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Striptease clothing drive enrages local charities

Web campaign encourages young people to post videos.

A new national web campaign that encourages young people to post strip-tease videos of themselves as a way of raising clothing donations for homeless youths has quickly run into a firestorm of protest from some of the groups it is supposed to benefit.

A national network that serves homeless youth said Saturday it is reconsidering the controversial campaign after Catholic Charities and other outraged groups in Minnesota and across the country complained that the effort is inappropriate and exploits young people.

Virgin Mobile, one of the largest cellphone companies in the country, and the National Network For Youth (NN4Y), a Washington, D.C., lobbying group for more than 150 organizations that help homeless youth, decided last week to begin testing the edgy campaign.

They asked young people to post videos of themselves stripping to music. In exchange, clothing companies would provide donations of new clothes based on the number of times the videos were viewed.

Called "Strip2Clothe," the campaign carries the tagline, "You take off yours, we donate ours."

No full nudity was permitted, but organizers were hopeful the videos would still attract attention.

They did.

"Strip2Clothe" has sparked outrage among NN4Y's own members. Some groups say they were never consulted about the concept and are appalled by the idea of young people stripping as a means to get clothes for other young people. The organizations' names have since been taken off the site.

"It was a shock to everybody," said Trudee Able-Peterson, coordinator of outreach services at StreetWorks, a Twin Cities collaborative of outreach programs. "This is the message we send kids? That my granddaughter, who's 17, should strip to provide clothes for other kids?"

Rebecca Lentz, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities, called it "distasteful and inappropriate and exploitative. We never authorized this nor were we ever approached to be involved."

Catholic Charities is one of Minnesota's biggest charities and runs Hope Street, a Minneapolis shelter for those aged 16-21.

The concept is especially jarring, Lentz said, considering that many kids on the street find themselves sexually exploited within a day or two of becoming homeless.

Victoria Wagner, chief executive of NN4Y, said the campaign has so far been limited and is being re-evaluated.

"It's unfortunate it's become so explosive," Wagner said. NN4Y is discussing the issue with Virgin Mobile and expects to have a resolution by Tuesday.

Virgin Mobile, which said it had established "good taste" criteria to keep videos "fun but not salacious," was more defiant.

"[We] believe that promotion [of the site] will result in thousands of new clothes being provided for those in need," spokeswoman Jayne Wallace said in a letter to the NN4Y dated July 9, which urged members to support the campaign.

Virgin couldn't be reached for comment Saturday.

According to a recent survey on homelessness, there are about 1,850 homeless young adults under 21 on any given night in Minnesota. About 14 percent of those had exchanged sex for food or clothing or other essentials, according to the October 2006 report by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation in St. Paul.

Catholic Charities said it didn't know about "Strip2Clothe" until a staff member saw the organization's name on the website Tuesday.

At least nine Minnesota-based charities are part of NN4Y, including the McKnight Foundation, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, The Bridge for Youth and Ain Dah Ung Shelter Our Home.

The idea for "Strip2Clothe" came after a sucessful Virgin Mobile campaign called "TXT2Clothe," where an item of new clothing for a homeless kid was donated for each text message sent.

As of Saturday, there were 20 videos uploaded on the "Strip2Clothe" site, which the site claims had generated a total of 51,291 donations.

The top-viewed video shows a man from the waist down shielding himself with drawings of shorts and various undergarments. The video has triggered 327 donations, the site said.

The only "apparel partner" listed so far is American Eagle Outfitters, a national retailer of jeans, T-shirts and accessories targeting the 15- to 25-year-old market. It has several stores in Minnesota.

Do homeless shelters need more clothes?

At the Bridge for Youth, one of 161 groups and individuals that have signed a petition against the campaign, workers hand out clothing, but it's not a top priority, said program director Ann Gaasch.

"There is a need for clothing," Gaasch said, "but what youth need more than clothing is probably shelter and safety."

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ǝlƃooƃ noʎ ʞɔnɟ

ǝlƃooƃ noʎ ʞɔnɟ

I have just noticed that for the past 2 hours the most searched keyword term on google was: "ǝlƃooƃ noʎ ʞɔnɟ".

Although i couldn't find out why this was the case, if i do find out i'll keep you posted...

I thought it was a bit wacky :)

Death Crash Teens

Death crash teens: Police seized their holiday car

So they squeezed into a pal's

Six young friends killed in a horrific road crash had crammed into a car because police had seized one they were using.

Four of the crash victims were left stranded when police impounded the original vehicle because it was not insured.

So in desperation they phoned good Samaritan Richard Bolton, who drove from Leicester with pal Teela Chamberlain to pick up the group, who had been on holiday in Skegness.

But as they headed back to Leicester in the early hours of Thursday morning, Richard's Mondeo smashed into a 38-ton lorry.

All six died instantly in the crash on the A607, near Melton Mowbray, Leicester.

Dad-of-two Richard, 23, died at the wheel with Teela, 19, in the front seat. She had a five-month-old baby son called Tai.

In the back were Christopher Worrad, 18, and girlfriend Carly Ann Arrindell, 18, and couple Emily Rose Curnock, 18, and Luke Whittle, 19. All the victims were from Leicester.

Yesterday Emily's dad Dave said he received a call from her saying not to worry as the group had sorted out a lift home.

And he spoke of his anger at the police decision to impound the car and not tell the teens' families. He said: "If they had rung us and said, 'Your kids are at the roadside, come and pick them up,' I'd have been there like a shot.

"But I'd had a phone call from Emily saying: 'It's all right, Dad, we can sort it out.'

"The last thing she said to me was, 'I want to come home'. Now she's coming home in a body bag. It's a silly waste of life."

It emerged last night that Lincolnshire Police seized a Vauxhall Vectra car belonging to Christopher Worrad on Tuesday as part of routine patrols.

A police spokesman said: "Following inquiries by the officers at the scene, it was confirmed that the man was not insured to drive the vehicle. It was seized and taken to a secure compound."

Tributes were paid by the heartbroken relatives of the victims yesterday. Alison Foster said of her son Richard:

"He was the one that everyone turned to if they had a problem. His friends needed a lift and he wanted to help."

Christopher's parents Sam and Garry said: "He was a very caring person." And Carly Ann's mum Tina said: "Carly had so much to live for. She was just starting out."

Hundreds of messages were also left online on Facebook and Bebo and memorial website gonetoosoon. Emily's sister Gina wrote: "Your spirit will remain and live on in all of us."

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Day Two Of The Royal International Air Tattoo At RAF Fairford Cancelled

Second day of air show cancelled

Crowd with umbrellas
Heavy rain left the airfield and car parks waterlogged

Day two of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford has been cancelled, organisers have said.

For the first time in 38 years both days of the event have been called off after heavy rain left the airfield and car parks waterlogged.

Hundreds of planes and up to 150,000 people were expected to attend the event in Gloucestershire.

The tattoo is staged in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust, a charity set up in 2005.

A statement from the organisers said: "The decision was taken following lengthy discussions between the organisers, police and other safety services.

At least we got to see the Raptor fly and that was awesome
Steve Roden
"It was based on concerns for our visitors and the disappointing conclusion was that we could not fully safeguard them."

Air Tattoo director Tim Prince said: "We have been working around the clock to improve the conditions on the airfield and in the car parks but unfortunately we have run out of time.

"Many people will be desperately disappointed but I would like to assure them that we have tried everything possible within the time available.

"Having worked towards this air show for the past 12 months, my team at the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises and our band of 3,000 enthusiastic and loyal volunteers share the huge sense of frustration."

Plane enthusiasts Steve Roden, 52, and his wife Leslie, from Haughley in Suffolk, have been camped at the site since Tuesday.

Mr Roden said they heard the announcement over the site radio and from their tent they could see the beer tent where all the heads dropped.

"It just brings tears to my eyes," he said.

"We just hope we can get onto our stand on Monday to watch them all leave."

'Deep regret'

The weather forecast for Sunday is dry with bright sunny spells, but downpours earlier in the week have left the car park ground with deep ruts of mud.

Mr Roden said: "At least we got to see the Raptor fly and that was awesome so I suppose we'll keep smiling and look forward to next year."

The senior police commander for the Air Tattoo, Supt Tony Godwin, said: "It is with deep regret that the decision has been made to cancel the Royal International Air Tattoo on both days.

"This decision was not made lightly. It was made in the interest of those visiting or working at the event."

People have been asked not to travel to RAF Fairford on Sunday.

The Air Tattoo has set up a helpline advising customers how to claim ticket refunds as this cannot be done from the base itself.

Details of ticket refunds are available from the website or people can call the Air Tattoo Helpline on 01285 713300.

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Bishop Supports Gay Row Boycott

Bishop Supports Gay Row Boycott

A leading Church of Ireland bishop may boycott Communion at the Lambeth Conference in solidarity with those who are refusing to attend.

Bishop Harold Miller
The bishop may not take communion at Lambeth

A quarter of the 880 bishops invited have refused to attend the worldwide Anglican bishops' conference.

Their refusal is a protest at the presence of church-leaders who ordained gay bishop in the US in 2003.

Bishop Harold Millar said: "You have to ask questions about a conference which they feel they can't participate in."

He went on to say that he is still considering whether to participate in communion at the conference.

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Knife Crime: Man Dies After Bolton Pub Stabbing

Knife Crime: Man Dies After Bolton Pub StabbingA man in his 30s was stabbed to death in a pub in Bolton early today, becoming the third victim of knife crime in the region in the past 48 hours.

He was found at the Pepper Alley pub in Bolton shortly before 1am and died in hospital from his injuries. A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Elsewhere today, a 22-year-old man was in a serious condition after he was found by police with multiple stab wounds at a campsite at the T in the Park music festival in Kinross-shire, central Scotland.

A police spokesman said officers were seeking two men who were likely to have had bloodstained clothing.

The latest violence comes as the government was beginning to outline a series of new measures to try and combat knife crime. At least nine people have been killed with knives in the past week.

The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, announced today that young offenders caught with a knife are to be forced to meet stabbing victims in an attempt to underline the seriousness of carrying a weapon. This would include visits to A&E wards where people are being treated for knife wounds, meetings with the families of stabbing victims and prison visits to offenders jailed for knife offences.

The Metropolitan police said last week that a 75-strong unit would be dedicated to tackling knife crime. The number of teenagers to die violently in the capital since the beginning of the year rose to 20 this week.

The latest teenage victim in the capital, Melvin Bryan, 18, was killed after being wounded in the neck and chest during a confrontation in a bedsit in Edmonton, north London, on Thursday.

Another victim named yesterday was Yusufu Miiro, a 20-year-old student from Stratford. He was fatally stabbed in the head and chest as he walked up a stairwell towards a friend's flat in St David's Court, Walthamstow, north-east London.

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