In a Heartbeat

Posted on YouTube in August, it’s now had over 30 million views, which isn’t bad for a student project.  The filmmakers, Beth David, 22, and Esteban Bravo, 24, made the short animation lasting about 4 minutes for their senior thesis while at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida. It was a big project lasting 18 months, needing a Kickstarter campaign and a journey to Los Angeles, where they did a live recording of the score. They realised people were interested in the film’s concept when donations went past their $3,000 goal, eventually reaching $14,000 (£11,000). A large proportion of the amount was used to hire composer Arturo Cardelús. His soundtrack for the short film can now be found on Spotify. The animation has been a huge success and received a lot of praise.

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Dr. Sean Griffin says he believes it can be especially meaningful to teenagers who are figuring out their sexuality. “It turns a situation that is often fraught with extreme emotions – excitement, anxiety, fear, and potentially shame and embarrassment – into one that is ‘cartoony’ by literalising the runaway heart, thus making it a bit more amusing,” he says.

Not wanting to ruin the animation (make sure you watch it by clicking on the YouTube link above) the story is about Sherwin, a redhead who has a crush on Jonathan, “the most popular boy in school.” Sherwin is afraid to show his emotions, but his heart volunteers for the mission, literally jumping out of his chest and racing towards the boy who caught his eye. The heart wants what the heart wants.

 

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Trump gives a punchy speech to the United Nations General Assembly

First of all, what is the UN’s General Assembly?

It was established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, and it takes a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique space for discussions between world nations. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law. The Assembly has the power to make recommendations to nations on international issues. It has also started actions—political, economic, humanitarian, social and legal—which have affected the lives of millions of people throughout the world. You might learn how the UN works in Religious Studies lessons in Year 9 and Year 11.

Today Donald Trump gave his first speech to the United Nations as US President and it was full of headline grabbing gambits…

He told the UN General Assembly that America would destroy North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies. He openly mocked North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, saying: “Rocket man is on a suicide mission.”

North Korea has been testing nuclear bombs and missiles in defiance of the UN.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had earlier urged statesmanship, saying: “We must not sleepwalk our way into war.” On the photograph below UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is on the left and President Trump on the right:

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The American leader didn’t hold back either by also attacking Iran, saying it was a “corrupt dictatorship” which was intent on destabilising the Middle East. He called on the government in Tehran to cease supporting terrorism and again criticised the Obama-era international agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme, which he called an embarrassment.

With such a bolshy speech by the US President it will be interesting what North Korea, Iran and the USA do next.

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Reggie Yates spends a week in the most polluted place on the planet

This is where technology goes to die. On BBC Three you can currently watch a documentary where Reggie Yates heads to Ghana in Africa to live on one of the largest electronic waste dumps in the world – Accra’s Agbogbloshie. It is a 53 minute eye opener to life trying to make ends meet, in a place which is killing you from its pollution. 80,000 people live there and most die in their 20s.

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Reggie works with a group of ‘burner boys’, the people grafting at what is considered to be the bottom of the ladder, He discovers first-hand what life is like for the people who just about make a living on the site. The dumping of electronic waste is illegal, and the chemicals in the soil in Agbogbloshie mean it has been described as ‘the most toxic place on earth’.

Since so much of the electronic waste which ends up in Accra’s Agbogbloshie comes from the UK – shouldn’t we take the blame for all these early deaths?

The Morning after Drinking and still Drunk

Kirsty Gallacher, a Sky Sports presenter, was found to have 106 micrograms per 100ml of breath when the legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100ml of breath. She had been out drinking alcohol the night before and then after getting a taxi home she drove in her car to go and pick up her kids for a day out at Windsor Castle. Police spotted her driving all over the place and then stopped her, to discover her drink driving.

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In court today her punishment for being found guilty of drink driving was a two year driving ban which could be reduced by six months if she opted to take part in a driving safety course at a later date. She has to do 100 hours of unpaid community service and was ordered to pay £85 in court charges and a separate surcharge of £85.

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Kirsty must have been drinking a lot the night before for the alcohol to be so high in her system. The NHS recommends that if you drink alcohol, you don’t do it excessively:

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As a teenager it is really important to keep away from drinking alcohol. It can lead to risky behaviours, such as driving when you shouldn’t, or having unprotected sex. Moreover drinking large amounts of alcohol at one time or very rapidly can cause alcohol poisoning, which can lead to coma or even death.

Food Banks struggle in school holidays

Food Banks are struggling to meet the demand for food during the school holidays.  David McAuley, chief executive of anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust, has warned that some hubs within the 420-strong network are running dangerously low on supplies.

“Rising demand in the summer holidays as families struggle to get by without free school meals” is at the root of the problem, he said.

Rev Chris Lewis who helps at a Swansea Food Bank said that last Friday,  “We got to a critically low level. The absence of free school meals during holidays contributes to a certain amount of hardship and pressure on food banks.  I wasn’t able to count exactly how many people came in on Friday because I had to go out and get a bag of large potatoes from off site to help with the demand.”

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We learn about the Trussell Trust as part of our GCSE in Religious Studies as we look at Christian Practices.

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In April 2017 Food Banks were in the news when Theresa May as part of her election campaign went onto BBC television and responded to the presenter Andrew Marr’s point that NHS nurses were having to go to Food Banks which was surely wrong.

Theresa May replied: “There are many complex reasons why people go to food banks and I want to create an economy where we have a strong economy where we pay for public services that we need but we are also creating secure jobs.”

Marr said: “The problem people have is that they haven’t got enough money to eat at the moment.”

The Prime Minister said: “Yes, and you’re only going to be able to do this if you have strength in the economy.”

Bread can’t be gluten free says Catholic Church

It’s not a hugely exciting headline. The Vatican (home of the Catholic Church) has said that the bread which is used to celebrate the Eucharist during Roman Catholic Mass must not be gluten-free – although it may be made from genetically modified organisms. Cardinal Robert Sarah explained that the bread can be low-gluten but should have enough protein in the wheat to make it without additives. What does make it exciting for GCSE Religious Studies students is that the article which explains these precise rules also refers to the fact that Roman Catholics believe the bread and wine served at the Eucharist are converted into the body and blood of Christ through a process known as transubstantiation.

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The Eucharist, which is also called the Holy Communion, Mass, the Lord’s Supper or the Divine Liturgy, is a sacrament accepted by almost all Christians. Most students have heard of the Last Supper and how Christians re-enact the key moment on at least a weekly basis when they celebrate the Eucharist.

The idea of transubstantiation helps explain why in the Catholic Church women can’t be priests, as the Eucharist has to be performed by a male priest for he is acting as Jesus ‘in loco Christos’ when the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ.

Is the 1967 Abortion Act about to get an overhaul?

In our GCSE Religious Studies classes we learn that in England and Wales women have to prove to a doctor that carrying on with the pregnancy is likely to cause harm to health or wellbeing to get permission for a termination. Without this permission, abortion is a criminal offence. There might be changes coming the way of the Abortion law because doctors at the British Medical Association’s annual conference have just voted to scrap that rule.

At the doctor’s annual conference in Bournemouth they decided to stick with the 24 week limit on abortion, but thought the law making abortion illegal should be changed: the majority of doctors were clear that abortion should be treated as a medical issue rather than a criminal one. It will be interesting in the coming years whether the doctors are able to influence the politicians into the same mindset. Resisting such thinking is Dr Peter Saunders, chief executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, who said “This decision defies common sense and will dismay thousands of ordinary doctors and nurses with their unprecedented decision.”