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‘Children in illegal religious schools being failed’, says BHA

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Significant action by local and national authorities is required to ‘secure the rights, well-being, and education of the children’ trapped in illegal religious schools, the British Humanist Association (BHA) has told Hackney Council as part of its inquiry into unregistered schools.

The inquiry is being run by the Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Commission and comes in response to ‘a number of articles in the national media, in the spring and summer of 2016, that questioned the safety, safeguarding and quality of education’ provided in unregistered schools predominantly serving the strictly Orthodox Charedi Jewish community. The BHA has been responsible for almost all of that coverage, and in recent years has been working closely alongside former pupils of these schools to pass on information to the authorities and highlight the experiences of the children within them.

The BHA’s response notes:

  • On the well-being of pupils: ‘the testimonies of former pupils suggest that children in unregistered schools are neither safe nor sufficiently safeguarded. One former pupil recalls the following, for instance, about his time at school: “Physical punishment was commonplace and the atmosphere was one of perpetual fear”. Whistleblowers have frequently reported physical abuse by staff …read more
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Good news: Singapore blogger is granted asylum in the US

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Teenage blogger Amos Yee, above, who was jailed twice in Singapore for posting political and religious criticism online, has been granted asylum in the United States, according to the BBC.

Yee, 18, was detained in the US when he arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in December. He came into the country on a tourist visa but told immigration officials he was seeking refuge.

Following Friday’s ruling, he is expected to be released shortly.

The US Department of Homeland Security opposed Yee’s asylum application, but immigration judge Samuel Cole ruled in the teenager’s favour.

In a Facebook post dated February 22, Yee slammed the US authorities’ decision to hold him in custody until his asylum application was heard.

Due to the recent executive orders issued by Donald J Trump against migrants, the higher-ups in Department of Homeland Security have broadly interpreted Trump’s orders to mean issuing actions that stop any migrants from being able to go out of jail (on bail or parole) until the entire asylum process in court has completed its course (even if these refugees are escaping oppressive anti-free speech laws from tyrannical dictatorships) to prevent ‘exploitation of the system’.

Cole released a 13-page decision, which said Yee faced persecution in …read more

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Did cannabis oil cure Deryn Blackwell, the “boy in seven million,” of his two cancers?

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In a forthcoming book, The Boy in 7 Million, Callie Blackwell claims that she cured her son Deryn of two different cancers using cannabis oil, which rescued his failing bone marrow transplant. When examined more closely, however, her story appears to be another alternative cancer cure testimonial that confuses correlation with causation. …read more

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This 130-Year-Old Fact About Dinosaurs Might Be Wrong

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When I first read Matthew Baron‘s new dinosaur study, I actually gasped.

For most of my life, I’ve believed that the dinosaurs fell into two major groups: the lizard-hipped saurischians, which included the meat-eating theropods like Tyrannosaurus and long-necked sauropodomorphs like Brontosaurus; and the bird-hipped ornithischians, which included horned species like Triceratops and armored ones like Stegosaurus. That’s how dinosaurs have been divided since 1887. It’s what I learned as a kid. It’s what all the textbooks and museums have always said. And according to Baron, a Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge, it’s wrong.

By thoroughly comparing 74 early dinosaurs and their relatives, Baron has radically redrawn the two major branches of the dinosaur family tree. Defying 130 years of accepted dogma, he splits the saurischians apart, leaving the sauropods in one branch, and placing the theropods with the ornthischians on the other. Put it this way: This is like someone telling you that neither cats nor dogs are what you thought they were, and some of the animals you call “cats” are actually dogs.

…read more

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Corrigendum. The Week in Review. 03/26/2017

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Death from naturopathy. Cows and soldiers have a similar problem. Pseudo-medicines never die. Chiropractic complications. And more. …read more

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Officials tell couple that they can’t name their child ‘Allah’

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia has filed a lawsuit against two state officials for refusing to grant a birth certificate to a child because of the last name given to her by her parents – ‘Allah’.

According to this report, the ACLU filed the suit Thursday on behalf of Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk, who want their child’s name on her birth certificate to be ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah. The girl was born on May 25, 2015.

The group is asking the court to force state officials to issue the birth certificate.

Named in the suit are Dr Brenda Fitzgerald, the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, and Donna L Moore, the State Registrar and Director of the State Office of Vital Records.

Without a birth certificate the child, who was born in Fulton County, has not been able to obtain a Social Security number.

The suit claims that the action has prevented her parents from obtaining medical coverage under Medicaid and stopped them from obtaining food stamps through the SNAP programme. Handy and Walk will also be unable to enroll their daughter in public school.

Said ACLU of Georgia Executive Director, Andrea Young:

Government has no business telling parents what they …read more

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Right-wing Mormons yearn for a return to the cult’s racist past

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Back in December last year, Mormon Ayla ‘Purpose’, above, announced on her Nordic Sunrise blog – (motto: “In Search of the Christian Culture That Made Our Countries Great”) – that she had created a free ‘pro-white children’s book’.

Then, on March 19, she reinforced her racist, anti-immigration sentiments on Red Ice TV, a far-right channel, which said in its introduction to an interview with the imbecile:

Ayla, known as Wife With a Purpose on Twitter, issued a White baby challenge in response to Steve King’s statement, ‘We can’t restore civilization with other people’s babies‘. She talks about her tweet, the hate she received from anti-White bigots and why Steve King is right.

Ayla has “made six” white babies, and Republican King is an Ohio congressman who is only slightly to the left of Adolf Hitler.

Yesterday, under the headline “Meet The (Alt-Right) Mormons: Inside The Church’s Vocal White Nationalist Wing”, Buzzfeed News took a closer look at Ayla and the resurgence of racism within the cult. It quoted her as saying on her blog:

Mormonism and Utah are the next target for cultural destruction,

The culprit, she asserted, is:

Black, ghetto culture.

Writing for Buzzfeed, Jim Dalrymple II, said:

Her comment …read more

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The Three Phantoms of Homeopathy

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Homeopathy claims it works through a variety of mechanisms which, when explored, merely demonstrates just how little homeopaths actually know about science. …read more

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Pregnant professor ordered to marry or dump her boyfriend

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Back in 2015, Coty Richardson, above, was sacked by administrators at a small evangelical Christian college in Oregon after she refused their demand to marry or dump her partner.

But this week a federal judge ruled that Northwest Christian University, a private, 700-student school in Eugene, had illegally discriminated against Richardson, who had been an assistant professor teaching biomechanics, human kinetics, nutrition and other science courses. She had been on the faculty since 2011.

Judge Ann Aiken wrote in her 33-page opinion and order:

This is the unusual employment discrimination case in which the facts are largely undisputed. At its heart, this lawsuit is about what happens when an employment policy based on an employer’s sincerely held religious belief conflicts with an employee’s rights under federal and state discrimination laws.

In late July 2015, Northwest Christian administrators fired Richardson via a letter from Dennis Lindsay, the Vice President for Academic Affairs. According to the lawsuit, the letter stated that:

Sexual relations outside of marriage is contrary to the university’s core values.

In a previous missive, Lindsay explained that “having a child out of wedlock while still continuing a relationship with the father” sets “a bad example” for the fully grown, adult students who attend …read more

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Donald Trump: I Never Said We’d Repeal Obamacare Immediately (He Did)

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Following today’s failure of House Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump insisted that he “never said” that he had committed to repealing and replacing the health care reform law at the beginning of his presidency.

“I never said—I guess I’m here, what, 64 days—I never said ‘repeal and replace Obamacare’—you’ve all heard my speeches—I never said ‘repeal it and replace it within 64 days.’ I have a long time,” he said.

While Trump didn’t say he would repeal and replace the law within “64 days,” he did say in February 2016 that he would repeal and replace the law “immediately” upon taking office as president:

Obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. We’re going to have a strong country again and Obamacare has to go. We can’t afford it, it’s no good. You’re going to end up with great health care for a fraction of the price and that’s gonna take place immediately after we go in. Okay? Immediately. Fast. Quick.

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