At least six Afghan children, including a baby, have died after an inflatable boat carrying refugees sank in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey, Turkish media have said. The Turkish coastguard recovered the bodies of the drowned children and were still looking for two other refugees reported missing, the official Anadolu news agency said…
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By Kyle Jones
Conservative MP’s in the British House of Commons have come under fire in recent days following a controversial measure which would cut tax credits for many middle and lower income British citizens.
Earlier this month the House of Commons passed a controversial measure proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; (equivalent to Treasury Secretary) George Osbourne, that would cut an estimated £4.5 billion in tax credits to lower income British citizens.
In a major political defeat, the traditionally ceremonial House of Lords blocked the government supported tax cuts in what has been dubbed by some Conservatives as a “Constitutional Crisis.”
Peers in the upper house voted by a majority of 17 to back the opposition Labour Party’s calls for the government to provide full redress to tax credit claimants who would be affected when their entitlements are reduced; as well as, a delay in implementation of the tax credit cuts until the government has effectively assessed the full financial impact of the measure.
The tax credits were introduced by the previous Labour Government as a way to encourage work and give aid to low income British workers and families with children.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the average tax credit family-single earner family with children- would lose an estimated £1,000 annually as a result of the cuts.
Prime Minister Cameron defended the cuts during last Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, stating that any cuts not made to tax credits would have to be made to the police or the NHS. The Prime Minister also stated his belief that the average family families will still be better off by 2017, as a result of the introduction of the National Living Wage.
In an interview with the BBC, Chancellor Osborne agreed to listen to people’s concerns and announce any modifications to the plan in November. The Chancellor maintained his belief; however, that reforms to the tax credit system were necessary to strengthen the British economy and provide economic security to families in the long run.
“If we have uncontrolled welfare bills, uncontrolled tax credit bills and the like, there will be no security for working families,” Osborne said.
The cuts were supported by David Cameron and a majority of Conservatives in the House of Commons; however, a number of Conservatives publicly challenged the measure.
Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew Davies, stated that he supported the idea behind the reform but said he could not support the timing of the cuts insisting that the cuts should be phased in over a period of time. The majority of Scottish MP’s also raised concerns over the measure including the leader of the Scottish National Party who called the measure, “A daft idea”.
Chancellor Osbourne is expected to announce a modified version to the measure sometime in November. In an interview with the BBC, Chancellor Osborne agreed to listen to people’s concerns but maintained his belief that reforms to the welfare system were necessary to strengthen the British economy and provide economic security to families in the long run.
“If we have uncontrolled welfare bills, uncontrolled tax credit bills and the like, there will be no security for working families,” Osborne said.
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By Nate Nkumbu
Election Season is upon us here in the United States but across the Atlantic, France is also getting ready for a very important election that could have global implications.
With a whole range of issues that are in the voter’s mind from national security to the economy, this election season will prove to be one that could shape France’s future at home and abroad.
After a wave of terrorist attacks that have plagued the country in recent years and a meddling economy that has failed to take off, many in France are willing to turn to the far right of the political spectrum for salvation and safety.
But before going into too much detail, let’s do a little overview of how the French political system actually works.
The country is led by a President, who is elected every five years.
France uses a two round system to elect its president so the top two finishers in the first round of voting then face off in a run off election two weeks later.
The next election is scheduled to be held on April 23, 2017 with the second round scheduled for May 7.
Many experts believe that incumbent Socialist President Francois Hollande could be in real trouble if he does decide to run for reelection.
“The Socialist party, which Hollande is member of doesn’t have much love for him like the rest of the France because he’s failed on number of things, mostly the economy as France is still struggling,” William R. Keylor, a Professor at Boston University who specializes in International Relations and is expert on US and French politics said to RISE NEWS.
According to Keylor, Hollande’s mismanagement of the economy has seen his approval rating drop to as low as 10%.
The professor added that because of Hollande’s unpopularity, many of the political parties in France see an opportunity to challenge his Presidency.
One of those parties is led by a rising star in French politics by the Name of Emmanuel Macron, the 38-year-old who Hollande had as his finance minister has become the rising star of French intellectuals who wish for a more moderate future.
His brand of politics, and his campaign (which is called “En Marche!”, or On Our Way) are marked with a form of optimism not unlike Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau.
But Macron is not the only challenger in the election.
The Republicans (the center-right political party) will hold a primary in the fall that is being hotly contested by Former President Nicolas Sarkozy and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé.
There is also a far right party that is actually leading current opinion polls in the election- the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, a member of the European Parliament.
Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen is a rabid racist who founded the National Front as a reactionary force meant to inform more traditional ideas of how French society should be run.
Keylor suggest that on the international scene, Sarkozy, Hollande, and Macron would continue the international presences that France has with NATO and the European Union, but under Le Pen, France’s international presences would change drastically.
“Under both the Socialist and Republicans, France would continue their obligations to the Nato and the EU being charter members and one the more influential nations but under Le Pen, you would see France renege on the obligation” Keylor said.“Le Pen’s policy, much like Trump’s in America is all about making France first. Under her, you would see France retreat inwards”
With the Socialists discredited under Hollande’s poor economic management and weakness in dealing with terrorist threats, there is a real chance that France will have to choose from the right and the far right in the Presidential run-off election.
Why does that matter?
Well just look at the recent “burkini” controversy.
The nation has been gripped in debate over whether women should be allowed to wear a form of the Islamic covering known as a “burqa” on the beach. The issue came to a head when one beach community banned the outfit and forced women to remove it while on the beach.
The controversy has angered human rights campaigners and progressives the world over, but it is not clear-cut in France.
Le Pen and Sarkozy support making the ban a national one while Juppé and Macron want to relax the ban.
Macron, who speaks English and is married to his former high school teacher who is over 20 years his senior also wants to reform the French economy and is willing to go after some of its sacred cows, like the 35 hour workweek.
He is not a Socialist and has angered many labor unions due to his more reform minded view of the world, but he may be France’s only hope to prevent the country from plunging into a far right reality.
A 38 year old may be the man France needs in this time of great need.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.Post Views: 774
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The following piece was originally posted on Facebook. We have republished it here with the permission of the author.
By Ashley Draper Sanchez
Many people who know me now, don’t know about or have only heard me tell of my days as a teenager with extremely large breasts.
My first memory of realizing my body was different than others was in the 5th grade.
My teacher handed me a note and told me to give it to my parents, and not to read it. Of course the very first chance I got, I tore it open.
It was a letter from my teacher, asking my mother to please take me to get a bra as my playtime in PE had become “distracting” for everyone else.
I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was excited to need a bra! Even at the age of eleven I knew that a bra meant womanhood-maturity!
I was always an older soul in a little body and thought that this would be a step towards being taken more seriously. That night we ventured to the local department store, and I’ll always remember the size of my very first bra; 32 B. I remember my mom being shocked. My physical development had seemed to happen overnight. I blame the hormones in the milk
We drove home and as soon as we got there, I ran to my room and put it on. I turned to face my baby pink full length mirror hung on teddy bear wallpaper.
I looked at myself, thinking “I look like the ladies in the magazines!” I smiled widely. As a 5th grader I felt a sense of worth in my appearance.
I want you to let that sink in and think about it for a moment.
It didn’t take long for that feeling to go away. Just one short year later (and one full cup size bigger) I entered the world of Junior High.
And as soon as I crossed the threshold of my middle school, the lie I believed (that looking like a magazine cover would make me happy/loved/respected), melted away into the ugly truth behind a very real rape culture driven by female objectification and misogyny.
I spent the majority of those middle school years in the counselor’s office, and made excuse after excuse to not have to face my classmates on a daily basis. I was shamed by my classmates male and female alike for the way I looked.
By the time I was in eighth grade I weighed barely 100 lbs, but wore a DD cup bra. I was assaulted and tormented on an almost daily basis. Let me just recount some of the incidents I clearly remember:
The boys would whisper and plot…and then “accidentally” bump into me and grab my breasts. This was almost a weekly occurrence.
Sitting in the courtyard, a group of eighth grade boys took turns throwing stuff in my direction to see who could score a “basket” in my cleavage. My worth that day was relegated to “3 points”.
An older student approached me, and asked if I could settle a bet with him and his friends, “How big are your nipples?! They must be huge!”
Many boys claimed to have made out with me, slept with me, and felt up my breasts. Some said they were fake, others said they were real. No one cared I had hardly ever held a boys hand in real life.
On what I am guessing was a dare, a boy leaned over in algebra and undid my bra in the middle of a test.
I got a special note from my doctor that I wouldn’t have to participate in PE, because during my first semester I was traumatized as I had to run a lap around the gym to the audience of boys in the stands cheering me on and catcalling as I jogged by.
In the cafeteria in 6th grade, I was asked by a boy if I could squirt some milk into his cup because the lunchroom was all out. He then offered to let his black friend do it so that the milk would be “chocolate”.
In 7th grade a group of girls would whisper the word “slut” whenever I walked by. I didn’t even know what that word meant.
In 7th grade I had a guy ask me if he could see how many pencils he could stick in my cleavage. I let him, and then cried for 30 minutes in the bathroom afterwards. My worth that day was 7 pencils.
I was offered $25 to let a group of boys see my boobs.
One day I wore a graphic t-shirt that said 49 on it. The rest of the day I was called “49 DD”.
From that day forward (much to his shagrin) I wore my older brother’s oversized shirts to school.
I cannot count the times my bra straps were snapped, or the many incidences in which I would look over a see a group of boys making “motor boating sounds” or even the amount of times males would lose their filter all together and yell out something like “damn girl! Your tits are huge!”
I moved schools and states in 10th grade. It didn’t take a full day at my new school for the rumor of me being “a stripper in downtown Atlanta” to take hold.
My breasts were fondled, mocked, ogled, hit, objectified…and as they were all of those things, so was I.
By the time I was in high school, I looked in the mirror and had the same thought I had that day I tried on my very first bra, “my worth is based on how I look” but this time there was no smile. I was so much more, wasn’t I? Wasn’t I funny…and kind? Wasn’t I smart? I thought I was. I was failing many classes because I spent them crying and hiding.
From the time I was 11 until I was 18, even adult men would ogle me in public. My sweet grandma on my mother’s side, who has a pretty severe case of dementia, can still recount with gusto being with me in the grocery store when I was 13 and hearing a grown man make a loud comment about my breasts. My sweet grandma went off on him, and then I consoled her.
My father was a minister and I recall finding a letter written to him from a member, about me being a “distraction” at the church.
Now I was keeping people from God. What kind of foul creature was I?
I had money thrown at me out of cars.
Grown men in cars would roll down their window and ask me how much for a “titty f***?”
This is just a sampling for you. A “locker room talk” pupu platter, if you will.
I graduated high school weighing 105 lbs with FF breasts. The moment I turned 18, I submitted a claim to insurance to have a reduction done. I was told over the phone it would take 30-60 days to hear back but to please fax my photos and documentation. They called me back two hours later with a fully funded approval for surgery.
I have physical scars that remind me of that time in my life, but the emotional scars are far more prominent. I struggle daily with self worth.
It’s something my husband and I are working through together, but it affects me and my marriage every single day. The only reason I made it through as in tact as I did is because I knew Jesus, so I ultimately knew I was loved and had worth in who I was in him.
Sometimes the assault was physical, sometimes it was verbal but let me tell you the damage is the same.
For those of you who don’t think “locker room talk” has lasting effects, watch my face when I receive a compliment and witness my inability to comprehend your sincerity.
For those of you who don’t think it’s “that big of a deal” watch my breathing get faster when a male approaches me without my husband near.
For those who’d call it harmless, if you could only see how many tears I shed some mornings as my husband consoles me while I breakdown about my “worthlessness” and inadequacies.
These boys and men, they felt a sense of ownership over me and my body. A seemingly innate dominance, and what’s worse, I was dehumanized through the process in which they exerted their false sense of ownership.
Where did they learn that this was okay? Who told them this was acceptable? There are so many answers to this question.
But the biggest one is; American Culture. The porn industry, the media, the President (yes, Bill Clinton was president at the time and I was compared to Monica Lewinsky more than once). A women’s worth lies in their sexuality, and the men get to assign that worth.
That is what our children are being taught on a daily basis.
“Boys will be boys!” Do you know how many well intentioned people told me that to console me? Guess what affect that had? It set up a pattern of “settling” from me that led me into some unhealthy and abusive relationships.
Last night when I heard Donald Trump brush off his comments as “locker room talk”, there was a feeling of desperation and panic that rose up in me that I hadn’t felt for 15 years.
My 5 year old daughter lie asleep in her room mere feet away from my TV screen. In one moment I could see her closed door, behind which she slept peacefully unawares, and his face on the screen at the same time. And I was angry.
By elevating and looking past this type of behavior you are saying it’s okay.
You are telling young boys that degradation is normal, that assault is okay, that you can tear down half the human race and still rise to the most powerful and venerated position in the world.
This is not progress. There is no policy, no bill, no appointment that is more important to me than stopping the evil that is rape culture.
Because that’s what this falls into. I don’t subscribe or adhere to any type of excuse that allows humans to brush off reproachable behavior. This idea that “it’s just the way they are” or “they’re going to do it anyway” has to go away.
We have to start expecting and demanding more of ourselves as human beings, and a big part of that is NOT electing someone who engages in the verbal or physical assault of someone else.
Many people would say Hillary has verbally assaulted victims, and that’s fine if you believe that. Don’t vote for her either.
This isn’t an endorsement of a candidate. It’s a denouncement of behavior we’ve clearly approved of or settled for, to bring us to this place in history.
Real, good, amazing people exist out there. Unfortunately none of them are running for president.
It’s a broken system, it’s a broken country. But can we come together and agree that our daughters deserve more?
Can we teach them to raise their standards and not tolerate behavior or treatment that diminishes their worth as human beings?
Can we start by raising OUR standards as a country? By demanding and raising up leaders who have vision, experience, plans, AND integrity? No more excuses. No more “boys will be boys” and “politicians will be politicians”.
America, all I can do is tell you the same thing my sweet amazing husband has to tell me almost daily, to get me into the right frame of mind when I doubt my worth and tears fill my eyes. And hope you believe it.
“I love you. You are the standard by which I measure everyone else. I struck gold when I found you, and I’m the luckiest person in the world to call you home. You deserve the best”
You do. I do. WE do. My five year old daughter does. STOP the madness. Don’t settle, America.
No matter what happens on November 8th, I will teach my daughter and my sons that it’s not okay. It’s not the way it is or the way it’s supposed to be.
And even if we can’t get there now, maybe the next generation of voters will demand more from each other and God willing, more from their leaders.
My first and last political post of the season. Carry on.
This was originally posted on Facebook by Ashley Draper Sanchez.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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