Entries in Children (13)


Bees Attack 44 Children in South Africa; 4 Critically Injured

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JOHANNESBURG) -- Forty-four children were sent to the Hospital after a swarm of bees attacked them on Friday.

The pre-school group of 80 children between the ages of 2-6 was visiting Bunny Park near Johannesburg. After an afternoon spent playing with the rabbits, the children were waiting to get back onto their school bus, when a massive swarm of bees descended upon the group.

Forty-four of the children were stung and went to the hospital for treatment. Four of the children were critically injured.

Police do not know what prompted the swarm to attack, but they said they did not believe that the attacking bees were the infamously aggressive Africanized honey bees, more commonly known as killer bees.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


‘Bitterly’ Disappointed Dad’s Email to Children Goes Viral

John Foxx/Thinkstock(PLYMOUTH, England) -- A retired British naval officer’s scathing email to his three adult children about his bitter and frustrating disappointment in all of them has gone viral with its eloquence and biting honesty.

Nick Crews, 67, of Plymouth, England, sent the letter to his two daughters and son to express his deep disappointment in them and their life choices.

“We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren,” Crews wrote. “I wonder if you realise [sic] how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us.”

He criticized them for failed marriages, lack of maturity and their inability to provide for their families.

“Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting,” he continued. “Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents."

“The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren,” Crews wrote. “If it wasn’t for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next.”

Crews said he and his wife were sick and tired of listening to their children’s complaints and failures. The children are 35, 38 and 40. The disgruntled dad wrote that he did not want to hear from his offspring again until they had good news.

“I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children’s underachievement and domestic ineptitudes,” he wrote. “I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about.”

His last sentence before signing the letter was, “I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.”

Crews sent the email in February and his eldest daughter Emily Crews, 40, recently asked him whether she could make it public in order to create some buzz while she works on a book about starting over.

The former commander has since told London’s Telegraph that he does not regret sending the email, but fears it might have been misinterpreted.

“It wasn’t meant as a furious dressing-down; more like a finger raised to my lips in church, when I spotted them picking their nose or scratching their bottom, down the pew from me,” he told the paper. “I was trying to express my frustration at these wonderful grown-ups who had yet to make the best of what they had. They have read the criticism, but not seen the enduring love through the lines.”

He paused before adding, “I haven’t done well as a father, have I?”

Emily Crews is reportedly the only child still speaking to her father after receiving the letter.

“It was horrendous receiving that email from my father,” she told London’s Daily Mail. “What he said in his email was quite correct, but I don’t think it was the right kind of support or the kick up the backside he intended it to be. I think he has created a monster out of the worst of us and ignored the best.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ben Affleck, Hillary Clinton Lobby for World Child Survival

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Political and Hollywood royalty came together Thursday as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and movie star Ben Affleck spoke at a conference in Washington D.C. focused on helping kids around the world live to see their fifth birthday. This year more than 7 million children, mostly in Africa, will die before reaching that milestone.

Following her own speech, Clinton introduced Affleck, who runs a charity working with women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  "Now I get to exercise one of the perks of being secretary of state,” she said with a big smile. She spoke about seeing the work of Affleck’s organization, the Eastern Congo Initiative, first-hand while visiting the Congo in 2009. Clinton also spoke of her personal affection for the actor and his wife, actress Jennifer Garner.

“I’ve known this young man for a long time and I have watched him start his own family with three beautiful children and a wife that makes it all work,” said Clinton to laughter. “I have enjoyed him in person, I have enjoyed him on the screen, but I particularly admire his commitment.”

Affleck and Clinton shared a warm hug, after which he returned the praise.  "Now that’s what they call in Hollywood a tough act to follow,” he said jokingly. The crowd laughed as Affleck admitted that he was having trouble reading from the same teleprompter as Secretary Clinton.

“I hope you guys don’t notice there’s a teleprompter,” said Affleck as the audience laughed. “The secretary and I are slightly different heights.”

But the topic of Affleck’s speech was no laughing matter. The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. Fifteen percent of the county’s children die before their fifth birthday, a statistic the actor made deeply personal.

“I have three children who fall into the vulnerable age range,” he told the crowd. “I cannot imagine what it would’ve been like driving my wife to the hospital pregnant, about to give birth and thinking to myself well there’s a 15 percent chance that each of these children won’t live to be five years old.”

Affleck pointed out that many of these deaths are entirely preventable and not expensive to end.

“Much of the time saving a child’s life is as simple as ensuring kids sleep under bed nets to avoid malaria and that they receive nutritional supplements and that they have immediate access to healthcare. This could save millions of lives a year alone and would cost less than $30 a child.”

Holding the world accountable was the primary theme of Secretary Clinton’s speech as well.

“If we make sure that every child everywhere has the same chance to reach his or her fifth  birthday, then we will have added another story to the short list of the greatest thing people have ever done for one another,” said Clinton. "We would have set ourselves on a path to a world that is more stable, more prosperous, and more just.”

Clinton cited several new programs the United States is supporting that will follow a new road-map to end child mortality in this generation. These programs, like Affleck’s organization, will be locally-driven with help from the international community. She also pointed out that there will now be a much more targeted focus on the countries needing the most help. Of all early-childhood deaths, 80 percent happen in 24 countries. India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and the DRC have the highest child death rates.

The “Call to Action” Initiative has found another way to personalize the issue for the ordinary person. Over 1000 global leaders, including Secretary Clinton, have posted pictures of themselves at five years old on the program’s Web site.  Clinton talked about her own picture, which was displayed during her speech, and what it means.

“I also dug up a photo, but you know it was so long ago I think I’m fine 5,″ she said jokingly. “Regardless, the picture reminded me of how fortunate I was. I could be looking forward to growing up, to going to school, to making friends all the things we want for our own children,” she said.

The pictures represent so many stories like hers, of people who grew up to live their dreams and accomplish great things. But they also represent the children around the world, who today do not have that chance.

“This year millions of children will never get to take a similar photo because they won’t survive their first five years,” said Clinton somberly. “That cannot be the future we want for our children, or anyone’s children.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


British Prime Minister Leaves Daughter, 8, Alone at Pub

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Britain’s prime minister may want to consider signing up for one of those parenting-class vouchers he’s made available to those in his country.

On Monday, 10 Downing Street confirmed that Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, had accidentally left one of their children alone at a pub several months ago.

The Camerons and their children -- Nancy, 8; Arthur, 6; and Florence, 22 months -- had been attending Sunday lunch with two other families at the pub, reportedly close to the official country house for prime ministers.

According to The Sun newspaper, Nancy was visiting the restroom when the parents departed the pub in separate cars. David Cameron assumed Nancy was with Samantha and their two children; Samantha Cameron thought the child was with her father.

Nancy was left alone in the pub -- called the Plough -- for 15 minutes.

News of the mistake comes on the heels of an initiative supported by David Cameron that offers free child-rearing classes to British parents of children up to age 5 as well as texts and email reminders.

“Parents want help. It is in our interest as a society to help people bring up their children,” he said, according to the BBC. “We’re taught to drive a car. We’re taught all sorts of things at school. I think it makes perfect sense to help people with parenting.”

In a statement, Downing Street said the Camerons were “distraught” when they realized Nancy was missing.

“Thankfully when they phoned the pub, she was there safe and well. The prime minister went down straight away to get her,” a spokeswoman said.

Several residents ABC News spoke with in a nearby town said that parents forgot their children in pubs all the time. One couple, however, was shocked and wondered how David Cameron’s security had missed the girl as well.

In 2010, David Cameron spoke on the importance of family and children in an ABC News interview.

“You’ve got to make sure that you do find time for your family and children,” he said. “And for a good reason, which is that, you know, hopefully, one of the reasons you become a prime minister, is because you’ve got some balance and some equilibrium and some sort of reasonable judgment you bring to the problems of life. … If you get frazzled and fried and exhausted and forget who you are, then you’re going to be a rubbish dad.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Waives Funding Restriction for Yemen and Congo

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Tens of millions of dollars of U.S. military financing will continue to flow to Yemen and three other countries that recruit and use child soldiers, despite a 2008 U.S. law designed to restrict U.S. taxpayer funding of foreign militaries that enlist children to fight in war.

The White House issued a memorandum Tuesday evening to allow military funding to Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Chad, three of the six countries on the State Department's list of foreign governments that recruit and use child soldiers in state-backed armed forces and militias.

Human rights advocates say the presidential waivers, issued for a second year in a row, undermine the intentions of Congress.

"The law could be very effective if it was applied the way Congress intended, but instead the administration has chosen to disregard the law and exert poor leadership on this issue," said Jo Becker, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch's Children's Rights Division. "Last year, the administration said they were putting governments on notice and giving them time to address the problem, but this year governments that have shown no progress are still getting assistance no strings attached."

In Yemen, children who are 15 years old and younger have been recruited to fight in the government's conflict with rebels. Becker says that as recently as August, Human Rights Watch observed children serving in Yemen's Central Security force, an elite paramilitary unit, and with the army's First Armored Division, which defected to the opposition in March.

The renewed waiver for Yemen comes on the heels of the killing of al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, which has been hailed as a major success in the U.S. collaboration with the Yemeni government to root out militants in the region. The State Department has requested $35 million in foreign military financing for the Yemeni government for the 2012 fiscal year. The aid represents one portion of the total military, security and other assistance to the country, which has exceeded $100 million annually in recent years.

The White House has argued that cutting military aid to Yemen would hurt U.S. efforts to work with countries like Yemen that provided crucial cooperation in the fight against al Qaeda militants. When the waiver was issued last year, then-White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told The New York Times the Obama administration believed that continued engagement with Yemen and the other countries receiving waivers would allow the U.S. to work with these governments to end their use of child soldiers.

Tuesday's presidential memorandum cited "national security interests" as the basis for granting the waivers for Yemen and Congo. "This is an issue the President takes very seriously, and these waivers are not made lightly," said Vietor, now a spokesman for the National Security Council, in a statement to ABC News Wednesday. "In this specific instance, the waiver for Yemen reflects the United States' vital interest in supporting the Government of Yemen's ability to conduct counterterrorism operations against AQAP."

"The partial national interest waiver issued for the Democratic Republic of Congo," said Vietor, "fully restricts the provision of Foreign Military Financing to the Government of the DRC, and sends a clear signal to the Government of the DRC that it must do more, while allowing for the provision of certain forms of training and supplies that will serve to further professionalize the DRC's military."

Becker says that the issuance of blanket waivers has not proven to be effective in addressing the recruitment of child soldiers. She points to the example of Congo, which has used hundreds of child soldiers and resisted efforts to demobilize children from its units while receiving U.S. funding over the past six years.

"This is not an all-or-nothing proposal," said Becker. "$35 million is a lot of money. The administration could tell the government of Yemen it will withhold a portion of its funds until it takes concrete steps to remove children in its forces."

President Obama voted for the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 while serving in the Senate. The law, which went into effect in June of 2009, prohibits international military education and training, foreign military financing, and the issuances of licenses for sales of military equipment. Funding for peacekeeping and law enforcement is not applicable under the law.

Obama's memorandum also certified that the government of Chad, another country on the State Department list of countries using child soldiers, had taken steps toward ending the use of child soldiers in the last year. The government of Chad signed an action plan in June to remove children from the ranks of its national forces, known as the ANT, but human rights groups say it is too early to tell how effective the demobilization efforts will be.

Copyright ABC News Radio


Child Cage Fighting Sparks Outrage in Britain

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The tiny frame of an 8-year-old boy, young but ready to fight, enters from one side of the room. From the other, his 9-year-old opponent gets a last-minute fighting tactics talk. Both walk past the jeering crowd, a 250-strong throng of spectators, shouting taunts, encouraging them to fight in what has been described as a popular and an up-and-coming sport -- cagefighting for children.

The two boys have been filmed attacking one another in the confines of a cage in front of spectators who have paid almost $40 to watch. One of the boys breaks down and cries. Ever since that video went viral, so too did the widespread shock and outrage.

British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has described it as "barbaric," saying "we have to recognize that sport has a very, very important role but I think with this particular sport, I think some people will ask some questions."

It's a brutal and macabre site and has caused a huge uproar in Britain country, but because the club where the fighting takes place has a license to stage such events, it's perfectly legal. But police say they will look into issues surrounding the safety of the children.

Steve Nightingale who trains the young boys at the Reps Gym in Preston, Lancashire, 190 miles north of London, told ABC News that ''there is no striking … it is a mixture of martial arts and wrestling known as mixed martial arts, MMA."

Nightingale said that he was ''shocked'' by the criticism and said that it all comes from people who were not there and are ignorant of the sport.

Marcus Holt, the event promoter, defended the matches, telling the BBC, ''It's a discipline, it's a mixed martial arts, it's what they want to do. They are not being forced to do it. It's better being up here training week in week, out than running the streets and causing trouble on the streets.''

Nick Hartley, the father of one of the boys who took part in the controversial caged bout, insisted it had been safe. "He loves the sport. It's not one bit dangerous, it's a controlled sport … until he gets a bit older and he starts doing physical contact, kicking and punching, then maybe, but at his age it's wrestling, like grappling."

The British Medical Association has condemned the event, saying it is "particularly disturbing." The BMA made the point that the children were not wearing protective head gear or other protective padding.

"Boxing and cage fighting are sometimes defended on the grounds that children learn to work through their aggression with discipline and control. The BMA believes there are many other sports, such as athletics, swimming, judo and football, which require discipline but do not pose the same threat of brain injury," the BMA said in a statement.

The organization which ensures child protection awareness, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has joined the chorus of condemnation of the fights.

"We would strongly discourage parents from letting their children take part in this kind of fighting. It's quite disturbing that some of those involved in the bouts were as young as 8, an age when they are still developing, physically and mentally,"said Chris Cloke, head of the NSPCC.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Eight Children Injured in Knife Attack by Day Care Employee

Getty/George Doyle/Thinkstock(SHANGHAI) -- Eight children were injured in a knife attack by a female employee at a Shanghai day care center on Monday.

Police arrested the unidentified 30-year-old woman who reportedly used a box cutter to slash five boys and three girls at the center for children of migrant workers in the Minhang District.

The injured children, aged 3 and 4 years old, were transported to the Fudan University Hospital for treatment. Four of the children were seriously injured, and underwent surgery. Three are in stable condition while one of the children remains in serious condition.

China state media reports that the woman, who has worked at the center for three years, is suspected of having psychiatric problems.

Similar attacks were reported in 2010, when a series of violent attacks at Chinese schools resulted in increased security at some facilities.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Chinese Couple Sells All Three Kids to Play Online Games

Comstock/Thinkstock(DONGGUAN, China) -- A young Chinese couple has sold all three of their children in exchange for money to play online games at Internet cafes, reports a southern Chinese newspaper.

According to Sanxiang City News, the couple met in an Internet cafe back in 2007 and bonded over their obsession with online video games.  A year later, the parents -- who are both under 21 -- welcomed their first child, a son.  Days after his birth, they left him home alone while they went to play online games at an Internet cafe 30 km away.

In 2009, Li Lin and Li Juan welcomed their second child, a baby girl, and came up with the idea to sell her for money to fund their online game obsession.  They did so, receiving RMB 3,000 (less than $500), which they spent entirely shortly after.  The couple then proceeded to sell their first child and got 10 times as much for him -- RMB 30,000, or about $4600.

Upon having their third child -- another boy -- the parents followed in their previous footsteps and also got RMB 30,000 for him.

They were finally turned into authorities when Li Lin’s mother found out what her son and his girlfriend had done.

When asked if they missed their children, the parents answered, "We don’t want to raise them, we just want to sell them for some money.”

Sanxiang City News reports the couple didn't know they were breaking the law.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kibot: South Korean Robot Teaches Toddlers English

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- A robot designed to teach kids to speak another language won't take no for an answer in any language. If left alone, it starts moving around the house looking for the kids and bugs them to play.

The Kibot is designed to be part-tutor and part-babysitter for South Korea's hard-working parents who are intent on making sure their children grow up bilingual in a country where English has become a prerequisite for admission at prominent private schools.

The Kibot, built by Korean telecom giant KT Corp., is perfect for Gina Kim, 36, a working mom who puts in 12 hours a day and sometimes on Saturday. The grueling work schedule makes it hard for her to spend time with her two toddlers Joey, 4 and Juwon, 1.

For many Korean parents in Gina's tech-savvy generation, a new intelligent robot for toddlers is worth the hefty price of $450.

"We've tried all interactive educational toys, but this one actually initiates interaction both in Korean and in English," said husband Ryun Chung, 38, who prides himself as an early adaptor of new technologies.

The foot-tall monkey-faced Kibot reads, sings, and teaches in multiple languages. When left alone for some time it strolls around the house by itself searching for the children and starts conversations with them, and asks to be played with.

Kibot's big breakthrough is that the robot is a wired communicating device, connected through Wi-Fi at home at all times. Its face-to-face video phone function is designed to make it easy enough for toddlers to operate and from the parents' side, the robot could be controlled from a smartphone by calling in.

Unlike other webcams or CCTVs on where the cameras are installed in a fixed place, Kim calls into her Kibot and uses her smartphone as a remote control. She then can move the robot around the house to actually go search for the kids.

When she has a few spare moments at the office, Kim can remotely download new interactive games and play with the kids.

Joey can also video call her mother by simply tapping a "mommy" card on Kibot's nose. The cards include data filled with words, books and songs.

They are equipped with intelligent barcodes which makes it possible for the robot to instantly recognize the message and take action.

Plenty of educational programs are wirelessly downloadable and there's no synchronizing involved.

All this is possible because 98 percent of Korean homes have broadband access, which puts South Korea on top of the world's most wired countries list.

The cutting-edge robot is priced at 485,000 won (US $450) with a monthly service fee of 7,000 won (USD $6.50).

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Children Re-enact Suicide Bombing On Shocking Video

Photo Courtesy - ABC News | Facebook(WAZIRISTAN, Pakistan) -- A disturbing video of children acting out a suicide bomb mission surfaced on Facebook recently and has gone viral.

The video, which has been circulating for four days and seems to originate in Afghanistan or Pakistan, shows a black-clad boy walking down a line of younger children exchanging handshakes, hugs and apparent goodbyes with younger children. After a final hug with an older boy at the end of the line, he embarks on his faux suicide mission.

The wannabe bomber, who wears a black scarf over his face, turns and walks towards a second group of children. A boy dressed in white and posing as a security guard holds up a hand to stop him. The bomber then lifts up his shirt to show where a bomb would be attached and pretends to detonate it.

The children throw sand in the air to simulate the dust created by a bomb and then fall to the ground as if killed by the explosion. The children who had shaken hands with the bomber run over to inspect the bodies.

The origin of the video is unclear, though based on the physical appearance of the children and the sandals and shalwar kameez tunics they're wearing, the playacting seems to take place in Afghanistan or Pakistan. It is shot from an angle that suggests the camera was held by an adult. Several media reports say a man named Ahsan Masood, a Pashtun from the Waziristan region of Pakistan, was among the first people known to have posted the video on Facebook. Masood says he uploaded it from a friend and did not know its exact origin. In one published account, Masood says he received the segment as a cellphone video.

This video is only a simulation, but comes from a region where the Taliban is active and suicide bombings are frequent. The idea of using children as executioners is also not a novelty in the area. In 2007, the Taliban made a shocking tape of a young boy wearing a combat jacket and slitting the throat of a Pakistani militant while denouncing him as an American spy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio