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Archive May 15 2007


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"The Big Issue"

The Big Issue Foundation's core ethos is self help. We offer support to homeless and socially excluded people who seek to gain control of their lives and help them move off the streets and into a home and a job.We work with over 2000 vendors across the UK, supporting them with a diverse program of opportunities either delivered through our own services or in partnership with specialist agencies. Each new vendor has a Needs Assessment, and from this an individual action plan is set, which is monitored in supervision sessions with support staff.

Be Tolerant

You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.

It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.

And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.

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May 16 2007

Reflections - Just Another Day DonInLondon ‘Day in The Life’

Yes just another day. And every day something seems to change. Seems my neighbours are off today to a new place to live. Living in emergency accommodation, well you know its good to see people in need move on and make life work as they get stronger and more able.

And although I have my handicaps and incapacities, I am moving along too. Slowly but surely, getting to grips with a new way of life just in the day. And I have been able to help one or two people today.

The impact of yesterday’s meeting and the wisdom shared about the middle steps of change in our fellowship programme helped me immensely as many with years of doing shared what worked in real life for them.

The middle steps of AA

Step six is all about removing our defects of character and Step seven is all about our shortcomings. In layman’s terms for me, and with the benefit of a flexible approach I can translate this concept.

Defects and Shortcomings

For me the defects I may utilise are attitudes and behaviour which are unhelpful to making life work in the day, not just for me but for everyone. The shortcomings on the other hand is probably not doing enough of the right things.

What is the difference?

Well for me the defects of character are probably those things I may do because my motivations are based on three elements, Fear, Bravery or Bravado and my Ego. If I feel fear, I may mask it and put on a brave face, I may also react to situations from my ego and be defensive and self cantered. I may forget all I know about equal and right sized responses.

Shortcomings, rather than view the world with fear, I am better able to deal with things if I have Courage, Faith and Confidence. So my shortcomings as they are described mean I don’t always get the courage and faith and confidence which stops me becoming fearful, with bravery at my side and ego driving me.

So these middle steps are about fundamental shifts in my attitudes and based on some beliefs I have. I believe in good conscience, that my conscience is best utilised rather than my self centred and personal agenda. Sometimes we forget so easily to take account of others, we feel its all about us. And that means I forget about you and your outlook.

So Defects and Shortcomings

In simple terms for me, if I can have courage faith and confidence, and respond appropriately taking account of the big picture, then I am less drawn towards fear, bravado and ego.

So when I recognise my needs and wants, need also take account of all elements and all people, then I get myself right sized. I ask and accept what is possible and what is reasonable. I don’t see the world as unfair, and that in real terms I need only understand the possible and make my endeavours in the light of being right sized.

When I get resistant and stubborn, fear comes knocking on my door very quickly. Fear of loss, fear of shame, fear of being not good enough to share my needs and wants.

More often when I understand needs and the reality of a situation, I forget unreasonable wants. Like now with my health and my housing situation. It can be as it is, and the truth is, providing I do my utmost to keep as healthy as I may and aware of what is going on, I keep safe and needs are met. If I were fearful, I might wonder why I have had the cards of life dealt so, that its unfair and that in some way I might deserve better? The truth is I am learning each day what is possible and accept health is where it is and housing, well I am grateful beyond measure to have a roof over my head. You know the truth is I am learning life all over again.

And how am I feeling?

Not too bad, happy to be making some progress even though the incapacities are blinking painful a lot of the time. And accept it’s a one way journey in many respects. We get older, get complaints health wise and deal as we may with the outcomes.

So these middle steps, where I tend towards some courage some faith and some self esteem and confidence, help me keep myself right sized. I am no special case, just another one. I am really tremendously fortunate to be able to take advice and learn and retrain as life is teaching me.

Doing a video for a TV company

A TV station asked me to do a clip for their TV series on people in public life and their impact on the world, the media and whether they are successful in their endeavours. And I managed to deliver and share my view. Of course its just another persons view. And it was all about what the "man on the Clapham omnibus might respond." The good of this is just me being an ordinary person sharing a point of view. I liked being asked because it required no particular qualification other than being and ordinary person as asked, "in the street," or in this case you tubing.

In olden times I may have rejected the request as too unimportant, or worse that I had no voice or opinion. So these days its nice to be asked, and also realise its unlikely to happen again in this lifetime. I have to smile and accept its just as it may be. Part of a day in the Life of yours truly.

I feel calm tonight. And last night I did sleep for a good four hours, which for means fatigue is less, and pain is easier to manage as directed. Now that feels ok.


I am glad I have friends, sometimes we mistake friendships and they go a bit haywire. Feels a bit like this in some respects with some connections. And in other ways seems right not to try too hard when the impetus has gone. In truth we are all changing all the time, and we may go with the flow. And we learn more about our feelings and who and how we love people. We are just learners and there is no simple answer of truth which can ever make us be other than we are. Thank goodness, good conscience and if you will thank God? I am merely a learner in all these matters and God is a conundrum, and maybe one day I might understand. Till then good conscience remains my faithful guide and utilising open, honest, and willing ways keeps me on a straighter and happier path to modern living. We learn honesty daily, we make progress as we keep our minds alert to obvious denials and filters, and often ones we don’t detect till days or years later. Mea Culpa? Absolutely.

That’s Life!

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Guardian Unlimited OnLine May 16 2007

Unborn babies targeted in crackdown on criminality May 16 2007

Blair launches policy imported from US to intervene during pregnancy to head off antisocial behaviour

Lucy Ward, social affairs correspondent

Unborn babies judged to be at most risk of social exclusion and turning to criminality are to be targeted in a controversial new scheme to be promoted by Downing Street today.

In an effort to intervene as early as possible in troubled families, first-time mothers identified just 16 weeks after conception will be given intensive weekly support from midwives and health visitors until the unborn child reaches two years old.

Unveiling the findings of a Downing Street review, Tony Blair will make clear the government is prepared to single out babies still in the womb to break cycles of deprivation and behaviour

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Times OnLine May 16 2007

I have been made a scapegoat, says Briton named by police as suspect May 16 2007 2007

David Brown and Steve Bird in Praia da Luz

A British father named yesterday as the first official suspect in the kidnapping of Madeleine McCann broke his silence last night to deny his involvement.

Speaking to Sky News, Robert Murat said that he had been made a scapegoat by the police. “This has ruined my life and made things very difficult for my family both over here and in Britain,” he said.

“The only way I can survive this is if they catch Madeleine’s abductor.”

Mr Murat, 33, had hitherto declined all press requests for interviews despite playing a key translating role in police efforts to find Madeleine.

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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News May 16 2007 2007

Cancer: The good news May 16 2007

Survival rates soar as cancer treatments improve

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Cancer is no longer the death sentence that it once was. Our most feared disease is turning into a condition that people live with, rather than die from, figures published yesterday show.

In the past 30 years, overall survival rates from cancer have doubled, thanks to better treatments, earlier diagnosis and greater public awareness of the warning symptoms.

Almost half of patients (46.2 per cent) diagnosed in 2000-01 were expected to live 10 years, compared with a quarter (23.6 per cent) of those diagnosed in 1971, according to the charity Cancer Research UK.

Ten-year survival is a benchmark of success in cancer treatment and is regarded as close to a cure.

The breakneck progress, that has accelerated in the past decade, is set to continue, experts predicted. Among 10 goals announced yesterday, Cancer Research UK set a target of 66 per cent overall five-year survival by 2020, up from 50 per cent in 2001.

However, Britain still trails Europe in terms of cancer survival, despite the recent improvement. The last European survey of cancer , Eurocare-3, published in 2003 showed British patients died sooner than in most other European countries.

Professor Michel Coleman, a cancer epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who calculated the latest figures, said cancer was still a "major public health problem" that would affect one in three people during their lifetimes.

"Survival rates for many cancers have been lower in the UK than in many comparable countries. The differences may be less when Eurocare-4 is published later this year - I am hopeful we may have caught up," he said.

Professor Mike Richards, the Government's national cancer director, said: "I await Eurocare-4 with interest. I am optimistic we will see a narrowing of the gap [in survival rates]. We have seen an acceleration in survival in the 90s [in the UK] and I have every hope that will be continued."

Read The Independent OnLine

BBC OnLine News May 16 2007

I'm Madeleine scapegoat, man says May 16 2007

The man being treated as a suspect in the search for missing Madeleine McCann says he has been made "a scapegoat for something I did not do".

Briton Robert Murat, 33, told Sky News the situation had "ruined" his life.

Police have searched his mother's Algarve villa, which is close to where four-year-old Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was last seen on 3 May.

However, officers said they did not have the evidence to formally arrest or charge anybody.

Mr Murat, who previously lived in Hockering, Norfolk, has recently been living with his mother Jenny, 71, in Praia da Luz.

Speaking off camera after it emerged he was being treated as a suspect, Mr Murat told Sky News: "This has ruined my life and made my life very difficult for my family here and in Britain.

"The only way I will survive this is if they catch Madeleine's abductor."

BBC OnLine Full Story

BBC OnLine History May 16 2007

May 16 1943: Germans crush Jewish uprising

All resistance in the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw has ended after 28 days of fighting.

In his operational report, the local SS commander, Brigadier Juergen Stroop, said the uprising began on 19 April when SS, police and Wehrmacht units using tanks and other armoured vehicles entered the ghetto to take Jews to the railway station for transportation to concentration camps.

They were repelled by Jews using homemade explosives, rifles, small arms and "in one case a light machine-gun".

He said his troops were involved in pitched battles day and night with groups of about 20 or 30 Jews - both men and women.

"On April 23 Himmler issued his order to complete the combing out of the Warsaw ghetto with the greatest severity and relentless tenacity. I therefore decided to destroy the entire Jewish residential area by setting every block on fire."

The last battle ended with the destruction of the Great Synagogue today.

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There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.

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