Category Archives: England

British kids use pets to fool researchers doing exercise study

Children in east London taking part in an exercise study by Mile End Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine decided to let their pets do their walking. The clever children attached their pedometers to their dogs collars.
Researchers were surprised at the activity levels for some of the obese children that were in the study. After a week the scientists discovered why the 11 to 12-year-olds were still obese even with extremely active pedometer readings, the kids had let their dogs do their walking.
The study of about 200 east London children was compromised with the tricky kids. Still researchers were able to gather enough information to show that the kids were walking far less than what is recommended by doctors. Boys should be taking 15,000 steps a day. Most of the boys in the Whitechapel study only ran or walked 12,620 steps in a day.
The girls in the study also walked less than the recommended 12,000 steps with an average of 10,150 steps.
The borough of Tower Hamlets where the children reside have an 11 percent higher than national average of being overweight or obese.
Researchers are planning on expanding the study in the area, minus the dogs this time around.


Modern Queen Elizabeth Twitters With the World

Queen Elizabeth II is now on Twitter. Anyone now can follow the Queen of England to keep up to date on the royal family.
While Her Royal Highness may be using the social networking site, don’t expect to see Tweets about her personal opinions at @TheBritishMonarchy on Twitter.
The queen has used the Internet to connect the royal family and the public since launching a Web site in 1997 for Buckingham Palace. The queen also has her own channel on YouTube.
BBC reports that a spokeswoman for the Queen said that the royal family will not be doing the Tweet updates themselves.

“The intention,” she explained, “is that it is a news service rather than a personal voice.”

Recent Tweets from the Queen’s page include the Prince of Wales presenting the The Queen’s Gallantry Medal to Sgt. Billy Owen and A Garden Party guest at Buckingham Palace escapes from the torrential rain, 7 July 2009.


Scare Tactics or Facts? New Ad Campaign Against Obesity in UK

Did the Department of Health in the UK try to scare mothers from giving their children sweets? The agency recently spent 500,000 pounds to place two adverts in women’s weekly magazines that made treats look like a demon meal.
The ads are part of a £75 million program to help slim the public’s waistline. It now has critics throughout the country including the National Obesity Forum.

Mothers are objecting to the message that giving their children a treat now and then is leading their young to a premature death.

The Taxpayers Alliance isn’t thrilled about the spots either. They are saying that people are not happy that the government is using their hard owned tax dollars to bash them about the way they live their lives.

The Telegraph reports:

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum described the initiative as sending out “an absolutely ludicrous message”.

“The idea that a cupcake will kill you is totally over the top, and for that reason the whole thing is totally counterproductive.

“Obviously cakes have to be an occasional treat, but the idea that a healthy child eating a cupcake at a party is dicing with death is absolutely crazy. Parents will switch off,” he said.

The Department of Health has reason though to target mothers with their ads.

The Guardian reports:

“Early signs show that we may be halting the rise in childhood obesity,” said the public health minister, Dawn Primarolo. “But there’s still more to do in particular to tackle obesity in adults.

“More than 60% of adults in England are overweight or obese, leaving them at increased risk of type two diabetes, cancer, heart and liver disease.”

The truth is that the UK is in an obesity crisis and the young will be paying the ultimate costs later on. With many parents in denial about the health risks that their children’s waistlines can pose there may have to be drastic steps taken. Obesity in the UK is increasing. In 2006 almost 30 percent of children under the age of 16 were classed as obese or overweight. The adults are doing even worse, 67 per cent of men and 56 per cent of women were listed as overweight or obese.

A government survey found that many of the 1,200 parents questioned were in denial about their children being overweight.

The Change4Life campaign has been in full swing since the beginning of the year.

Food Navigator reports:

“We have already made progress on things like labeling and fat and salt content working with the industry. But … if this three-year campaign does not succeed, we don’t rule out regulating in future,” health minister Ben Bradshaw is quoted as saying.

The Department of Health is backing their campaign saying that its based on extensive research. A spokesman said that the ads are not using scare tactics just “straightforward language” and pointed out that obesity costs the NHS £4.2 billion a year. The ads are being backed by Diabetes UK, Cancer Research UK and The British Heart Foundation.

BBC reports:

Health Secretary Alan Johnson said: “The message that we received from parents was clear – we recognize that obesity is a big problem, but it’s not our problem.”

Studies also show that parents are having a hard time understanding all of the literature and information that is being handed them about feeding their children in a healthy manner.

With a more fast paced life style convenience foods are becoming the norm. Britain’s consumption of ready made meals is doubling that of France and six times higher than Spain. It could be to due with the fact that 80% of homes in the UK have a microwave while other European homes don’t have the appliance as often.

Kids in the UK are consuming an increasing about of soft drinks, crisps and savory snacks, fast food and pre-sugared breakfast cereals. Research suggests that while many mothers think they know what a healthy diet is, they are at a loss as to how to make this attractive to their children.


Harry Potter actor busted for growing cannabis

Jamie Waylett, 19, has been arrested by police in the UK after they allegedly found marijuana in his car. The actor was stopped by officers in Westminister, central London.
After searching the man’s car they found eight bags of marijuana. He and another 19-year-old were taken to a police station.

After questioning the actor, a raid took place at his mother’s home in Camden. The police say they found a cannabis farm and expensive cultivation equipment.

The police took at least 10 mature cannabis plants.

Sky News quotes a spokesman as saying:

“We stopped a vehicle at 7pm on Thursday April 2, in Lodge Road, NW8.Officers discovered a quantity of around eight bags of what we believe to be cannabis in the vehicle. The two occupants of the car, both 19-year-old men, were arrested and taken to a central London police station. While they were there, at 10.40pm on the same evening, we attended an address in Messina Avenue, NW6. Officers found a number of plants believed to be cannabis and equipment for the cultivation of plants. Both men have been bailed until a date in July pending further inquiries while we await tests on the substances and plants recovered.”

Anyone convicted of cannabis production faces a maximum of 14 years in jail.

The men have been bailed out of prison until July.

Earlier this year cannabis was reclassified from a Class C drug to a Class B substance in the United Kingdom. The reclassification makes this a much more serious crime.

Warner Brothers has refused to comment about the arrest.


Two violent brothers raise questions in UK

As the two child victims of a horrific attack that took place in the UK this weekend recover in hospital questions about their child attackers are surfacing. The attacks are just 10 and 11, brothers that are part of the nation’s foster care program.
Two brothers hurt two other boys in the UK this weekend. They are part of the foster care program. They have a mother who has washed her hands of them. They are just ten and eleven years old. What went wrong along the way and why were these boys allowed to roam the streets when social workers knew they were dangerous?

The boys mother told The Sun newspapers that ‘It’s got nowt to do with me – they weren’t even in my care.’

The boys have been charged with attempted murder and robbery. They have been described as ‘chaotic and dangerous’.

Relatives of the injured boys are outraged that the brothers were allowed to be roaming the area when it was known that they were dangerous.

The Daily Mail reports:

The aunt of the 11-year-old thrown in the ravine said: ‘They knew what the two attackers were capable of, but they did nothing.

‘Social services should have taken them into more secure care, not just let them roam the streets. If he had been found just half an hour later my poor nephew would have died.

‘Now the worry is that the people responsible won’t be put away. They will go to a detention centre with a nice X-Box. That’s not punishment if you ask me.’

The boys aren’t the brothers first victims. The Daily Mail reports that just a week earlier Callam Flett, an 11-year-old choirboy at St John’s Church in Edlington was beaten by the boys at the same spot. Callam’s parents reported the attack immediately. The police according to Mrs. Flett wasn’t that interested, in fact the parents were warned that they could get in trouble if the bandied around the brothers names.

I am appalled and shocked,’ said Mrs Flett. ‘The attack on my son was horrific and he could quite easily have been very seriously injured.’

Just hours before the brothers attacked the children that are still in hospital they were questioned by the police concerning Callam’s attack.

The oldest boy was the most seriously injured Saturday. He had to be airlifted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Yesterday he improved from critical to stable and the ventilator keeping him alive was finally able to be removed.

His 16-year-old brother said: ‘He could hardly open his eyes in hospital. They were swollen shut with a slice cut running along the bottom of one eye. His face is covered in bruises and cuts. He looks like he has been battered in a boxing match. None of us can believe what’s happened. Kids get into little fights but this is something different. It’s horrible.’

The boy’s parents released a press statement thanking those who have prayed for their son reports The Telegraph.

His parents said: “We would like to thank all the community for their help in finding our son and for all their continued support through what is a very traumatic time. We are hoping that our son will continue to recover from his ordeal and ask that the media would please respect our privacy and not approach our family or friends.”

Because of their ages the brothers can not be named. The Daily Mail though has discovered that they spent time in the care of Doncaster council. Detectives have been granted an additional 36 hours to question them.

Since the incident the brothers have been in custody. The Telegraph reports:

Chris Hartley, Head of the CPS’s Crown Court unit, said: “South Yorkshire Police have been investigating an incident in Edlington during which two young boys aged nine and eleven received significant injuries. They arrested two boys aged ten and eleven in connection with this incident.

“South Yorkshire CPS has been advising the Police during the last few days as their investigations continued. We have now authorised the police to charge a boy aged ten and a boy aged eleven.

“Each boy will be charged with an offence of attempted murder of each victim and each boy will also be charged with an offence of robbery against each victim. This gives a total for four charges for each boy.”

Neighbours of the foster family that was trying to care for them say that the boys claimed ownership of the street.

The Daily Mail reports:

Charles Dunn, 52, said: ‘They were tearaways who were completely out of control.

‘They were strutting around like cocks of the walk and seen wandering barefoot and dirty, trespassing, lighting fires and being rowdy.

‘I saw them smoking and wouldn’t have been surprised if they weren’t drunk.’

Philip Metcalf, 45, an odd-job man, said: ‘Their behaviour was shocking. They were running riot and it didn’t look like the foster parents could exert any control.’

The event has been deemed shocking by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Downing Street.

Teletext.co.uk reports:

Paul Hart, managing director of Doncaster Council, said: “This is a truly shocking and upsetting incident and we are working closely with our partners to assist the investigation. We can confirm that the two boys in custody have recently been placed into foster care. As this is an ongoing criminal investigation we cannot add anything further at this time.”

The Doncaster Council department is already being looked at as investigations are underway about the deaths of seven children in the borough since 2004. This year Children’s Secretary Ed Balls replaced the management team of the children’s service at the authority.


Child Critically Wounded In Attack, Two Children Are Suspects

One child is cut from head to toe and another in critical condition after being attacked by two other children demanding their shoes, money and mobile phones. The crime is breaking the heart of those that reside in Edlington, Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
An eleven-year-old is fighting for his life in Edlington, Doncaster, South Yorkshire after and his friend is struggling to deal with a knife attack. Two other children are suspected of crime.

The crime has shocked the community with the horrific tale of two children being brutalized by other children. The younger of the boys attacked wandered the streets coated in his own blood from numerous stab wounds until a man brought him into his home and called an ambulance.The Daily News reports that Derek Wright rescued the child.

Mrs Wright, 68, said: ‘My husband saw him walking past the outside of our house and he was covered in what my husband thought was red paint. When he went out he saw it was blood.

‘We brought him in and my husband calmed him down. He had a big gash on his arm and he was covered in blood on his head. He was shaking very badly and going into shock.

‘He had no shoes or socks on and he was wet through. To me I thought he had been in water, that’s what it looked like from the waist down, he was just wet through.

‘My husband got a few words out of him, what his name was and that two boys had attacked him.’

It’s being reported that the two young boys were confronted by the other children while bike riding.

The two suspects demanded that the children hand over their cell phones, money and shoes. When the two resisted the attackers tortured them with burning cigarettes, stabbed them from head to toe and beat them with bricks according to witnesses.

The child now in critical condition was pushed down a 30ft embankment. He was found at the bottom of the embankment semi-conscious. He was then air-lifted to hospital. The younger child is being treated at at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

The Daily Mail reports:

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: ‘An 11-year-old boy was found partially conscious with life-threatening injuries to his head.

‘He was airlifted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and placed in intensive care. His condition was described as critical but stable.’

The police have arrested two boys, aged 10 and 11 in connection with the attack.


Traditional Parents Tend To Have Well-adjusted Tykes

Do you tell your kids no from time to time? Did you breastfeed? Do you want your kids to achieve greatness? Chances are your children are doing well then. A British study is showing that being a traditional parent is a good way to have well adjusted kids.
From breastfeeding to having high expectations for little one are ways to insure happy kids.

The study of 1,136 mothers reading a story book to their one-year-old found that breastfeeding for six months was assiciated with parents that continue positive parenting skills beyond infancy.

The UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe. Many mothers give up early on because of lack of support or they have to return to the work force. Fewer than eight in ten mothers breastfeed from birth. Only one fifth of have continued to feed their babies breast milk six months later.

Researchers at the Institute of Education in London recommend that more is done for mothers of infants so that they can breastfeed their young, including if necessary helping them with money so they can delay returning to work until their children are a little older.

The Telegraph reports:

Dr Leslie Gutman, who led the research, said: “Breastfeeding is a time-consuming activity and mothers can be tempted to put their babies on the bottle earlier if they feel they have to return to work for financial reasons.

“Mothers are given information leaflets in hospitals about breastfeeding but we may need more than this. Another option is workplace nurseries where mothers could go and feed their babies during the day.”

Breastfeeding has proven to be the best nourishment for infants. Studies have shown that breastfed children are less prone to obesity, have fewer allergies and respiratory illnesses and have higher IQ.

The study showed that the mothers who most benefited from breastfeeding were low income mothers. Those mothers had a higher quality of interaction with their children even five years later.

It appears that martial status though doesn’t change the quality of mother interaction with children. If anything single mothers who breastfeed seemed to make more of an effort to connect with their kids.

The Daily Mail reports that Gutman’s study also shows that strict parents have more ‘competent’ children. This is very important when raising girls. Those who lack confidence tend to turn to drugs according to the left-wing London’s Institute of Education.

‘Multiple studies have documented that children who have authoritative parents – that is, both firm disciplinarians and warm, receptive caregivers – are more competent than their peers at developmental periods, including pre-school, school age and adolescence,’ said the report.


200 Children In UK Have Been Identified As Potential Terrorist

British police have identified two hundred children as potential terrorists, some of whom are only 13-years-old. Eighteen months ago a new program was started to ID possible young terrorist and it appears to to working.

In the eighteen months since the terror prevention program started Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain’s most senior officer in charge of terror prevention, states at least 200 cases have been intervened.

That number is a huge increase from the 10 children identified prior to the June 2008 start of the The “Channel project”, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The project asks teachers, parents and other leaders in the community to watch for signs that their children are being groomed by extremists or drawn to the viewpoints of extremists.

The Telegraph reports:

“One of the four bombers of 7 July was, on the face of it, a model student. He had never been in trouble with the police, was the son of a well-established family and was employed and integrated into society.

“But when we went back to his teachers they remarked on the things he used to write. In his exercise books he had written comments praising al-Qaeda.

“That was not seen at the time as being substantive. Now we would hope that teachers might intervene, speak to the child’s family or perhaps the local imam who could then speak to the young man.”

When a child is identified outreach workers come in to discuss with the family the concerns. The outreach workers are religious figures in the community like a local imam.

Sir Norman said that some of the children have had police directed intervention.

The basis of the project is to build trust and confidence within the community. By targeting children that could be vulnerable they are hoping to stop terrorism in its tracks. Sir Norman is clear that this is not to be confused with a target on the Muslim community instead they are targeting criminals and would-be terrorists that could become entrenched in Islamic extremism rhetoric.

The project is covering Lancashire, Lambeth in London, West Yorkshire, the Midlands, Bedfordshire and South Wales. It is now set to be started in the rest of London, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

The Telegraph reports:

A Home Office spokesman said: “We are committed to stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists or violent extremists. The aim of the Channel project is to directly support vulnerable people by providing supportive interventions when families, communities and networks raise concerns about their behaviour.”

There are some concerns that the project could infringe on children’s privacy the Daily Mail reports:

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain said: ‘There is a difference between the police being concerned or believing a person may be at risk of recruitment and a person actually engaging in unlawful, terrorist activity.

‘That said, clearly in recent years some people have been lured by terrorist propaganda emanating from al-Qa’ida-inspired groups.

‘It would seem that a number of Muslim youngsters have been seduced by that narrative and all of us, including the Government, have a role to play in making sure that narrative is seen for what it is: a nihilistic one which offers no hope, only death and destruction.’


Pro-Life Groups Upset With Proposed Abortion Ads Hitting UK TV

Anti-abortion groups are attacking a plan to allow TV ads in the UK for abortion clinics. The proposal that condom commercials will be on the air prior to 9PM is also fueling their steam.
The proposals come as the UK is facing a rising teen pregnancy rate. The changes are being weighed by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee on Advertising Practice (BCAP) watchdogs.

CAP and BCAP have been reviewing the matter for the past 18 months. Sky News reports:

Chairman Andrew Brown said: “Throughout this process, we sought the views of industry and policymakers and now we want to hear from all other interested parties, including the people that matter the most in advertising, the general public.”

Pro-lifers believe that allowing the prime-time television and radio slots advertisements could lead to more promiscuity and result in higher numbers of unborn children being aborted.

At this time only Channel 4 television is allowed to run condom ads after 7:00 in the evening. That public service channel is commercially funded.

Abortion clinics are unlikely to be able to afford advert time space during prime time programming.

The Guardian reports:

“Bcap’s proposed rule on pregnancy advisory services would, in theory, allow abortion clinics to advertise,” said a Bcap spokesman. “However, as this service is normally accessed via a referral from a GP or hospital it is unlikely that we are going to start seeing ads for them.”

That announcement has other pro-life groups up in arms. John Smeaton, the national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is one that is speaking out. The Guardian quotes Smeaton’s take of the proposal.

“It would completely disregard the adverse effect of abortion on women’s health. Agencies with a financial interest in abortion will be in a position to buy expensive broadcast advertising, whereas groups which provide objective information about abortion and its impact on women’s health will be unlikely to afford to advertise,” Smeaton said.

“We note the proposed requirement that any group advertising counselling services for pregnant women must make clear if the group does not refer women for abortion. We will be scrutinising the Advertising Standards Authority’s proposals [the watchdog responsible for enforcing the rules] closely for any similar signs of potential discrimination against pro-life groups. The ASA already demonstrated a bias against pro-life groups when it attempted to ban advertisements which stated correctly that morning-after pills may cause early abortions.”

Not only are the Pro-Lifers against the proposal. Conservative MP Nadine Dorries calls the plan “just plain sick.”

Sky News reports that the MP wrote in her blog about the plan.

“I am quite sure that any adverts will depict smiling pretty nurses, gleaming reception areas and leafy car parks,” she wrote in her blog.

“They will not in any way show the fear, anguish, isolation, or subsequent depression.”

Some believe that by having the ads on the telly families will discuss birth control and safe sex more often.

BBC reports:

“Our advice to parents is to avoid the big ‘sit down’ conversations. Seeing these adverts on TV could be the perfect way to get people talking about the issues. It could make it more normal,” says Rebecca Findlay, of the fpa, formerly the Family Planning Association.

Hilary Pannack of Straight Talking, a sex education charity, also thinks that the ads could bring more awareness to the teen pregnancy issue. She is also concerned that some may turn off their TV sets when the ads come on.

The BBC quotes Pannack who also warns that the advertising has to be designed in a way that abortions are not promoted as an alternative to birth control;

“We really have to tackle the underlying cause of the high teenage pregnancy rates. It is to do with self-esteem and self-respect.

“Young girls too often feel pressurised to have sex without protection.

“To change this we need better education in schools and better social mobility.

“Too many young people do not feel they have real opportunities in life that would encourage them to make sure they do not get pregnant.”

Other proposed changes include banning ads for age-restricted video games during children’s programming and shows that target young viewers.

A 12-week consultation will close about the changes for advertising on June 19. The new advert codes will come into play on televisions in 2010.


Rooftop Design a Mystery to Father For a Year

A year or so ago Rory McInnes, 18, decided to paint a large object on the roof of his family’s estate. In fact the young artist used white paint for a 60-foot penis to grace the manor.
McInnes of Hungerford, Berk may not be his father’s favorite child at the moment. The giant phallus stayed on the home’s roof until a helicopter spotted it and called the local newspaper.

Rory decided to do the art work after watching a documentary about Google Earth. He figured that a giant willy would help his parent’s £1million house stand out. After all Mum and Dad had just gotten the builders to finish up the perfect canvas, a flat roof.

The Sun rang up Andy McInnes, 54, to ask him about his rooftop decoration.

The Telegraph reports:

“It’s an April Fool’s joke, right? There’s no way there’s a 60ft phallus on top of my house.”

After talking to his four children Rory came clean. The lad is safe since his dad had to call him long distance in Brazil on a gap year.

Rory is safe for now but when he returns home his father has something special waiting for him. As his Mum told the Sun.

Rory’s mum Clare, 49, said: “We don’t want any more children, so the idea of sleeping under a giant fertility symbol is rather worrying.”

Andy added: “We don’t want to lie in bed at night and hear couples at it above us.

“When Rory gets home he will be given a scrubbing brush and white spirit and he can go and scrub it off.”