Friday, 31 July 2009

Forced child marriage in East London

I’ve just learnt that a 15 year old school girl was forced to marry a 40 year old man – right in East London.

According to the Daily Mail, the girl’s family live in Bethnal Green and the case is being investigated by detectives in Stratford.

The horrific story came to light with the news that the police are hunting the man, who is accused of not only raping the girl,but of also assaulting her 12-year-old sister.

And it gets worse: the elder girl (now 17) contacted the police because she was scared she’d be forced into ANOTHER marriage.

In East London, the Newham Asian Women’s Project offers help for Asian girls wanting to escape violence.

They can be contacted on tel 020 8472 0528.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Rich boy, poor girl theme takes Hackney stage

As you’d expect of a Caribbean-style piece, Once On This Island has aplenty reggae music.

You romantics will be pleased to know it’s mainly about a poor gal who falls in love with a wealthy planter.

The course of true love is put to the test as the young girl must prove to the island's mythical gods that the power of love is stronger than death. Poor thing!

If you liked Sharon D Clarke’s stuff in the TV drama Holby City and also as a judge on the recent Last Choir Standing, then you’re not likely to be disappointed this time with her performance at Hackney Empire.

The play is based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy.

Ever heard of her?

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Tower Hamlets becomes England’s swine flu hot spot

If you live in Tower Hamlets, your worst fears about swine flu may have been confirmed with the news that the borough is the worst affected.

The Guardian reports that people in Tower Hamlets, are visiting their GP about swine flu more often than anywhere else in England, with 759 consultations per 100,000 population.

The boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Lewisham are also badly affected.

Dr Stephen Field, the chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said:: “We know the highest rate in the country has been in Tower Hamlets, and there is evidence of [swine flu] spreading across the capital.

So, what do you do if you suspect the nasty virus has got you? You can call the national swine flu information line: 0800 1 513 513 or 0845 4647.

Alternatively, you can visit the NHS’s symptom checker, which may be quicker than the phone help.

And, ah yes, you can also stay at home.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Serial rapist lurking in Walthamstow

Ladies be on full alert : the Walthamstow serial rapist is still prowling the area. So far three women in E17 have been raped (the third woman, Michelle Samaraweera, was raped and killed).

Police said they had linked the three attacks with a DNA profile of the offender. They also announced that they will go door to door targeting 9,000 local homes and will ask for any men who match the suspect's description to voluntarily provide a DNA sample.

Officers believe the suspect has detailed knowledge of the E17 area and is likely to reside locally.

The first attack was on 24 March 2009 at 1:00am as a 59-year-old woman walked to her home address close to Queens Road. She approached her front door and noticed the suspect standing nearby. She walked around him and as she entered her property he forced his way inside, raping her in her own bedroom.

The suspect has been described as being of Asian appearance, or with dark skin, and is aged between 30 and 40 years (see the e-fit pictured). He may have an accent.

Have you got any information you might have to help out? Contact the police on 020 8345 3715; if you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Students jam Brick Lane brewery with art

Brick Lane’s drawing masses of arty types again.

This time it’s the annual art and design show at the Old Truman Brewery. The Free Range 2009 exhibition is Europe's largest graduate art and design show with free admission (phew).

In this mix of it all, you’ll find work from students from the University of East London.

Take Barbara Bargiel, for instance. She studies at the university and lives in Hackney.

She says of her work: “My current research revolves around grotesque figures such as the court jester, the mime, the clown. I am intrigued by people’s behaviour from the masks hat each of us put on, willingly or not. In my belief, everyone is a clown. We all pose and pretend and it is unpredictable, endless. To reflect this I embody different characters ‘in’ myself by dressing up and posing as a clown or mime.”

She makes you want to make your way to the crowded and oh-so-mad Brick Lane to see their stuff.