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News hit yesterday that the iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, the prolific creative director of Chanel and formerly Fendi, had passed away aged 85.

Tributes poured in from celebrities and members of the fashion industry alike, but the question on everyone's lips was; "What will become of his beloved pet cat, Choupette?"

Last year, the eccentric and controversial designer said that his cat would be one of the heirs to his $200 million fortune.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on

A statement from The House of Karl Lagerfeld confirmed his death, having died in a Parisian hospital after being admitted on Monday night, according to French news site Pure People.

While the cause of death is not yet known, French newspaper Le Figaro reported that Lagerfeld had been "weak for many weeks."

He was juggling work as the creative director of Chanel, Fendi and his own brand, Karl Lagerfeld at the time of his death, but last April he told Numéro that he'd had "every test under the sun and they can't find anything wrong,"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on

He went into great detail about what he would want for his funeral, and who would inherit his fortune, which was reported to be around $200 million when he died (€170,000)

"There will be no burial. I'd rather die," Lagerfeld said of his funeral. "I've asked to be cremated and for my ashes to dispersed with those of my mother … and those of Choupette, if she dies before me."

He was asked whether Choupette would inherit his fortune, and he answered; "Among others, yes. Don't worry, there is enough for everyone."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on

He told CNN back in 2013 that: "There is no marriage, yet, for human beings and animals … I never thought I would fall in love like this with a cat."

Choupette had an entire fashion collection dedicated and created for her, called Choupette in Love. Her eyes were even the inspiration for a Chanel haute couture collection, the dazzling blue having enraptured Lagerfeld.

A book titled Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Cat was published in 2014, and she apparently earns $4 million a year after appearing in ad campaigns for Shu Uemura and German car company Vauxhall.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on

Lagerfeld once told Harper's Bazaar that Choupette had two maids, was cared for by his driver, and ate and drank out of dishes made by Goyard, a Parisian luxury goods maker best known for its handbags.

"She has one for water, one for her little croquette, and one for her pâté," he said in 2012, also mentioning that two maids monitored her day, including "two daily brushings." He also told Numéro that Choupette dined with him.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Choupette Lagerfeld (@choupettesdiary) on

"Now she's an adult she dines with me. She sits opposite me and eats what she has to eat. Before she might have attacked any old prawn, but now she will only touch the four different dishes prepared for her on that day, served in fabulous bowls."

No one knows yet who will take care of Choupette now that her dad has passed on, but she's sure to be pampered for the rest of her days.

Feature image: Evening Standard

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A survey carried out by Newstalk has released results stating that half of Irish people would not report rape to the Gardaí if they knew it happened to someone else.

Newstalk’s Women in Ireland Survey shows that while eight out of ten people would report a rape if it was committed against them, when it came to somebody else the reports shifted entirely.

Red C conducted the survey for Newstalk in order to examine sexual violence in the country, and it found that women were significantly less likely to report an incident of rape of someone other than themselves. 

Only four out of ten women said they would report an incident, and six out of ten men, meaning that women are more likely to remain quiet about sexual violence occurring to a friend, acquaintance, family member, or even a stranger.

The survey also found that twice as many women as men have experienced gender discrimination, and three quarters of people would report sexual harassment at work.

The Women in Ireland survey enquired about if participants would report other sexual assault incidences such as groping, indecent exposure, sexual harassment at work or non-consensual touching.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Dublin Rape Crisis (@dublinrapecrisis) on

Apparently, three quarters of people would report indecent exposure or sexual harassment while at work, and two thirds of people would give a statement regarding groping to An Garda Síochána.

Regarding discrimination, twice as many women as men said they have experienced prejudicial treatment with younger people.

Interestingly, people who are living in Dublin are evidently more likely to have experienced gender discrimination in their lives.

Overall, the report shows troubling responses from our country, which has had two major rape trial controversies in the last year alone which have shed light on the worrying ways in which our justice system treats sexual assault victims.

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"The last thing I want is a girl crying leaving my house."- Paddy Jackson

The Belfast Rape Trial led to shockingly large media coverage, emotional social media comment and outraged street protest.

The nine-week trial ended in late March 2018, when the jury of nine men and three women unanimously served not guilty verdicts on all charges to all four men involved.

Ex-Ulster and Ireland rugby players Stuart Olding and Paddy Jackson were found not guilt of rape and sexual assault at a house party in June 2016, leading to an onslaught of widespread criticism of how trials such as these are conducted.

Defendants Blane McIlroy and Rory Harrison were also found not guilty on all charges, with Irish rugby captain Rory Best facing critique for attending the trial itself. The hashtag #notmycaptain trended on Irish Twitter.

Two leading barristers in the case feature in the documentary, Toby Hedworth QC for the Prosecution and Brendan Kelly QC for Paddy Jackson.

Image: Belfast Live

The trial ended on March 28, but has remained in the headlines all-year-round, specifically regarding the #MeToo movement, as well as the recent rape trial in Cork.

Both trials have generated upsetting levels of scandal due to the introduction of female underwear as evidence. The Belfast trial saw the young woman's bloodied thong passed around the courtroom with 100 members of the public.

Las week, #ThisIsNotConsent went viral after the news hit regarding a rape trial in court where her underwear was used as evidence of her apparent consent.

Ruth Coppinger TD produced a thong in the middle of a Dáil debate to make a point about the treatment of witnesses in rape trials.

The Gillen Review Panel in Northern Ireland was published this week, and recommended numerous changes around serious sexual assault trials. 

In the documentary, RTÉ One also spoke to members of the public who attended the Belfast rape trial. 

Fair warning, Documentary On One: Notes From A Belfast Rape Trial is a very difficult listen. Narrated by Emer Horgan and Ronan Kelly, the listener of the documentary is faced with some quite graphic testimony.

That jury decided that they could not say, beyond reasonable doubt, that rape had taken place in Paddy Jackson’s house on that June night in 2016. 

Anyone who feels affected by any issues contained within this documentary, please visit the RTÉ Support page for Helpline information

The first broadcast will be tomorrow, Saturday November 24  2018, on RTÉ Radio 1 at 2pm.

Feature image: JOE.co.uk

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It’s an incredibly frustrating aspect of reality that women and girls face constant public sexual harassment daily.

In Tuesday’s report written by MPs on the women and qualities committee in Britain, the issue has now been labelled “urgent” following a nine-month enquiry on the matter.

The report is insisting that the UK government take immediate and effective action to attempt to create a safer public environment for women.

From exercising in public parks and frequenting nightclubs or bars to simply utilising our city’s public transport, women can almost almost claim to have felt the burden of danger in communal spaces of our communities.

Experiences have more recently been shared of extensive experiences of sexual assault and harassment, and there are more accounts than ever of crimes being committed against women in public.

France has recently introduced a law against street harassment which results in on-the-spot fines for predatory comments and harassment such as sexualised remarks and wolf-whistling, after a woman was viciously attacked by a man for confronting him about his offensive behaviour towards her.

The committee has “heard evidence of widespread problems” of both men and boys “sexually harassing women and even girls on buses and trains, in bars and clubs, in online spaces and at university, in parks and on the street.”

The subject of school uniforms was also mentioned in the report, written by cross-party MPs, testifying that girls in their school attires are pressurised to avoid risky situations which "keeps women and girls unequal".

Street harassment has been described in the document as “relentless and becomes ‘normalised’ as girls grow up, contributing to a wider negative cultural effect on society.”

The committee also sets out seven steps which they aim to take in the report, among them is the proposal to force train and bus operators and publican landlords to take tougher measures towards fighting sexual harassment on their premises.

It also requests a public information campaign which is specifically designed to change attitudes, akin to road safety campaigns and first aid programmes.

The British Home Office also states that they view the epidemic problem as a “key priority,” and are devising an updated “Violence against Women and Girls” strategy and scheme.

Writing on public pavements in chalk has become a new pacifistic method for women to fight back, to feel safe in their own cities.

Regardless of government promises to eliminate such prevalent behaviour entirely by 2030, the Women and Equalities Committee concludes negatively that there is currently "no evidence of any programme to achieve this".

Twitter users especially are expressing anger at how ‘obvious’ the headline is, and that there is not a single mention of men in the article, who are by-in-large the major perpetrators of sexual harassment. 

It remains to be seen whether improvements will take place which will finally allow women and girls to feel safe, but the reaction online to the BBC’s headline has been scathing.

Let's hope governments worldwide bring in sharp ways to tackle this highly concerning problem which is so engrained in our culture that many of us have become completely desensitised to it. Safety is a right, not a privilege.

Have a look at BBC’s 100 Women I know video on Street Harassment here:

The Bristol Zero Tolerance group has also written an informative guide on how to respond to street harassment, which you can read here.

Stay safe, gals.

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An audit has revealed how 12 women may have died as a result of cervical smear testing errors, RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland reports.

It also showed that half of the 206 women affected by the inaccuracies were not told that they may have a delayed diagnosis. 

The report comes after Vicky Phelan's incorrect cancer result highlighted failings in the CervicalCheck programme. 

Her case came to light after the 43-year-old mother-of-two was awarded €2.5m by the High Court. The HSE had sought a confidentiality clause with Ms Phelan as part of the settlement, which she refused. 

Speaking on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ 1 over the weekend, Vicky revealed how Health Minister Simon Harris had called her to personally apologise for what had happened. 

"As soon as I heard the voice I knew who it was and he said 'hi Vicky, it is Simon Harris here'," Ms Phelan explained.

"'I just wanted to call you personally to apologise for what has happened to you but he also wanted to thank me for still encouraging women to go for smears and for promoting the Cervical screening programme' he said."

Meanwhile, pharmacist and Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell says she "would not be surprised" if more women died as as result of the scandal. 

"Five year undetected pre-cancerous cells, you're looking at 30-40% of the women not surviving," she said

"So if cervical cancer is not detected the outcomes are very bad. I expect that number to grow, quite frankly, I do expect it to be definitely double digits."

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A new report has today said that the construction of new apartments is not viable.

The development of affordable apartment living structures is more expensive to build than free standing houses.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors analysed the cost of building, and found that apartments will not be the answer to the housing crisis. 

Low rise apartments in the Dublin suburbs start from €293,000 to build.

'Height in terms of very high rise or tall buildings isn't really the solution, the higher that you build, the more expensive it costs,' Paul Mitchell, one of the authors of the report said. 

'Buildings become less efficient and you have to spend a lot more money on structure.'

This is due to the fact that high rise apartments 'have a more complex structure and require a wider range of mechanical and electrical services, sophisticated facades, basement parking and much more,' reads the report. 

However, according to the report one category of apartment building – low rise in the suburbs – could be commercially viable to build, and would be affordable to average earners. 

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