People urged to protect butterflies this spring – and boost their mental health

People are being urged to take steps to help butterflies and moths this spring as part of a project which experts said could boost the mental health of those who take part. Boost The campaign by charity Butterfly Conservation to prevent further declines in species of butterflies and moths comes after research found last year’s lockdown saw an increase in the amount of people spending time in nature. The University of Cumbria study revealed 83% of respondents said they had taken time to notice butterflies and bees. A short amount of time spent in nature can alleviate stress and make people feel happier and more energised, according to…

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Children’s Laureate warns of ‘vast inequality’ in primary school libraries

Children’s laureate Cressida Cowell has warned of “vast inequality” in the provision of primary school libraries, and said the gap in educational achievement and opportunity “remains stark, worrying and urgent” as she called for Boris Johnson to ring-fence a yearly investment of £100m. Reading The author, known for books including the How To Train Your Dragon series, has written an open letter signed by former laureates including Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake, saying: It is heart-breaking to see just how unevenly this fundamental opportunity is distributed. The letter said the lack of access to libraries means millions of children – particularly those from the poorest communities worst-hit by…

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Police officer fired after pepper-spraying Black US army officer

One of two police officers accused of pepper-spraying and pointing their guns at a Black US army officer during a traffic stop has since been fired, authorities in Virginia have said. Two officers from the town of Windsor are accused of drawing their guns, pointing them at US Army second lieutenant Caron Nazario and using a slang term to suggest he was facing execution. Town authorities said in a statement they were joining calls from election officials, including governor Ralph Northam, to request an investigation by Virginia State Police into the December 2020 encounter. Caron Nazario was pepper-sprayed during the incident in December (Windsor Police/AP) Nazario was also…

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Muslim health professionals urge community to get vaccinated even whilst observing Ramadan

Mosques are preparing for Ramadan after the holy month had to be observed during coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions last year without the usual community prayer gatherings. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, begins with the first sighting of the new moon. It’s expected on 13 April this year in the UK, although this may change. Vaccinations Many Muslims abstain from all eating and drinking during daylight hours. But Muslim medical professionals have urged those fasting to still get vaccinated against coronavirus. Salman Waqar, from the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA), spoke to the PA news agency. He said Muslim scholars across the world have said vaccinations do…

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Teenager among five killed by Indian soldiers in Kashmir

Government forces killed five suspected rebels, including a teenager, in gun fights in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said on 11 April. Rebellion The back-to-back clashes began late on 10 April. This was after troops cordoned off two villages in southern Kashmir’s Shopian and Bijbehara areas, based on intelligence that anti-India militants were hiding there, police said. Three militants were killed and two soldiers wounded in Shopian, inspector general Vijay Kumar told reporters. One of the dead militants was a teenage boy who, according to officials, had joined rebel ranks few days earlier. Kumar said several attempts were made to seek the trapped militants’ surrender but they refused. Indian forces…

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Ten months on from his death, Noah Donohoe’s mum says he’s ‘not getting justice’

On 21 June 2020, 14-year-old Noah Donohoe cycled from his Belfast home to study with friends. Tragically, however, Noah couldn’t complete his journey. And following a search for the young teen, rescue workers found his body in a storm drain six days later. Almost ten months since his body was found, the circumstances surrounding his death and disappearance remain unclear. So Noah’s mother Fiona has had to undertake a campaign to get justice for her son. As she told The Canary, she fears what happened to Noah has “been swept under the carpet”. Aftermath of Noah’s disappearance Following Noah’s disappearance, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said…

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Marr ducks truth bombs over the BBC’s dire prince Philip coverage

Just over a minute of truth appeared on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 11 April. It involved the BBC‘s contentious coverage of the death of Philip Windsor (the duke of Edinburgh). And it came from an unlikely source. Because a corporate, centrist journalist called out the state broadcaster’s “syrupy” and “clichéd” coverage. Wall-to-wall Windsor As The Canary previously reported, the BBC went onto an almost wartime footing when Windsor died. Tom Coburg wrote: On the evening of Friday 9 April, the BBC went wall-to-wall in its coverage of the death of Philip… BBC 1 and BBC 2 provided the same content for the entire evening, and all BBC4 programmes were cancelled. Subsequently, the…

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David Cameron’s lobbying scandal gets even murkier

It’s been reported that David Cameron took scandal-hit Australian financier Lex Greensill for a “private drink” with health secretary Matt Hancock. This was to discuss a payment scheme later rolled out in the NHS. The developments are the latest in a lobbying controversy that has dogged the Conservative former prime minister in recent weeks. Questions were mounting over his efforts to secure access for the finance company Greensill Capital, which later collapsed. Cronyism The Sunday Times also reported that Cameron messaged a senior adviser to Boris Johnson to lobby for Greensill. Following this, the Treasury reconsidered Greensill’s application for an emergency coronavirus (Covid-19) loan. Cameron was said to…

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40 years on from the Brixton riots, the Police Bill could spark a summer of urban unrest

On 10 April 1981, young Brixton residents rose up in response to police oppression, entrenched inequality, and marginalisation. The unrest soon spread to urban centres across the UK. The Scarman Report went some way to identifying the root causes of the rebellions. But successive governments have failed to deal with these issues, and have exacerbated them in many cases. 40 years of cuts and privatisation, an increasingly fascist state, and a devastating pandemic have resulted in a frustrated, volatile population with little to lose. If plans for the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill go ahead, we could see history repeat itself. The battle for Brixton In 1981, the New…

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The news that’s getting buried as mainstream media obsesses over Prince Philip’s death

On the evening of Friday 9 April, the BBC went wall-to-wall in its coverage of the death of Philip Windsor (aka, the duke of Edinburgh). BBC 1 and BBC 2 provided the same content for the entire evening, and all BBC 4 programmes were cancelled. Subsequently, the state broadcaster was forced to publish a complaints page on its coverage (but it has since been removed).   But with spectacles like this, it’s a good time for the government and its friends in the media to ignore other matters. For example, as reported by The Canary: There are the ongoing protests against the draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts…

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