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Making global friends: My time at the Inclusion International World Congress

1 June 2018

Hear from Ismail about his time at Inclusion International's 17th World Congress event in Birmingham. 

ismail%20blog.pngIsmail Kaji


  2. Stories

For the last two days I’ve been at the World Congress on Intellectual Disability in Birmingham.

I was really excited about meeting people from around the world and to hear about their experiences.

It’s important for me as I lived in Malawi for a year when I was young, and the support for people with a learning disability there was very different.

Day one

My first job was to give a presentation with my colleague in Mencap's Parliamentary Team, Rob, on voting, together with people from France, Sweden and Austria.



In the UK the Political parties produce easy read manifestos, but not in other countries. Many people were really interested in our work and wanted to take ideas back to their countries.

In the evening there was a really fun party and it was amazing to see people from around the world enjoying music, singing and dancing. It was very inclusive.

Day two

On my second day I attended the Global Self Advocacy Summit.

This was led by Inclusion International Council members Sara Pickard from Wales and Mark Mapemba from Malawi.

I supported people to make placards about the change we want to see!



Proud Parents

My final job was to chair a session called Proud Parents.

I shared my own experiences as a Dad, and we also heard emotional stories from parents with a learning disability from around the world.

In particular we heard from a woman called Marie Joelle from Mauritius who had faced many challenges bringing up her child but had overcome these with help from her family and a local organisation. I think support for parents is very important.



I found the World Congress very inspirational. My favourite thing was connecting with people from around the world. I have made connections and friends with people from Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan, France and Germany.

I hope to go again!

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Villages in Ukraine still suffering Chernobyl fallout after 30 years – study


08/06/2018 - 00:01:00Back to Heathrow World Home


Ukrainian villages are still suffering the legacy of Chernobyl more than 30 years on, new research suggests.

Milk in parts of the country has radioactivity levels up to five times over its official safe limit, it found.

Scientists sampled cows’ milk from private farms and homes in the Rivne region, about 200km (125 miles) from the site of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant explosion in 1986.

They found levels of radioactive caesium in milk above Ukraine’s safe limit for adults of 100 Becquerel per litre (Bq/L) at six of 14 settlements studied, and above the children’s limit of 40 Bq/L at eight sites.


The highest levels found were about 500 Bq/L – five times over the limit for adults and more than 12 times that for children.




The study was carried out at the University of Exeter and the Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology.

“More than 30 years after the Chernobyl disaster, people are still routinely exposed to radioactive caesium when consuming locally produced staple foods, including milk, in Chernobyl-affected areas of Ukraine,” said Dr Iryna Labunska, of the University of Exeter.

“Many people in the area we studied keep cows for milk, and children are the main consumers of that milk.

“Though the level of soil contamination in the studied areas is not extremely high, radioactive caesium continues to accumulate in milk and other foods, such that the residents of these villages are chronically exposed to radioactivity that presents health risks to almost every system in the body – especially among children.”

The researchers say that some simple protective measures could be taken to bring radiation exposure levels below limits at a cost of less than 10 euro (£9) per person per year for the 8,300 people living in the six villages with the highest contamination.

Such measures include applying a caesium binder, called Ferrocyn, to cows, mineral fertilisation of potato fields and feeding pigs with uncontaminated fodder.


2.21861426.jpg?w=640&width=600&s=bn-847583 Scientists tested milk for signs of radioactivity (Yui Mok/PA)


The cost of this would decrease each year as radiation levels fall – but if no action is taken, the experts warn that milk contamination will continue to exceed the 100 Bq/L adult limit in parts of Ukraine until at least 2040.

“The Ukrainian Government has taken some of these measures in the past, but that stopped in 2009,” Dr Labunska said.

“Government and international monitoring needs to take place, along with help for people affected by this radiation.

“This situation should also act as a warning and a reminder of just how long the legacy of nuclear accidents can be.

“Without adequate countermeasures, what may now seem a purely historical event will remain a daily reality for those communities most impacted.”

– The paper, Current radiological situation in areas of Ukraine contaminated by the Chernobyl accident: Part 1. Human dietary exposure to Caesium-137 and possible mitigation measures, is published in the journal Environment International.

- Press Association


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There were joyous reunions in Shannon Airport yesterday evening as we welcomed a group for 2-month Long Term Care to Ireland!

Our loving host families are opening their hearts and homes to these children and young adults to give them respite from the radioactive environment in which they live....and they just couldn't wait to greet them in the airport arrivals hall!

On 27 June we will be back at Shannon Airport to welcome a group of 140 children and young adults to Ireland for a month long stay.

These respite stays can add up to two years to the children’s life expectancy.

The success of this programme, is due to the commitment and goodwill of our host families throughout Ireland who receive this children into warm and loving home environments.



La imagen puede contener: 2 personas, personas sonriendo, personas de pie

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7 barriers to girls’ education you need to know about

5 March 2017 6:02PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO


Poverty is sexist: Join the movement


The evidence that educating girls creates healthier, wealthier, fairer, and more stable communities is overwhelming—so why isn’t every girl getting a quality education? The barriers, particularly for girls in the poorest countries, are wide-ranging and complex but these are some of the most challenging:



The cost of supplies can limit girls access to education.

Even in areas where school fees are non-existent, there’s still a price to pay. Students are often required to buy uniforms, transportation, and supplies, like textbooks, pens, and notebooks, not to mention the indirect costs such as loss of potential income from missed labour opportunities or contributions around the home.

Violence and Security


In some regions, parents don’t allow their daughters to attend school, but it isn’t necessarily because they don’t want them to be educated. Sometimes parents keep their children home because the commute to and from school is unsafe and the risk of attacks on girls’ schools is a serious concern.

Conflict and Emergency Situations


Women gather to collect aid at the Dar es Salaam refugee camp in Chad, close to the border to Niger. (Photo credit: Ashley Hamer)

In conflict-affected countries, education is not always accessible. As a result, girls in these countries are almost 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than girls living in countries not affected by conflict.

Teaching and School Climate


Boys participating in a school science experiment.

The perpetuation of traditional gender norms can result in girls being excluded from learning important subjects like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Teaching must be inclusive and enable girls to learn the same lessons as their male counterparts.

Access to Resources


A girl learning how to code at Ghana Code Club. (Photo source: Facebook.)

Where resources don’t address girls’ needs, it can limit their learning. Providing a wide range of resources that do address girls’ needs—such as textbooks, teaching guides, and the internet—all help ensure girls are both in school and learning.

Cultural Norms and Expectations


Constance Amusugut faced obstacles to thriving at school after she had a child at 15.

Household duties, the care of family members, early marriage, and early childbirth are all factors that contribute to girls missing out on an education. In cultures where these expectations are the norm, girls’ education may be lower on a family’s list of priorities.

Poor Infrastructure

valentine.jpgOvercrowded classrooms and rundown schools provide students with a less-than-quality learning environment. Schools that don’t provide students with access to separate toilets, washing areas, and sanitary products can discourage girls who are menstruating from attending classes.

To learn more about what can be done to fight for girls’ education, read our new report ‘Poverty is Sexist: Why educating every girl is good for everyone‘.

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These youths drafted a powerful proposal to G7 leaders

31 May 2018 2:48PM UTC | By: ONE AMBASSADORS


Poverty is sexist: Join the movement


By Luisa Neubauer and Vanessa Hirneis, ONE Youth Ambassadors, Germany

32 youth delegates. 40 consultations with youth and experts. 3 days of intense in-person collaborative sessions and meetings. 1 final Call to Action – to influence national leaders at the 2018 G7 Summit. And in the middle of it all? 2 ONE Youth Ambassadors.


This year’s Youth 7 – a formal G7 Engagement Group Summit – took place in Ottawa, Canada for young adults to discuss gender equality, the future of work, and climate & environment. We were tasked with finding policy recommendations that would best reflect the needs and wishes of the millions of young people across the G7. Ultimately, these will be presented by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to the rest of our political leaders at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix this year.


The two of us — Luisa and Vanessa — made up half of the German delegation! In 2016, we became ONE Youth Ambassadors committed to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease and now we were about to fly to Canada together to talk global politics!


Ahead of the Summit, we met our co-delegates – Simon and Daniel – and went through five days of extensive preparation. At this point, online negotiations with our international counterparts were already in full swing.


In Ottawa, we got to meet the other delegations in person, find consensus on our policy recommendations, meet with a plethora of stakeholders and political representatives (such as Madame Sophie Gregoire Trudeau!) and gain insight in the themes of our respective working groups.

On our last day, this incredible experience was topped off with a direct meeting with all G7 Sherpas (the ones negotiating on behalf of their countries) to discuss our proposals. This had never been done before and we are proud to have been part of this huge step towards more youth participation and a more inclusive decision-making process!


From our point of view, the Y7 was a great success.

The Y7 recognised that girls and women living in extreme poverty are most vulnerable to gender disparities, therefore, we proposed that our respective nation’s ODA should amount to 0.7% of their gross national income. We also proposed that the allocation of the funds should primarily focus on providing women with fundamental human rights by removing systematic barriers to basic financial services, quality education, and land tenure.

#PovertyIsSexist and it needs to stop now!


It was truly incredible how much knowledge was shared in such a small amount of time and we really cherished every minute of fruitful discussions, keynote speeches, late night working sessions, and fun. We were all there for the same reason: to be bold, pragmatic, inclusive, and, most importantly, we wanted youth voices to be heard and taken into account by our leaders. Their decisions will have a massive impact on the world that we will live in for the rest of our lives.

The Summit is over, but our work does not stop. Until the G7 Summit in June (and beyond!) we will join our fellow delegates to knock on every door — and we’re counting on you, too! Read our Call to Action here and never stop using your voice.

Luisa, a ONE Youth Ambassador from Germany, studies Geography and Journalism. She is also head of the German Delegation to the 2018 Youth 7 – the youth summit of the G7.

Vanessa, 23, is a German psychology student and ONE Youth Ambassador with a passion for development cooperation and global politics. She represented Germany at the Y7 as a delegate for gender equality.

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It is less than a week to go until the World Cup! 
Reckon your football prowess could combat the likes of Rashford? 26bd.png?_nc_eui2=AeG_jo1A6pbwShj-x3qwGTChallenge your mates to a #WorldCup keepy-uppy challenge. 
Download our #MencapWorldCup pack and show off your sweet skills! 1f609.png?_nc_eui2=AeG8BvWP-qb21AR842BWL? 1f61c.png?_nc_eui2=AeGKGHrPbTrgrOdholRH3? 
Find out more: http://bit.ly/2IYgynw

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YES: Malala asks G7 leaders to “be smart” at this year’s summit

7 June 2018 5:33PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER


Join the fight against extreme poverty


Canada hosts the #G7 Summit this week. Here is my message to leaders:



The 2018 G7 Summit will take place this week. The leaders of the world’s seven largest economies will convene to make decisions that could have massive effects on the world. Malala Yousafzai has called on world leaders to invest in girls’ education, saying it is “the single best thing you can do this week.”

Malala understands the immense value of education, and knows that providing girls with an education does not only change their lives. Equal access to education strengthens communities, countries, and the world as a whole.

“This is not only a moment for you and the people of your country,” she says, “but also a significant moment for the 7.6 billion people around the world.”

When world leaders meet this week, they’ll have a lot of important choices to make. Malala hopes they will make the right choice.

“I hope that you will choose to be bold. I hope that you will choose to be smart. I hope that you will choose to invest in safe quality and free access to 12 years of education for every girl in every corner of the world, inside and outside of the G7 countries.”

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Here are the female bikers that ride to save lives in Nigeria

Here are the female bikers that ride to save lives in Nigeria



Poverty is sexist


This story was originally reported by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and edited by Claire Cozens for the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Whenever the all-female Nigerian biker group D’Angels hit the streets, people would stare in amazement at the sight of women on motorbikes. So they made up their minds to use the attention for a good cause.

Enter the Female Bikers Initiative (FBI), which has already provided free breast and cervical cancer screening to 500 women in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.

589_378442295564809_1100924018_n.jpgThis August, D’Angels and another female biker group in Lagos, Amazon Motorcycle Club, plan to provide free screening to 5,000 women – a significant undertaking in a country where many lack access to proper healthcare.

“What touched us most was the women,” D’Angels co-founder Nnenna Samuila, 39, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Lagos.

“Some asked if the bikes really belonged to us. Some asked if they could sit on our bikes. We decided to use the opportunity to do something to touch women’s lives.”

Breast and cervical cancer are huge killers in Nigeria, accounting for half the 100,000 cancer deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization.

12309763_922499704492396_655342331158519Screening and early detection can dramatically reduce the mortality rate for cervical cancer in particular.

But oncologist Omolola Salako, whose Lagos charity partnered with the FBI last year, says there is not enough awareness of the need for screening.

“Among the 600-plus women we have screened since October, about 60 percent were being screened for the first time,” said Dr. Salako, executive director of Sebeccly Cancer Care. “It was the first time they were hearing about it.”

Even if women do know they should be screened, affordability is a barrier, said Salako, whose charity provides the service for free and also raises funds to treat cancer patients.


This year the bikers will put on a week of awareness-raising and mobile screening, after which free screenings will be available at Sebeccly every Thursday for the rest of the year.

Members of the two clubs and any other female bikers who want to join in will ride through the streets, to schools, malls and other public places, distributing fliers and talking to women about the importance of screening.

“All the bikers turn up,” said Samuila, one of five women on the FBI’s board of trustees. “We just need to tell them, this is the location for the activity, and this is what we need you to do.”

Last year their funds, from private and corporate donors, could only stretch to two mastectomies, and they hope they will be able to sponsor more treatments this year.

bikers_social1-1024x512.jpg“We encourage this person to come, and then she finds out that something is wrong and you abandon her,” said Samuila, a former telecoms executive who now runs her own confectionery and coffee company.

“We would love to be able to follow up with whatever comes out of the testing.”

This is just the latest in a number of projects the bikers have organised.

In 2016 they launched Beyond Limits, a scheme to encourage young girls to fulfil their potential beyond societal expectations of marriage and babies.

They travel to schools to give talks and invite senior women working in science, technology and innovation to take part.


Samuila formed D’Angels with 37-year-old Jeminat Olumegbon in 2009 after they were denied entry to the established, all-male bikers’ groups in Lagos.

“They didn’t want us. They were like, ‘No, women don’t do this. Women are used to being carried around. Why don’t you guys just be on the sidelines?’ That sort of pissed us off and we then went on to form our own club,” said Samuila.

In 2010, the pair rode from Lagos to the southern city of Port Harcourt to attend a bikers’ event, a 617-km (383-mile) trip that the men had told them was impossible for a woman.


“That was the turning point in our relationship with the male bikers,” said Samuila.

The two-day ride earned them a new respect from the male riders, some of whom now take part in the screening awareness programmes themselves.

In 2015 Olumegbon, also an FBI board member, took on an even bigger challenge riding 20,000 km through eight West African countries in 30 days to raise funds for children in orphanages.

“I’ve been riding since 2007. At first, I was the only female riding, then I found Nnenna and the other girls,” she said.

“Because we started riding, more females decided to look inwards, and decided that they could do so as well.”

bikers_featured-1024x1024.jpgThe bikers plan to extend their initiative to other parts of Nigeria, and have also received invitations from women riders in other West African countries.

For now though, they want to focus on making sure their efforts reach every woman in Lagos.

“When we speak to people on the streets, many don’t even know of cervical cancer,” said Samuila.

“It’s so painful to hear that so many people are dying from the disease when it can be prevented.”

*images via D’Angels Motorcycle Club
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Learning Disability Pride

Learning Disability Pride is an unmissable event for people with a learning disability, as well as their friends, family members, carers, support workers and the rest of the community.



About Learning Disability Pride

The first Learning Disability Pride day was held in Northern Ireland on 27 May 2017, with the help of Thomas Haighton's Big Lottery Fund.

The event was hosted by Carrickfergus and District Senior Gateway Club in partnership with Mencap and around 5,000 attended the parade, which showcased flags, posters, banners and floats, all made by people with a learning disability.

Learning Disability Pride is an opportunity for people from all backgrounds to get together and really fly the flag for learning disability, in a fun and celebratory atmosphere.

Continuing Learning Disability Pride

In order to continue to raise awareness and change attitudes towards learning disability we want Learning Disability Pride to become an annual event. 

We would like people to hold their own events in celebration of learning disability; inviting people they know to come along and join in the fun.

Holding your own event

The initial Learning Disability Pride event in Carrickfergus in 2017 attracted around 5,000 participants. 

As well as the main parade, the event included music, dancing, food and drinks, face-painting, a bouncy castle and much more. 

We want to encourage people across the country to get in the Learning Disability Pride spirit and hold their own events.

If you think that this is something you'd be interested in we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch via the Learning Disability Pride website.

Helpful resources for planning an event

To help you plan an event we've also created lots of useful resources and information.

Some of these are from the 2017 event, but you may still find them useful to use for your own event in the future:

Learning Disability Pride 2019

We're currently in the early stages of planning the next Learning Disability Pride event, which will take place during Learning Disability Week 2019 on 22 June.

We'll provide more information on this webpage and on the Learning Disability Pride website about this shortly.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like to find out more please get in touch:

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This map will change the way you see Africa

October 12 2017 | By: GLOBAL CITIZEN


Can you correctly identify these nine African countries on a map?

This post originally appeared on Global Citizen.

In the last 500 years, a certain kind of map has been used to teach children about our planet. But public schools in Boston have made a big change  — and it might alter the way you think about the world.

It’s about power.

Most might recognize the old map from faded school textbooks. It’s called the Mercator projection. In 1569, Gerardus Mercator built a whole world drawn along colonial lines — literally. The biggest economic powers were given the space on paper to flex their border biceps.

The Mercator projection. (Photo credit: Public domain)

The Mercator projection. (Photo credit: Public domain)

The problem? It’s nowhere near to scale. Europe is not the center of the universe — Mercator just moved the equator. North America is nowhere near that big — although it might feel that way if you watch the news. In reality, South America should be twice the size of Europe. Greenland should be 14 times smaller than Africa and three times smaller than Australia, whilst Alaska appears three times larger than its actual big sibling, Mexico.

The Mercator projection vastly exaggerates aged imperialist power, at the expense of developing countries and continents like Africa that are shrunk to inferiority. There’s a reason why the Northern Hemisphere is associated with wealth and significance — it’s because it’s literally on top, permanently etched into our subconsciousness as superior from our earliest encounters with learning.

But there is another map. A map that laughs in the face of the old world order, that is scaled without topographical bias, that actually tries to tell the truth. Say hello to our survey savior: the Gall-Peters projection.

The Gall-Peters projection. (Photo credit: Public domain)

The Gall-Peters projection. (Photo credit: Public domain)

More commonly known as the Peters projection, it was published in 1974 by Dr. Arno Peters. It’s an “equal-area” map, borrowed from the work of 19th century Scotsman James Gall, which means it accurately scales land according to surface area, creating a far more balanced reflection of what the world really looks like. It’s totally free of colonial bias.

All new maps bought by public schools in Boston will be Peters projection. According to Colin Rose , assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps for Boston public schools, it’s “the start of a three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools,” to draw away from the cultural whitewashing of history in places of education.

“Eighty-six percent of our students are students of color,” said Hayden Frederick-Clarke, director of cultural proficiency for Boston Public Schools, in an interview with WBUR . “Once students feel like the school isn’t being truthful, there’s a tendency to shut down and reject information.”

No map is perfect — a two-dimensional reflection of a spherical world will always be flawed. Even the derivation of the world implies vulnerability; it comes from the Latin “mappa ”, meaning “napkin”, to describe the surfaces first used to draw them. The Peters projection is not without its blemishes either — it can appear stretched, since there’s just not enough land to effectively translate onto a flat map.

If you’re still not entirely sure what on earth we’re talking about, let The West Wing explain:

“In our society, we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power,” says one of the cartographers in the video. “When third-world countries are misrepresented, they’re likely to be valued less.”

And the problem extends way beyond the classroom. Incredibly, even Google Maps is stuck on the Mercator projection. When the internet has inherited internal bias, a bad idea can spread like an epidemic. The whispered notion that the West is somehow bigger and better than the rest of the world persists, subtly, sneakily, until suddenly world leaders can transform the invisible precedent into rhetoric that swivels between patriotism and nationalism in reckless lurches.

Every journey starts with a map. But if you set off on the wrong foot, misdirection can become misadventure. It’s easy to get lost. The hard part is making sure nobody else follows in your footsteps.

Already knew Africa was that size? Well, can you correctly guess the location of nine African countries on the map? Find out with our new game!

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How music can help your child learn better

Herman Fuselier  hfuselier@theadvertiser.com
Published 5:17 p.m. UTC May 4, 2018
Daily Advertiser

Jenny Paulson-Krueger, former director of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, figured she was on to something in her early years as a school teacher. Krueger had her students listen to classical music. They spent lots of time dancing and singing to other styles.

After a few sessions, the students were spelling Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Mozart, Brahms and the names of other famous composers. They were in the second grade.

“You can’t phonetically spell any of those,” said Paulson-Krueger. “They did it.

“What I learned from those kids was they were wide open. They were sponges.

“If they can do that with Tchaikovsky, they can do it with goat, dog, cat and figure all that out.”

The discovery led Krueger to create the Acadiana Symphony’s Do-Re-ME! program and underscored lessons of musicians and teachers — music helps children learn. The National Association of Music Merchants, a not-for-profit music advocacy group, backs the premise.

NAMM cites numerous studies with findings that include:

  • Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills that students who don’t take music lessons
  • Students in high-quality music programs score higher on reading and spelling tests
  • Music students scored 17 percent higher in mathematics than children in schools without a music program, and 33 percent higher in math than students in a deficient choral program.
  • Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children than in those without music training. Those skills are closely tied to the ability to perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.

Suzanne Anderson, who owns First Octave Piano Studio in Youngsville, has witnessed those findings.

“Math is a matter of patterns,” said Anderson, a music teacher for 15 years. "Music is a lot of patterns. We teach them to recognize the patterns.

“So if you can recognize patterns in music, and the rhythm and timing, you’re going to be able to recognize the patterns in math.”

A thinking child

More than 4,000 students have participated in the ASO and the Conservatory of Music’s Do-Re-ME!, which begins its seventh year in the fall. Based at Truman Early Childhood Learning Center in Lafayette, the program lets young students sing and dance with jump ropes, rhythm sticks, hula hoops and other items.

Layni Menard/Special to The Adve

The fun and games open a door to more learning.

“They’re not just singing, dancing and playing instruments,” said Jennifer Tassin, the symphony’s former education director, in a video interview on the ASO’s web site. “They’re also learning nursery rhymes, the history thereof, science, social studies and math through one lesson.

“We’re seeing more of a holistic, thinking child. They’re educated, not only in terms of music and the arts. But they’re also getting educated in math, science and reading. That creates a holistic thinker, one who is able to pull in English language arts in their math lessons and see those cross connections.

“If they’re able to do that young, they’ll continue to do that through their middle school and high school educations.”

Baby-rocking rhythms

Anderson agrees that starting children in music at an early age is key. She recently became a certified teacher in Musikgarten, a commercial program that teaches child development through movement and music activities.

Parents are encouraged to use recordings, shakers and scarves that reinforce lessons from the teacher. Children, from newborn to age 4, can participate.

“We have rocking songs where the moms can rock the babies,” said Anderson. “They’re feeling the rhythm, in their whole, entire bodies, are you’re rocking them.

“So it instills the rhythm and when they get older, that translates into something else. We add to it as they get older. Each thing gets a little more complicated.”

Anderson said the childhood connections to music can last a lifetime.

“Children are about language and music is a language. The ears on a child are fully formed before they’re born. Even at that point, they’re using sound and learning sound from the environment around them.

“Sound and music is a language that’s going to be forever. It’s a communications thing between all people.”

Published 5:17 p.m. UTC May 4, 2018
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5 African football teams are looking to make history at the World Cup

6 June 2018 5:14PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER


Join the fight against extreme poverty


The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia kicks off on June 14th, and five teams from the Confederation of African Football have qualified. This raises a huge question: Will this be the year an African football team wins the World Cup?

Only three African teams have ever made it to quarter-finals: Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002, and Ghana in 2010. This may be the year that a team from Africa makes it farther than ever before, perhaps even taking the whole tournament.

Here are the five teams to look out for in the World Cup:



This may only be their second World Cup, but the Teranga Lions from Senegal already have an impressive reputation. Their 2002 debut team made it all the way to the quarter-finals. The team’s captain for that incredible run, Aliou Cisse, is coaching this year’s team too. He holds his well-esteemed players in high regard.

“This is a great generation,” Cisse said of his team. “What we’re changing is the mindset. It’s not just about playing a pass or some technical skill, it’s about raising the whole level of African football. That’s our objective.”



After a 20 year absence, Morocco will be at the World Cup for their third time. The Atlas Lions features a unique mix of players; 17 out of their 23 teammates were born in nations other than Morocco, but have chosen to play for the nation of their parents and grandparents. The team’s coach, Hervé Renard, understands why his players have chosen to represent Morocco, as someone who was born in France.

“…the most important thing is team spirit,” says Renard. “To achieve something in football, if you don’t have team spirit, it doesn’t matter where you are coming from.”

They have a tough competition ahead of them, as they will be facing off against Portugal, currently ranked 4th among all the teams, and Spain, currently ranked 8th.



Nigeria has played in the world cup more than any other African team this year, with this being their sixth tournament. Though the Super Eagles are the only undefeated team in Group B, they’ll be facing a long-time rival. Nigeria and Argentina have faced each other in four previous World Cups, with Argentina taking the victory in each one.

Though the team has a handful of impressive players, coach Gernot Rohr argues that the team’s strength lies in being a collective. “It is not the individual quality, even if that quality is huge, that will make the difference, but the best team spirit.”



The Eagles of Carthage, qualifying for their fifth World Cup, will face quite the challenge in Group G. The team will face off against England and Belgium, but the team is confident that they will show “the true face of Tunisia.”
In the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, Tunisia made history as the first African nation to win a World Cup match. The nation has not seen another World Cup victory since then, but could change that this year.



This will be the first World Cup for Egypt since 1990, and their third in history. The Pharohs secured their place before their final match, thanks to Mohamed Salah bringing them victory against the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mohamed Salah, 2017’s African Footballer of the Year, is expected to play in the World Cup, despite receiving a shoulder injury in the Champions League final. He scored 44 goals in a record-breaking first season, making him a serious asset to the team. His athletic ability has certainly won him a large fan base – so much so that he received over a million votes in Egypt’s presidential election, despite not being a candidate.

Egypt’s goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary will be leaving a legacy of his own, as the oldest player to compete in the World Cup.

Who are you rooting for in the World Cup? Leave a comment below!

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The big chill 

Can this cooler save kids from dying?

| June 13, 2018

Two of the things I love most about my job are getting to see amazing innovations and talk to remarkable people. During a recent trip to New York, I got to check both boxes. I met a woman named Papa Blandine Mbwey who is using a revolutionary new invention to help more kids get vaccinated.

Blandine has worked as a vaccinator in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for over a decade. Most days, she travels on foot to villages all over her region so she can vaccinate kids who live too far from a health clinic to make the trip themselves.

Blandine’s job is complicated by a simple fact: vaccines must be kept between 2 and 8° C. If they get too warm, they spoil. If they get too cold, the water in them freezes, and they can stop working. Vaccines must stay within this temperature range through each step of what’s called the “cold chain.”



By the time Blandine reaches the children, the vaccines she’s carrying have traveled nearly 5,100 miles. They could have spoiled at any point during that journey, but vaccines are particularly at risk during the last two stops.

First there’s the health clinics where vaccinators like Blandine usually pick up their supply of vaccines. Many of these clinics are in areas with frequent power outages or no electrical grid at all, which means the refrigerators can’t always keep the vaccines cold.

But even if the vaccines survive the clinic, they still need to make it to the children. Most vaccinators carry them in ice-lined coolers. If you’ve used a cooler to keep your drinks cold at a picnic, you know the big problem with ice: it starts melting as soon as you take it out of the freezer. This means that some of the kids never get vaccinated, because coolers can’t keep vaccines cold long enough to reach them.

Several years ago, I asked a group of inventors called Global Good that I support to take on the cold chain problem. They came up with two remarkable innovations that are changing the game for vaccinators like Blandine.



The first is the MetaFridge. Although it looks like a regular refrigerator, MetaFridge has a hidden superpower: it keeps vaccines cold without power for at least five days. The electrical components are designed to keep working through power surges and brown-outs. During extended outages, an easy-to-read screen tells you how much longer it can stay cool without power so health workers know when to run a generator or move vaccines elsewhere. And if the fridge stops working properly, it transmits data remotely to a service team so they can fix it before vaccines are at risk of spoiling.

The other innovation Global Good invented is the Indigo cooler, which is the device you see Blandine using in the video above. It keeps vaccines at the right temperature for at least five days with no ice, no batteries, and no power required during cooling.

It sounds counterintuitive, but the Indigo needs heat before you can use it. When exposed to a heat source, water inside its walls evaporates and moves into a separate compartment. It can then sit on a shelf for months after heating, ready for use.

When it’s finally time to head out to the children, you open a valve, and the water starts moving back where it started. Because the pressure inside the Indigo has been lowered to the point where water evaporates at 5° C, the water particles take heat with them (the way sweating lowers your body temperature) and cool the storage area down to the perfect temperature for vaccine storage.

Both inventions are already making an impact in the field. A Chinese manufacturer started selling the MetaFridge last year, and a new solar-powered version will hit the market soon. One of the biggest surprises so far is just how much we’ve learned from its remote data monitoring capabilities. We knew the electrical grids in sub-Saharan Africa were unreliable, but we now know exactly how much the power fluctuates. This information will be helpful moving forward for health providers and anyone designing a product meant to work in these areas.

The Indigo is in the field trial phase. It’s still early, but the data suggests that the Indigo is allowing vaccinators to reach four times as many places as they could with the old ice-based coolers. That’s a big deal, and I’m excited to learn more.

Keeping vaccines cold when you’re delivering them to the most remote places on earth is a tough problem—and these devices show how innovation can help solve tough problems. I hope MetaFridge and Indigo inspire other inventors to find creative solutions.


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10 female inventors you should definitely know about

6 November 2017 12:01AM UTC | By: CLEA GUY-ALLEN


Join the fight against extreme poverty


You’ve all heard of famous inventors such Galileo (telescope) or Karl Benz (automobile), Alexander Graham Bell (telephone) and Benjamin Franklin (bifocal glasses), but do you know who Grace Hopper and  Stephanie Kwolek are?

One of these women invented the first compiler for computer programming, without which it’s fair to say the world would be a very different place, and the other invented Kevlar, a material five times stronger than steel, currently used around the world to protect people from bullets! Now, these are very important inventions, but as history shows us, women’s achievements can often be overlooked when it comes to handing out the correct amount of praise.

We’ve decided to correct that and take a look at some of the most important discoveries and inventions made by women in the last 100 years:

1. Dr. Shirley Jackson – Research that led to the invention of all things telecommunication


Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson


The theoretical physicist was the first black woman to receive a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. While working at Bell Laboratories, she conducted breakthrough scientific research with subatomic particles that enabled others to invent the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fibre optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting. Imagine all the important information you would have missed without this amazing woman!

2. Marie Curie – Theory of Radioactivity



Marie Curie

By the time Marie Curie, a Polish and naturalized-French physicist, was just 44 she had laid out a theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined, techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium (1898) and won TWO Nobel Prizes for her contribution to science! She was the first person in history to win Two Nobel Prize’s and the only person to win twice in multiple sciences!

3. Nancy Johnson – The Ice Cream Maker


In 1843, Nancy from Philadelphia became one of the most important women, nay, people, in history by patenting a design for a hand-operated ice cream maker, which is still used to the current day! We don’t know what more to say other than thank you, Nancy Johnson. Thank you.

4. Maria Telkes – The FIRST 100% solar powered house


The Hungarian scientist is famous for creating the first thermoelectric power generator in 1947, designing the first solar heating system for the Dover Sun House in Dover, Massachusetts, and the first thermoelectric refrigerator in 1953 using the principles of semiconductor thermoelectricity. Girl power indeed!

5. Ann Tsukamoto – Stem cell isolation


Ann Tsukamoto

In 1991 this was a huge and complex US invention – the ability to isolate the stem cell has been vital in medical advancements in learning more about cancer. Hopes are that one day it could lead to a cure to that and many other diseases.

6. Grace Hopper – Computer Programming


US born Grace Hopper and Howard Aiken designed Harvard’s Mark I computer, a five-tonne, room-sized machine in 1944. Hopper invented the compiler that translated written language into computer code and coined the terms “bug” and “debugging” when she had to remove moths from the device (who knew?!) Now, just close your eyes for a minute, and try to think what the world would be like without the invention of programming. Almost pre-historic isn’t it?

7. Elizabeth Magie – Monopoly


Speaking of a time before the computer, no childhood memories would be complete without the recollection of getting into a tizz about your brother stealing from the bank, or not passing GO…

Originally patented in 1904 by Magie and called ‘The Landlord’s Game’ the game was a critique of the injustices of unchecked capitalism but was not so ironically stolen by a fella named Charles Darrow who sold it to the Parker Brothers in 1935. The company did eventually track down Elizabeth Magie, but only offered her $500 for her invention!

8. Rosalind Franklin – DNA double helix


Rosalind Franklin

Although the discovery of the DNA double helix is often attributed to Watson and Crick, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1962, it was not actually theirs to claim. They had a theory on the structure of DNA, however, it was Rosalind Franklin whose work confirmed their theory.

Rosalind Franklin, a British biophysicist, was the first person to capture a photographic image in 1952 using a technique she had honed: observing molecules using X-ray diffraction (nope, we’ve got no idea what this is either, don’t worry).

Why was she never credited for this?! Well, it is alleged that, without her permission, an estranged male colleague of hers called Wilkins, showed her photograph to competitors Watson and Crick, and the rest, as they say, is his-story.

9. Maria Beasley – The life raft


In 1882, Maria Beasely of the US decided that people should stop dying at sea. Which is great. People had been navigating the seas for millennia, but until then hadn’t come up with an effective product to help in the event of a SOS situation. Now, thanks to Maria, thousands of lives have been saved!

10. Stephanie Kwolek – Kevlar


Although this invention from American chemist Stephanie Kwolek in 1965 was an accident, it makes it no less loved! This material, which is five times stronger than steel, is used in bicycle tyres, racing sails, body armour, frying pans, musical instruments and building construction,  thanks to its tensile strength-to-weight ratio (again, no idea). What isn’t it in?

Women can achieve amazing things when allowed to reach their potential! Help us make sure every girl gets the chance to change the world by signing our #GirlsCountpetition today!

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10 documentaries worth talking about

20 December 2016 5:00PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER


Join the fight against extreme poverty


Social movements begin with a conversation. Documentaries provide the perfect platform for dialogue. They serve as powerful tools that bring important topics to the table and inform us about our world in a way that kindles dialogue, and ultimately, larger social movements.

So we encourage you to come together and watch one (or ten) of these incredible documentaries and have a discussion about the critical issues of our time.

1) He Named Me Malala

HE NAMED ME MALALA is an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot at the age of 15. She currently works as a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund.

HE NAMED ME MALALA: Malala Yousafzai at the Jordan/Syrian border. Feb 16, 2014. Credit: Photo by Gina Nemirofsky. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

HE NAMED ME MALALA: Malala Yousafzai at the Jordan/Syrian border. Feb 16, 2014. Credit: Photo by Gina Nemirofsky. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

2) The Carrier

Set in a remote Zambian village, THE CARRIER offers a stunning portrait of both a family and community caught in a desperate struggle to Prevent Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and to liberate future generations from the vicious cycle by stopping the AIDS epidemic in its tracks.



3) Virunga 

VIRUNGA is a gripping exposé of the realities of life in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the incredible true story of a group of brave people risking their lives to build a better future in a part of Africa the world has forgotten.

Andre With Gorilla Virunga National Park Credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

Andre With Gorilla Virunga National Park Credit: Orlando von Einsiedel

4) Call Me Kuchu

In Uganda, a new bill makes homosexuality punishable by death. CALL ME KUCHU follows the activists working against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combating vicious persecution in their daily lives.

One of the many front-page stories published by Ugandan newspaper, The Rolling Stone, which terrorised the LGBT community

One of the many front-page stories published by Ugandan newspaper, The Rolling Stone, which terrorised the LGBT community

5) Sweet Dreams

SWEET DREAMS follows a remarkable group of Rwandan women as they emerge from the devastation of the 1994 genocide to create a new future for themselves through drumming and ice cream. In the words of Kiki Katese, the founding member of the all-female drumming troupe Ingoma Nshya “Because of our history, people know how to fight against, but not for. We want to change that equation.”


6) E-Team 

Anna, Ole, Fred, and Peter are four members of the Emergencies Team, the most intrepid division of the respected, international Human Rights Watch organisation. E-TEAM is the personal, intimate story of how they lead their lives as they set out to shine light in dark places and give voice to thousands whose stories would never otherwise have been told.


7) Pray The Devil Back to Hell

PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL chronicles the story of the Liberian women who came together to end war and bring peace to their country. Armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions, ordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and daughters demanded a resolution to the country’s civil war.

: Liberian women demonstrate at the American Embassy in Monrovia at the height of the civil war in July 2003 Photo Credit: Pewee Flomoku

Liberian women demonstrate at the American Embassy in Monrovia at the height of the civil war in July 2003                                                                                                   Photo Credit: Pewee Flomoku

? Sepideh

Can a young Iranian woman become an astronaut? SEPIDEH: REACHING FOR THE STARS is the story of a remarkable teenage girl named Sepideh who defies societal expectations and courageously works to make her dream come true.

Sepideh with Telescope Credit: Paul Wilson

Sepideh with Telescope Credit: Paul Wilson

9) The Devil Came on Horseback 

THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK follows former US Marine Captain Brian Steidle as he documents the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Upon his return to the US, Steidle campaigns for international intervention and becomes frustrated by the inaction of politicians back home.

Brian Steidle with the African Union team

Brian Steidle with the African Union team

10) Double feature: The Act of Killing/The Look of Silence

THE ACT OF KILLING follows former Indonesian death squad leaders as they are challenged to re-enact real-life mass killings in the cinematic genres of their choice, from classic Hollywood crime scenarios to lavish musical numbers. We recommend that you watch the “Director’s Cut” version of this film.

FISH Credit: Photo by Joshua Oppenheimer (framegrab)

FISH Credit: Photo by Joshua Oppenheimer (framegrab)

THE LOOK OF SILENCE serves as a powerful companion piece to THE ACT OF KILLING by initiating and bearing witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence surrounding the 1965 Indonesian genocide. It tells the story of a family of survivors who discover how their son was murdered and the identities of the killers through footage of the genocide perpetrators in THE ACT OF KILLING.

Photo by Joshua Oppenheimer (framegrab)

Photo by Joshua Oppenheimer (framegrab)

Influence Film Club is a non-profit organisation with an online platform that seeks to engage new and diverse audiences around documentary film. Find resources and documentary recommendations to watch alone or with your film club at Influence Film Club.

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Prince Charles and Camilla retrace queen’s steps in Cork

Hopes visit by royal couple will lead to similar upsurge as followed queen’s visit in 2011

about 17 hours ago Updated: about 15 hours ago
Barry Roche, Olivia Kelleher
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall  meet Tánaiste  Simon Coveney and Lord Mayor of Cork Tony Fitzgerald during a visit to the English Market in Cor. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall meet Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Lord Mayor of Cork Tony Fitzgerald during a visit to the English Market in Cor. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire


The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have begun a two-day tour of the Republic of Ireland with a visit to Cork.

Charles and Camilla started by following in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 and travelling to the city’s famous English Market.

They pulled up in their black Audi to the sound of a teenage combo drawn from the Barrack Street Brass Band and Music Generation belting out a clapalong version of Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics.

Prince Charles and Camilla - wearing a powder blue suit and coat - were formally greeted by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney before they turned and walked over to the school children thronging the Grand Parade.

People in period costume wait for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to arrive for a visit to the English Market in Cork. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire People in period costume wait for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to arrive for a visit to the English Market in Cork. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Among those they met were Special Olympians Isabella McNally (7), Robert Dunne (18) and Thomas Healy (15) from St Paul’s Special School in Montenotte According to Catherine Breen and Caroline Dean from the school, the Special Olympians were thrilled to meet Camilla.

Also delighted were some students from St Patrick’s in Gardiner’s Hill, with fourth class pupils Olivia Daly (11), Claudia Chantry (11) and Megan Houlihan all getting to shake hands with Prince Charles.

“It was great- Prince Charles said ‘Hello’ to me and then he shook hands and then I shook hands with Camilla as well - I can’t wait to tell people I shook both their hands,” said Olivia, as her friends nodded in enthusiastic agreement that it was something they would remember for the rest of their lives.

The royal couple were then escorted back to the red carpeted entrance to the English Market by Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald who introduced the ccouple to the Lady Mayoress, G eorgina Fitzgerald.

Also there to welcome the were Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed; Cork City Chief Executive Ann Doherty and English Market General Manager, Orla Lannin.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing at Memorial Garden in Omagh, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing at Memorial Garden in Omagh, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Security was tight in Cork for the visit, which will also see the couple visit Cork City Hall for a civic reception before Prince Charles visits University College Cork, the National Maritime College of Ireland and the Naval Service HQ in Cork Harbour.

The pair will also observe a minute’s silence for the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy during their visit to Cork City Hall.

While there they will be in the presence of 150 invited guests, including Olympian Rob Heffernan; All Ireland winning camogie player and mental health advocate Aisling Thompson; the Young Offenders’ writer and director Peter Foote and his wife actress Hillary Rose; and chef Rachel Allen from Ballymaloe House.

The royal couple will also be introduced to innovators such as James Whelton from Coder Dojo who set up the first ever Coder Dojo clubs in Cork. Coder Dojo is now a global network of computer programming clubs that offers free coding glasses to tens of thousands of children internationally.

The visitors will also meet with founding members of iWish, the annual showcase event set up in Cork to inspire, encourage and motivate young girls to pursue careers in Science Technology, Engine and Maths. It brings thousands of young women to the RDS and Cork City Hall every year.

The Duchess of Cornwall will visit the National Guide Dogs Training Centre on the Model Farm Road before the couple will attend a banquet in their honour on Thursday night at the Crawford Art Gallery.

They will stay overnight in Ballyvolane House in North Cork and go on to Kerry on Friday.

The visit provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase the city and build its profile as a tourist destination, according to the Lord Mayor.

Cllr Fitzgerald said Cork had benefitted hugely from the positive image of the city generated when the queen visited.

“The people of Cork have very fond memories of the visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Cork in 2011 when it was clear to all that the Queen thoroughly enjoyed her time in the city, describing it in a letter afterwards to the Lord Mayor’s office as ‘colourful and lively’,” he said.

Cllr Fitzgerald pointed out that Cork’s international profile “skyrocketed” after the visit by Queen Elizabeth II with footfall increasing by 30 per cent in the English Market where she was photographed laughing heartily at a joke from local fishmonger, Pat O’Connell.

Bookings in hotel rooms in the city and county went up by 70 per cent and with the most recent tourism statistics showing that over 30 per cent of the city’s overseas visitors come from the UK, the visit by Prince Charles and Camilla provides Cork with another great opportunity to showcase itself internationally.

The visit by Prince Charles and Camilla lead to a number of street closures in Cork city centre on Thursday including the Garda Parade, Tuckey Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, Lapp’s Quay and the South Mall from the Grand Parade to Parliament Street.

Parking restrictions also applied with parking prohibited from Academy Street to Daunt Square, the Grand Parade, the South Mall, Oliver Plunkett Street from Prince’s Street to the Grand Parade, Lapp’s Quay, Kyrl’s Street and Anglesea Street.


Meanwhile campaigners against a proposed €160 million incinerator planned for Rinagskiddy said they would hold a silent and peaceful protest when Prince Charles passes through the harbour village on his way to the Maritime College and the Naval Service HQ.

Back in Cork city, a group called the Cork Friends of the BallymurphyMassacre Families are to hold what they say will be “a peaceful and dignified protest” on St Patrick’s Bridge from 7pm to 8pm when Prince Charles will attend a banquet in the nearby Crawford Art Gallery.

A spokesman for the group said that the protest was designed to highlight the continuing quest for justice by people in Ballymurphy in West Belfast when soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment were involved in the shooting dead of eleven civilians in August 1971.

The protest was organised because Prince Charles is Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment, which was also involved in the killing of 14 civilians in Derry on Bloody Sunday in January 1972, and there remained “outstanding legacy of state violence which need to be addressed.”

“While the British government has apologised for Bloody Sunday following a lengthy campaign for justice and subsequent inquiry, the Ballymurphy Massacre Families have been left without justice to date. The group has campaigned for 47 years to get truth and justice.

“The PSNI and the Ministry of Defence continue to block and stall the inquests. Both organisations refuse to trace military witnesses. A similar approach has been taken to tracking guns used and vital evidence relating to the cases has disappeared,” said the spokesman for the Cork group.

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