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Thu, 21 Jan 2021
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Poor people depending on food banks to survive only have themselves to blame, says British Minister for Education


Education Secretary Michael Gove
Families become so poor they are forced to turn to food banks because of their own 'decisions', Michael Gove has claimed.

The Education Secretary argued that people who find themselves unable to buy essentials, including food and school uniforms have themselves to blame for being unable 'to manage their finances'.

The remarks were condemned by Labour and 'insulting and out of touch'.

More than half a million people across Britain have turned to food banks to stave off hunger, according to charities.

Ministers have previously argued that a surge in demand has in part been fuelled by jobcentre staff being allowed to refer the unemployed to food banks for help.

Cuts to benefits, frozen or falling wages and rising living costs have been blamed in part for some people struggling to make ends meet.

Mr Gove was challenged over reports that one in four parents are having to borrow to pay for school uniforms and some food banks were distributing uniforms to struggling parents.


Siberian 'forest boy' found after 16 years in wilderness

Siberian Village
© AFP Photo/Yuri Yuriev
Members of an electoral voting commission drive a snowmobile to villagers in the remote Siberian village of Shor-Taiga on December 1, 2007. Russian authorities have found a young man living alone in a Siberian forest after having apparently spent most of his life living there in a hut with his parents, local officials said Tuesday.
Russian authorities have found a young man living alone in a Siberian forest after having apparently spent most of his life living there in a hut with his parents, local officials said Tuesday.

Locals near the town of Belokurikha found the man, who told the local prosecutor that he was born in 1993 and had lived in the forest since 1997, when his family decided to leave society.

But his parents left him alone in the hut in May before he finally went to a nearby village to ask for help when the summer ended, the authorities said.

Che Guevara

UK man wins court case against BBC for 911 cover up

Tony Rooke refused to pay a TV license fee because the BBC intentionally misrepresented facts about the 9/11 attacks, he alleged. It is widely known that the BBC reported the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 over 20 minutes before it occurred. WTC 7 was a 47-story skyscraper that was not hit by a plane on 9/11 but collapsed at free-fall speed later that day.

So Rooke said the BBC had to have had prior knowledge to a terror attack making them complicit in the attack. He presented the BBC footage to the judge along with a slew of other evidence, and the judge agreed that Rooke had a reasonable case to protest. Rooke was found not guilty and he was not fined for failure to pay the licensing fee.

Arrow Down

California firefighters robbed while on the job

Firefighters from Station No. 7 in Walnut Creek, Calif., received a less-than-grateful welcome home Monday, when they discovered their station had been broken into and many of their belongings taken while they were out fighting the Morgan Fire near Mount Diablo.

"The firefighters came back to the station to settle down, get some rest after a full day on duty," Steve Aubert, a spokesman for the Costa County Fire Prevention District, told ABCNews.com.

Two wedding rings, watches, cash and more were taken while the crew protected more than 100 structures from the fire, which had grown to 3,700 acres and was 60 percent contained today, Aubert said.

Heart - Black

Agent Orange continues to poison Vietnam

From 1961 to 1971, the U.S. military sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, which contained large quantities of Dioxin, in order to defoliate the trees for military objectives. Dioxin is one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects).

Between 2.5 and 4.8 million people were exposed to Agent Orange. 1.4 billion hectares of land and forest - approximately 12 percent of the land area of Vietnam - were sprayed.

The Vietnamese who were exposed to the chemical have suffered from cancer, liver damage, pulmonary and heart diseases, defects to reproductive capacity, and skin and nervous disorders. Children and grandchildren of those exposed have severe physical deformities, mental and physical disabilities, diseases, and shortened life spans. The forests and jungles in large parts of southern Vietnam have been devastated and denuded. They may never grow back and if they do, it will take 50 to 200 years to regenerate. Animals that inhabited the forests and jungles have become extinct, disrupting the communities that depended on them. The rivers and underground water in some areas have also been contaminated. Erosion and desertification will change the environment, contributing to the warming of the planet and dislocation of crop and animal life.

Arrow Down

Quack Science: Study claims secular European countries are the happiest in the world (yet lead in suicides)

Happiness Report
© NoTricksZone
UPDATE: Happy marriages, too. Almost half of all marriages in Europe end in divorce. And it's the happy Europeans who fret endlessly about the world-ending climate catastrophe.

CNN reports here on the latest UN World Happiness Report, issued from the comfy confines of their New York or Geneva offices. I'm a little confused here. Is the report from the UN or Columbia University? Is there really a difference?

The study assessed people's happiness in 156 countries, based on western metrics having to do with economics, social support, generosity, mental illness, etc..

Europe ranks highest in happiness

Their findings: Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden are the world's happiest countries, and Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo are the unhappiest.

Let's all rush to be like hip Europeans, the report wants to tell us. But can we really trust the elitist authors of the report? One could easily interpret the report as racist. Look at the study's message: Northern European, socialist secular societies (the whitest of the whites) are the happiest.

Sub-Saharan African countries, on the other hand, are just all so miserable. Of course the authors surely are not at all racist, but they are indeed very ARROGANT.

I don't trust the yardstick used by the authors here, and I ask: Are the European countries really the happiest?


Cloud 'angel' spotted in Devon skies

© Apex

A cloud in the shape of an "angel” in the evening sky over Sidmouth in Devon.
Ian Williams noticed the glowing cloud over Sidmouth in Devon on around 7.30pm on Tuesday.

He said: "I'd been doing some work in the loft at my father's house when I looked up through the window and spotted the 'angel'.

"I quickly grabbed my camera and managed to get a couple of shots before the formation dispersed.

"I was surprised at how much it resembled an angel gliding through the sky within the shape of arms out and flowing hair."

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Yemeni child bride, eight, 'dies on wedding night'

Child Bride
© Mohamed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images
Yemeni women attend a rally in Sana'a in support of proposed legislation banning the marriage of girls under 17.
An eight-year-old Yemeni girl has died of internal bleeding on her wedding night after marrying a man five times her age, a social activist and two local residents said, in a case that has caused an outcry in the media and revived debate about child brides.

Arwa Othman, head of Yemen's House of Folklore and a leading rights campaigner, said the girl, identified only as Rawan, was married to a 40-year-old late last week in the town of Meedi in Hajjah province, north-western Yemen.

"On the wedding night and after intercourse, she suffered from bleeding and uterine rupture which caused her death," Othman said. "They took her to a clinic but the medics couldn't save her life."

Othman said authorities had not taken any action against the girl's family or her husband.

A security official in the provincial town of Haradh denied any such incident had taken place. He did not want to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

But two Meedi residents contacted by Reuters confirmed the incident and said tribal chiefs had tried to cover up the incident when the news broke, warning a local journalist against covering the story.

Eye 2

Snake preserved in wine bites woman, China

A woman in northern China has had to receive hospital treatment after a snake preserved in rice wine jumped out of the bottle and bit her hand.

According to the Global Times, the surprise attack happened when the woman, surnamed Liu, from Shuangcheng went to top up the bottle with more wine.

Remarkably, the snake, which had been pickling for three months, was still alive.

Liu, who received treatment at a local hospital for inflammation, had bought the snake wine to try and cure her rheumatism.

It is a widely held belief in China that such wines boast medicinal properties

This is not the first incident of a pickled snake seemingly coming back to life.

One Mr Zhang of Hubei Province was bitten by a snake in 2009 that had been preserved in a bottle of rice wine for two months.

While in 2001, a villager from Guangxi Zhuang died a day after being bitten from a pickled snake.


Food stamp cuts sneaking through the House during Syrian crisis

© Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call| Getty
The debate in Congress over whether the United States should bomb Syria may be diverting attention from the economy at home. While the House and Senate hold hearings on authorizing military force, a bill that would cut food stamps is headed to the House floor next week with relatively little fanfare.

"There are 50 million people in the United States of America who are hungry, 17 million are kids," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said in an interview. "It is something we all should be ashamed of, and the United States House of Representatives is about to make that worse. This is a big deal and my hope is that we'll treat it as such and not just let it go by without a lot of discussion and debate because we're all focused on Syria."

Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the rate of "food insecurity" in American households remained constant from 2011 to 2012, with 15 percent of the population struggling to afford food at some point during the year. That's 47 million people, roughly the same amount as are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. Research shows that enrollment trends track economic conditions.

Next week the House will vote on legislation to cut SNAP by roughly 5 percent. The bill is bypassing the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees food stamps, because it is a priority of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).