We received a letter from the Legatum Group yesterday threatening 'legal proceedings' in relation to our piece published on February 14th about Christopher Chandler and the Legatum Institute. We accepted that there were some inaccuracies in the original piece and have been willing to make a series of corrections which are summarised below. We received a subsequent email from the Legatum Group on Friday afternoon demanding that we remove the article. Since we do not have the resources to mount a legal defence, we have removed the article from our website. For the record: The original article stated that Mr Chandler 'has just applied for...EU citizenship'. We accept that he applied Matlese citizenship before the EU referendum. The original article stated that the Legatum Institute was 'his' think tank. We accept that while Mr Chandler is a partner of the Legatum Group – which founded The Legatum Institute Foundation – and is a donor to the organisation, he does not have a controlling interest. The original article said that the Legatum Institute 'provided the ideological basis for Brexit'. We accept that Legatum did not take a stance on Brexit before the referendum. Since the EU referendum, the Legatum Institute has advocated leaving the Single Market and Customs Union. The original article stated the organisation 'is being investigated by the Charity Commission over links to Russia'. We accept that this is not the case. It has been reported in The Times (here) that the Institute is being assessed by the Charity Commission as to whether the charity's trustees are running it in line with its objectives. Separately, it has been reported in The Times (here) that the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Commission will 'scope' the institute as part of preparations for investigation into Russian activities against the UK. The original article stated that the think tank was 'officially based in the Cayman Islands'. We accept that the Legatum Institute Foundation (the think tank) is a UK registered charity and a private company limited by guarantee incorporated in the UK. (The Legatum Institute, a separate organisation, has its overseas company address in the Cayman Islands).
Anna Firth contested Erith & Thamesmead at the 2015 general election, is Founder of the #DigitalSunsetChallenge and is also Cabinet member for Legal & Democratic Services at Sevenoaks District Council. The Conservative Party has always believed in “people power”, the power of individuals to keep their communities safe if given the right tools and encouragement. That is why I was so excited to see the reaction of young children to the #DigitalSunsetChallenge launched by Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities, on the eve of global Internet Safety Day earlier this week. Rather then burdening schools and parents with yet guidelines and instructions, we laid down a simple challenge for the children of Kent. Can you go without for your phone, tablet, or gaming console, from 7pm to 7am, for sevem days? So far over 1,500 children across Sevenoaks District have taken up the challenge. Barely a week goes by without a new report showing increased numbers of children being cyber-bullied, groomed, or abused online. According to the National Crime Agency there has been a 700 per cent upsurge in reported online child abuse since 2013 and a 64 per cent increase in grooming crimes across the UK over the last year alone. This translates into an average of 15 internet-related sex offences against a child every single day in England and Wales, and Childline has seen a 168 per cent rise in calls relating to online bullying and sexual abuse. With children now accessing the internet at ever younger ages this is truly chilling, especially given that only half of all households with children aged 7-15 have parental controls or broadband filters to block adult or illegal content. Half of all four-year-olds use the internet and almost half of all ten-year-olds now have their own smartphone. There is also increasing evidence that primary aged children are not only taking smart phones up to bed at night but using them late into the night and early morning to access social media sites. It is vital, therefore, we equip young children with the skills they need to stay safe online and help them develop good digital habits while they are young. The aim of the #DigitalSunsetChallenge is, firstly, to raise awareness of the need to support young children to control their phones and devices, not be controlled by them, and secondly to help them develop a good 'digital diet'. A regular 'Digital Sunset' of switching off phones, tablets and gaming consoles an hour or so before going to bed sounds very straightforward, but most parents find it a constant struggle to divert their children's attention away from the 24/7 online conversation and back into the 'real world'. There is overwhelming parental support for the idea that it is so much easier for children to take a break from tech before bedtime, if all their friends are doing it too. Of course schools must play their part, and the newly-formulated PSHEE curriculum must include essential guidance about how to be safe online, how to build emotional resilience, how to conduct online relationships, and what amounts to inappropriate and, indeed, illegal online conduct. All primary school teachers need to be provided with compulsory on-line safety training, and parents also need to be educated on how to use parental controls and set up broadband filters to safeguard their children. As the Government's own Internet Safety Strategy Green Paper acknowledges, internet service providers must also do more to protect children online – as already discussed on this site. Self-evidently the set up and communication features on most social media networks and gaming platforms do not have adequate protections. All the big social media sites, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp etc, set a minimum age of 13 for children to have their own accounts, yet recent research by the Children's Commissioner shows that three out of four children aged 8-12 now have their own accounts. In addition, in the six months following it being an offence for an adult to send a sexual message to a child, 1,316 offences were recorded by the police. Clearly, we need minimum standards and a statutory code of practice for all online providers with the clear proviso that the online safety of all children is the paramount consideration. So what can be done? In an ever-increasingly digital world children, will only be as safe as the least-protected child in their class or group. Equally, as indigenous digital residents most children are, and always will be, light years ahead of their digital immigrant parents. Indeed, our economic well-being depends on it. In the global, competitive, digital world we live in only the strongest performers will survive and bring home the bacon. So trying to stay ahead of the next generation online would be futile and counter-productive. Besides, many parents are intimidated and afraid of the new technology. Criminal behaviour aside, therefore, most problems regarding the internet, whether it be cyber-bullying, downloading inappropriate content, excessive use of social media, or gaming consoles, ultimately are social problems and, as such, parents are (and always have been) the first line of defence. We simply cannot wait for the Government or internet providers to make the digital world a safe place for our children, nor should we. The internet and social media, whilst amazing things, are highly addictive and too much, especially late at night, can be damaging to young minds. Parents and schools need to empower children through education and example to be confident and creative online but also to know when to “switch off” and to stay off at night. This one simple act not only improves sleep and sleep quality – vital for young, developing brains and bodies – but also cuts down dramatically on the opportunity for unwanted contact. Education regarding the importance for young children of a varied digital diet accompanied by a regular digital sunset needs to become a compulsory part of the new Year Six transitional PSHEE curriculum. Having a regular limited digital detox such as taking the #DigitalSunsetChallenge would be a good start. For more information visit our website.
The boy couldn't have been more than seven or eight years old but he seemed perfectly at ease with the Bedouin men sipping tea in the cafe at Petra, Jordan. He tossed his unruly black curls out of his eyes, flashed a pearly smile that split his deeply tanned cheeks, and lit up a hand-rolled cigarette. Outside, two immense camels sat on their haunches under a searing sun. Every few seconds, one of them brayed in protest, exposing its blocky yellow teeth to the world. Multi-colored striped blankets... The post The Bedouins of Petra and Wadi Rum, Jordan appeared first on Hole In The Donut Cultural Travel.
In an exclusive interview with Left Foot Forward, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has responded to a far-right group attempting to take over his speech at today's Fabian New Year Conference. LFF: 'How do you respond to the attempt by far-right protesters to take over your speech?' Sadiq Khan: “I just think the reality we've seen around the world – [with] the increase in nationalist and populist movements – my worry is we keep going backwards rather than forwards. “We must not assume we're always going forwards – and those of us who are progressives must stand up for our values but also recognise there are coalitions to be made. That's why men have to be allies of women when it comes to gender inequality.” LFF: 'On the cancellation of Trump's visit, do you think that was a response to potential protests? You must be pleased?' Sadiq Khan: “As someone who's a south Londoner I take his comments about Nine Elms [the site of the new embassy] very seriously! “It's for him to decide whether he wants to visit or not. I've always said the US is a country we've got a special relationship with. “Many of us love America, and we've got to work closely with them on a whole host of issues from climate change to security, trade and other issues. “What I'm not in favour of is a state visit happening so soon, with the red carpet being rolled out and all the other things that come with it. And that's what I was against. “What's important is that our Prime Minister said to the President 'of course we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in times of adversity, but you shouldn't be re-tweeting far right groups, and of course you shouldn't be amplifying messages of hate. That's what's disappointing about the situation. “The thing about our relationship with the US is that it's like having a close mate – you stand shoulder to shoulder in times of adversity but call them out when they're wrong.” Pro-Trump protesters calling themselves 'White Pendragon' were removed from the conference after trying to stop the conference going forward. Listen to the interview here. Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter. More follows.
The first of Portugal's many Capelas dos Ossos that I visited was in Faro, the capital of the Algarve region. This southernmost slice of the country is best known for its sunny beaches and lively nightlife. Finding out there was a chapel decorated with human bones just a short drive from the sun-loungers and karaoke bars definitely made me raise an eyebrow. It was certainly quirky enough to earn a place on my travel itinerary, and I jotted it down before absent-mindedly scrolling down to see what else Faro had to offer. It wasn't until I was actually standing in the chapel, looking around, that I really began to think about what I had come out of my way to visit: a chapel made up of literally thousands of human bones.
There wasn't a single section of wall that didn't have a skull, a femur or even a phalange on it. Believe me, I looked. I'd seen skeletons before, of course, but only in museums (or the ubiquitous Kiehl's pharmacies you find on every high street, although I'm not sure that counts). I'd never seen so many bones at once, and that lent this chapel extra power. Everywhere I looked there were bones, bones and more bones. But they aren't just bones, are they? That's the thing. They're human bones. They're the bones of people that once existed, and now no longer do. The bones of people who had walked the same medieval streets that I had on my way to the chapel, who had prayed in the church I'd just toured. I could feel my eyes darting around the room, looking for somewhere safe to rest – somewhere where I wouldn't be staring back at an empty skull. But, there wasn't anywhere. And that's exactly the experience the 19th Century Carmelite Monks, who designed the chapel in Faro, want you to have. Written above the door to the chapel are the words “Pára aqui a considerar que a este estado hás-de chegar” (stop here and consider that you will reach this state too). The bone chapel in Évora, the largest of all of Portugal's bone chapels, has a similar inscription: “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos” (We bones that are here, for yours await”). How's that for a memento mori?
Why do these bone chapels exist? It all started in Évora, home to Portugal's largest bone chapel. In the 16th Century, the cemeteries in and around the city were becoming overcrowded. A solution to the overflowing graveyards was desperately needed. Unable to bring themselves to simply move the bones to another location, the Franciscan monks of Évora decided to give the corpses the honor of being a part of something with a higher purpose. At the time, Évora was a very wealthy city. The monks felt that this wealth was leading local citizens astray and making them forget about the fleeting nature of life. So, to kill two birds with one stone, they exhumed more than five thousand bodies from the packed graveyard. They then made them a part of the new chapel, using cement to hold them together. Just to make sure they got their point across, they hung two corpses from the wall – one of which was the body of a child. Subtlety wasn't exactly their thing, although interior design clearly was. They even used some of the bones to craft a chandelier. The trend soon spread across Portugal and more bone chapels were built, including the one in Faro. Standing inside the chapels is both harrowing and hallowing in equal measure. The monks certainly got what they wanted, because it's impossible not to be reminded of the transient nature of life when you're staring into the empty eye-sockets of a 16th Century Portuguese person. Which chapel should I visit? The chapel in Évora is much larger than the one in Faro, and five times as many bones adorning the walls (quite literally: there are five thousand in Évora versus one thousand in Faro). As well as being bigger and older, it's also the more famous of the two and appears frequently on Instagram and Pinterest. Despite this, I found the chapel in Faro considerably more powerful. The fact that I'd visited Faro first probably makes me feel biased towards it, but I think I enjoyed it more because it's a lot less touristic than the one in Évora. I was the only person in the chapel in Faro, and could really take time to be in the moment and let the morbid sight sink in. In Évora there were at least twenty other people in the chapel with me, jostling for space. There's definitely something very powerful about being the only person in the room, alone in the tomb-like silence. You're much more likely to experience that in Faro, or one of Portugal's smaller bone chapels, but it wasn't just being with other people that made the experience in Évora less meaningful.
The irony of it all When I walked into the chapel in Évora, every single person in there was standing still with one arm stretched out in front of them trying to snap the perfect selfie. As I walked in, under the doorway with its ominous inscription, I had to sidestep crowds of tourists as they stood rigidly on the spot. The irony of what was written on the mantle and what was happening in that room was completely lost on everybody. Nobody was present or reflecting on the transient nature of life. Everyone was thinking about how many likes their picture would get on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. The value of the perfect picture was worth enough to them that it was worth ignoring the grim sight around them and the message of the 16th Century monks. Seeing all of those people standing like that is such a bizarre image and it's stayed with me ever since – maybe even more than the bones themselves. I often have my phone out and am normally the last to complain about other people being distracted by theirs, but the juxtaposition of the chapel's message with all of these people acting like zombies was incredibly jarring. As unique as that experience is, I would recommend visiting a smaller chapel over Évora if you get the chance. Of course, I'm going to recommend the Capela dos Ossos in Faro, or the nearby chapel in Alcantarilha: another under-the-radar option.
If you do decide to visit the chapel in Évora, it's worth getting there early to avoid the throngs of tourists. When I arrived, there were already more than fifteen people in the chapel. Just as I was leaving, a tour group of around twenty more showed up. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Évora, if not the country, and during the spring and autumn months, it can become incredibly busy. Finding a bone chapel There are at least six different bone chapels in Portugal, as well as several others throughout Europe. The chapels at Évora and Faro are the most famous and are the best for tourists as they have the most convenient opening hours. I've tried to visit the chapels at Lagos and Alcantarilha a few times, but they weren't open when I turned up. As well as Évora, Faro, Alcantarilha, and Lagos, there are also bone chapels in Campo Maior and Monforte.
James writes the travel blog Portugalist, a blog about Portugal and all things Portuguese. He has spent time living in Lisbon, the Algarve, and the North of Portugal, and has traveled extensively throughout the country. He is almost always daydreaming about his next Portuguese city to visit.