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British foster parents lose children because of membership in anti-immigrant party

The U.K. Independence Party may espouse some extreme positions -- some of its elected members have stated their belief that the EU is exporting a "Marxist revolution" to Britain -- but should membership in the party disqualify parents from adopting foster children? That's what recently happened in the city of Rotherham:

The foster parents say "no discussions" took place between them and the council prior to the children's removal.

The children - who are European migrants - were removed by social workers who accused the unnamed couple of belonging to a "racist party".

Council leader Roger Stone said it was launching an immediate investigation.

The BBC understands that the three children are all under 10 and one is a baby.

Council leader Roger Stone said it was launching an immediate investigation

 

The UKIP favors a five-year freeze on immigration, cuts to benefits for new arrivals, and an end to state-sponsored efforts to promote multiculturalism, so it is perhaps a little surprising that members of the party would be interested in adopting non-British children..

That said, the parents claim to have been sensitive to their children's needs -- finding a religious school for one of them, and encouraging them to speak their native language and there's no evidence -- at least from the media coverage so far -- that the children were mistreated in any way.

The case is a bit reminiscent of last year's story of a New Jersey couple who lost custody of their (biological) children, Adolf Hitler Campbell, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell. Of course, in that case there were other causes for concern for the children's welfare other than the names, and the UKIP -- whatever you think of their positions -- are certainly not Nazis: they have 12 seats in the European Parliament.

There seems to be pretty widespread agreement that this was serious overreach on the council's part and the British education secretary has called the children's removal "indefensible".

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Gas tanker attempts winter Arctic crossing

You may have seen that the 2012 edition of FP's "Stories You Missed" is now online. Go look at it!

In addition to being issues that were undercovered in the past year, the list is also intended to highlight some big stories that may become bigger issues in the year to come. For instance, back in 2009, the list was highlighted by the first commerical ships to travel the northeast passage through the Arctic from East Asia to Western Europe. Today, I see, the BBC is reporting that a natural gas tanker is making the trip, and in mid-winter no less:

The carrier, Ob River, left Norway in November and has sailed north of Russia on its way to Japan.

The specially equipped tanker is due to arrive in early December and will shave 20 days off the regular journey.

The owners say that changing climate conditions and a volatile gas market make the Arctic transit profitable.

This year's Stories You Missed list also revisits this Arctic to look at how the energy boom is impacting the region's indigenous population.

NINA LARSON/AFP/Getty Images