Al Jazeera

UK alert over summer spike in forced marriages

London, United Kingdom – British authorities fear that hundreds of teenage girls travelling from the UK during the current school holidays risk being forced into family-arranged marriages, with one welfare charity urging potential victims to conceal a metal spoon in their underwear to alert airport security staff to their plight.

The airport offers a last chance for those who fear they are being taken abroad to be married to raise their concerns.

The airport offers a last chance for those who fear they are being taken abroad to be married to raise their concerns.

The UK government’s Forced Marriage Unit earlier this month put welfare services and airports on alert after dealing with 400 cases between June and August last year. Officials have also distributed information cards urging those with concerns to seek help or call a confidential helpline.

But Karma Nirvana, a charity that supports victims of forced marriage, said it had advised some girls who suspect they are being taken abroad to be married to use a hidden spoon to set off airport scanners, as a last-ditch way to seek help and avoid boarding a plane with family members.

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Al Jazeera

Protesters camp out against UK fracking

Balcombe, United Kingdom – It is a good day to test the defences of the protest camp that has sprung up on the outskirts of this southern English village, or the flood defences at least.

fracking

Protesters were outnumbered by police as a lorry was escorted onto the site [Simon Hooper]

Rain lashes down on the small cluster of tents gathered around a police-guarded entrance in the Sussex countryside that has become the unlikely frontline in Britain’s battle over fracking.

Protesters and police have confronted each other daily since last Thursday after energy company Cuadrilla was granted a licence to conduct exploratory drilling for oil, with activists attempting to block the road to stop lorries getting through the gates.

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