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Uk Retailers Remove ‘staggeringly Offensive’ Mental Health Costumes From Sale

Options dwindle for UK facing winter tied to tight Norway gas

Walmart subsidiary Asda showed a man in a blood-stained white coat brandishing a meat cleaver to advertise its “Mental Patient Fancy Dress Costume.” Tesco’s advertisement for its “Psycho Ward Costume” showed a man in an orange boiler suit branded “PSYCHO WARD” brandishing a hypodermic needle and wearing a mask similar to that of Hannibal Lecter in the film, “The Silence of the Lambs.” An Asda spokeswoman offered the company’s “sincere apologies for the offense” the costumes had caused. “This was an unacceptable error and the product was withdrawn immediately,” she said in a statement. “We take our responsibilities very seriously which is why we will make a sizable donation to Mind.” Tesco also issued an apology, saying in a statement: “We’re really sorry for any offense this has caused and we are removing this product from sale.” Mental health charity Mind welcomed the withdrawal of the costumes, saying the retailers had shown themselves to be “extremely misguided” by offering them for sale. Slept in. Have @asda withdrawn their ‘mental patient fancy dress’ costume or are we going to organise a protest at HQ? #timetochange Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) September 26, 2013 Alastair Campbell “It is staggeringly offensive to the one in four of us affected by mental health problems and our families and friends, and troubling that some businesses are still so out of touch with the public mood,” spokeswoman Sue Baker said in a statement . However, Baker said the outcry the costumes provoked on the social media site Twitter was encouraging. “We hope this will urge Asda, Tesco and other retailers and manufacturers to review their processes and consider taste and decency on mental health grounds, to avoid fueling stigma and discrimination that are so damaging for large numbers of the population,” she said. Mind and the group Rethink Mental Illness run the Time to Change campaign to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. One of the campaign’s supporters is Alastair Campbell, who was former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s media chief and who has publicly spoken of his battle with depression . Campbell was among those who tweeted his displeasure at the “brutally stigmatizing outfits.” “@asda and @tesco should sign up for one of the @mindcharity @Rethink_ @TimetoChange mental health training courses,” he tweeted . Campbell alleged that Amazon still carried mental health patient costumes and called for people to tweet the company, asking it to withdraw them. But in response to an inquiry from CNN, an Amazon spokesperson said: “The item you refer to is not available on Amazon.co.uk.” Soccer player and broadcaster Stan Collymore who has also spoken out on depression, also took to Twitter to criticize the stereotype he said Asda and Tesco’s costumes had promoted.

Markets close in 3 hrs 6 mins UK: Three times as many online searches for hotels at home than away New report from Greenlight reveals most popular hotel-related searches online and most visible sites Press Release: Greenlight 8 hours ago Print LONDON, Sept. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via PRWEB – Consumer online searches for hotels and lodgings based domestically outnumbered those located overseas by three to one, reveals the latest data from leading independent digital marketing agency, Greenlight. Greenlight’s ‘ Hotels Sector Report — Issue 17 ‘, found that in August, consumers made a total of 3.1 million searches on Google UK for hotels located in domestic, short haul and long haul destinations. Of that total, 1.8 million (58%) queries pertained to hotels based domestically, compared to 12% (382,610 searches) and just 8% (236,710 searches) for accommodation in short-haul and long-haul destinations, respectively. Greenlight’s findings follow on from preliminary hotel figures released by business advisory and accountancy firm BDO LLP in July, highlighting the health of the UK hotel sector a year on from the Olympics. They showed a 6.7% year-on-year increase in occupancy from 75.3% to 80.4% in the regions whilst occupancy rates in London increased by 10% from 79.2% to 87.1%, indicative, says the firm, of the UK hotel sector being in good shape to take advantage of the nascent economic recovery. Most popular domestic hotel-related search terms Greenlight’s research shows that on the domestic front, London was the biggest draw. Cumulatively, online searches for hotels in the UK capital accounted for 13% of queries. Brighton followed with 4%. Greenlight’s report reveals the ten most popular domestic hotel-related search terms as being: ‘hotels in london’ (90,500 searches) ‘london hotels’ (74,000 searches) ‘cheap hotels in london (60,500 searches) ‘blackpool hotels’ (33,100 searches) ‘hotels in york’ (33,1000 searches) ‘hotels in edinburgh’ (27,100 searches) ‘hotels in manchester’ (27,100 searches) ‘hotels in brighton’ (27,100 searches) ‘brighton hotels’ (27,100 searches) ‘cheap london hotels’ (22,200 searches) Most visible websites for domestic hotel-related searches Greenlight charted the most visible players online for hotels in long-haul, short-haul and domestic destinations. For domestic hotel-related queries, Laterooms.com was the most visible site in the organic* listings, attaining a 22% share of visibility. Booking.com was the most prominent advertiser in the paid listings**, with 70%.

UK: Three times as many online searches for hotels at home than away

“Norway normally produces gas at full capacity during the coldest months, and Troll’s outage leaves no flexibility to ramp-up production to meet peak demand in case both the UK and continental Europe freeze,” said Anette Einarsen, an Oslo-based gas analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. News about Norway’s gas outage extending throughout the winter has forced British gas traders to buy more forward contracts in order to hedge against any further supply disruptions from Britain’s key gas supplier. LOW FLEXIBILITY Should Norwegian supplies not meet demand in case of a cold British winter, UK customers could begin importing gas from continental Europe, which receives most of its gas from Russia. But analysts say such a switch would come at a high cost, forcing British customers to pay above Russian oil-indexed gas prices to attract flows from continental Europe. Point Carbon estimates Russian oil-indexed price at 74-78 pence per therm, compared with current UK spot prices of under 65 pence and average winter prices of below 70 pence per therm. Russia sells most of its gas under long-term contracts linked to the price of oil, while Norway has switched increasingly to a pricing model based on gas spot markets such as Britain’s National Balancing Point (NBP). Oil prices have been relatively high as a result of booming demand outside Europe and as a result of political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, while European spot gas prices have been low because of Europe’s sluggish economy. This means that Russian oil-linked gas prices have been more expensive than Norwegian spot supplies. To regain competitiveness, Russia’s gas export monopolist Gazprom has handed out price rebates worth billions of euros over the past year, bringing its contracts closer to the spot market, and analysts say this will increase Russia’s gas market share. “We expect the continent to take more Russian gas and less Norwegian gas, if we have a normal winter, during the next gas year,” said Einarsen. Russian preliminary gas exports to Europe rose by 14 percent to 105.2 bcm during January-August, and its gas monopoly Gazprom plans to restore supplies to Europe to 152 bcm this year after they fell 8 percent to 139 bcm in 2012. Alternatively Britain could get gas through shipped supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from suppliers such as Qatar. But LNG prices are high as its biggest buyers, Japan and South Korea, pay far more for cargoes than European buyers.