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Army looks to cut 7,000 troops in cost-saving measure

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army looks to cut 7000 troops in cost saving measure

The Army will slash its 82,000 manpower target by 7,000 under cost-cutting proposals handed to ministers, it can be revealed.

Thousands of roles that are currently being recruited for are likely to be axed, with some of the gaps being filled by machines.

As part of a ten-year plan, the Army has offered to reduce its current target of 82,000 regular troops to 75,000, defence sources said. 

It is currently at around 74,000-strong but its ambition for years has been to reach the 82,000 figure.

It has, however, struggled with recruitment and senior Army chiefs now recognise that some positions could be filled by technology and machines. 

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The Army has offered to reduce its current target of 82,000 regular troops to 75,000 in a ten-year cost-saving plan, defence sources said (file photo)

However, Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence select committee, said the decision to reduce the target was ‘sheer madness’.

‘It is completely wrong,’ he said. 

‘Even today they are over-stretched. We are short staffed in key skill sets. We don’t have enough Warrior and Challenger [tank] drivers.

‘These battalions will tell you they are exhausted. We are kidding ourselves that we could manage with a depleted size.’

He said the proposed cut was coming at the time ‘when the world was more dangerous’.

A Government source said: ‘No one is going to lose jobs and nothing has been decided, this is just a suggestion put forward by the Army.

‘More jobs could be done by automated machines which would require less people. Recruitment is an issue. It’s a commitment to focus on automation and use machines where we can.’ 

It is thought the machines could include technology such as drones and robots. 

In theory, autonomous vehicles could be used to carry heavy loads instead of soldiers.

Injured soldiers could also be evacuated by drones or other automated vehicles, reducing the need for troops to carry their comrades, or call in helicopters.

Slashing troop targets is one of the offerings sent to Number 10 as part of the Integrated Review, the largest overhaul of foreign and defence policy in decades.

Negotiations are continuing about which assets and upgrades will be scrapped, with more money expected to be pumped into cyber and space warfare. 

Each service – the Army, RAF and Royal Navy – has been asked to submit proposals for how they could save money and also where they need more cash.

Thousands of roles that are currently being recruited for are likely to be axed, with some of the gaps being filled by machines and technology (file photo)

Thousands of roles that are currently being recruited for are likely to be axed, with some of the gaps being filled by machines and technology (file photo)

It is understood the Army has drawn the line at 75,000, with the head of the service saying that it is as far as he is willing to go if he is to retain a credible fighting force.

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith does not want a single soldier to lose their job and this way they would not have to, sources said. 

No decision has been made on whether the Army’s offer will be taken up.

A source said: ‘We advise against making assumptions or drawing false conclusions on the review, based on leaks or partial information.

‘The guiding principle of the IR is to ask ourselves what the threat is, and whether we have the capability to meet it.’

The Tories had pledged to keep the Army’s strength above 82,000 in 2015. In 2017 the party manifesto dropped the figure but pledged to ‘maintain the overall size of the forces’.

Army chiefs had believed coronavirus would lead to a surge in recruits but now there could be a battle for the remaining posts.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘This Government has committed to grow defence spending. The MoD is progressing its contribution to the Integrated Review by planning how best to meet tomorrow’s threats within that increasing budget.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Sacha Baron Cohen and Maria Bakalova on Rudy Giuliani Borat prank

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sacha baron cohen and maria bakalova on rudy giuliani borat prank

Sacha Baron Cohen has hit back at Rudy Giuliani’s claims that the Borat honey trap video is a ‘complete fabrication’, saying ‘heaven knows what he has done with other female journalists in hotel rooms’ – as scenes from the full film show him patting a young woman on her hip.

The video, which is a scene from Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel film that was released in full on Friday, shows Giuliani in a compromising position in a New York City hotel room alongside a young woman posing as a conservative TV reporter. 

In the scene, President Trump‘s personal attorney is seen patting the woman, who plays Borat’s daughter Tutar in the film, on her hip while he sits on the bed. 

He is also shown lying on the bed, tucking in his shirt with his hand down his pants as the woman stands nearby. 

After a snippet of the scene emerged earlier this week, Giuliani said he was only tucking in his shirt after removing his recording equipment and insisted that he was never ‘inappropriate’.  

In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday, Baron Cohen was asked to respond after Giuliani accused him of being a ‘stone-cold liar’. 

‘I would say that if the president’s lawyer found what he did there appropriate behavior, then heaven knows what he has done with other female journalists in hotel rooms,’ Baron Cohen said. 

‘I urge everyone to watch the movie. It is what it is, he did what he did. Make your own mind up. It was pretty clear to us.’ 

In one part, Giuliani can be heard asking for the woman's phone number and address. That audio is played over a shot in which the woman can be seen removing his microphone and he pats her lower back

In one part, Giuliani can be heard asking for the woman’s phone number and address. That audio is played over a shot in which the woman can be seen removing his microphone and he pats her lower back

The scene from Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat sequel film that was released in full on Friday, shows Rudy Giuliani in a compromising position in a New York City hotel room alongside a young woman posing as a conservative TV reporter

The scene from Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel film that was released in full on Friday, shows Rudy Giuliani in a compromising position in a New York City hotel room alongside a young woman posing as a conservative TV reporter

His comments came as the full controversial scene emerged on Friday following the release of the film, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, on Amazon Prime. 

The scene, which was shot back in July in the Mark Hotel, shows Giuliani sitting down with 24-year-old actress Maria Bakalova, who was posing as a conservative reporter, for an interview about the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response. 

During the scene, Giuliani answered several questions about coronavirus, including how many lives he thought Trump had saved due to his handling of the pandemic.

In the interview scene, the woman was flirtatious with Giuliani and could be seen repeatedly touching his knee. 

She also told him he was ‘one of her greatest heroes’ and that she felt like she was in a fairy tale. At one point, she said she felt like she was Melania Trump.  

After being interrupted by Baron Cohen’s Borat character, who was disguised as a sound technician, the scene cuts to Giuliani following the woman into the hotel bedroom as she asks: ‘Should we have a drink in the bedroom’.

The 30-second scene in the bedroom cuts repeatedly to different frames from the various hidden cameras. It is not clear how much of it has been edited together to portray a specific story line. 

It shows Giuliani asking for her phone number and address. That audio is played over a shot in which the woman can be seen removing his microphone and he pats her lower back. 

He can then be seen lying back on the bed to tuck in his shirt after she helps remove his recording equipment. 

He has his hands in his pants when Baron Cohen’s character rushes in for a second time wearing an outlandish outfit. 

Baron Cohen on Friday hit out at Rudy Giuliani's claims that the Borat honey trap video is a 'complete fabrication', saying 'heaven knows what he has done with other female journalists in hotel rooms'

Baron Cohen on Friday hit out at Rudy Giuliani’s claims that the Borat honey trap video is a ‘complete fabrication’, saying ‘heaven knows what he has done with other female journalists in hotel rooms’

In the scene, President Trump's personal attorney is seen lying on the bed, tucking in his shirt with his hand down his pants as the woman stands nearby

In the scene, President Trump’s personal attorney is seen lying on the bed, tucking in his shirt with his hand down his pants as the woman stands nearby

Discussing the scene during the GMA interview on Friday, Baron Cohen said he was in a hideaway in the hotel room and keeping tabs on what was happening. 

‘I was quite concerned for her during the scene,’ Baron Cohen said. 

After a snippet of the scene emerged earlier this week, Giuliani said he was only tucking in his shirt after removing his recording equipment and insisted that he was never 'inappropriate'

After a snippet of the scene emerged earlier this week, Giuliani said he was only tucking in his shirt after removing his recording equipment and insisted that he was never ‘inappropriate’

‘We built a hideaway that I was hiding in during the scene. I was monitoring it by text. It’s my responsibility as a producer to ensure the lead actor is looked after.’

Bakalova, who joined Baron Cohen for the interview, said she felt safe the entire time.

After a clip of the scene emerged this week prior to the film being released, Giuliani declared that it was a ‘hit job’ and a ‘total fabrication’. 

‘The Borat video is a complete fabrication,’ he tweeted. 

‘I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment. At no time before, during, or after the interview was I ever inappropriate. If Sacha Baron Cohen implies otherwise he is a stone-cold liar.

‘This is an effort to blunt my relentless exposure of the criminality and depravity of Joe Biden and his entire family.’

Speaking on his weekly radio program on WABC on Wednesday, Giuliani doubled down that he was only tucking in his shirt. 

‘I am tucking my shirt in, I assure you, that’s all that I was doing,’ he said.

Discussing the scene during the GMA interview on Friday, Baron Cohen said he was in a hideaway in the hotel room and keeping tabs on what was happening. Maria Bakalova, who was the woman in the scene, said she felt safe the entire time

Discussing the scene during the GMA interview on Friday, Baron Cohen said he was in a hideaway in the hotel room and keeping tabs on what was happening. Maria Bakalova, who was the woman in the scene, said she felt safe the entire time

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Giuliani said he went to what he thought was an interview and said it felt ‘legitimate.’

‘I did the interview with the young woman who was new to interviewing and I was being kind to her,’ he said. ‘At one point she explained to me some problems I had, I actually prayed with her.’

When he got up to leave he said he had his jacket on.

‘I was fully clothed at all times and I had to take off the electronic equipment and when the electronic equipment came off, some of it was in the back and my shirt got a little out, came a little out, although my clothes were entirely on,’ he said. 

He said he realized that something was amiss when the woman asked if he’d like a massage.

‘She says something about, ‘Do I want a massage?’ I realize now that this is a set-up and I call my security guy Brian who’s right outside,’ Giuliani said. ‘And then all of the sudden crazy Sacha Baron Cohen runs in with a cape on and he’s yelling and screaming all sorts of stupid stuff.’ 

The former New York City mayor called police after the encounter but there is no indication an investigation was launched. 

Giuliani spoke to the New York Post’s Page Six column about the encounter back in July but did not mention the bedroom aspect. 

He has since argued that in calling the police he proved he was an innocent party.

‘If I was doing anything wrong, I would not call the police and if he was doing anything right, he wouldn’t have been running away,’ Giuliani said.

‘Borat’s daughter’ was a guest at the White House, came within feet of Donald Trump and shook hands with his son Don Jr. new movie reveals  

Baron Cohen’s daughter in the film was also able to gain admittance to the White House last month – making it steps from the Oval Office and touring the press areas and grounds.

The comedian tweeted out images of the encounter hours after the release of his new film.

DailyMail.com was present at the White House when OANN correspondent Chanel Rion conducted an interview of the actress while being trailed back and forth by a camera and sound crew.  

‘Trump very careful who he let into his events and house. No Covid test necessary – High 5!’

He attached footage of Bulgarian actress Mara Bakalova, who in the movie plays Borat’s daughter Tutar, being interviewed by Rion.

The Borat character mocks the conservative network as ‘most rigorous news source in America’ and includes footage of Trump calling on ‘OAN’ and Rion claiming to have uncovered ‘multiple crimes’ in Ukraine committed by the Bidens.  

‘I know this because they take my daughter into the White House,’ he said – as the short video switches to footage shot on the north lawn with Bakalova. She also tours the White House briefing room, which is right outside the West Wing offices used by the president and his staff.

‘No need for security test or COVID test. They boring,’ he said. 

She is shown clapping wildly while the president speaks. 

In a different cut, she shakes hands with the president’s eldest son and proclaims herself ‘a little bit nervous’ and ‘excited to meet you’. 

The Borat character posted footage of actress Mara Bakalova, who plays his daughter in Borat 2, being interviews by OANN's Chanel Rion at the White House. A Marine stationed behind them indicates that the president was in the West Wing

The Borat character posted footage of actress Mara Bakalova, who plays his daughter in Borat 2, being interviews by OANN’s Chanel Rion at the White House. A Marine stationed behind them indicates that the president was in the West Wing

A DailyMail.com reporter spotted the unusual encounter at the White House

Bakalova also walked outside the north doors of the Palm Room, which leads to the Rose Garden

A DailyMail.com reporter spotted the unusual encounter at the White House

Borat review: Crass, vulgar… but if you love the first movie you’ll be smitten, writes BRIAN VINER who gives it four stars

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Rating: rating showbiz 4

Donald Trump‘s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is not the only person entitled to watch Borat 2 through his fingers. For the rest of us, too, that is at times the only proper response to a comedy that doesn’t so much push at the boundaries of taste as bulldoze them over the edge of a cliff.

The set-up is the same as the 2006 mockumentary which first introduced Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional Kazakh journalist to an unsuspecting world.

Baron Cohen’s Borat, accompanied this time by his teenage daughter Tutar (credited as Maria Bakalova), travels through America hoodwinking real people into thinking he is the genuine article. 

Since the events of 2006, he has spent years breaking rocks in the gulag for bringing shame on his country by making it a global laughing stock.

But now he has been given a mission – and with it, a chance to rescue his reputation. Again and again, he convinces folk that he really has brought Tutar along as a gift for ‘Vice-Premier Mikhail Pence’, the second-in-command to the magnificent ‘Premier McDonald Trump’, as a way of redeeming his distant homeland in the eyes of the ‘US and A’. 

Baron Cohen once more violates the unwritten rules of screen comedy

Baron Cohen once more violates the unwritten rules of screen comedy 

Vice President Mike Pence didn't know it at the time, but when he delivered his speech at CPAC earlier this year, he was actually taking part in a secret sequel to Borat (pictured)

Vice President Mike Pence didn’t know it at the time, but when he delivered his speech at CPAC earlier this year, he was actually taking part in a secret sequel to Borat (pictured)

The results – including a scene in which, dressed as Trump, he interrupts Pence’s address to a Republican rally – are by turn riotously funny and almost unwatchably uncomfortable.

There is another scene in which Borat and Tutar attend a debutante ball in the city of Macon, in the southern state of Georgia. 

She is solemnly presented as an undergraduate at ‘Grand Canyon University’, studying ‘cage maintenance and electronics with a focus on VCR repairs’.

Just as you’re marvelling at their XX-sized gullibility and processing the sheer improbability of proud fathers and their southern belle daughters, dressed to the nines, going through this absurd social rigmarole in the 21st century, just as the laughter is again bubbling up in your throat at the spectacle of the Kazakh duo taking to the floor to perform their fertility dance, it coagulates into something else entirely.

Baron Cohen once more violates the unwritten rules of screen comedy. Is it outrage? Horror? Disgust? Suppressed hysteria? You will have to decide for yourself.

In a way, that is Baron Cohen’s genius. Once again, he has masterminded a film (though it is directed by Jason Woliner) that is beyond anyone else’s ability or daring. 

He makes patsies of everyone he and Tutar encounter, nobody more so than Giuliani, the 76-year-old former mayor of New York City, who grants this engaging foreign girl an interview in a hotel suite – then ends up in a situation that, unless there is some cinematic sleight of hand involved, looks horribly compromising. 

Borat and Tutar attend a debutante ball in the city of Macon, in the southern state of Georgia

Borat and Tutar attend a debutante ball in the city of Macon, in the southern state of Georgia

I’ve already watched it twice, and I’m still not quite sure what I saw. Either way, 24-year-old Bulgarian actress Bakalova is terrifically good – on occasion even upstaging Baron Cohen himself. 

Just like the original, Borat 2 is audaciously brilliant in that it starts off looking like a mickey-take of a backward, former Soviet republic, when really the only object of the mockery is America.

In particular, this film sets out to catch the more diehard Trump supporters and far-Right conspiracy theorists, scooping up more than a few others in its satirical net, such as a cosmetic surgeon quite happy to inflate the breasts of 15-year-old Tutar, who wants only to be the next ‘Queen Melania’.

Most of them unwittingly conspire in their own ridicule, though there are times – as with a kindly Holocaust survivor in a synagogue – when your heart goes out to them. Not everyone deserves to be one of Borat’s victims.

Similarly, not everyone will want to see this film. If the TV show Game For A Laugh made you wince, it’s definitely not for you. 

Ditto, if you think everyone should be permitted their convictions and ways of life without being played as fools by a subversive Englishman with a candid camera and a political agenda.

All the same, there were moments when it made me laugh more than any film has for ages, possibly since the original Borat.

And three cheers, too, for its topicality. MeToo sensibilities are cheekily addressed, as Tutar begins to find that the suppression of women in her own country – where it is ‘enshrined in law’ that men must not love their daughters as much as their sons – is not the case everywhere.

And there is an inspired twist involving the Covid-19 pandemic.

But maybe I’ve already given too much away. If you loved the original Borat, then you will be smitten again. This one is even better.

If you thought it crass, vulgar and unutterably puerile, well – this one is a fair bit worse. 

Borat 2 is available on Amazon Prime Video from today.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Which cosy coat REALLY keeps out the cold? Winter jackets are put to the test

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which cosy coat really keeps out the cold winter jackets are put to the test

With the clocks changing tonight, the nights are about to get darker — and much colder.

Yet with so many of us facing bans on indoor gatherings due to Covid restrictions, you’ll need a warm coat if you want to meet friends and family alfresco. But how warm is warm? BETH HALE put a selection of High Street coats to the ultimate test by wearing them in the freezer at ice-sculpting experts Icebox, where the temperature dips to minus 12c.

We then used thermal imaging technology from Bullitt Group and its Cat S62 Pro smartphone to see how toasty the coats are. Cooler zones — which show where heat is being retained — are displayed in shades of purple, while the patches of red, orange, yellow and lastly white reveal where heat is escaping most freely.

CHIC FULL-LENGTH WOOL CLASSIC

Hobbs, reduced to £279.20

If ever a coat could chase the blues away it’s one with a flowing swathe of red wool.

Wool is breathable, meaning it wicks moisture away from the skin and is lovely and snug too. But fabric density is just as important as fibre and this feels worryingly thin.

The freeze test: Within seconds of setting foot in the freezer, icy air blankets me from head to toe. The beautiful flow of the skirt lets the heat seep from my legs and the deep V-neck means my upper body doesn’t fare much better.

Our thermal images show heat leaching from my upper body, particularly my arms and chest and along the seams.

VERDICT: Best kept for chic day wear. 2/10

If ever a coat could chase the blues away it’s one with a flowing swathe of red wool

Wool is breathable, meaning it wicks moisture away from the skin and is lovely and snug too. But fabric density is just as important as fibre and this feels worryingly thin

If ever a coat could chase the blues away it’s one with a flowing swathe of red wool. Wool is breathable, meaning it wicks moisture away from the skin and is lovely and snug too. But fabric density is just as important as fibre and this feels worryingly thin

MARSHMALLOW SOFT PUFFER

Uniqlo, reduced to £69.90

Uniqlo has an array of puffer jackets. This one is ‘made from carefully selected fabric for extra protection against the cold’ and is marshmallow soft. But it’s so short I fear I will need a hot chocolate too.

The freeze test: All that padding does the trick and my upper body is snug. But I’m an ice block from waist down.

Thermal imaging shows it is doing a good job overall, but some seams let heat escape.

VERDICT: Perfect if you want a bracing walk. 8/10

Uniqlo has an array of puffer jackets

This one is ‘made from carefully selected fabric for extra protection against the cold’ and is marshmallow soft. But it’s so short I fear I will need a hot chocolate too

Uniqlo has an array of puffer jackets. This one is ‘made from carefully selected fabric for extra protection against the cold’ and is marshmallow soft. But it’s so short I fear I will need a hot chocolate too

FABULOUS FAUX FUR FOR WINTER

New Look, reduced to £44.79

This faux fur coat feels like the very softest of cuddly toys.

The freeze test: Made from 100 per cent polyester, with no padding I don’t have high hopes for this. However, it is surprisingly warm — that’s if I ignore the chill creeping up the wide arms and V-neck.

The thermal image shows less heat is escaping from my arms than feared, but it is pouring from under my arms where there are seams and the coat fits more loosely.

VERDICT: Fake, fun and perfectly good for outdoor lockdown celebrations. 6/10

This faux fur coat feels like the very softest of cuddly toys

The freeze test: Made from 100 per cent polyester, with no padding I don’t have high hopes for this. However, it is surprisingly warm — that’s if I ignore the chill creeping up the wide arms and V-neck

This faux fur coat feels like the very softest of cuddly toys. The freeze test: Made from 100 per cent polyester, with no padding I don’t have high hopes for this. However, it is surprisingly warm — that’s if I ignore the chill creeping up the wide arms and V-neck

DOWN-FILLED FOR ARCTIC DAYS

Canada Goose, £1,095

A coat that feels more substantial than my duvet — stuffed with duck down and field-tested to provide warmth below -30c — this comes to mid-calf and has a fur-trimmed hood. It screams heat and has a flap under the two-way zip to stop warmth vanishing.

The freeze test: Well, if the temperature dips to -12c I can attest that this coat is very snug. It’s like being wrapped up in bed, though I’m not sure it’s as far ahead of its High-Street rivals as the price tag suggests.

The thermal images confirm that this coat does its job, with only a little heat escaping along the zip.

VERDICT: Maximum warmth, should Arctic conditions happen to blow in. 10/10

A coat that feels more substantial than my duvet — stuffed with duck down and field-tested to provide warmth below -30c — this comes to mid-calf and has a fur-trimmed hood

It screams heat and has a flap under the two-way zip to stop warmth vanishing

A coat that feels more substantial than my duvet — stuffed with duck down and field-tested to provide warmth below -30c — this comes to mid-calf and has a fur-trimmed hood. It screams heat and has a flap under the two-way zip to stop warmth vanishing

CUDDLE UP IN A TEDDY COAT

M&S, £89

This teddy coat will keep me ‘wonderfully snug’, says M&S, and it certainly looks the part. It’s 100 per cent polyester, not a breathable fabric, so is often used for heat retention in outdoor gear such as fleeces.

With the collar pulled up I feel as cosy as a bear bedding down for winter.

The freeze test: The teddy bear layer felt snug, but the thermal image tells a different story. The V-neck just doesn’t contain heat and it has poured away from my shoulders and upper arms.

A double layer of fabric at the lapel, though, is super insulating.

VERDICT: You’ll need to stay under a heater. 4/10

This teddy coat will keep me ‘wonderfully snug’, says M&S, and it certainly looks the part. It’s 100 per cent polyester, not a breathable fabric, so is often used for heat retention in outdoor gear such as fleeces

With the collar pulled up I feel as cosy as a bear bedding down for winter

This teddy coat will keep me ‘wonderfully snug’, says M&S, and it certainly looks the part. It’s 100 per cent polyester, not a breathable fabric, so is often used for heat retention in outdoor gear such as fleeces

A FUNCTIONAL PARKA

French Connection, £185

As parkas go, this seems a little lightweight, but it does have a faux-fur trim to the hood for extra snuggle. The slim, padded layer is made from 100 per cent recycled polyester.

The freeze test: I step into the freezer with trepidation; this coat feels insubstantial. But it is warmer than anticipated, and the flap covering the zip does a good job of preventing body heat from escaping from this vulnerable area. The seams where the arms attach to the body of the coat are a weak spot, however, as is the area around the front pockets.

VERDICT: Not one for snow, but good for a countryside stroll with friends. 6/10

As parkas go, this seems a little lightweight, but it does have a faux-fur trim to the hood for extra snuggle. The slim, padded layer is made from 100 per cent recycled polyester

The freeze test: I step into the freezer with trepidation; this coat feels insubstantial

As parkas go, this seems a little lightweight, but it does have a faux-fur trim to the hood for extra snuggle. The slim, padded layer is made from 100 per cent recycled polyester

PERFECT PADDING AND A SNUG FIT

M&S, £125

A ‘comfort stretch padded coat’ doesn’t sound glamorous, but this trusty M&S number deploying the brand’s water-repellent Stormwear technology looks surprisingly nice.

It also feels very snug, which is all-important in heat retention. However polyamide (or nylon) isn’t renowned for its insulating qualities, which is where the 100 per cent polyester filling comes in.

The freeze test: On paper this coat doesn’t have the heat-retaining power of down, but it feels pretty snuggly and the inner cuffs that loop over my hands keep my wrists warm. But there is a chill along the zip line.

The thermal image may look as if I have a six-pack, but in fact shows that the ‘weak’ spot in this coat is indeed along the zip and along the seams that create the garment’s quilted effect.

Heat is also escaping through the under-arm seams. But my lower body is well-insulated thanks to the snug fit, as is the bulk of my abdomen and my lower arms.

VERDICT: A snug fit but make sure you keep moving. 4/10

A 'comfort stretch padded coat' doesn't sound glamorous, but this trusty M&S number deploying the brand's water-repellent Stormwear technology looks surprisingly nice

It also feels very snug, which is all-important in heat retention. However polyamide (or nylon) isn't renowned for its insulating qualities, which is where the 100 per cent polyester filling comes in

A ‘comfort stretch padded coat’ doesn’t sound glamorous, but this trusty M&S number deploying the brand’s water-repellent Stormwear technology looks surprisingly nice

Now winter is on its way, the item on everyone’s wishlists is hot property. After doing up our houses in lockdown, we have turned our attention to outdoor space. John Lewis has seen demand soar for patio heaters, up a staggering 1,625 per cent compared with the same week last year. But with prices starting at under £100, and a huge variety of models to choose from, which ones should be warming your evenings outdoors? JENNY WOOD takes a look . . .

FIRE IT UP

La Fiesta cast-iron, rust-finish fire bowl, £69.99, primrose.co.uk

Pile wood or charcoal into this traditionally shaped fire pit and enjoy good flames. Made of cast iron with an attractive rusty finish and sturdy legs, it has a rainwater drainage hole in the bottom and two handles. It is perfect for toasting marshmallows. 4/5

Pile wood or charcoal into this traditionally shaped fire pit and enjoy good flames. Made of cast iron with an attractive rusty finish and sturdy legs, it has a rainwater drainage hole in the bottom and two handles. It is perfect for toasting marshmallows

Pile wood or charcoal into this traditionally shaped fire pit and enjoy good flames. Made of cast iron with an attractive rusty finish and sturdy legs, it has a rainwater drainage hole in the bottom and two handles. It is perfect for toasting marshmallows

LIGHT FANTASTIC

Kettler plush ceiling electric heater, £179, kettler.co.uk

This heater and garden light with fabric shade can be hung by a chain from a pergola, gazebo or conservatory to warm guests below. The only downside? You will need an outdoor extension cord as the 1.8-metre cable isn’t long. 3/5

This heater and garden light with fabric shade can be hung by a chain from a pergola, gazebo or conservatory to warm guests below. The only downside? You will need an outdoor extension cord as the 1.8-metre cable isn’t long

This heater and garden light with fabric shade can be hung by a chain from a pergola, gazebo or conservatory to warm guests below. The only downside? You will need an outdoor extension cord as the 1.8-metre cable isn’t long

CHIMNEY SWEET

Saunderson chiminea, £186.99, wayfair.co.uk

Fill the bowl with wood or charcoal and light.Gives a surprising amount of heat. The smoke is channelled through the funnel at the top. A handy log store. 3/5

Fill the bowl with wood or charcoal and light.Gives a surprising amount of heat. The smoke is channelled through the funnel at the top. A handy log store

Fill the bowl with wood or charcoal and light.Gives a surprising amount of heat. The smoke is channelled through the funnel at the top. A handy log store

WIDE WARMTH

Colorado 2500R heater and stand combination, £449, herschel-infrared.co.uk

This versatile black heater might not be as pretty as others but it’s easy to use and the flat, wide head gives off an impressive amount of heat within seconds. Waterproof, it can be wall- or ceiling-mounted, or used with a height-adjustable stand. Optional remote control. 4/5

This versatile black heater might not be as pretty as others but it’s easy to use and the flat, wide head gives off an impressive amount of heat within seconds. Waterproof, it can be wall- or ceiling-mounted, or used with a height-adjustable stand. Optional remote control

This versatile black heater might not be as pretty as others but it’s easy to use and the flat, wide head gives off an impressive amount of heat within seconds. Waterproof, it can be wall- or ceiling-mounted, or used with a height-adjustable stand. Optional remote control

TOWERING INFERNO

BU-KO outdoor patio gas heater, £249, amazon. co.uk

This metal pyramid conceals a propane gas canister (which you need to buy separately). A flame dances up a glass tube inside, providing decent heat. There’s a built-in safety valve and it is waterproof. 2/5

This metal pyramid conceals a propane gas canister (which you need to buy separately). A flame dances up a glass tube inside, providing decent heat. There’s a built-in safety valve and it is waterproof

This metal pyramid conceals a propane gas canister (which you need to buy separately). A flame dances up a glass tube inside, providing decent heat. There’s a built-in safety valve and it is waterproof

TALL ORDER

Florida 2,000W heater, £299, herschel-infrared.co.uk

Looking more like a floor lamp than a patio heater, this extra-tall model plugs into an outdoor power socket and the infrared lamp warms up immediately. The stainless steel pole can be inserted through a garden table for all-round heat. The base is heavy but fairly easy to manoeuvre. The downside is that it is only splash-proof, so you will need to store it in your shed when it rains. 3/5

Looking more like a floor lamp than a patio heater, this extra-tall model plugs into an outdoor power socket and the infrared lamp warms up immediately. The stainless steel pole can be inserted through a garden table for all-round heat. The base is heavy but fairly easy to manoeuvre. The downside is that it is only splash-proof, so you will need to store it in your shed when it rains

Looking more like a floor lamp than a patio heater, this extra-tall model plugs into an outdoor power socket and the infrared lamp warms up immediately. The stainless steel pole can be inserted through a garden table for all-round heat. The base is heavy but fairly easy to manoeuvre. The downside is that it is only splash-proof, so you will need to store it in your shed when it rains

STYLE AND SUBSTANCE

California 2,000W rose-gold heater, £299, herschel-infrared.co.uk

The most stylish model I tried; this lozenge-shaped infrared heater looks reassuringly expensive when mounted on the wall but can also be used with a stand. Giving off a gentle glow, it’s waterproof, has a remote control and can be timer-controlled for up to nine hours. 4/5

The most stylish model I tried; this lozenge-shaped infrared heater looks reassuringly expensive when mounted on the wall but can also be used with a stand. Giving off a gentle glow, it’s waterproof, has a remote control and can be timer-controlled for up to nine hours

The most stylish model I tried; this lozenge-shaped infrared heater looks reassuringly expensive when mounted on the wall but can also be used with a stand. Giving off a gentle glow, it’s waterproof, has a remote control and can be timer-controlled for up to nine hours

BEST ALL-ROUNDER

Empire 3kW carbon infrared patio heater, £510, heat-outdoors.co.uk

Of all the heaters I tried, this kept me the toastiest. Sturdy and idiot-proof, with a choice of settings, the vertical tubes give out an impressive amount of top-to-toe warmth. Safety features include flocked bars to prevent burns and an optional motion sensor that switches the heater on and off if guests leave the area. It’s also waterproof. 5/5

Of all the heaters I tried, this kept me the toastiest. Sturdy and idiot-proof, with a choice of settings, the vertical tubes give out an impressive amount of top-to-toe warmth. Safety features include flocked bars to prevent burns and an optional motion sensor that switches the heater on and off if guests leave the area. It’s also waterproof

Of all the heaters I tried, this kept me the toastiest. Sturdy and idiot-proof, with a choice of settings, the vertical tubes give out an impressive amount of top-to-toe warmth. Safety features include flocked bars to prevent burns and an optional motion sensor that switches the heater on and off if guests leave the area. It’s also waterproof

BEAT THE BRITISH WEATHER

The must-have finishing touch to any rule of six garden party? A gazebo to keep the rain off. Many retailers have sold out, but we tested the 2.8m pergola from the Raj Tent Company (Rajtentclub.com) which is tall enough to use with patio heaters. 

At £1,400 to buy or £660 to rent for three days, it’s more expensive than high street versions, but comes in a range of colours, with optional floor mats, drapes, ceiling lantern light and even a socially-distant styling service.

The must-have finishing touch to any rule of six garden party? A gazebo to keep the rain off. Many retailers have sold out, but we tested the 2.8m pergola from the Raj Tent Company (Rajtentclub.com) which is tall enough to use with patio heaters

The must-have finishing touch to any rule of six garden party? A gazebo to keep the rain off. Many retailers have sold out, but we tested the 2.8m pergola from the Raj Tent Company (Rajtentclub.com) which is tall enough to use with patio heaters

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Jeffrey Archer reveals his 80th birthday was only a small celebration

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jeffrey archer reveals his 80th birthday was only a small celebration

Jeffrey Archer has revealed that his 80th birthday was a small celebration because most of his friends are now dead.

The best-selling author and life peer said it would have ‘felt strange’ throwing a big party without friends he’s lost in the past decade.

Asked how he celebrated his birthday, he told Saga magazine: ‘Very quietly. For my 70th, my son William said, “Throw a big party, invite everyone you know because a lot of them won’t be here when you’re 80”.

Former politician and author Jeffrey Archer at home in his penthouse suite on the Albert Embankment, London. Jeffrey Archer photo shoot, London, UK on 10 September, 2018

Former politician and author Jeffrey Archer at home in his penthouse suite on the Albert Embankment, London. Jeffrey Archer photo shoot, London, UK on 10 September, 2018

‘He was right. I’ve lost maybe 50 or 60 close friends in the past ten years. A party without them would have felt strange, lockdown or not.’

The former Tory MP and Conservative Party chairman also said that he would not go into politics today because of social media. 

He said: ‘If Twitter had existed during the war, Churchill wouldn’t have lasted. 

‘Every time he lost a battle, the tweets would have started: “Churchill’s useless. Sack him”. I feel sorry for modern politicians.’

Lord Archer, whose novels have sold around 300million copies worldwide, turned to writing when he was on the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970s.

The former Tory MP and Conservative Party chairman (pictured with Margaret Thatcher in 1986) also said that he would not go into politics today because of social media

The former Tory MP and Conservative Party chairman (pictured with Margaret Thatcher in 1986) also said that he would not go into politics today because of social media

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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