Thursday, June 25, 2009

How could you, Rebekah?

Rebekah Wade, the editor of the Sun and soon to become chief executive of News International, is also called the empress and ruler of men. She is a very independent and strong woman, but she has shocked her fans. Married Rebekah has taken her husband’s name. She has decided to take her second husband’s surname, so no Rebekah Wade anymore, but Mrs Brooks. She’s not that kind of woman you would expect to give up her own identity, but apparently she is following the last trend. In the seventies, eighties and nineties the number of women who were keeping their own names had increased, but over the last 10 years women have become old fashioned again, because they have decided to take their husband’s name again.

Reaction to: How could you, Rebekah?

Seriously, what’s in a name? Why would the Guardian publish something ridiculous like this. Is there really somebody who cares that Rebekah Wade is now Rebekah Brooks? After all, it has to be your own choice. According to recent surveys, somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of brides take their husband's last name when they get married. I can imagine that you consider taking your husbands name if you’re planning on having children. Like that you will be easily recognizable as being one family. If you don’t like your surname it’s also a good reason to take your husbands’. I really don’t see why people are making a big deal out of this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

UN shows scale of UK cocaine use

According to a report of the UN office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) the use of cannabis has decreased among young people in the UK, but the number of cocaine users is still very high. There are more cocaine users in the UK than in other European countries, with the exception of Spain. The UK has the largest cocaine market in Europe, with 860.000 users in England and another 140.000 users in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The problem is not only the number of cocaine users, but also the purity of the cocaine has declined. In 2007 the purity of cocaine was about 67%, but nowadays the purity is less than 9% and in some cases only 5%. The good news is that, because of the dilution of cocaine, the latest figures show a slight drop in users of this white powder.

Reaction to: UN shows scale of UK cocaine use

What a total surprise! The UK has the largest cocaine market in Europe and that is something I really didn’t expect. We all know that some (English) models use cocaine to stay skinny, because it takes away the appetite, but it was a big surprise to me to find out about the large international cocaine trafficking activities in the UK. It is also pretty scary to know that the purity of this powder is so incredibly low. I am wondering what is in the other 90%. I have heard some stories in which they say that there is glass powder in the cocaine. This glass powder causes bleedings in your body and it can actually kill you. One thing is sure; no cocaine for me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Is Michael Schumacher really the Stig?

BBC programme Top Gear has revealed the identity of The Stig yesterday evening. The Stig is the mysterious test driver of the programme wearing a white helmet and overalls. Everybody is wondering if Michael Schumacher is really The Stig or that this is just a publicity stunt to launch the latest series of Top Gear. Why would this former formula one world champion test-drive cars for the BBC? It doesn’t seem to make any sense that the German multi-millionaire would do this in his spare time. Last night’s revelation wasn’t really a very big surprise, because this episode has been filmed on Wednesday and somebody has published the name of Schumacher on a few fan sites.

Reaction to: Is Michael Schumacher really the Stig?

So we still don’t know the answer: Is Michael Schumacher really the Stig or was it all a publicity stunt? I have no idea what to think of it, but there’s a big chance that it was just a publicity stunt. As a Top Gear fan I always loved the mysterious part of The Stig in the programme, but that’s all gone now. Michael Schumacher a test-driver of reasonably priced cars? It is hard to believe that a multi-millionaire would do that. I have no idea weather it’s real or not, but I do know that it was great fun to watch this episode of Top Gear.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nursery worker held over distribution of indecent pictures of children

The police received a tip-off yesterday evening at 9pm about a woman who kept indecent pictures of children. The 39 year old woman, from Plymouth, has been arrested after the police researched her home and the nursery where she was working. Parents who came to drop off their children at the Little Teds nursery today, were surprised to find the nursery closed and they received a letter about the matter. The nursery will be closed until the police have finished their investigation. Detectives are trying to find out where the indecent photos came from, who the victims are and where they went to.

Reaction to: Nursery worker held over distribution of indecent pictures of children

I am also wondering where the indecent pictures came from and where they went. Did she put them on the internet? It is shocking that people like this are able to work in a nursery, because they should be in a mental institution. The idea is frightening and perhaps they should develop a test to check the physical conditions of people before letting them work with youngsters. It is hard to imagine being one of these parents whose children’s indecent images are circulating on the internet. It must be so hard to deal with when you find out that there are pictures of your child in somebody’s house or on porn sites.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How do you tell a 10-year-old girl she has breast cancer?

One day Hannah Auslams’ mother asked her what was wrong and she told her that her nipple was itchy. Her mother insisted on checking it and when she saw the red nipple with the size of a ping pong ball she knew that something had to be wrong, but she didn’t think of breast cancer. Her parents assumed it was an innocent growth, but after a puncture the doctors discovered that the tumour was malignant. They were devastated and they had no idea how to tell Hannah this horrible news. The doctors couldn’t believe their eyes, because just one tenth of 1% of breast cancer cases are present at children. Hannah has undergone a partial mastectomy. She is very tired, but the operation was a success. When Hannah checked her wound and the removed breast she was shocked. She will start chemotherapy treatments at the end of the month. The bad news is that doctors have discovered that Hannah has cancerous lymph nodes as well which they will try to remove soon. Hannah wants to live like any other kid and when she will feel better she wants to set an example for other children. Her goal is to make sure other children won’t be too shy to tell their parents when something is wrong. Hopefully, Hannah will be healthy enough to go back to school in September.

Reaction to: How do you tell a 10-year-old girl she has breast cancer?

Breast cancer is something you won’t expect at that age so it must be really shocking to hear that your daughter has it. I think it must be even worse to tell it to your own child. How do you explain a 10-year-old that the doctors will have to remove a breast? Breasts are very important when little girls grow up and become an adolescent. Her parents have been sobbing for three days before telling Hannah the bad news. I can imagine that you need some time to think of what you’re going to tell your child and how to bring this bad news. At this age they probably don’t know much about this illness. I think Hannah is a very brave girl and I admire her for having the goal to help other children with cancer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Catholic man Kevin McDaid beaten to death 'by UDA gang'

The 49-year-old Kevin McDaid was beaten to death in Coleraine on Sunday evening by members of the Ulster Defence Association. His wife tried to save him, but while she did that they beat her as well. A neighbor came to help Evelyn McDaid and they beat her as well. She is pregnant, and that’s what she was screaming as well, but the attackers didn’t seem to care. Both women have been injured when they tried to save Kevin. It was to do with religion, because Kevin was a catholic and Evelyn is a protestant. One of the sons said that the police was about 100 yards away, but they didn’t do anything to save his father. He shouted at them, but they didn’t come. He called 999 several times, but they arrived too late. They gave Kevin CPR, but he couldn’t be saved. Evelyn and her children are devastated, but they don’t want the catholic community to take revenge.

Reaction to: Catholic man Kevin McDaid beaten to death ‘by UDA gang’

Killing a man because of his religion. I think it is unbelievable. I thought that these kind of actions were over and done, but nothing is further from the truth. That same night another man was beaten to death for his religion. It makes me furious to see that people can be so cruel. They not even killed this man, but they also injured his wife and the pregnant neighbor. What’s the use of killing someone for it’s religion? Protestants and Catholics believe in the same god and I am sure it’s not in the bible to kill people, because they are different or because they have other beliefs. I am wondering if it’s true that the police was really sitting there and doing nothing, because that would be another horrible crime. It’s their job to help people even though they do not have the same religion. I hope that they will investigate the whole situation very carefully and that they all have to pay for their crime(s)!

At it all night

Susan Boyle did it again. Everybody was really sceptic when this 48- year-old virgin walked in during the auditions of Britain’s got talent 2009. After her amazing performance she deserved her place in the semi-finals. After another stunning performance she earned a place in the final show by winning the public vote. She felt pretty good about the result and she wants to thank the British citizens for supporting her. Some guests of the hotel where Susan is staying at the moment are not really happy to have a room next to this singing star. She keeps on practising, even at night, and that is why some people have to face sleepless nights. They think Susan is desperate to win. Susan knows that everything can happen during the finals, but she is definitely going to give it all.

Reaction to : At it all night

Last weekend I was in England with Nicky and Simone and our B&B owners asked us if we wanted to join them watching Britain’s got talent. For me it was the first time I saw Susan Boyle. Amanda, Piers and Simon were very cynical about her and against her before she even started her performance. It was a wake up call for them that they shouldn’t criticize anybody for it’s looks and age. Though I think it is a very interesting subject, I did not really like reading this article, because of the writing style of The Sun. They add many useless information like “the songbird who has never been snogged …”. This has nothing to do with her singing so why putting it into the article. I know that some people like to read a lot of dirt about people, so they might think it’s interesting, but I prefer reading articles without the juicy details. I am wondering if she is going to win the finals. She isn’t pretty and she isn’t young, but she has a hell of a voice!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

European Space Agency recruits test pilot as Britain's first official astronaut

After a career of 18 years in the army and a one-year-long selection procedure, the 37-year-old Timothy Peake has become Britain’s first astronaut. It’s a surprise, because even though Britain’s yearly contribution to the European Space Agency is quite high, they only want it to be used for satellites and robotic missions. It has always been Timothy Peake’s dream to become an astronaut. The training will start for the six new astronauts in September and will last more than one year. It will take at least three-and-a-half years before the astronauts will take part in a spatial mission. ESA will have to compete with NASA for seats, so they cannot even guarantee they will come on board of the Russian rocket.

Reaction to: European Space Agency recruits test pilot as Britain's first official astronaut

I think Timothy Peake is very lucky to be in this position. The selection procedure was long and though and there were so many candidates so it is a privilege to join this team. I am also very jealous, because it has always been my dream to be a helicopter (Apache) pilot and that has been his job for 18 years. When I was a little girl I always wanted to go into space to experience the lack of gravity myself, and this dream will become true for Timothy Peake. He is a lucky man and I am glad he realizes this himself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reaction to: Pandemic: When do schools close?

I did not know that children were more accessible for the flu and that it is more threatening for them. Swine flu is a hot item at the moment and I think it is shocking to see that some schools have already shut their doors. I thought the media was making a big deal of a little flu, but now it makes me realize that it is coming closer and closer. It is hard to imagine that the school where I work will shut its doors for a while in case of a swine flu victim. It is even harder to imagine that one of my pupils could be contaminated, because it does not seem to be so near. It can happen everywhere and after reading this article I realized that it is more dangerous and spreading around than I thought. I hope it will not be necessary to shut the doors of schools in Holland.

Pandemic: When do schools close?

Nine more cases of swine flu were discovered last Monday and five of them were children. Children are less immune for the flu and they carry it longer and in a more dangerous way than adults. The virus can easily be spread at school and that is why many schools closed their doors during the bird flu in 2006. At this moment there are some schools who have decided to close their doors for a while. There has to be a consistent protocol when the virus will become a threat for the health of children, because it will not work if one school shut its doors while the other does not. The head of a school decides whether this happens or not, but in this case The Health Protection Agency will lead and take an advisory role. Head teachers should start reading the DCSF guidance and they have to use the checklist to make decisions. Some parents are afraid and they keep their children at home. Others are angry that schools are panicking and closing their gates for precautions. In the meanwhile authorities are trying to agree on a common plan.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reaction to: Teachers report 'racist bullying'

Bullying is also a problem I have to deal with at school. It happens that children think it is necessary to bully a classmate or an other pupil at school, because of their looks or other ridiculous reasons. The bullied children feel horrible and sometimes they stay at home, because they are too afraid to come to school. They are scared to tell their parents or teachers about the situation and that is why it can continue for many weeks before someone discovers it. Some teachers do not spend time on these kind of problems and that is why there should be an anti-bullying policy at every school. In this anti-bullying policy we can find the sanctions in case of bullying and this should prevent it from happening. That is why I think that every school should have this policy!

Possible topic for the speakers corner: All schools must have an anti-bullying policy

Speaker's corner: Teachers report 'racist bullying'

Bullying is a problem every school has to deal with. In this article it is said that all schools should have an anti-bullying policy. The majority of the 802 questioned teachers agree on this matter. They are very worried about the religious intolerance at their schools. It is important that all pupils feel safe at school and the anti-bullying policy might help to reach that. All schools have to take every incident of racist bullying seriously and they have to report all cases to the local authorities. The questioned teachers think that there should be a training to learn how to cope with racism. A training for teachers and an anti-bullying policy might contribute to the safety of pupils.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reaction to: The boy who is always in trouble

Le petit Nicolas versus Horrid Henry

I think it is interesting to see that the English have their own petit Nicolas. Naughty boys are probably an interesting subject to read about for children. This year my pupils had to read Le petit Nicolas. Though the used language is old and very difficult to read all the boys agreed that the book was very funny. The main reason why they loved reading it? Because Nicolas and his classmates are fighting most of the time and causing lots of trouble. The girls did not like reading this story, because it reminded them too much of the irritating boys in their class. I am wondering if the episodes of Horrid Henry could be used for reading in class.

The boy who is always in trouble

Le petit Nicolas versus Horrid Henry

Le petit Nicolas
is a very famous children’s book in France. It appears to be one of the “national treasures” in French literature. Though the stories of Nicolas are not well known in England, the English seems to have their own petit Nicolas. Horrid Henry and petit Nicolas are the same kind of naughty boys who are always in trouble. The writing style in Le petit Nicolas can be annoying and irritating and that is probably the main reason why those books are not very famous in England. It is quite ironic that the English are not familiar with Nicolas while the French say that Nicolas is more an English boy in the way he jokes and in the way he dresses. Perhaps this will change in the future, because old children’s books seem to become popular again those days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reaction to: UK teenager 'saved by Facebook'

MSN, Hyves and Facebook are sites most pupils are familiar with. They use them to create their own profile and to chat. Mostly the messages are friendly, but it also happens a lot that children use these sites for bullying. Last year I had many pupils who were being bullied by chatting. That is why most people have a quite negative impression of these kind of sites. It is a surprise to me that it can also be used to save someone’s life. This boy was very lucky that all the authorities took the alarm very seriously and that he could be saved. I think it is fantastic to see that there is also something very positive about Facebook and other comparable sites.

UK teenager 'saved by Facebook'

Thinking about Facebook it is difficult to imagine how this site can save someone’s life. An English boy, aged sixteen, was chatting with a girl in the United States. He told her that he wanted to commit suicide by taking a drugs overdose. The American girl told her mother about this situation and her mother called the police. They were able to track the boy down by calling the White House and the British Embassy. The police found the boy after taking the overdose, but despite the overdose he was still conscious. They took him to the hospital and he recovered well. The use of Facebook saved his life.