California has worst ‘quality of life’ in US, study says

Awards season is in full swing in California, and the Golden State just took home a booby prize of its own.

California ranks dead last among U.S. states in quality of life, according to a study by U.S. News, ranking behind New Jersey (49th) and Indiana (48th).

The ignominious honor reflects California’s low marks in the sub-categories of environmental quality and social engagement. The latter category measures voting participation and community bonds.

Californians scored poorly in part because they’re simply insufferable, U.S. News suggested.

“In addition to a healthy environment, a person’s quality of life is largely a result of their interactions with those around them,” the magazine wrote in a blurb accompanying the results.

One way to measure quality life is whether residents can even afford to have a roof over their heads, and by that standard, California is failing. 

Karen Souza, 55, poses for a portrait with her dog Handsome by the tent in which she lives, under a freeway on a street in Los Angeles.  (Reuters)


A 2017 Harvard University report said that one-third of renters in the Los Angeles area are “severely rent burdened,” meaning they spend at least half their income on housing. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles County has increased 67%, according to Zillow’s Rent Index, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Homelessness has surged a stunning 75 percent in the last six years, the Los Angeles Times reports, and there are now at least 55,000 homeless people in the county.

U.S. News ranked each state in seven other areas, which were weighted based on a survey that determined their importance to the public: health care, education, economy, opportunity, infrastructure, crime and corrections, and fiscal stability. 

A homeless man reads the Los Angeles Times in the window of the building of Los Angeles Times newspaper in Los Angeles.  (Reuters)

Regarding its budget, California does have a balanced budget under Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, but the Standard & Poor’s rating agency recently warned that the good times won’t last.

“California’s finances are roaring back,” the agency’s report said. “History would suggest, however, that any fiscal renaissance will be temporary.”

If the stock market shifts from gains to losses, Standard & Poor’s said, the budget could be negatively impacted in a major way because about half of the state’s revenue comes from the wealthiest 1% in California.

California finished No. 43 in fiscal stability, No. 46 in opportunity, and No. 38 in infrastructure. It posted relatively high marks in health care (11th), economy (4th), and crime and corrections (28th).

California ranked No. 32 among all U.S. states overall, behind New York (25th), New Jersey (19th), and Florida (15th).

Which state has the best quality of life?

Iowa, which scored highly in infrastructure and health care, took the top spot overall.

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.

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7 Things You Need To Know About The Pisces In Your Life

Rowan Chestnut / Unsplash

Let me be the first to admit that I am no astrologer. Ask me to explain why our birthdays affect our personalities, and I won’t be able too. Although there is some science to back up how the particular month you were born in affects your personality (read here & here), there’s just not as much to defend why your particular astrological sign does. Nevertheless, I’m a believer in greater cosmic power. I’ve read a fair share about my zodiac sign, and can conclude that I am 100% a Pisces.

So with it officially being the Pisces birthday month, I’d like to make sure that we all understand the fishes. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m under the impression that we tend to be brushed off as “complicated,” when really, we’re just a fragile, tolerant, and absolutely lovable sign. “Complicated” doesn’t quite do my fellow fishes and I justice, so here’s what it really feels like to be a Pisces, and to have one of us in your life.

1. We are sensitive and emotional. Please be gentle with us.

The Pisces sign is symbolized by two swimming fishes. According to, the “water sign is extremely emotional, empathic, and extraordinarily sensitive.”

Out of all the Pisces that I have ever met, this statement holds true. I have not once come across a Pisces that isn’t sensitive. As the extremely intuitive fish that we are, we’re in touch with our feelings and the feelings of others. When there’s a shift in the current, or a change in the tide, we don’t just notice it—we feel it. We’re affected by the energy that surrounds us, as well as our environment. We’re ruled by emotions, and are the sign of heart over mind.

2.  We’re pretty fun and get along with basically everyone

Pisces are innately fun. Because of our perceptive nature, we can get along with anyone; blend into any crowd. We’re always open to new ideas, and we thrive off positive vibes. This makes us a fun friend to go out with, or to have around when you need a shoulder to cry on. We have an incredible ability to read people and relate to them.

3. We may seem a bit lost and indecisive

As fishes, we can sink or swim. Sometimes it takes a Pisces a while to focus and find the right direction. Because we are adaptable, we may aimlessly drift around for a while. To some we may appear lost or distracted, with our head in the clouds. All we really need, however, is someone or something to help ground us and our free spirit.

4. We’re the dreamers, and have vivid imaginations

Pisces are always dreaming. We have vivid imaginations, and we get easily swept away by our own thoughts and desires. To Pisces, the mystical world is more appealing than the real one. We like to escape reality. This is why many of pursue creative professions, allowing us to dream a bit deeper.

5. We need time to ourselves

As dreamers, we need “me time” to get lost in our own fantasies and restore our energy. We like spending time with ourselves just as much as with others, and we enjoy being fully absorbed in a great book or solo activity.

6. We are affectionate, vulnerable, and a little needy

Pisces love to love, and love to be loved. We fall hard, and wear our hearts on our sleeve. We can also be a bit needy, and are easily bruised (I repeat, we’re very sensitive).

7. You’ll find us by the water 

The water is our happy place, and we crave it as much as we need it. Take an unhappy Pisces to the beach, the pool, on a boat ride, or even run them a hot bath. You’ll see the difference.

And that’s a Pisces, in a nutshell. We’re a little complicated to the outside eye, but only in the best way possible. We feel deeply, dream deeply, love deeply. We’re an intense school of fish, and you would be mistaken to not want us around.

Happy Birthday Pisces!

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“This Flu Is Serious Business,” Wife Warns After Husband Loses Legs & 9 Fingers to Septic Shock

As countless reports have reflected, a fatal flu season is upon us.

From a mom who lost her perfectly healthy 27-year-old daughter to a father who lost his vibrant 7-year-old two days after she complained of a sore throat, parents across America are grieving the loss of children taken too soon by 2018’s deadly strain of influenza. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported in mid-January that the death toll for children had reached thirty this flu season, and that number is steadily rising.

But this unrelenting virus is not only targeting youth. Fifty-one-year-old Brian Herndon recently lost both his feet and nine fingers after going into septic shock from flu complications.

“One minute you’ve got the flu and the next minute you’re septic,” the Texas father told WFAA via Skype on Sunday.

On January 4, Brian was diagnosed with the flu; the next day, he came down with pneumonia and went into septic shock.

According to Medical News Today, septic shock “occurs when an overwhelming infection leads to life-threatening low blood pressure.” When blood pressure drops, blood flow is reduced to the vital organs which can lead to organ failure, other serious injury, and even death.

Septic shock is “most common in people who are already affected by illnesses that weaken the immune system”—but similar to many cases reported in recent months, Brian had no preexisting medical problems that would have made him more prone to such severe complications.


“He had a 104.7 temperature right away,” said his wife Jaye. “And then he had trouble breathing. We didn’t wait, we went to the ER. It was that quick.”

After blood clots developed in his extremities, the father of two was forced to have his lower legs amputated and will need to get prosthetics.

Jaye posted the following update on the family’s GoFundMe page:

“Brian has been facing all kinds of complications due to flu, pneumonia, septic shock, and multi organ failure. As of today Brian will need prosthetics for both legs, below the knee. He will also need special hand work as parts of every finger have been removed. While this is a challenging complication, we can do this together. Our amount needed is rapidly growing but your help makes a huge difference. Every dollar will help show love to an amazing man! Funds will be used for prosthetics and his medical care. Thank you!!”

After her husband’s near brush with death, Jaye is on a mission to make others aware of just how pressing it is to catch flu symptoms early on.

“This flu is serious business,” she urged. “People need to pay attention to it. Do not send your kids to school with a fever. We have to help each other out. Not everyone’s body deals with the flu-like maybe yours does.”


Though Brian’s case is certainly tragic, it’s not the worst case scenario that flu victims have seen this season. The Star-Telegram reported that there have been “54 flu-related deaths in Dallas County since Oct. 1, and at least 23 in Tarrant County.”

In spite of Brian’s critical condition, the Herndon’s deep-seated Christian faith has helped them remain positive and hopeful for his full recovery.


“He’s a man of faith, and we’re all just trusting God to carry him through and bring us to that new normal,” says Jaye.

If you’d like to join in helping the Herndon family financially, you may donate to their GoFundMe page here

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25+ Photos Of Dogs Before & After Their Adoption That Will Melt Your Heart

For us, adopting a pet is a huge responsibility, but it’s the best thing that can happen to shelter animals. To prove the power of a loving home, proud owners from all over the world are sharing photos of their new dogs before & after they were rescued. Bored Panda has decided to compile these heartwarming images into a list, and it will clear any doubts whether or not it’s worth picking up a pup from a kennel.

From sad faces in cramped cells to wide smiles on king size beds, these k9s found happiness in their new homes and can’t hide their emotions. You can understand the difference adoption makes to a shelter pet only if you see one, so scroll down and meet the lucky ones!

Trump Suggests Bonuses for Gun-Trained Teachers, Praises the NRA

President Donald Trump called for paying bonuses to teachers who carry guns in the classroom, embracing a controversial proposal to curb school shootings hours after offering a full-throated endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

Trump told state and local officials gathered at the White House on Thursday to discuss school safety that “you can’t hire enough security guards” and teachers could carry concealed weapons and “nobody would know who they are.” He said that teachers would go through “rigorous training” and could get “a little bit of a bonus.”

His support for arming educators comes a week after the massacre of 17 people at a high school in Florida. The president and lawmakers are now struggling to respond to public demands for action, mindful of the clout gun-rights enthusiasts hold in the Republican Party, which controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Guns in America

The NRA, which has been one of the most powerful political opponents to gun control, received lavish praise from Trump just minutes before its chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference. LaPierre proceeded to blast school officials, local law enforcement and the FBI for failing to prevent school shootings.

It was a jarring contrast for Trump just a day after his emotional meeting with students and parents affected by recent school massacres. Earlier Thursday morning, before a tweet praising the NRA, Trump went the furthest he’s ever gone on gun control, saying he’d push for tougher background checks that screen for mental health, raising the minimum age of buyers to 21, and ending the sale of bump stocks.

Trump also suggested to local officials at the White House meeting that schools concentrate more on hardening facilities to withstand rifle fire. But he opposed mandating active shooting drills — which have become increasingly common — saying that rehearsing for a possibly violent event could upset students.

“Active shooter drills is a very negative thing, have to be honest with you,” Trump said, “I’d much rather have a hardened school.” He added that he wouldn’t want his son to be told he was going through an active shooter drill. “I think it’s very bad for children.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah later said that Trump only opposes using the term “active shooter drill” because it could be frightening, and suggested schools instead use the term “safety drill.”

Children’s exposure to violence on the Internet and in video games and movies also may be contributing to the shootings, Trump added. “Their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it,” he said.

LaPierre called for more armed security at schools and criticized the notion of making schools “gun-free zones,” which he said are targets for potential shooters, echoing comments Trump has made.

The NRA chief lashed out at Democrats including Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who has long pushed for tighter gun laws, for “politicizing” the Florida shooting. He said “elites” want to “eradicate all individual freedoms.”

“They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of school security, the failure of family, the failure of America’s mental health system, and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI,” LaPierre said.

The NRA is one of the biggest spenders in elections, ranking 9th among all outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2016, the NRA’s political arms spent $54.4 million influencing elections, Federal Election Commission records show, including $19.8 million attacking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and $11.4 million promoting Trump. The NRA also spent $500,000 or more on 7 Senate races, including in battleground states Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Trump was endorsed by the NRA and has routinely touted his support for the organization, and his campaign said he opposed expanding the background check system or imposing new restrictions on gun and magazine bans. Trump is expected to speak at the CPAC event on Friday.

Trump conferred with the NRA’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, over the weekend in the aftermath of the Florida shooting, Shah said.

Gun stocks rose Thursday after declining the two prior days. Shares in American Outdoor Brands Corp. rose 2.8 percent to $10.34 and Sturm Ruger & Co. was up 5 percent to $49.55 at 1:30 p.m. New York time.

Background Checks

While Trump said he would push “comprehensive background checks” with an emphasis on mental health, an Obama-era gun rule aimed at preventing people with serious mental illness from buying guns was one of the first targets of Republicans in Congress last year. Lawmakers used a special procedure under the Congressional Review Act to do away with the rule.

Trump announced Tuesday he would propose regulations to ban “bump stocks” used to allow semi-automatic rifles to fire like automatic weapons. He signaled support for bipartisan legislation to improve data collection for the federal gun-sale background check system.

Trump said he called many lawmakers Wednesday evening to discuss background checks and that many prior opponents of toughening them have changed their minds.

But the president isn’t ready to back any specific legislation yet, Shah said. Instead Trump “is proposing ideas, he’s listening right now,” Shah said.

Click here for more on the debate over guns in America.

His support for arming teachers would eliminate the gun-free zones in and around schools enshrined in a nearly three-decade-old federal law.

Trump said in a tweet earlier Thursday that 20 percent of teachers “would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this.”

The idea prompted sharp rebukes from some Democrats and misgivings from at least one prominent Republican.

Murphy said on CNN that the proposal was “a recipe for disaster,” adding that there was no evidence that it would prevent shootings.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, told a CNN town hall meeting on Wednesday that he opposed arming teachers.

Trump on Thursday tried to explain his rationale for arming school staff members. “History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes,” Trump tweeted. “It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!”

“If a potential ‘sicko shooter’ knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won’t go there…problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won’t work!” Trump wrote.

Trump has signaled support for a bipartisan Senate bill that would strengthen current laws requiring federal agencies to report information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The House passed a similar bill in December, but added legislation that would require states to recognize concealed carry licenses from other states. House conservatives would likely balk at separating the two issues, while the House version of the bill would likely fail in the Senate.

A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday found 97 percent support for universal background checks, while 67 percent backed a ban on the sale of assault weapons.

Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, which operates Bloomberg News, serves as a member of Everytown for Gun Safety’s advisory board and is a donor to the group. Everytown for Gun Safety advocates for universal background checks and other gun control measures.

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    This YouTuber Is Being Called Out For Triggering Peoples Eating Disorders, And Its All Kinds Of Fucked Up

    Sarah’s Day YouTube

    YouTube has become a breeding ground for health and fitness accounts, due to the onset of a social obsession surrounding what kind of foods people are eating. Millions and millions of views are garnered on the platform with titles like “What A Model In NYC Eats In A Day” or “What I Eat In A Day (How I Lost 20 Pounds)” and fan bases are filled with impressionable young women and men who take to heart what these YouTubers with no real credentials have to say about nutrition, and health.

    As with all forms of social media, when you take an influencer, and you give them a platform, they have power over people. The audiences of these influencers trust them, and they follow them because they lead desirable lives. But what happens when someone with questionable habits is seen as someone others must emulate? What happens when someone who may have an unhealthy obsession with food, starts to showcase their lives and, in turn their controversial behavior, to those who are willing and ready to learn from them?

    Introduce Sarah’s Day, otherwise known as Sezzy by her fans. Women especially are drawn to the YouTube star because she is the ultimate definition of “life goals.” On the outside, she is an aggressively fit, beautiful blonde, who has an attractive boyfriend, a little cottage by the beach, a pink bike she roams around town on, picking up organic groceries from markets and so on. She is Pinterest in human form, and that appeals to many millennials who are obsessed with the aesthetic nature of creating a desirable lifestyle that can be captured and shared with hundreds of people.

    Doing it for the feeling 🙌🏼 It's time sissys! Tomorrow we commence week 1 of Sweat it to Shred it my eight week active lifestyle challenge!! I took this picture a few months ago on the day that I tested and approved the final workout of my guide. I remember feeling so fit, healthy and energetic. I was honestly at a point that I've never been to before with my body. I don't even mean aesthetically though. I mean being ridiculously fit! I remember meeting Kurt and training with him for the first time at my local gym. I did my week 6 Sweaty Shredder workout and he came up to me afterwards telling me how he was impressed I could smash out such a functional, fat burning workout with just my body weight and no equipment. I sort of shrugged it off and thought he was just being nice, but looking back now I realise how fit I was! After a month off the gym, and giving my body time to rest and recover… I don't feel guilty or discouraged… I feel excited. Excited to reach this point of functional fitness again! So sissys, I'm calling on you🙋🏼who wants to do it with me!? #week1 #sweatittoshredit #sezzysweat #sezzysquad p.s guide link in my bio 💗

    A post shared by Sarah (@sarahs_day) on

    But people are starting to see that there are some major holes in Sarah’s platform. If you watch the progression of her videos, you can quite literally see the fitness YouTuber delving deeper and deeper into an infatuation with clean eating, pretty food, and the need to be as holistic as possible. To those who have studied the psychology of disordered eating, Sarah raises red flags.

    The YouTuber clearly doesn’t have a healthy relationship with food or exercise. She is constantly starting and stopping new diets, “comeback” challenges where she laments over gaining a few pounds and puts herself through an intense and extreme regime of exercise and clean eating, considers fruit to be a “naughty” treat, is almost always talking about food, or some new health food product she likes, and so on. She recently lost her period for months on end, an extreme sign that her body was not performing well, despite her “balanced” healthy lifestyle. When she was forced to use antibiotics for a parasite, and a staph infection, she was emotional on her platform, denouncing Western medicine and worrying about what the pills would do to her progress.

    And that is okay. A lot of people struggle with health. A lot of people struggle with developing their habits and working on having a positive relationship with food. However, those people are not guiding others. Those people do not hold the kind of platform Sarah does, they do not influence the amount of people Sarah does. And if you don’t think that matters — you are completely wrong. Because comments like this are popping up everywhere on Sarah’s platforms, and it is heartbreaking.

    Young women, taking everything their branded, uneducated idol is promoting, and becoming sick. Mentally obsessed. Physically ill. It’s, for lack of a better word, fucked up.

    This. Is. Not. Okay. And it happens all too often. Disordered eating is triggering. An overt obsession with holistic medicine could lead a young mind away from the medicine they need, causing a normally easily treated problem into a disaster. Promoting elimination diets like Paleo to a 14 year old who is just starting to develop their relationship with health and food and balance, is harming.

    Do you think that YouTubers should be demonetized if they promote unhealthy behaviour? Do you think that people like Sarah deserve a platform, even if it means it may mentally manipulate her audience in a potentially destructive way? Is it, in turn, the responsibility of the watcher to take what these YouTubers say with a grain of salt? Is that even possible when YouTubers are celebrities, and mentors, to these young audiences?

    Where do you stand on this issue?

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    Orrin Hatch Calls Obamacare Supporters ‘The Stupidest, Dumbass People I’ve Ever Met’

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is apparently sick of people who support affordable health care.

    On Thursday, the Republican politician called supporters of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, “the stupidest, dumbass people I’ve ever met,” according to Salt Lake City station KSTU.

    Hatch made the comments during a speech about the recent GOP tax overhaul that repealed the health care law’s individual mandate, according to The Hill.

    The insult came after Hatch referred to “that wonderful bill called ‘Obamacare.’”

    “Now, if you didn’t catch on, I was being very sarcastic,” he said.

    Hatch then called the Affordable Care Act “the stupidest, dumbass bill that I’ve ever seen.”

    He added:

    “Now, some of you may have loved it. If you do, you are one of the stupidest, dumbass people I’ve ever met. This was one of them — and there are a lot of ’em up on Capitol Hill from time to time.”

    Hatch’s comments came the same day the Kaiser Family Foundation released a poll saying the Affordable Care Act was popular with 54 percent of the population.

    That’s the highest level of support since the law was enacted in 2010, according to The Hill.

    Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock tried to put a Band-Aid on the senator’s Obamacare insults.

    “The comments were obviously made in jest, but what’s not a joke is the harm Obamacare has caused for countless Utahns,” Whitlock told KSTU.

    In January, the 83-year-old Hatch announced he would retire from the Senate at the end of 2018. He has served in the office since 1977.

    You can watch Hatch’s comments below:

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    Snow causes major disruption across UK

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    Media captionLatest BBC Weather forecast with Phil Avery

    Flights and trains have been cancelled and drivers stranded as sub-zero conditions continue across the UK.

    Rail networks Southeastern, South Western and ScotRail advised people not to travel on their routes on Friday.

    Thousands of properties were left without power across the south west of England, south Wales and the Midlands.

    The Met Office’s red warning has been lifted but flood warnings remain in place in the south-west and north-east of England.

    Services stopped leaving London Waterloo station just before 22:00 GMT with the South Western Railway network shutting down early.

    Meanwhile, the RAC says that freezing rain could pose the biggest threat to drivers as black ice forms on roads.

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    Media captionPiers Hanson walked down the tracks after receiving clearance from police

    There were severe delays to services in Lewisham, south London after passengers stuck on four Southeastern trains “forced open” doors, left the carriages and started walking along the tracks.

    The rail company said police and the fire service assisted in helping to restore power on the tracks and get trains moving again.

    Major incidents were declared in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Avon and Somerset, as blizzards brought roads to a standstill.

    The M62 near Manchester was closed while the military helped police free stranded motorists.

    Around 100 cars were stuck on the A505 between Hitchin and Luton but were able to complete their journey after a few hours.

    The body of a woman has been found during a search for missing 51-year-old hillwalker Alison Fox, who went walking in the Ochil Hills behind Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, on Thursday afternoon.

    A police spokesman said formal identification had not yet taken place but Ms Fox’s family had been informed.

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    Media captionNear miss bus driver Charmaine Laurie: “It looked worse on the video”

    There are yellow weather warnings for snow, ice and wind in place across the UK throughout Friday and Saturday, with a Scottish warning in force until 23:55 GMT on Monday, but there are no more of the more serious amber alerts currently in place.

    Prime Minister Theresa May has thanked everyone “going the extra mile”.

    In Scotland the armed forces are transporting vital NHS staff to the hospitals where they work.

    Electricity North West says it restored power to 20,000 homes in the north west of England but some rural areas could be without power overnight on Friday.

    Image copyright Supt Toby Davies
    Image caption Officers had the loan of poles to search for vehicles buried on the A386 in Devon

    The Environment Agency has issued 15 flood warnings and 36 flood alerts for coastal areas in the south-west and north-east of England.

    Severe flooding has been reported in Penzance, Cornwall, due to high river levels and swollen seas.

    The Met Office said the UK has officially broken its record for the lowest temperatures in a 24-hour period in March.

    Temperatures in the town of Tredegar in south Wales did not get above -5.2C on Thursday.

    Police forces around the UK have told people to travel only if necessary.

    There is a warning of black ice on the M6, while some of the worst problems are near Rochdale on the M62 – which is closed as stranded vehicles are cleared – and on the A303 near Ilminster and the A31 in the New Forest.

    On the M62, volunteers from Milnrow, Rochdale, took hot drinks, food and blankets to some of those stuck – including a bottle of warm milk for a five-week-old baby.

    Responding to a call for help on social media, farmers used their tractor to drive off-duty midwives to a woman who had gone into labour in the remote village of Balgedie, near Kinross which had been cut off by the snow.

    In Cumbria, a farmer ran out of feed for his 4,000 hens near Penrith and asked for a route to be cleared.

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    Media captionThe BBC’s Sian Lloyd reports from the Vale of Glamorgan
    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Commuters in Cardiff were able to walk on a deserted dual carriageway
    Image copyright Reuters
    Image caption While passengers at London Waterloo rushed to get home before the last train

    Commuters ‘almost jubilant’

    By BBC transport correspondent Victoria Fritz

    The more normal response to this level of travel disruption would be exasperation and even anger amongst marooned passengers.

    But after a week of widespread chaos, the mood in Waterloo station on Friday at rush hour is almost jubilant.

    The weekend is around the corner and many of the thousands here will be granted a temporary reprieve from doing daily battle with the railways.

    The biggest gripe amongst passengers is that there has been precious little information of last minute changes to schedules.

    Most are understanding of the extraordinary challenges track and train operators are facing.

    Station staff are out in force and briefing passengers when they can. With the weather rapidly closing in, it’s a dash for all to get home before the clock strikes 22:00 GMT.

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    Media captionDr Chris Marsh on his 10-mile walk to work

    Much of Wales was brought to a standstill, where routine operations were cancelled as health boards made a plea for staff to attend work. Travel conditions in Scotland remain treacherous.

    The Premier League has said games are expected to go ahead despite the weather. However, four matches in the Championship and two games in the Scottish Premiership have been cancelled.

    Image copyright PA
    Image caption A pub landlord in Greater Manchester battles against the snow at his front door

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    Media captionIce blocks Birmingham’s canals
    Image copyright PA
    Image caption But these horses braved the elements at a farm in Snetterton, Norfolk

    What is happening with the trains?

    Across the UK, more than 20 rail operators are running a reduced service. National Rail has been advising passengers to check their service before travelling. Some train operators urged people not to travel at all.

    • Virgin Trains is not running any services north of Newcastle on Saturday, with their route between Carlisle and Scotland – affecting the London to Glasgow and London to Edinburgh routes – closed with no replacement buses running
    • Arriva Trains Wales has said a limited service will run on Saturday and passengers have been advised only to travel if essential up until Monday morning. There are limited trains between Shrewsbury and Crewe, Crewe and Chester, Chester and Holyhead, Wrexham and Bidston and Swansea and Carmarthen
    • Great Western Railway said there will be a limited timetable with no services between Cheltenham and Paddington, and the North Downs trains have been cancelled
    • Heathrow Express services between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport will run three times an hour
    • East Midlands Trains are running a reduced timetable with no trains between Lincoln Central and Grimsby Town, and between Sleaford and Skegness
    • On the Northern network, there are no services between Leeds and Carlisle/Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester Airport, and Hazel Grove and Buxton. It warns passengers of possible timetable changes throughout Saturday
    • ScotRail aims to have several of its routes operational from early morning on Saturday but advises passengers to check before they travel
    • CrossCountry is not running trains between Birmingham and the South West and, Birmingham and Cardiff until after 09:00 GMT. No services will operate between Newcastle and Scotland and trains between Reading and Southampton/Bournemouth are not expected to run until mid afternoon
    • Southeastern railway said it will run an amended timetable on Saturday and services will start later after track inspections

    How are the airports affected?

    Image copyright PA

    More than 1,250 flights were cancelled across the UK and Ireland on Friday.

    • Glasgow Airport: Open after “the worst snowfall in its history” but still warns of delays and cancellations
    • Edinburgh Airport: Ryanair will resume its full schedule of flights after a day of cancellations on Friday
    • Dublin Airport: Most flights will start later on Saturday but passengers are urged to check before they travel
    • Cardiff Airport: The airport will be closed until Saturday morning
    • Bristol Airport: There were significant disruptions on Friday and passengers are advised to contact their airline before travelling
    • East Midlands Airport: After a day of cancellations and delays, the airport is expected to be fully operational
    • Leeds Bradford: The airport is open but is experiencing delays
    • Heathrow Airport: The airport advises passengers to check before travelling
    • Gatwick Airport: There are delays and cancellations
    • City Airport: The runway was closed on Friday because of the snow and the airline advises passengers that delays and cancellations could be likely
    • Birmingham Airport: Runway unlikely to reopen before Saturday morning with travellers warned to check with their airline

    What is the forecast?

    The Met Office says the cold weather could last into next week and possibly the following week.

    Up to 50cm (19 inches) of snow is forecast in parts of Dartmoor, Exmoor and uplands parts of south-east Wales accompanied by gales or severe gales in exposed areas.

    Gusts of 60-70mph are possible in parts of northern England and Wales.

    Up to 10cm (four inches) of snow is forecast in parts of Scotland and northern England, with up to 25cm over the area’s hills.

    How has the cold weather affected you? Share your pictures, video and experiences by emailing

    Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

    Or use the form below

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    Stephen Miller falls asleep during Trump conference on school safety

    Stephen Miller nods off during Trump speech about school safety.
    Image: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

    Between frothing about “cosmopolitans” or getting escorted out of CNN by security, it’s rare to capture Senior White House policy advisor Stephen Miller in a humanlike moment.

    We take what we can. Like today for example, when Jim Lo Scalzo from EPA photos captured Miller asleep during President Trump’s wildly delusional over-an-hour-long briefing on school shootings.

    I strongly encourage the Pulitzer committee or at least my mom to take a look at this person’s fine work. 

    Image: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

    I can correctly blame Miller for the downfall of our nation, but I can’t quite penalize him for falling asleep during Trump’s speech, which was particularly divorced from reality today.

    Image: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

    Perhaps these quotes triggered the poor snowflake into sleep.

    “We lose a lot with Canada.  People don’t know it.  Canada is very smooth.  They have you believe that it’s wonderful.  And it is — for them.  Not wonderful for us; it’s wonderful for them.  So we have to start showing that we know what we’re doing.”

    “So we have to confront the issue, and we have to discuss mental health, and we have to do something about it. You know, in the old days, we had mental institutions. We had a lot of them, and you could nab somebody like this. Because, you know, they did — they knew he was — something was off.  You had to know that.”

    Here’s what Twitter had to say.

    Of course, Miller can in no way match Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s infamous nap during the State of the Union when she got a little white wine drunk.

    Read more:

    Paramedics help man who couldn’t feel his legs after 20 hours of gaming

    A man in China reportedly stopped feeling his legs and couldn’t walk after a 20-hour gaming binge at an internet cafe in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province. When the man finally tried to get up to use the bathroom, he discovered he couldn’t feel his legs, according to Newsweek. His friends called for help and paramedics arrived on the scene within moments.

    The gamer, who remains unidentified, reportedly wanted to continue playing the game even while he was being taken out on the stretcher. Video of the incident was uploaded to the Chineses video service Pear.

    Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) moved to list gaming addiction as a mental health disorder, prompting serious debate over the mental health impacts of destructive gaming behavior. WHO lists “continuation or escalation of gaming despite negative consequences” over a period of time among the symptoms, with gaming being prioritized over sleeping, eating, or attending work or school. The Electronic Software Association denounced the decision, saying “video games are not addictive” and “putting that official label on them recklessly trivializes real mental health issues like depression and social anxiety disorder.”

    But some healthcare officials, like technology addiction specialist Dr. Richard Graham at London’s Nightingale Hospital, welcome WHO’s decision and the awareness that could come from it. “It is significant because it creates the opportunity for more specialised services,” Graham told the BBC. “It puts it on the map as something to take seriously.”

    The incident with the Chinese gamer isn’t the first of its kind. In 2015, a teen gamer died from playing a video game almost non-stop for 22 days in a row. And back in 2010, a South Korean couple faced serious charges after their baby died of malnutrition while they tended to a digital child in an online game.


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