People Who Use Emojis Have More Sex, So Bring On The Aubergine

Wanna bag more dates and have more sex? First, you need to get aquatinted with emojis. 

People who use emojis frequently when messaging potential love interests get more dates, have sex more frequently and secure more second dates than those who do not, new research suggests.  

The study, published in the journal Plos One, looked at emoji use among more than 5,300 single American adults who identify as straight, gay/lesbian or bi. Participants were aged 18–94 years, with a mean age of 42. 

Participants were asked how frequently they you use emojis in messages to a potential date, plus their motivations for using emojis.

Respondents said they think emojis give text messages more personality (53%), they make it easier to express feelings (23.5%), they are faster and easier than writing a full message (19.9%), and because they are trendy/are used by other people (12.5%).

[Read More: The Times’ Emoji Explainer Is Our Favourite Thing Ever]

They were then asked how many first dates they have gone on in the last year, plus how many times that had had sex —as defined by the participant— in the last year.

“Emoji/emoticon use was associated with more first dates and more frequent sexual activity over the last year,” the researchers said. “We demonstrated that people who use emojis more often may be better at forming connections with others.”

As part of the project, a second, smaller study involving 275 single American adults looked at whether emoji use was more or likely to secure someone a second date. Participants were aged 18–71 years, with a mean age of 30. 

Again, emojis seemed to have the desired effect; those who used emojis more often with potential dates reported a greater number of second dates. This second study also confirmed the key findings of the first: using emojis was again associated with more frequent sexual activity over the past year, plus a greater number of sexual partners over the past year.

Unfortunately, the study authors did not look at the specific type of emoji sent, so it’s impossible to know whether a shameless aubergine or a cheeky wink is key to upping your pulling power. The study also didn’t ask people how they feel when they receive an emoji, and of course, they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

It’s unclear why emojis are linked to greater dating success, but the researchers suggest it could be because they are helping us to clearly communicate sexual desire. 

“Emojis appear to be an important aspect of social behaviour in today’s digital world that can be used strategically as affective signals, particularly in the domain of human courtship,” they said. 

So what are you waiting for? 🍆😉🍑🎉

Sudden Infant Deaths Have Halved Since 2004 – And This Could Be Why

Sudden infant deaths, where babies die unexpectedly before their first birthday, have halved since 2004, according to a report from the Office of National Statistics

Records of what used to be called ‘cot death’ began in 2004, when the rate was 0.5 deaths per 1,000 births (i.e. one in 2,000 infants). The 2017 figure is 0.27 per 1,000 births – more like one in 4,000. The total figure for 2017 across England and Wales was 183 deaths.

The drop is thought to be down to parents taking on advice about better sleep practices, as well as fewer parents smoking – which is said to be a “large risk factor”.

The term ‘cot death’ is no longer used, due to the suggestion that it can only happen when a baby is in its cot. The term now used is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. 

There are some risk factors for SIDS that are unavoidable, the researchers noted. Five times more babies born weighing less than 2.5kg died than larger babies (although, it is worth pointing out that even multiplied by five, it still remains a very unlikely occurrence). The unexplained infant mortality rate is also generally higher for younger mothers, they found. 

Responding to the statistics, SIDS charity The Lullaby Trust warned against complacency, emphasising that while this improvement is to be embraced, there is still a way to go. Jenny Ward, CEO, said: “Whilst it is extremely good news that SIDS has gone down in England and Wales, 183 babies’ lives lost is still too many.

“It is vitally important that all parents have access to up-to-date advice. It is essential that all professionals who work with babies and new parents are aware of how to practise safer sleep and able to pass that advice on to parents.”

The charity also expressed concern that “inadequate services” for new parents caused by cuts to local authorities could be partly responsible for the deaths that still occur. “With a fall in the number of health visitors and early years services, we are concerned that not all families are receiving adequate support after the birth of their child,” said Ward.

“We strongly urge local authorities to make adequate funding for staff who provide crucial support and advice to new families a top priority.”

Safe sleep advice for babies:

:: The NHS advises that the safest place for a baby to sleep in the first six months of its life is in a cot in the same room as its parents.

:: Babies should be placed on their backs, with their feet at the bottom of the cot. 

:: Sharing a bed is not recommended, particularly if you have been drinking, are smokers, are obese or simply extraordinarily tired – although, if you do choose to co-sleep, the Lullaby Trust has guidelines on how to do it as safely as possible.

:: Maintaining a room temperature of between 16 and 20 degrees and keeping the cot free from clutter and loose bedding are also advised.

For more information, head to The Lullaby Trust website.

Man Appears In Court Charged With Murder Of Newlywed PC Andrew Harper

A court sketch of Jed Foster, flanked by police officers 

A 20-year-old man appearing in court has denied “any involvement in the horrific murder” of a police officer who died after he was dragged under the wheels of a car. 

Newlywed PC Andrew Harper was responding to reports of a burglary in the Berkshire village of Bradfield, Southend, at 11.30pm on August 15, when he was killed.

The 28-year-old constable died from multiple injuries close to the nearby village of Sulhamstead after being dragged under a vehicle and possibly hit by a police car.

PC Andrew Harper with his wife of 28 days, Lissie

Jed Foster was charged with his murder and appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. He is also charged with the theft of a quad bike from Peter Wallis.

Foster stood in the dock wearing a grey prison-issue tracksuit in front of a packed public gallery to confirm his name, date of birth and address during a hearing which lasted around three minutes.

Foster, of Pingewood, in Burghfield, near Reading was not asked to enter pleas to the charges and District Judge Davinder Lachhar remanded him in custody until Wednesday, when he will appear at Reading Crown Court.

His lawyer, Rob Jacques said: “On behalf of him and his family I want to say three things. He denies any involvement in the horrific murder of PC Harper.

“We urge the police to follow all lines of enquiry and for the public to come forward and co-operate.”

Foster was handcuffed before he left the dock, while there was a heavy police presence at court.

Thames Valley Police arrested 10 men and boys – the youngest aged 13 – on the site of a nearby caravan park within an hour of the incident.

The nine remaining suspects were released on bail until Friday September 13.

Harry Styles’ Rolling Stones Cover Has Got Everyone A Bit Hot And Bothered

Harry Styles may have been out of the spotlight in recent months, but he sure still knows how to get his fans talking. 

The former One Directioner has got everyone a bit hot and bothered with a new Rolling Stone cover. 

The singer is set to appear on the front of the magazine’s September issue, with a preview of the cover released on Monday evening. 

It shows a very smiley Harry topless with his tattoo collection on display, and it’s fair to say the image made his fans very happy indeed…

— Harry Styles Updates. (@TheHSUpdate) August 19, 2019

i have three things to say:
harry styles
rolling stones magazine

— 𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐬 (@thirlwallwasabi) August 19, 2019

Going to sleep thinking about harry styles night night

— Katie Osborne (@katieosbxrne) August 19, 2019

Couldn’t tweet about that Harry Styles cover in a timely manner because I was busy sending it privately to everyone I’ve ever met.

— Sage Young (@sageyoungest) August 20, 2019

Good morning Harry Styles this wasn’t some dream this was real he’s really coming for us

— rosie (@styleshozier) August 20, 2019

Came out of the cinema with lots of thoughts about #OnceUponATimeHollywood but now all I can think of is Harry Styles on the cover of Rolling Stone.

— Rishma Dosani (@Rishma_Dosani) August 19, 2019

One day Harry Styles will stop leaving me speechless. Today is not that day.

— Taylor Banks (@MsTaylorBanks) August 19, 2019

I know i said before that i was ready for hs2 but i don’t think i am to be truly honest. i mean, if it start with a shirtless cover of harry styles for rolling stones mag and then a whole photoshoot of him wearing make up then i’M NOT FUCKING READY

— mary (@barzyhsx) August 19, 2019

Putting that smile, those nipples and a headline including SEX on the same cover…

Holy Harry Styles. How dare @RollingStone!

— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) August 19, 2019

Yea sex is cool but have you ever seen Harry Styles on the September cover of Rolling Stones magazine

— Kelsey | Probabky ia for 2 weeks (@HarrysKiwi_xo) August 19, 2019

Harry Styles + Rolling Stone = new amazing photos and new single and new album and my FCKING DEATH

— ⚓️Larry⚓️ (@_LarryIs_Real) August 19, 2019

Cover lines on the image tease that in the accompanying interview, Harry will be chatting about “sex, psychedelics and the secrets of stardom”, so you can probably expect even more giddy reaction when the magazine hits shelves next month. 

It is the second time Harry has appeared by himself on the front of Rolling Stone, previously featuring on the May 2017 cover around the time his debut solo single, Sign Of The Times, was released. 

He also graced the magazine’s front page as part of One Direction in March 2012.

Harry is expected to release new music in the coming weeks, and was recently spotted filming a video for this forthcoming single. 

The new issue of Rolling Stone is available to buy from 3 September.

Northern Rail Flash Sale Has Train Tickets for 10p and 5p – But You Better Book Fast

Train tickets are very rarely cheap. No matter how far ahead you book in advance, they invariably leave a hole in your bank balance.

So when Northern Rail announced it would be selling tickets from today (19 August) for travel in September at just 10p for adults, and 5p for children (aged between 5 and 15), we welcomed the massive flash sale.

You can buy tickets for journeys across the North, including from Blackpool, Leeds, York, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria for day trips, weekend breaks or just a cheaper commute. 

Is this all too good to be true? We went through the fine print to find the catch. 

Firstly, there are only 80,000 discounted tickets available and given Northern Rail services nearly 15 million people, getting your hands on some may be a struggle. Our best advice is to book your tickets now to avoid disappointment. Literally, now.

Also keep in mind the flash sale only applies for travel between 1-31 September, that any 10p and 5p tickets must be booked in advance and that they cannot be purchased with your railcard, so any extra savings won’t be applied here.

But at these prices, who needs another knock-off? In further good news, up to two children under five can also travel for free. 

Lastly, but not unexpectedly, any tickets bought in the flash sale are non-refundable and return tickets aren’t an option. So if you are making a round trip, you will need to book two separate tickets. 

HuffPost has reached out to Northern Rail to find out how many tickets are left and will update this article accordingly. 

Book your tickets here while supplies last.


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Fears Over British Consulate Worker ‘Detained’ In China

The Foreign Office has said it is concerned over reports that a staff member has been detained in China.

Simon Cheng Man-kit, who works at the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong, is missing after crossing the border for a business trip, according to local media.

The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) said the trade and investment officer at the consulate’s Scottish Development International section had attended a business event in Shenzhen, in south-eastern China, on August 8, but failed to return.

A pedestrian walks past a plaque outside the British Consulate-General building in Hong Kong (file picture)

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are concerned by reports that a member of our team has been detained while returning to Hong Kong from Shenzhen.

“We are providing support to their family and seeking further information from authorities in Guangdong province and Hong Kong.”

The HKFP said that Cheng’s girlfriend had told news outlet HK01 that he had planned to return to Hong Kong on the same day he left.

Cheng is a Hong Kong permanent resident who had studied in Taiwan and the UK and it is not clear whether he held a diplomatic passport or what documents he used to enter China, the HKFP reported.

Gemma Atkinson ‘Loudly And Proudly’ Rocks Post-Baby ‘Curves’ In Latest Instagram Snaps

New mum Gemma Atkinson has shared photos of herself “loudly and proudly” rocking her post-baby body, after being given the go-ahead by the doctor to start exercising again. 

The 34-year-old presenter and former Strictly star, who gave birth to Mia on 4 July at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Greater Manchester, shared the snaps of herself six weeks and four days after her C-section.

“After a section there’s no physical activity or lifting for at least six weeks,” she wrote. “Exercise has been a big part of my life for the last 10 years, so mentally at first I found it tough not being able to move like I wanted.

“Today I’ve been given the go ahead to start gentle exercise. I can do 30 min walks with the pram, glute bridges and my pelvic floor exercises.”

[Read More: Gemma Atkinson Defends Taking 10 Minutes Away From Baby Mia For Coffee]

Atkinson has been following strict advice – 10 weeks postpartum she can start Pilates again, and after 16 weeks she can begin to weight train.

“I want to do it sensibly,” she wrote. “I hope new mums realise they don’t have to be back to their post-baby body so quickly. Growing a human for nine months is a big deal and it’ll take longer than a few weeks to get your body back to how you want it.

“I’m happy I can now start to introduce light training back into my day, but the bigger picture is that even if I couldn’t and I had to wait even longer, it’s ok because I have the most beautiful little healthy girl and the last six weeks at home have been exhaustingly wonderful.”

I hope new mums realise they don’t have to be back to their post-baby body so quickly.

The new mum added that it’s “actually quite nice to rock some curves” and said her partner Gorka, who she met on Strictly Come Dancing, loves them.

While pregnant, Atkinson shared how “proud” she was of her body and how it had changed. “Woman are incredibly strong, the last nine months I’ve learnt that even more so,” she wrote.

“We got this. So to the ladies currently struggling with the changes soldier on. It’ll all be worth it when little man or little lady arrives knowing their mum is a total warrior woman.”

Labour Split As Diane Abbott Confirms She Will Back Remain

Diane Abbott has said she will campaign for remain in a second Brexit referendum, confirming Labour’s shadow cabinet is deeply split on the issue. 

The shadow home secretary told the BBC on Tuesday that she and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor who will also back the UK staying within the bloc, have been “speaking as individuals” in supporting EU membership and not for all of Jeremy Corbyn’s top team.

The Labour leader has not yet said how his party will campaign but during a speech in Corby on Monday, he refused to rule out “Labour Brexit deal” negotiated with the EU by him. 

Abbott, who would also be joined in supporting remain by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, said her boss would take an official position and not “stay on the sidelines”.  

Labour supports a second referendum with remain and a “credible leave option” on the ballot paper. 

During the interview, Corbyn ally Abbott hit out at Boris Johnson’s plan to end freedom of movement on October 31 in the event of no-deal, saying it would “make Windrush look like a blip”. 

But she also unleashed confusion around Labour’s own position on freedom of movement post-Brexit, saying only that immigration from the EU “would fall”. post-Brexit 

Johnson’s plan would “create chaos”, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s going to be very problematic for business, but it’s going to be very difficult for EU nationals.

“There are currently three million here altogether, a million have registered for settled status, there’s no possibility of two million registering between now and the 31st October, and then those EU nationals that were here but haven’t registered for settled status will be in the exact same position as the Windrush people.

“There will be people that came here perfectly legally, but will not have the paperwork to prove that and will have all sorts of problems with employers and the NHS and so on.”

She added: “The way Boris is doing it is heading to a catastrophe (which) will make Windrush look like a minor blip.”

Abbott said Labour would guarantee a “longer and more considered transitional process”. She said Labour’s manifesto stated that when the UK left the single market freedom of movement falls, but said it was “the way that you do it” and that there was a need for a “practical process”.

She added: “The process that Boris is suggesting is not a practical process and will cause harm to people, it will cause harm actually to British nationals in the EU.”

Abbott’s interview came as Stuart Rose, the Marks and Spencer’s boss who led the official Remain campaign in 2016, said he was not in favour of a second poll on the UK’s EU membership.