Facebook admits it made an 'error' after blocking DIY mask posts

Facebook admits it made an ‘error’ after algorithm threatens to ban users who post content showing people how to make their own masks

  • Facebook says an ‘error’ in its algorithm banned innocent content on masks
  • Groups have reported being threatened with a ban and having posts removed
  • The algorithm was designed to prevent users from profiting off of coronavirus

An algorithm designed to help weed out misinformation about coronavirus has been inadvertently hampering some Facebook users from disseminating content on homemade medical masks.

According to a report from the New York Times, Facebook says that an ‘error’ with its algorithm has been blocking content on how to make hand-sewn masks and threatening to ban the users who post it, including groups in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California.

Some of those groups, including one called Sew Face Masks Philadelphia, had thousands of followers and had its moderators threatened with a ban if content on masks continued.

A self-described ‘error’ in Facebook’s moderation algorithm has been banning content relating to protective masks from appearing on its platform according to a new report. Pictured: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

‘The automated systems we set up to prevent the sale of medical masks needed by health workers have inadvertently blocked some efforts to donate supplies,’ Facebook said in a statement to the New York Times. 

‘We apologize for this error and are working to update our systems to avoid mistakes like this going forward. We don’t want to put obstacles in the way of people doing a good thing.’

The so-called error comes as Facebook ramps up efforts to prevent users from profiting off of a protective and sanitizing products sold on the site, in particular medical masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.   

On Facebook and other major platforms like Amazon, some sellers have used  the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in their efforts to price-gouge items, selling them for multiples beyond their average price.

According to moderators of some of the groups interviewed by the New York Times, mixed messaging on masks may have contributed to Facebook’s aggressive policy in removing content pertaining to DIY masks and other equipment. 

A new guidance from the CDC says that all Americans should be wearing masks when they enter public (stock)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just recently reversed its stance on wearing masks after telling the US public not to buy personal protective gear.

A new advisory last week not recommends that people across the country wear masks when they go into public.

‘We support Facebook in their efforts in removing unethical sales” from their platform,’ Nicole Jochym, a student at Cooper Medical School of Rowan who was affected by the ban told the New York Times. 

‘But we are hoping that they can update their procedures to protect community organizations such as ours.’

DO FACE MASKS MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR IF YOU CAN’T GET ONE?

Americans are increasingly being spotted wearing face masks in public amid the coronavirus pandemic, as are people are around the globe.

Soon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may advise all Americans to cover their faces when they leave the house, the Washington Post reported.  

The agency is weighing that recommendation after initially telling Americans that they didn’t need to wear masks and that anything other than a high-grade N95 medical mask would do little to prevent infection any way. 

FACE MASKS DO HELP PREVENT INFECTION – BUT THEY’RE NOT ALL CREATED EQUAL 

Research on how well various types of masks and face coverings varies but, recently, and in light of the pandemic of COVID-19, experts are increasingly leaning toward the notion that something is better than nothing. 

A University of Oxford study published on March 30 concluded that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other health care workers. 

It’s too early for their to be reliable data on how well they prevent infection with COVID-19, but the study found the thinner, cheaper masks do work in flu outbreaks. 

The difference between surgical or face masks and N95 masks lies in the size of particles that can – and more importantly, can’t – get though the materials. 

N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, fit more loosely, and more porous. 

This makes surgical masks much more comfortable to breathe and work in, but less effective at stopping small particles from entering your mouth and nose. 

Droplets of saliva and mucous from coughs and sneezes are very small, and viral particles themselves are particularly tiny – in fact, they’re about 20-times smaller than bacteria. 

For this reason, a JAMA study published this month still contended that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, because there is not proof the gear will protect them from infection – although they may keep people who are coughing and sneezing from infecting others. 

But the Oxford analysis of past studies – which has not yet been peer reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing and didn’t provide statistically less protection than N95 for health care workers around flu patients. 

However, any face mask is only as good as other health and hygiene practices. Experts universally agree that there’s simply no replacement for thorough, frequent hand-washing for preventing disease transmission. 

Some think the masks may also help to ‘train’ people not to touch their faces, while others argue that the unfamiliar garment will just make people do it more, actually raising infection risks.  

If the CDC does instruct Americans to wear masks, it could create a second issue: Hospitals already face shortages of masks and other PPE.

WHAT TO USE TO COVER YOUR FACE IF YOU DON’T HAVE A MASK 

So the agency may recommend regular citizens use alternatives like cloth masks or bandanas. 

‘Homemade masks theoretically could offer some protection if the materials and fit were optimized, but this is uncertain,’ Dr Jeffrey Duchin, a Seattle health official told the Washington Post. 

A 2013 study found that next to a surgical mask, a vacuum cleaner bag provided the best material for a homemade mask. 

After a vacuum bag, kitchen towels were fairly protective, but uncomfortable. Masks made of T-shirts were very tolerable, but only worked a third as well as surgical mask. The Cambridge University researchers concluded that homemade masks should only be used ‘as a last resort.’ 

But as the pandemic has spread to more than 164,000 people worldwide, it might be time to consider last resort options.  

 

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Diarrhea, Another Unwelcome Symptom of COVID-19

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a slippery customer. The trio of characteristic symptoms is supposed to be cough, fever, and trouble breathing. But clinicians are learning that in a subset of patients with COVID-19, gastrointestinal issues can be the first—and sometimes only—symptom. (In another subset, loss of smell and taste is.)

As early as January, patients in China were showing up at clinics with diarrhea and testing positive for COVID-19. One epidemiological study of 206 patients in China found that 48 of them had no other symptoms but gut issues. In that study, patients with digestive symptoms had a “low severity of disease,” the authors say, but they took longer to clear the virus, especially from the stool.

True to its reputation for unpredictability, in another study—also chronicling patients in China—COVID-19 with gut symptoms was linked to worse findings. These researchers concluded that patients with digestive symptoms showed more evidence of liver and blood clotting problems than those who did not.

What the two studies had in common was that about a third of the patients had some kind of gastrointestinal symptom, usually diarrhea. Nausea and vomiting were more rare.

The same pattern is turning up outside of China, including in Europe (a third of patients, again), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea to its online coronavirus self-checker.

When should you worry about your diarrhea?

The CDC defines diarrhea as 3 or more loose stool events in 24 hours, or a rate of these events that’s unusual for you. If you experience this, in the current climate, you might want to consider isolating yourself as you would if you developed a more common COVID-19 symptom.

The time to call your doctor is if you have blood in your stool, says Peter Chin-Hong, M.D., professor of medicine and an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. “That would be a red flag,” he says, as would having five or more bowel movements a day. If that happens, “you should probably contact somebody,” he says.

What can you take for diarrhea right now?

Not much in the way of pills. “We know of nothing that can alter the course of the disease,” says Tim Lahey, M.D., an infectious disease doctor and ethicist at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Furthermore, sometimes, GI symptoms can be the result of anxiety about COVID-19 giving you diarrhea, he says.

Dr. Chin-Hong says that if you develop diarrhea, you’ll want to avoid nonspicy foods and take clear liquids, “all the usual things around diarrhea,” he says. Nausea is more rare in his experience, he says, representing probably less than 10 percent of cases.

One concern with diarrhea, especially if you have fever, too, is losing too many electrolytes. Replacement options include Pedialyte, Gatorade, or other electrolyte-replacing beverages.

The thing you want to try to avoid, says Dr. Chin-Hong, is reaching for the Imodium. If your diarrhea is bothersome in its frequency or you’re seeing blood in your stool, “you should probably contact somebody before you try to suppress it” with drugs, he says. With diarrhea, often what’s in there needs to get out.

How long will it last?

The reports from China describe diarrhea as lasting from 1 to 14 days, with an average of 5.4 days. The average frequency of loose stools was 4.3 a day.

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Charli XCX Announces 'DIY' Quarantine Album 'How I'm Feeling Now'

Charli XCX is keeping herself busy this quarantine by recording a whole new album — and she needs your help.

The British pop star announced in a video on Monday that she’ll be releasing the LP, with the working title: How I’m Feeling Now, on May 15th, and that she’ll be making the entire process collaborative with her fans.

“For me, staying positive goes hand-in-hand with being creative, and so that’s why I’ve decided that I’m going to use this isolation time to make a brand new album from scratch,” she said. “The nature of this album is gonna be very indicative of the times, just because I’m only gonna be able to use the tools that I have at my fingertips to create all music, all artwork, all videos, everything. In that sense, it’ll be very DIY.”

She continued, “I’ll also be reaching out to people online to collaborate with. And I’m going to keep the entire process super open so that anybody who wants to watch can. I’ll be posting demos, I’ll be posting a cappellas, text conversations with any collaborators. I’ll be filming myself in the studio, I’ll be doing Zoom conferences to ask fans or anyone watching for opinions or ideas. I’m going to set up an email address so that fans or anyone can send me beats or references.”

So far, Charli has spent quarantine hosting a daily Instagram Live series where she chats with other artists, including Orville Peck and Rina Sawayama. Her last album, Charli, was released in 2019.

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Radomir Antic: Ex-Barcelona, Atletico Madrid & Real Madrid boss dies, aged 71

Luton Town legend Radomir Antic, who went on to manage Spanish giants Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, has died at the age of 71.

Antic spent four years with Luton, famously scoring the goal that kept the Hatters in the top flight at the expense of Manchester City in 1983.

Antic’s biggest successes in management came at Atletico, with whom he won La Liga and the Copa del Rey in 1996.

The former Yugoslavia defender also had a spell in charge of Serbia.

“We are devastated to learn of the passing of Town legend Radomir Antic,” Luton posted on social media. “A true Hatters hero, for promotion and preventing relegation.”

When he was appointed Barcelona boss in 2003, Antic become only the second man to coach both Real and Barca.

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Mauro Icardi has ‘contract terminated with immediate effect’ after wife Wanda Nara reveals PSG loanee wants Italy return – The Sun

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN have already TERMINATED Mauro Icardi's loan deal after comments made by his wife and agent Wanda Nara, according to reports.

Controversial Wanda angered PSG chiefs after informing the club that the striker wants a return to Italy when the campaign finally ends.


Icardi, 27, has been in blistering form since moving to the French capital from Inter Milan on a temporary deal.

The striker, who fell out with Inter boss Antonio Conte, has scored 17 goals in 26 appearances in Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season.

But his time in France is set to end on a sour note according to Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport.

It will leave his future shrouded in doubt when he does eventually return to the San Siro.

Despite formerly captaining the side with a terrific goal record, Inter fans were happy to see the back of him after a turbulent spell last season.

Wanda had been vocal in responding to criticism of her husband which eventually led to the club stripping him of the captaincy.

Icardi was furious and refused to travel with the squad for a Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna before isolating himself from team-mates.

He later attempted to sue the club for £1.4million after they banned him from training to further push him out of the club.

Icardi also had a spat with Inter's ultras after releasing his autobiography.


The striker claimed he threatened a Nerazzurri Ultras group with “100 criminals from Argentina” after a skirmish in 2015.

Inter fans held banners calling Icardi “a piece of vile s***” before a clash against Cagliari — and applauded when he missed a penalty.

Chelsea, who are in the market for a new striker, are likely to pay close attention to his availability after previously being linked with him.

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Things you should never buy at a pawn shop

There was a time not so long ago when pawn shops were seen as being shady, scary places where no one would ever go unless they were truly desperate. Then along came reality TV, which gave birth to Pawn Stars, and now everybody thinks pawn shops are all staffed by jovial guys who are quick with a quip, if somewhat stingy with a buck.

The truth is, pawn shops are just another business. They buy used stuff, they sell used stuff. Kind of like consignment stores, only just a little bit different in that when you pawn something, you’re not actually selling it outright. Instead, the cash you receive in return is technically a loan, and the item you pawn is collateral. Should you repay the loan (plus interest) within a specified time frame, you get your item back. If you cannot (or don’t want to) repay and recoup the item, then after the set time has elapsed, it belongs to the pawn shop. They, in turn, re-sell that item for a profit.

If you come into a pawn shop as a seller (or pawner), then no, you’re probably not going to get the best deal in the world. This, at least, Pawn Stars does not lie about, although their customers’ disappointment is most likely scripted. If you come in to buy, well, you may get a bargain, but there are some items you’re better off avoiding.

Electronics are always a risk at pawn shops

Money Management lists electronics among the top five things you should never buy at a pawn shop. In fact, four out of its top five picks are all electronics if you count cell phones. These, along with DVD and Blu-ray players, video game systems, and computers are all don’t buys, because in many cases, all the pawn shop will do is to verify that these will power up. Should the electronics have any other hidden issues, it’s buyer beware — as Money Management points out about gaming consoles, even new and unused ones can be buggy or defective, and this also applies to laptops, tablets, cell phones, TV sets… in fact, just about any type of electronic device you can think of. If you buy these items new or even refurbished, they come with a warranty, but if you buy them from a pawn shop, you’re just out of luck.

Truemors also raises another issue regarding computers: These tend to require some type of registration upon first use which can subsequently be employed as a form of theft protection. If you should unwittingly happen to purchase an item that has been stolen and its true owner later reports the theft, there’s a risk that this device could then be blocked.

Pawn shop vacuum cleaners can be gross

Money Crashers also lists electronic devices as three out of its four items they recommend you never purchase from a pawn shop, but the fourth item on their list is something you may not have considered: vacuum cleaners. It seems vacuum pawning is really a thing, which makes sense if you consider just how pricey some of the higher-end ones can be. No matter how low the price on a pawn shop vacuum cleaner, however, it’s really not the safest (or healthiest) of purchases. As one of the members of the Friends Don’t Let Friends Pay Full forum remarked, “You’d never know what they tried to get up through that thing.” Eww, now we’re imagining all kinds of nasty stuff all up in that bag… yuck.

Even if you don’t end up buying Jeffrey Dahmer’s old Hoover, however, there’s still a danger of introducing somebody else’s germs and allergens into your house. Not to mention the fact that a vacuum cleaner, like any other type of secondhand appliance, could have hidden defects that might not become apparent until you take it home and try to use it.

Pawn shop jewelry could be junk

Jewelry is one item that you’re likely to find in just about any pawn shop you visit, and the display cases will probably include quite a selection of no longer needed engagement and wedding rings. It’s definitely not a good idea to buy any of these — talk about kicking off your union with some seriously bad karma!

Jewelry, on the whole, can be a risky pawn shop purchase. A lot of cheap knock-offs and outright fakes may be sold — and priced — as if they were the real deal, and you’ll be stuck with expensive junk you can’t return. Brad’s Deals warns that you’ll need to be skilled at jewelry appraisal in order to be sure of getting a pawn shop bargain, and jewelry — in case you were wondering — was the one non-electronic item on Money Management‘s list of top five pawn shop items to avoid.

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90 Day Fiance’s Big Ed Responds to Backlash Over Him Asking Rose to Shave

90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days star Ed “Big Ed” Brown raised eyebrows when he asked Rosemarie “Rose” Vega to shave her legs during the Sunday, April 5, episode, but he insists he didn’t mean any harm.

“I woke up last Sunday morning and it wasn’t a good morning because all of the haters came out,” Ed, 54, told Us Weekly exclusively on Friday, April 3. “I had asked Rose if she would shave her legs, and people were really upset about that. And I was having a conversation with my daughter Tiffany, and she’s like, ‘Dad, look, that’s completely normal. I live in San Diego. Everybody goes to the beach, people laser their legs.’ … So it wasn’t something that I was really used to.”

The San Diego resident also came under fire for asking Rose, 23, to take an STD test, causing their relationship to take a turn for the worse. Since then, he grown closer with his daughter and leaned on her for support.

“She wasn’t judging me. She was like, ‘Dad, hindsight’s 2020. If you would have gotten the test before you left the U.S., when you got there, you would have asked Rose, ‘Hey, I want you to take this STD test,’ because I did, then I showed her what I did,” he told Us. “That would have been, I think, more of the appropriate thing to do. I obviously didn’t handle that very well.”

Ed confirmed that he took an STD test “immediately” after returning to the States and it came back “clean.”

“My daughter gave me the best advice possible, but because I wasn’t talking to her at the time, I wasn’t able to get that feedback from her,” he told Us. “So I wish I would have handled that a lot differently. But we made up, so it’s all good.”

After meeting online, Ed took a 23-hour flight to the Philippines to see Rose in person for the first time.

“The first kiss was very quick. It wasn’t anything too crazy,” he told Us on Friday. “But as we got to know each other, it got a lot better.”

These days, the couple are “definitely in love,” according to Ed. “We’re both very happy,” he told Us.

90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days airs on TLC Sundays at 8 p.m. ET.

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!

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Coronavirus symptoms: Man reveals skin-related first symptom

COVID-19 has confounded expectations since it first broke out in Wuhan, China in December. Few could have predicted it would force the world to shut up shop, grounding whole economies and upending daily lives. Another area that has proven unpredictable is symptoms.

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  • Coronavirus patient issues terrifying warning about symptoms

The number of new cases in the UK continues to jump daily and this is providing a stream of information on how the virus impacts the body.

According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever, tiredness, and a dry cough.

Increasingly, however, patients are reporting symptoms that fall outside of these categories.

One patient described an unusual warning sign that preceded the usual warning signs.

READ MORE: Coronavirus symptoms: Is a sore throat a symptom of COVID-19?

Speaking to WalesOnline, Scott Dixon, 49, said: “My experience of COVID-19 started with a strange itch on my wrist two weeks ago.

“I didn’t think anything of it and then I slowly began to develop flu-like symptoms.”

Mr Dixon said his flu-like symptoms were accompanied with “excruciating” headaches.

Mr Dixon added that he lost his taste and smell, another atypical symptom.

Has anyone else reported skin-related symptoms? While Mr Dixon appears to be the only reported case of itchy skin, Toni Rhodes, a mother seven week-old baby who tested positive for COVID-19, revealed her child had “mottled skin” on Facebook.

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Coronavirus symptoms: The two signs in your nose you could be at risk [INSIGHT]

What should I do if I notice symptoms?

According to the NHS, you must not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

This policy, known as self-isolation, is designed to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19 to others.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

  • Not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least two metres (three steps) away from other people
  • Not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home
  • Not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

How long should I self-isolate for?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to self-isolate for seven days, according to current health advice.

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  • Coronavirus symptoms: Blue vomit symptom

After seven days:

  • If you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
  • If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal

As the NHS explains, you do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after seven days.

“A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone,” it adds.

What do I do if someone I live with shows symptoms?

According to UK government advice, if you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started.

This is based on the scientific understanding that it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If more than one person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

“If you get symptoms, self-isolate for seven days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you’re self-isolating for longer than 14 days,” says the NHS.

It adds: “If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.”

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Grieving mother is racked with guilt after her son's death

Distraught mother says she blames herself for her son’s suicide after he was bullied at school over a BBC documentary about her alcoholism and secretly plunged into his own booze battle

  • Jane, 60, from Lancashire, is grieving the death of her son Lee Mulligan, 34 
  • They appeared together in a BBC documentary about her battle with booze
  • Lee secretly turned to alcohol to cope with being bullied after taking part 
  • Coroner’s believe he died of suicide, after struggling to overcome addictions  

A distraught mother has told how she blames herself after her only son was found hanging in front of her house.

Tragic Lee Mulligan had been in good spirits celebrating mum, Jane’s 60th birthday just hours before being found hanging in her garden.

Troubled Lee, 34, had been struggling to cope with gambling and alcohol addictions.

His grief-stricken mother, Jane, 60, is racked with guilt over his death after appearing with Lee in a hard-hitting BBC documentary about her own battle with booze, which she conquered over 20 years ago.

Jane, 60, from Lancashire, has revealed that she’s battling guilt following the death of her son Lee Mulligan, 34. Pictured: Jane with Lee

Lee was secretly bullied and turned to alcohol to cope, after appearing in a BBC documentary about his mother’s battle with booze at age 13. Pictured: Lee in the hard-hitting film

She had believed the documentary was a positive experience for their whole family – but Lee had been bullied afterwards and secretly turned to alcohol himself, to cope with his turmoil.

Jane says: ‘I had always thought appearing on national TV was the best thing that ever happened to us.

‘But I found out years later that the show emotionally scarred my son and he was bullied at school because of it.

‘I went on the show to try to help and to heal our family – but it led to my son’s death. I will never forgive myself.’

Lee was Jane’s only child and as a child was full of full and energy and was always on the go. She and Lee’s dad, Terry, divorced when Lee was nine, but remained close.

In 1998, when Lee was 13, Jane took part in a BBC documentary called: ‘Drinking for England.’

Jane, from Lancashire, says: ‘I had a drink problem and wanted to get help. Lee was keen to take part in the programme too. I thought the documentary was a positive experience for us both.

‘Afterwards, I was completely sober. I thought it was a turning point; I thought it had saved me.’

Lee, 34, (pictured) seemed to be doing well from the outside. He had a partner and children, and was running a successful online business 

The film followed Jane as she bravely battled with her demons. It shows an emotional interview with her and 13-year-old Lee. She never touched a drop of alcohol after the film.

But unbeknown to Jane, Lee was bullied after the film and struggled to make friends at high school. But he kept all his problems to himself.

To the outside world, his life seemed to be going well; he had a partner and children, and ran a successful business selling football products online.

In 2017, his relationship broke down and, distraught, Lee confided in his mother for the first time.

Lee confided in his mother that he was drinking too much, after the breakdown of his relationship in 2017. Pictured: Jane with Lee as a baby

Jane says: ‘Lee broke down and told me he was drinking too much. I was so shocked. He had always been so anti-booze after my problems, and I could not believe it had happened to him too.

‘He described himself as functioning alcoholic and from the outside looking in, her was fine. He had a nice life.

‘But it unravelled very quickly and he lost his girlfriend, his children, and his business.’

Lee completed a detox in 2018 and went back to live with his mum. During the detox, he decided to write his life story – in which he confessed that the documentary had ruined his childhood.


Jane was devastated when Lee revealed how his life had fallen apart after they took part in the documentary. Pictured: Jane and Lee in the BBC film

Lee became addicted to gambling in his efforts to fund his alcohol addiction and stole money from his mother. Pictured: Lee with Jane 

‘Lee confessed that his life had fallen apart after the documentary; he had been teased at school and he had struggled with the notoriety it brought.

‘I was devastated. I had thought the film had saved our family – but it had ruined Lee. I told him I’d support him all the way and we’d get him better.

Jane says: ‘He became more and more depressed and said he couldn’t live without his children. He had written his life story whilst in rehab and told me how the other kids laughed at him at school, saying his mum was a drunk. It broke my heart.’

Lee also became addicted to gambling, to try to fund his alcohol addiction. He stole money from Jane, but she was determined to support him.

Lee was found hanged in Jane’s front garden, just hours after he attended her 60th birthday meal in December last year. Pictured: Lee as a school boy

In December last year, Jane celebrated her 60th birthday. Lee had seemed in good spirits and they went out for a meal, but hours later, was found hanged in Jane’s front garden, by an off-duty policeman.

At the time, she was on the phone to her bank, investigating withdrawals on her card, made by Lee without her consent.

An inquest at Burnley Magistrates Court last month heard Lee had suffered with drink and gambling problems for some time but was using the withdrawal drug, Librium, to wean himself off alcohol.

In 2018, he sought help by going to rehab for three months, and came out a completely different person, a lot better in himself and determined to win his battles, it was heard.

Lee spent three months in rehab in 2018 and was determined to win his battle, it was heard at an inquest at Burnley Magistrates Court last month. Pictured: Lee as a child with Jane

Jane (pictured) said she will carry the weight of Lee’ death forever, he was her only child and she adored him

However, not long after being discharged, his partner informed him she no longer wanted to be with him.

The inquest heard he would often use his mother’s bank card in order to gamble online, the final time being the night before his body was found outside her house.

Jane told the inquest: ‘When he realised, he’d emptied my bank account that must’ve been the last straw.

‘One day about a year ago he said to me ‘mum, I don’t belong here, please give me your blessing, let me go’.

‘I told him I couldn’t do that, and he said ‘OK, I will stay just for you, but just for you’.’

Coroner Richard Taylor told the hearing that Mr Mulligan had trouble ridding himself of his addictions and recorded a verdict of suicide.

Jane says: ‘He was my only child and I adored him. I will carry the weight of his death with me forever.’

Coroner Richard Taylor told the hearing that Lee (pictured) had trouble ridding himself of his addictions, determining his death a suicide

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How does coronavirus affect annual leave and can I carry over holiday?

EMPLOYEES might not be able to travel abroad at the moment due to coronavirus, but what does this mean for your annual holiday allowance from work?

Some Brits might be wondering if they can carry their annual holiday allowance into next year, given they can't go away right now.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

How much holiday am I entitled to?

The amount of holiday you get each year will depend on the type of contract you're on.

In the UK, full-time workers and employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 days' paid holiday a year.

This is equivalent to 5.6 weeks, and this can include bank holidays.

Zero hour and agency workers have the same entitlement to paid holiday, based on the average hours they have worked.

Part time members of staff get get paid holiday too, but it will be the number of days worked a week multiplied by 5.6.

Self-employed workers don't usually get paid annual leave.

Holiday pay – what happens if you can't take holiday

HERE'S what options you have if you're unable to take holiday.

    When can your boss deny your holiday request?

    As a general rule you need to give your boss a notice period of twice the amount of time you are taking for your holiday.
    For example if you request five days of holiday you have to provide a minimum of ten days’ notice.
    Your boss can force you to take holiday at certain times of year like Christmas and New Year or bank holidays when your workplace may be closed.
    Companies can also set limits on how many days in a row you can take off to stop just taking a whole month off at once.

    My boss won't let me take any of the dates off that I have suggested

    See how much time off the people you work with have taken off as well as how far in advance they let their boss know they were going to take time off.

    See if they got similar treatment or if you are being unfairly treated.
    You have a statutory right to your holiday and if you feel that is being infringed upon you can go to court.

    Before you make a claim you need to talk to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).
    They will try one last time to reconcile the issue, and if that fails they will give you guidance on how to make an employment tribunal claim

    How do I calculate my holiday entitlement? 

    You can use this tool to calculate your holiday entitlement depending on your work status.

    Can I carry my holiday allowance into next year because of coronavirus?

    You may be able to carry over any unused holiday days, but the decision will ultimately be down to your employer.

    The government has just introduced a temporary new law allowing workers to carry over up to four weeks’ paid holiday over a two-year period.

    This has been designed for staff who've been affected by coronavirus – for example, those who've had to self-isolate or key workers who've had to cancel holiday so they can keep working.

    But again, it'll be up to your employer to allow you to do this – they don't have to let you carry holiday over.

    If you're worried about using all your holiday, it's worth discussing your options with your boss.

    Despite coronavirus, workers should still try and take holiday days as normal if they can.

    Tom Neil, senior adviser at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), said: "During the coronavirus outbreak, it may not be possible for staff to take all their holiday entitlement during the current holiday year.

    "In most situations, employees and workers should use their paid holiday in their current leave year.

    "This is important because taking holiday helps people get enough rest and keep physically and mentally healthy."

    What about if I've been furloughed?

    If you've been furloughed, Acas says holiday can be taken as usual but again, this will be up to your employer to approve any time off.

    We've asked Acas if furloughed workers are covered by the new two-year holiday carry over law and we'll update this article when we know more.

    Can my employer tell me when to take holiday?

    Technically yes, your boss usually has the right to tell you when to take holiday – the rules haven't changed in light of coronavirus.

    If your boss wants you to take holiday, they must give you at least twice as many days notice as the amount of days they want you to take off.

    For example, if they want you to use five days' worth of your holiday allowance, they should give you ten days' notice.

    Your boss can also cancel pre-booked paid holiday.

    If they decide to do this, they must give staff at least the same number of days’ notice as the original holiday request.

    So if you have a five days off booked, your employer must give you five days' notice to cancel these plans.

    We've rounded up what help is available if you're struggling to pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus crisis.

    What is statutory sick pay and how much will you get due to coronavirus?

    Here are your financial rights if you or your family get coronavirus and cannot work.


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