Friday, June 12, 2009

British mother forced to deliver her own baby on motorway... after hospital turned her away for 'not being ready'

A new mother gave birth in a car as it sped along a motorway after being sent home twice that day by a hospital because she wasn't ready enough. Rebecca Longley, 20, was forced to deliver daughter Aaliyah herself as boyfriend Andrew Mildenhall desperately tried to stay focused on the road ahead. The couple had first gone to the hospital that morning and then again in the evening but were told both times that Rebecca wasn't ready to give birth.

Two hours later the beauty therapist's waters broke but when she phoned the same hospital, medics advised her to stay at home. Just ten minutes later Rebecca and Andrew decided to take matters into their own hands and head back to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, Hants. But before they got there Rebecca went into labour and gave birth to the 6lb 1oz baby girl on the front passenger seat on the M3 motorway.

The couple have now called on the hospital to review its admissions procedures. Miss Longley, from Hamble, Hampshire, said: 'I really had no idea what to expect because it was my first child. I had a real mix of emotions.

'When it first started I was so scared and worried but that turned to relief and happiness when she was born and we realised she was OK. 'Andrew did a brilliant job to carry on driving even though he was feeling quite faint. 'I had no drugs and I was screaming with pain but my natural instincts kicked in as soon as I saw the baby's head pop out. I just knew what I had to do.'

Miss Longley and Mr Midenhall first visited the Royal Hampshire County Hospital at 7am but were turned away. They tried again at 8pm but were met with the same response. Two hours later Rebecca phoned the hospital's maternity ward and said that her waters had broken - but she was told to stay at home.

Baby Aaliyah ended up making her entrance just before 10.30pm in Mr Midenhall's Peugeot 206 car. Miss Longley added: 'We have been so lucky because Aaliyah is a healthy baby. 'But if there had been complications like if she had had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck then I dread to think what could have happened. 'We hope the hospital reviews its procedures especially with first time parents. 'If I had stayed in on the second visit then I would have given birth two hours later in a safe environment.'

Carpenter Mr Midenhall added: 'She appeared so quickly so there was no time to pull over and stop - I just kept driving. 'It was such a relief when I heard her crying because I knew she was going to be alright.'

A hospital spokesman confirmed that Rebecca was sent home twice but said that the advice was given because of the slow progress of her labour. He added: 'Labour is different for every woman. We would describe Rebecca's labour as totally natural, albeit rapid once it had begun.'


British ambassador to Poland under fire for promoting homosexual rights

Homosexuals are widely despised in Eastern Europe

The British ambassador to Poland has sparked a diplomatic incident after promoting a controversial gay pride march due to take place in Warsaw on Saturday. Ric Todd has been told by the country's civil rights ombudsman that he has 'exceeded his authority' and Roman Catholic groups have accused the ambassador of representing the 'homosexual lobby'.

The problem arose after Mr Todd, who has been our man in Warsaw for almost two years, gave gay rights leaders a UK Guide To Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender People And Their Rights, translated into Polish, earlier this week. It was adapted from the so-called Transgender Toolkit, a political correctness manual for civil servants that the Foreign Office funds with taxpayers' money. It came ahead of the gay pride march scheduled for this weekend.

But the move has provoked a storm of protest. 'Ambassador Todd has exceeded his authority,' Janusz Kochanowski, the Polish civil rights ombudsman, told The Daily Mail. 'He is being improper and doesn't understand the role of a diplomat. He represents the UK, he is not meant to intervene here in the way that he chooses.' Mr Kochanowski added that Polish homosexuals do not live in fear of discrimination as the British ambassador seemed to be implying.

Slawomir Skiba, editor of Christian Polonia, a Catholic newspaper, agreed: 'The ambassador has demonstrated an extreme lack of diplomacy and absolute ignorance of the values by which the vast majority of our society lives.' He added that Mr Todd should confine himself to represent the interests of Britain, not the ' homosexual lobby'.

Poland is arguably Europe's most traditional country and is strongly influenced by the Catholic church. Family values are largely intact, and the country has relatively low rates of abortion, divorce and underage pregnancy. A previous gay pride march was banned by president Lech Kaczynski while he was serving as the mayor of Warsaw.

It is not the first time Mr Todd, who has a wife and three children, has found himself criticised for his stance on gay rights. Last year, he hoisted a 'rainbow flag' - a symbol of gay rights - next to the Union Flag in front of the British embassy, causing some British expatriates in Warsaw to dub him 'Rainbow Ric'. A spokesman for the Foreign Office said the ministry 'does have a policy of promoting LGBT ( lesbian gay bisexual transgender) rights' abroad.'

Asked whether he would raise the rainbow flag at the British embassies in Iran or Saudi Arabia, Mr Todd said: 'I have made a judgment-about what I should do in Poland, and in my opinion this is the appropriate thing to do in this country. 'I am not interfering in Polish politics or society nor am I criticising it. Foreign Office policy is clearly spelt out and I am acting in accordance with policy. 'We have achieved a lot of good things around the world on the subject of LGBT rights. 'None of this is any suggestion by me or the Foreign Office that the Polish policy on LGBT rights is wrong. 'After all the pride organisers met with me and that shows that Poland is a tolerant society.'


UK government says “no” to volunteer labor

One of the many consequences of the new points-based system for UK visa distribution is the limitation imposed on non-EU student interns. The current migration regulations bar non-EU students from undertaking fulltime internships in the UK, effectively pronouncing a death sentence on thousands of UK internship programmes at universities around the world.

The objective of this new policy is simple, to protect UK jobs. The government assumes that a drastic reduction in free student labor will compel UK employers to pay EU citizens to do the work formerly done by non-EU interns. If the volunteer labor supply is depleted, organizations with internship programmes will be forced either to increase their expenses by hiring additional employees or do less work because they cannot afford to pay new staff. The points based system ensures that intern-dependent employers reduce either net profitability or productivity.

I grant that this is an oversimplification. It is possible that organizations that previously relied on non-EU interns might maintain their productivity levels by working more efficiently. It could also be argued that the time spent training interns diminishes organizational efficiency. Astute observers may even point out that intern-dependent employers represent a miniscule percentage of UK employers, so the impact on the economy will also be negligible.

Efficiency is a hallmark of free market economies, but it must be worked out in an unfettered marketplace not artificially imposed by regulation. Although the collective economy will notice little effects from the elimination of interns, market sectors containing an abundance of resource poor, intern-dependent organizations – unregistered charities in particular – will feel the effects of the points-based system most acutely.

The anti-intern policy is far from the top of the list of ill-advised policies set forth by the current regime (see capital gains tax reform, non-dom tax, et al.). Nonetheless, the policy is yet another example of regulation that obstructs free enterprise. Hopefully it will follow many of its poorly conceived counterparts to the policy graveyard.


Headmistress from hell still allowed to teach in Britain

A bullying headmistress spent ten minutes calmly finishing her lunch while a pupil lay in agony crying for help with a broken leg, a tribunal heard. Rowena Brace ignored pupils’ pleas for help and finished her sandwiches before phoning the child’s father instead of calling an ambulance.

Mrs Brace’s staff were often reduced to tears as they worked in the ‘climate of fear’ she created, it was claimed. She also behaved ‘inappropriately’ toward fellow teachers at her primary school and fiddled the school’s test results, a General Teaching Council tribunal in Birmingham heard.

Isobel Hollis, Mrs Brace’s former deputy at Hope Brook Church of England Primary School in Longhope, Gloucestershire, told the tribunal how pupils began knocking on the staff room door after the boy broke his leg on the football field in May 2005. ‘They said “quick, quick”, but Mrs Brace, 57, continued to eat her lunch and only left the staff room ten to 15 minutes later,’ she said. ‘The pupil was lying on the ground, pale and shaking and Mrs Brace said he wanted his dad to come, so she had not called for an ambulance.’

Naina Patel, representing Mrs Brace, asked: ‘If the situation was so obviously urgent, why didn’t you say something?’ Miss Hollis said the climate of fear in the school was such that she did not dare interfere and admitted to being scared of the headmistress.

Yesterday Mrs Brace was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a reprimand, the lowest sanction. It means she can resume teaching.

Earlier, Miss Hollis said the intimidation began during the first staff meeting after Hope Brook Primary and Hopes Hill Community Primary schools merged in 2001 and Mrs Brace was installed as head. ‘Mrs Brace dismissed anything else anyone had done in the past and told us all that it was going to be done her way in the future,’ said Miss Hollis. One of the teachers became so disillusioned with the new head she resigned later that day, it was claimed. The committee panel heard that bullying, shouting and door slamming was common and ‘it was a daily occurrence for one of the teachers to be reduced to tears’.

Mair Blackman, another teacher, told the hearing that Mrs Brace informed her she had downgraded pupils’ results in an assessment at ages three to five. ‘Mrs Brace told me she had downgraded the Foundation Stage Profile results and I was both shocked and dismayed. 'If FSP results are low and then Key Stage One (ages five to seven) results are normal a year later, that makes the school sound fantastic.' When asked why she said nothing to the school governors, Miss Blackman said: 'There was such an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that I would not have dared say anything.'

Mrs Brace was suspended in 2006 and sacked in 2007 after complaints from fellow staff and parents.

The tribunal found one complaint of bullying was proved – but four were dismissed. Mrs Brace was also proved to have altered test scores and allowed pupils extra time to finish SATS test after a disturbance outside a classroom. The most serious complaint, that a child who broke his leg was left in pain while she finished lunch, was proven. However, the tribunal ruled her actions were not malicious but ‘errors of judgement’. Mrs Brace said she would seek a new teaching post ‘as soon as possible’.



Japan has announced a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 15% over the next 11 years - a figure derided by environmentalists as "appalling". The target equates to a cut of about 8% from 1990 levels, the commonly used baseline. By comparison, the EU plans a 20% reduction over the same period.

The announcement comes in the middle of talks on the UN climate treaty in Bonn.

Some observers say Japan's goal is not enough to persuade developing countries to cut their own emissions. "The target is not strong enough to convince developing nations to sign up for a new climate change pact," said Hidefumi Kurasaka, professor of environmental policies at Japan's Chiba University.

Announcing the target, Prime Minister Taro Aso argued it was as strong as the EU's because it does not include "flexible mechanisms" such as international carbon trading.

But Kim Carstensen, leader of the global climate initiative at environment group WWF, said the 8% target represented virtually no advance from the 6% cut that Japan had pledged, under the Kyoto Protocol, to achieve by 2012. "Prime Minister Aso's plan is appalling," he said. "[It] would mean that Japan effectively gives dirty industries the freedom to pollute without limits for eight years."

Japan's annual emissions are currently about 6% above 1990 levels, despite its Kyoto Protocol pledge to make cuts.


Not allowed to laugh at incorrect jokes

Even if you are drunk:
"It is supposed to be a breeding ground for future Tory high-fliers. But current party leader David Cameron would be aghast to hear the comments made by members of the Oxford University Conservative Association. During a drunken hustings for the next president for the student body, candidates made a string of racist remarks. They were asked to repeat ‘the most inappropriate joke you have ever told’.

Nick Gallagher, the publications officer, said: ‘What do you say if you see a TV moving across your living room? “Drop it, n*****”.’

A high-level Tory source said: ‘People who behave in this disgusting and reprehensible way have no place in the Conservative Party.’

At the meeting, another student reportedly made a gag about a family of three black people being lynched.

Both jokes were clapped and cheered on by members of the association, which counts Margaret Thatcher as its patron and Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague as its honorary president.

The drink-fuelled hustings took place at midday in the Oxford Union on Sunday. A source said: ‘Each candidate gave a speech then they were asked to tell the most inappropriate joke they have ever told.

‘Nick Gallagher, the publications officer who is running for president, stood up and said: “What do you say if you see a TV moving across your living room? Drop it, n*****.”

‘Everybody laughed their heads off. When one person raised concerns he said it was OK because it was a joke made by Chris Rock, the American comedian, who is black, which obviously makes it fine. Another made a joke about a black family of three being lynched. Nobody booed.


The point seems to be missed that the students themselves accepted that the jokes were "inappropriate". They were actually showing an acceptance of political correctness.

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