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With concern about microplastics growing worldwide, we're not surprised that retailers are finally taking notice about the damage to the environment.

Popular retailer Marks & Spencer have joined the eco-effort by banning glitter from this year's Christmas cards, wrapping paper, crackers and calendars.

The brand is aiming to be 100 percent glitter-free by the end of 2019 after testing a biodegradable alternative to glitter on plants and flowers.

The worry about single-use plastics such as straws, water bottles, takeaway cups and microplastics (tiny particles that cause huge pollution) has significantly risen after the prominence of environmental documentaries, school strikers like Greta Thunberg and consistent climate breakdown disasters.

Glitter is usually created from etched aluminium bonded to polyethylene terephthalate, a form of microplastic that can end up in the sea.

The guess is that up to 50 tonnes of microplastic particles have accumulated in the ocean, according to The Guardian.

According to campaign group 38 degrees, up to a third of fish caught in the North Sea contained microplastic particles, including glitter. 

M&S’s action on glitter and plastic is following eco-crackdowns by brands like Waitrose and Tesco, who are switching to plastic-free ranges or environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Aldi is scrapping plastic glitter from their 2019 Halloween range, and even Strictly Come Dancing is banning glitter from their programme. Music festivals and playschools are also taking action.

M&S is now providing recyclable Christmas stationary designs and minimal use of foil for festival sparkle.

Most of its boxed cards have also switched from plastic to card packaging, which is saving almost 50 tonnes of plastic.

1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from across the business have been scrapped, and M&S aims to ensure all its packaging is widely recyclable by the end of 2022.

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Serena Williams conquered the court in her gorgeous catsuit at the 2018 French Open in June.

However, some people seemed to disagree with the tennis star’s fashion choices.

French tennis officials have announced they will be implementing a new dress code, one that specifically bans Serena’s all-black bodysuit from the court.

In a recent interview with Tennis Magazine, French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli reportedly announced the regulation of player’s dress.

“I think that sometimes we've gone too far,'' he said.

Bernard continued on, specifically pointing out Serena’s spandex catsuit, saying: “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.''

The Tennis Federation president reassured athletes that Roland Garros' new rules will be nowhere near as strict as Wimbledon’s dress code, but tennis officials will be reviewing all outfit choices ahead of time for next year.

Fans are outraged at the recently announced restrictions and have flooded social media with condemning comments.

Allegations of sexism and racism have been spouted at the tennis association.

One Twitter user ranted: “What are the actual rules on 'acceptable outfits'? How much of this statement is racially motivated?  What’s about Anne’s white catsuit during Wimbledon?”

This year also marks the mum’s first return to the US Open since having her baby girl Olympia. 

Serena previously gushed that her stunning catsuit helped fuel her confidence for her return to the tennis world, making her feel like a superhero.

“I feel like a warrior in it, a warrior princess … from Wakanda, maybe,” she told The Guardian.

Photo Credit: Twitter/@olusola_MOG

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Modelling is see as the ultimate in glamorous career paths – the jet set lifestyle, beautiful clothing and legions of adoring fan online and IRL.

However, it's also a cut-throat industry, where a 'new face' can be disposed of after a single season, 20-hour days are the norm, pressures come from drink and drug use, low weights are standard, and women can be exploited. 

While in the 1980s and 90s, the fashion industry revolved around a few faces, the super models of the time, such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, it's not a changed landscape, with armies of models in each show and a wave of new, teenage models presenting a Fashion Week each season. 

 

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In an effort to alleviate the exploitation of young women in an industry which currently relies heavily on the labour of teenage girls, Vogue has pledged to only book models aged 18 and over. 

The iconic fashion tome is hailing the rest of the industry to follow suit. 

'When Brooke Shields, then fourteen, graced the February 1980 cover of Vogue, she was an outlier, writes Vogue's Maya Singer.

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'Since then, models in their mid-teens have appeared in many of our fashion editorials. No more: It’s not right for us, it’s not right for our readers, and it’s not right for the young models competing to appear in these pages.'

'While we can’t rewrite the past, we can commit to a better future.'

Modelling is a highly stressful, highly physical job, and taking the pressure off teenagers from contributing to the industry can only be a good thing. 

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Rickshaws could soon be banned in Ireland, as Minster for Transport Shane Ross looks set to propose new regulations at an Oireachtas committee today. 

According to the Irish Times, the National Transport Authority has been carrying out a review of rickshaw operations, and Minister Ross is expected to confirm that he has been debating between regulation of the vehicles or an outright ban. 

In his opening statements, Ross is expected to say: 

"Rickshaws are arguably meeting a niche demand which is not being met by the traditional public transport services.

"Regulating could allow rickshaws to continue in operation, contributing a fun and vibrant aspect to city life.

"However, significant resources would need to be invested. More admin and enforcement resources would be needed in the National Transport Authority and the Garda, possibly also in the Road Safety Authority."

It's understood that, if enforced, new regulations would see rickshaw drivers be required to have driver and operator licensing, motor tax and vehicle registration as well as certification of the road-worthiness of their vehicle. 

Looks like we could be walking to Coppers from owe on, ladies! 

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Like many of my fellow Dublin dwellers, over the weekend, I took myself, my pals and a box of Orchard Thieves down to the canal in Portobello.

The sun had uprooted the city from it's usual Sunday routine, and with 23 degree heat blazing down, laughter, guitar music and the cracking open of cans was the soundtrack of the afternoon. 

However, unlike some of my fellow revellers, I disposed of my crisp packets, empty cans and cigarette butts in the extra bins provided. 

As someone who considers themselves a 'responsible' day drinker, the thought of leaving my trash behind me or dumping it in the canal is disgusting.

After all, how can the community and those who descend upon it in the good weather truly enjoy themselves if they're surrounded by what looks like a scene from Mike Judge's Idiocracy

The state the canal is left in is constantly an issue after sunny days, with Twitter and the likes of Lovin' Dublin scolding day drinkers with images of overflowing bins and plastic-littered canal water, but after years of the same conversation, the powers that be have declared that it has come to the point that it 'cannot continue. '

'It does require a much more co-ordinated effort on the part of the gardai and to recognise that it is an issue that actually has to be dealt with," Cllr Mary Freehill, who likes in the area, told The Irish Times. 

“There’s been drugs there as well, I’m afraid. What really concerns me about this is when you have a group of people consuming a lot of alcohol around very deep water, people may not realise that is an accident waiting to happen. It’s something we cannot allow to continue.”

This is just the epitome of a few people absolutely ruining things for everyone.

Yes, we all get hammered on occasion and there's absolutely nothing wrong with getting merry in the sunshine, but endangering yourself and trashing the area while you're at it simply isn't on. 

As my colleague pointed out in the office this morning, when we go on holidays to another city, and partake in their local beverages in the wild, we tidy up after ourselves, so why can't everyone have the same respect for our own city? 

Yes, I sound like a complete spoil sport, but leaving piles of rubbish strewn down the canal, public urination and generally obnoxious behaviour suddenly seems to become socially acceptable once the sun shines. 

Cllr Chris Andrews told The Irish Times that “whenever the sun shines it’s a problem” dealing with groups along the canal.

'There’s no overnight solution. We’re going to have to put a strategy in place to address it and redevelop it so there is infrastructure there for people who are social drinking and enjoying the scenery.' 

As much as the city council does need to do more to provide yet more bins, more surveillance and possibly portaloos, it's us, the revellers who need to check ourselves when enjoying the sun. 

Just take a shopping bag with you when you go day drinking, use it as your bin, and then take it home with you when you leave – don't apply that typical 'it'll be grand' attitude to your own rubbish disposal, because clearly it's not 'grand' when it's to the detriment of the people living in the area and the wildlife like swans, ducks, frogs and fish who are there 365 days of the year, not just when it suits them. 

If there's room in the bins, pop your trash in there – yes, it can be frustrating when you go to put your stuff in the bin and it's full. but that's where your take-home shopping bag comes in.

A bag of empty cans isn't the most glam thing to bring on the bus home but you could drop them off at a recycling bank on your way.

As for pissing in the street, can you just not?

'At one stage I could see 40 fellas pissing in the street at one time,' a resident told The Sun. 'People are walking by here holding their nose it is that bad.'

If a local pub allows toilet use for customers, buy a bottle of water, a drink or a snack and use the loo while you're there, at least you're contributing a small amount to a local business and keeping yourself hydrated while you're at it. 

The actual shame of peeing in a stranger's doorway and then them having to scrub it away the next day. Absolutely scarlet if you actually think that that's in any way acceptable. 

Cllr Chris Andrews admitted to The Irish Times that it's a hugely difficult thing to tackle, as when people get locked they lose the run of themselves. 

Local councillors are set to discuss these issues at their next meeting, so until then the fate of the cans and canal tradition hangs in the balance. 

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Let get one thing out of the way – I consider myself a staunch feminist. 

The abortion rights march attending, placard waving, body positivity advocating type of feminist. I even have blue hair if that helps your currently developing impression of me. 

I agree with all of the principles of feminism – it is so necessary to fight to achieve equal rights for both men and women, and there are definitely areas of society that need pruning and re-education do to so.

However, in the vast jungle that is societal issues, I would perceive grid girls to be a rose with thorns rather than a fully fledged venomous tentacula (Harry Potter fans, this reference is for you.)

To me, the removal of grid girls comes from a good place, in that it aims to eliminate the normalisation of objectifying women. 

When a woman is objectified or catcalled, it minimises and depersonalises her to a level that no one should experience – no woman should be seen as a sex object against her will. 

However, if a woman chooses a career path as a grid girl, then who is anyone to say that she cant do that?

The issue with banning grid girls is that the decision is a huge double standard. 

My interpretation of the main principle of feminism is that feminism is an equaliser that gives women the freedom to do what they want to, be that enrolling in a STEM course, choosing to be childless or opting to tackle the difficult and taxing career path that is modelling. 

That freedom, to me, includes the ability to do whatever one pleases with ones own body, be that covering it in tattoos, concealing it with hijab, having  lip fillers, opting for sterilisation, not shaving, or wearing skimpy clothes without being judged. 

I wouldn't stand for anyone judging me for what I wore on any level, and with my experience of associating with fellow feminists, none of them would either.

Yet the ban on grid girls is reflective of a judgement on what these women are seen as based on how they appear – that is, scantily clad and decorative. 

Standing around in two-toned polyester emblazoned with a sponsor's logo is an outdated marketing ploy, but if a women wants to play on her self confidence and gain respectable employment by doing so, then I think that that is completely her business, and no one elses. 

In my opinion, if you support Kim Kardashian's right to free the nipple on Instagram, you should probably consider why you believe that grid girls don't have the same right to financially flourish based on their sexuality. 

 

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Is banning grid girls the first step towards banning women from publicly expressing, and getting paid for, their sexuality entirely?

Will models, promotional workers, strippers, glamour models, porn actresses, Ibiza shot girls, ring girls, playboy bunnies, Instagram models – essentially any woman who is comfortable expressing her sexuality – be the next to go?

Backlash has been mounting against the ban since grid girls themselves have been speaking out against it. 

Many feel that they have faced worst treatment from women claiming to be feminists than they have from the racing community. 

If objectification is the issue, then why not tackle the perpetrator rather than the victim?

Why remove women from something they enjoy doing, something that pays the bills for many of them, rather than attempting to re-educate the enforcers of the objectification? 

If grid girls are such an inherent tradition to Formula 1 fans, then why not remind the audience that the women are there to advertise and entertain, not objectify. 

If that's the case, then I would happily retract the ban on grid girls in favour of replacing it with a scheme which encourages men to refrain from objectifying. 

However, I can appreciate that the existence of grid girls and not 'grid boys' is inherently sexist and completely outdated.

Perhaps modernising the tradition (slight oxymoron there) to include male promotional workers posing on Ferraris and entertaining crowds would help to balance the situation. 

Being a professional grid girl is not the same as any illicit industry that actually exploits women – no one is trafficked or forced against their will to become a flag-waving promotional model. 

At the end of the day, I will always defend a women's right to choose over societal expectations and pressures. 

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When we purchase a share bag of sweets or crisps from the supermarket, more often than not that 'share' instruction is seen as more of a guideline than a rule. 

Admit it, there's very few of us our there who haven't managed to put away a share bag of Doritos or a party bag of chocolates all by ourselves. 

Now, anti-sugar campaign group Action on Sugar want to see the bags banned from supermarkets. 

Food manufacturing magazine The Grocer found in a 2014 study that over one third of teens and young adults.

Honestly, we think a few people might have been fibbing about their propensity for a few extra handfuls of crisps on the weekends, but we shouldn't judge. 

The campaign group want to ban share bags of sweets from promotions in supermarkets. 

'Companies and supermarkets are constantly finding ways to push more sugary products – which are contributing to the high rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay in the UK,' Kawther  Hashem, a researcher at Action on Sugar told The Metro.

'These types of price promotions encourage us to eat far too much sugar and calories and should be banned.'

Well, we're sure UK waist lines will be thanking them if the ban comes through. 

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A sign placed on the window of a public house is currently going viral on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.

The Continental bar, located in New York's East Village, is facing backlash for policing the speech patterns of the public after it banned the word 'literally' from the venue. 

'Sorry but if you say the word 'literally' inside Continental you have 5 minutes to finish your drink and then you must leave,' reads the sign, a photo of which was uploaded to social media by Twitter user Sara Cress. 

'If you actually start a sentence with 'I literally' you must leave immediately!!!'

'This is the most overused, annoying word in the English language and we will not tolerate it.'

'Stop Kardashianism now!' 

According to Urban Dictionary, Kardashianism is described as a lifestyle which is influenced by or modelled off the lives of the Kardashian-Jenner family.

It describes the phenomenon as: 'A chronic condition of extreme self-indulgence, characterised by self-involvement, absence of moral character, histrionic attention-seeking, inappropriate sexual activity, and overly large buttocks.'

So, it seems that the description of Kardashoianism is about as rude as the sign, then. 

Cress also drew attention to the fact that most bars don't have a policy against harassment, never mind turns of phrase. 

The Continental bar has previously come under fire for having an allegedly racist door policy

Since the tweet went viral, the owner of the bar, Trigger Smith, has backtracked on the implementation of the rule. 

'I literally feel sorry for anybody who would take this seriously,' he told Time Out.

However, he told the online publication that he feels the phrase is chronically overused.

'If you watch TV shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians or The Bachelor, every third word they say is ‘literally. It's contagious,' he told Time Out. 

'You even hear newscasters on CNN saying it.'

We'll literally keep speaking exactly how we want to, thanks. 

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If you're baby faced and have a penchant for sipping on energy drinks, you may want to start bringing your I.D to Aldi. 

The bargain retailer has announced that it will sop selling energy drinks to people aged under 16. 

'We are introducing this age restriction in response to growing concern about the consumption of energy drinks among young people,' Finbar McCarthy, Group Buying Director at Aldi Ireland told Breaking News.

The changes will come into place from March 1. 

The decision comes after health campaigners dubbed energy drinks as completely inappropriate fro children thanks to their high sugar and high caffeine content. 

One study, carried out by Action on Sugar, found that many energy drinks had more than the RDA of sugar in one beverage. 

'Sugars are an unnecessary and unhealthy source of calories, and health experts are becoming ever more concerned about the issues associated directly with excessive sugars consumption,' reads a statement on the Action on Sugar homepage. 

'The incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, along with the sometimes serious consequences of those diseases, is rapidly increasing.'

'There is a direct link between consumption of sugars and dental caries as well as a possible link between consuming excess sugars and high cholesterol, high blood pressure, some cancers and non-alcoholic liver disease.'

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Norway has taken a major step to protect animal welfare by banning fur farms.

The country has pledged to eliminate all fur farms by the year 2025.

The country is estimated to have around 300 fur farms currently in operation.

According to PETA, these establishments kill 700,000 minks and 110,000 foxes every year.

Animal rights activists in Norway have been campaigning for a ban for many years.

The final details of the ban have yet to be finalised.

Currently, fur farming is legal in Ireland.

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The use of wild animals for entertainment purposes in Ireland will soon be prohibited under Irish law.

The new regulations, which come into effect from January 2018, were singed signed today by Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

"The use of wild animals for entertainment purposes in circuses can no longer be permitted. This is the general view of the public at large and a position I am happy to endorse," he said.

The decision to delay the legislation until the beginning of the new year was taken so that circus owners would have a chance to provide “alternative arrangements” for the animals in question.

The progressive move comes after a number of local authorities refused to allow public land to be used by circuses featuring wild animals.

And while a number of circus operators have raised concerns, Mr Creed explained that “while the retirement of the small numbers of wild animals in Irish circuses might seem like a loss, [he] is am confident that this move will do more to secure the future of the circus community.”

Adding: “Coming in line with modern welfare standards will mean that greater numbers of the public will be more comfortable with going to the circus.”

The new ban has been praised by animal rights groups across the country with Animal Rights Action Network’s John Carmody saying that today was a “great day.”

“Finally Ireland can raise its head and be proud that the country has finally taken a meaningful and real step to stop the suffering of wild animals forced to travel and perform in Irish circuses. We spent 20 plus years fighting for this day and here it is,” he said.

The Circuses Regulations 2017 comes under the Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013.

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Have you ever realised that you have no wine for the Easter weekend and have to dash to the shop, only to remember that it's Good Friday so you're stranded, wine-less for 24 hours? 

Well, this Easter predicament will soon come to an end. 

The Government is making moves to abolish the 90-year-old ban which prevents Irish stores from selling alcohol on Good Friday.

The Irish Times is reporting that the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is expected not to oppose the bill. 

Unfortunately, the change is likely to come into effect for Good Friday 2018, so we're still banned from buying a beverage this Easter Friday. 

The lift is being welcomed by most Irish folk.

"Finally, no more forcing businesses and citizens to adhere to religious practice against their will," tweeted one. 

"Abolishing the Good Friday ban is such a significant step towards separation of church and state. Brilliant news," said another. 

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