Families take ministers to court over special needs education

 Special educational needs funding campaigners outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London. Photograph: Sian Harrison/PA Lawyers representing children with special educational needs and disabilities have told the high court there is a crisis in funding that is depriving children of a proper education and risking blighting their lives forever. The hearing, a landmark legal challenge to the government’s funding policy, was told the allocation for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) was “manifestly insufficient” in the face of clear and incontrovertible evidence of a “substantial…

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An inside view of India’s pencil business and the four families that control it

The humble pencil was the simple solution that Three Idiots’ Rancho gave for the complex riddle of how to write in zero gravity. For about six centuries, the pencil has left its indelible mark as an all-weather writing instrument, after the accidental discovery of hard graphite at a nondescript Lake District village in England led to the commercial production of what would become the least inexpensive — yet must-have — item on modern desktops. Perhaps the instrument’s continuity as a stationery item was never in doubt. But when the mobile…

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Loneliness May Run In Families

Loneliness is linked to poor physical and mental health, and a new study of more than 10,000 people has found that the risk for feeling lonely is at least partially due to genetics. Genetic risk for loneliness is also associated with neuroticism — long-term negative emotional state — and depressive symptoms, said the study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology. “For two people with the same number of close friends and family, one might see their social structure as adequate while the other doesn’t,” said lead researcher Abraham Palmer, Professor of…

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Made in Bangla pills help plan families in Assam border district

Contraceptive pills from Bangladesh are being smuggled in large quantity to Assam’s Dhubri district which is located close to the international border. Dhubri, like many other areas in the country which share a border with Bangladesh, has long been a haven for smuggled products including food items, clothes, accessories and medicines. Now, this includes an oral contraceptive pill called ‘sukhi’. Bangladesh, which has a robust family-planning programme, distributes ‘sukhi’ pills for free which have also made their way across the border to Dhubri. “As far as I know, ‘sukhi’ has…

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