Death of Lee Rigby

On the afternoon of 22 May 2013, a British Army soldier was killed, 25-year-old Lee Rigby, a drummer in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Rigby, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, had served in Cyprus, Germany, and Afghanistan before becoming a recruiter and assisting with duties in the Tower of London. He was attacked when he was returning to barracks from working at the Tower. Rigby married in 2007 and had a two-year-old son, but had separated from his wife. He was engaged. A post-mortem examination of Rigby showed that he died from “multiple incised wounds”. Rigby supported the Help for Heroes charity and was wearing a top supporting the charity when he was attacked. In the five days following his death the charity received over £600,000 in donations.

The attack took place shortly before 14:20 in Wellington Street, and near its junction with John Wilson Street, part of the South Circular Road (A205) in Woolwich, near the perimeter of the Royal Artillery Barracks where Rigby was stationed. Two assailants, later identified as Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, drove a car at Rigby, knocking him to the pavement.
The assailants then attacked and killed Rigby with knives and a cleaver, and attempted to behead his body. Witnesses stated that the assailants shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack. Immediately after the attack, a handful of women stood over Rigby’s body, trying to protect him from further injury. Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a cub scout leader from Cornwall, was one of the people at the scene.

She disembarked from a passing bus, with the intention of rendering first aid, when she saw what she thought to be a road accident. On discovering that Rigby was dead, and that a murder had apparently taken place, she engaged one of the assailants in conversation. The man said that he was responsible for killing the man on the ground – a British soldier who the attacker claimed had “killed Muslims in Iraq and in Afghanistan.” She asked one of the men to hand over his weapons, but he refused.

One of the assailants, Michael Adebolajo, justified the attack to a bystander videoing the scene, according to a Daily Telegraph transcript: “The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one. … By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? … When you drop a bomb do you think it hits one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family? … Through [many passages in the] Koran we must fight them as they fight us. … I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? You think politicians are going to die? No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so we can, so you can all live in peace.”

Regular unarmed police arrived at the scene nine minutes after an emergency call was received and set up a cordon. Armed police officers arrived five minutes later. The assailants, armed with a gun and cleaver, charged at the police, who fired shots that wounded them both. They were apprehended and taken to separate hospitals.[9] Both are British of Nigerian descent who were raised as Christians and converted to Islam. The attack was condemned by political and Muslim leaders in the United Kingdom and in the worldwide press. In the aftermath, anti-Muslim reprisal attacks have been reported across the UK.

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“Sexually Provocative” Music videos should be banned

Music videos which are “sexually provocative” should be banned before the watershed, a Home Office commissioned report has said. The study, by psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, warned children were being damaged by exposure to sexual and violent images and lyrics on TV. She said music videos were sexualising girls at a young age and encouraging them to aspire to an unhealthy ideal – but unlike other sexual content were not banned before 9pm.

As well as music videos, the report points to greater exposure of children to sexual and violent content from a younger age – through magazines, advertising, the internet and video games. The report said: “Music channels and videos across all genres have been found to sexualise and objectify women. Women are often shown in provocative and revealing clothing and are depicted as being in a state of sexual readiness. Males on the other hand are shown as hyper-masculine and sexually dominant.

It added: “A Pussycat Dolls video, say, will mean very different things to a three-year-old, an eight year-old and a 14-year-old.” The report also called for a ban on Government job centres advertising jobs in lap-dancing clubs, massage parlours and other parts of the sex industry and for Internet Service Providers to block access to pro-bulimia and pro-anorexia websites.

It also suggested a ratings system for pictures of models in magazines so readers can tell if they have been airbrushed and a compulsory age rating system for so-called lads’ mags to make clear they are “top shelf” titles. Exposure to sex and violence at a young age can lead to low self esteem, unhappiness with their looks and unhealthy sexual aspirations among young girls, the report said. Boys are encouraged to aspire to a false “hyper-masculine” ideal, it found.

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High Stop and search figures of Blacks

Black people are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people, Government figures have revealed. All ethnic minority groups remain disproportionately likely to be confronted by officers and the gap is widening, the Ministry of Justice said.

There were 1,142,763 stops and searches across England and Wales during the financial year ending April 2011, an increase of 10%. Of these, 15% were black, 9% Asian, 3% of mixed ethnicity and 1% from Chinese and other backgrounds. Researchers said the inequality of stop and search was fuelled by the fact almost half (42%) took place in London where 54% of black people live.

For every thousand people in the capital, 210 black people were stopped and searched, compared with 47 white people. Officials added that the proportion of stops and searches affecting people from ethnic groups had increased every year for the past five years. Police minister Nick Herbert said: “It is unacceptable that an individual might be targeted because of their race. Stop and search is an important tool for the police but it is essential powers are used fairly and with the support of the community to protect the public.

“The Government expects a policing service which promotes equality and does not discriminate against anyone because of their race.” The Ministry of Justice document, Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System, includes all kinds of stop and search. Researchers highlighted how 55,862 racist incidents were recorded by police in 2008/09, a fall of 4% on the previous year. They found fewer victims from black and mixed ethnic groups were satisfied with their contact with the criminal justice system.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Our use of stop and search is intelligence-led, carefully targeted and monitored both internally and externally. On every borough, the Met holds senior officers to account about the levels of stop and search and they are asked to justify the figures to a group of community members.”

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Girls ‘routinely sexually harassed’

Almost a third of young women say they have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact at school, a poll has found. Many more face harassment such as name calling on a regular basis, it said. The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), who commissioned the poll, is calling on ministers to address violence against girls in schools. The poll of almost 800 16 to 18-year-olds found that 29% of girls questioned had been the victim of groping, kissing or touching while at school. Around one in seven (14%) of the boys questioned said the same.

More than a third (37%) of all the young people questioned said they had heard girls being called names such as “slut” or “slag” at school on a daily basis. And less than three in 10 (29%) said they had never seen sexual pictures on mobile phones during school hours. Nearly one in four (24%) of everyone questioned said teachers had never told them that unwanted advances such as touching or name-calling were unacceptable, while a fifth (20%) said they had never received lessons or information at school about sexual consent.

EVAW chair Professor Liz Kelly said: “Not only is sexual harassment against girls at school routine, everyday and unquestioned, our results show that sexual assault is in fact commonplace in school environments. “Disturbingly, our results show that students rarely hear from their teachers that these behaviours are unacceptable. Schools are failing in their legal and ethical responsibility to effectively challenge all forms of violence against women and girls and provide safe and supportive environments for their female students.”

She added: “Violence against women and girls in our communities will not be eliminated unless the attitudes that excuse and normalise these behaviours are challenged before they are formed. The EVAW Coalition is calling for prevention through education, led by the Department for Education, to be a priority in the Coalition Government’s forthcoming strategy to tackle violence against women and girls.”

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Who is to blame for rise in adolescent STDs among UK kids?

Children infected with diseases through having unprotected sex have reached unprecedented levels in the UK. Whilst the finger is being pointed at the government, others insist that shrinking moral standards are to blame. Propeller An increase in the number of under 16-year-olds in Great Britain with a sexually transmitted disease has risen by a monstrous 58 percent. Many are blaming the government for the extraordinary increase, not only for their “complacent and lax” attitude when it comes to informing the young about sexual health, but also for slashing public health spending in recent years.

Schools in Britain are also being criticized for providing children with insufficient education about issues surrounding sexuality. Some teachers are being condemned for a tendency to uphold an old-fashioned approach which holds that, by providing information on the subject, they are actually giving permission for young people to become sexually active. Consequently complete abstinence is often the preferred advice. Liza Jones and two of her friends recently attended a screening for Chlamydia after reading a report that, if left undetected, the infection can lead to infertility – a serious consequence that they had not been informed about at school.

In the UK, the root of the crisis, for many, lies in the slack attitude by the government and in schools. Today, children are growing up in a society with a 52 percent divorce rate in which more and more people are not interested in married life and, for some, these “slacker values” can be blamed for the rises in sexually-related problems like STDs and teenage pregnancies. Parents undoubtedly play a key role into the reasons why a growing number of children are becoming infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

Rising divorce rates and “promiscuous” relationships are ultimately shaping children’s perception of sex and sexuality, as every action has a consequence. Pinpointing the blame solely on the government and teachers is surely inaccurate and unfair. Perhaps ministers, those in education, and parents should be working together to create a heightened awareness and a greater understanding of what has – as the recent figures released in Britain have shown – become a very worrying and pressing issue.

Gabrielle Pickard for RT

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Disabled people deal with discrimination at every turn

Dea Birkett reports that a poll of families with disabled children revealed that the one thing that would change their lives most would be “not to have to fight for support”. Her notion that disabled people and their families live in a “parallel universe” is so apt – but the lived experience for most of us is of having to put in “double time” to face the exhausting demands of this constant struggle on top of the ordinary demands of everyday life. We have to live two lives simultaneously with only one set of time, energy and money.

Most people could not begin to imagine the extent of our exclusions and lack of choices. Birkett quotes the mother of a disabled child saying “life is relentless. It’s physically and mentally punishing. But the biggest frustration is the constant battle that you have with social services, health and education to get any kind of help and support”. On top of all this, we face toxic comments about our differences, such as those expressed about Cerrie Burnell, the children’s TV presenter with only one hand: “One father said he would ban his daughter from watching the channel because Burnell would give [his daughter] nightmares. Another said it would scare the kids”

Every time we need anything, we have to wait months for a new occupational therapist (OT) to be assigned for a new assessment. We are now into our third month of waiting for a new pair of shoes. Those of us lucky enough to be able to afford a holiday face unbelievable hurdles – such as, in our case, being excluded from planes because the Disability Discrimination Act does not cover air travel, so airlines can refuse a service to people like my husband, a wheelchair user who needs extra legroom because his knees don’t bend. Years of appealing to politicians has not changed this. We face selfish non-disabled people using our parking bays. As a carer, I have had to reduce my paid working hours to cope with all these extra demands on my time.

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Rapper Giggs’s tour cancelled after police warning

British rapper Giggs has had his UK tour pulled after police warned promoters over safety fears. Giggs, from Peckham, London, and recently signed to XL Recordings, was due to play 10 dates starting tomorrow in Birmingham. However, police confirmed that they warned organisers about security concerns after being contacted by the promoters for Giggs’ London dates.

An official statement read: “Police advised that there were concerns about potential risks to the event, if it took place. It is routine for police to work with licensed venues on a regular basis to identify and manage risk assessments for forthcoming performances, but the decision to cancel an event is a matter for the venue itself.” This isn’t the first time Giggs has run into trouble with the law. In 2003, he spent two years in prison for possessing firearms without licence. Ever since, the rapper has complained that Operation Trident has followed his movements, informing venues and record labels of his past in an attempt to shut down his musical career.

Giggs recently told the Observer’s Paul Morley that Trident contacted XL on the day before he was signed to scare them off. He claimed people from his label were “shaken up” after getting the call and were unsure whether to offer him a record deal. Giggs believes that police phoned venues before the start of the tour, exaggerating security risks. He told BBC 1Xtra: “This is how it’s been from the beginning, it’s just that everyone is hearing about it now. Before it used to be low key, people didn’t really believe me.”

Considering his backstory, though, this kind of publicity may not be too harmful. As the rapper himself said: “I just want to thank police for all this great promotion that they’re giving me, all these cancellations, which are making me more powerful.”

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