Yankees must bench Gary Sanchez, demote Adam Ottavino

A manager spends a season building up trust particularly with his best players. He will show faith during a slump, endure a bad week with the big picture in mind.

But there only is a small focus in the playoffs, when every day feels like a full season. When each game sways momentum. One day you win the ALCS opener in Houston, improve to 4-0 in this postseason, feel like a team riding a magic carpet. Blink twice and the Yankees are now down two games to one.

“You don’t make friends in the postseason,” Joe Torre told me Tuesday before ALCS Game 3. “You try to win the games.”

Torre understands well having, you know, managed the most postseason games in history (142). In his first playoffs with the Yankees, 1996, he benched stalwarts Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill for World Series Games 3-4 and all but O’Neill for Game 5 too. He played instead Cecil Fielder, Charlie Hayes and Darryl Strawberry, who joined that season already in progress. The Yanks won it all.

“Zim taught me that during the postseason you can have no patience,” Torre said of his then bench coach Don Zimmer.

Boone has to lose patience now. He has to bench Gary Sanchez and stop using Adam Ottavino in anything that resembles high leverage.

They were not the only reasons the Yankees lost 4-1 Tuesday to the Astros in the first Bronx game of this ALCS. But they are hurting the Yankees too much to keep going with them.

Houston leads this best-of-seven. The Astros have won the games started by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole and they loom at least once more each.

The Yankees forced Cole to work Tuesday, but ultimately did not deliver a big blow. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the righty’s seven innings. After Jose Altuve homered as the second batter of the game, DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge opened the bottom of the first with singles, but Brett Gardner flied out and Edwin Encarnacion popped out. Gleyber Torres walked before Didi Gregorius grounded to second.

That inning essentially encapsulates the Yankee offense in this ALCS. In the opening two games, LeMahieu, Judge and Torres were 10-for-27 with two homers, seven RBIs and three walks. The rest of the Yankees were 9-for-50 with two homers, two RBIs and three walks.

In ALCS Game 3, Torres homered for the Yankees’ lone run; Gregorius falling just short of a three-run clout in the fifth inning that would have given the Yanks a lead.

Sanchez hardly is alone in offensive malfeasance. It is just that he has essentially been a postseason dud his whole career. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 3. That makes him 1-for-11 with six whiffs in this ALCS, 2-for-21 with 10 strikeouts and without an extra-base hit in these playoffs and 16-for-92 with 34 strikeouts in his postseason totality.

He also failed to block what went for a Zack Britton wild pitch in the seventh inning. At this point, Boone has to ask if Austin Romine could be worse and just may be better? He may also ask after Aaron Hicks’ strong at-bats in his first start since Aug. 3 if he would be a better option hitting third than Brett Gardner (2-for-13 in this series).

That seventh inning was set up for failure by Ottavino. He entered with Houston ahead 2-0 after six innings and walked George Springer leading off. Then with Springer running, Altuve bounced a single to the vacated second base to put runners on first and third. Ottavino was removed, but the two runs scored.

Boone had bemoaned the soft contact that has hurt Ottavino in this series — and Altuve’s ball probably is a double play without Springer moving. But Springer is moving because Ottavino is slow to the plate (15 out of 16 successful steals against him this year. And it all has not been soft contact. Springer’s homer on Ottavino’s first pitch of Game 2 — a hanging slider in the fifth inning — tied the score 2-2.

Ottavino has now allowed nine of the 16 batters he faced to reach safely in these playoffs. The only time he has lasted to pitch a full inning was when the Yanks led the Twins by seven runs and the Astros by five. That feels like his role for now. But Boone has kept insisting that the Yankees can’t get where they want to go — think Canyon of Heroes — without Ottavino getting big outs.

But they have been derailed from that route, in part, because Ottavino has not gotten key outs. This isn’t May or June when you let a talented player work though through this. It is October. No time to make friends. Time to win the games.

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New NHS bowel cancer test finally rolled out – paving the way for screening at 50 after Sun campaign – The Sun

A NEW and improved bowel cancer screening test is finally being rolled out across England – after almost a year of delays.

It's better at spotting cancer and easier for the public to use – meaning it could save thousands of lives each year.

A major new report has criticised the NHS for delaying the new faecal immunochemical test (FIT) after health bosses promised it would be available last autumn.

Screening at 50 will save lives

Bowel cancer screening is estimated to save around 2,400 lives every year.

Currently the test is offered to everyone in England from the age of 60 – but across the border in Scotland screening starts at 50.

That's why The Sun launched  the No Time 2 Lose campaign last April, calling on the Government to lower the screening age in England – a move which could save around 4,500 lives a year.

Last summer health secretary Matt Hancock announced they would be lowering the bowel cancer screening age – marking a victory for The Sun and campaigners.

But, to date that promise has not been acted upon – in part due to delays rolling out the new FIT test, and a shortage of staff to cope with the inevitable increase in colonoscopies.

New screening test rolled out

Today, Professor Sir Mike Richards, the NHS's first cancer director and the CQC's chief inspector of hospitals, has outlined a new blueprint for the future of all NHS cancer screening.

His report notes the roll out of FIT started in June this year – but criticises delays in making the new test available.

Pilot studies trialling FIT showed it was effective in 2003.

Yet it took the UK National Screening Committee until late 2015 to recommend its use on the NHS and another four years for the public to be offered the test.

Sir Mike's report states: "This (FIT) is a more sensitive test and is easier for participants as they only have to collect a single stool sample, rather than three.

"In 2004, evidence from large scale pilots in England showed that uptake was around 7 per cent higher than for FOBT (the current test), reflecting the increased acceptability of the test.

"Uptake has increased by 8.5 per cent since FIT was introduced in Scotland in November 2017."

SIGNS OF BOWEL CANCER YOU NEED TO KNOW

IT  can be embarrassing and unpleasant to talk about your guts, but we promise it's important.

Bowel cancer, also known as colon cancer or colorectal cancer, is the fourth most common form of the disease in the UK, after breast, prostate andlung cancers.

It's the UK's 2nd deadliest cancer – after lung – claiming 16,000 lives a year, but it CAN be cured – if it's caught early enough.

Fewer than one in ten people survive bowel cancer if it's picked up at stage 4, but detected quickly, more than nine in ten patients will live five years or longer.

What are the red-flag signs of bowel cancer?

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • a change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • pain or a lump in your tummy
  • extreme tiredness
  • losing weight

Tumours in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anaemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.

In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • gripping pains in the abdomen
  • feeling bloated
  • constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • being sick
  • feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you've been to the loo

While these are all signs to watch out for, experts warn the most serious is noticing blood in your stools.

But, they warn it can prove tricky for doctors to diagnose the disease, because in most cases these symptoms will be a sign of a less serious disease.

2nd deadliest cancer – but it can be cured

Bowel cancer is the second deadliest form of the disease in the UK, claiming around 16,000 lives every year.

Yet, it can be cured, better still prevented – but early diagnosis is key to that.

Catch the disease at stage 1 and a patient has a 97 per cent chance of surviving five years or longer.

But, catch it at stage 4 – when the cancer has spread – and that chance plummets to just 7 per cent.

Screening is one of the best ways to catch the disease early – hence the importance of the new FIT test.

Sir Mike's report notes: "At present, FIT is aimed at men and women aged 60 to 74, though the plan is to reduce the starting age to 50.

In August 2018, ministers agreed that the starting age for bowel screening should be lowered… Final decisions on the timescales for extension to lower ages and on increasing sensitivity are awaited

"In August 2018, ministers agreed that the starting age for bowel screening should be lowered.

"It is also planned that over time the sensitivity level of the FIT screening test will be increased, thereby identifying a higher proportion of patients with cancer or polyps (pre-cancerous lumps)."

With a more effective screening test, comes the inevitable increase in people needing further cancer investigations.

When it comes to bowel cancer, patients with abnormal screening tests are often sent for a colonoscopy – where a camera is inserted into the bowel to look for polyps, or pre-cancerous lumps.

But staff shortages mean that is a "limiting factor," Sir Mike warned.

"Final decisions on the timescales for extension to lower ages and on increasing sensitivity are awaited," he added.

"While the five screening hubs have the capacity to process more FIT tests, optimising bowel cancer screening will have inevitable consequences for workforce."

Welcomed news

Dr Lisa Wilde, director of research and external affairs at Bowel Cancer UK told The Sun the charity welcomes Sir Mike's report.

"We are extremely pleased that the review echoes our concerns around NHS staff shortages, which must be addressed in order to deliver vital improvements to screening for bowel cancer.

"These include the Government's commitment to lowering the screening age from 60 to 50, as well as increasing the sensitivity of the new, easier to use FIT test.

"We look forward to working with the Department of Health, PHE and NHS England to ensure bowel cancer can be prevented, or diagnosed at the earliest opportunity when treatment can be more successful."

Dr Wilde also welcomed Sir Mike's call for targeted screening for those people with Lynch syndrome.

It's a genetic condition that increases a person's risk of bowel cancer by as much as 80 per cent.

Regular colonoscopies for those with the condition can "significantly reduce their risk of dying so it is vital this is implemented", she added.

Cancer screening in supermarkets and at work

Other recommendations in Sir Mike's report include offering women cancer checks during their lunch breaks, and providing screening in supermarket car parks, and in the workplace to make it easier.

GPs will also get extra cash to provide out of hours and weekend appointments.

The NHS currently sends out 15 million invites each year for breast, bowel and cervical cancer screening, with 10 million getting checks.
Sir Mike said implementing the changes in his report could save thousands of lives annually.

He told The Sun: "We know when it comes to cancer, catching it early can save lives, but when life is so hectic it is all too easy to put your job or family ahead of your own health.

"When you can arrange everything from a plane ticket to a mortgage at the touch of a button we want to make health checks more convenient too – if and when they need it, people should be able to get screened for cancer when they pop out for lunch or a coffee.”

Sir Mike's steps all contribute to the NHS Long Term Plan goal of saving an extra 55,000 lives each year within a decade by catching three quarters of all cancers early when they are easier to treat.

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UPS driver makes hilarious attempt to hide package

Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 15

Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 15 are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews.com

Well, that didn’t work.

A delivery driver hilariously followed instructions while delivering a package, though the directions made little sense, given what was being delivered. The resulting picture revealed one of the funniest ways for someone to find a package by their front door.

Ebony Freeman recently received a new doormat from a friend that reads, “Please hide packages from husband,” Fox 13 reports. The Texas native apparently liked the mat and placed it outside the front door to her house.

A few days later, she reportedly received a package and the delivery driver followed the mat’s instructions. Unfortunately, the package was a long, elongated packaged that was not hidden by the mat in any way at all.

Freeman shared a photo of the package on Facebook and captioned it: “Oh my god look! The UPS guy actually hid it under the rug!”

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The post quickly went viral, garnering over 7,000 reactions, 10,000 comments and 48,000 shares.

This isn’t the first time that delivery drivers have been the source of great photographs.

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In 2017, a trend spread online of UPS drivers posing with dogs along their delivery routes. An online group called UPS Dogs was formed by one of the company’s drivers. Sean McCarren of West Virginia created the group after he noticed that his phone was full of pictures of puppies he'd met while on the job.

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3 Editors Style Gal Meets Glam's New Coat Line, and It'll Get You in the Holiday Spirit

3 Editors Style Gal Meets Glam’s New Coat Line, and It’ll Get You in the Holiday Spirit

My coat collection rivals Carrie Bradshaw’s closet full of shoes, so needless to say, I care a lot about my outerwear. As a shopping editor, it’s important to me that the pieces I choose are well-made, stylish, and warm. That’s why I was so thrilled when Gal Meets Glam announced its coat line, out today! The collection is filled with both classic staples and on-trend statement makers — no matter what you choose, these designs will be the centerpieces of your outfit.

Two other editors and I decided to give these brand-new coats a test run for ourselves; each of us styled our favorite picks in two different, unique ways. If you want a full review of the pieces and how to incorporate them into your own wardrobe, you’ve come to the right place. Peruse our photos, then shop these cute coats yourself. Don’t wait around — a fresh line like this never stays in stock for long.

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'I didn't have a great game' – Aaron Connolly disappointed with full Ireland debut

Aaron Connolly admitted he was disappointed with his performance as he made his first start for Ireland in the Euro 2020 defeat against Switzerland in Geneva.

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy answered the call of many Ireland fans by handing Brighton teenager Connolly a start on a night when a win would have secured Euro 2020 qualification, but Connolly could not hide his disappointment after the 2-0 defeat as he gave his reaction to Sky Sports.

“I was proud to make my full debut but at the end of the day it ended in defeat and personally I didn’t have a great game,” said Connolly. 

“I will go back to Brighton and try and keep my performances going there and hopefully come back in November.

“I thought we played well in the second half but the first half was not good enough and we know that. The pitch was tough to play on, it was tough to get a set of passes going. It was a disappointing night but there is still all to play for. I believe we can play against Denmark and get three points and qualify.”

Ireland’s improved second-half display may fuel hope ahead of next month’s final qualifier against Denmark despite suspensions ruling Seamus Coleman and Shane Duffy out of that game in Dublin, with former Ireland manager Brian Kerr defending McCarthy’s contribution in his post-match analysis on Virgin Media Sport.

“Mick won’t like the result as it’s his first defeat in the group,” said Kerr. “Mick had no build-up games to evaluate the squad and up to that point, he was working with us in this TV studio.

“From his point of view, he will say that was a good honest performance. His back four were very good, Darren Randolph was excellent and we tried to take the match to them late on with the ten players. 

“If we are going to beat Denmark, we need the type of performance we saw in the second half. We can’t allow them to dictate the game to us in Dublin.”

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Parents of UK crash victim to seek 'justice' at White House

BREAKING: Parents of British motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, who was killed by US diplomat’s wife arrive at White House for Donald Trump meeting as they urge officials to send her back to the UK to face justice

  • Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, arrived at the White House in Tuesday afternoon 
  • It is not yet clear if they will meet directly with President Donald Trump 
  • Their 19-year-old son was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a British air force base
  • Case attracted widespread interest after Sacoolas, who is a U.S. diplomat’s wife, flew back to the United States and claimed diplomatic immunity 
  • Dunn’s parents took their case directly to U.S. audiences this week, holding a New York news conference and urging Sacoolas to return to Britain 

The parents of a British teenager killed in a car crash involving an American diplomat’s wife have gone to the White House to meet with officials about their son’s case.

Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, arrived at the White House in Tuesday afternoon.

It is not yet clear if they will meet directly with President Donald Trump. 

Their 19-year-old son was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a British air force base in Northamptonshire. 

The case has attracted widespread interest after Sacoolas, who is a U.S. diplomat’s wife, flew back to the United States following the crash and claimed diplomatic immunity.   

Sacoolas has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing but her claim of immunity and return to the U.S. provoked an uproar in Britain.

Dunn’s parents took their case directly to U.S. audiences this week, holding a New York news conference and urging Sacoolas to return to Britain. 

Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, were spotted arriving at Union Station in Washington on Tuesday ahead of their meeting at the White House

Ahead of their meeting, Dunn’s parents told Sky News they were shocked they received a White House invitation so quickly. 

‘Hopefully it’s good news that she’s’ coming back to the UK and the government has said this is the way to go,’ Dunn’s father said.  

‘We came to America to get our point across and Anne back to the UK. If are going to the White House, surely this is a good step forward.’ 

The teenager’s mother said she was trying not to get her hopes up. 

‘We are keeping our fingers crossed that we’re not going to go and have a ‘there-there’ pat on the back, but of course I’m pleased,’ she said.

‘I just don’t know what to expect and we keep our fingers crossed that it’s not just an invitation to have a general chat.’ 

Trump last week called it ‘a terrible accident’ and said he planned to intervene and potentially arrange a meeting between the Dunns and Sacoolas.  


Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in August when his motorcycle collided with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas outside a British air force base in Northamptonshire 

Dunn’s parents announced the White House meeting on a ‘Justice4Harry’ crowd-funding page. 

A senior U.S. official, speaking on background, confirmed the plan.

The family said they hoped the invitation represented ‘a positive development in our fight for justice’.

‘We believe this can only be achieved if Anne Sacoolas returns to England and engages properly with the justice system, where she will be treated fairly in a proper investigation of what happened to our son on that day,’ they said.

Dunn’s parents are expected to meet with reporters outside the White House after the late-afternoon meeting.

Sacoolas’s lawyer, Amy Jeffress, told the BBC earlier that her client was ‘devastated’ by the accident and wanted to meet with the parents to ‘express her deepest sympathies’.

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The insanity of Trump's Syria surrender as Russia gleefully moves in

The insanity of Trump’s surrender in Syria: On the left hand side of the road, US troops pull out of their base near the Turkish border … on the right Assad’s forces – and their Russian allies – gleefully move in

  • US Army is abandoning its protection of the Syrian Kurds who led anti-jihadi war 
  • Turkey’s seven-day-long offensive is redrawing the map of northern Syria 
  • Russia announced units were deploying to keep Syrian and Turkish forces apart 

With the Stars and Stripes flying from the turrets of their armoured lorries, US troops performed a humiliating retreat from a key Syrian base yesterday.

Just after midnight, 15 vehicles pulled out of the facility built three years ago when the city of Manbij was cleared of Islamic State forces. As the US convoy headed one way Syrian fighters headed in the opposite direction – intent on occupying their abandoned positions.

On the orders of Donald Trump, the US Army is abandoning its protection of the Syrian Kurds who led the war against the jihadis. The Kurds have now had to turn to the Syrian regime and its Russian allies in their desperate bid to avoid being over-run by Turkish forces exploiting the American withdrawal.

On the orders of Donald Trump, the US Army is abandoning its protection of the Syrian Kurds who led the war against the jihadis

The Wagner Group, a shadowy mercenary outfit waging secret wars on the Kremlin’s behalf, immediately moved into the former US base. At the same time, Syrian government forces took full control of Manbij.

An official from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said: ‘The Russians are in the American base in Manbij now, they helped escort the Americans out of the area and got their base in return.’

Now in its seventh day, Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish fighters is redrawing the map of northern Syria once again in a civil war that has lasted eight years.

On Sunday the SDF was forced to cut a deal with Russian-backed President Bashar Al Assad to stave off potential genocide.

The Kurds have now had to turn to the Syrian regime and its Russian allies in their desperate bid to avoid being over-run by Turkish forces exploiting the American withdrawal. Pictured is a Syrian soldier

Russia announced yesterday that its units were deploying to keep apart the advancing Syrian and Turkish forces. It is a clear sign that Moscow is filling the security vacuum left by Donald Trump’s withdrawal of US soldiers last week.

Moscow’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said fighting between the Turks and Syrians was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘therefore we will not allow it, of course’.

The US President’s unexpected and widely-condemned decision to withhold protection from Syria’s Kurds after a phone call with Turkish opposite number Recep Tayyip Erdogan overturned five years of US policy in the Middle East.

Republicans have largely remained loyal to Mr Trump but appear to be losing patience. Defence chiefs and White House advisers all warned him against his Syrian move and Congressional leaders said last night that they wanted to pass a bipartisan motion to overturn Mr Trump’s decision. US news shows have carried alarming reports from Syria highlighting the civilian casualties.

The pressure seemed to be telling last night when Mr Trump phoned Mr Erdogan to demand an immediate ceasefire.

The arrival of the Wagner Group is a dangerous development. In February last year 600 of its mercenaries, armed with tanks and artillery, launched an assault on the SDF only to find US advisers were embedded with them.

Russia announced yesterday that its units were deploying to keep apart the advancing Syrian and Turkish forces. Pictured are Syrian soldiers 

Moscow’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said fighting between the Turks and Syrians was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘therefore we will not allow it, of course’

The Wagner forces maintained the assault for four hours despite being hammered by US airstrikes. An estimated 300 Russians were killed or wounded.

Western intelligence agencies believe Russia also sent Wagner mercenaries into Libya earlier this year to help General Khalifa Haftar overthrow the UN-backed government. It was suspected that Moscow wanted to exploit the instability to launch a formal intervention.

Footage posted online yesterday showed Russian war correspondent Oleg Blokhin, known to be following the Wagner group, smirking as he looked around the abandoned US base. He boasted: ‘Yesterday it was them and today it is us here.’

A senior Pentagon official told Newsweek that US personnel have ‘been assisting the Russian forces to navigate through previously unsafe areas quickly’.

A senior Pentagon official told Newsweek that US personnel have ‘been assisting the Russian forces to navigate through previously unsafe areas quickly’. Pictured are Turkey’s forces advancing towards Manbij, Syria 

The official said: ‘It is essentially a handover. However, it’s a quick out, not something that will include walk-throughs, etc. Everything is about making out with as much as possible of our things while destroying any sensitive equipment that cannot be moved.’

A TV crew understood to be from Russia Today filmed the base, showing what the US forces had left behind, including a television, sofas and bunks with bed linen.

Clashes between the SDF and Turkey continued yesterday, with Ankara saying two of its soldiers were killed by shelling in the Manbij region. It claimed 15 ‘terrorists’ were killed when the Turkish army returned fire.

From Manbij, Saddam Al Hasan, 28, said: ‘No one wants the people to be homeless and killed. I am happy to allow Russia to enter if they provide security and safety, and stop the ongoing war. I am happy that they will protect the borders of my city from the barbaric attacks of the armed factions and I hope that the crisis will end after uniting with the SDF.’

Pictured is the Syrian Army driving one way towards Kobane, and Americans driving the other 

President Erdogan has vowed to ignore growing condemnation of the invasion from the West. Turkey is a Nato member and the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, met Boris Johnson yesterday for talks.

Britain and France have accused Turkey and the US of undoing five years of work in fighting IS, whose fighters and families are plotting escape from detention facilities.

French prime minister Edouard Philippe said: ‘This intervention is devastating for our collective security with the inevitable resurgence of Islamic State in northern Syria and also probably northwest Iraq.’

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday suggested three British orphans whose parents were killed in Syria after joining Islamic State could be allowed to return to the UK.

Mr Raab told MPs the Government did not want to see British foreign fighters return to the UK but, given the ‘fluid situation’, this might change. His comments were rebuffed by Home Office sources.

Additional reporting by Bedir Ahmed in Syria and Tom L

 

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Boy with rare Parkinson’s secures funding for life-changing operation

A severely disabled 12-year-old boy is looking forward to a “dream Christmas” after securing funding for pioneering treatment.

Marcus Allen suffers from a rare disease similar to Parkinson’s.

His family yesterday raised the £70,000 they needed to pay for cutting-edge gene therapy treatment in Poland because the NHS won’t fund it.

It came after the Daily Star donated the last £1,000 – with some cash even left over for other support Marcus may need.

His overjoyed mother Diane, 41, said: “Every donation is appreciated – no ­matter how small.

“The Daily Star have really helped support our journey and helped people educate themselves about Marcus’ condition.

  • Brit boy scratched lines into skin to ‘look whiter’ after being called ’N-word’

  • County lines drug gangs target 'less suspicious middle-class' kids to be mules

“You have helped raised his profile.”

The £70,000 milestone was reached ­exactly eight weeks after Diane launched the appeal from her home in Romiley, Greater Manchester.

Marcus was diagnosed with aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase deficiency when he was six months old and has ­gradually lost all of his mobility.

Diane is now hoping to travel to Poland in early December and have the treatment done by the New Year.

She said: “This will be the best Christmas present anybody has given me.”

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As war map shifts once more, fleeing Syrians face tough choices

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Driven from his hometown in northeast Syria as bombs rained down in a Turkish assault, a Kurdish father worried for his toddler son, who was ill, and accused America of betraying the Kurds in the region.

Agid Meshmesh escaped from the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani on Monday after he couldn’t get food or diapers for his son, who was battling a severe infection.

“Life stopped; the doctors all fled,” Meshmesh, 29, told Reuters by phone from the nearby town of Manbij, where he was staying with his wife and son. “We’re fleeing, but we don’t know where to go.”

He called the Turkish military move on the region “a catastrophe,” and he criticized Washington for abandoning Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria, leaving the region at the mercy of Turkish troops and seeking help from Syria and Russia.

His hometown, Kobani, was the birthplace of a U.S.-Kurdish military alliance some five years ago, when Washington intervened with air strikes to help Kurdish fighters turn the tide against Islamic State. That made the U.S. pullout even more bitter.

“The Americans couldn’t do a thing for us,” he said. “It was an American betrayal of northeast Syria and the Kurdish people…. They left us between the jaws of a pincer.”

Caught in the crossfire, Meshmesh and his family are waiting, helplessly, to see how the shifting web of rivalries and alliances plays out in the tangled battlefield of northeastern Syria, which the Kurdish YPG militia controls.

The past week has redrawn the map of Syria yet again after more than eight years of war. Washington’s move to pull out of the region, opening the way for Ankara’s offensive, left Kurdish forces scrambling for protection. So the Kurds invited in the Syrian army and its ally Russia.

Meshmesh said he would rather have Syrian troops take his hometown than see it fall to Turkish forces — which he fears would make him a target for his Kurdish ethnicity. Turkey launched the operation in the region to target the YPG, which it brands a threat to Turkey.

The ethnically mixed northeast region is home to up to 2 million people, including Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and others, many of them uprooted from other parts of Syria.

The Syrian army’s deployment raises questions about the fate of a region where the YPG and its local allies have carved out self-rule for years.

Making matters even more fraught, the humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) announced Tuesday that it had suspended most of its activities in the region and evacuated all its international staff.

Meshmesh said the new reality on the ground could pose a threat for people who had evaded mandatory military service or Kurdish activists who are wanted by the government.

For him, that paled in comparison to the Turkish incursion. “It is an existential problem,” he said.

“I’m proud to be Syrian,” he said. “I prefer the Syrian government … even if it may weaken the rights and dreams that were built in the past eight years.”

But with territory shifting hands at lightning speed and a new exodus unfolding, Syrians must weigh up tough choices over where to seek shelter.

In the city of Raqqa farther south, a young Syrian Arab man hid in his home Tuesday, frantically following the news, worried about the prospect of Syrian government forces coming back.

“I’m living in a state of terror. I can’t sleep at night,” said the opposition activist, who is in his 20s and didn’t want to give his name because he is afraid of retribution. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

He has remained in his city since early in the war even as its rulers shifted from rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule to Islamic State militants and then to Kurdish fighters. But now he fears a return of state rule because of his past work with local outlets and activists opposed to Assad.

Syrian Kurdish leaders have said the deal with Damascus involves only army troops deploying at the border, and there has been no official comment from the Syrian government.

But the activist and a second Raqqa resident said they still worried that Kurdish forces would cut a deal with Damascus and hand over Raqqa.

Some in the city who support Damascus rallied on Monday, calling for a return of its rule and carrying photos of Assad for the first time in years, he said.

If it comes to it, his siblings, like many others, would have no problem staying in Raqqa, so he would have to find a way out alone, he said.

He hopes to get smuggled into territory in the north under the control of mainly Sunni Arab Syrian rebels funded and trained by Turkey, a swathe of Syria where Turkish forces are stationed. For now, though, he is waiting to see what happens.

The activist said he had heard from relatives in the north that some rebels had been looting and acting inappropriately but he would feel safer there than under state rule.

“Listen, nobody is good — they’re all criminals,” he said. “But some are easier than others.”

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You Can Make Sparkly Unicorn Jell-O Shots Now

I have never really been a Jell-O shot kind of person, largely because I’m not a gelatin person in the first place — but I might make an exception for these fun-looking treats: You can get unicorn gelatin shot kits at retailers like Walmart and Amazon now. Made by Crafty Cooking Kits, they’re ostensibly for kids (and therefore alcohol-free in their natural state)… but, I mean, let’s be honest: There is no reason an adult can’t also seize the opportunity to make unicorn gelatin shots. Whether you choose to leave them as-is or add a boozy kick to them, they’re still fun, even if your childhood is long behind you.

According to the product listing, the Magical Unicorn Gelatin Cups Kit comes with berry-flavored gelatin mix, red and blue colored powders, rainbow sprinkles, and unicorn decorations, along with six plastic cups in which to mix up your creations. You’ll need to supply two cups of boiling water, a muffin pan, and aluminum foil yourself; you can also add your favorite boozy beverage to the mix if you want to make your unicorn gelatin shots… uh… let’s call it extra magical.

It’s not immediately clear what the instructions require when it comes to actually making the treats; the item description on the side of the box tells us only that it involves “pink and blue berry-flavored gelatin [blending] magically together to leave both kids and adults mystified.” Does it work like the long-discontinued dessert Jell-O 1-2-3, which divided itself into three different layers during the refrigeration process? Do you just, y’know, make two different colored gelatins and pile them on top of each other? Who knows!

Either way, though, you get to top each little up off with rainbow sprinkles and unicorn heads at the end, so, hey, that’s fun. If you’re feeling especially extra, you might also think about adding a dollop of Cool Whip or some actual whipped cream to the cup before you go to town with the sprinkles.

I’ll admit to being a little disappointed that the unicorn heads are not edible; they’re just little paper decorations you stick in the top of the finished gelatin cups. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point the fact that the kit isn’t terribly highly reviewed — on both Walmart and Amazon, a number of reviewers commented on the excessive firmness of the gelatin, as well as its relative lack of flavor. (To be perfectly honest, gelatin has never tasted like much of anything to me, so this particular criticism seems kind of like yelling at water for being wet, but maybe that’s just me.)

Either way, though, they’re not terribly expensive — between $4 and $6 a kit, depending on where you shop — so if you’re looking for an affordable way to keep either your favorite kids or just, y’know, yourself entertained on a rainy day, they might be worth a shot. Have fun!

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