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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Pregnant women in developing countries face the same risk of death as women in the UK did 100 years ago, according to a coalition of campaign groups. Some 450 women per 100,000 live births die during labour or from pregnancy-related problems in the developing world.

The statistics were unveiled on the 100th International Women’s Day.
‘In the UK, dying in childbirth is almost a thing of the past. It’s a complete scandal that, for most women in the world, nothing much has changed,’ said Brigid McConville of the White Ribbon Alliance.

Speaking to Mumzine Adrian Brown, Chairman of Maternity
Worldwide added.

“The lifetime risk of dying in childbirth between women in this country and in some developing countries represents the biggest global health inequality. There is increasing acceptance that we are not an isolated island and that a human life in Ethiopia should be as valuable as it is in UK.”

Many of the medical problems are easily preventable if women have access to skilled health workers who can treat infections and use drugs to prevent haemorrhage.

The Millennium Development Goal also envisages preventing deaths that result from complications after unsafe abortions and allowing women access to contraception – to prevent riskier births in teenage mothers and to allow them to space their children.

Credit: Metro

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New mothers will be able to transfer the second half of their year-long maternity leave to the father, the government has confirmed.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the changes would take effect from April 2011.

Under the plan, if a mother returns to work, the father could take six months off with half paid at £123.06 week.

The Tories said the plans first set out in 2004 were repeatedly postponed and trailed behind their own proposals.

Source: BBC News – read full story here

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Calls to bring forward a total ban on recyclable material being sent to landfill are increasing, as the EFRA waste report show big increases in the amount of textile waste being dumped. Throwaway fashion from shops such as Primark are being blamed for an increase in the amount of clothes being dumped in landfill sites.


Although the proportion of total waste dumped in landfill has decreased by nearly 1/4 in recent years, textile waste has risen to more than one million tonnes in the same period, driven by the tendency to discard low cost clothes quickly.

The biggest culprit was the retail and wholesale sector, which produced 12.7 million tonnes of waste in 2002-03, nearly half of which was sent to landfill. In addition, nearly half of household waste sent to landfill was bought from retail supermarkets and convenience stories.

The report highlighted the importance of reducing food waste, with one third of food bought – currently thrown away every year and generating 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in landfill sites, equivalent to the emissions from 4 million cars.

The Government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been running a ‘Love Food, Hate Waste‘ campaign since November 2007 and Defra has also announced plans to reform packaging label rules to reduce confusion over ‘best before’ dates.

What can you do?  If you have had enough of throw away fashion and want some ideas on how to get your fashion fix in a more sustainable way click here for lots of ideas.

Source: The Ecologist

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Do you sometimes wonder where your financial donations are going to when you give money to charity?  If you are unsure about giving money or just don’t have enough to give there is another way to contribute to the desperate cause of the Haiti disaster.  Hearts To Africa are collecting clothes (adult and children), bedding, educational equipment and toys that do not require batteries.  For a full list of what they will accept click here.

If you live in London there are a number of drop off dates/locations around the city.  Click here to find out when/where.

If you live outside London but in the UK get together a group of friends and if you have a significant amount to donate they will come to you and collect.  If you are thinking of organising a group collection probably the best thing you can do is call Samuel on 07808 727 787 to discuss.

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If you are shivering at home with a decrepide heating system this could be your lucky day.  The government have launched the boiler scrappage scheme (similar to the car scrappage scheme) meaning that if you buy a new boiler you could save you money, the environment, and give a boost to the jobs market .  The Government said the boiler scrappage scheme would save the same amount of carbon as taking 45,000 cars off the road.

If you own a G rated boiler you could be one of the thousands who could get £400 from the Government to replace their inefficient heating systems.

This would cut the cost of getting a new heating system from an average of £2,500 to £2,100 while household energy bills should fall by as much as £235 a year. (Source: The Mirror)

Energy firms including British Gas and NPower have already pledged to match the payment, meaning you could get up to £800 discount on new boilers.

In a slightly willy wonka way, there are up to 125,000 vouchers up for grabs which will be dished out on a first-come first served basis.

To find out more, work out if your boiler is G rated or register for the scheme click here.

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If you care about what the brands you buy get up to while your back is turned you will be interested to read the 8th annual edition of The Good Shopping Guide.  It reveals a gulf in corporate social responsibility standards in UK brands.  The good news is there are plenty of companies, from New Look to Green People doing amazing work.

The research covers everything from cars to coffee and uses criteria including:

  1. armaments involvement
  2. animal welfare
  3. boycott calls
  4. carbon emissions
  5. child labour
  6. corporate corruption
  7. environmental impact
  8. ethical accreditation
  9. fair and un-fair trade
  10. human rights abuse
  11. nuclear power
  12. political donations
  13. pollution
  14. rainforest timber
  15. third world debt

The Good Shopping Guide’s top 50 ethical brands:

New Look Group Plc; Natural by Nature Oils; Good Energy Group Plc; Seasalt Ltd; Charity Bank; Brother UK Ltd; People Tree; Caurnie Soap Co; Medivac Healthcare Ltd (vacuum cleaners); C Mobile Ltd; Woodex Ltd (Osmo eco paints); House of Goodness (Atmos boilers); Triodos Bank; Ecology BS; Honest Cosmetics; Green People Company (skincare); The Little Pet Food Company (Lily’s Kitchen); Monsoon Plc; Suma Wholefoods; The Village Bakery; Doves Farm; Redwood Wholefood Company (Vegi-Deli); Bio-D Co Ltd; Kingfisher plc (B&Q); Faith Products (Clear Spring); Casio Computer Co Ltd; Ecos Paints; GoinGreen (cars); Bskyb (Amstrad); Clipper Teas; Cafedirect; Essential Care; Aromatherapy Direct; Bodywise UK Ltd (Natracare); Hoover; Organico Realfoods Ltd; Food Brands Group; Equal Exchange (coffee); Cafédirect; Traidcraft Plc (chocolate); Highland Spring Ltd; McBride (Surcare washing up liquid); Premier Foods (Quorn & Cauldron foods); Hain Celestial Group (Linda McCartney); Rainbow Wholefood; Natural Organic Soap; Groupe SEB (kettles); Premier Foods Plc; Ecover.

The Good Shopping Guide’s least ethical brands:
Esso; Horlicks, General Electric; Altria Group (Chocolate Orange); Chevron Corporation (Texaco); Capital One Financial Corp; Bayer AG (Aspro Clear pain remedies); Schering-Plough (Coppertone sun protection); Glaxo Smith-Kline (Horlicks, Beechams, Day Nurse, Hedex, Ribena, Aquafresh) Procter & Gamble (Max Factor, Ariel, Bold, Daz, Fairy, Pampers)

If you are interested in this kind of information you can get lots more at Ethical Consumer.

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Research published by Jean Gross, the Government’s communications adviser shows that nearly 1/4 of boys – and 1/7 of girls are struggling to learn to talk because thousands of households keep their TV’s continually on, preventing them understanding the speech of adults around them.  The survey also showed more than 1/4 of families have TV on either ‘most’ or ‘all of the time’.  One in ten toddlers (aged 1- 2 years) have a TV in their bedroom, and 1/3 of 5-7 year-old’s have their own TVs.

The research showed that these problems were just as likely to affect middle-class children as those from less affluent families.

“This really matters, our ability to communicate is fundamental and underpins everything else…Our brains have not evolved to learn from machines. Babies are primed to respond to a face, and to recognise their parents’ faces,’ Jean Gross said.

While most children spoke their first word between 10 and 11 months,  4% of 3 year old’s had not said their first word.

For some tips on helping your child learn to talk click here.  Our biggest tip is to read to your kids.  Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that children who are read to tend to have higher IQs and it can be a lovely time of bonding.  Pick a book that you enjoyed as a child and take a trip down memory lane.

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