Funny headlines from around the world

news - schoolswork

Some of the more random headlines from the BBC News website over the last week or so:

Slavery in the New Forest

Little Testwood Farm - slavery

I was shocked and saddened to read this headline: “Eight men rescued from suspected slavery Little Testwood Farm in Calmore“:

POLICE have rescued eight men from a site in Totton following an investigation into potential slavery and servitude.

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary, supported by the National Crime Agency, executed a warrant around 6am today at Little Testwood Farm on Salisbury Road, Calmore.  The men are aged between 21 and 46 and are a mix of Romanian, Latvian and Polish nationalities.  Police also recovered industrial equipment that is believed to have been stolen.

A 27-year-old man from Luton was arrested on suspicion of knowingly holding another person in slavery or servitude and remains in custody.

The men have been taken to a survivor reception centre where they are receiving emotional and practical support. The centre is run by officers from Amberstone, Hampshire Constabulary’s specialist interview support team, with assistance from the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Hampshire County Council and the NHS.

Detective Inspector Phil Scrase from Southampton CID said:

“As this morning’s action shows, we’ll take swift action against anyone suspected of exploiting vulnerable members of society for their own gain.  We know that people are being trafficked, exploited and enslaved across the country including here in Hampshire.  I’d urge anyone with concerns, suspicions or information that could help our enquiries to contact us in confidence.  For example, if you’re being offered cheap labour that’s too good to be true for the amount it costs, ask yourself: who’s really paying?”

Anyone with information about slavery, servitude, exploitation or trafficking can call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.  If you don’t want to speak to the police directly, you can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the national slavery helpline on 0800 0121 700

Bishops call for Iraqi Christians to be given asylum in Britain

Aid distributed to Christians in Iraw

The Observer reports: Bishops urge David Cameron to grant asylum to Iraqi Christians

The Church of England has demanded that the British government offers sanctuary to thousands of Christians fleeing jihadists in northern Iraq, warning that ignoring their plight would constitute a “betrayal of Britain’s moral and historical obligations”.

A number of bishops have revealed their frustration over David Cameron’s intransigence on the issue, arguing the UK has a responsibility to grant immediate asylum to Iraqi Christian communities recently forced to flee the northern city of Mosul after militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) threatened them with execution, a religious tax or forced conversion.

On Monday, France responded to the so-called religious cleansing by publicly granting asylum to Christians driven from Mosul. The Anglican Church argues the UK has an even greater responsibility to intervene, citing its central role in the 2003 allied invasion, which experts say triggered the destabilisation and sectarian violence that shaped the context for Isis to seize control of much of northern Iraq.

The bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev David Walker, told the Observer: “We would be failing to fulfil our obligations were we not to offer sanctuary. Having intervened so recently and extensively in Iraq, we have, even more than other countries, a moral duty in the UK.

“Given the vast amounts of money that we spent on the war in Iraq, the tiny cost of bringing some people fleeing for their lives to this country and allowing them to settle – and who, in due course, would be an asset to our society – would seem to be minuscule.”…

Word War II veteran disappears for Normandy trip

Bernard Jordan

An 89-year-old WW2 veteran disappeared from his nursing home without saying where he was going and went to France for the D-Day commemorations.

The former mayor of Hove, Bernard Jordan, left the home at 10:30 BST on Thursday, and was reported missing to Sussex Police that evening.  Staff later discovered he had joined other veterans in France and was safe and well at a hotel in Ouistreham.

Earlier, it was believed care home staff stopped him going to the events.  Brighton and Hove police had tweeted: “90 year old veteran reported missing from care home. Turns out they’d said no to him going to #DDay70 but he went anyway #fightingspirit”

Hundreds of veterans have been marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, with events on the beaches of Normandy.

Bernard Jordan Royal Navy

Mr Jordan, served in the Royal Navy, was mayor of Hove from 1995-96, is a resident of The Pines nursing home in Hove.  The pensioner had gone out wearing a grey raincoat and a jacket underneath with his war medals on, the police force said.  A spokesman said:

“We have spoken to the veteran who called the home today and are satisfied that the pensioner is fine and that his friends are going to ensure he gets back to Hove safely over the next couple of days after the D-Day celebrations finish.  Once the pensioner is home, we will go and have a chat with him to check he is OK.”

Nev Kemp, the police commander for the City of Brighton & Hove, tweeted: “Love this: 89yr old veteran reported missing by care home who said he can’t go to Normandy for #DDay70 remembrance. We’ve found him there!”

Word War II paratrooper recreates his D-day jump at age 93

Jim %22Pee Wee%22 Martin - Paratrooper

World War II veteran Jim “Pee Wee” Martin belonged to the 101st Airborne Division that parachuted into Normandy on the evening of June 5, 1944, just ahead of the D-day landing. He did that same jump again 70 years later, which you might expect to be difficult now that Martin is 93 years old. But to Martin, this time around was easier.

“It didn’t (compare),” Martin said, “because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today.”

Martin did not jump alone. And he is used to being the oldest paratrooper.

It’s ironic, in a sense, because Martin was among the oldest of his bunch in June 1944 — at 23 years old — surrounded by others who were mere teenagers.

Together, they parachuted onto France’s northern coast in the dark of night not knowing what awaited them. Whatever it was, it would not be friendly or easy, they expected.

“Everybody (was) scared all the time, and if they tell you anything differently they are full of crap,” the former paratrooper recalled. “But you just do what you had to do regardless of it. That’s the difference.”

Learn more about Martin and his experiences both as a paratrooper in World War II and as a veteran at his Facebook page.

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D-Day Memorial

I love this picture from last year’s D-Day Memorial, the “Fallen 9000″ project serves as a reminder of the staggering cost of lost peace.

Normandy beach memorial

A tribute to the roughly 9,000 civilians, Allies and German soldiers alike who lost their lives on D-Day, the project involved the painstaking stenciling of 9,000 silhouettes on the Normandy beach at Arromanches where so much blood was once shed.

Funny headlines from around the world

Some of the more random headlines from the BBC News website over the last week or so:

Is the UK a Christian country? Archbishop Justin Welby responds.

Archbishop Justin Welby

There has been lots of debate in the last couple of weeks surrounding the issue of whether or not the UK is a Christian country, following David Cameron’s article in the Church Times.  Following various responses, Archbishop Justin Welby has written a thought provoking and humorous response to the debate:

History provides as many uncomfortable facts as science. Neither can be ignored if anyone is going to talk sense. Last week, the Prime Minister wrote rather movingly in the Church Times about his sense of this as a Christian country.

It followed up other comments from Cabinet Ministers saying similar things, and finished on Tuesday with a very measured intervention by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, whose own Christian faith is well known.

Judging by the reaction, anyone would think that the people concerned had at the same time suggested the return of the Inquisition (complete with comfy chairs for Monty Python fans), compulsory church going and universal tithes. More than 50 leading atheists wrote to the Telegraph in protest.

It’s all quite baffling and at the same time quite encouraging. Christian faith is much more vulnerable to comfortable indifference than to hatred and opposition. It’s also a variation on the normal “Sword and Grail discovered” stuff that seems to be a feature of Easter week news.

Yet the Prime Minister and other members of the Government have not said anything very controversial. It is a historical fact (perhaps unwelcome to some, but true) that our main systems of ethics, the way we do law and justice, the values of society, how we decide what is fair, the protection of the poor, and most of the way we look at society ……  All have been shaped by and founded on Christianity. Add to that the foundation of many hospitals, the system of universal schooling, the presence of chaplains in prisons, and one could go on a long time. Then there is the literature, visual art, music and culture that have formed our understandings of beauty and worth since Anglo Saxon days.

It is clear that, in the general sense of being founded in Christian faith, this is a Christian country. It is certainly not in terms of regular churchgoing, although altogether, across different denominations, some millions attend church services each week. Others of different backgrounds have also positively shaped our common heritage. But the language of what we are, what we care for and how we act is earthed in Christianity, and would remain so for many years even if the number of believers dropped out of sight (which they won’t, in my opinion).

The atheist protesters are wrong to argue that expressing confidence in the country’s Christian identity fosters alienation and division in our society. Indeed, it is significant that non-Christian faith leaders – among them Anil Bhanot of the Hindu Council UK, Farooq Murad of the Muslim Council of Britain and Lord Indarjit Singh of the Network of Sikh Organisations –  have spoken out in support of Mr Cameron. Mr Murad said: “No one can deny that Britain remains largely a Christian country, with deep historical and structural links with the established Church. . . We respect that.”

I know from personal experience that what Mr Murad says is entirely true. And I know that, as Iain Duncan Smith pointed out, the influence of a moderate and careful and generous Christian faith has enabled us to be welcoming to other faiths. That sense of generous hospitality provides the basis for tough discussion, and it is a hospitality that protects atheists as well, and so it should.

So why the fuss? As I say, for all of us, in the church, of Christian faith, of any tradition or set of beliefs, history makes for some uncomfortable reading. Its facts are awkward for all of us, but it is no use pretending they do not exist. The PM is right on this.

China to be ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’ in the Next 15 Years

Chinese church

Research in The Telegraph shows that the church in China is growing at such a rate that in the next 15 years it will be “the world’s most Christian nation”, and by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America:

Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.

Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.

By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

“Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”

A recent study found that online searches for the words “Christian Congregation” and “Jesus” far outnumbered those for “The Communist Party” and “Xi Jinping”, China’s president.

Funny headlines from around the world

Some of the more random headlines from the BBC News website over the last week or so:

The worst place to have a car fire – the lions enclosure in a drive-through safari

Car fire at Longleat

Where would be the absolutely worst place for your car to catch fire? In the lion enclosure of a drive-through safari. And that’s what happened to Helen Clements and her two children when they visited Longleat Safari Park:

Mrs Clements said she thought her car had overheated when it stopped inside the enclosure.

“Then basically, we thought: ‘That’s not steam, that’s actually smoke’,” she told BBC News.

“It was getting thicker and thicker and obviously coming into us, and then we saw flames.”

She sounded her horn and both she and George opened their doors, before rangers came running towards them.

“Unfortunately they were shouting to us: ‘Get back in the car, do not get out of the car’,” she added.

Her son ran out but she called him back and within moments, a ranger had pulled up in a vehicle and got them out of the car.

They could not see the lions at the time as other cars were in front of them.

The lions did not approach, because they are smart enough to know fire when they see it. Still, it was a frightening incident. Rangers moved the lions out of the enclosure before firefighters extinguished the flames.

Britain’s youngest parents

Baby

A 12-year-old girl has given birth to her 13-year-old boyfriend’s baby, making them Britain’s youngest parents.

The girl, at 12 years, three months, is the UK’s youngest mother, after giving birth to a 7lb baby girl last weekend.  She fell pregnant at 11, while still at primary school, shortly after starting a relationship with a boy who lives near her family home in north London, The Sun reports.

The parents, who cannot be identified due to legal reasons, have the lowest combined age of any British parents in history.

A source close to the family said the pair, who have been in a relationship for over a year, were ‘totally in love’ and plan to bring up their newborn daughter together.  They told The Sun:

“Both sets of grandparents are incredibly supportive. It’s a very difficult situation because the parents are both so young – but their families are right behind them.  The baby’s mum and dad have been in a relationship for more than year, so this isn’t a fleeting romance. They intend to stick together and bring their daughter up together.”

The young mother’s father later confirmed both sets of grandparents have been ‘very supportive’ of the young parents.  The baby’s grandfather broke his silence to radio station LBC, admitting that both families only discovered the news when the unnamed girl was eight months pregnant:

“Before people judge they should find out what’s happened.  All we can do is be supportive, which is what we’re doing.  It is heartbreaking, of course it is. For any man to find out their daughter has become pregnant. It is but you can’t turn back time, you can only go forwards.”

The man, who is separated from his daughter’s mother, said they had not allowed the sexual relationship but said he could not watch his daughter 24/7.  As a business owner he hit out at accusations the family were dependent on benefits and said: ‘We’re not scroungers. I will support this baby as much as I can with my own money.’

He described the new father as a ‘great kid’ and claimed he would prefer this situation to discovering his daughter had been taking drugs.  When asked whether he was ashamed, he told LBC ‘shame doesn’t come into it’ and said he still felt ‘proud’ of his daughter.  He added: ‘She’s brought something beautiful into the world and we’re going to stand by her.’

The proud parents posted a picture of them posing with their baby daughter online.  The young mother, who lives with her mother, hopes to return to school in September.  At 27, her mother is one of the UK’s youngest ever grandmothers.

As a youth worker there are so many context questions I want to ask about this news story, but it does make me come back to the importance of the church leading on SRE for our children and young people.