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Social media awash with scorn for 'sloping toilet' – BBC News



A toilet designed to slope downwards slightly, making it uncomfortable to sit on for more than a few minutes, has been pooh-poohed on social media.

The toilet design has an upper surface that slopes downwards at a 13-degree angle.

However, the concept – for which a patent application has been filed in the UK – has faced scorn from some.

The BBC spoke to the Mahabir Gill, the designer behind the toilet, which has been branded “StandardToilet”.

“It came from my personal experience where I stopped off at the motorway to go to the loo and realised there’s a huge queue,” he explained.

“I wondered what people were doing in there, some were coming out with their mobile phones.”

Mr Gill said a prototype of the toilet has been built and he has tested it himself.

He added that the optimum angle is between 11 degrees, where staying seated for more than 15 minutes remains comfortable, and 13 degrees, where “five to seven” minutes is the maximum.

The idea has been met with withering humour online.

Some have joked that they will attempt to “defeat” the slanted bowl with apparatus placed on top of it to make the seat level again.

One Twitter user joked that it might be possible to alleviate the effects of the toilet by sitting on it backwards.

“If it is real I think it’s a perfect representation of the disdain capitalism has for workers and for human beings,” Hilary Gardiner, who uses Twitter username @plume__, told the BBC.

A website with information about the toilet has been published.

“Current toilet seats provide a horizontal seating surface,” the website says. “This enables a user to sit relatively comfortably on the toilet.

“As a result, a user may spend longer than necessary sitting on the toilet without short-term discomfort. Sitting on a toilet for longer than is necessary is generally undesirable.”

The sloping design could save industry billions in wasted hours, StandardToilet claims.

Social media users also questioned whether the toilet would present genuine difficulties for people with back and knee problems, or bowel conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease.

However, Raymond Martin, managing director of the British Toilet Association sought to defend the design, describing the online backlash as “a bit of a knee-jerk reaction”.

“There are certain places where this time limit will be useful,” he told the BBC.

“The slightly sloping front makes for a slightly different angle of attack.”

One Twitter user well-versed in the history of toilets pointed out that a sloping loo has been designed before – 108 years ago, by bathroom fittings firm Twyfords.

“Twyfords tried it over a century ago, but it didn’t catch on,” Terry Woolliscroft told the BBC.

Mr Woolliscroft has a blog where he documents various exotic toilet designs published by Twyfords.

He says he is sceptical that the StandardToilet concept will have much appeal.

He also questions whether wasting time on the toilet can really be tied directly to the advent of social media:

“If social media and mobiles didn’t exist, then people would still spend time in the loo, probably reading the newspaper.”

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Biden inauguration: Global media consider 'colossal challenge' – BBC News



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.css-evoj7m-Imagedisplay:block;width:100%;height:auto;A selection of newspapers from around the world

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.css-14iz86j-BoldTextfont-weight:bold;As Joe Biden prepares to move into the White House, countries around the world have been setting out their hopes – and reservations – about what the new administration will bring.

While much of the Russian media focused on the “unprecedented security measures” in the US capital, some outlets are trying to predict what Biden’s presidency holds for Russian-US relations. 

“Overall, ahead of Joe Biden taking office, anti-Russian rhetoric in the US has significantly increased,” observes news channel Rossiya 24.

“The future administration already intends to introduce tougher sanctions against Moscow,” it says.

Pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia notes that “the prospects for Russian-US relations under the new US leader do not encourage optimism so far.” 

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‘Cast out the time bombs’

China’s state-run media have called for Biden to reverse the “Cold War” policies of Donald Trump, while directing much of their ire at outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Under the headline “New US administration should view Pompeo as a lunatic”, the Global Times expresses the hope that the Biden team is “determined enough to cast out all the time bombs set by Pompeo”. 

Biden faces a host of domestic issues that need his immediate attention, but Washington’s allies will be eager to see how he addresses Iran’s rapidly accelerating nuclear programme.

Trump imposed a slew of sanctions against Iran since he withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. 

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has instructed the government to “pursue” the lifting of sanctions but said that its priority should be to “neutralise” them.

Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani hasn’t minced his words on Trump’s departure, describing the outgoing president as a “stupid terrorist”. 

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  • What happens at the inauguration?

Much of the media focus in Lebanon – where Iran wields considerable power via its militant ally Hezbollah – has been dedicated to US-Iran relations. 

Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar newspaper takes a characteristically combative tone, saying that Biden “appears bent on building on the legacy of his predecessor’s aggressive policies”. 

‘Colossal challenge’

“Today, Biden takes a challenge to unite the country broken by Trump,” reads the headline in Spain’s La Vanguardia. 

El Pais has posted a similar headline on its front page: “Biden facing a colossal challenge”.

Germany’s public broadcaster Deutsche Welle says that Biden could quickly change Trump’s decisions affecting Yemen, Iraq and North Africa.

But Die Zeit predicts that US domestic issues, such as “overcoming political turmoil”, would take priority over foreign policy goals. 

Die Welt expresses hope that the new US administration would restore trust in Nato and counter Russia, saying: “Unlike Trump, Biden sees Russia’s President Vladimir Putin not as a friend, but as an opponent. Putin knows that.”

Pundits in Ukraine think that the new administration will show more interest in Ukraine than its predecessor. At the end of 2020, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he expected Ukraine’s relations with its major ally to “rock and roll”.

Since Biden’s election victory was confirmed, Turkish officials have voiced hope about turning a “new page” in ties with Washington. 

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said the “most important issue” is the situation in Syria, where the US has partnered with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which Ankara sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Across the Arab world, editorials have been mulling the prospects of a shift in Washington’s policies towards the region, especially with regards to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Writing in Lebanon’s Al-Joumhouria, Toni Essa predicted a growth in the influence of Israel under Biden: “At the start of his four-year term, it is likely that a new Middle East is about to be born, as a result of huge transformations.”

India’s The Economic Times reports that Biden’s likely overhaul of US immigration policy will help Indians in the “Green Card queue”.

Meanwhile, Latin American leaders know that Biden will initially be busy putting his own house in order following the divisive US election.  

But regional analyst Marcelo Cantelmi, writing in Argentine daily Clarin, expresses the fear that Latin America could be “absent” from Biden’s top priorities as he seeks to untangle what Cantelmi called the “toxic legacy” of Trump.

African media are also reflecting on the end of Trump’s presidency. 

Kenya’s Swahili newspaper Taifa Leo carries the headline: “Trump leaves a shameful and damaged America”, while a column in Nigeria’s Premium Times describes Trump as “entitled, arrogant, callous and rude”.

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How can I watch the inauguration?

We will bring you all the latest developments, with analysis from reporting teams in Washington at the Capitol and on the National Mall.

•Online: Follow the latest updates and live video on the BBC News website and @BBCNorthAmerica. You can also stay up to date on our BBC News Facebook account and on Instagram

•Television: The BBC’s Katty Kay in Washington DC presents live coverage of the key events around the inauguration on BBC One from 16:00-18:00 GMT and on BBC News Channel (UK only) and BBC World (Outside UK only) from 15:30-19:00 GMT

•Radio: The BBC World Service has special radio coverage on Outside Source 16:00-18:00 GMT

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Branded Cities Announce Re-Development of the Iconic Rogers Sports & Media Tower at Yonge & Dundas in Toronto – Canada NewsWire



Branded Cities is the first OOH company to offer over 50,000 square feet of media space from one vendor, officially naming Yonge & Dundas (Y&D), the largest OOH advertising domination in Canada. Dundas Square is best known for its abundant variety of entertainment, shopping and dining establishments which attract over 146,200 daily residents and tourists. The Rogers Sports &

Media Tower re-development will mark Branded Cities’ fourth iconic media tower at the heart of Toronto’s Y&D, further expanding its portfolio of premier media assets at iconic locations across Canada. Once completed, Branded Cities will be first-to-market with a complete advertising domination of Y&D, boasting sightlines from any vantage point of the bustling public square.

“Our unmatched media offering at Yonge & Dundas has grown significantly over the last few years, with static and digital media now available at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (TEC),10 Dundas Street East (10D) and the Atrium on Bay (AOB).” says Steve Ellman, Chairman and CEO at Branded Cities. “We’re excited to be working with Rogers Sports & Media exclusively on the re-development of this landmark Yonge & Dundas venue, adding another great asset to our unique media offering!”

The complete overhaul of the tower will begin in third quarter 2021, where Branded Cities will install a 34ft W x 90ft H digital display offering 10-second ad spots over a 3-minute loop. Brands will also have the ability to further extend their reach throughout the Y&D Digital Network, with all six spectaculars offering dynamic digital capabilities for advertisers to sync their campaigns in real-time.

Alan Dark, Senior Vice President of Revenue at Rogers Sports & Media states: “The addition of this asset will add tremendous value to the extensive opportunities available at Yonge & Dundas and we look forward to working closely with Branded Cities, their clients, and our iconic brands to bring the square to life.”

The Tower at 33 Dundas St. E. was first acquired by Rogers Sports & Media in 2007 as the new home of the company’s TV stations Citytv and OMNI Television. The Tower has been a landmark for Torontonians with its unique placement directly behind the Y&D main stage giving advertisers an excellent opportunity to engage with the 245+ annual events happening at the Square.

To learn about advertising dominations at Toronto’s Yonge & Dundas, visit:

About Branded Cities

Branded Cities, a subsidiary of EL Media and Shamrock Capital, is a leading Out-of-Home media company with an integrated network of premier digital and static signage across North America. The digital and static media assets span across some of the largest markets in the United States and Canada (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and many more) and are situated in the country’s most valuable Out-of-Home environments such as Times Square, the Las Vegas Strip, West Hollywood, Union Station, Yonge – Dundas Square and Canada’s leading shopping centers. Branded Cities empowers brands to deliver impactful and engaging messages to North America’s most desirable, hard-to-reach audiences. EL Media is an affiliate of The Ellman Companies (“Ellman”).  Ellman is a privately-owned media, real estate and investments group founded in 1972 with diverse interests in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. For more information visit:,, or

Follow Branded Cities on Twitter (@brandedcities) and on Instagram.

SOURCE Branded Cities

For further information: American Press Contact: Vaibhav Gupta, EVP/Chief Operating Officer, 602-224-3106, [email protected]; Canadian Press Contact: Ali Satchu, VP, Marketing, 416-408-0800, [email protected]

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Chinese media criticise Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, tout local shots –



BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese state media outlets have run a series of articles criticising Western COVID-19 vaccines in the past week, including Pfizer’s, while touting China-made vaccines as safer and more accessible.

The reports have come as China’s vaccines, which are being rolled out to countries including Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey, have faced criticism in the West for insufficient data disclosure.

The Global Times, a tabloid published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, has published more than ten reports in the past week critical of vaccines and inoculation schemes in the West.

About half of them have referred to reported deaths of some highly frail patients in Norway after being inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine developed Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

In a Jan. 15 editorial, the Global Times accused mainstream U.S. and British news outlets of “deliberately downplaying the deaths” and “using propaganda power to promote the Pfizer vaccine and smearing Chinese vaccines.”

“Those major Western media will immediately hype any unfavourable information about Chinese vaccines and try to amplify their impact on public psychology,” it said.

Norwegian authorities have not established a causal link between the deaths and vaccination and said on Jan. 18 they were not changing their policy on using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Liu Xin, an anchor with CGTN, China’s English-language state TV channel, on Jan. 16 tweeted screenshots of an unverified report of 10 deaths after vaccinations in Germany.

“Can’t independently verify but it’s concerning,” she tweeted. “What about following it up? Hello??? @BBCWorld @CNN @AP @Reuters.”

A Global Times report on Tuesday cited Chinese experts saying Australia should consider halting regulatory procedures for Pfizer’s vaccine until the investigation of the deaths is over.

It also said Australia should purchase Chinese-developed vaccines, “which are relatively safer due to their mature technology”.

The Global Times has also argued that Chinese vaccines are cheaper and easier to transport, and portrayed Pfizer as an unreliable supplier, sacrificing need in other countries to prioritise supply for the United States.

Pfizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The U.S. drugmaker said last week it was temporarily slowing supplies of its COVID-19 vaccine to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output.

Final stage clinical trials showed the vaccine was 95% effective, with no major safety concerns.

(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom and Yew Lun Tian. Editing by Mark Potter)

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