fletcher, author and winner of I’m A Celebrity, and her musician husband, Tom from the boyband McFly — worth around £8 million between them — should suddenly think they made a ‘huge error of judgment and a mistake’ when they claimed thousands from the Government’s furlough scheme to pay an employee at the start of the pandemic.

They have now done the right thing and paid the taxpayers’ money back. But was it only nosy questions asked on social media that prompted them to come clean after such a long time? They wrote on Instagram, ‘We should have thought more about the situation and funded it ourselves.’

Too right they should!

Hurrah for birth of pelvic floor clinics

For far too long millions of women have been afraid or ashamed to admit the number of times they’ve been taken short and couldn’t find a Ladies anywhere.

Urinary incontinence, which affects seven million of us in the UK, young and old, commonly as a result of childbirth, is finally to be taken seriously by the NHS.

There are to be special clinics for new mothers which will eventually be open to all of us to strengthen the pelvic floor.

Just remember the advice of physio and comedian Elaine Miller, ‘Pull up for ten secs, then ten quick flicks — three times, regularly.

‘We won’t pee with a ten, ten, three.’

And a few more loos wouldn’t go amiss, either!

Marry at 16? 21 was too young for me

Former Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, hopes to end the practice of getting married at age 16 with a Private Member's Bill (stock image)

Former Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, hopes to end the practice of getting married at age 16 with a Private Member's Bill (stock image)

Former Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, hopes to end the practice of getting married at age 16 with a Private Member’s Bill (stock image)

Having married at 21 and realised I was too young, I’ve always thought it ridiculous to consider 16 old enough to take on such responsibility.

The former Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, hopes to end the practice with a Private Member’s Bill to be introduced next week.

It would raise the age to 18.

Clearly some 16-year-old unions have succeeded where the couple and the parents have been willing, but 16 is still childhood and, across the world, far too many girls are forced or coerced into marriage, domestic servitude and no education.

At 18 a girl is old enough to vote and make her own choice under less pressure — no matter where she lives.

References

  1. ^ Jenni Murray for the Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ London (www.dailymail.co.uk)