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Timbuktu, Mali and the civil war

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As a child of the 60’s I’d heard of Timbuktu long before I realized that it was an ancient African city with a rich history that rivals anywhere in the world. For children, and I suspect many adults too, Timbuktu, the West African capital of Mali was a mythical far away land much like the lost city of 'Atlantis' or Lewis Carrol’s ‘Neverland’.

But Timbuktu is a real place and is back on our lips again as the French Government take up arms to support Mali’s fledging democracy against the growing military presence of Islamic forces.

A ‘Toothless’ Equality and Human Rights commission

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“Toothless” writes Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece, discussing section 3 of the ‘Enterprise and Regulatory bill’, which is currently in the House of Lords. The bill which, has not been widely reported on, contains a section on the future of the Equality and Human Right commission. The bill seeks to relieve of commission of its general duties, which includes promoting equality, anti-discrimination and prejudice against disabled, ethnic minorities and other protected groups.

Central political strategy for UKIP: Xenophobia?

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The UK Independence Party is preparing to exploit ‘fears’ over mass immigration from Romania and Bulgaria by putting the issue at the centre of its campaign strategy. UKIP, which has seen a surge in the polls, claims that 350,000-400,000 immigrants from the two countries will come into the UK. They also claim that a rise will ‘impact’ crime rates.

Spielberg's Lincoln: Great story but narrowly told

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Imagine being in a crowded room where all the people are speaking about you. They are telling each other: how good you are, or how wretched you behave, what you deserve, what you don’t deserve. And during this two hour plus conversation which is essentially about you, you are not once asked how you feel about this, what’s your opinion?

That was the overwhelming sensation I had when I watched the certain multi-Oscar winning film Abraham Lincoln, at a special viewing at 20th Century Fox’s central London offices. Courtesy of the American Embassy.

Mental health and policing

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Government Consultation

The Independent Commission on Mental Health and Policing has today launched a public consultation open to anyone who wants to share their views about mental health and policing in reference to the Metropolitan Police Service in London.

28,748 + support Mary Seacole petition

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In just over a week, nearly 30,000 individuals across the UK and a few worldwide have signed the petition to ensure that the great Black Briton Mary Seacole stay on the national Curriculum.

John Coventry from Change.org, where the petition is hosted, said:

The numbers and reach of this petition is truly remarkable. What’s fascinating about a petition such as this is that ordinary people are seeking to make their voices heard.

Mary Seacole and the Mis-education of history

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On Monday 29 December 2012, just as many in the nation were reflecting on the closing year and hoping that better would come in 2013, the Daily Mail published an article indicating that worse would continue and be compounded. In that article, Jonathan Petre commented on ‘leaked drafts of the new history curriculum to be published in the New Year’ under the headline:

Gove faces war with equality activists as he axes Labour's PC curriculum that dropped greatest figures from history lessons.

Highlights of the article included:

Bradford City FC: Growing new fan base

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There was a time when Asians and Black people in general had very good reason to fear if they ventured to a big city football match. Yet, a young Asian female Bradford city fan wearing a hijab was noted to be rather vehemently supporting her club Tuesday night, heckling the opposition as a die-hard supporter might.

It can only be seen as refreshing that despite being in often racialized part of England coupled with ongoing unsavoury stories associated with the beautiful game, there is a bright ray of emerging hope. Why is this particular fan so noteworthy?

We salute Jabeer Butt OBE

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Don’t be fooled by the quiet, well mannered tone of Jabeer Butt. In terms of fighting for social and racial justice Butt is a Rottwieler. His international reputation for evidence based interventions in regards to policy is admired as much as it is feared.

For example, with Sukhwant Dhaliwal, he carried out the research for and wrote the award-winning guide to better practice in housing for disabled people, ‘Different Paths ‘.

It is no surprise to those of us who know him that in Queens New Years honours Jabeer was awarded with an OBE.

The world according to Prince Charles

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The End of Life as we know it? According not to the Mayans, but to our very own Prince Charles. That is if the first royal born happens to be a girl.

We are in the 21st century, an age rampant with the propagation of feminism, forward thinking and a push for equality with the most renewed and fervent vigour, yet our King in waiting, Prince Charles is failing to keep up with public opinion regarding the gender laws surrounding the Royal succession.

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