Tag Archives: trust

Can We Trust the EU to Fairly and Impartially Investigate Itself?

Significant failings by the EEAS in dealing with investigations, have led many to question whether it is appropriate for the EU to investigate itself.

Protecting the integrity of the EU is the primary goal of its constituent parts. Internal investigations are premised on controlling process and outcome.”
— Simon Mortimer

CITY OF LONDON, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, July 18, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — When Judge Malcolm Simmons gave evidence before the Kosovo Assembly, he described serious failures by the EU and its institutions to investigate claims of serious misconduct committed by staff of EULEX, the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo. He also claimed that senior staff of the European External Action Service (the EU equivalent of the State Department) in Brussels had committed misconduct, including the manipulation of investigations.In 2016 a judge employed by EULEX hacked into the private emails of Judge Simmons. These emails revealed Judge Simmons was a whistle blower. Copies of Judge Simmons’ private emails were given to senior staff of the EU in Brussels. After it had received his private emails, the EU commenced an investigation against Judge Simmons. That investigation was led by a former Judge of the European Court of Justice.

In written responses to lawyers instructed by Judge Simmons, the European External Action Service (‘EEAS’) has consistently denied it received copies of Judge Simmons’ private emails.

Judge Simmons demanded an independent investigation into the hacking of his private emails. That request was refused by the EEAS. Instead, an investigation was conducted by EULEX. When Judge Simmons insisted that the former judge of the European Court of Justice who was investigating the allegations against him be interviewed, he was informed by EULEX that the investigation into the hacking of his private emails had been “closed”. He was given no explanation. Judge Simmons demanded to see the investigation file. His request was initially refused. When he was eventually given access to the file, it contained only one document and that was the notification informing him the investigation had been closed.

Despite repeated requests of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the EEAS failed to initiate an independent investigation into the hacking of his private emails.

Persons Judge Simmons accused of serious misconduct who were in receipt of his private emails, led the investigation against Judge Simmons. The investigators were also in possession of his private emails. After a seriously flawed investigation, allegations of misconduct against Judge Simmons were referred to a disciplinary board. The board comprised three members. Only one member of the Board was a judge. The other members included a logistics officer who was subordinate to the very persons Judge Simmons had accused of serious misconduct!

In its judgments, the European Court of Human Rights has been very clear: in disciplinary proceedings against judges, the board should comprise a majority of judges. In the case of Judge Simmons, the majority were not judges.

That was not the only abuse of the process. The board refused to interview witnesses proposed by lawyers instructed by Judge Simmons. Further, Judge Simmons was not permitted to be present when other, important, witnesses were examined by the board. He was given no opportunity to cross-examine witnesses or to ask questions. Instead, he was sent what the board referred to as a “resume” of their evidence.

Judge Malcolm Simmons filed an appeal that was heard by an appeals board comprising three judges working within the EU system. The appeals board dismissed the appeal. In so doing, it ignored judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and ignored International Conventions and Charters regarding the composition of the panel and ignored Judge Simmons’ rights under Article 6 of the ECHR to be tried “…by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.” Further, Judge Simmons was denied the opportunity to challenge the evidence brought against him.

Judge Simmons’ request that the case be referred to an independent court for review was refused by the EEAS. It was refused for one very obvious reason: it could not control the outcome. It was obvious a independent, impartial court would find the disciplinary process was unfair and that Judge Simmons had been denied his right to a hearing before a fair and impartial board.

It does not stop there.

This was not the first time senior staff of the EEAS had been accused of serious misconduct in connection with disciplinary investigations. Similar allegations were made by senior staff of the EUPOL COPPS Mission. The allegations in that case were very similar to the allegations in the case of Judge Simmons. The senior staff members complained to the EEAS and to Members States about the manipulation of the investigation. Judge Simmons will give evidence about that investigation.

It is further alleged that in another investigation into allegations of serious misconduct, including the commission of criminal offences by judges of the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo, a senior member of staff of the EEAS tried to frustrate that investigation. In due course, Judge Simmons and other witnesses will give evidence about that investigation.

In email correspondence recently disclosed by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office under a UK Freedom of Information Act request, it is clear that EU Member States had concerns about the management of the department about which Judge Simmons complained but chose not to take action in order to preserve the integrity of the institution.

The question I therefore ask you is: having read this, would you have confidence in the EU to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into allegations of misconduct?


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Judge Malcolm Simmons gives evidence to the Kosovo Parliament

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This post originally posted here The European Times News

Elvis Presley’s Memphis Mafia: ‘King wasn’t strict, but he’d find out if you broke trust’

Billy added: “We all pretty much had the same goal in mind which was take care of Elvis and his needs.”

The Memphis Mafia would also hang out with The King at his concerts and on movie sets.

In another video, Billy remembered how he first started working for Elvis in 1961 when he was shooting Follow That Dream.

He said: “Boy, it was quite something to be able to live that experience at that time. My Mom and Dad got to come down too and my brother, to watching the filming of it all, that was another treat.”

Reports: Trust company asks to be removed from Britney Spears’ conservatorship

The company filed court documents Thursday asking to be removed as co-conservators because of “changed circumstances.”

The trust company set to take over as co-conservators of Britney Spears’ estate wants out, according to multiple reports. 

A day after a Los Angeles Superior Court denied Spears’ request to remove her father, James Spears, from the conservatorship that controls her money and most of her life, Bessemer Trust has asked to be removed from the conservatorship “due to changed circumstances.” That’s according to reports from USA Today and the New York Times

Judge Brenda Penny recently appointed the wealth management company as co-conservators along with Spears’ father.

According to court documents reportedly filed Thursday, the company says that it was under the impression Spears’ conservatorship was consensual. But after hearing Spears in court last week, pleading for her life back from what she called an “abusive” situation, Bessemer Trust said in its filing it “has become aware that the Conservatee objects to the continuance of her Conservatorship and desires to terminate the conservatorship.” 

Spears’ court appearance last week was one of the few times she has spoken out throughout the 13-year conservatorship. During a 20-minute speech, she outlined the relationship she says made her feel demoralized and enslaved.

“They’ve done a good job at exploiting my life,” Spears said of her conservators, “so I feel like it should be an open court hearing and they should listen and hear what I have to say.”

James Spears emphasized in a pair of documents filed late Tuesday night that he has had no power over his daughter’s personal affairs for nearly two years.

According to the Associated Press, a long legal process is likely before any decision is made on terminating the conservatorship. Bessemer Trust’s request Thursday adds another wrinkle to the situation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Author: Associated Press
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

This Agency Wants to Figure Out Exactly How Much You Trust AI

Harvard University assistant professor Himabindu Lakkaraju studies the role trust plays in human decisionmaking in professional settings. She’s working with nearly 200 doctors at hospitals in Massachusetts to understand how trust in AI can change how doctors diagnose a patient.

For common illnesses like the flu, AI isn’t very helpful, since human professionals can recognize them pretty easily. But Lakkaraju found that AI can help doctors diagnose hard-to-identify illnesses like autoimmune diseases. In her latest work, Lakkaraju and coworkers gave doctors records of roughly 2,000 patients and predictions from an AI system, then asked them to predict whether the patient would have a stroke in six months. They varied the information supplied about the AI system, including its accuracy, confidence interval, and an explanation of how the system works. They found doctors’ predictions were the most accurate when they were given the most information about the AI system.

Lakkaraju says she’s happy to see that NIST is trying to quantify trust, but she says the agency should consider the role explanations can play in human trust of AI systems. In the experiment, the accuracy of predicting strokes by doctors went down when doctors were given an explanation without data to inform the decision, implying that an explanation alone can lead people to trust AI too much.

“Explanations can bring about unusually high trust even when it is not warranted, which is a recipe for problems,” she says. “But once you start putting numbers on how good the explanation is, then people’s trust slowly calibrates.”

Other nations are also trying to confront the question of trust in AI. The US is among 40 countries that signed onto AI principles that emphasize trustworthiness. A document signed by about a dozen European countries says trustworthiness and innovation go hand in hand, and can be considered “two sides of the same coin.”

NIST and the OECD, a group of 38 countries with advanced economies, are working on tools to designate AI systems as high or low risk. The Canadian government created an algorithm impact assessment process in 2019 for businesses and government agencies. There, AI falls into four categories—from no impact on people’s lives or the rights of communities to very high risk and perpetuating harm on individuals and communities. Rating an algorithm takes about 30 minutes. The Canadian approach requires that developers notify users for all but the lowest-risk systems.

European Union lawmakers are considering AI regulations that could help define global standards for the kind of AI that’s considered low or high risk and how to regulate the technology. Like Europe’s landmark GDPR privacy law, the EU AI strategy could lead the largest companies in the world that deploy artificial intelligence to change their practices worldwide.

The regulation calls for the creation of a public registry of high-risk forms of AI in use in a database managed by the European Commission. Examples of AI deemed high risk included in the document include AI used for education, employment, or as safety components for utilities like electricity, gas, or water. That report will likely be amended before passage, but the draft calls for a ban on AI for social scoring of citizens by governments and real-time facial recognition.

The EU report also encourages allowing businesses and researchers to experiment in areas called “sandboxes,” designed to make sure the legal framework is “innovation-friendly, future-proof, and resilient to disruption.” Earlier this month, the Biden administration introduced the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force aimed at sharing government data for research on issues like health care or autonomous driving. Ultimate plans would require approval from Congress.

For now, the AI user trust score is being developed for AI practitioners. Over time, though, the scores could empower individuals to avoid untrustworthy AI and nudge the marketplace toward deploying robust, tested, trusted systems. Of course that’s if they know AI is being used at all.

More Great WIRED Stories

Author: Khari Johnson
This post originally appeared on Business Latest

Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare Key to Recharging Vaccine Uptake

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Left – Dr Richard Baron; Right – Dr Dhruv Khullar

Before medicine pins the plateauing vaccine uptake solely on hesitancy, health systems should ask themselves what they’re doing to make it easy to get the vaccines and regain patient trust, physician and writer Dhruv Khullar, MD, said in a livestreamed conversation to which press were invited.

Khullar, assistant professor of health policy and economics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, spoke on Tuesday with Richard Baron, MD, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the ABIM Foundation, as part of a series of conversations the foundation is hosting to elevate trust as an essential principle for improving healthcare.

“We need to make sure we’ve done everything to create access and we’ve made it easy – through giving people time off work or incentivizing people or making sure they have the ability to get vaccinated at a local site or at their primary care doctor,” Khullar said.

Examples of Building, Betraying Trust

Khullar and Baron gave some examples of when trust can be improved or betrayed.

Baron relayed the effort shared by a colleague of including a phonetic pronunciation of a hard-to-pronounce patient’s name on the home page of the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) so that every member of the health team would be able to say it correctly.

Another example, Baron said, comes from an LGBTQ clinic that focused on inserting pronouns in EHRs. clinicians just need to figure out how to include that in their workflow, he said.

“We think a lot about how to use technology in systems, but how many of us are thinking about whether we could use technology so that everyone who has contact with the patient can build trust with the patient?” Baron asked.

“If we start with the naive sense that the only way trust happens is between individuals, we miss all kinds of opportunities to build trust at scale,” he said.

Survey Finds Lack of Trust

The conversation followed the release this week of results of a survey conducted for the ABIM Foundation by NORC at the University of Chicago that found that a clear majority of adults say the United States health system routinely discriminates.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of adult consumers say the healthcare system discriminates at least “somewhat,” and 49% of physicians agree.

According to the study, “About one in every eight adults (12%) say they have been discriminated against by a U.S. health care facility or office, with Black individuals being twice as likely to experience discrimination in a health care facility compared to white counterparts.”

People who report being discriminated against in a healthcare setting are twice as likely to say they do not trust the system, the survey notes.

Vaccine hesitancy is one result of trust betrayed, Khullar said.

He said that when vaccines first became available, he was perplexed that some healthcare workers — among those at highest risk for contracting COVID-19 — said they would not get vaccinated.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) at the end of December said 60% of nursing home staff in Ohio were refusing to get vaccinated, for example.

Khullar talked with a certified nursing assistant who was in her mid-30s, had asthma, and was working in long-term care about why she had chosen not to get vaccinated.

The woman said that at the peak of the pandemic, she was working at three nursing homes to cover shifts and that she was working six 14-hour days. She was told there was no coronavirus in the places where she worked, and then she contracted the virus. She did not receive paid leave during her illness and had not been given an N95 mask. She had to turn to her family for help with rent.

Then she was told by her employers to get the vaccine, Khullar said. “This is not an isolated incident.”

Being Labeled “Hesitant” May Strengthen Resistance

Khullar warned that labeling certain groups, regions, or political parties as being more likely not to get vaccinated may strengthen individuals’ resolve to defend their stance.

“It’s important to avoid making vaccine hesitancy part of one’s identity,” Khullar said. “Once you tie one’s hesitancy to their identity, it becomes very hard to change one’s mind. We have to be careful of the way we label people and make them feel that taking or not taking the vaccine is part of who I am.”

Baron said that to rebuild trust, health systems may have to look outside their area of business.

For example, Baron noted, “Health systems are not in the wi-fi business or network business, but what would happen if a health system in the community it served during the pandemic made wi-fi available for kids trying to go to school? It’s not doing healthcare better, but it’s responding to need in the community.”

“The strongest opportunities for building trust probably come outside the core business that we do and are more related to understanding the needs of the community we serve,” he said.

Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune and Nurse.com and was an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick.

For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

This post originally appeared on Medscape Medical News Headlines

How The CDC's New Mask Guidelines Left Many Wondering Can They Trust One Another

CHICAGO — When Tori Saylor, 27, stepped out of her apartment in Kalamazoo, Mich., last week, she knew that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already given fully vaccinated Americans the go-ahead to shed masks in most situations.

Ms. Saylor, who is vaccinated, wore one anyway. And when she summoned an elevator in her apartment building, she confronted her first real test of the new era: Twice, the doors opened to reveal people who were not wearing masks, and twice, she let the elevator go.

“Am I to trust these people, having never met them?” said Ms. Saylor, who has multiple sclerosis and gets an infusion therapy that compromises her immune system. Despite her vaccination status, it is unclear whether her body will be able to effectively produce antibodies to fight off Covid-19. “How can I judge whether someone is vaccinated by making momentary eye contact with them?”

For many Americans, trust is in short supply after a year of a long pandemic and the conflicts that have come with it.

Our capacity to trust other people’s honesty has already been tested, and fibs — or omissions — may have happened along the way. Did every person who drove across a state line follow 14-day quarantine rules? Did everyone who got an early vaccine fit the eligibility rules at the time?

So it is no surprise that the latest honor code — the federal government’s guidance encouraging vaccinated Americans to take off their masks — was greeted with skepticism in parts of the country that have not already done so. Fewer than half of Americans over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated.

“It’s a very complicated symphony right now,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan who is an expert on pandemics. “There’s been such an erosion of trust, distrust for government, distrust for the virus, distrust for this party or that party. So when you tell the public what to do, there are people who say, ‘How can I trust the guy without the mask?’”

Health experts say that vaccinated people should be protected from severe disease, even if people around them are not vaccinated and not masked. But the unusual sight of bare faces has arrived at a time when Americans’ trust in institutions and one another is particularly fragile.

After all, evidence of pandemic-era wrongdoing has been rampant: Prosecutors have charged dozens of people who are accused of fraudulently obtaining loans and other funds from the federal government related to the CARES Act. High schools and colleges, including the prestigious Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, have investigated students for cheating on remote exams while school buildings were closed because of the coronavirus.

Even before the pandemic, trust in the federal government was near record lows, and 7 in 10 people thought that Americans’ trust in one another had declined over the past 20 years, according to the Pew Research Center. Still, a majority of Americans had confidence that people could work together in a crisis. About 75 percent of Americans believed that people would cooperate with one another in a crisis, even if they did not trust one another.

Teamwork became a motif of the pandemic’s early days. Holed up inside their homes last spring, crafty Americans sewed homemade masks, neighbors planted yard signs supporting health care workers and essential workers, and politicians spoke in lofty language about working together to “flatten the curve.”

Then came a partisan division over masks, screaming crowds outside state capitols, death threats against local and state health officials. On the other side of the debate, some people who supported Covid-19 restrictions embraced the job of mask policing.

It quickly became apparent that, even in a crisis, Americans struggled to come together.

“We couldn’t even trust people to do the right thing and wear masks when it was rampant, when it was the highest it’s ever been,” said Deborah Burger, a president of National Nurses United, who described nurses rushing to the grocery store in their uniforms only to be berated by fellow shoppers. “People were accosting them, accusing them of lying about the pandemic.”

National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses, has come out publicly against the new C.D.C. guidelines on masks, which were announced last week and left state and local government officials, business owners and ordinary people scrambling. The guidelines allowing vaccinated people to go without masks do not apply to hospitals, but Ms. Burger said the changes create confusion and put the burden on health care workers to enforce face coverings.

“It feels like somebody has pulled the rug out from under us and taken away our protections,” she said.

Other frontline workers, including business owners, are also grappling with new pressures.

“We used to have a sign on our door that said you can’t come in unless you’re masked, and now I don’t know what my sign should say: ‘If you are not vaccinated, please wear a mask?’” said Louise Orlando, 55, who owns the Bakery on Mason in Cape Charles, Va.

Until recently, the business fell under a statewide mask mandate. Now, Ms. Orlando feels the onus falls to her. “I don’t know who is going to be honest anymore.”

Rebecca Johnson, of Winfield, Ill., is among those who will not be taking off her mask indoors in public any time soon.

She wants to protect her 11-year-old son, Mitchell, who is too young to qualify for a vaccine. And while she is thrilled to shed the mask when outside or around other vaccinated people indoors, there are plenty of situations where it feels like the old rules still apply.

“I still think when you walk indoors you have to look at every person that you’re around, thinking they could have it,” she said.

Not everyone is fretting over the new guidance or pondering trust.

“I’m not that troubled by the honor system,” said Tim Lovoy, 62, a retired accountant in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles who said he felt assured by the data.

Mr. Lovoy is fully vaccinated, he said, which offers him strong protection. In his home area of Los Angeles County, new virus cases have dropped to about 3 per 100,000, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

These days, Mr. Lovoy has assessed his risk of getting Covid-19 to be lower than getting in an accident on the freeway. He is getting ready to return to normalcy, including practicing karate indoors again, and said he is wasting little time worrying about whether other maskless people he encounters are vaccinated.

“If people are vaccinated, their risk in taking off their mask is very, very low, and that’s their own decision to make,” he said. “And if people are not vaccinated and don’t wear a mask, they’re putting themselves at risk.”

Throughout the pandemic, views on the coronavirus have often split along partisan lines, and the new questions about masking — and about other people’s vaccination status — may be no different.

The changes by the C.D.C. are likely to be most jarring to Democrats, who have been more likely than Republicans to see the coronavirus as a major threat, more likely to overstate risks from the virus, and more likely to get vaccinated.

Many Republicans, by contrast, have emphasized their individual liberties on virus decisions from the beginning and may welcome the freedom that comes with the new guidance.

At the same time, people who identify as conservative are less likely to be vaccinated, whether because of skepticism about the safety of a fast-tracked vaccine, or a belief that the coronavirus itself is not very dangerous. In recent polls by Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University, almost half of Republicans surveyed said they did not plan to pursue vaccinations.

“We don’t even agree on what ground truth is,” said David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University in Boston, who said that the lack of shared information sources in partisan politics makes building trust particularly difficult. Without a common understanding of the risk of getting seriously sick from the virus, or any side effects from getting a vaccine, “we can’t agree on what is an acceptable sacrifice, or what is an acceptable trustworthy behavior.”

Eli Finkel, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who has studied romantic relationships and American politics, said that trusting one another inherently involves a gamble — whether it is letting your guard down in a marriage, or trusting the behavior of fellow citizens during a pandemic. Still, he said, trust is often essential for society to move forward.

“It’s a willingness to allow yourself to be vulnerable with the hope that life will be better for having done so,” Dr. Finkel said.

In the case of the coronavirus, the benefit of trust — and widespread honesty — would be collective freedom from pandemic restrictions that have disrupted the country for more than a year.

It is a well-established principle in social psychology that a common enemy is supposed to bring people together, Dr. Finkel said. So when the pandemic first erupted last spring, he was intrigued.

As months passed, though, he saw the opposite.

“It’s almost like American society has crossed the Rubicon of distrust, where even things that should bring us together — like a big external threat that we need to come together to make better — even those things that should bring us together don’t, and even push us further apart,” he said.

Julie Bosman reported from Chicago, and Sarah Mervosh from New York.

Author: Julie Bosman and Sarah Mervosh
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Best National Trust properties to see beautiful Cherry Blossom displays this spring

National Trust gardens always offer plenty to visitors, with cherry blossom a common sighting in the spring. A number of National Trust properties all over the country offer stunning displays, but where are some of the best? Express.co.uk teamed up with Visit England to find out.

Bateman’s, East Sussex

Bateman’s is a Jacobean house and erstwhile home of famous author Rudyard Kipling nestled in the wooded landscape of the Sussex Weald.

While the house is still closed due to Covid restrictions, the garden, estate, tea-room and limited toilets are open.

The property is home to a rose garden and manicured lawns, as well as a vegetable garden and kitchen garden, there’s plenty to spot in springtime.

Visitors can take in the sights of spring from blossom on the fruit trees to the first crops emerging. Take a stroll over to the wild garden in springtime – it’s full of native wildflower species, where the first flowers will be blooming.

READ MORE: Can you retire to Spain after Brexit?[1]

Nymans, West Sussex

Nymans is described by the National Trust as “a garden lovers’ home for all seasons” and features romantic ruins as well as a twentieth-century garden with an amazing collection of rare and important plants, bursting with colour in spring.

Visitors can spot displays of camellias and magnolias and drifts of daffodils. Be sure to take a walk through the walled garden, the woodlands and wild garden to see all that Nymans has to offer at this time of year.

There is also a large shop and plant centre with a special collection of plants grown on-site – although this remains closed under current Covid restrictions.


Hidcote, Gloucestershire

Hidcote is an “Arts and Crafts-inspired garden with intricately designed outdoor spaces in the rolling Cotswold hills,” explains the National Trust

You’ll see a richness and diversity of plants from around the world at Hidcote.

Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote’s former owner and talented landscape designer was passionate about plants. He went to endless trouble and expense to find unusual varieties that would bring colour, scent, shape and texture to the garden.

The garden is divided into a series of ‘outdoor rooms’, each with its own character. The formality of the ‘rooms’ melts away as you move through the garden away from the house.

Lose yourself in a network of beautiful garden rooms waking from their winter slumber. Enjoy drifts of narcissu and later aquilegias and Welsh poppies in the Pillar Garden, and the blossom-filled orchard with emerging wildflowers.

Magnificent magnolias are filling the skies with a warm pink glow so make sure you don’t miss them this spring.

Sizergh, Cumbria

Tucked away outside of Kendal, Sizergh Castle, a gorgeous medieval house, has beautiful gardens and 1600 acres of estate to explore and are currently open to visitors.

You’ll find a real variety in the garden, from the formal Dutch garden to the wilder landscape of the magnificent limestone rock garden. Sizergh has been allowed to evolve and expand gradually over 300 years and is still being developed to this day.

During spring, see the brightly coloured tulips on the top terrace, walk beneath cherry blossom in the Dutch garden and enjoy the spring colours in the rock garden.

Where else to see blossom this spring

Many other National properties also offer excellent displays of blossom.

Emmmetts Garden in Kent, Winkworth Arboretum in Surrey, Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire, Coleton Fishacre in South Devon, and Trelissick in Cornwall are all recommended by the organisation.

Of course, you don’t just need to go to a National Trust site to see blossom.

Visit England also advises checking out Batsford Arboretum in Gloucestershire and Tatton Park in Manchester for blossoms this spring.


  1. ^ Can you retire to Spain after Brexit? (www.express.co.uk)

WhatsApp users warned not to trust fake 'Amazon anniversary' free gift message

WhatsApp users need to be on guard and stay alert to a bogus message allegedly offering a free gift from Amazon. The scam WhatsApp message that is being circulated claims that Amazon are offering “free gifts for everyone” as part of “30th anniversary celebrations”. When WhatsApp users click on a link in the message they are told they need to fill out a survey which “only takes a minute” to be eligible for a free Huawei Mate 40 Pro 5G.
To try to entice people more to fill out the survey, a timer can be seen on the bogus page which shows how long WhatsApp users have to claim the alleged offer.

After entering personal details, the website WhatsApp users have been directed to shows boxes on screen they need to click on.

Once they have won their alleged prize people targeted by the scam are told to forward the ‘offer’ on to five WhatsApp groups or 20 friends.

They are also told to download an app so they claim their ‘free gift’.

READ MORE: Android warning: Simple mistake could expose your most-used apps

But, as Livemint reported, this is all part of an elaborate scam to try and get people to hand over personal details.

Amazon are not holding 30th anniversary celebrations right now, and in fact the retail giant has not passed the three decade threshold yet.

Amazon was founded back in 1994, so Amazon will mark its 30th birthday in July 2024.

At the moment the majority of reports about these scams are coming from India, but cons such as these have the danger to spread.

If you receive this message don’t enter any personal details and do not forward it onto any WhatsApp contacts.

When you receive such a message there can be giveaways that it’s not legit.

READ MORE: WhatsApp shock as chat app confirms new messaging block

For instance, with this Amazon scam the URL that people are directed to is not an official Amazon webpage.

And the most obvious red flag is on this page Amazon is spelt incorrectly.

A huge, world renowned firm such as Amazon wouldn’t let a typo like that slip through any official marketing material.

Action Fraud UK has advice on their site on how to spot phishing scams. Here’s what they said…

“Phishing can also involve sending malicious attachments or website links in an effort to infect computers or mobile devices. Criminals send bogus communications: emails, letters, instant messages or text messages. Very often these appear to be authentic communications from legitimate organisations. Embedded links within the message can direct you to a hoax website where your login or personal details may be requested. You may also run the risk of your computer or smartphone being infected by viruses.

“Once your personal details have been accessed, criminals can then record this information and use it to commit fraud crimes such as identity theft and bank fraud.”