Security Council discusses chemical weapons use in Syria following latest global watchdog

The report from the UN-backed Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) made up of 193 Member States, concluded based on its Fact-Finding Mission assessment, that there were “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place, on 7 April”, adding that reactive chlorine had been detected in samples taken, around two weeks after the incident.The attack in the city of Douma, a suburb of the capital Damascus, came at a crucial stage of the siege by Syrian Government forces, backed by Russia, on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, which subsequently fell. Dozens were reportedly killed during the likely chemical attack, with videos purporting filmed during the aftermath widely shared across the world, showing children choking and gagging.At the time, Russia denied any chemical weapons had been used, saying that the attack had been “staged”. The Syrian Government denied any involvement. But the United States, together with France and the United Kingdom, launched retaliatory air strikes, aimed at alleged chemical weapons facilities and infrastructure.Last June, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, delivered a report to the Human Rights Council, saying that the siege and recapture of Eastern Ghouta by Government and allied forces, had been marked by war crimes and crimes against humanity.The latest FFM’s report on Douma, was due to be shared with States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and passed on to the Security Council. The report does not assign blame for the likely use of chlorine gas, and found no grounds or evidence, to support an assertion from the Syrian Government that rebel fighters in Douma had use a local facility, to manufacture chemical weapons.Last June, the OPCW was given new powers to assign blame for future chemical weapons attacks, but this did not include the FFM sent to Douma, to gather evidence. read more

Settling in to school routines can be a challenge

With the first month of the school year now complete, three groups of students – in full-day kindergarten, Grade 9 and first-year university – might be finding life tougher than usual as they settle into their school routines.Brock researchers are looking at these three developmental stages and how teachers and parents can give support to their kids in school.Development psychologist Caitlin Mahy cautions that four year olds starting Ontario’s relatively new full-day junior kindergarten have a different set of memory, self-regulation and social skills than older children in kindergarten.“We’re putting these children in kindergarten for a full day and we expect them to understand other peoples’ minds and remember to do things on their own,” she says. “Yet, they’re really going to struggle with these abilities, especially compared to five year olds, who at least have some of those basic skills.”Developmental and educational psychologist Zopito Marini says the transition from Grade 8 to Grade 9 is monumental and can bring out a number of anxieties – but also hopeful new beginnings – in young people.“The big thing in high school is the horrific pressure of fitting in: finding a group of people who like you,” he says. “You have to find out where you fit in the hierarchy and usually, in Grade 9, you fit at the bottom unless you have some special gifts. And that’s where bullying might come in.”Psychology graduate student Thalia Semplonius is involved in a research project called [email protected], in which Brock students answer questionnaires about their stress levels and how they are coping with challenges at various points in their university education.“When students are starting (post-secondary) school for the first time, they might be moving away from home, they’re having to make new friends,” she says. “When we look at responses at the beginning of the winter semester, we find that their top stresses are things like their grades and not having enough time or money.” read more

Son of motor neurone disease sufferer escapes prosecution after helping him commit

first_imgWilliam Maguire Snr was found at the wheel of his car, parked in his garageCredit:Darren Toogood/Solent News & Photo Agency Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “He put his son in an almost impossible position, in my view.”Mr Maguire Jnr was arrested on suspicion of assisting a suicide but was not prosecuted. After initially denying involvement he later said: “You already know. I helped my dad commit suicide.”He also told officers that he “loved his father very much”.A spokesman for the CPS said: “We were passed a file in relation to this case, but it was decided that there should be no further action as it was not in the public interest to proceed.” CPS guidelines say that any prosecution for the crime of “encouraging or assisting suicide” must be in the public interest. Prosecution is less likely if the victim had already made up his mind about killing himself, help from the suspect was minor and reluctant and the suspect reported the suicide to police. Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying, which campaigns for assisted dying, said: “Tragically, this is not an isolated incident.”Around 300 terminally ill people end their own lives in this country every year. Every eight days someone from Britain travels to Dignitas for an assisted death.”The UK’s current blanket ban on assisted dying denies dying people the choice and control they deserve at the end of life.”It forces many people like William to take matters into their own hands, ending their own lives behind closed doors in traumatic circumstances. The effect this has on their loved ones can be devastating.”  Police at William Maguire's house in Cowes, Isle of Wight. He was found dead at the wheel of his car parked in his garage in Cowes, Isle of Wight on March 1 2015 after his son called the police. Pathologist Dr Basil Purdue said he died from a mix of drug intoxication and alcohol. His son had helped him into the car and left him with drugs and a bottle of whisky, the inquest heard. Mr Matthews said: “It’s an extremely depressing condition not only for the sufferer, but for the family of the sufferer. I’m not in the least bit surprised Mr Maguire acted in the way he did.”I’m satisfied that on March 1 he was quite determined to be successful in his suicide attempt, so a belt and braces operation was undertaken by him using the somewhat resistant assistance of his son. The son of a former prison governer who suffered from motor neurone disease escaped prosecution after helping his father to end his own life because it was “not in the public interest”. William Maguire, 54,  was put in “an almost impossible position” by his father’s illness, and helped him to commit suicide “out of great love”, assistant coroner John Matthews told Isle of Wight Coroner’s Court. Mr Maguire Jnr was arrested by Hampshire Police but later released without charge after the CPS decided not to go ahead with the prosecution. His father, also called William Maguire, had a series of health problems including severe lung disease, raised blood pressure, bowel inflammation and depression. He was then diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the start of 2015.He had talked about travelling to Swiss assisted suicide clinic Dignitas and was “determined” to end his own life, the inquest heard.last_img read more