Featured
From: St Osmunds
Over 2.8 million people across 9 African countries have been deeply affected by catastrophic rainfalls over the last few weeks.  Dozens of people have been killed across central and eastern Africa after heavy rains triggered landslides and caused rivers to burst their banks. Kenya has most casualties: 130 people have died there and 250 across the region. On the other side of the Congo river at least 50,000 people were affected by the downpours, prompting the Congo-Brazzaville government to declare a state of emergency. Heavy rains and landslides have also killed dozens across the wider east African region during weeks of downpours, with 29 buried by landslides in Kenya and 10 people drowned in a river in Tanzania, officials have said. In Uganda it's also really bad with many villages flushed away. While there can still be some rain falling in January and February, the next rainy season is March to May. In Kenya typically the short rains occur in late October early November, but this amount of water is highly unusual and a consequence of Climate Change. in 2016 and 2017 the "long rains" of March - May failed entirely and the whole region suffered a massive drought. Weather experts from the UK Environment Agency said: “The rains this season have been enhanced by a phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole which, when positive, can cause a rise in water temperatures in the Indian Ocean of up to 2C. This leads to higher evaporation rates off the East African coastline and this water then falls inland.” A relief worker from CARE International said: "Many of the people affected by this flooding are also the same that were affected by the terrible droughts earlier this year that left over 3 million people in food insecurity". It's important we do remember how real the changes of weather patters are. Scientists even say that extreme weather events will be the new normal if warming continues at its present rate. Floods: tips to remember (Source : The UK Environment Agency) 15cm (6in) of fast-flowing water can knock over an adult and about 60cm (2ft) of water can move a car Avoid walking or driving through flood water Move your family upstairs or to a high place with a means of escape Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water Put plugs in sinks and baths Weigh belongings down with a sandbag or a heavy object Flood water can contain sewage, chemicals and animal waste so wash your hands thoroughly if you touch it. By Lara  
From: Barnes
It's an amazing achievement when a celeb gets their first perfect dance. This year, celeb Kelvin Fletcher was the first of the 2019 cast to receive a perfect score for his 'practically perfect' Charleston to a song from 'Mary Poppins Returns' with his talented partner Oti Mabuse during the memorable Movie Week. But AJ (Saffron Barker's partner) has told the world of fans that he doesn't believe that judges should be allowed to give 10s on the stage. He says the top mark should be 9.5 as there's "always room for improvement". Lots of interviewers asked the judges about his comments, but they declined to comment. Next week being Halloween week, after Saffron and AJ's impeccable dance last week, it seems that they have a pretty decent chance of receiving a perfect ten for their spoooky jive this week.
From: Barnes
To celebrate books by Julia Donaldson, Royal Mail have created 10 new born stamps of the Gruffalo book! In 1999, her book was published. Surprisingly, six of the stamps are from the original tale and follow Mouse's journey through the deep dark wood, and the rest of the stamps are wonderful, new illustrations, by Axel Scheffler . In 2009, it was the most popular picture book and best bedtime story for children. It has being used in the theatre productions in the West End, Broadway and the Sydney Opera House, and it has been adapted into an Oscar nominated film! The story of this award winning book follows a mouse entering a deep, dark wood and escaping predators such as an owl, snake and fox by warning them of a mystical beast that will gobble them all up...the Gruffalo! Philip Parker from the Royal Mail said: "We are delighted that Axel Scheffler has taken us back to the deep, dark wood with his new illustrations of the much-loved characters." Get your stamps at Royal Mail now, £12.20 for the whole set!!!
From: Barnes
It’s not unusual for families to assume a child's personality long before the baby can even protest. To this day, many parents want to know the gender of their baby before it is born, as their rooms are often painted pink or blue, and  clothing and toys is purchased as well: princess dresses and tiaras for girls, blue dungarees and dinosaurs for boys. Whatever toys we use or clothes we wear, our baby and toddler years of life are important in the development of our personalities, supporting us through teenage years and even adulthood. Assigning gender has a powerful influence on our view of ourselves, our future hopes and our personal opinions of other items such as makeup or football. Fortunately, times are changing, and our generation are living in times when genders are becoming less restrictive, giving children the right to, for example, wear different clothes or play with different toys. Helping with this step up are Mattel, who just released a set of customizable gender neutral dolls. Unfortunately, the opinion of them is controversial. While some welcome 'the dolls of the future', others think that we should stick with barbies. "The only females in our house are mom, our dog Sadie and our cat, Bell.  That means we don’t have any dolls.  There are lots of balls and trucks and cars and Nerf guns scattered throughout the house and the yard.  When it comes to our kids' understanding gender issues, I want them to understand that gender is a matter of creation, not preference.  Human beings are created, and we are created as male or female.' Todd E. Brady is vice president for university ministries at Union University.