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Bound Chinese girl training for channel swim

Contributed by editor on Oct 05, 2007 - 10:42 AM

With sport becoming even more popular in China during the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games,  a 10-year-old Chinese girl is aiming to cross the English channel by swimming  in a tributary of the Yangtze river with her feet tied together and her arms bound.

Huang Li moves through the water like a dolphin, and is said to cover nearly two miles in three hours. She is coached by her father Huang Daosheng who binds her limbs before she jumps into the water. He says Li hopes to enter the Guinness Book of Records.

The International Swimming Federation warned that the practice was potentially lethal and other experts fear the exercise regime could damage the girl's body and affect her growth.

But Mr Huang rejected the claims and says he would never put his daughter in danger.

Mr Huang, a teacher, coaches his daughter because the family do not have enough money for a professional trainer.

During the training sessions Li has her ankles tied with string and hands bound with strips of cloth. She then leaps into the water for hours at a time. People who watched a practice session this week said she was so cold her face turned blue.

It is the latest endurance feat which has raised questions over the treatment of children in China.

Li's training follows that of Zhang Huimin, eight, who ran 2,225 miles from the province of Hainan to Beijing, covering the equivalent of one-and-a-half marathons a day while her father followed on a motorised bicycle.

Village gives generous support to cancer care charity

Contributed by editor on Oct 04, 2007 - 04:05 PM

The village hosted a highly successful coffee morning in the Hawkinge Community Centre as part of MacMillian’s “World’s biggest coffee morning” last week. 

The event was organised by Tanya Clark, the Kent community warden for Hawkinge with support from the Hawkinge Partnership, the parish council and local businesses. 

Organisers were overjoyed with the fantastic support from villagers which raised £418.59 for the cancer care charity.

Health bosses quizzed at Community Centre

Contributed by editor on Oct 03, 2007 - 09:02 PM

Villagers had the opportunity to quiz the head of the NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust (PCT) at the Hawkinge Community centre on Monday (1 October).

Chief executive Ann Sutton answered questions with top level colleagues from the PCT during a series of three-hour sessions at public meetings held across east Kent.

The other local venues included Dover Town Hall, Pfizer Social Club and the Westgate Hall in Canterbury.

Fit crumpet is far from common in parts of Shepway

Contributed by editor on Oct 03, 2007 - 08:31 PM

Parts of Shepway are experiencing the extinction of the eligible young woman according to a nationwide survey which lists places not to live if you're a bloke.

Hythe, which is also featured in the book of Crap Towns is in the top ten of places where fit crumpet is far from common.

But it can be even worse in the countryside where thousands of Britain's unmarried men whose careers are rooted to the land are facing a dearth of prospective partners, according to the new research.

Where once whole generations of mothers and grandmothers built their lives around the fields, today scores of young woman from isolated farming communities are leaving the idyllic country life behind for the lure of the city, wooed by the prospect of better career prospects and social life.

Now research drawn from more than 150,000 lonely bachelors has identified the worst ten rural blackspots where the gender imbalance is particularly acute.

An initiative called the Villages in Crisis campaign to fight the phenomenon known a "extinction of the female species" compiled the list of towns and villages using e-mails from forlorn countryfolk, local research and census data where available.

Among the worst were Bere Alston, a small parish in west Devon, isolated Wolsingham in County Durham's Weardale and the idyllic New Forest in Hampshire.

Shenstone in Lichfield, Long Preston in the Yorkshire Dales and Thulston, a small village south east of Derby are also on the list of the most women-deprived areas in Britain.

Partial victory against Oscar winning film for Dover man

Contributed by editor on Oct 03, 2007 - 07:05 PM

Stewart Dimmock, a truck driver from Dover, who works part-time on a school board has won a partial victory in his battle to ban Al Gore's film on climate change from being shown in schools.

The former U.S. Vice President's Oscar-winning documentary can be shown in English schools, a judge said Tuesday, even though he believes it promotes partisan political views.

Mr Dimmock said he was fighting to have his children to be educated in an environment "free from bias and political spin."

Educational authorities are making Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," available to all English secondary schools, a decision he challenged in court calling the film inaccurate and biased.

High Court Judge Michael Burton said Gore's movie could be shown if the written guidance for teachers bundled with the program was changed to prevent Gore's views from being promoted to children.

Yesterday (2 October), the government said it was rewriting its advice.

"With the guidance as now amended, it will not be unlawful for the film to be shown," Burton said.

The judge said, however, that he felt the film promoted "partisan political views." He did not elaborate.

Burton's comments, following a four-day hearing, were not an official ruling and he said a final judgment would probably be announced next week.

He said he decided to indicate what his decision would be because he felt schools needed to know in what circumstances they can show the film. During the case, schools were not required to stop showing the documentary.

100,000 sheep facing cull on Romney Marsh

Contributed by editor on Oct 02, 2007 - 07:07 PM

Up to 100,000 sheep on Romney Marsh face being culled because they cannot be moved to their traditional winter grazing pastures.

An estimated 90,000 lambs and 10,000 ewes which graze on the Romney Marshes in Kent and East Sussex are trapped because they cannot be moved from the bluetongue protection zone, farmer Frank Langrish said.

In winter the Marshes’ capacity to sustain sheep grazing reduces five-fold.

As a result sheep are traditionally moved west to winter before returning to their summer pastures to begin lambing in April.

Mr Langrish, who chairs the British Wool Marketing Board, said: “About 100,000 sheep are trapped, they don’t have anywhere to go.”

The trapped sheep are estimated to be worth £4m but until a welfare scheme is put in place, farmers will receive no compensation.

Mr Langrish, who is also a National Farmers Union (NFU) consultant, said: “This is more serious than foot-and-mouth. It’s not the disease that is going to kill the animals, it’s the control zone that is going to kill the animals."

An NFU spokeswoman said: “If the worst comes to the worst they may have to be culled. There may not be enough grazing to sustain them through winter.”