Wednesday’s World News Updates: My Views
Bringing you a rounded view of the news by collating stories from various publications and broadcasters, and sharing my opinion on this week’s top news stories.
- Rotherham council cover up child abuse. Authorities were aware of the abuse 1,400 children suffered for over 16 years in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, but did nothing about it. According to the BBC, a report reveals that between 1997 and 2013, ‘“Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated.”’ ‘The report, commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, revealed there had been three previous inquiries.’ ‘Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the latest report, said there had been “blatant” collective failures by the council’s leadership, senior managers had “underplayed” the scale of the problem and South Yorkshire Police had failed to prioritise the issue.’ ’ ‘The inquiry team found examples of “children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone”.’ ‘Council leader Roger Stone said he would step down with immediate effect. Mr Stone, who has been the leader since 2003, said: “I believe it is only right that as leader I take responsibility for the historic failings described so clearly.”The Guardian reports: ‘Council and other officials sometimes thought youth workers were exaggerating the exploitation problem. Sometimes they were afraid of being accused of racism if they talked openly about the perpetrators in the town mostly being Pakistani taxi drivers.’ ‘Jahangir Akhtar, the former deputy leader of the council, is accused in the report of naivety and potentially “ignoring a politically inconvenient truth” by insisting there was not a deep-rooted problem of Pakistani-heritage perpetrators targeting young white girls. Police told the inquiry that some influential Pakistani councillors in Rotherham acted as barriers to communication on grooming issues.’ ‘On a number of occasions, victims of sexual abuse were criminalised – arrested for being drunk – while their abusers continued to act with impunity. Vital evidence was ignored, Jay said, with police apparently trying to manipulate their figures for child sexual exploitation by removing from their monitoring process girls who were pregnant or had given birth, plus all looked after children in care.’
A man said to me that even if somebody looks on when a murder is taking place, they are guilty because they walked away (Ravi Singh, Khalsa Aid). After enduring abhorrent abuse for over a decade, the victims have attained some justice as this will now be stopped and perpetrators jailed. But why are those who knew not being punished? In my view, they are guilty of allowing crime when they are supposed to be upholding and representing the justice system, enforcing laws, and protecting the community. The argument that they were afraid of being racially discriminatory is not the first of its kind. But it is an argument that juxtaposes itself, because unless the perpetrators from the minority community are above the law, it is ironically racist to exempt a minority community from the law and segregate them. The police wanted to make themselves look better by manipulating figures, reveals the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse turning real people and their cases into mere numbers.
- Boris brands Brits who go to Syria ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and states a bomb should be dropped on the jihadist that beheaded James Foley. ‘Britons who travel to Syria and Iraq without informing the authorities should be presumed to be potential terrorists until proved innocent, Boris Johnson says. In an article for The Telegraph, Mr Johnson warns that police are finding it “very difficult” to press charges against suspected jihadists without direct evidence of their “ghastly” activities.’ ‘He suggests there should be a “swift and minor change in the law” to introduce a new “rebuttable presumption” that those who travel to war zones without notifying the authorities have done so for “terrorist purposes”.’ ‘The Mayor of London also joins calls for jihadists to be stripped of their citizenship, despite opposition from Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who warned at the weekend that such a move would be illegal.’According to ITV ‘Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the country’s most senior police officer, has urged the Government to increase funding to help the Metropolitan Police catch terrorists and also suggested stripping would-be jihadis of their passports.’ On LBC, he said ‘”It seems to me it’s a privilege to have a passport and be a citizen of this country,” he said. “And if you’re going to start fighting in another country on behalf of another state, or against another state, it seems to me that you’ve made a choice about where you what to be.”I agree with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe that if you are a part of this state you should not fight against it. But Boris’ comment that a bomb should be dropped on the jihadist that beheaded war reported James Foley is a form of extremism in itself. However, the extremist comment does not seem to have affected support for the former London Mayor as The Sun newspaper reports ‘Boris Johnson was last night made 2/1 favourite to be the next Tory leader after he confirmed he aims to stand in a safe West London seat.’
- 7-year-olds to receive sex and relationship education lessons. The Liberal Democrats plan to add sex and relationship education lessons to the curriculum for seven year olds. The Huffington Post reports how the Lib Dems say ‘all children in state-funded schools in England should receive “age-appropriate” classes from the age of seven.’ ‘David Laws, the education minister, has said that academies and free schools should have to teach sex and relationship education.’ ‘“The plan would mean that personal, social and health education (PSHE) is compulsory in all state-funded schools including academies and free schools,” he said.’ He also stated ‘”Liberal Democrats believe that this should include learning financial literacy, citizenship and age-appropriate sex and relationship education.”’ According to The Mirror, the Lib Dems believe ‘New sex education guidelines are needed to tackle internet porn and Twitter’. The plans have been strongly opposed by the Conservative government.I agree with Ulrika Johnson who wrote it today’s The Sun newspaper ‘Age-appropriate discussions do nothing but good, as they help children understand how life works, how things can be and – most importantly – what is and isn’t acceptable.’ She also states how independent, faith, free schools and academies are exempt of teaching the national curriculum but this is something that needs to be reviewed. If we need to tackle homophobia, sexual discrimination, internet porn and promote equality between the sexes by educating children from the age of 7 then this is a positive move. Understanding relationships at the age of 7 is age appropriate because it incites tolerance and acceptance from a young age.
- Ice-bucket challenge. Yesterday, I succumbed to a bucket full of cold water and ice in my back garden. Donatella Versace is the latest celebrity to take on the ice bucket challenge that is raising awareness and money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS. After taking part in and raising money for Cancer Research’s Race for Life and the ‘no makeup selfie’, and then losing my aunt to cancer, I have become wary about partaking in big social media campaigns. But before partaking in the ice bucket challenge, I found out that ALS is an illness that paralyses the body. When the ice and water are thrown over you, for a second you experience what an ALS sufferer endures. This is something I explained in my video and therefore I think it is a brilliant opportunity for raising awareness. Before I was covered in water, I thought if we stepped in others’ shoes often and had a small insight into what others experience and suffer, we will gain a lot of compassion towards one another. The challenge has raised over £53 million so far for charity.
- Lord Richard Attenborough dies aged 90. Lastly, I’d like to pay tribute to Lord Richard Attenborough who died at lunchtime on Sunday 24th August, just 5 days before his 91st Attenborough was famous for his acting and directing. The MailOnline reports: ‘Lord Attenborough, who won eight Oscars for his 1982 epic Gandhi, had been confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke six years ago. But his family said he never fully recovered and continued to struggle to communicate and move around. His son Michael last year described his father as ‘fine’ but ‘very frail’.’’ During his 60-year career, he gathered 74 acting credits after appearing in 1942 war film In Which We Serve, directed by Noel Coward.’ ‘He also starred in Miracle on 34th Street, Elizabeth and Flight of the Phoenix.’ He was so great in Jurassic Park, I will always be scared of dinosaurs.