BBC Young Reporter
BBC Young Reporter is an exciting opportunity for young people to get involved with the BBC. Click on the links below to read the articles.
What will be in this article
You may have heard about the Australian bushfires a lot recently however; it cannot be stressed enough. These fires have caused major distress for hundreds of families by ruining their homes, their village and possibly killing their families/ close friends. In this article, I will talk about what these fires have destroyed, some interviews from friends, how it is being caused and how to help these poor people.
What these fires have destroyed.
These fires have spread over 10 million hectares, and counting over Australia, this is ten times bigger than the area effected in 2019(the Amazon fires). These fires have destroyed around 2000 homes. Leaving people living at campsites in tents with many people trying to support them. The Australian bushfires roughly have killed over 480 million animals including 8000 koalas, as well as 800 people. Some of these people were citizens however most were courageous firemen trying to make a difference. This is truly devastating and I only wish that these people are coping at these rough times. These fires are dangerously spreading at a very alarming rate, and are easily happening.
I have interviewed my friend, who has been deeply wanting to make a statement to put her point about this since she is severely concerned about this tragic occasion. Philippa said “I feel terribly sorry for all the animals and humans harmed in this tough situation. I hope they find a way to prevent such outbreaks in the future. I also think that there needs to be more organisations to provide help to protect homes, animals and humans who have had their habitats and community destroyed. Climate change will only make these events more frequent so we need to tackle global warming as this will possibly reduce the risk of larger outbreaks.”
How it is being caused
The main cause of these terrifying fires is the hot and dry weather, combined with strong winds that have made them dramatically spread. Another reason, that we are not talking about as much as we should be how global warming is also affecting these fires. This is a big factor as well in these bushfires that most people don’t know about. The most recent and destroying bushfires have started in remote areas by dry lightning, or from electrical power lines being brought down to the ground and starting intense fires. These are the most common causes of the Australian bushfires, and unfortunately don’t have a lot of solutions. People are trying however to come up with solutions or are just trying to get civilians to safety.
What you can do to help these people
There aren’t many things you can do to help, but the best thing you can do to at this time is to donate to charities online (specifically funding towards this crisis) or to fundraisers made by Youtubers, Streamers and adverts popping up on your screens. If we do this as often as possible you could help the brave firemen who are putting their lives on the line to help, and by doing this you will support the animals who are in care and are suffering to get them back into their natural habitat and back to their normal health condition. As well you will make these poor people’s lives easier. With the money they will be able to buy supplies such as food, tents, and even equipment to rebuild their homes. By doing this you could help a great many people and animals. Thank you.
By Isabella and Hannah.
Following the WHO classing the Coronavirus as a pandemic, President Trump announced a temporary travel ban for people from Europe travelling to the United States of America in order to reduce the spread of disease.
The UK government is also expected to soon move into the delay phase of the virus which means that instead of trying to prevent the spread of the disease, it will be taking larger scale measures to stop it spreading.
Today, it has also been announced that from tomorrow until the end of March, schools and colleges are going to close around the Republic of Ireland to attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. Large public gatherings are also planned to be cancelled to try and reduce the spread of the pandemic, a disease which is rapidly spreading in multiple countries. Offices are also planning to work remotely in the country.
The sports industry has also been greatly affected by Coronavirus, McLaren has withdrawn from Australian Grand Prix after an infected team member tested positive; the operation of the Open Miami Tennis tournament has been suspended- even the Olympic torch has been lit without spectators in Greece for the Tokyo 2020 games due to widespread fears of Coronavirus.
Despite this, the Europa games are going ahead tonight as announced by UEFA, however, Manchester city's match against Real Madrid is under threat after the Spanish side's players were placed in quarantine this morning.
Currently, three players of Leicester city have been self-isolated due to showing symptoms of Coronavirus and are being kept away from the rest of the football squad.
The effects of this would be felt globally. If other countries, such as the UK, decide to follow in their footsteps, this could cause for an economic crash which would be felt globally.
The virus has caused many different effects around the world. American basketball games have been postponed, many schools have been closed due to students and teachers having the virus and many ski resorts in Italy and the alps have had to close, causing the local economies to drop.
The economy has also been affected in the UK. People are worrying over a shortage of toilet paper and buying soap to try to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses and this has caused an initial spike in the profit of many high street shops. However, this has caused unrest over people wanting these products and there being none left and is also causing trade to drop as less products are for sale.
It is likely that the global economy will suffer as international trade will fall as more countries, like China and Italy, go on lockdown and are unable to import and export products.
Over the past few hours, the UK economy, and the economies of other countries, have fallen due to a decrease in trade.
The Coronavirus, like most viruses, grows exponentially rather than in a linear form. This means that instead of increasing by a certain number, such as there being an increase of 50 cases each day, the number of cases per day increases at a constant rate. For example, an increase of 50 cases one day may lead to 100 new cases the next day and 200 the day after that.
Since the rate of which the virus spreads has been fluctuating over the past few days, it is hard to be able to predict when the virus will peak and how many people will be affected at a certain point in time.
Currently, the rate of transmission has decreased with an increase of 30% new cases on Sunday to an increase of only 15% on Monday. However, the rate of infection has slowly increased to 20% on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, it is impossible to predict the rates of growth for the next few days.
Currently, the WHO advises to reduce the spread of the disease, we all try to wash our hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. This involves washing the palms, nails and individual fingers on the hand when washing them to prevent the spread of the virus.
The NHS also recommends that tissues, or elbows if none are available, or used for catching droplets when people sneeze to prevent transmission through the air.
They also want us to stop touching our faces. By following these guidelines, the spread of the virus will hopefully fall and prevent even more drastic measures having to be put in place to stop the spread of the virus.
Climate Change has become an ever- growing concern for everyone around the globe. The increase in carbon emissions due to burning fossil fuels for energy use has greatly contributed over 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions; as recorded by the U.S Energy Information Administration.
Due to the change in climate, the higher temperatures in the Antarctica decline in more than 50 percent in wildlife has occurred in the past decade, and losses in ice shelves/glaciers have caused major flooding globally- as recorded by the British Antarctic Survey.
The wild-fires in Australia that have been burning since November 2019 have burned over 18 million hectares, destroying over 5,900 buildings and millions of animals have been reported killed by the BBC.
With a concerning increase of C02 emissions from 2018 being 2.7 percent- the largest increase in seven years (recorded by the researchers at the Global Carbon Project) have been emitted from fossil fuel use and industry- the rates of which Climate Change is having more of an impact on the world are rapidly increasing. However, people are aiming to fight climate change and are taking action in many ways to support fighting against climate change.
Teen activist and climate action campaigner Greta Thunberg hosted a press conference on the 31 January with three African climate change activists- Vanessa Nakate, Ayakha Melithafa and Makenna Muigai- to stress the importance of how climate change is affecting people in Africa.
According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index for 2015, seven of the ten countries most at risk from climate change are in Africa. Africa has seen a decrease in rainfall over large parts of Sahel and Southern Africa, and an increase in parts of Central Africa. Over the past 25 years, the number of natural disasters, such as floods and droughts, has doubled- resulting in Africa having a higher mortality rate from droughts than any other region.
Thunberg said she wanted to use the media attention she attracted to focus on climate change in Africa as “the African perspective is so under-reported”- as quoted on the BBC.
This young activist also met with Barack Obama, former US president in Washington DC 17 Sept 2019- to discuss Climate Change and shared her aims and messages for other young people around the world to take action against climate change. Mr Obama was clearly impressed with the 16-year-old, sharing a picture of their meeting with his 108.6 million Twitter followers along with the caption:
"Just 16, @GretaThunberg is already one of our planet's greatest advocates. Recognizing that her generation will bear the brunt of climate change, she's unafraid to push for real action. She embodies our vision at the @ObamaFoundation: A future shaped by young leaders like her."
The young people like Greta whose influence on raising awareness and fighting against climate change urges others to take action around the world to also do so.
Cities internationally are also trying to reduce their carbon emission rates- as Manchester adopts the plan to halve carbon emissions by 2025 has been approved by council bosses. This contributes to the city’s aim to become “zero carbon”, which in Manchester’s case means a reduction of 95 percent to current levels by 2038.
The plan includes spending £15 million on cutting carbon emissions from council buildings by 3,000 tonnes a year; developing large solar and wind power energy schemes; Investing £1 million to plant new tress; Introducing 27 new electric bin lorries and replacing more street lighting with low energy LED bulbs- as reported by the BBC.
In addition, Manchester Airport is part-owned by the council and is planning a £1 billion expansion, including a new £50 million car park. Ali Abbas from Manchester Friends of the Earth quoted that that, “If we are going to halve carbon emissions in the next five years, we need to stop adding to the problem.”
There are many things we can change in our daily lives to help reduce the amount of carbon emissions we emit. Changing our ways of transport (walking or biking instead of driving); recycling more often (recycling food waste to make compost; recycling more); and switching to using single -use plastic can have a big impact to fighting climate change.
The effects of climate change are forever impacting our world- both the future of our lives and the well-being of the environment- but everyone can do something to help fight climate change. Even the smallest of actions – like spreading awareness of climate change to others – can have a big difference on the future of the world.
If you don’t already know how a virus works, I’ll give you a small explanation. A virus is a biological agent that reproduces inside the cells of living hosts. When you are infected by the virus, your cell produces identical copies of the virus at extraordinary rates.
The disease COVID-19 has now been classified as a pandemic. A pandemic is a virus that spreads over large regions of the world, in some cases across multiple continents. A virus has 5 main stages. Stage 1: predominately animal infections and few human infections. Stage 2: sustained human to human infection. Stage 3: Pandemic, wide spread human infection. Stage 4: Post peak, possibility of recurrent events. Stage 5: Post pandemic, disease activity at seasonal levels.
Previously, China had been in Stage 3, a pandemic. This means that the virus had widespread across the country. However, Chinese officials have declared that China is past the peak with only 15 additional COVID-19 cases, which is a new low of daily coronavirus cases. This is due to the effort China has put in to control the epidemic.
The COVID-19 virus was hoped to have been a seasonal disease that will dissipate in the summer like the flu, however it may not perform the same as the flu. Scientists are seeing how the virus spreads in the southern hemisphere, which is currently in summer. However, it is too soon to know how dangerous the virus will be in warmer weather.
The coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan has effected over 126000 people, mostly in Asia-but it is spreading its way to Europe. You might have heard that it escaped from a Chinese lab, but it is believed to have come from a wet market in Wuhan that sold animals is believed to be the origin of the virus.
The coronavirus has spread to the UK now, with the first case here contracted by an elderly person with prior medical issues. The coronavirus has spread to Kingston now, and many schools have closed down such as Wimbledon College. Covid-19 has the worst effects on senior citizens and those with underlying health problems, but those our age with healthy immune systems have a higher immunity rate, as long as we follow the NHS sanctioned rules, which you can find on their website for more information. Asia has the highest disease rate, with a whopping 80000 diseased in china, 77000 in south Korea, and 1614 people in analysis and 44 deaths in Thailand, my home country.
The main rules of protection against the virus is to sneeze or cough into a tissue or your elbow joints, to avoid spreading germs; even if you don’t have the virus. Hand washing is also important, which is clear at Tolworth Girls’ School, with many students continuously applying hand sanitizer. You may have heard of using oregano oil to protect yourself, but that claim has been disproved; if the NHS has found anything helpful to stop the spread of disease, they will post it as soon as possible. There has been a lot of controversy on whether or not masks are effective, but generally, they are most important to wear for those infected, or those in close contact with the infected; if you are wearing masks to protect yourself though, they do not have the highest protection rate, so they cannot be relied on to protect yourself from the virus entirely. Masks are more of a precaution than a means of protection for us.
Covid-19 outbreak began in Wuhan china and is believed to have started at a wet market that sold live animals as well as meat. These markets do not have high standards of food hygiene, so they have a high risk of viruses being transferred from animals to humans. The animal of origin has yet to be identified, but it is believed to have come from bats, which hosts viruses such as rabies and Ebola. The rate of infection back in Wuhan has gone up to 80000 people as of right now; but since it is a highly contagious virus, the rates grow more and more each day. The government in China have been locking down entire cities, and before entering an apartment complex, you must scan a QR code, enter an ID number, your temperature and your recent travel history according to Chinese citizen Chen Weiyu, a 23-year-old that works in Shanghai. She said that ““Monitoring is already everywhere. The epidemic has just made that monitoring, which we don’t normally see during ordinary times, more obvious,”. Chinese citizens are furious at their government for lack of information on the new disease, so much that they Are beginning to protest, which shut down a train station in Hong Kong.
The coronavirus is rapidly killing Italy’s citizens, with a death toll of 631 deaths so far. Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte has said that he will be closing restaurants, bars, hair dressers and non-essential companies.
In a 9-minute broadcast, the Prime Minister said:
“Thank you to all Italians who make sacrifices. We are proving to be a great nation,"
"We will only be able to see the effects of this great effort in a couple of weeks," he said, referring to the daily announcements of deaths caused by the virus COVID-19.
The president has also said that:
“The country needs the responsibility of each of us, the responsibility of 60 million Italians who make small sacrifices every day for the duration of this emergency,” Conte said.
On Monday, the government had banned its 62 million citizens from all travel, in which the only exceptional circumstances were professional or health grounds. Giuseppe Conte has been encouraging Italians to stay at home, to stop the spread of disease. His message has been spread through the hashtag #iostoacasa – I stay at home –which people have been putting on photos of home cooked meals all over social media.
Many retail chains have closed down such as apple, and the only stores open are pharmacies and supermarkets, which has really taken a toll on everyday life in It “Think about it this way,” she said. “On Sunday, five of us were working. Today, there is only one.”
By Clara age 12
I love watching films- I always have and as I got older my interest turned to how they were made and the people behind them. But as I found out more, I discovered things that just made me angrier and angrier. And this was the lack of diversity in the film industry.
My favourite films as a child were Enchanted and Tangled. Both of these films are directed by white men. Same story for the Toy Story films, the Harry Potter films, Wreck it Ralph, Wizard of Oz, Pirates of the Caribbean as well as things such as The Muppets - the list goes on.
At the 2020 Academy Awards (Oscars) all the best director nominees were white men apart from Bong Joon-Ho- the eventual winner. A similar story with best actress/actor with only 1 non- white actress.
Part of the reason for the lack of female/diverse representatives at the Oscars is the current way of deciding who wins what. The nominees are chosen by Academy members from that particular sector (e.g. actors vote for actors, directors vote for directors). Once the nominees have been chosen, then all Academy members will vote. However, this is generally too late and a white man ends up winning. This means that if nothing changes in the voting system then nothing will change in the industry as a whole. Because of the voting system only 5 women have ever been nominated for best director and only 1 has won in 92 years. This is an example of unconscious bias- where you choose/favour people similar to you without realising it.
I asked other people at my school what they think about diversity in the film at the moment:
[this person wishes to remain anonymous]- “I think it is unfair because hardly any women get any Oscars- apart from “girly” things such as makeup or hair.”
Keira- “I think something needs to change as people don’t realise how much discrimination there is in the film industry.”
Emily – “I really like films and musicals and I really want things to change so there is more diversity.”
Hannah – “I am a big feminist and against non-equality and this makes me upset and angry. Please can something change now.”
[this person wishes to remain anonymous]- “I want to be involved in the film industry, but hearing this makes me want to change my mind and be in a job where it is as equal as it can possibly be.”
Alina- “I hate injustice and I know there is a lot of directors etc. who are not an archetypal white man. These astounding people should be getting the respect they deserve.”
[this person wishes to remain anonymous] - “Growing up my friends would play characters from TV shows that they watched and they would always choose characters that they looked like, but as a child I had none to identify with as I am Asian.”
In conclusion, the current voting system will end up making everyone, from directors being discounted for Oscars because of who they are to young kids with no role models in that area, to feel upset and separated from everyone else. Something needs to change, and soon. This is just not acceptable and it makes me furious. I am hoping something changes soon.
By Genevieve aged 11
3 years ago, my parents divorced and that, of course, had an effect on me and my younger brother Calvin, an effect that still carries on to this day.
In my opinion, the whole thing is really stressful – my parents no longer want to see each other, so everything I need to take from one house to the other, I need to take via school. Because of this, my school bag is always really heavy and anything I must take to one parent’s house I must carry in a bag and take it to school. I need to remember everything. My mum doesn’t even like saying hello to my dad when they meet.
Despite that, the divorce has been a bit of an eye-opener for me. Lately, I’ve been out more with my step dad adventuring the Epsom downs on our bikes after my mum moved away and got married. I’ve met some new people, such as my stepbrothers, who are really fun to be around, my stepdad, who’s always keen for a bike ride, and their parents/grandparents. I’ve also been introduced to my dad’s girlfriend – she’s really funny, smart and caring, her sister, who is full of great conversations and their mum, who’s very sweet as well as their children, Adam* and Harry*, who enjoy the company of my brother.
I asked some other students of TGS with divorced parents to see what they think:
Emily*: My parents split up when I was six. I remember my dad not letting my mum teach me Thai so I could be bilingual. I now live with my mum, I’m learning Thai and I’m happy – but I wish I knew it earlier on.
Katie*: I remember my parents divorced when I was in year 6, and I was really upset – I thought they were going to live two completely different, separate lives, but they didn’t. I think I am actually pretty lucky, though, as my parents are still friends, and I think that is really important.
Charlotte*: My parents are going through a divorce right now. They told me they were doing it so that I don’t have to listen to them arguing all the time. Instead, now, they argue through me, so I don’t really see the point… On the bright side, my dad now has a girlfriend, and although I wasn’t sure at first, I now really like her.
Charlie: My parents divorced when I was quite young. Every now and then, I feel like I’m missing a mother, but my father is the best person in the world! He assures me he can be both my mother and my father at the same time, he really is a superhero to me.
This shows that there are many effects of parents divorcing on kids. For anyone who is experiencing parent divorce, or are going through a divorce or break-up, here are my top tips:
- Try not to be hostile to the other person.
- Try to still be friends.
- If you are going to get divorced, try to reassure any children and help them get over it.
- Don’t worry. Try not to get too upset – think of all the new people and experiences you’ll meet and make!
- Be positive.
Overall, there are ups and downs of divorce effects on kids. I have met new people and had new experiences, yet I need to remember everything so that I have all that I need when going to another parent’s house. All in all, I feel as though my life is just as balanced as before, just on a higher level.
The only stress I had before was homework, now I have more stuff to remember as well as that. I used to rarely meet new people, now I’ve met 11 new people thanks to my parents’ divorce.
*Names changed to protect identity
By Emma aged 14
Most people nowadays have Alexa or Google assistants in their house. This is all good and well as these new types of technology can tell you what the weather is going to be like, they can lock the doors and even answer phone calls. However, are they safe to have around the house. Alexa and Google assistants are said to only start recording when their “wake words” are called out however it has been proven that they could be recording even without hearing the “wake words”. This could mean that private conversations are being recorded and fed back to the manufactures. Amazon has confirmed that some of their new equipment do start recording without hearing the wake word but have insisted that only 2000 of the 20 million conversations recorded I listened to and used but Amazon have promised that they only use the conversations to improve their products and make them better. This could all be true but what if advanced criminals manage to hack into Amazon headquarters and manage to listen to all 20 million conversations. That could then mean that they could gain information from all types of people and could gain bank details from all different businesses and members of the public.
An interview with a person who has an Alexa in her house says that “I feel unsafe when I am talking about private things when I am in the same room as my Alexa and even when I am not I feel like everything I say is being recording. This should not be the case. When I am in my house, I should be able to feel safe and not spied on. I would like to get the conformation that all that I am saying will not be listened to by a stranger. However, the Alexa is very useful and helps me on a day to day basis but I would rather give up all of its benefits to insure that I have a safe place to express my feelings”.
The 2000 recordings that Amazon does listen to have also been proven that the company listens and studies the recordings. From what it recovers, it will then see what the family or person have been talking about and will then produce adverts specifically targeted at the family or individual to try and make them buy their products. Now this cannot be right. As well as them snooping in on what we like to buy or talk about. They could hear private conversations that were not meant for anyone else’s ears apart from your own and then without even knowing your conversation would be listened to by a stranger who could perhaps live in totally different country or even worse they could even be listened by someone you do know who live ten minutes away. Rho Khanna from Politifact stated on May 26th 2018 in a tweet that “Alexa Echo is recording every conversation in a person’s home and transmitting it to the cloud.”
Google support also confirms that they record your voice and background noise a few seconds before the “wake word” is said. Your audio is then saved to your account. Audio can be saved even when your device is offline. This is extremely worrying as this means that even turning off the device does not mean that they are not listening to every word you say. The Mountain View company says it only uses your Voice & Audio Activity to learn the sound of your voice and how you say words and phrases. That is then used to improve speech recognition across all their products. However, you can see your saved audio, by signing in with your Google account information. This will than make sure that you to see all the information Google has stored on the history of your account. Fortunately, Google will let you delete any conversations by clicking on the three dots in the top right corner and choose ‘Delete activity by’. However, what is there to prove that they have not already listened to the audios.
All together, the new devices in the world are useful but can we really be sure that they are not listening to every word we say and not watching are every move.
On Monday, I took part in a science quiz where I had to match the scientist to the description of that person, and I won a trip to Urban Farm.
Today is Thursday (12th March) and I have just gotten back from my trip. It was amazing! The animals were of huge variety. There were creepy crawlies and animals galore; from roosters to a boa constrictor named Boris, a chinchilla to cockroaches, and everything in between! You name it, they (most probably) got it!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the giant rabbit, who was pregnant and had to stay at the shelter…
Still, this trip is one I’ll never forget! The handlers were very kind, caring, informative and interesting, most animals we got to touch and hold, but some we could only look at. Luckily, after the interview, Isabella (my BBC Young Reporter friend) and I got to have a photo shoot with some of the animals, including the boa around our necks, a frog on our heads and we each got turns handling the animals no-one else were allowed to, thescorpion and the spider!
By Ayshah aged 14
Currently in schools across the globe, there has been an increase in the number of cases of racism. Particularly in schools where nowadays, black people are expressing themselves unapologetically in ways that have not been seen before, leading to increased allegations of discriminatory policies at schools which target black students. For example: wearing their natural hairstyles more, such as braids and afros, taking pride in heritage, and wearing traditional cultural clothes representing their backgrounds during mufti-days. Unfortunately meaning they, in return, receive backlash, where black children have been banned from expressing their identities, asked to leave school premises and even suspended from their school.
According to an article by the Guardian newspaper, they reported during 2019 alone “4,590 cases of racial abuse among school students were deemed serious enough to warrant fixed or permanent exclusion. The increase of more than 500 is the highest leap in a decade. The number is rising at a faster rate than student population growth.” Another study conveyed, researchers from the Australian National University and Western Sydney University found 4,600 primary and secondary students (at government schools in New South Wales and Victoria) on their experiences of racial discrimination in schools. The study also found that 40% of students in years five to nine from non-Anglo or European backgrounds reported experiencing racial discrimination by their peers.
It is extremely saddening to understand that some schools are not helping racially abused children and are instead suspending them for being their most authentic selves as well as even children in primary schools that are bullying them, meaning that from a young age parents are putting these ideas in children’s head that it’s acceptable to be racist if they don’t have certain features. I think schools clearly aren’t giving enough insight on stopping racism and giving the bully the punishment they deserve, because there are lots of zero tolerance policies in schools meaning that if a black person is hurt they can’t do anything about it which not only puts the child in a horrible situation, but there is also no consequences for the child bullying them which is disgraceful and completely outrageous and something that needs to be sorted out now before we get to a time where racism is completely inevitable.
On the other hand, lots of teachers in TGS are finding solutions to stop racism for example on the website there is a ‘bully button’ on there, which helps the student to feel comfortable enough to type out the situation instead of having to talk about in in person. As well as running tutorials on racism and learning about other cultures especially on ‘Black History Month’ which is held annually.
Currently and ever since 2017, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government have been running re-education camps which as of 2018, it was estimated that the Chinese authorities may have held hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic Turkic Muslims, Christians as well as some foreign citizens such as Kazakhstanis, who are being held in these secretive internment camps which are located throughout the region. But in May 2018, Randall Schriver of the United States Department of Defense claimed that "at least a million but likely closer to three million citizens" were imprisoned in detention centers which are said to have the likeness of "concentration camps".
Such camps are allegedly not with the legal system; many Uyghurs have reportedly been kept without trial, and charges against them have not been levied. In these camps, as well as other ethnic minority groups, local authorities are reportedly housing hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs for the stated purpose of fighting extremism and terrorism and encouraging sinicization.
To counter any criticism of its treatment of the Uighurs, China has employed a language of "de-radicalisation" that has been normalised throughout the world by repressive governments to hide their own policies of death and destruction. While other groups that suffer under inhumane policies either at the hands of their own governments or others often find themselves championed by a competing force and score some gains while being used as a political football, the Uighurs do not get any of this treatment.
In 2019, the United Nations ambassadors from 22 nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom signed a letter condemning China's mass detention of the Uyghurs and other minority groups, urging the Chinese government to close the camps. Conversely, a joint statement was signed by 37 states commending China's counter-terrorism program in Xinjiang, including Algeria, the DR Congo, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea, Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines and Sudan.
As of now, we don’t know whether these camps have stopped or will be stopping anytime soon but we mustn’t turn a blind eye to these camps just because coronavirus is all on our minds. People also speculate that the camps’ deaths could be covered up by coronavirus deaths.
With the emerging awareness of climate change and climate activism in our day-to-day lives, almost everyone is aware of need to reduce our carbon footprint and to keep our planet at a constant temperature. But what does this mean that we need to do? Is it really achievable?
Apart from the growing participation in climate strikes, young people have been taking environmental action in other ways. According to the Guardian, half of all young people avoid single use plastics and 1% are vegan.
By recycling resources, people are able to reduce the amount of new resources that are having to be acquired. This not only prevents deforestation but also means that less energy is required to make new products so less greenhouse gasses are released through power station when we recycle resources.
The wider impact of this is that many biodiverse habitats are saved which not only saves a variety of different species from extinction, but also that rare plants, which could have crucial medical properties, are able to be discovered and used for future generations. It also means that less energy is needed to make a new product so less coal needs to burned so less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released which means that levels of air pollution can lower which further benefits our health.
Air pollution can also be caused by cars and aeroplanes. When the engines of these burn fuel, they release nitrogen oxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere which contributes to poor air quality as well as adding to the greenhouse effect.
However, in a world full of cars, is it really possible to avoid using them? Yes, it is. Public transport, currently, is accessible all over the world, especially in big cities including London. By taking a bus or train and walking a bit to a location, rather than driving, up to 250 grams of carbon dioxide, per kilometer, is saved. That is two kilograms in the average ten kilometer journey. Not only does using public transport reduce our carbon footprint, it also allows us to keep a healthy lifestyle through walking.
But is it possible to have a healthy lifestyle being vegan / vegetarian and does it really save the environment? It can be argued be argued that by eating fewer products from animals, specifically cows, that less methane is released. Also, less energy would be needed to keep the smaller number of livestock on a farm healthy. But, is the carbon footprint of fruits and vegetables higher than meat?
Many exotic fruits and vegetables, including raisins and avocados, which are popular in vegan diets, have a high level or emissions too. Raisins are grown mainly in the Middle East and avocados have to travel here from South America. The greenhouse gases emitted from shipping these foods across the globe is huge at almost 2000kg for each flight that they are exported on, compared with only 100kg of methane a year per cow.
Despite the changes it would have to our lives, overall, it is best for us to adapt our lifestyles for the changing climate of our world. Even if everyone around the world took small changes, such as walking to school or taking the bus, or eating less meat or exotic vegetables, we can all reduce our carbon footprints and prevent reaching going over the 2oC to drastically change our planet. Together, if we all recycle more and walk more, we can all look after the planet for future generations.
By Emma and Ayshah
Sports events all around the world have been cancelled down to the coronavirus spreading rapidly. These sports vary from football to ice skating. All of them being cancelled or postponed. Restrictions are being put in place all over the globe as sports personals worry about their players and the fans that come to watch them. The Danish authorities have cancelled all football activities until march 26th. The Danish FA expects that the match against England should be cancelled and the Danish football association director Kenneth Reeh said “Denmark is in a sad and special situation, which of course also affects Danish football, like everyone else in society, we take the situation very seriously and, of course, take the necessary reservations. That is why we are closing down as many football activities as possible over the next few weeks."
Due to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the UK many football matches have been cancelled. Today it has been announced that three Leicester players are in self isolation. This will undoubtedly have a massive impact on the premier league. Thousands of football fans will be devastated for not watching their teams play. It is a possibility that some matches are organised to be played indoors. This can affect the teams and spectators in more way than one due to the teams having to play with no fans watching and cheering them on however most fans and supporters are able to still watch the matches at home.
The budget is the yearly announcement of how the nation will spend its money. The budget is worked out by the Chancellor of Exchequer, with help from the treasury.
The chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the budget on the 11th of March, this budget included a £30bn investment into Britain. The country gets the money from types of taxes: Income, VAT and Duties.
Some changes being made in the budget include abolishing the 5% VAT on sanitary items. This TAX is sometimes referred to as ‘pink tax’ or ‘tampon tax’ and means that sanitary products are classed as a ‘luxury item’.
I used the ‘pink tax’ calculator on BBC to work out how much I have spent on sanitary products and how much I have paid in ‘pink tax’. It estimated that over the three years that I’ve been menstruating it estimated that I had spent £154.95 on sanitary product, £7.36 of which is VAT. The calculator can estimate how much you will spend on sanitary products in your entire menstruating time-span. It estimated that I will spend roughly £1,549.55 on sanitary products and £73.79 is VAT. Given that the Britain is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the fact that 1 in 10 girls cannot afford sanitary products is disgraceful and highlights that the ‘pink tax’ should’ve been removed years ago.
Benefits that have been frozen for 4 years including Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, some types of Housing Benefit, and Child Benefit will rise due to the rise of the cost of living which went up by 1.7%. So, for example, child benefit for the eldest child will go up from £20.70 to £21.05 per week. This will make a big difference for lower class and working class families who struggle to meet ends meet, especially as the cost of living is rising in Britain.
Although, there could be some negative effects of borrowing £30bn for the budget there are some positives coming out of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2020 budget.
Tik Tok is a pretty big name and is said to be a hit or miss app and people either love it or hate it. It is Chinese owned app which share short videos with either dances, comedy or more to entertain it’s 1 billion active users. It has been viewed as addictive and timewasting by elder generations and even some teens but really how bad is Tik Tok?
When you want to see a new video, all you have to do is swipe down on your phone and it appears. Every time you swipe, a new video. With its ease of use, there have been many suggestions in China that watching TikTok is addictive. There is also the worry of it shortening attention spans as it seems people are getting entertained at 15-second-long videos. They also tend to scroll past the longer videos just to get short quick bursts of entertainment.
But TikTok has been known for changing teens’ lives and giving them a platform to make money and express their creativity. Hundreds of teens and young adults have been getting famous and have used their platforms to make money through merchandise and sponsorships.
People also claim that TikTok is exploiting children as they promote teens just to make money. They tend to share the videos of “pretty girls” especially in revealing clothes. This is all to generate a big audience. TikTok also takes a large cut out of the profit from the “gifts” tiktokers get in live streams.
Regardless of this, TikTok is a large trend and I think it is here to stay.
Tolworth Girls is in a constant battle against our rubbish problem. A lot has been done to solve the issue but there is still more to do. And it's not just our school, who have trouble with litter, our borough is also feeling the pressure to try to clean up.
Recently, our school has changed our bins. The bags inside of the bins have changed from black to clear. An insignificant change to the eye but it actually means the company collecting our rubbish sort through it and separate the rubbish. This makes a big change as only 45.7% of rubbish is recycled in the UK. As well as this change, we also have our own eco-committee; these girls strive to clean up Tolworth Girls. This helps protect wildlife like seagulls, who frequently visit our playground, and prevents our rubbish from traveling beyond our school grounds and eventually end up joining the 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. I interviewed the eco-committee to find out more.
I asked a member of our school Eco-committee why she wanted to help clean up her school. She responded with ‘because it’s our playground and if it’s full of rubbish, then it’s not nice.’ she agreed that it was important to clean up our school.
My next question was, what motivates you to clean up your school? She answered, ‘I decided to start helping clean up our school when I saw a pigeon eating rubbish’. Seeing the effect of our rubbish on animals is eye-opening because it is hard to comprehend horrifying statistics like 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic. The school Eco-committee was made by one of our teachers and aims to clear the litter at our school and educate children on how to prevent rubbish.
So what has been done to help the waste problem in Kingston? Well, we are part of the South London Waste Partnership along with the boroughs of Croydon, Merton, and Sutton. The partnership is responsible for handling the four boroughs' recycling and rubbish once it's been collected from the kerbside. As well as managing a number of recycling and composting contracts, the Partnership has given a contract to a company called Viridor to build a modern Energy Recovery Facility in Beddington, Sutton, that will turn non-recyclable waste into energy - enough to power 30,000 homes.
86% of the recycling and rubbish generated by households across Croydon, Kingston, Merton, and Sutton is treated or reprocessed in the UK. The remaining 14% is sent abroad. All companies that receive the waste we send abroad go to great lengths to handle the rubbish with care and deal with it in an environmentally friendly way.
So why is litter such a big problem? Plastic can often be mistaken for food and be eaten by innocent animals. The plastic suffocates and kills thousands of animals every year. The plastic also contains hazardous chemicals that can poison the animals. When plastic ends up in the ocean, sea creatures get caught in its deadly grip. The harsh reality is, the plastic in the ocean doesn't just affect the fish, it also affects us. Due to the 4 billion plastic microfibers per square kilometre littering the deep sea, fish end up with plastic inside of them. Humans then eat the fish and the plastic has then made a complete circle. Plastic microfibers are now being found in human faeces. So, the next time you think of tossing your plastic bottle out the window, ask yourself, do you really want plastic inside of your own body?
Doesn't sound pleasant, does it? Here are some steps you can take to prevent having plastic microfibers making their way into your digestive system. Although plastic straws only account for 4% of plastic waste, not using them is a much more sustainable option. Use a for-life bag or a material bag, as plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to degrade. Chewing gum is made from plastic so switching from gum to mints to get your breath minty fresh reduces your plastic waste. Look for boxes instead of a bottle, for example, detergent in a box instead of a plastic bottle. It is estimated that 7.6 billion nappies are thrown away in the US, switch them out for cloth nappies to reduce your babies' cute carbon footprint. Ultimately, try to avoid single-use plastics and trade them with more durable and sustainable products that will last longer and not harm the environment.
In conclusion, plastic pollution is a serious issue that we all need to tackle together and play our parts in helping clean up our world so future generations can enjoy it. This is because if we continue to litter our world like we already do, whole eco-systems will be completely wiped out. When plastic degrades, it releases harmful greenhouse gases adding to the climate crisis of global warming that affects every single one of us.
By Clara age 12
You have probably heard of coronavirus, the pandemic sweeping the world. And it will be no surprise to you that of course a celebrity has caught it. The ill-fated person Tom Hanks – who voices Woody in the Toy Story films- caught COVID-19 while shooting a film in Australia. He and his wife (who also tested positive) called medical services when they started experiencing cold-like symptoms.
The couple’s eldest son Chet says "I just got off the phone with them, they both are fine, they're not even that sick. They’re not worried about it, they're not tripping, but they're going through the necessary health precautions, obviously."
Everyone else working on the movie has been sent home and ordered to self-quarantine. The film studio is working closely with Australian health agencies to track down anyone who has had close contact with the star.
The star’s wife, Rita Wilson, who is a singer and actress, had performed at Sydney Opera House recently and the iconic building is undergoing a thorough cleaning.
Fellow celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Reese Witherspoon and Tim Allen sent their support to the couple on social media, while singer Richard Marx said he had spoken to Wilson and she "sounds pretty good".
Actor and comedian Marlon Wayans joked in reply to Hanks' Instagram message: "DAMN YOU TOM!!! You always gotta be first. First Emmy winner, first Oscar winner, first Hollywood Coronavirus."
Hanks and Wilson have been praised for opening up, people saying that it was “responsible” and “would finally make people take COVID-19 seriously”. Still another thanked Hanks for letting the world know that even someone as rich, famous and influential as him can be directly affected by coronavirus. “Thanks for going public with this and sharing it. Hopefully what you’re dealing with make more people be aware of how serious this is. Speedy recovery to you and Rita, “the person tweeted.
By Clara age 12
Spring has officially sprung now that March has started and we are beginning to notice change in the weather. Flowers are beginning to bloom, and the rain is coming in between sunny skies.
However, today’s forecast is not as pleasant as yesterday, for example. Most of England is expecting rain/hail, including Manchester, London and Cambridge. Although, sunny skies are expected in Hull and Dorset as well as Tolworth.
Tomorrow’s forecast is much more pleasing. Areas such as, Tolworth and Manchester have predicted sun with a light breeze, and a low chance of precipitation. In London and Tolworth temperatures will reach 11 degrees, and in Manchester the highest temperature will be 8 degrees. Leeds will receive rain from 4-5 pm however but not many other areas will.
World Book Day at Tolworth Girls’ School is a fun event that students can take part in at school. It is held on a regular school day, however has enticing events for all ages. Most of the time, it is organised by the English Department - since their interests are to do with books, reading and writing.
On the day, you are asked to dress up as your favourite character from a book as accurate as possible. No students are forced to take part; however most do, since it is something that can make school more enjoyable. Students from secondary school aren’t always as enthusiastic as pupils from primary. However, this year we had over 200 students dress up and had a fantastic time.
I have interviewed my English Teacher on why we have World Book Day and what do the students get out of it. Miss Medforth Literacy Coordinator said” It is important to have World Book Day since it encourages and celebrates reading. Reading can relax people who are stressed and bring families and communities (schools) together, and students and staff. As well it can improve academic performance. People can enjoy their day more when doing it. It allows them to explore different genres and helps to encourage reading, and improves reading. We should definitely carry on doing it and everyone has done it since primary. Let’s students get away from electronics/ screens.”
The first activity was dress up! In World Book Day I dressed up as Demon Dentist from a favourite David Williams’ book of mine (Demon Dentist) with my best friend Philippa, who was Alfie from the book. We both had a great time and wish we could have done it again the next day. The best dressed student was a girl dressed as Susan with a homemade Narnia wardrobe.
The second activity we took part in was an activity called ‘Guess the Teacher Shelfie’, where teachers from different departments took a photo of their book shelves from home and printed them out. Pupils were challenged to match the teachers with their shelfies (shelf selfies). Philippa and I didn’t do very well, but enjoyed ourselves very much in the process.
The third activity was to as a form to decorate your form door with your favourite book cover/covers. Our form decorated our door as numerous books (all of our favourites and what we dressed up as), acrostic poems, slogans and pictures. Almost every class took part, and every form’s looked great.
The final activity was Drop Everything and Read. We were asked in a lesson when hearing a bell to stop, drop everything and read for 15 minutes straight - in whatever lesson we were doing. I had mine in a maths lesson. I loved having this extra time to get lost in my book!