Freedom Of Information Request Calls Out NSPCC’s ‘Reckless’ Child Neglect Campaign

Researching Reform

A Freedom Of Information request produced by a child rights activist has called out children’s charity the NSPCC for what it suggests is a reckless and less than upfront campaign designed to influence child protection policy.

Michele Simmons was reading an article which claimed that there was a sharp rise in child neglect cases, when she decided to search online for more information. What she discovered were over twenty strikingly similar articles all referencing statistics from the NSPCC, individually tailored for the readers of each regional publication.

A piece published in The Nottingham Post for example, cites NSPCC statistics for the area, claiming that the charity refers more than two cases of child neglect in Nottingham a week. In another look-alike story, The Oxford Times references NSPCC data which claims that three reports of child neglect a week are passed on to the police in the Oxford area.

All but one piece…

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Crosses, Spaghetti Carbonara and The Qur’an.

Researching Reform

Whilst the case of a Christian toddler forced to live in a Muslim household in England has reignited the Far Right and caused uproar worldwide, a much bigger and more important story is being missed. It’s a story about a broken care system, one which routinely fails children and which fights to stay alive through financial incentives.

There can be no excuse for sending a vulnerable child into an environment where they feel scared and alone. Leaked social work reports confirmed that the toddler had sobbed and begged not to be returned to the family after being told to remove her cross and prevented from eating spaghetti Carbonara because it had pork in it. The child was recorded as being deeply distressed and sometimes unable to understand the family, who spoke Arabic as well as English.

The family’s actions have understandably sparked a debate about the practice of Islam, however…

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The Buzz

Inland Madagascar; dont rush to the beach just yet!

Africa far and wide

It’s a tempting thought – to rush to the beach and to dip my toes into that postcard turquoise blue water, to soak up the sunshine and live on a diet of coconuts, crayfish and sweet Malagasy rum. But it’s not going to happen. For one, Madagascar is huge and diverse! Two, it’s going to take us 3 days to get to the coast – mostly because I ask our driver to stop every few minutes for a photograph. And three, there is so much more to discover about Madagascar other than the beautiful beaches, chameleons and lemurs!

After 3 solid days of tropical-drizzle in the East, we were good and ready to move on to the dry central highlands and the West coast. We’d hired a gold-dusted 1987 Peugeot Station wagon for our family road trip (a relatively new model for Madagascar) and a driver from GAM Travel

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#BotSpot: Twelve Ways to Spot a Bot

To Inform is to Influence

@DFRLab

Some tricks to identify fake Twitter accounts

“Bots” — automated social media accounts which pose as real people — have a huge presence on platforms such as Twitter. They number in the millions; individual networks can number half a million linked accounts.

These bots can seriously distort debate, especially when they work together. They can be used to make a phrase or hashtag trend, as @DFRLab has illustrated here; they can be used to amplify or attack a message or article; they can be used to harass other users.

At the same time, many bots and botnets are relatively easy to spot by eyeball, without access to specialized software or commercial analytical tools. This article sets out a dozen of the clues, which we have found most useful…

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Houston police make 3,400 rescues as Harvey gears up for another landfall

Peace and Freedom

Updated 11:13 AM ET, Tue August 29, 2017

(CNN)[Breaking news update at 10:58 a.m. ET]

Levees at Columbia Lakes in Brazoria County have been breached, according to the official Brazoria County website. “Get out now,” the alert reads. Portions of Brazoria County, due south of Houston, had been under a mandatory evacuation notice since Sunday.
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[Previous story, published at 10:02 a.m. ET]
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Harvey’s havoc continued to pour down, three days after the storm rammed Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, unleashing a torrent of rain, turning streets into rivers, and leaving thousands of residents stranded in flooded homes.
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Harvey, a tropical storm by Tuesday morning with its eye hovering over the Gulf of Mexico, could still dump up to 15 inches of rain on portions of southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, including the saturated Houston area, where thousands have…

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