Thousands of children in Malawi are learning how to grow food at school

The Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs, a recipient of the 2018 Lush Spring Prize, provides basic gardening kits and lesson packs to teachers in order to teach valuable agricultural skills.

This past week, TreeHugger was invited to attend the second annual Spring Prize for Social and Environmental Regeneration, hosted by Lush Cosmetics in the UK (read overview here). The first two days were spent at beautiful Emerson College in East Sussex, where the prize winners and other guests gathered for workshops and discussions; the final day was the award ceremony in London.

During this time I spoke with many of the winners to learn more about their projects and why they were selected for the Spring Prize, and over the next few weeks I will share these stories on TreeHugger. I came away from the event feeling inspired and hopeful. These projects are all fighting to create a world that’s more resilient, self-sustaining, and nourishing, and thanks to the Lush Spring Prize, that fight has become a bit easier.

One could say the Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs started almost by accident. In 2015, a single school in the Nkhata Bay district of northern Malawi decided to teach kids how to grow food, so it launched a gardening program. The program did so well, engaging the children and piquing the curiosity of their parents, that an end-of-year open day resulted in four more schools begging to join. Since then an additional five schools have joined, and Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs is poised on a verge of national expansion!

Well, not exactly, but if founder Josie Redmonds has her way, it will be soon. Redmonds, who attended the Lush Spring Prize on behalf of her organization to collect a Young Projects Award (worth £20,000), spoke with TreeHugger about why Malawi is such a good place for a permaculture gardening project:

“Malawi has the potential of sustainability. It’s still got community, people are still on the land, there’s not a lot of government involvement, so you actually have a space for change, in a way.”

Malawi School Clubs© Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs (via Facebook)

Malawians, however, are always told they are poor — and they are when wealth is measured only in terms of GDP. Sadly this means that they, too, have begun to view themselves as poor. But as Redmonds told me, they may be “monetarily poor, but banana rich. Mango rich. Avocado rich.” There is water, the climate is great, plants grow when tended. “Malawi is rich with things and resources, but not money; and yet they have everything they need, if they knew it.”

The Permaculture Clubs are self-selecting, meaning that the schools, all of which are locally-run (not by NGOs), choose to participate if they want. Once they do, they receive a very basic gardening kit that consists of a few tools, some trees, seeds (right now they’re “crappy hybrid seeds” but Redmonds hopes to get some nice organic ones soon), and stationery to allow teachers to write lessons on paper flip charts. There is no monetary benefit to participation, which sets it apart from the countless handouts from charities that set up shop in Malawi and fuel what Redmonds describes as “a real culture of expecting things.”

Redmonds creates lesson packs that provide the framework for teaching, and then schools are left to take their Permaculture Club in whatever direction they want. The different results have been very interesting to see, Redmonds said. Some schools have focused more on the theory, while others have transformed their school grounds within a year, going from bare earth to fruit trees and lush banana plants.

The Lush Spring Prize will go toward printing more detailed lesson packs that will allow the curriculum to expand to five satellite locations across Malawi (hence the “national expansion” I mentioned earlier), organizing teachers’ meetings twice a term, and, of course, assembling more gardening kits. The money, Redmonds said, “takes the weight off. We know we can provide what we said we would [to other schools in Malawi], and develop it further.”

Malawi Permaculture Clubs© K Martinko — Josie Redmonds (right) accepts the Lush Young Projects Award in London on May 16, 2018.

The project is a wonderful example of tremendous change being driven by minimal material inputs. The main benefit of this project is knowledge, Redmonds said. “When people ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’, we say ‘knowledge’.” This is knowledge that the students’ ancestors had, but recently it has been superseded by advertising and a different way of life. Fortunately, in Malawi, it’s not too late to reclaim that agricultural knowledge, and Redmonds is on an admirable mission to ensure that happens.

To learn more about the Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs, visit their Facebook page or the Lush Spring Prize page.

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Man accused of torturing his 10 children fires back from jail

“I’m not perfect. No one is perfect. But I am not an animal. I am not a torturer. And I’m not a monster,” Jonathan Allen says. He and his wife Ina Rogers are being accused of abusing and neglecting their ten children.

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10 children rescued from California home after abuse investigation

The mother has been charged with child neglect while her husband has been charged with nine counts of torture and six counts of child abuse. They both deny any abuse took place.

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Fake scientist Bill Nye went from educating children to advocating their murder: He’s now speaking for Planned Parenthood and pushing population control

Image: Fake scientist Bill Nye went from educating children to advocating their murder: He’s now speaking for Planned Parenthood and pushing population control

(Natural News)
Former PBS “Science Guy” Bill Nye recently spoke at a fundraising event in San Antonio for Planned Parenthood of South Texas, a regional chapter of Planned Parenthood of America that he openly praised for its continued murder of unborn babies as part of a larger population reduction agenda, which he says is also helping to combat “climate change.”

After congratulating Planned Parenthood for its “accomplishments” in ending the lives of some 330,000 unborn babies annually, Nye called for even more abortions to be performed in the coming years as a way to tackle the “explosive population growth” that he claims is “a major factor driving” the mythical phenomenon known as “climate change” – which liberals like himself seem to worship as some kind of religion.

In Nye’s view, the more unborn babies that are murdered, the greater the “quality of life” for women everywhere, who instead of having to rear their offspring as mothers can instead enter the workforce and become fruitless and maniacal feminists. Having “fewer kids,” in Nye’s view, is also a great way to help stop global warming from occurring.

During his speech, Nye also took the opportunity to mock abstinence-based sex education, which he dubbed as “ineffective.” Women who are taught to simply not have sex as a way of avoiding pregnancy, rather than being advised to murder their unborn children whenever they irresponsibly get pregnant, are better known as “parents,” he scoffed, to the laughing and applause of his pro-abortion audience.

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Nye further took aim at both coal-burning and the Second Amendment, which he implied will soon be eliminated once “the students in Parkland, Florida, at Stoneman Douglas [High School] … become voters.”

“The young people are coming, look out,” Nye joked, adding that, unlike their parents, these pre-adult individuals are not in denial about climate change and “women’s health issues.”

Crazy pervert Bill Nye claims that he’s a “true” expert, and that anyone who opposes him is a “fake” expert

During an interview with The Rivard Report, Nye was asked why Americans “have such a hard time differentiating between a true expert and a fake expert” – the implication being that Nye himself is a true expert, and that everyone who disagrees with him is a fake expert. Rather than correct this implication, Nye agreed with it as he blamed the “fossil fuel industry” for leading people to believe things outside of his own personal climate change dogma.

Nye even went so far as to claim that other theories about climate change, including the belief that it doesn’t even exist, are reminiscent of “the former Soviet Union.” He proceeded to throw in buzzwords like “Orwellian” and “George Orwell’s book 1984” to drive the point home that any other theories or beliefs about climate change besides what Nye personally believes are a form of mind control.

Keep in mind that this is the same Bill Nye who last summer participated in the making of a vulgar music video about “moist vaginas” and the “evolution” of humanity into “transgenderism.”

Entitled, “Sex Junk,” the video depicts Nye moving about with X-rated lyrics flashing across the screen about “sex how you want,” and “it’s your g***amn right.” All of this was reportedly bankrolled by the popular online streaming service Netflix, which apparently believes as Nye does on issues of sexual promiscuity and the myth of climate change.

Nye also had an infamous meltdown during a CNN interview about carbon dioxide (CO2), which climate change fanatics say is “evil,” despite the fact that CO2 is a key nutrient that allows plants to grow. Nye threw a fit when he was questioned about the issue, accusing CNN of doing a “disservice” to the public by allowing the truth about CO2 to be shared on television. Nye, it seems, would rather all plant, animal and human life be extinguished on planet Earth than allow carbon dioxide molecules to continue to exist in our atmosphere.

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It Is Not Transphobic To Be Against The Sexualization Of Children

(Sacred Owls) This topic has been a real emotional struggle for us this past year. It is emotional because we feel so deeply when it comes to our goals of working towards total unity between all people. A goal that humanity has struggled with since the beginning. We want real unity. This means that all men, women, or other humans are treated with the same level of respect in every direction AS LONG AS they are not harming anyone. Harm, by our definition (and I would hope, any other decent, and moral persons definition) is when physical and sometimes severe emotional damage is inflicted on someone without their consent. Consent can only be granted by adults, never children. That is why children under 18 are required to have the consent of a parent or legal guardian before they can see a PG-13 or rated R movie. That legal consent is even still restricted, as an adult guardian cannot purchase alcohol, tobacco products, or pornography for children, with good reason.

The reason these things are off the table is because children are not ready for those things physically, or mentally. They are still developing as an organism. There is a biological reason most kids say “YUCK!” when they see people kissing. It is because they have not gone through puberty and their bodies and minds are not there yet. They cannot reproduce. They are not ready for sex. Therefore, should have no real understanding about what is “sexy”, therefore, should not be attempting to be sexy. Watch the video below and notice at the end where the young child lifts his short red skirt at the end of his “vogueing” followed by applause from everyone there. This type of dress is not appropriate for a little girl or a little boy as it is low cut and short on the bottom. Pairing that with sexually suggestive dancing that has been normalized through the corrupt music industry, run by pedophiles is nothing short of creep bait.

Also, do they expect me to believe that his little sister came up with the name LACTACTIA?! The name literally translates to lactation. Milk coming out of a breast through the nipple. Sure, nothing to see here. That is not by accident and the parents are strategically saying that his kid sister picked the name thinking they could fool the average viewer that it is some nonsense name that does not mean anything. There are actually people who fetishize breast feeding. Is that really an appropriate name for a scantily clothed, cross dressing child?! If you think so, you are sick or brainwashed into accepting this deviant behavior.

The sad thing is, I honestly believe this young boy has NO IDEA what he is getting himself into. He just likes the art and attitude of the fashion industry and wants to express himself. What he does not realize is that the fashion world is a sick, predatory, depraved, and dangerous world full of pedophiles, drug addicts, and violent people. Even adults over the age of 18 get destroyed going through this meat grinder of an industry.

Several months ago we posted our opinion on this subject on Facebook and boy did that stir up a shit storm. To be clear, Sacred Owls is 100% fully supportive of any and all Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer, or other alternative lifestyle choices EXCEPT PEDOPHILIA. Why? Consent. Why is rape a crime? Consent. If two consenting adults want to role play with a rape fantasy, although we find that behavior to be destructive personally, we support your right to do it in the privacy of your home because there is no crime, so long as it is between consenting adults. You need both. To be an adult, and for those adults to consent. Why is a mugging or any other type of assault and/or battery a crime? Consent. If you are part of a fight club and agree, as an adult, that you want to fight and accept the risk of injury or death, this is your right, as an adult. A child legally cannot consent to these things. It is possible to be supportive and accepting of LGBTQ people and be against the sexualization, recruiting, grooming, & indoctrination of children. Sacred Owls fights for equality and justice for those who harm no one regardless of sex, gender, or other. We hunt pedophiles who have co-opted the LGBTQ movement in order to have the P added to the end of LGBTQ. P cannot be added because CHILDREN CANNOT CONSENT, THUS MAKING PEDOPHILIA A CRIME.

Some people argue that the age on consent is lower than 18 in some states, and in other countries it is WAY lower. This is true, some states in the United States are 16 and 17 as shown in the map below.

( Map Key: 16 – Blue, 17 – Dark Green, 18 – Light Green

However, there are groups lobbying to LOWER the age to as low as 10 or simply abolish the legal age of consent to sex all together, making prosecution of sexual assault of a minor even more difficult than it already is. Currently, it is not as easy as you think to bring a case involving sexual abuse of a child to trial, let alone get a conviction without DNA evidence or a witness other than the victims sworn testimony. We are currently working a case locally where an Evangelical Christian youth pastor sexually molested a young girl from the ages of 14-16 before she was brave enough to tell his wife which was met with them lawyering up and denying it all together. We are going to release a documentary in the next year about this case once the investigation has been concluded.

Most decent people call us crazy when we tell them the country and really the world is run by a small group of pedophiles. There are occult reasons why they are involved in humanitarian efforts in where they house youths. Why does the Vatican run Boys Town, Nebraska, which has been notorious for sex trafficking of children? We know why. They are sick. They do it for power. They believe in dark arts. They believe you can absorb youth and life force by sexually violating children, using their blood in rituals. These are things so dark and disturbing that most decent people would rather call us crazy than believe that people would do such things when even Netflix has Occult Crime TV series about how often these things happen. The Franklin Cover Up has the most disturbing stories of occult, sexual, ritual abuse of children done by rich and powerful people all the way up to the white house, the Bohemian Grove, and other occult places where wealthy businessmen and politicians gather to do sick things. Some do it for the power, some do it because they are depraved, some do it to blackmail others. Once you have photos or video of an up and coming politician doing things of this nature, they are in your pocket for life. This is a tool used by secret societies like Skull and Bones, The Bohemian Grove, and others.

The FBI released a document of common symbols used by pedophiles. These symbols have been linked to Ping Pong and Besta Pizza as they used them in their logos and artwork. This is what became #pizzagate. Snopes calls Pizzagate “False” yet, there is SO MUCH EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT AN INVESTIGATION.

So what does this all have to do with trans-children and their relationship with drag queens, and the sexual counter culture? A lot.

Sexual education lobbyists are fighting to force younger and younger children to take courses about sexual preference, identity, anal sex, and other mature topics. When I say force I mean it. Some of these programs are not allowing parents to opt out! All of a sudden there are children far below the age of puberty, let alone the age of sexual consent, dressing in provocative drag. Again, I want to be clear, if a little girl was dressed in this way we would feel the same about it, so it has nothing to do with it being transgender or transsexual. It has to do with the sexualization of children. When we spoke against these practices, and taking children to burlesque shows and drag events, it was met with such hostility from certain people in the Orlando area. They said by saying that putting red lipstick, bold, colorful make up, and evening gowns, high heels, and other suggestive clothing items the WE are sexualizing them, which is ridiculous. You can say that something is inappropriate without thinking something is sexy. I feel like I shouldn’t even need to say that.

Some clothing, makeup, and accessories are sexually suggestive according to scientists, psychologists, and most of mainstream society. Again, it has NOTHING TO WITH IDENTIY OR PREFERENCE. Some dances and body language is sexually suggestive and is inappropriate for children. In todays age, everyone is so worried about not being labeled as homophobic or transphobic that they don’t take a hard stance against things that are clearly corrupt and have a larger agenda, so they show their bellies and get on their back in order to show support, regardless of the long term consequences. I have a 7 year old son that is such a wonderful, smart and amazing boy that is open minded, loving, and accepting of everyone. We have a lot of gay, queer, and trans friends that are around us all the time at shows, events we host at our house, or just hanging out. We love and accept them because they are good people, that is why they are in our life. If my son told me one day that he identified as a girl, I would tell him that if that is actually true, I will be supportive. There would be a long conversation about what that actually means, what that lifestyle is like, and why it is not a light hearted decision. If he wanted to wear a dress to school, I would be fine with it! I also respect parents that aren’t that open minded and radical or alternative. I would NOT let him wear a low cut top or short skirt like the 7 year old in the video above. Why? Because that is crossing the line into sexually suggestive clothing that psychologically calls for that sort of attention from creeps. Furthermore, young children have not gone through puberty and do not even understand what sex is, so any behavior or desire to look sexy is learned. I have NOTHING AGAINST drag queens, Ru Paul, or anything like that as long as they are not attempting to recruit, or groom children for pedophile sex. If ANYONE comes close to such a thing, they will be on our radar and we will work with law enforcement to make sure you lose your freedom. The sad thing is there are even people in law enforcement, politics, and religion who join those organizations as agents of NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) or other groups to make sure these criminals get away with it, which makes our fight that much harder.

We need your support in this fight.

I would like to end this piece by thanking from the bottom of my heart, all of the true friends who have stuck up for us, defended us, called out those who have made the baseless accusations of transphobia or homophobia pinned against us. We love you and we need more of you in this fight. There is a really great podcast that our friends at PFT Media & Get Rad Records put out that discusses these issues, what we went though, and what their views are in Episode #19 of Tidbits titled Trans AMerica that you can download and/or hear here.



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The Vatican Has Paid Nearly $4 Billion To Settle For Children Harmed By Sexual Abuse

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The reality of child molestation by the Roman Catholic Church has surfaced time and time again, and yet, somehow, it continues to happen. If you watched the movie Spotlight, perhaps you have an idea of just how things are going down. But let’s break it down to date.

While you can’t put a price on the innocence of a child, you can put a price on just how much the Roman Catholic Church has paid out in lawsuits over the never-ending epidemic of child molestation wreaking havoc in its ranks.

According to Jack and Diane Ruhl of the National Catholic Reporter, who decided to research this particular topic, since 1950, the Vatican has spent a disgusting $3,994,797,060.10. That’s nearly $4 billion to keep things hush hush. That number may even be a bit conservative, as we cannot know for sure the agreed upon “under the table” amount. 

The figure is based on a three-month investigation of data, which includes a review of over 7,800 articles from LexisNexis Academic and NCR databases and information from Reports from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops were also used. 

If the amount of money dished out was divided evenly amongst the U.S.’s 197 dioceses, each one would get almost $20 million.  An incredible amount of cash from hard working people who support the good faith and intentions of the Church — people who are parents to little boys being sexually abused — is being used to cover up unfathomable crimes executed by priests.

In the early nineties, a monk who worked at the Vatican opened up to The New Yorker, admitting: “You wouldn’t believe the amounts of money the church is spending to settle these priestly sexual-abuse cases.” By 1992, U.S. Catholic dioceses had given 400 million dollars to settle hundreds of molestation cases. That was a shocking chunk of change then, and that figure has only risen exponentially since. The men running the Vatican are well aware of the problem, and yet they refuse to provide justice.

When Pope Francis addressed hundreds of bishops on the issue, he said:

I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you, and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims — in the knowledge that in healing we too are healed — and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated.

His words of “generous commitment” only further show just how tightly knit the Church truly is — worried more about reputation than morality.

“The people he was talking to are the people who moved the pedophiles around to prey on kids,” said John Salveson, a 59-year-old Philadelphia businessman who was abused as a child by a priest. “If you gave me 100 years to pick a word to describe the U.S. bishops’ reaction to this crisis, ‘generous’ would never make the list.”

Related CE Articles:

Another Huge Vatican Linked Pedophile Ring Has Been Exposed

Ex-Chief Advisor For The UN Child Labour Program Arrested For Pedophilia

Multiple Catholic Priests Expose The Practice of Satanism Within The Vatican

UK Government & Catholic Church Claim Children Can Consent To Sexual Abuse

Terry McKiernan, who runs, noted that Francis overlooked the fact that many dioceses around the country haven’t disclosed the names of abusers, and furthermore, continue to lobby against reforming statute of limitations laws that shield priests from prosecution for crimes from the past.

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was once optimistic that Francis would push for change in how the Church handled the scandal, but has since lost hope. “There’s nothing he could say that would be helpful, because Catholic bishops have said it all before — ‘I’m sorry, we didn’t know, we’ll do better.’ We’ve heard that for decades,” he said. “This is a pope who has refused to take steps to expose one predator or punish one enabler. . . . He could simply defrock, demote, discipline, or even clearly denounce just one complicit bishop. He refuses, not one.”

Spanning many hundreds of years, children have suffered at the hands of child predators who remain safe in the authority and integrity of an honorable faith, yet organizations, investigators, reporters, etc. continue to raise awareness, while the Catholic Church continues their fight to block bills that would extend the statute of limitations for reporting sex abuse.

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Children and pre-teens who lack sleep are 58% more likely to become obese as adults

Image: Children and pre-teens who lack sleep are 58% more likely to become obese as adults

(Natural News)
If you don’t want your child to grow up into an obese adult with a lot of health problems, make him get enough sleep. New research from the University of Warwick revealed that children and pre-teens who get less sleep less than others their age gain more weight as adults, and are more likely to become overweight or obese.

The researchers reviewed the findings of 42 population studies of infants, children, and adolescents aged 0 to 18. The said studies had a total of 75,499 participants, whose average sleep duration was analyzed using questionnaires, wearable technology, and other methods.

Participants were divided into two: short sleepers and regular sleepers. Short sleepers were those who slept less than the reference category for their age.

The reference category was based on the most recent National Sleep Foundation guidelines in the U.S. which say that:

  • Infants (four to 11 months) must get between 12 to 15 hours of sleep a night;
  • Toddlers (one to two years old) must sleep 11 to 14 hours nightly;
  • Pre-school children (three to five years old) need 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night;
  • School-aged children (six to 13 years old) between nine and 11 hours; and
  • Teens (14 to 17 years year old), eight to ten hours.

Researchers monitored the participants for three years. They took note of changes in their body mass index (BMI ) and documented incidences of overweight and/or obesity over time.

The research team revealed that short sleepers regardless of age gained more weight and were 58 percent more likely to grow up overweight or obese.

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Dr. Michelle Miller, Reader of Biochemical Medicine, Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, one of the study’s co-authors, said that their findings show that sleep can serve as a modifiable risk factor of future obesity. She added that their findings show that the tendency to become obese be detected very early on in life.

She warned that being overweight can lead to health problems like cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, which she said is on the upswing among children.

Obesity has become so rampant worldwide, the World Health Organization has declared it a global epidemic. This is why the research team is all for the creation and implementation of educational programs that empower parents and children to get the most out of sleep.

How do you help children sleep well at night? Some suggestions:

  • Create a reward system – Give your child a star when he goes to bed on time and stays there the whole night long. Give him a prize if he earns three stars at night.
  • Avoid stimulating activities after dinner – That’s according to Dr. Carol L. Rosen, medical director of pediatric sleep services at Case Western Reserve University‘s School of Medicine at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. This means stashing the toys away, turning off the television and unwinding with a bedtime story or two.
  • Make your child feel comfortable – Check if the room temperature either too warm or too cold. Make sure the bedsheets, pillows, comforter, blanket and pillowcases are clean. Ask your child if he feels comfortable in his pajamas. Make sure the blankets don’t limit his movement.

A child’s health is a parent’s responsibility. Let us help our children sleep well at night so they will grow up to become healthy adults who can do their best in whatever they choose to do.

Do you know that a lot of modern-day diseases are preventable through proper lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise? You can find more articles on how to prevent these illnesses at

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Packs of wild dogs maul 6 children to death in India

A 10-year-old boy was mauled to death by a stray dogs in Taalgaon on Saturday. His death brought the number of children killed by dogs in the Sitapur region of Uttar Pradesh to six in five days. Another child was injured in Biharipur on the same day, NDTV reports.

Sitapur residents fear further canine attacks, and attendance in schools has reportedly dropped as a result.

Three children died last Tuesday after being mauled by dogs in Khairabad. Last Saturday two children were mauled to death and two more were injured in the district. Police say 12 children have been killed by dogs since November, although locals say the number is 17.

Residents and police have increased patrols in an effort to keep the stray dogs away, the Hindustan Times reports. “We have formed multiple police teams and equipped them with drones, to cover larger areas, in a bid to trap the feral dogs.” Uttar Pradesh director general of police (DGP) OP Singhuttar Pradesh said. “Night vision devices will also be used for patrolling during the night.”

“The attacks on school children are very unfortunate. Our operation is on and very soon all the stray dogs will be caught,” local government spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, as cited by India Today. “However, it is very difficult to identify between stray and normal dogs.”

The uptick in dog attacks have been put down to a shortage of food for the animals, particularly since the recent closure of an illegal abattoir in the area.

“Earlier when the abattoirs were operational, the dogs used to get food in the form of leftovers,” RK Singh of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) explained, NDTV reports. “Before this, such aggressive nature of dogs was not reported. And, it would be unfair to call the Sitapur dogs as man-eaters. This is primarily a case of man-animal conflict,” he added.

According to the district administration, there are thought to be about 100 such dogs in the area, and a canine catching team was called in after last week’s attacks. In total, 22 dogs have been captured and sent to Lucknow to be studied, while locals have killed an additional 15.

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Gaza Strip: 3 of 5 Palestinian children suffer traumatic nightmares as a result of Israeli violence against protests

Gaza girl Great March of Return Palestinians


Children living in the Gaza Strip are experiencing unusually high rates of nightmares and are showing increasing signs of psychosocial deterioration as a result of the violent response to the Gaza protests, just over a month since they began.

56 per cent of Palestinian children surveyed by Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in March were suffering from traumatic nightmares. When repeating the survey preliminary findings indicate an increase to 60 per cent, a month into the Great Return March demonstrations during which more than 38 Palestinian protestors have been killed, including 4 children and 2 journalists. More than 6,400 Palestinians have been injured, including at least 530 children, many of whom are left with amputated limbs and permanent disabilities.

Principals from 20 schools interviewed by NRC reported a rise in symptoms of post-traumatic stress in children, including fears, anxiety, stress and nightmares. School principals attributed high levels of post-traumatic stress and low concentration at school to the violent response to the demonstrations. The principals ranked increased psychosocial support in schools as their top need right now.

“The violence children are witnessing in Gaza comes on top of an already worsening situation negatively impacting their mental wellbeing, including living under blockade for the last 11 years and three devastating wars that deprived many children of their close relatives and friends,” said NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland. “Now they are once again faced with the horrifying prospect of losing their loved ones, as they see more and more friends and relatives getting killed and injured.”

NRC provides psychosocial support to children and training for teachers through its Better Learning Programme (BLP), developed in partnership with University of Tromsø in Norway. Part of the programme involves screening schoolchildren for nightmares, which are one of the most pertinent signs of psychological deterioration. The activities include training children to do breathing exercises and drawing their dreams.

“For the children we work with, the nightmares continue for months and years after the violence that causes them,” said Jon-Håkon Schultz, Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Tromsø in Norway who has participated in the implementation of the BLP programme in Gaza since 2012. He underlines that these nightmares are traumatic nightmares where the child wake up in fear. “The current crisis also brings back previous trauma and is a direct threat to the children’s mental health and their development.”

NRC’s education programme coordinator in Gaza, Asa’d Ashour, said: “Children having nightmares are growing more impatient in school and unhappier with their lives, and they are unable to concentrate in class.”

Reham Qudaih (14) was showing remarkable improvements in dealing with the trauma of the 2014 war on Gaza until her father was shot in the leg during the demonstrations. She is now having daily nightmares in which she dreams that her father is dead or had his leg amputated.

The widow of Jehad Abo Jamous – killed at the demonstrations – told NRC how her 4 children are waking up crying and screaming at night.

“They feel disconnected from everything and refuse to eat or drink,” Ghadeer said.

Mohammed Ayoub (14) was getting psychosocial support through NRC’s programme in schools when he was killed at the demonstrations.

Gaza mother Palestinian


The sheer force being used against unarmed civilians has also alarmed doctors in Gaza’s hospitals who are receiving increasing numbers of people with bullet wounds, torn muscles and smashed bones.

Egeland said: “We call on all protests to be non-violent. Israel must stop the use of excessive and lethal force against protesters and hold to account those responsible for use of such force.”

Notes to editors:

The structured survey with children was carried out among 300 school children aged 10 to 12 in three schools in north and eastern Gaza on 26 to 29 March, and again on 22 to 25 April. The random survey with principals was conducted in 20 schools in April 2018.

Humanitarian agencies in Gaza have identified three areas of intervention that are critical to respond to the urgent needs arising from the ongoing protests in Gaza: providing immediate life-saving healthcare; monitoring, verifying and documenting possible protection violations; and scaling up the provision of mental health and psychological support for people injured or otherwise affected by the events.

Some US$ 5.3 million is urgently required to scale up the immediate response until 31 May 2018, the expected six-week duration of the demonstrations, plus an additional two weeks to ensure immediate response to any affected on 15 May. On 25 April, the Humanitarian Coordinator released $2.2 million available for unforeseen emergencies, to support the three areas of intervention.


Gaza father Palestinian


Ibrahim Ayoub, father of Mohammed Ayoub, killed at 14, is quoted by NRC:

“A kid like Mohammed, what crime did he commit to earn this punishment? They executed him. What did he do? Was he carrying a rocket and planning to fire it at Israel? He was a 14-year-old boy going to watch the protests, just like any other child.

“It is his right to watch and know that he has a land and a country. He should understand that. Why did you punish him and execute him? How far was he from you? You shot at him while he was surrounded by hundreds of youth. Why did you target a child like him standing in the centre?…

“Even if he was a young man, it is his right to express his feelings about his land and country. It is not your right to do this, this is a peaceful protest. In all countries around the world, when there is a peaceful protest, it is respected and valued.

“They are not protesting using weapons or bombs. They are there because they want to express their opinion. They have rights, they’re expressing themselves and it is a peaceful protest. What right have you to execute children?”

About Norwegian Refugee Council

The Norwegian Refugee Council is an independent humanitarian organisation helping people forced to flee. It works in crises in 31 countries. Today, a record 65,6 million people are fleeing war and persecution. See more at

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US Admits It ‘Lost’ 1,500 Immigrant Children, Handed Many of Them Directly To Human Traffickers


According to a Senate subcommittee testimony last week, nearly 1,500 immigrant children were lost in government arranged foster homes last year, with the suspicion that many of them were kidnapped by human traffickers.

During the hearing, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota told child protection representatives with the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) that they were “the worst foster parents in the world.”

“You are the worst foster parents in the world. You don’t even know where they are. We are failing. I don’t think there is any doubt about it. And when we fail kids that makes me angry,” Heitkamp said.

Many of the children are still unaccounted for, but some of them who have been found were held captive by human traffickers in terrible conditions.

Subcommittee Chairman Senator Rob Portman said that an investigation into the lost children began after the HHS put eight children from Guatemala into the custody of human traffickers, who forced them to work on a farm for 12 hours a day without pay.

“It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard. What makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers,” Portman said after learning of the case.

“Whatever your views on immigration policy, everyone can agree that the administration has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the migrant kids that have entered government custody until their immigration court date,” Portman said.

Since that incident came to light, HHS and The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) promised to check up on the unaccompanied immigrant children who passed through their care. After these checkups, it was revealed that many more children were slipping through the cracks than anyone anticipated.

Acting assistant secretary at HHS, Steven Wagner, told the committee that between October and December of 2017, HHS called 7,635 children that the agency placed with sponsors and they were only able to track down 6,075 of them. At least 28 of them had reportedly run away, five others were deported, 52 were living with someone else and 1,475 were missing.

The number of children in danger could be much larger, considering that since 2013, more than 180,000 unaccompanied immigrant children passed into America, and very few of them had family in the states who they could stay with, so many of them were placed in the care of random foster families who did not have to go through the same types of background checks and scrutiny that foster families usually do.

The agencies blame their neglect of these children on low budgets, but they seem to have billions to spend on fighting the drug war and creating a police state at the border.

Of those 180,000 children that were placed in new homes, it is hard to imagine how many are currently missing, since so many of the 7,635 children who were actually followed up on could not be found.

In 2016, an AP investigation found that more than two dozen children had been sent to homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work for little or no pay.

Child welfare lawyers from Ohio who testified at the hearing said that increased persecution from immigration enforcers has made family members of unaccompanied children who enter the US afraid or unable to take custody.

One of these attorneys, Jessica A. Ramos, suggested that the children be appointed lawyers, in addition to having the opportunity to reunite with family members in the US without fear of deportation.

“Prioritization of enforcement over humanity is endangering children. My clients, despite having been born in another country and not speaking English, are still, above all things, children. Children who deserve to be safe from harm. Children who deserve a chance, just like our own children,” Ramos said.

There have been similar concerns in Europe as well—in 2016, it was reported that more than 10,000 immigrant children may have disappeared after arriving in Europe over a two-year time period.

“It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children. Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with,” Europol’s chief of staff told the Observer newspaper.

While it is possible that some of these children are intentionally staying under the radar because they fear deportation, there have been enough cases of human trafficking in these circumstances to show that this is a widespread problem.

Along with immigrants and refugees, Native Americans have an especially high risk of becoming victims of human traffickers. As The Free Thought Project reported last year, Native American women and children are disappearing from areas near oil fields, where thousands of workers from around the country live in “man camps.” Investigations have revealed human trafficking to be a factor in many of these instances, but police in native tribes do not have jurisdiction to arrest non-natives, making it difficult to prosecute the human traffickers who are preying on their community.

Sadly, whether they are immigrants, natives, orphans, or just poor, children who are in vulnerable positions become easy targets for predators, and they are often ignored by the law as well, since these are already groups who are not treated with the dignity that they deserve by the systems that they live under.

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