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Author Archive for Tracy McVeigh

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As F1 roars into Baku, activists tell drivers: help our fight for human rights

Motor racing chief Bernie Ecclestone shrugs off criticism over staging prestige event under a repressive regime

The asphalt has been laid over Baku’s ancient cobbled streets, many residential buildings have been covered with false fronts for the cameras, and bling-built new ones are on proud display. Well away from the limelight of this weekend’s 3.7-mile grand prix circuit through the city are Azerbaijan’s prisons – their populations swollen by activists, journalists, bloggers and opposition figures.

Human rights campaigners working to draw attention to the restrictive regime in the country have appealed to high-profile Formula One fans, celebrities and drivers at today’s inaugural Azerbaijan Grand Prix to criticise or draw attention to the regime’s human rights record. Formula One’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, British driver Lewis Hamilton and the three music stars scheduled to appear – Pharrell Williams, Chris Brown and Enrique Iglesias – have all come under fire for not doing so, and the call has largely been ignored as drivers prepare for what will be one of the fastest street circuits in the world.

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Bend it like Karen: girls’ football teams take heart from England’s stars

With England doing well in the Women’s World Cup, interest in the sport is growing – but an FA survey shows many fathers still think it’s not appropriate for their daughters

Poppy Cottrill doesn’t see herself as part of a trend; she simply loves playing football. “I started when I was about eight. I used to go and watch my brother play and then play with him and his friends. Then I joined the mixed team at primary school. But it’s not so good playing with boys; they get too strong,” said the 15-year-old.

Now a star forward with the Swindon Spitfires under-16s, Poppy has ambitions to make her future in the game, maybe with a major league team here, perhaps heading for America, as several young British women players have done, where generous sponsorship and TV coverage have created a thriving football scene.

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Europe’s golfers secure vital lead for Ryder Cup’s dramatic final day

Stunning performances set up potentially dramatic finale Continue reading…

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Scotland’s other big vote: will the ‘home of golf’ admit women?

The Royal and Ancient club in St Andrews will announce on Thursday whether women can join as members for the first time in almost 250 years Continue reading…

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England’s women won’t let day jobs block their best shot at rugby union World Cup glory

The women’s game is about to stage the highest-profile match in its history, before a sell-out Paris crowd Continue reading…

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Tour de France in Yorkshire: ‘It was incredible The crowd was so loud’

Le Tour is French, but le Grand Départ belonged to Yorkshire. The sun shone and millions turned out. Only the finish as Mark Cavendish crashed was a cruel ending

Tour de France opens in Yorkshire in pictures Continue reading…

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Bar Ugandan politicians from Commonwealth Games, says cyclist

Record-breaker Graeme Obree says Kampala’s politicians should be excluded from Glasgow Games over anti-gay laws

Two-time cycling world record holder Graeme Obree has called for Ugandan officials to be banned from this summer’s Commonwealth Games in light of the country’s anti-gay laws. The Games are due to begin in Glasgow on 23 July.

“Flying Scotsman” Obree, who became one of Scotland’s few openly gay sports stars in 2011, attacked the “hypocrisy” of politicians who are not attending Sochi’s Winter Paralympic Games in protest at President Putin’s actions in Ukraine but who will be entertaining Ugandan officials in Glasgow in July. Obree has launched a campaign, No Hate At the Games, to have Uganda’s politicians barred from hospitality events and other events around the Commonwealth Games.

“There is a rank hypocrisy in boycotting Games in another country but refusing to have the same moral values when it comes to Games in your own country because you are worried about the amount of money you have spent on them,” said Obree.

“I think Ugandan athletes should come to Glasgow for the Games; it’s nothing to do with the athletes and their sport. But moral values should matter, not just be ignored because we are hosting the event,” he said. “There are millions and millions being spent on entertainment for visiting international politicians and dignitaries and I think members of the Ugandan government should be excluded from that. You do not want to be welcoming people who passed a law that effectively turns back the clock.”

Obree’s petition, which by yesterday had some 3,000 signatories, is directed at the chairman of the Organising Committee of the Games, Lord (Robert) Smith, and urges that any Ugandan politicians who backed the anti-gay bill are not invited this summer. Obree says the Games should “take a stand against those who stir up hate”.

The bill was signed into law late last month, authorising life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalising the “promotion of homosexuality”.organisers said Commonwealth Games associations in member countries were responsible for giving out invitations to their dignitaries, including their head of state, sports minister and high commissioner, adding: “Glasgow 2014 is a diverse and inclusive organisation and, in line with the Commonwealth Games core value of equality, aims to engage individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

“We remain firmly focused on delivering a Games that can be a demonstration of the positive and unifying power of sport.”

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Mixed-race children ‘are being failed’ in treatment of mental health problems

The fastest growing ethnic group in Britain is still being treated as if it is only integrated into black culture, says report

Children of mixed race are at greater risk of suffering from mental health problems and are not getting the support they need, says a report.

Despite mixed-race children belonging to the fastest-growing ethnic group, the research, backed by the National Children’s Bureau, found that they faced “unrealistic” expectations from teachers and other adults who did not understand their backgrounds.

While mixed-race young people are over represented in the care, youth justice and child protection systems, the authors said they were “invisible” in public service practice and policy.

The report – Mixed Experiences – growing up mixed race: mental health and wellbeing – drew on several studies and interviews with 21 people about their experiences as children.

Co-author Dinah Morley was concerned at the lack of understanding over what it meant to be mixed race, a group most likely to suffer racism. “I was surprised at how much racism, from black and white people, had come their way,” she said. “A lot of children were seen as black when they might be being raised by a white single parent and had no understanding of the black culture. The default position for a child of mixed race is that they are black.”

The report found that those with mixed-race backgrounds were more at risk of mental health issues because of their struggle to develop an identity. Morley said the strongest common experience was the “too white to be black, too black to be white”.

The 2011 census showed that the mixed-race population was the fastest growing ethnic group in Britain, amounting to 2.2% of the population of England and Wales.

In 2012, research by the thinktank British Future found that prejudice towards mixed-race relationships was fading. The report, The Melting Pot Generation – How Britain Became More Relaxed About Race, talked about the “Jessica Ennis generation”, crediting the London Olympics 2012 athlete with changing attitudes towards mixed race. “That positive role model is also seen as something very important,” said Morley.

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