2018 Child Abduction Conference

1 King’s Bench Walk is again running a child abduction conference in London early next year.  There is no programme as yet but places can be booked here.  I have arranged to go, for what will be the 4th year running, and will post about it afterwards.

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Message for Hugo – 6 years on…

Hello Hugo
In London it has just turned midnight on 20 November 2017.
We last saw each other at an airport 6 years ago today.  I, of course, don’t expect you to remember – how could I as you were still a toddler.  The date, however, shall remain with me, as your loving father, forever.
The date coincides with two very different anniversaries.  In the UK the Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their wedding anniversary today (their 70th).  November 20 also marks the anniversary of the signing in New York in 1989 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (itself signed on the 30th anniversary of adopting of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on 20 November 1959).  The 1989 Convention came into force the following year and included the following provisions:
A child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents. 
Article 10, sub section 2. 
States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad.
Article 11, sub section 1.
These are but two provisions that can be said to relate to us but, as our experience has shown these 6 years, the reality that meets these words is very different.
Earlier this year also saw the passing, on 12 May 2017, of exactly 2,000 days from when I last saw you.
As I did last year, I will leave work early later today to visit the spot at the airport where I last saw you at the time when I last saw you. Also today, as it’s your 9th birthday in 8 days’ time, I will go to the Post Office to send you your birthday package.  I will post here again on your birthday, as I always do, and also later today with a more general update about the blog.
I hope and pray that in a year’s time this will all have changed.  For now, though, please remember that there is not a moment when I am not thinking about you, my beloved and now not so little boy.  May God bless, protect and watch over you this day and all days.
Daddy

Heavy rain in your prefecture this summer

Hello Hugo

I was concerned to read about the bad weather in Hiroshima today, as documented in the article below.  I hope that you are fine.  In London, we are gearing up to a further heatwave following on from the last one that set records.  Hope that you can see that I am always looking out for you, whatever the distance.

The Japan Times

Man dies in Hiroshima Prefecture, children missing in Fukuoka after heavy rain hits west

KYODO, STAFF REPORT

One person died after being swept away by a swollen river and six people, including some children, have been reported missing after heavy rain hit western Japan on Wednesday, officials said.

More than 60,000 residents of Hiroshima and Shimane prefectures were temporarily advised to evacuate.

In Fukuoka Prefecture, six people are feared to have been buried in mud or swept away in swollen rivers in the city of Asakura and Uki, local police said Wednesday evening, adding that the missing include children.

In Hiroshima, a 93-year-old man was found dead in a river in the city’s Asakita Ward. He is believed to have been swept away when water levels rose due to torrential rain that pummeled the two prefectures earlier.

Another man in his 60s suffered a minor injury after he was hit by a landslide in Masuda, Shimane Prefecture while he was evacuating, police said.

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instructed relevant ministries and agencies to grasp the situation and come up with quick measures to prevent further damage in the affected regions.

The city of Hamada in Shimane, which faces the Sea of Japan, saw hourly precipitation of over 80 mm Wednesday morning, as a seasonal rain front brought in moist air from the East China Sea and caused a strip of storm clouds to develop, the Meteorological Agency said.

The agency issued an emergency warning for heavy rain over parts of Shimane Prefecture on Wednesday morning.

“(Shimane) is seeing really heavy rain like it has never seen before,” an agency official said at a news conference held at 7 a.m. Wednesday. “This is an extraordinary situation in which serious crises are approaching. Some disasters, such as landslides and floods, may already be occurring.”

The emergency warning — issued in the cities of Hamada and Masuda and the towns of Onan and Tsuwano — was lifted before noon.

The prefectural governments issued evacuation orders and advisories Wednesday to a total of 28,000 residents in 13,000 households in Hamada, Masuda and Onan, and 36,000 residents in 16,000 households in five municipalities in Hiroshima Prefecture, including the city of Akitakata.

West Japan Railway Co. said the JR Sanin Line suspended operations Wednesday morning between Hamada and Masuda stations as sediment under the rails was found running off at two locations.

Service on the JR Sanko Line, which connects the cities of Miyoshi and Gotsu in Hiroshima Prefecture, was also suspended.

Source:  “Man dies in Hiroshima Prefecture, children missing in Fukuoka after heavy rain hits west”, The Japan Times, 5 July 2017

UK heatwave

Hello Hugo

Hope you are keeping well.

As the Telegraph article below relates, today was the hottest day in June since 1976 – the year before I was born.  It certainly felt it.  Ironically, the peak was recorded at Heathrow, the location where you last set foot in the UK in 2011.

The heat this week has been oppressive and reminds me of when I worked in Japan:  in the summer months, when walking to the station in the mornings, my shirt would be soaked through with sweat.  Similar experiences in London this week.

I imagine that the weather is similarly oppressive in Hiroshima so hope that you are coping with it better than I would be.

It would be great to hear from you some time…

 

The Telegraph

UK Weather: barristers remove wigs and gowns as Britain sizzles in hottest June day since 1976

Britain enjoyed the hottest June day for 40 years 
Britain enjoyed the hottest June day for 40 years  CREDIT: AMER GHAZZAL / BARCROFT IMAGES

Barristers and judges were allowed to ditch their traditional gowns and wigs and school sent pupils home as Britain experience the hottest day for 40 years yesterday.

Temperatures soared above 34C as the UK saw its hottest June day since 1976, the Met Office confirmed.

Heathrow in west London had recorded temperatures of 94.1F (34.5C) by 4pm, the highest for June since the 35.6C (96F) recorded in Southampton on June 28 1976.

Sweltering temperatures inside Croydon Crown Court forced Judge Deborah Charles to allow counsel to leave their heavy black gowns and horse-hair wigs to one side as they addressed a jury in the opening of a case.

Andover Church of England Primary School, Hants, closed its doors at 11.30am yesterday morning because of the increased heat.

Wednesday saw the hottest summer solstice on record as temperatures rose above 86F (30C) for the fifth consecutive day in a row.

A lady sunbathes as they enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Brighton, East Sussex
A lady sunbathes as they enjoy the hot weather on the beach in Brighton, East SussexCREDIT: GARETH FULLER PA 

But the hottest prolonged spell in June since the drought summer of 1976 is set to come to an end, as a cold front swept across the UK overnightt

There are also weather warnings in place for Wednesday afternoon and evening, with heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast for parts of southern Scotland, northern England, north Wales and the Midlands.

The Met Office warned of the potential for torrential downpours, frequent lightning, very large hailstones and strong gusts of wind, which could lead to localised flooding and temporary disruption of power supplies.

Chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: “The high pressure that has dominated our weather of late is starting to move away, allowing fresher air in from the west.

“A cold front that will pass through the UK will mark an end to the hot spell of weather in the south and bring cloudier skies and lower temperatures.”

 Large crowds of sun seekers pack Brighton beach to cool off on scorching day
 Large crowds of sun seekers pack Brighton beach to cool off on scorching day CREDIT: BARCROFT MEDIA

The sweltering temperatures have seen “unprecedented demand” for ambulance services in London, with people fainting, collapsing and becoming unconscious in the heat.

Patients calling for non-emergencies are likely to wait four hours for an ambulance, London Ambulance Service warned.

On Monday, London Ambulance Service call handlers answered 6,613 emergency calls, compared with 4,695 the week before – a 41 per cent increase – and the service warned this was expected to continue while the heatwave lasted.

Peter McKenna, deputy director of operations, said: “Our crews are extremely busy.

“On Monday we attended 20 per cent more seriously ill and injured patients than the same day last week and we’ve also been involved in a number of high-profile major incidents.”

Medical director Dr Fenella Wrigley said: “We see an increase in calls because people can forget to stay hydrated and the heat can exacerbate heart and breathing conditions.

“We are getting calls from people who do not need an ambulance – for minor sunburn, heat rash, hayfever.

“These can be dealt with by a pharmacist. If you call us for something minor, you may experience a long wait.”

Youngsters were urged not to go swimming in lakes, rivers and reservoirs during the hot weather, following the deaths of two teenagers in separate incidents.

A 16-year-old boy died at a reservoir in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Monday, while a 15-year-old boy died after going into a lake with friends in the Pelsall area of the Black Country, in the West Midlands, on Tuesday evening.

West Midlands Fire Service’s area commander Ben Brook, said: “We absolutely understand the temptation to swim, have fun and cool down during the heatwave, but we are asking people not to.

“It simply isn’t worth the risk nor the heartbreak for all involved when things go wrong.”

A pensioner also drowned off the Sussex coast on Monday.

Thousands of sun-worshippers witnessed a spectacular dawn as they gathered at Stonehenge for the summer solstice.

Approximately 13,000 people descended on the neolithic monument in Wiltshire to watch the sun rise at 4.52am – up from 12,000 last year.

Source:  “UK weather:  barristers remove wigs and gowns as Britain sizzles in hottest June day since 1976”, The Telegraph, 21 June 2017