Uber has made a statement announcing this afternoon that it is introducing a mandatory face covering rule for passengers and drivers as of next week.
Passengers who do not comply with the rule will risk having their ride cancelled.
In an email sent to all registered Uber users, the taxi service stated: “We’re introducing mandatory face coverings as of Monday 15th June to help protect the health and safety of you and your driver.”
“From Monday, if you aren’t wearing a face mask or covering, your driver has the right to cancel your ride.”
“Similarly, you can also cancel your ride if your driver arrives and is not wearing a face covering”.
“When wearing a face covering or mask, make sure it covers your face from the bridge of your nose down to your chin.”
“Finally, anyone who is repeatedly flagged for not wearing a face covering will risk losing access to the app.”
Regional General Manager of Uber Northern & Eastern, Jamie Heywood, added: “For months we’ve been urging people to stay home, for their safety and the safety of drivers who make essential trips.”
“Now, as cities begin to reopen and people start moving again, we’re taking measures to help everyone stay safe and healthy every time they use Uber.”
You can find out more information regarding face coverings via the official gov.uk website here.
An award-winning documentary about a controversial religious group in Manchester is free to watch right now
We recently stumbled across one of the best short films we’ve watched in a long time and it revolves around a controversial religious group known as ‘WMSCOG’ that has roots all over the world — including right here in Manchester.
You’d be forgiven for having never heard of World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) before but, chances are, if you’ve simply walked through Manchester city centre you will likely have come across them at some point whether you know it or not.
Having been described as everything from a ‘doomsday group’ that has put forward multiple failed world-ending predictions, to an ‘abusive’, ‘opportunistic’ and ‘mind-controlling cult‘ by former members who now condemn the church, their story is one of the most intriguing subjects in modern theology.
With a highly complex and often confusing religious framework, comprised of multiple sub-strata and levels to their hierarchy which all centres around worshipping an old lady in South Korea, it can be tough to wrap your head around exactly who and what they are. And that’s exactly what this now award-winning short documentary tries to achieve.
Created by journalism graduate Harry Robinson, Mother’s Ruin: Unmasking the WMSCOG, started out as a final project for university and has now gone on to win both Best International Director at the Oregon Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Texas Short Film Festival, as well being awarded the Will Venters’ Memorial Prize by ITV News.
In less than half an hour, Robinson – with nothing more than his computer, a camera and some help from a fellow uni student – delivers a truly eye-opening exposé on a pseudo-religious group that claims to have more than three million followers across 170 different countries and yet somehow remains largely under the radar to most.
As well as sharing some seriously shocking stories and allegations from people who have left the church, or ‘escaped’ as many of them would put it, the 23-year-old also goes to confront WMSCOG on their own doorstep at a location right here in Manchester. Stretford, specifically.
The members who come to the door of the unassuming building on a small industrial park in Old Trafford decline the right to a reply and have no interest in speaking to him, even despite reading out a laundry list of accusations including coercion, mental manipulation and even try to force members into abortions.
Visiting former members and even WMSCOG deacons like Luke Biggs (pictured above) who still lives just a few miles away from their Manchester church, as well as cult survivor turned counsellor at the University of Salford Richard Turner, learning about how the group operates feels truly surreal at times.
The church has at least two locations here in the UK — one being in Manchester and the other in Epsom, Surrey — but its reach is thought to be truly massive even whilst remaining predominantly in the background and despite being a government-registered charity on Companies House.
Unsurprisingly, the documentary has had quite the reaction already, with Harry revealing to us and in the film itself that the insight into the church has helped many feel comfortable enough to come out and speak on their own struggles with religious organisations and groups some would consider ‘cults’.
As mentioned, it’s received some impressive critical acclaim for a student filmmaker too, who had to communicate with participants via secret emails and has an estimated 30+ hours of interview footage.
"𝙋𝙀𝙊𝙋𝙇𝙀 𝙒𝙀𝙍𝙀 𝙄𝙉 𝙎𝙃𝙊𝘾𝙆."
The early reviews for Mother's Ruin are more than I could ever hope for. 💙
I'm just ecstatic that the impact of these important stories are getting through, and I can't wait to hear more audience feedback. 🙌🔥
Robinson also received an award for his first film, The Real Black Sabbath (2022), which once again focuses on an alternative church.
Be it believing in the concept of ‘God the Mother’, i.e. the messiah reincarnated in the form of 80-year-old Zahng Gil-jahr, their deity who co-founded the church alongside the now deceased Ahn Sahng-hong (God the Father), or having predicted the world was going to end in 2012 like the Mayans, it’s quite staggering to hear what makes up WMSCOG’s belief system.
They have also been cited as having changed their core tenets and retconning claims within their own doctrine when certain predictions or practices haven’t gone quite as planned and gaslighting their followers into believing they were mistaken or simply ‘misinterpreted’ their teachings.
As explained by Robinson, several articles on WMSCOG’s controversies have been deleted and now simply display error messages, and even the original video he shared on a former member’s awareness site appealing for others to come forward with their experiences was removed for an ‘invasion of privacy’.
In fact, one of the few proper investigative articles still left standing was written up by none other than our very own University of Manchester’s The Mancunion.
Perhaps one of the most telling examples of how the World Mission Society Church of God has dealt with media attention in the past is demonstrated by the interview with Michele Colón, who spent a lengthy period in a fierce legal battle after the church tried to sue her for a genuinely staggering sum.
The group itself has actually been around in some form since 1964, starting out in South Korea and eventually going on to establish itself in Seoul as the Witnesses of Ahn Sahng-hong Church of God in the mid-80s, before rebranding once again as WMSCOG in 1997.
Nevertheless, knowledge of the church still remains very limited and after speaking to fellow University of Sheffield graduate and cinematographer for the documentary, Maddie James, she said the whole thing “felt outrageous” and “didn’t really believe it” until the pair arrived at the door to confront them.
“It felt like something out of a movie”, she continued, adding, “It got very serious and upsetting when we arrived at the location and I quickly began to realise how much it had impacted people”.
Maddie even told us how she believes he may have been approached by WMSCOG members handing out fliers when leaving the Arndale Centre not long after filming the documentary — a regular recruitment tactic according to ex-members. They are also said to approach young and impressionable students on university campuses.
We don’t want to spoil too much more about the documentary itself but all we can tell you is that within just a 24-minute run-time, Mother’s Ruin is probably one of the most fascinating watches you can put on whilst eating your tea or having a brew at the weekend.
You’ll quickly be putting your drink back down, mind, and won’t be able to resist digging further. How many other things can promise that kind of shock and intrigue in less than half an hour?
You can watch the Mother’s Ruin: Unmasking the WMSCOG in full for free down below.
Featured Images — Harry Robinson (via YouTube)/Supplied
Burgerism is opening a fifth location in Denton
Legendary Manc burger joint and takeaway Burgerism is opening another brand new location in Denton as they continue to expand their Greater Manchester empire.
Set to be their fifth brick-and-mortar site, including their existing venues in Salford, Gatley, the delivery-only kitchen in Manchester city centre and the pop-up in Freight Island, the new Tameside venue sees them reach further across the region after first launching back in 2018.
Sharing the news last week, the smash-burger experts have revealed will be bringing their signature patties, wings, fries and homemade dips to Denton‘s Stockport Road.
Popping up in place of the former Pizza Hut delivery store, the latest location is due to open in mid-March this year. Absolute scenes.
Burgerism is coming to Denton next month. (Credit: The Manc Eats)
Soon to cover customers living in Denton, Hyde, Stalybridge and beyond, people can rock up to the new adjoined car park space to pick up and collect with ease, and lord knows we love a drive-thru.
To tell the truth, they’ve earned so many accolades in the six years since opening that we’ve lost track, having also been named the eighth most-ordered item on Deliveroo in the UK and the single most-ordered burger in Manchester for 2021. They even scored a collab with the one and only Hawksmoor.
They genuinely might be the best burgers in Greater Manchester.
It still remains the most popular item on Deliveroo in Manchester and this newest venue serves as yet more proof that Burgerism is one if not the best in the game and they are set to make their first moves into Liverpool at the popular Blackstock Market too.
The company’s founder, Mark Murphy, commented: “Burgerism brings restaurant quality smashed burgers straight into people’s homes. Our dream is to be the UK’s go-to delivery burger across the UK, like Domino’s is to pizza. And Denton represents the next piece of the puzzle to do that.
“We’re super excited to launch in the North East of Manchester area. Right from day one, we’ve had loads of die-hard Burgerism fans making the pilgrimage around the M60 to Salford and, while we’ve admired their commitment, we felt it was time to bring Burgerism closer to more of our friends and fans.”
We can’t wait for yet another excuse to try the FreeBird and the Wholly Double only in Tameside.