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Out now: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, your new mobile gaming obsession

Just when you thought you’d got over your crippling Pokémon Go addiction, along comes Nintendo’s latest mobile phone game.

And judging on first impressions, it’s great.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp came out today on iOS and Android and is set to be the next big thing in mobile games.

It’s a mobile spin-off of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing console games, which gave you a virtual house in a picture-postcard cartoon town populated by adorable animals, gave you a virtual mortgage to pay off (yes, really) and then gave you the freedom to potter about at your own leisure.

For this mobile outing the setting has changed to a camp site but the general idea of the game – wander around, make friends with animals, shake a tree to pick apples, maybe do a little fishing – is very familiar.

It’s a little oasis of calm in your pocket and exudes charm in spades.

And going mobile has made it much easier to interact with friends – you can visit their camps, they can visit yours (although inevitably they all look pretty much the same at this early stage) and you can buy and sell unwanted items.

However, AC:PC is also afflicted with one of the less savoury aspects of mobile gaming: in-app purchases.

Nintendo describe the game as “free-to-start“, and as far as we could gather in our limited play time so far it seems pretty much everything in the game can be accessed without paying real money.

But that comes at the cost of waiting for stuff to happen.

For instance, pick an apple for your new pal Goldie the golden retriever and a timer appears over the tree showing how long it’ll take them to grow back – three hours in real time, or you can use a bag of fertiliser on the apple tree to speed things along. The fertiliser costs ‘leaf tickets’, which can be bought using real-world money in transactions ranging from 99p to £38.99.

In the early game this doesn’t seem too much of a worry, but experience in similar games suggest the waiting times will get longer and longer for the more desirable items later on.

Parents will want to make sure in-app purchases are turned off.

But much of the charm of earlier Animal Crossing games has always been the leisurely pace, and waiting for events in real time – certain insects only come out at night, or events only happen on certain days of the week. Even the in-game seasons progress at the same pace as real life.

So unless you’re impatient, you’ll be able to enjoy Pocket Camp in small doses – and there’s plenty to enjoy.


Please don’t pet!

Carol Willacy with her dogs, Charlie and BillyImage copyright Carol Willacy
Image caption Carol Willacy says even working dogs like Charlie, left, get “horrendous” attention from strangers

“I’m working” or “do not disturb” are messages usually worn by a guide or assistant dog.

Charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People says petting a working dog risks “distracting the dog from its work” and “could put its owner at risk of danger”.

But some pet owners are also saying they don’t like strangers stroking their non-working dog.

Contact can also be a problem for owners of shy dogs, deaf dogs, and puppies prone to bite or growl. Here are why some people are saying: “Please don’t pet my dog.”

1) ‘My dog’s deaf’

Image copyright Debra Dorrans

Debra Dorrans’ black Labrador-Staffie Benny is 14 and has lost his hearing – so she worries “he might get a fright” if people come up to him and stroke him.

She also recently adopted seven-year-old Sam, a white Westie who gets nervous around other dogs and children.

“I have heard of dogs biting children that have then had to be put down,” she says.

“I’ve never been in that position, but I’m always aware.”

Debra, a retired nurse, is one of 12,000 members of Facebook group Reactive Dogs, which brings together owners of dogs who show excessive fear or aggression around strangers.

“I always put my dogs first,” says Debra.

“I don’t want them to get into any trouble or bite someone.”

She says she’s not afraid to say no to people who want to pet her dogs, but warns that “you have to keep your wits about you”.

“One day a small child ran up to Benny and wrapped his arms around him. I told the parents they shouldn’t do that, but they didn’t really seem to understand.”

2) ‘Quite alarming’

Image copyright Dale McLelland

“I’m not embarrassed to say to someone – please don’t pet my dog,” says Dale McLelland, from Ayrshire, owner of two-year-old Hattie.

She says people “absolutely make a beeline” for the Old English Sheepdog.

“It’s hairy dog syndrome. She looks so cute.”

But she explains it can be “quite alarming for her” if too many people approach Hattie during her walks.

Dale, who has worked as a dog behaviourist for 10 years, says dogs can find strangers’ hugging and petting intrusive.

“Can you imagine if you were on a train and every second person came over and touched you, how uncomfortable that would make you feel?”

Dog person? The correct way to pet a stranger’s pooch

  1. Never leave your child alone with a stranger’s dog
  2. And don’t approach a dog without an owner around
  3. Only stroke the a dog if the owner says “yes you can”
  4. Get the dog to sniff your hand first, then stroke gently
  5. If a strange dog approaches you – stand still, look away and cross your arms

Source: Dogs Trust

Dale avoids busy places, and volunteers for Yellow Dog, a US-based project which advocates putting a yellow ribbon on a dog to show that they need space.

“The problem is, not many people know what the ribbon means – and those that do are normally clued up”.

She adds: “I had Rottweilers for 20 years – and only people who probably knew the breed came over and touched them.”

3) ‘My dog IS working’

Image copyright Carol Willacy

But even working dogs get disturbed, according to those who rely on them.

Carol Willacy says her assistance dog Charlie, a golden Labrador, is “my life, everything” – but that the attention he gets from strangers can be “horrendous”.

She says about 50 people will approach her on a trip to the supermarket, even if he is wearing his harness.

“The ‘do not distract’ message doesn’t make a difference,” she says.

“There’s a saying at least half of people come out with, ‘I know I’m not supposed to touch your dog, but…'”

Carol, 48, suffered a spinal injury as a teenager and also has stereotypic movement disorder (SMD), meaning she uses a wheelchair and had to give up her job as a pharmaceuticals account manager.

Three-year-old Charlie helps Carol by passing her things and, crucially, detects and warns her if she is unwell.

“If your dog is going to tell you you’re not feeling well, you want that dog to be focused and not stroked and stopped,” she says.

“My previous assistance dog was a little Jack Russell and we had the same problem. He had to retire as he got grumpy with people,” she says.

4) ‘I’m training my puppy’

Image copyright Luke Balsam

Dog trainer Luke Balsam, who runs a school in London, says puppies in particular should be left alone – as they are still getting used to walks and being around strangers.

“People are drawn to puppies,” says Luke, who owns a Cocker Spaniel, Indie.

“But some don’t think it’s necessary to ask the owner’s permission.”

In London, where lots of people live in flats and might not own a pet, seeing dogs on the Tube or in cafes can be a novelty.

Luke says public-shy owners should go “off the beaten track”, like a wooded area, until they have trained a puppy or dog to walk around in busy places.

But he says anyone worried their dog might bite or nip a person should use a muzzle.

“It’s definitely recommended,” he says.

“The muzzle should be an essential part of training your dog, and they can be taught to enjoy wearing it.”

Have you said “don’t pet my dog” to a stranger? Or do you like it when people want to pet your dog? You can share your experience by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

GALLERY: Vote for your winner in our Children’s Digital Christmas Card competition!

It’s time to pick your winner in our Children’s Digital Christmas Card Competition!

We’ve had lots of amazing entries for this year‘s contest

There will be winners in each of our three age group categories – 4-6, 7-10 and 11-14 – as well as one overall winner.

To vote, choose your favourite card from the gallery at the top of this page and make a note of the four-digit number in the caption.

Then, you can either phone 0901 360 plus the four digits for your winner or vote by text by sending the word CARD, then a space, then the four-digit code to 80360.

Calls cost £1.02 per minute plus your phone company’s access charge. Calls from mobiles and some other networks may cost more. Texts cost £1 plus your normal operator text charge. Telephone and text lines are open until 11:59pm on December 1. Call 0207 998 0549 for help and advice on phone and mobile services.

MP calls for more police funding to catch ‘vile thugs’ responsible for Wilsden carjacking

SHIPLEY MP Philip Davies has called on the Home Office to give more money to police following a “spate of crimes in a normally quiet village”.

Mr Davies made the call in the House of Commons after being told by local police chiefs funding allocated for police forces was not filtering down.

He said: “There has been a spate of crimes in Wilsden, a normally quiet village in my constituency, culminating in the popular local vet Terry Croud being attacked by a hammer and having his car stolen on Friday last week.

“The Police and Crime Commissioner says the Home Office is getting more money from the Treasury for policing but they are not passing it on to police forces, so can the Home Secretary commit that West Yorkshire Police will get sufficient funding so that West Yorkshire Police can catch these vile thugs and that people in Wilsden can sleep easily at night once again.”

Mr Croud, who is in his 50s, works for the Gatehouse Veterinary Group and was hit over the head with a hammer during the robbery of his Audi RS6, leaving him needing eight stitches.

A man was arrested last night in connection with the robbery and remains in custody today.

Home Office Minister Nick Hurd said: “The Government is determined to make sure the police have the resources they need which is why we are doing the review of funding.

“I have spoken to his police colleagues personally and as I said the decisions about the 2018/19 funding settlement will be put before the House shortly.”

Wyatt ton sees England draw Ashes

Danni Wyatt became the first England batter to score a Twenty20 international century
Women’s Ashes: Third Twenty20 international, Canberra
Australia 178-2 (20 overs): Mooney 117*, Perry 22*, Brunt 1-25
England 181-6 (19 overs): Wyatt 100, Knight 51, Jonassen 2-25
England (2pts) won by four wickets; Australia retain the Women’s Ashes with multi-format series drawn 8-8

Danni Wyatt scored England‘s first Twenty20 International century to help her side chase a record 179 and draw the multi-format Women’s Ashes series.

Beth Mooney hit an unbeaten 117, the second-highest score in women’s T20s, as Australia posted an imposing total.

Wyatt hit two sixes and 13 boundaries in a 139-run stand with Heather Knight (51) to rescue England from 30-3 and win by four wickets in Canberra.

Australia had already retained the Women’s Ashes but the series ended 8-8.

A tale of two centuries

Prior to this game, there had only been four centuries in women’s Twenty20 international cricket – two of them struck by West Indies star Deandra Dottin.

The fifth was majestic, Mooney dispatching England’s ragged bowling attack to all areas of Manuka Oval with exceptional power and guile, her 19 boundaries the highest ever by a man or woman in Twenty20 internationals.

The 23-year-old smashed four in a row to finish the innings, taking Australia to 178-2 and seemingly on the cusp of victory.

England floundered in response as Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor were both caught trying to attack every delivery and a nervy Nat Sciver was run out by Elyse Villani’s sharp throw.

Wyatt rode her luck – dropped on just 14 by wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy and 54 by Megan Schutt – but punished the increasingly panicked Australian bowlers with a series of hefty drives over cover.

With Knight proving perfect foil, Wyatt raced to 100 off just 56 balls and though she fell to Delissa Kimmince without adding to her century, the 26-year-old had done enough to steer England to a historic victory.

T20 international centurions

Beth Mooney is the first woman to score a Twenty20 international ton in Australia – Danni Wyatt the second

There have only been six T20 centuries in women’s international cricket, and two of those were made within three hours of each other.

  • Meg Lanning – 126 for Australia v Ireland, March 2014
  • Beth Mooney – 117 not out for Australia v England, November 2017
  • Shandre Fritz – 116 not out for South Africa v Netherlands, October 2010
  • Deandra Dottin – 112 not out for West Indies v South Africa, May 2010
  • Deandra Dottin – 112 for West Indies v Sri Lanka, October 2017
  • Danni Wyatt – 100 for England v Australia, November 2017

Pressure drop

England were on 27-2 when Wyatt skied a leading edge off spinner Molly Strano straight up, only for Healy to misjudge the flight and drop a simple chance.

Even then England looked far from capable of bettering their own record chase of 165 against Australia in 2009 to salvage a draw from an Ashes in which they were “lacking in a few areas”, according to coach Mark Robinson.

Yet Healy’s drop appeared to spread tension throughout the Australia fielders, the wicketkeeper spilling another easy opportunity with Knight on 24 – the fourth drop in the space of about 15 minutes after Strano and Schutt’s mistakes.

They recovered to a degree to take three late wickets but Wilson’s impudent ramp shot to the boundary for victory capped a disappointing end to an otherwise fine series from Rachael Haynes’ team.

Australia won two of the three one-day internationals to take a 4-2 lead in the series before the solitary Test match was drawn, earning another two points for each side.

The home side then won the first of three T20 internationals to lead 8-4 and ensure they would at least retain the Women’s Ashes but England won the last two to secure an 8-8 finish.

‘We’re gutted we didn’t win the Ashes’ – reaction

England’s Danni Wyatt, speaking to Test Match Special: “I tried a bit too hard in the first six overs, I lost my shape a little bit. But I backed myself and swung hard and it paid off. I was quite lucky, but you have to make it count when someone drops you, and I made it count.

“To contribute to a record chase is a special feeling. Heather batted really well – she backed herself and hit the ball in her areas. Outstanding by the skipper.

“It was hard sitting out for the ODIs and the Test match so I had to make the T20s count.”

England captain Heather Knight, speaking to Test Match Special: “What a game it was. I thought they had too many, but there is a hell of a lot of fight in this team and to level at 8-8 makes me really proud.

“We lost a few early wickets but it was a belter of a pitch so boundaries were easy to come by. I was just trying to get Danni on strike.

“We’re gutted we didn’t win the Ashes but to draw the series is the next best thing. It was a great innings from Beth Mooney. It’s tough for her to be on the losing side. What a game and what a spectacle for women’s cricket.”

Australia captain Rachael Haynes, speaking to BT Sport: “I certainly thought it was well within our grasp to win the match. It was disappointing. I guess it’s true, catches win matches, and we put a few down.

“Beth has been outstanding. She’s been hitting everywhere. She’s worked extremely hard on her game. For her to produce in international cricket is really exciting.”

Grenfell tragedy: Councils plan £380m fire safety spend

GrenfellImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fire safety measures councils have started implementing range from the removal of cladding and installation of fire doors

Councils across the capital will be spending a total of about £383m to make social housing safer following the Grenfell fire, research by BBC Radio London has found.

About half of London‘s boroughs have asked for financial help, which the government has not yet agreed to.

Of 33 London boroughs contacted following the disaster in June, 26 responded with estimated costings.

Four boroughs said it was too early to know how much they would be spending.

Two councils had no council housing to implement additional fire safety measures to.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – the council where the Grenfell Tower stood – did not respond to BBC Radio London’s research request.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Firefighters were called to Grenfell Tower at 00:54 BST on 14 June

Ahead of Wednesday’s budget, some councillors in London are calling on the government to make good on its promise in the days that followed the Grenfell fire to help councils with fire safety measures.

Measures councils have started implementing range from the removal of cladding and installation of fire doors and smoke alarms, to 24-hour security patrols on some blocks.

Other costs include removing people from their homes and temporarily re-housing them for safety reasons.

Ten councils are planning to put in sprinklers, with a further 11 considering installing sprinklers in council housing blocks.

Four highest planned spends

  • Southwark £162m (£62m spent so far, £100m estimated if sprinklers retrofitted)
  • Wandsworth £30m (Sprinklers and cladding)
  • City of London £25m (Fire compliant doors, sprinklers and fire alarms)
  • Hammersmith & Fulham £20m (Fire safety plus scheme)

Croydon has already started the process of installing sprinklers in 25 blocks over 10 storeys high at a cost of £10m.

However, Wandsworth has even bigger plans – to retrofit sprinklers in all 99 of its council blocks – which along with removing cladding, will cost it about £30m.

Wandsworth has faced criticism from some leaseholders over being required to contribute towards the cost.

So far eight councils have told BBC Radio London they would look at charging leaseholders for fire safety works while six would not.

Malcolm Grimston, an independent councillor in Wandsworth, said it was the government rather than the council or local people who should foot the bill.

Mr Grimston said: “It seems to me entirely unfair that that amount of money is coming out of the repair fund.

“We have a big problem with damp in our council flats. There are many of them that haven’t had kitchens replaced for 30 or 40 years.

“This is a vast amount of money which could do an enormous amount of good and it seems to me only fair that rather than the tenants having to pay that, that money should come from general taxation.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The final death toll from the fire was confirmed as 71 by the authorities in November

Conservative run Wandsworth council said it had been in discussion with the government about funding but had not asked for any money.

Some 15 councils, including Labour-run Croydon, Lambeth, Newham and Southwark, have written to the government asking for money but said they had not been offered any funds.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to set aside up to £1bn to fit sprinklers in all council blocks.

Labour-run Tower Hamlets said it cannot afford sprinklers and it wants the government to use Wednesday’s budget to meet a promise made by Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid following the Grenfell fire in June, when he said he would do “whatever it takes” to make high-rise buildings safe.

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government said “councils should contact the DCLG to discuss their position if they have any concerns about funding fire safety works”.

“Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are fire safe and we expect them to fund fire safety measures,” the spokesperson added.

Sacha Baron Cohen offers to pay ‘Borat’ mankini fines

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat in a mankini with thumbs upImage copyright PA

Sacha Baron Cohen has offered to pay fines for six Czech tourists who were arrested in Kazakhstan for wearing nothing but ‘Borat’ inspired mankinis.

The group had posed for photos in the capital city of Astana.

On 14 November, local media reported the tourists had been fined 22,500 Tenge ($67; £51) each for their “indecent” appearance.

The notorious one-piece was made famous by the English actor’s character, Borat, a fictional Kazakh TV presenter.

“To my Czech mates who were arrested. Send me your details and proof that it was you, and I’ll pay your fine,” the comedian wrote on Facebook.

Image copyright
Image caption The Czech men were detained for “minor hooliganism” after posing in freezing temperatures

Borat actor offers to pay mankini fines

Baron Cohen’s 2006 comedy film Borat! Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, follows the character of Borat Sagdiyev as he travels to the US to make a documentary.

The film earned the actor a Golden Globe award but also attracted controversy.

Kazakhstan banned the film and sales of the DVD and the authorities threatened to sue him.

But in 2012, the Kazakh foreign minister publicly thanked Baron Cohen for boosting tourism in the central Asian state.

You may also like:

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sacha Baron Cohen as Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev

Mankinis could get you in trouble closer to home too.

In 2012, mankinis and other “inappropriate clothing” were banned in Newquay in a bid to reduce crime and shed the Cornish seaside town’s stag party reputation.

Independent inquiry call into monastery abuse

Caldey Abbey

Victims of historic sexual abuse at a monastery on Caldey Island deserve an independent inquiry, a support group has said.

Six women have been paid compensation in an out-of-court settlement following sexual abuse claims in the 1970s and 1980s by a monk at the abbey.

The Children’s Commissioner is to write to the monastery for an assurance that children who visit the island are safe.

The Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group want an investigation.

“It is human nature to protect those around you,” said Jo Kind, the Welsh representative of the group which supports women and men who have been sexually abused by members of the Church.

“In order for that to be open and for all of the facts to be found out, there does need an independent inquiry from somebody who is not part of the institution, who can come in with expertise, ask the right questions and find out what happened.”

Dyfed-Powys Police has confirmed it received reports of historical sexual abuse by a monk on Caldey Island.

Father Thaddeus Kotik, who lived on the Pembrokeshire island for 45 years, abused six children in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ms Kind also wants a “full and frank apology” from the abbot and called for a change in the law so reporting of sexual abuse “should be mandatory”.

“That would make it much easier for people to report because victims wouldn’t fear that it would damage their relationship with the institution,” said Ms Kind,

“They would know that they would have to do it.

“There would have been a lot of people who knew about Father Thaddeus, not just on the island but further up in the Cistercian order.

“The people that have been abused in this way deserve and an independent inquiry so the truth of what happened is fully exposed. They need to know who knew what and when.”

Festive street fun comes to city

BRADFORD city centre will burst into life with colourful street entertainment for a weekend of festive fun. 

More than 20 magical and interactive acts will surprise and delight visitors to the city as the magic of the big day gets closer. 

Father Christmas and his sleigh will make an appearance, along with elves, fairies and stilt walkers. 

There will also be towering inflated bouncing snowmen, cuddly Christmas characters, Rudolph the Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and Percy Penguin. 

And two giant sparking ‘Snowball Sprites’ on wheels will whiz around the city, while a Snow Globe glides gracefully through the streets to create a magical fairytale atmosphere. 

Liver Cottage Christmas will serve up some disgusting seasonal tips – including how to make the perfect sprout smoothie – and Just in Case Christmas will juggle balls of holly, play with flaming puddings and produce a Christmas cake in a flash of light.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “Christmas is a magical time of year so we wanted to bring that magic to the city centre to entertain shoppers and children.”

City Park and Tyrell Street will also host all the fun of the fair from November 30 to December 3. While all street theatre will be free to watch, charges will apply for funfair rides. 

Festive Streets will run on Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3, from 12pm until 5pm in and around the city centre, including Bank Street, Hustlergate, New Market Place, Darley Street, Kirkgate and City Park. 

Saturday will also see a Made Bradford Christmas Market held in Darley Street.


Priest in Redruth makes dog collar from milk bottle

Making dog collarImage copyright Caspar Bush
Image caption Mr Bush made the milk bottle dog collar after finding his previous ones easily snapped

A quick-thinking parish priest has used a plastic milk bottle to make himself an emergency dog collar.

The Reverend Caspar Bush, Rector of Redruth in Cornwall, was in need of a new one after his last one snapped on Friday 17 November.

He used a 4 pint milk bottle to fashion the garment, explaining “no other bottle seemed to have a big enough flat bit that was completely white”.

He wore the new collar to carry out church duties at the weekend.

More on the quick-thinking priest, and other Devon and Cornwall news

The black shirts worn by Mr Bush have a 32mm clerical collar – known informally as a dog collar – but recently his supplier changed the material they used for making dog collars.

He said: “They sent them with very rigid plastic that would only just about bend, and they would snap. So I ran out. I couldn’t bring myself to send off to the shirt manufacturers to ask for more so I made a new one this way.

“It’s actually a little bit thinner than I’d have liked but it has worked so far, and nobody has noticed any difference – apart from my friends who I told on Facebook!”

Mr Bush described the move as “mildly smile worthy” and this prompted him to share it on social media.

Image copyright Hugo Bush
Image caption Mr Bush hopes his new plastic clerical collar will last several months

“Dog collars are like a badge, and are still widely recognised”, he said.

“Monday is my day off and I don’t wear one then, but on any other day, whenever I do anything, I will always wear a dog collar”.

Mr Bush, himself a former dairy farmer, said: “apparently in the old days they would use fairy liquid bottles, but they’ve changed format and don’t work anymore”.

He also revealed that he always keeps spare “sub-standard” dog collars in his car glove box and his diary, adding “with disappointing frequency, and this happens to all clergy, I forget to put it on in the morning”.