Penguin off course

The BBC is reporting how a confused penguin strayed 5,000km on its own, from Chile (it’s normal home) to Peru. Scientists say the bird appeared to have made the 5,000km (3,000-mile) journey alone. They are now worried that it may not be accepted by some of the area’s 4,000 Humboldt penguins. Their hope is to transport it back to Chile.

The UK has an earthquake

While travelling in the car for hours yesterday I was surprised to hear the news reports talking about a 4.3 magnitude earthquake. This was the largest to hit Britain since one in the West Midlands in 2002, and it is certainly something that we are not used to. Thankfully it resulted in only one person, a 30-year-old woman, suffering minor head injuries.

John Stott retires

Have seen in various places around the web the following statement from The Langham Partnership:
John Stott would like his many friends around the world to know that, having reached the age of 86 in April, he has taken the decision finally to retire from public ministry after fulfilling one final speaking engagement at the upcoming Keswick Convention in July.
He will be moving from his flat in central London where he has lived for more than 30 years, to a retirement community for Anglican clergy in the south of England, which will be able to provide more fully for his present and future needs. Dr Stott has made this decision with the strong belief that it is God’s provision for him at this stage.
John Stott is an absolute legend as a church leader, preacher and author. The biographies of his ministry are really interesting to read, do take the time if you haven’t already.

Young people drinking

Heard on the news this morning about a report (see the BBC news article) whic says parents who give alcohol to children aged under 15 should be prosecuted. Personally I think that it is important that some sort of message is sent out about the issue of young people drinking. I am aware of several young people who I work with who regularly consume relatively large ‘servings’ of alcohol.
I have to agree with public health minister Caroline Flint who said “I don’t think passing a law to ban alcohol for those under 15 would be enforceable or necessarily effective.” However something more does need to be done, especially in school. The report suggested it should be part of the National Curriculum, especially focussing on the dangers of binge drinking.

Dealing with the Virginia Tech murders

Lots of my young people were talking in school yesterday, when I saw them, about the Virginia Tech university murders. It is interesting that they are so touched by something that happened on the other side of the world. Youth Specialities has got some great resources helping youth leaders respond to teenagers on this issue.

In particular check out the letter, Marko highlights, by Jim Hancock and Rich Van Pelt (authors of “a youth workers guide to helping teenagers in crisis“) who wrote a awesome letter to youth workers:

It’s not supposed to be like this. Just so we’re crystal clear about that. No one is supposed to walk into a dormitory and classroom building and kill 32 daughters and sons. No one has that right. Someone has to say this clearly and compellingly to the children of God we have agreed to nurture toward wholeness…

Tell them it’s not supposed to be like this. Tell them the God who spoke through the prophets at many times and in various ways—and in these last days has spoken to us by his Son—tell them this God takes no pleasure in the suffering and death of his creatures. Tell them it’s not supposed to be like this, and someday it won’t be. Tell them the hope of the gospel includes a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness—we haven’t seen it, but in faith we see it coming.

In the meantime, tell them, life is grace and bad things happen; people are capable of breathtaking displays of love and staggering acts of oppression … Tell them life is hard and God is good.

BUT FIRST listen to them. Listen to their denial and fear and anger and confusion. And don’t be afraid to admit your own…

The link to the Youth Specialities stuff is here.

Privacy and the media

I have just heard on the news that Ruth Kelly has lost her case against the Daily Mirror over its coverage of her decision to educate her son, who has learning difficulties, privately. While I understand that we have a right to know certain bits of information about a public figure – but I do feel in this case it was harsh.
She said she had removed her son from a state school after advice from her local education authority recommended he be placed in a school “able to meet his particular needs”. So the local education authority tells her that it is best for her son to be educated privately so that his needs can be met. She happens to be in a job where she is able to afford it, she passionately cares for her son and does it, even though it goes against her political views. Her 3 other children are still educated in state schools. I struggle at this point to see why this intrusion is necessary – it seems to be making a story out of nothing.

BBC and Slave Trade

Great to see an article on the BBC News website about modern day slavery. People really seem to be getting behind the idea that the 200th anniversary of the Parliamentary Act to abolish the slave trade, slavery goes on in another form. The article goes into some depth – including some positive comments on the various different organisations and projects involved in campaigning and working against modern slavery. Well worth a read, especially if you are doing something for Freedom Day next Sunday.

David Cameron’s haircut

What a slow news day we must be having today, or maybe political reporting and analysis has just got so poor. The latest story: Tory leader David Cameron has changed his hairstyle!!

The BBC analyses the implications of this crucial change here.

“Several commentators noticed the change on Wednesday and had come up with their own theories for it. Some thought it was an attempt to look more masculine, but others said a left parting was more feminine.”

Daily Mail sketchwriter Quentin Letts said image was important to voters and told the BBC: ‘Cameron seems to be changing direction – which is of course a very good metaphor for what he’s doing with his party.’

It just all seems completely over the top – even if it had been advised by a stylist to engage with voters why are the BBC spending time reporting it? And it seems like it wasn’t done for any political reasons: “a spokesman said of Mr Cameron’s change: ‘There is no political significance in his decision to do so.'”

Horrendous news

I have just read on the BBC that a vicar has been stabbed to death in the grounds of his church in a south Wales valleys village. Why, why, why? It is so sad when even the vicar gets killed whilst at work – what has society come to?

Red Noses banned at Comic Relief Fame Academy

I have just seen this article on the BBC which states that Red noses have been banned from the set of the BBC’s celebrity Fame Academy special – even though it is raising funds for Comic Relief. A spokeswoman for producers Endemol said the foam noses had been declared a fire risk to the filming venue. Comic Relief Does Fame Academy is being filmed at the Grade II-listed County Hall in central London. “We have to comply with health and safety rules – it’s not a conventional TV studio,” the spokeswoman said. I do understand the issue of health and safety but it is sad when you can’t even have red noses in the studio of a major part of Comic Relief.

It’s all a lie!

The BBC have published a news article stating that coffee doesn’t give you a boost in the morning. This follows research by the University of Bristol which says that the caffeine eases withdrawal symptoms which build up overnight, but does not make people more alert than normal. Instead only people who have avoided coffee for a while will get a buzz from caffeine. Those who drink a caffeinated drink first thing are no more alert than those who never consume one. As someone who doesn’t enjoy tea or coffee this makes me laugh.