The Grenfell Tower – Bridge Over Troubled Water charity single

At least 79 people are now missing, presumed dead, following the fire in west London at the Grenfell Tower. A charity single organised by Simon Cowell was released on Wednesday with all the money raised going to those affected by the fire. The music video is very emotional and gives you a glimpse of the suffering endured.

The original song Bridge Over Troubled Water was performed by Simon and Garfunkel. Paul Simon wrote the song about providing comfort to a person in need. It started as a modest gospel hymn but became more dramatic as he put it together. Speaking in the documentary The Making of Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon said, “I have no idea where it came from. It came all of the sudden. It was one of the most shocking moments in my songwriting career. I remember thinking, ‘This is considerably better than I usually write.” It is one of the most covered songs in history…

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Stormzy : ‘Yeah, I don’t know where to begin so I’ll start by saying I refuse to forget you

I refuse to be silenced

I refuse to neglect you

That’s for every last soul up in Grenfell even though I’ve never even met you

That could have been my mum’s house, or that could have been my nephew

Now that could have been me up there

Waving my white plain T up there

All my friends on the ground trying a see up there

I just hope that you rest and you’re free up there

I can’t feel your pain but it’s still what it is

Went to the block just to chill with the kids

Troubled waters come running past

I’mma be right there just to build you a bridge yo”

When you’re weary (Robbie Williams)

Feeling small (James Blunt)

When tears are (Rita Ora) in your eyes (Craig David) I’ll dry them all (Bastille)

I’m on your side (Liam Payne)

Oh, when times get rough (Emeli Sande)

And friends just can’t be found (Kelly Jones)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Paloma Faith)

I will lay me down (Louis Tomlinson)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Labrinth)

I will lay me down (Jorja Smith)

When you’re down and out (Leona Lewis)

When you’re on the street (Jessie J)

When evening falls so hard (James Arthur)

I will comfort you (ooo) (Roger Daltrey)

I’ll take your part, oh (Ella Eyre)

when darkness comes ( Anne Marie and Ella Henderson)

And pain is all around (Louisa Johnson)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Robbie Williams, all voices)

I will lay me down (James Arthur)

Like a bridge over troubled water (Choir)

I will lay me down (Rita Ora)

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Is the media biased?

Last week students learnt in an assembly about Fake News how important it is to use skills and knowledge learnt at school from subjects such as History, Geography, Science, English, Media Studies and Maths to question and understand the news. Today an excellent news article in the BBC explores how the British media have received flack for their reporting of the Finsbury Park terrorist and hate crime attack. A useful YouTube video lasting just 3 minutes gives you some much needed advice on how to spot Fake News.

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Battle of the Sexes

Today in most tennis tournaments, women earn 20% less than men. Equal pay is regularly opposed by male players and people in the tennis industry, most recently by a former US tennis centre CEO Raymond Moore, who said female tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men,” and Novak Djokovic, who said men deserve higher prize money because their matches are more popular.

In 1973, Billie Jean King the women’s tennis number 1 took on Bobby Riggs a former men’s number 1 and won. Her victory changed women’s tennis considerably. Forty years later there might not be complete equality but without Billie Jean King’s tennis match called the Battle of the Sexes, things might be a whole lot worse.

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A new film out this year called Battle of the Sexes will help younger tennis fans and the wider public understand how important that tennis match in 1973 was. Starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell the trailer has just been released and people are saying it might end up being an Oscar contender.

Battle film pic

Parliament is more Diverse

While a lot of talk after Britain’s General Election last week has been on the Conservatives special friendship with the DUP, or the Labour Party making big increases in the number of MPs they have in Parliament, there has also been some quiet appreciation of how diverse Parliament is finally becoming.

  • 45 out of the 650 MPs openly define themselves as being LGBT
  • In 2015 there were 41 MPs from ethnic minorities and now there are 52
  • In 2015 there were 191 female MPs and now there are 208 women MPs who’ll sit in the House of Commons
  • There are no specific figures on MPs with disability
  • In 2015 only 43% of MPs were educated in the comprehensive system (i.e. not private and not selective) but that has increased in 2017 to 51% (this is compared to 88% of the UK population who received comprehensive education!)
  • Notable firsts are the first female Sikh MP, a blind MP and an MP with a richly diverse international heritage

 

Chechnya’s Human Rights abuses against the LGBT community

Amnesty International are currently working to raise awareness of Chechnya’s abduction and killing of LGBT people. ‘According to independent daily newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, up to 100 men suspected of being gay have been abducted as part of a coordinated government campaign.’ It has been in the news for the last month about human rights abuses being meted out to the LGBT community in Chechnya simply because of their sexuality. Time magazine showed it on their YouTube channel, as did CNN and Sky News.

Dozens of gay men from Chechnya who’ve been trying to flee the region in fear for their lives are hopeful that a country will act as a safe haven for them and issue them a visa. Nine men have already been granted visas. Two of them went to Lithuania, which has announced its involvement. “It’s very important to act, because they are suffering,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told the BBC. He would not name the other countries involved but described them as “allies”. His country’s decision was an “implicit message” to Russia, he said, because “we are taking care of Russian citizens… [whose] rights were abused”.

If you are thinking, ‘where is Chechnya?’ or ‘why have I heard of this place before?’ then maybe a read of the Washington Post’s 9 questions about Chechnya and Dagestan you were too embarrassed to ask  might be worth a read!

chechnya

Things not to say when…

It is always best to avoid offending people. It makes life easier and helps you avoid aggressive confrontations or moments of utter embarrassment.

However avoiding saying the wrong things isn’t always that easy if you are faced with a  situation you’ve never been in before. Perhaps you’ve never seen on TV, film or online how you should respond in a polite and positive way, so you’re left on you’re own… will you say the right thing?

BBC Three have a plethora of short witty advice segments called Things not to say when… which cover topics as varied as:

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Drug Policy Alliance in US argues why US Drug Policy All Wrong

In 1997 when US actress Rachael Leigh Cook was a box-office star someone thought it clever to summarise America’s drug problem with a frying pan and an egg. It was a cringeworthy Public Service Advert which a few weeks ago was rehashed as a Public Service Advert for the Drug Policy Alliance, again with actress Rachel Leigh Cook a frying pan and eggs, but pointing out how wrong the US’s current Drug Policy is.

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“It is gratifying and promising to see the evolution in Rachael Leigh Cook and in the American public over these last 20 years,” Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The war on drugs is a disastrous failure that has ruined millions of peoples’ lives, especially people of color. Let’s hope this ad is seen by as many people as the original and inspires folks to end this unwinnable war.”In the advert Rachel Leigh Cook holds a frying pan and eggs of two different colours to demonstrate the racial disparities in our criminal justice system when it comes to drug crimes.

“The war on drugs is ruining people’s lives,” Cook says. “It fuels mass incarceration, it targets people of color in greater numbers than their white counterparts. It cripples communities. It costs billions and it doesn’t work. Any questions?”

For any Year 11 student revising about drugs for their GCSE RS exam watching the advert is worth 5 minutes of their time. There are often questions on the exam paper about how to punish people who take illegal drugs. Obviously we know how we can refer to religious attitudes (eye for an eye, the Golden Rule, love thy neighbour, forgiveness, situation ethics, Buddhist precept of no drugs or harm, karma, affecting your ability to follow religious teachings) and the aims of punishment (reform, deter, vindication for laws being in place, reparation, protection, retribution) but how drug policy can also affect generations of people and their efforts to get educated and pull themselves out of poverty should also be considered.