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Three in four child casualties in worlds deadliest conflicts caused by explosive weapons

Suicide bombs, landmines, unexploded ordinance, air strikes and other forms of explosives account fo..

Suicide bombs, landmines, unexploded ordinance, air strikes and other forms of explosives account for 72% of child deaths and injuries across the worlds deadliest war zones, new analysis by Save the Children reveals today.

The analysis shows children are uniquely and horrifically injured and impacted by explosive weapons compared to adults, and that children exposed to explosive weapons often present with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and agoraphobia[ii].

The analysis comes from UN data on the five deadliest conflicts for children – Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen[iii] – as well as from a new review of child injury data, commissioned by Paediatric Blast Injury Partnership (PBIP), of which Save the Children is a co-convenor.

As a practical response, the partnership has today launched a new ground-breaking field handbook to help doctors and surgeons working with children injured by explosive weapons. The manual is a world-first guide to the unique procedures needed to keep children alive, and help them recover fully, following catastrophic injuries from explosive weapons. It also includes child specific guidance in reducing the mental trauma a child may face during injury and treatment, and coping mechanisms for children and caregivers to support their ongoing physical and mental recovery.

Save the Childrens new analysis on the impact of explosive on children further reveals today:

  • In 2017 in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and Yemen 7,364 children were killed or maimed in conflict, with an estimated 5,322 of those linked to blasts[iv].
  • In Afghanistan, explosive weapons were the cause of death in 84 per cent of child conflict fatalities over a two-year period, compared to 56 per cent of civilian adult deaths. Child casualties were approximately twice as likely to be killed by rockets, mortars and grenades than adult casualties.
  • Half of all child casualties in 2017 in Nigeria were the result of suicide attacks or IEDs[vi]
  • Childrens bones bend more than those of adults, meaning a higher chance of long-term deformities as a result of blast injury. A childs skull is also not as thick as that of an adult, meaning their risk of brain injury is higher.
  • A childs natural curiosity can put them in harms way. Unexploded ordnance – being small and sometimes colourful – can be easily mistaken for toys.
  • Children are not only at grave risk of injury or death from explosives during conflict but also in the aftermath, such as in the Ukraine where 220,000 children in the east of the country were at risk from landmines in 2017[ix].
  • In some cases, children in conflict were exclusively killed by blasts, such as in 2014 in Gaza where 100% of all reported child fatalities were the result of explosive weapons
  • The physical toll of explosive weapons on children is coupled with a heavy psychological toll, with 84% of adults and almost all children saying that ongoing bombing and shelling was the number one cause of psychological stress in childrens daily lives[xi]. The analysis also illustrates how healthcare systems decimated by years of conflict are poorly resourced to treat unique and unusual child blast injuries, lacking essential items like tourniquets designed for children or child-specific transfusion protocols.

A century after Save the Children was founded to protect children affected by conflict, the charity is today launching a new campaign [LINK] urging world leaders to declare children off limits in war.

Major General (Ret) Michael von Bertele, former Director General of British Army Medical Services and member of the Paediatric Blast Injury Partnership (PBIP), said: “The sad reality is most medics just havent been trained to treat children injured by blasts. Nearly all the textbooks and procedures we have are based on research on injured soldiers, who are usually fit adults.

“We know childrens bodies are different. They arent just small adults. Their skulls are still not fully formed, and their undeveloped muscles offer less protection, so a blast is more likely to damage their brain and lungs or tear apart organs in their abdomen, even when theres no visible damage. “And when children suffer severe injuries to their legs and arms, it takes highly specialised knowledge to know where to amputate so that you can factor in future growth. Without that, children are left with even worse disabilities, and often intractable pain for life.”

Mahmoud*, 12, lives in Gaza. In 2014 when he was playing in the street, he was hit by an explosive weapon and lost his eye:

“I heard an explosion and I felt something go into my eye. I touched my eye and began to run. I felt blood pouring out. “My eye fell out. I ran to the shop, help me, help me. They took me to the hospital, and they treated me. I woke up at the hospital. They operated on me. When I woke up from the anaesthetic, they told me that I had lost my eye.”

CEO of Save the Children International, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, said: “International law makes clear that everyone has a responsibility to make sure children are protected in war. Yet explosive weapons continue to kill, maim and terrorise thousands of children every year. Every warring party – from armed groups to governments – must do more to protect children and abide by this important moral principle to protect children.

For those children whose lives are devastated by these weapons, this field manual is a practical tool to help doctors save more childrens lives. But ultimately, the best way of protecting children is to stop using weapons in places that should be safe, like schools and hospitals.

Too often in war today children are seeing and experiencing things that no child ever should. 2019 marks 100 years since Save the Children launched its first campaign to protect children suffering in the aftermath of the First World War, and today we are bringing leaders together at the Peace Palace in the Hague to call for urgent action to stop the war on children.” ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • In December 2017, Save the Children and the Centre for Blast Injuries Studies based at Imperial College London convened a pioneering workshop to explore issues around paediatric blast injury. It was the first time experts from diverse fields – including surgery, paediatrics, rehabilitation, prosthetic design, and academia – were brought together to discuss blast injury in children. The workshop issued a communique that created the Paediatric Blast Injury Partnership (PBIP) to deliver practical resources and research. At the request of Syrian medics, the PBIP pooled expertise from doctors, researchers at Imperial College London, and agencies like Save the Children and Humanity & Inclusion, to develop the first comprehensive field manual for paediatric blast injury. Full production credits for the Paediatric Blast Injury Field Manual can be found herehttp://www.imperial.ac.uk/blast-injury/research/networks/the-paediatric-blast-injury-partnership/the-production-credits-for-the-field-manual-/.
  • In its centenary year, Save the Children is focusing on the war waged on children. The effects of conflicts are devastating: every day children are killed or maimed, abducted, recruited, sexually abused, they see their schools bombed or aid is being denied to them. In February, Save the Children revealed that some 420 million children, or one in five worldwide, are living in conflict-affected areas.
  • On the anniversary of its centenary – 16 May 2019 – Save the Children is hosting an event at the Peace Palace in The Hague to alert the world on the war on children and the ways to protect children in conflict. Experts including Virginia Gamba, Michelle Bachelet and Fatou Bensouda will share their insights on how to better protect children in conflict. If your correspondent wants to join the event in The Hague, please RSVP.
  • On 16 May Save the Children is also staging stunts with thousands of children around the world to stand in solidarity with children living in conflict. We invite press to come and cover the stunts. If you would like to cover the stunt, please contact Save the Children in your country.

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The unstoppable rise of TikTok moms

Ask somebody to think of a social media influencer, and they’d probably picture young, manicured tee..

Ask somebody to think of a social media influencer, and they’d probably picture young, manicured teens and twenty-somethings making content for audiences for the same demographic. We’d expect them to have perfectly styled pictures, high-production videos, popular hashtags, and thousands of followers who are ready to smash a like on any content posted. And we think this because, on average, that’s what influencers look like.

But on TikTok, things are changing. While TikTok’s audiences are still largely the digital native tweens and teens common on most social platforms, the creators aren’t just other fellow Gen-Zers. A new type of TikTok influencer is emerging: the TikTok mom.

TikTok, for the uninitiated, is the latest mainstream social media app that has become known for its Gen-Z heavy audience (you can read an explainer of it here). Similar to the millennial-favourite (and now-defunct) Vine, users on TikTok can share videos up to 60-seconds long, and is commonly used to post pranks, short, Vine-style comedy sketches, and the platform’s bread and butter: lip-syncing videos.

While, “mommy bloggers” who post about being a parent are common on YouTube, Instagram, and blogging platforms, the TikTok mom is something different. TikTok is a platform predominantly used for, and even built for, memes. So rather than making videos for TikTok to discuss parenting, TikTok moms lean into the trend – creating the same meme videos that are being made by their Gen-Z offspring.

One of the biggest mom stars of TikTok is Varli Singh, known to her followers simply as “Varli” – a mother of two living in New York after spending several years in Texas. Despite being a normally dressed, mid-40s mom, Varli has nearly half a million followers (441K) on her TikTok account @Varlicious and posts near daily videos that regularly get tens of thousands of likes.

While her content started as a series of “prank” clips and music videos – typically featuring her kids and sometimes other children – she has found a hungry audience off the back of her video meme series “Don’t Fear, Varli Is Here”. In these videos, which are seemingly responsible for skyrocketing her from mid-tier influencer to one of the app’s most popular accounts, she casts herself as a saviour swooping in at the last minute to “save” children from intimidating situations. Most of her recent videos have over 50K likes, with some getting over 100K.

Despite her meme-filled presence, Varli was, until last year, a food writer. Her personal website doesn’t once mention her TikTok stardom and instead merely hails her achievements in covering the Indian food scene in the United States; and how her “Asia and Middle East” upbringing has given her a deep understanding of “eclectic cuisine”. Her YouTube channel (which she started nearly a decade ago in October 2010) is entirely dedicated to food interviews bar a few videos from the last six months showing “behind the scenes” coverage of how some of her music videos were made, and a call out post calling YouTuber Danny Gonzalez a “hater” for mocking her TikTok content.

If Varli’s videos seem heavily staged and badly acted, that’s because they are. But despite her easily mockable content, the numbers reflect a hungry audience. Even on top of her half a million followers and tens of thousands of likes per video, her recent meme has inspired others to create similar content. At the time of writing, the hashtag she uses for her videos #dontfearvarlishere has over 11 million views (its misspelling, #dontfearvarliishere, has 400K).

While Varli is perhaps TikTok’s biggest mom-fluencer, she is far from the only one. Just Joyce (@author_lady_j) has accrued over 20K followers with fewer than 250 videos. While it’s hard to assess how many times a video has been viewed on TikTok, as the platform only shows the number of “hearts” (ie “likes”) a video receives, Joyce has still managed to get nearly 400K hearts off her relatively limited content. The fittingly named Mommy (@mommy1961), too, has a bafflingly large follower count given her video content – with 112K followers – despite the formula of her videos, which are largely just her cooking and smiling at the camera, along with a couple standard TikTok lip-sync vids.

Like Varli, most popular TikTok moms have had other day jobs until joining TikTok in the last year. But they are increasingly garnering the audiences far larger than the average full-time influencer. (more…)

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The unstoppable rise of TikTok moms

Ask somebody to think of a social media influencer, and they’d probably picture young, manicured tee..

Ask somebody to think of a social media influencer, and they’d probably picture young, manicured teens and twenty-somethings making content for audiences for the same demographic. We’d expect them to have perfectly styled pictures, high-production videos, popular hashtags, and thousands of followers who are ready to smash a like on any content posted. And we think this because, on average, that’s what influencers look like.

But on TikTok, things are changing. While TikTok’s audiences are still largely the digital native tweens and teens common on most social platforms, the creators aren’t just other fellow Gen-Zers. A new type of TikTok influencer is emerging: the TikTok mom.

TikTok, for the uninitiated, is the latest mainstream social media app that has become known for its Gen-Z heavy audience (you can read an explainer of it here). Similar to the millennial-favourite (and now-defunct) Vine, users on TikTok can share videos up to 60-seconds long, and is commonly used to post pranks, short, Vine-style comedy sketches, and the platform’s bread and butter: lip-syncing videos.

While, “mommy bloggers” who post about being a parent are common on YouTube, Instagram, and blogging platforms, the TikTok mom is something different. TikTok is a platform predominantly used for, and even built for, memes. So rather than making videos for TikTok to discuss parenting, TikTok moms lean into the trend – creating the same meme videos that are being made by their Gen-Z offspring.

One of the biggest mom stars of TikTok is Varli Singh, known to her followers simply as “Varli” – a mother of two living in New York after spending several years in Texas. Despite being a normally dressed, mid-40s mom, Varli has nearly half a million followers (441K) on her TikTok account @Varlicious and posts near daily videos that regularly get tens of thousands of likes.

While her content started as a series of “prank” clips and music videos – typically featuring her kids and sometimes other children – she has found a hungry audience off the back of her video meme series “Don’t Fear, Varli Is Here”. In these videos, which are seemingly responsible for skyrocketing her from mid-tier influencer to one of the app’s most popular accounts, she casts herself as a saviour swooping in at the last minute to “save” children from intimidating situations. Most of her recent videos have over 50K likes, with some getting over 100K.

Despite her meme-filled presence, Varli was, until last year, a food writer. Her personal website doesn’t once mention her TikTok stardom and instead merely hails her achievements in covering the Indian food scene in the United States; and how her “Asia and Middle East” upbringing has given her a deep understanding of “eclectic cuisine”. Her YouTube channel (which she started nearly a decade ago in October 2010) is entirely dedicated to food interviews bar a few videos from the last six months showing “behind the scenes” coverage of how some of her music videos were made, and a call out post calling YouTuber Danny Gonzalez a “hater” for mocking her TikTok content.

If Varli’s videos seem heavily staged and badly acted, that’s because they are. But despite her easily mockable content, the numbers reflect a hungry audience. Even on top of her half a million followers and tens of thousands of likes per video, her recent meme has inspired others to create similar content. At the time of writing, the hashtag she uses for her videos #dontfearvarlishere has over 11 million views (its misspelling, #dontfearvarliishere, has 400K).

While Varli is perhaps TikTok’s biggest mom-fluencer, she is far from the only one. Just Joyce (@author_lady_j) has accrued over 20K followers with fewer than 250 videos. While it’s hard to assess how many times a video has been viewed on TikTok, as the platform only shows the number of “hearts” (ie “likes”) a video receives, Joyce has still managed to get nearly 400K hearts off her relatively limited content. The fittingly named Mommy (@mommy1961), too, has a bafflingly large follower count given her video content – with 112K followers – despite the formula of her videos, which are largely just her cooking and smiling at the camera, along with a couple standard TikTok lip-sync vids.

Like Varli, most popular TikTok moms have had other day jobs until joining TikTok in the last year. But they are increasingly garnering the audiences far larger than the average full-time influencer. (more…)

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Theresa May tries to buy MPs with counterfeit money

Theresa May has made a big, generous offer on Brexit to Parliament’s various warring tribes: provide..

Theresa May has made a big, generous offer on Brexit to Parliament’s various warring tribes: provided, that is, that you don’t look at the detail too hard, or indeed, at all.

The central thrust of the speech is that she is putting forward a new deal for MPs to vote on when the withdrawal agreement returns to Parliament. There’s a small clue that this isn’t true: there hasn’t been a European summit since the last time Parliament had to vote on the deal. This is the same deal, but the Prime Minister has changed the font on one or two parts and opted to emphasise others.

She will seek changes to the political declaration, but the political declaration is not legally binding. It has no more force than when a divorcing couple shake hands and promise to keep things civil – what matters is the legal accord that formalises the end of the marriage and arranges joint custody and the division of assets.

May also chucked in a if-you-don’t-look-at-it-closely-then-it-looks-like-a-promise that MPs will be given an opportunity to vote for another referendum if they pass the withdrawal agreement bill at second reading. There is nothing to stop any MP attaching an amendment to the withdrawal agreement bill to introduce a stipulation that the deal be subject to a second referendum anyway: this is akin to your boss telling you that if you take a pay cut you will have the opportunity to take the bus to work: it’s conceding a power you already had in order to get you to do something you don’t want to do.

But the promise, such as it is, is at the wrong time – MPs who want to stop Brexit will know that they will have another opportunity to get a second referendum and MPs who want to push ahead with Brexit have a ready-made excuse not to vote for it.

The problem though, is that even if May had given a better speech, ultimately, there is no viable path to pass the withdrawal agreement while she remains as leader. Even if she were offering concrete guarantees, that her political career is in its terminal phase means that any concessions she makes are valueless. She is in the worst of all possible worlds: the MPs she is seeking to buy don't believe she can follow through, and the MPs who oppose her concessions fear that she might.

But even when May steps down, the problem will remain unchanged. There is a rump of Conservative MPs who for reasons of ideology and expediency believe that the withdrawal agreement – the hardest available negotiated Brexit – is not a proper Brexit, and won’t vote for it. It will never be in the Labour party’s interests to vote for a Brexit as hard as the one on offer and the minority of Labour MPs who believe it is in their interests in their own seats have consistently quailed when given the option to rebel and back the deal.

Unless any of that changes, this remains a parliament that will veto a negotiated Brexit, will veto stopping Brexit and will veto a non-negotiated exit. And while May’s maladroit political style is part of why that state of affairs came about, merely replacing her at the top of the Tory party won’t change that fact overniRead More – Source

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