What time is the Shipwrecked final on E4 tonight, what's the prize and how does the survival show work?

But now that it's coming to an end, here's all you need to know about the 2019 finale.

What time is the Shipwrecked final on E4 tonight?

Shipwrecked 2019 finale is on E4 TONIGHT (Friday, February 15, 2019) at 9pm.

This will be the 15th instalment of the series and sees the Tigers and Sharks face a final emotional beach party.

And, of course, we will finally find out who the winner of Shipwrecked 2019 will be.

The series was filmed over last summer on two small islands in the lagoon at Aitutaki, one of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

The Sun had exclusively revealed back on April 16, 2018, that Channel 4 Bosses earmarked Shipwrecked for a "supercharged" return in 2019 after being inspired by the success of Love Island.

A TV insider had said: “Lots of people have fond memories of watching Shipwrecked in their youth and dreaming about joining the fun in paradise.

“Now Channel 4 have decided to give millennials the same experience, after Love Island proved sun-kissed hunks and beauties frolicking in a tropical setting can result in huge ratings.

“While there have been similar shows recently, like The Island and Mission Survive, they are all about making people miserable by forcing them to fight for their lives in the wild.

“On Shipwrecked, the biggest hardship the castaways faced was getting tan lines. It should go down well with the snowflake generation.”

Filming for the reality show took place last summer.

What's the prize?

The tribe that wins the show will get to sail away with £50,000 in their pocket.

Sharing is caring, so they'll be splitting the cash among themselves.

How does Shipwreck work?

The show saw a group of 18 to 24-year-olds shipwrecked on a desert island.

They had to battle it out for survival with basic rations.

The show saw the group of castaways struggle to survive on the tropical island as they competed against each other to win a cash prize.

The revamped show will follow the format of the more recent series, with two separate islands, Shark and Tiger, attempted to win over new arrivals with their living facilities, personalities and team necklaces.

The largest tribe at the end will be crowned winners.

The “supercharged” element of the new series seems to be that “this time the islands will hold secrets, hidden treasures and tempting traps that could change the islanders’ winning hopes”.

Was Andrew Lincoln narrating Shipwrecked?

Strictly star Vick Hope narrated the show this year.

Andrew narrated the show from when it started in 2000 through to 2001.

He's since gone on to become a TV megastar thanks to his role on The Walking Dead.

From 2006 the show was voiced by Queer as Folk and Corrie star Craig Kelly.

What is the history behind Shipwrecked?

Shipwrecked was one of the earliest reality shows, launching on Channel 4 way back in 2000.

It ran for three series before going off air in late 2001.

In 2006, it came back with a new “battle of the islands” format where rival tribes competed to recruit newcomers in a bid to be the largest group and take home up to £100,000 in prize money.

In total, Shipwrecked ran for eight series, with a final “back to basics” edition on E4 in 2012.

The show marked the first TV appearances of Jeff Brazier and Sarah-Jane Crawford, as well as Celebrity Big Brother winner Stephen Bear.

 

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Murder suspect a ‘father in row over a cigarette’ is remanded

Murder suspect ‘who killed doting father in row over a cigarette’ is remanded in custody after he is charged with possession of a RAMBO knife

  • Dennis Anderson from Lewisham, was attacked in the street after an argument 
  • The painter decorator, 39, died from his injuries early on Sunday morning 
  • Jahmel Michael Riley, 24, was charged with murder and possession of a weapon

Dennis Anderson, 39, was fatally stabbed in Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, on Sunday

A man has been charged with murder after a stabbing which followed a row ‘over cigarettes’ in a London off-licence on Sunday.

Dennis Anderson, 39, from Lewisham, was attacked in the street after an argument in Lordship Lane, East Dulwich. 

Jahmel Michael Riley has now been charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

Riley, 24, appeared in Bromley Magistrates’ Court today via video link from Lewisham police station.

Wearing a grey jumper he spoke only to confirm he could see and hear the court and his name, age and address. 

Witnesses to the altercation described seeing an attacker slashing painter decorator Mr Anderson at the neck.

A woman lays flowers at the scene of the fatal stabbing in Dulwich on February 12

Dennis Anderson was stabbed to death in East Dulwich over the weekend after a man confronted him in a corner shop in an apparent row over a packet of cigarettes


  • Mother of Domino’s delivery driver, 19, who was stabbed to…


    Sister of mother-of-four viciously stabbed to death in front…

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Magistrate Mr Stephen Rogers said: ‘As you have heard, this is an indictable only offence and will be heard at crown court.’

Several members of Riley’s family as well as the police officer investigating the case sat in the public gallery during the short hearing.

Riley was remanded in custody until his next appearance at the Old Bailey next Tuesday.

Mr Anderson ‘didn’t have a bad bone in his body’, friends said earlier this week. 

He was devoted to his teenage daughter and had never even been in a fight before, according to friends.  

Friends said Mr Anderson was popular in the area and was known as a family man who doted on his daughter. He is believed to have been returning home from a party when he was killed

The scene on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich, south London where Mr Anderson was killed

Friend Luke Roche, 29, told The Evening Standard: ‘He loved his daughter. He was a family man and very popular, no one had a bad word to say about him. 

‘I honestly can’t think of anyone he’d had a fight with. He just wasn’t part of that life.’  

Mr Anderson is one of seven people to have been stabbed to death in the capital so far this year.

In Neasden, North West London a 23-year-old man was critically injured in another stabbing on Saturday. 

On the same evening, a 16-year-old boy received knife wounds in a fight in Hayes, West London.

Already this year at least nine people have been murdered in the capital including Lejean Richards, 19, who was stabbed near Prince George’s school earlier this week

Stats released on Thursday show that stabbings are by far the most common cause of death in homicide cases, nearly three times the second most common, which is beating

 

 

 

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‘Bullets’ Creator on Writing for VOD and Subverting Nordic Noir

“Bullets,” a Finnish, German and Belgian co-production from writer-producer Minna Virtanen and Antti Pesonen, held its market premiere screening on Monday at Berlin’s Drama Series Days, the TV component of the European Film Market.

In the series, ex-terrorist Madina Taburova, presumed to be dead, emerges in Helsinki looking for political asylum. Intelligence agent Mari Saari adapts a false identity and attempts to befriend Madina, as a means of keeping tabs on the once-dangerous woman. Krista Kosonen (“Blade Runner 2049”) and Sibel Kekilli (“Game of Thrones”) play the two main characters.

Virtanen and Pesonen spent five years co-writing and developing “Bullets.” The series is produced by Finland’s Vertigo Production, and co-produced by Germany’s Nadcon Film and Belgium’s Lunanime/ Lumière, and thanks to support from the Finnish tax incentive system, the show’s entire €5 million ($5.65 million) was in place before shooting began. TV show newcomer Pete Riski directed the series’ 10 episodes.

In Finland the series is available on the VOD platform Elisa Viihde. Sky Vision handles world sales.

Although the series touches on similar trends and topics as its Nordic noir cousins, the team behind “Bullets” put great effort into producing something novel to the small screen. Virtanen discussed those efforts, as well as the challenges of writing a character-driven series and the freedom of writing for a digital platform rather than a standard linear broadcaster.

Can you talk a bit about the series’ development?

Antti Pesonen and I worked on development for nearly five years, and the story evolved along the way. The idea of a lone female cop who has to change her identity and solve crimes was always there. Along the way the character of Madina came to us and the story took shape around those two strong women. The main thing in this series is that we let ourselves be guided by mood and emotion, not plot. Our series is not about solving crime, but uncovering the personalities of these women.

In a sense, your two leads end up pitted against one another, but are actually quite similar? Would you agree?

It is interesting that Mari Saari and Madina are not so dissimilar. Mari in a sense is a blank slate. Her job is to live through fake identities, but between jobs, she doesn’t really have a home to go to. She is a lone wolf. I don’t think we’ve seen many female characters like her. Our series is not about solving crime but solving the personalities of these women. What they are going through now and why. In the series nothing is as it seems, it is like peeling the onion – always a new layer will appear, the new twist for the story will unfold.

In that respect, Krista and Sibel’s performances were key? What did they bring to the production?

We let mood and emotion guide the casting as well as the series’ narrative. We needed actors with great screen presence, who could convey a variety of emotions in a very subtle way. That is why we felt that Krista would make the perfect Mari Saari. She has an amazing presence on screen and gets under the skin of her characters. We found Sibel Kekilli through our German partners. We saw her showreel and felt she was amazing. She’s sensitive, fragile, with an inner force as well. She was perfect for the part our villain.

You’ve said before that you worked hard to subvert some of the typical tropes of Nordic Noir. How you did that?

It was our intention from the very beginning to break away from Nordic Noir. We took two huge risks here. The series is not a procedural in the traditional sense. We let ourselves be guided by mood and emotions, not plot. The second and bigger risk was to describe the terrorist as a human being, not only a villain. Madina’s motivations are not political or religious. She’s motivated by her loss and she tries to make sense of the universe.

When did other producers, broadcasters and sales get involved?

In Finland Elisa Viihde came on board to be the commissioning broadcaster. They have a first window, and the series is an Elisa Viihde Original. After that we looked for the second window partner in Finland, and MTV3/CMore game on board. At the same time I was negotiating with Nadcon Film (Peter Nadermann, Thomas Disch) and Lumière (Jan de Clearcq), and they came on board after Elisa confirmed. Once we had strong versions of episodes 1-3 we started to approach the world sales agents. That is when Sky Vision came on board.

Can you talk a bit about Elisa Viihde, and what was it like producing for VOD?

Elisa Viihde has become a big SVOD player in Finland. They are acquiring more and more Elisa Viihde Original content every year. From the producer´s point of view Elisa is more than welcome in the Finnish broadcasting markets, as Elisa is very brave and bold in what they are able to commission. It is harder for traditional broadcasters to acquire edgy content as they have to please their established audience base. So, for series which are trying to create something new, Elisa has been a great option. Elisa came on board at the development stage, and they have commented the script writing.

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ICC charges Windies’ Gabriel for Root slur

West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel has been charged by the International Cricket Council for on-field comments made during the third Test against England in St Lucia.

Gabriel was warned by the on-field umpires for a comment made during an exchange with England captain Joe Root on day three in St Lucia.

Shannon Gabriel has been charged with a breach of the ICC’s code of conduct.Credit:AP

The 30-year-old's words were not audible but the stump microphone picked up Root saying, "don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay".

An ICC statement released on Tuesday read: "Shannon Gabriel has been charged with a breach Article 2.13 of the ICC code of conduct. The charge, which was laid by match umpires, will now be dealt with by match referee Jeff Crowe. Until the proceedings have concluded, the ICC will not comment further."

The ECB made no comment.

Former England captain Nasser Hussain, in St Lucia in his role as a television commentator, tweeted his admiration for Root's stance.

"I don't know who said what to whom … but boy do I applaud Joe Root's reaction here," Hussain wrote.

"For me his 12 words as a role model will be in the end more important than a Test hundred or possible victory."

Michael Vaughan, also a former England captain, also tweeted his support and admiration for Root's reply.

Speaking after finishing day three 111 not out, Root gave a measured assessment of the on-field exchange.

"It's Test cricket, he's an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match … sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field," he said.

West Indies head coach Richard Pybus, speaking at close of play, told BBC Radio's Test Match Special: "Nothing has been reported to me but if a comment was made we'll review it and if it was untoward we'll be addressing it."

PA 

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England remains an option if Flanagan’s NRL deregistration stands

The door has been left ajar for former Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan to continue his career in the Super League during his pending NRL deregistration.

Flanagan submitted his response to the NRL’s breach notice this week after being given an extension and is now waiting for the governing body to determine his fate. The premiership-winning mentor stepped down from his Sharks post after he was provisionally deregistered for communicating with club staffers while suspended for his role in the club's supplements scandal.

The NRL and the Super League have an informal arrangement regarding sanctions handed out to players, with the competitions in sync when it comes to observing suspensions. This was again evident when Ben Barba’s 12-match NRL ban for illicit drug use applied equally to both leagues and again when the sport's governing body in the UK, the Rugby Football League, blocked the reigning Man of Steel from playing in England after he was deregistered for an alleged assault on his partner.

Gone but not forgotten: Premiership-winning Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has been deregistered by the NRL.Credit:Wolter Peeters

However, it is a greyer area for coaches and officials, given there has been no real precedent, with the Flanagan situation looming as a potential test case.

“We would want to try to stand shoulder to shoulder with NRL decisions, but it is really a matter for the RFL,” Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said.

“It will be down to the RFL and its compliance and regulation team. It’s one for them. It won’t be a Super League decision, I wouldn’t think.”

It is understood that if the NRL bans Flanagan for a specific period then the RFL would prevent him from coaching in the Super League until that suspension has been served. However, if he is deregistered indefinitely, the RFL could use its discretion, opening up the prospect of an immediate switch to the Super League.

“As we said in specific relation to the Ben Barba situation, we will always uphold any ban imposed by the NRL,” the RFL said in a statement provided to The Sun-Herald.

“But that will always be subject to the right of appeal to our own operational rules tribunal, and in other cases there would be an element of discretion for the RFL board, in consultation with Super League where relevant.”

With the Super League season only just kicking off, there are no head coaching positions available. However, a man with Flanagan's credentials – he led the Sharks to their first title – would put pressure on underperforming clipboard holders if he was amenable to a UK shift.

Veteran Sharks forward Paul Gallen hoped Flanagan wouldn’t be lost to the game.

“He did what he did because he’s so passionate about the game, the team and the club and those involved in it," Gallen said.

“You’d want to see him back in the game. I don’t know what he will do. I’ve had a bit of a discussion with him, but haven’t got a lot out of him. He’s more concerned about his family at the moment.

“He wants to watch [son and Cronulla half] Kyle play and has a couple of daughters as well. I think he’s just worried about his personal life for the time being.

“Fingers crossed we will see him back in the game one day.”

Cronulla appointed John Morris as Flanagan’s replacement, signing the 300-game playmaker to a three-year deal. Morris has been a teammate to some of the current Sharks players he is now tasked with coaching, but Gallen said that wouldn’t be an issue.

“Just the way it all turned out, the timing of it all, it’s a good selection,” Gallen said. “What happened to Flanno is unfortunate, but we never missed a beat since he left. He won’t have any issues at all. We’ve been training the last four or five weeks really well. His work ethic and leadership is great, so he’ll be fine.”

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Catherine Hardwicke 101: Diving into the Emotionally Captivating Work of the Director of 'Miss Bala'

Catherine Hardwicke hasn’t exactly gotten a fair shake in Hollywood. Despite directing several indie favorites and turning the first Twilight book into a goldmine, she’s gotten relatively little credit. Hardwicke tends to direct films aimed at feminine audiences, which are traditionally looked down upon by (overwhelmingly male) critics. She’s a true indie director who understands the power of storytelling, even on a shoestring budget. Hardwicke knows how to highlight emotion, using handheld camera techniques and working closely with performers to get the most out of every scene.

In Miss Bala, in theaters now, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) is a makeup artist from Los Angeles who gets caught up in kidnapping, money laundering, and drug cartels after a trip to Tijuana. She ends up playing both sides, working with both the cartel leader and the DEA. She’ll have to rely on all her strength and cunning to survive the dangerous world of cross-border crime. Based on the 2011 Mexican film of the same name, Miss Bala highlights Hardwicke’s return to telling emotional stories about women in precarious situations.

The Basics

Bio: Hardwicke was born in Cameron, Texas, in 1955. She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in architecture but discovered that her creative style of architecture wasn’t what clients were looking for. Seeking a more whimsical outlet for her creativity, she enrolled in film school at UCLA. She began her Hollywood career dressing sets, working first as an Art Director, then as a Production Designer. After working with several high-profile directors, including Cameron Crowe and David O. Russell, Hardwicke co-wrote and directed her first feature film, Thirteen.

Trademarks:

  • Color grading as a narrative device
  • Adolescent angst
  • Vulnerable female protagonists
  • High-stakes emotional storytelling
  • Morality tales
  • Collaborations with female screenwriters

Frequent Collaborators: Hardwicke is known for visual storytelling, and she worked with director of photography Elliot Davis on four of her films.

Thirteen (2003)

The Plot: Thirteen-year-old Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) is a troubled teen who smokes and cuts herself but has somehow maintained good grades. That all changes when Tracy befriends popular girl Evie (Nikki Reed, who co-wrote the script with Hardwicke based upon her own troubled youth). Tracy and Evie start behaving badly, having sex, doing drugs, and committing petty crimes. Tracy’s life begins spiraling out of control, and she learns that hurting herself also hurts the ones she loves.

Unique Visual Flair: Thirteen was shot on a super 16mm camera, almost entirely handheld by cinematographer Elliot Davis. This gives the film a documentary-like style. Hardwicke also used color saturation to tell Tracy’s story. Before she meets Evie, the film is slightly less saturated, duller. During her friendship, the colors become almost magically bright. Then, as things begin to fall apart, the color begins seeping back out of the picture.

Most Emotional Moment: The film’s climax/final scene, in which Tracy finally breaks down in front of her mother (Holly Hunter, who was nominated for an Academy Award for the role).

Watch it: Available to rent on Amazon and Google Play.

Lords of Dogtown (2005)

The Plot: A biographical movie about the first modern skateboarders in Southern California, starting in 1975. Skip (Heath Ledger), the owner of a surf shop, begins recruiting young skateboarders to form a competitive group, the “Z-Boys”. The Z-Boys perfect their craft in empty swimming pools across Santa Monica, and eventually start winning contests and achieving fame. The Z-Boys abandon Skip to appear on T.V. and make money on their skills. The life of a professional skateboarder isn’t all glamour, however, and all three of the boys go through dark times before reuniting to visit a friend with a brain tumor.

Unique Visual Flair: 8mm and 16mm cameras were attached to skateboards for some unique action shots. The film was edited digitally to have high contrast and lots of saturation, in order to mimic the look of documentaries or news reels in the time period.

Most Emotional Moment: After the Z-Boys all show up to visit Sid (their friend with the brain tumor), Sid’s father drains the pool and they all have a wonderful time skating together and reminiscing about their lives before professional skating changed everything.

Watch it: Available to rent on YouTube and iTunes.

The Nativity Story (2006)

The Plot: In Nazareth in the year 1 BCE, teenage girl Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) is betrothed to marry a local carpenter, Joseph (Oscar Isaac). She’s visited by an angel and told that she will give birth to God’s son. The Nativity Story focuses on Mary and Joseph’s trials and tribulations as they travel across the desert to Bethlehem. Though Hardwicke had a religious upbringing, she said she was especially interested in the story of Mary, a peasant girl and a teen who was suddenly thrust into greatness.

Unique Visual Flair: Though Hardwicke abandoned the highly-saturated look of her previous two films, The Nativity Story was nonetheless shot by Davis and still features highly dramatic lighting.

Most Emotional Moment: Though Mary is terrified, both of being an unwed mother and the repercussions for being one, she finds some faith in her destiny when taking a break in the field with a kinswoman who is also pregnant. Her kinswoman is beyond child-bearing age, and thus the two are the subjects of “miracles” on opposite ends of the age spectrum. The two stand together and touch one another’s rounded bellies. It’s a moment that makes the reality of Mary’s situation feel understandable, and illustrates the power of shared experiences.

Watch it: Available to rent on Google Play and Vudu.

Twilight (2008)

The Plot: Social outcast Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) moves from Phoenix, Arizona to the tiny town of Forks, Washington. She meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a mysterious boy with a strange secret. Despite finding out he’s a vampire, Bella falls in love with him and the two face a series of challenges to their forbidden fledgling relationship. The vampires want Bella for her blood, while her family disapprove of Edward. Can love conquer all?

Unique Visual Flair: Twilight has gorgeous color grading with deep turquoise tones that highlight both the chilly weather of the Pacific Northwest and the fairy-tale atmosphere of the story. Scenes with the vampires are much colder in tone than those of Bella and her family, which are instead shot with yellow and sepia highlights.

Most Emotional Moment: Bella confronts Edward about his inhuman nature in a meadow and he attempts to scare her away. (Although if anyone is ever scared away by sparkling, they should be ashamed.) The flowers surround Bella and Edward as they realize their connection and their entwined destinies.

Watch it: Streaming on Hulu or available to rent on Amazon.

Red Riding Hood (2011)

The Plot: Set in a medieval village, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) faces a typical fairy tale dilemma: she’s in love with a woodsman (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have already betrothed her to marry a wealthy blacksmith’s son (Max Irons). Valerie’s plans to run away with the woodsman are interrupted when a werewolf that normally stalks the edges of the town attacks and kills her older sister. The villagers enlist the help of a famed werewolf hunter (Gary Oldman) to get their revenge, but Valerie worries that the werewolf’s true identity is that of someone close to her heart.

Unique Visual Flair: Red Riding Hood has the look of a fairy tale, with gorgeous scenery and set design. The costumes, color-grading, and cinematography by Mandy Walker, who also did the Beauty and the Beast update Beastly the same year, all enhance the fairy tale setting.

Most Emotional Moment: Valerie discovers the werewolf’s identity, and she has a much closer connection to the wolf than she thought. She must choose between saving the person she loves, or killing the wolf that has terrorized the village.

Watch it: Available to rent on Google Play and YouTube.

Plush (2013)

The Plot: An erotic thriller about a rising rock star named Hayley (Emily Browning) who loses her bandmate and brother to a drug overdose, pushing her into a downward spiral. Her band, Plush, puts out a second album that is hated by fans and critics alike. She attempts to fix her problems with a new guitarist, Enzo (Xavier Samuel). Hayley begins an illicit relationship with Enzo, despite her being married with two children. As she and Enzo’s lives become more entangled, she realizes the danger she’s brought to herself and her family.

Unique Visual Flair: Plush features lots of rock n’ roll set-pieces and allows Hardwicke to explore music video-style cinematography. Plush isn’t a masterpiece, but it is often gorgeous.

Most Emotional Moment: Enzo creates a music video for Hayley’s latest song, featuring bondage imagery and drawing heavily from Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” video. It’s extremely tense and has the most emotional impact in the film.

Watch it: Available to rent on Amazon.

Miss You Already (2015)

The Plot: Jess (Drew Barrymore) and Milly (Toni Collette) have been best friends as long as they can remember. Their friendship is put to the test when Milly discovers she has breast cancer and Jess finally becomes pregnant after trying fertility treatments. As they become estranged from their husbands and try to survive together, their secrets end up tearing them apart. The movie follows them as they attempt to reconcile their differences in the face of tragedy and explores the complicated relationships we all have with the people we love.

Unique Visual Flair: Hardwicke shot two of the film’s close-up shots on an iPhone 5 because she felt that it allowed for more intimacy with the actors than a traditional, large film camera.

Most Emotional Moment: This entire film is a series of heartbreaking gut-punches, so it’s nearly impossible to pick a most emotional moment.

Watch it: Available to rent on Amazon and Vudu.

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Ashley Graham's Retro Swimsuits Just Dropped, and We Are So Bringing a Boom Box to the Beach

Ashley Graham’s Retro Swimsuits Just Dropped, and We Are So Bringing a Boom Box to the Beach

It’s pretty much impossible to resist buying into Ashley Graham’s Swimsuits For All collection, mostly because she does such a great job of promoting it on her Instagram. After she posted a tease of the bright blue ribbed bikini she wore with rollerblades and this throwback chain-link print, we knew we were in for another round of must-buys for our drawer.

Sure enough, the new drop has retro charm and a full lineup of varying silhouettes, from monokinis to high-rise maillots in the boldest colors. Plus, nothing rings in over $108.

“Designing this collection was a trip down memory lane. My mom and I used to rollerblade for miles behind the house that I grew up in. It was definitely my happy place, which inspired me to design these ’90s retro suits and shoot this campaign. I’m excited to see proud women of all shapes and sizes hit the boardwalk in these styles,” Ashley said.

Scroll to see all the pieces, which are available in sizes 4-24 online now, then shop your favorite pick — or picks, if you’re like us, and you just can’t get enough.

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Japanese minister apologises for comment on Japan’s shrinking population

Tokyo: Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso has reluctantly apologised for saying childless people are to blame for the country's rising social security costs and its aging and declining population.

"If it made some people feel uncomfortable, I apologise," Aso said on Tuesday after drawing complaints over a comment he made during the weekend at a seminar in Fukuoka, his constituency in southwestern Japan.

Japan’s gaffe-prone Finance Minister, Taro Aso, blamed childless women for the country’s population issues.Credit:AP

The gaffe-prone Aso, a 78-year-old former prime minister, is among conservative politicians in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government who have at times blamed the elderly or childless for long-term demographic trends.

"There are lots of strange people who say the elderly people are to blame, but that is wrong. The problem is those who don't have children," he told the audience.

The comment was nearly the same as one he made in 2014 that also drew criticism. Others have made similar comments that many found offensive. In 2007, former health minister Hakuo Yamagisawa called women "birth-giving machines". In 2017, another senior ruling party politician, Akiko Santo, said the government should consider awarding women who produced four or more children.

According to the latest government statistics, the number of births in 2018 fell to 921,000, the lowest since Japan began recording such statistics in 1899. Japan's total population fell by 448,000 people, a record decline, to 126 million. It is forecast to fall below 100 million by 2050, barring a huge influx of immigrants.

As of 2017, Japanese women on average gave birth to 1.43 children during their lifetimes. That compares with nearly 1.8 in the US and Britain.

Abe himself has no children. He has acknowledged that lack of access to affordable child care, excessively long working hours, elder care and other realities, especially in Japan's biggest cities, contribute to the country's low birthrate. But promised labor and other reforms to help alleviate the burden on families that discourage couples from having more children have made limited headway.

Longevity in Japan is another factor behind the aging of its population and rising costs for elder care.

Aso retracted his comment when asked about it during a parliamentary session on Monday. He apologised at a news conference following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, but said his comment was taken out of context and misunderstood.

Opposition politicians disagreed.

"He not only lacked consideration to those who choose not to or cannot have children, but he just doesn't understand what the problem is," said opposition politician Kiyomi Tsujimoto, who belongs to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, on Monday. "He has no sense of human rights."

On Tuesday, Aso acknowledged his tendency toward gaffes.

"I'll have to watch what I say," he said.

AP

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Venezuelan special police unit blamed for abuses, killings

CARACAS (Reuters) – Violence perpetrated by Venezuela’s state security forces has been contributing more and more to the country’s homicide rate, one of the highest in the world.

From 2010 to 2017, the proportion of homicides committed by the police and military jumped from 4 percent to 27 percent, according to Keymer Avila, a criminology professor at the Central University of Venezuela. He estimated it rose further last year.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro has sent troops into poor neighborhoods before, saying so-called People’s Liberation Operations in 2015 were aimed at clearing out criminals. Human rights groups and residents said the operations led to a rise in extrajudicial killings.

Rights groups say the National Police’s Special Action Force (FAES) has been of particular concern since Maduro created the unit in 2017.

Numbering some 1,300 officers armed with Chinese and Russian weaponry, the force has killed more than 100 people in low-income neighborhoods over the last six months without any subsequent investigations, local rights group Provea said in a Jan. 26 report.

As Maduro fights to hold onto power in the face of tightening U.S. sanctions and Western powers’ support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, the FAES has proclaimed its loyalty to his government.

“These are extremely difficult moments, moments when we have to show which of us are loyal, and which of us are disloyal,” the FAES’s commander, Rafael Bastardo, said in a speech posted on the unit’s Instagram account.

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, Tarek Saab, vowed on Friday that the government would investigate any officials who carry out extrajudicial executions and arbitrary detentions. He said authorities had arrested several police officers in the states of Bolivar and Yaracuy for killing protesters.

No FAES officers had been arrested, he said.

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Mountain Warehouse announces huge fashion collaboration for festival season

Music festivals are full of music, good times and much more. Some of the fun can even be finding a good outfit to wear.

Luckily for you, amping and outdoors retailer Mountain Warehouse have the ideal solution, they’ve launched a capsule collection with designer Kit Neale just in time for festival season and available yo buy from 27 March.

The range will be stocked exclusively in the brand’s Covent Garden store at launch, and will also  online in clothing sizes XS to 3XL. Prices range from £19.99 for bum bags, £29.99 for a fleece to £49.99 for a two-man tent.

Kit Neale has previously worked on collaborations with IKEA and Dune, and this latest collecion for Mountain Warehouse, the Karabiner Collection has been ‘designed for festival goers who enjoy looking good while they embrace the great outdoors’.

The Karabiner collection includes T-shirts, pakka jackets, wellies, a 20Cl backpack, two-man tent and a sleeping bag, amongst many other items.

All items are limited edition with unique and exclusive prints such as the The ‘ Bustling Boundaries ‘ print which takes inspiration from Kit’s travels around the world featuring a vintage style travel sticker print on a bright orange base with contrasting khaki green details – we love it.

The other print, Summer Breeze , is an abstract mountain scene in vibrant and clashing colours which celebrates the world’s natural beauty. The collection also features two slogans ‘Run Away With Me’ and ‘Let’s Go Outside’ which ‘encapsulate the fun and free spirited nature of the range’.

Speaking about the collection Kit Neale says “The Karabiner Collection has combined my love of travel and sense of adventure with practical festival wear for millennials enjoying the great outdoors. Collaborating with Mountain Warehouse has meant I can apply high fashion ideas to products which are accessible to all through their reasonable price points. Whether you’re backpacking round Europe or pitching up your tent at Glastonbury, you’ll be able to express yourself with gear which is fun, adventurous, unique and modern.”

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