The vaquita-the world’s smallest cetacean is critically endangered and may soon become extinct if drastic action is not taken. The vaquita is a species of porpoise that lives only in a very small area in the Gulf of California in Mexico. Scientists have warned that there are only 30 vaquita left, and the surviving population is struggling due to illegal fishing methods. Many are campaigning for the Mexican government to be tougher on illegal fishing, from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to the world-renowned actor and climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio.
Despite the campaigns and the Mexican laws, many fishermen still use illegal gillnets to fish for Totoaba. Totoaba have valuable swim bladders, that can sell at $8,500 per kilogram on the Chinese Black Market, where it is used in Chinese Medicine. The problem is, these nets have caught a lot of vaquita as bycatch. As a result of this, 90% of the vaquita population has died since 2011, making the vaquita the most endangered cetacean species in the world. In March and April of this year, five vaquita were found dead-three recovered from illegal gillnets.
The gillnets have been banned since 2015, however the ban has been labelled ‘ineffective,’ and is due to expire in late May. Campaigners are encouraging the Mexican government to extend the ban, and to enforce it more strictly. Other drastic plans, such as capturing the remaining vaquita and moving them to safe waters until the population has recovered have been considered.
If, however, action isn’t taken in time, the world’s smallest cetacean may be lost forever. It may be too late already, and the vaquita may become another species made extinct by man’s careless actions.
A whale washed up on the Scottish coast, nicknamed Lulu, has revealed high levels of PCB chemicals in her blubber. Upon close examination it was found that she is possibly one of the most contaminated whales on record.
PCBs were used in everything from plastics to electrical appliances up until they were banned in 1970. However, the chemicals take years to break down and due to bioaccumulation has infected and contaminated whales and small fish.
Scientists believe this is the reason for the drop in orca numbers in some parts of the world.
By Ben Liddall
Theresa May has called for a general election, to be held on the 8th of June. The announcement of this election came as a shock to many. However, the polls show that has a significant chance of gaining a number of seats in the House of Commons. Some polls even show that the Conservatives will gain twice the number of seats as Labour. At this point in time the Conservative party have a leading majority of 17 seats. Some experts have suggested that the Tories could take the large number of 56 seats from its official opposition party Labour. This would give them more power and abilities as they would lead with 200 seats. Given all of these figures, it seems completely inevitable that Theresa May will remain in power and gain a large number of seats but most probably not quite the predicted figure of 200. After the election, assuming that the above statement is true; she could use this majority to force her own form of Brexit. However, it is almost certain that we will leave the single market, a decision that many people have criticised. Whatever the result of this general election, it’s sure to change British politics.
By Ruth, Patrick and Meghan
Just after 2pm on 15th of April a Scottish Defence League protest kicked off in the small town of Wishaw, Lanarkshire. About 50 people marched, protesting against refugees being given homes in the UK.
Small businesses in the town centre shut early as a result of bangers and smoke grenades being let off.
Hundreds of extra police officers were moved into the area as the protest became more violent.
Far-right extremists wearing balaclavas, hoodies and masks stood and waved banners saying “Refugees not welcome”
The SDL protesters demonstrated Nazi salutes and supported a Neo-Nazi view.
Many, condemned the protest including, Labour MP Angela Feeney, Councillor Rosa Zambonini and Council Leader Jim Logue.
By Ben Liddall
A few years ago, a Royal Marine was dealt a life sentence for shooting an injured man, who was fighting for the Taliban, while serving in Afghanistan. Sargent Alexander Blackman, aged 42 lived in Taunton,Somerset. He has already spent 3 years in jail as part of his life sentence. However, recently an appeal has achieved the transformation from a murder sentence to manslaughter, and this means that his sentence will be reduced. Blackman was suffering from a recognized mental illness in 2011, the time of the shooting. His defence team argued that he should have been granted ‘partial defence of diminished responsibility’ and had that if information been readily available at the time, he would not have been charged with murder. Blackman’s wife, Claire has publicly said that she is ‘delighted’ with the ruling of the courts.
In Afghanistan in 2011, Blackman had shot an insurgent who had been severely injured in an attack by an apache helicopter, in the chest at close range with a 9mm pistol .There is footage showing the incident which was captured on a camera mounted on the helmet of another royal marine. A court material heard that the Blackman used abusive language and then stated “there you are shuffle off this mortal coil.” It was then noticed that the turned to his colleges and stated “obviously this doesn’t go anywhere fellas I just broke the Geneva Convention.” If this is true then it appears that Sargent Blackman was in a fully controllable state of mind and was absolutely aware of his actions. This could prove devastating for both him and his defence team. Perhaps slightly controversially, Blackman claimed that the man was already dead and that he was just letting all of his anger at the Taliban on the man’s corpse.
On Monday the 13th of March, the quarter finals for the the FA cup took place between Chelsea and Man Utd. At 19:45 the game kicked off, and the first shot was taken by Henrikh Mkhitaryan skimming the right post. Just before half time, Andre Herrera was sent off from a double yellow carding. After this, N’Golo Kante scored left bottom corner from outside the box avoiding Man Utd solid defence. In the second half Man Utd defence redeemed them selves by stopping all Chelsea’s attacks left, right and centre, but at a corner in around the 70th minute, Willian missed a great opportunity, missing only by inches and then, Man UTD, missed a possibly decisive chance in the 86th minute that could have put them back in the game, but then the fulltime whistle blew and Chelsea came a away with a great win ,advancing them into the semi-finals of the FA cup. Chelsea also came away with N’Golo Kante’s well deserved man of the match.
By Ben Macleod
Emma Watson has been accused of hyocrisy because she exposd her breasts for a vanity fair photoshoot. A passionate feminist, Emma has stood up for womens rights from day one. Now she is being criticised for sexualising herself in her work.
There was a cry of outrage from Emma’s supporters because they believe that since she was in a controlling position and it was her choice to show her body, she shouldn’t be blamed. However, Sexism News says that nobody judges men on whether they wear bear-all crochet- so why should they judge women? Is it a double standard?
People are using this shoot to make a mockery of Emma Watson’s stance on women’s rights and feminism. They say ‘a woman should do what they want’. What do you think?
Ireland’s Abortion Law:
Every year thousands of pregnant Irish woman have to travel to other countries to get abortions; some cases even include situations where the baby is known to be stillborn and/or has a chronic illness but its life will still have to continue. In Ireland, abortions are only allowed and performed if the woman is at risk of losing her life. The ban on abortion is also known as the eighth amendment and a fourteen year prison sentence hangs above anyone who has an abortion. The law began its course in the early 1980s when high Catholic nobles pushed in court for it to be added to their list of amendments. It was successful and was passed in 1893. In more detail the law gave foetuses equal rights to mothers concerning their lives. On Wednesday, many women in Ireland will wear black and go on strike in the hopes of gaining the right to have abortions and making the government revoke the law. Despite their protests, a Catholic influence still holds power in the country. Hand in hand with this, many women are afraid to speak out about their experiences in fear of prosecution. In total, there are about 3,500 women who travel yearly to the UK so that they can have abortions. However, not everybody can take this option as not all women have £2,000 ready to spare. They can either give birth, to a possibly dead child, or take illegal pills and risk jail. These woman have to make the better of two bad choices, and it stays with them for the rest of their lives.
By Ruth, Patrick and Meghan
Nestle has claimed that they are cutting the sugar content in big brands such as; Kit Kat, Yorkie and Aero, by 10%. Many would be happy at this change, because it means you feel less guilty about the sugar levels when you indulge. It is also great for children who have sugary diets because it lowers the chances of obesity and diabetes.
However, there are others that are upset about this change, as it means the classic sweet will be altered and potentially ruined. There are also people who are worried they might replace the sugar with sweeteners, which would be equally unhealthy and maybe more damaging.
Nestle are hoping it will impact our nations health and by 2018, around 7,500 tonnes less sugar would be used, instead it would be replaced by other existing ingredients in the bar.
By Hannah and Sophie
When you go to a super market you will see a range of ‘Indian’ ‘Chinese’ and other exotic foods. However, have you ever noticed that there is a lack? Recently, many consumers have been feeling that they want more British food on supermarket shelves- and that the supermarkets should supply this.
The global trade that these multi-national companies use to source their ingredients and packaging e few British branded foods comes from around the world-so is this food really British? Waitrose were recently called out by their customers for having lamb from New Zealand on their ‘British’ food range. They had to rebrand this food as ‘classic’ instead.
In fact, our supermarkets have had a few problems lately. As well as a lack of British food there is also a vegetable shortage. It started last month with a lack of courgettes and spinach, and now supermarkets are rationing iceberg lettuce.
Are supermarkets doing enough for their customers?
By Hannah and Sophie