BREAKING NEWS : CHRISTMAS MUGGLE MASSACRE
DECEMBER, 2014; LONDON, ENGLAND – This Just In : Breaking news from the Christmas Muggle massacre that happened on December 1st. It seems a deranged Azkaban escapee found his way into a Muggle shopping center and murdered a Muggle Santa and a few children with the unspeakable curse. Due to legal liabilities I am not allowed to release the name of the prisoner involved.
Said prisoner was in Azkaban for a total of fifteen years for crimes against Wizards and Muggles alike, focusing mostly on unspeakable curses aimed toward children of wealthy families and Muggles. He was serving a life sentence when he gave himself an injury and was escorted to St. Mungo’s for treatment. He managed to slip out of his room, steal one of the nurses' wands and escape into Muggle London unnoticed until arriving at the Muggle shopping center. He was confronted and captured by Aurors on screen. The Azkaban escapee was returned to his cell and subjected to a Dementor's Kiss.
The Muggles who were on the scene all had their memories wiped of the incident and a fake story of a falling display was fabricated to explain the childrens' death. The Muggle minister has been informed of this grave tragedy and the people are taking the time to mourn. There is no word yet on the names of the children or man murdered but we do have knowledge that all three children were very young.
An interview with the murderer gave this reporter some grimly disturbing news. "Those filthy Muggles deserved it, wish I would have gotten more of them down before I was locked away." He looked arrogant, even surrounded by dementors.
I was shocked and appalled. "But they're human beings, and you shot them down, children, in a display featuring Santa no less. Don't you feel any regret?"
"Only that I didn’t get more of them." His grin was sickening.
I personally am sickened deeply by this action.
Given the spirit of the holiday I urge you, dearest reader, to look upon those who are different, be it Muggle or nationality, with kindness.
HOMICIDE : AN UNFILTERED LOOK AT CRIMES
DECEMBER, 2014; LONDON, ENGLAND - A recent study conducted by Muggle lawmakers and the police task force revealed some very alarming details about the state of crime in London and Wales. According to the study, a crime is being committed in London and Wales every five seconds.
By Lorraine Kingston
Metropolitan Commissioner Sir John Stevens said the criminal justice system was "creaking" under its workload, and placed the blame firmly at the door of the criminal courts. The "snapshot" of the criminal justice system on May 1st this year showed some startling statistics - including that police officers spend nearly 22,000 hours a day processing arrests.
More than 16,500 crimes were reported in England and Wales while the Probation Service has 200,000 cases active on any given day, it said. However, there was a large gap between the number of crimes reported and the number of arrests made by officers. The Metropolitan Police figures showed officers arrested four people a minute in the 43 forces in England and Wales.
Sir John presented the findings at New Scotland Yard as a snapshot of a "typical day", in advance of a major international conference on crime next week. But the Home Office immediately refuted the claim, insisting the research was "nothing more than a snapshot of a single, untypical, day".
Asked if publishing the figures risked antagonising Home Secretary David Blunkett - who has called for crime statistics to be issued less frequently to reduce fear of crime - Sir John said, "I think that the fact there is a crime every five seconds and that there is an arrest every 15 seconds is something that is there for public debate.”
The research showed police in England and Wales make 5,447 arrests on a "typical day", while the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has 7,500 cases in court and Victim Support receives 3,000 new cases.
It added that 14% of people arrested each day are first time offenders, 3,800 case files are handed to the CPS, probation officers supervise 30,000 hours of unpaid work under community punishments and 560 people are sent to jail.
Of the 5,447 people arrested in England and Wales on the day, 2,395 were charged (44%), 398 were cautioned, 292 were formally warned or reprimanded, 1,502 were bailed to return another day and 814 were released with no further action.
A quarter of the 3,000 people referred to victim support each day were victims of violent crime, including rape and other sexual offences, while 143 had suffered domestic violence, and 40 were victims of a racial crime. A further 30% had been burgled.
In truth, the criminal justice system needs reform.
Shadow home secretary Oliver Letwin said the figures were "dreadful", adding, "This Government has failed to get crime under control nor will they until we get the police back on to our streets as they have done in New York."
ECONOMY: PROSPEROUS MARKET
DECEMBER, 2014; LONDON, ENGLAND – Surprisingly, it would appear the the economy is doing much better this year than it has in the past. There are many bright signs which indicate that this might be true. For one thing, the price of gas is now much lower than it has been for several years now. I think it's been at least ten years, maybe even longer than that, since I have seen prices this low at the pumps. The only downside I see to this is that it is sure to encourage people who have been taking public transportation to save money to go back to their cars and clog the roadways, thus contributing to road rage and the pollution of the environment. I guess there are downsides to everything, but I still regard this price drop as a positive indication that the economy is improving.
By Samantha Bradley
We have just had Black Friday here in the States which was closely followed by Cyber Monday. It seems as though the stores are starting their sales earlier and earlier, with many sales beginning as early as Thanksgiving itself. By all indications, the markets were swamped with shoppers looking for bargains on seasonal gifts (I myself choose to avoid this type of sale like the plague).
Perhaps the best indicator in a positive turn in the economy, however, is the fact that the job market is growing by leaps and bounds. Things looked dismal just five years ago. In fact, many people believed we were on the verge of the next Great Depression. Thankfully, it appears as though we have been able to dodge that bullet and will be able to celebrate the holidays with the knowledge that are economic future is looking bright.
Here's to an even more prosperous and successful new year to all of us!
REGIONALS: TIME TO VISIT SCOTLAND
Since a new year is coming, we are proud to present an article on Scottish tourism this time around. Scotland is a beautiful country, one I am certain you will enjoy any time of year. As you will see, there is always something going on.
By Samantha Bradley
Any time is a great time to visit Scotland, as there's always something going on. Winter is no exception, but remember that there are only about eight hours of full daylight in January in the U.K. during this time and somewhat less in Scotland. This could limit outdoor exploration and road touring, but there is plenty of indoor and urban entertainment for you to enjoy. For those of you who are thinking of visiting during the winter months, I will present a few tantalizing highlights.
Upcoming events for the month of January include Edinburgh's New Year's celebration, Hogmanay. This is an epic event, one you should definitely consider experiencing in this lifetime. It is a three to four-day long New Year's party which kicks off with a dramatic torchlight procession and fire festival and continues with spectacle and celebration for everyone in the family. There is even room for the top dog! (Dogmanay). This is the biggest annual festival in Scotland and it is celebrated all over the country, but Edinburgh's party is the biggest and brightest of all!
If you are in Scotland during the last Tuesday in January, then you will have no excuse to miss Europe's largest fire festival and Shetland's best excuse for a 24 hour Viking party - Helly Aa! The event begins early in the day and continues far into the night, so be ready! You will find it in Lerwick, which is the main port of the Shetland Islands (where the ponies are bred).
Chinese New Year is always something to look forward to, and you will find great parties to celebrate the occasion all over the U.K. Be sure to check them out before you leave.
Enjoy your time in Scotland. I'm sure you will find it an unforgettable experience and want to return again and again!
INTERNATIONAL : LOW TECH SOLUTION
DECEMBER, 2014; BANGLADESH – Bangladeshi villagers have used pots, pans and sponges to help clear thousands of litres of oil, three days after it spilled into a nature reserve. The oil spilled after a tanker carrying 350,000 collided with another vessel, spreading a sheen across 60 km of waterways. Villagers are helping out by scooping oil from rivers and cleaning birds covered in black liquid in the Sundarbans area.
The Sunderbans is a Unesco heritage site, home to many rare species. The oil leaked into the river at a sanctuary for rare dolphins.Environmentalists have expressed concern that the impact on wildlife could be disastrous. But government officials say they still cannot give an assessment of the likely damage.
The UN on Thursday called for a complete ban on all commercial vessels using the waterways of the Sunderbans. The Bangladeshi navy initially sent four ships to deal with the spill, and planned to use chemicals to disperse the oil. But it was unclear whether the chemicals could be used, amid fears they could cause further damage.
The tanker was reportedly on its way to deliver the oil to a power plant in Gopalganj when it was struck by another vessel. The Sunderbans, a Unesco world heritage site, is a vast river delta on the northern shore of the Bay of Bengal. Its mangroves and rivers are home to a vast array of plant and animal life, much of it unique to the region. The government declared areas in the southern Sunderbans to be a dolphin sanctuary in 2011, after research suggested some 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins lived in the area.
The officials have been criticised for their lack of urgency in handling the oil spill. Villagers were forced to take action since many depend on the river to provide their daily food supply as well as their source of income. Both male and female, young and old, can be seen by the riverbank trying to soak up the black sleet with washcloth as well as sponges.
POLITICS: CHRISTMAS BREAK
The entire wizarding world is abuzz with preparations for the holiday season. The Ministry of Magic has added to the buzz by detailing its plan for this December. In a recently released statement, the Minister has said that all plans for events and celebrations have been laid out and would be informed to us in full detail by his staff.
The highlight of the statement was the acceptance of the Minister to visit several European countries throughout December. "Our European friends have been our greatest allies in times of need and it would give me immense pleasure to share and spread joy with them." The Minister's schedule includes visits to several countries such as France, Belgium, Spain and Italy. The delegation is said to include a large number of senior officials and support staff. Security has also been tightened. It's been informed to us by sources that at least 3 aurors are said to join the security team in addition to those already present.
The preparations are no less grand back home. The headquarters of the Ministry is already flowing with decorations and the festive spirit is high. "I can't wait for the celebrations to start in full swing. Everything seems so exciting," said Laura Smith, who works for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
It has been rumoured that decorators from Italy have been called on special assignments to transform the Ministry for the holiday celebrations. Although the cost of this hasn't been fully disclosed, several officials have already raised concerns about it. Some have questioned the need for such over-the-top steps. Although the criticism has been raised from the public in general, some officials have allowed themselves to be quoted openly.
"I understand that it's important to invest a fair amount in celebrations, but there's no need to take such extensive steps. The funds could be used in a much more productive way for more serious concerns," said James Garden, a top Ministry official.
However, some have welcomed the move and say they don't see what the fuss is all about. "They just want to point fingers at the Minster and criticise him. The accusations have more to do with attempting to show the Minister in a bad light rather than their apprehension about the direction of flow of funds," said Ira Morris, another Ministry official.
Despite all the bad energy flowing around, I sincerely wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas and an unforgettable holiday season.
SPORTS SECTION: HEX DUELING
This past month we’ve all been on the edge of our seats watching the dueling matches that happened between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. They were all tense duels and even the audience made sure to cheer for their favorite team.
The first match was between Merri Patil and Artemis Eve. With Merri Patil being the first to lose health and then being subbed by Damiana soon after. Luck was still on Artemis Eve'’s side, as the shield held and Artemis Eve was able to counter-attack. The end result was that Ravenclaw walked away with a win after round three!
The second match was between Little_dragon and Werdna the Imp. With Little_dragon taking the first hit, Hufflepuff sure seemed to be off to a rough start. Not too much later, Little_dragon was subbed out for Ccswimmer57 to show Ravenclaw what he could do. Not even a new duelist brought Hufflepuff luck. Ccswimmer57 took another big hit. When it was almost sure that round three would be the end of the duel, Hufflepuff was able to scrape by and earn another chance at defeating Ravenclaw. Werdna the Imp was subbed out and replaced by Vie Noblefury. For the final round, right out of nowhere, Ccswimmer57 was able to take the win in round four!
The third match was between The_Sharpie_Fairy and BLMB. Unlike the other matches, this one only ended up being one round long. Although, a very close ending, BLMB came out on top with just five health points left, defeating The_Sharpie_Fairy with Aqua Eructo.
The fourth and final match was between Raventhefree and Samantha Bradley. Unlike match three, this match did not seem like it would end after round one. But to Ravenclaw’'s dismay Raventhefree ended up drowning, just like all the others have. Although Samantha Bradley did not dodge the offensive attacks thrown her way Aqua Eructo conquered yet again, and depleted Raventhefree's health to zero. I wonder if they need some more water in the Great Hall?
Hufflepuff came out of this set of matches with three winners, while Ravenclaw came out with one win. Congratulations to both teams on their wins. It isn'’t exactly a walk in the park to come out with a win in this game of dueling. We look forward to the next set that is sure to bring some interesting duels. We’ll see you next month with some more interesting sports news!
HEX REPORT : CHRISTMAS ON HEX
December is a month all HEXians wait with baited breath. Each year the site's staff manages to come up with awesome ideas and great surprises for all of us, and this year is no exception! HEXmas this year started with a bang with the introduction of wonderful REs and site activities.
The festivities began with the Stocking Stuffers! The stocking stuffers were a big hit last year, and now, they have returned with a splash! Everyone will be able to empty their stockings and open their gifts from December 25th to December 31st!
Next, we also see the return of the HEXmas Lottery! There are some big rares up for grabs this time round. Users have been given numerous ways to earn these exclusive HEXmas lottery tickets! This special lottery will go on for the entire month, with a drawing for all of the prizes to take place on January 1st.
Santa Daily Money has also made a comeback! Users should be on a lookout for a higher Daily Money amount since Santa is feeling rather generous this year! After all, we need all the galleons we can get to buy our friends lots of presents!
Next, came three more surprises! Users now can own their very own Christmas tree! All they have to do is visit the Christmas tree farm and pick their favourite tree. These beautiful trees will then show up on their profile page, and any presents they receive via the gift wrapping service will be shown under the tree!
Speaking of which, Fred’s Holiday Store is also offering a gift wrapping service! This service is rather special, where you can add up to fifty presents at a time! They also have some wonderful new gift wrap choices for you to choose from!
After much joy, it’s time to bring in the mischief! The site staff then introduced two wonderful, new prank items that can be obtained by random events! Be on the lookout for the following items:
Winky's Punch - We're wondering if anyone should be drinking this?
Singing Toad - We hear they can get quite annoying after a while.
Christmas is after all the time for sharing! Why not do that over Christmas Snowman Crackers? That’s right, the crackers are back and better than ever! Share it with friends and you have a chance at getting some wonderful rares and galleons!
Now it’s time for some sweets and kisses! Candy Cane Grams are back and come with a redesigned page for them. These grams are also now available in mysteriously anonymous! What better way to stalk your crush and shower them with creepy messages!
Apart from the creepy grams, you also get to kiss your crush with the new mistletoe random event! There are a lot of things that can happen when you get mistletoe. Be sure to try them! You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Next came the blizzard and snowstorms! The snow is here to stay on HEX! We have snowballs and snow forts! So, keep finding those bowls and remember to collect some snow for your arsenal and to fortify your forts!
After all that snow, why not have some eggnog? Ingredients for this very Christmassy drink can be found randomly throughout the site! Share it with a friend and see what kind of precious rares you can obtain! And oh, there’s one with grandpa’s secret ingredients. I had some, hehe... Very – hick – nice!
If you have been itching to plant your own poinsettia for Christmas, now is your chance! Hagrid is opening his hut to help you with all your planting needs! What are you waiting for? Go buy the supplies now!
With a few weeks left until Christmas, you can bet there will be more interesting and fun stuff to appear on HEX! So stay tuned, and from all of us at the Daily Prophet, Merry Christmas!
Hello, everybody! It's me giving advice again. As usual, you guys ask a question and I'll answer them to the best that I can. Fair warning; not all my advice is a guaranteed success, so follow it with caution. Carry on, dear readers!
Dear Daily Prophet,
What do you do when your little niece or grand niece has no end to her requests for gifts? I don't want to hurt her, but seriously?! I am living on a pension from St. Mungo's!
~ Well-intentioned but Unwise
Hello there, Well-Intentioned but Unwise!
I see how that can be a problem. I know full well just how much little kids can keep wanting for presents and gifts at this time of the year... or just request for gifts in general cause they enjoy things to play with. Hm... I'm not sure I can offer much of a solution there, sadly.
Perhaps you can take your niece to a daycare, so that you can stop having her request presents from you. That way, she'd have other people to play with, and there might not necessarily be a need to keep gifting her all the time! Although, there is the problem of taking her home, and her reminding you that you owe her a present... That might not work out too well either...
Perhaps the silent treatment could work? If you don't tell her anything while she's asking for a present, maybe she'll stop asking? Then again, that could also lead to her throwing a tantrum.
Ack, this is hard. I don't really have much in mind! Ah, I know! You could give her the greatest gift she'd ever ask for (like a tent or one of those nice kitchen play sets thing). Perhaps if she has something for her to play with for the long term, she'd forget about wanting to get anything else? (I was going to make the mistake of suggesting that you lock her in with the toys, but I suppose that is never the best solution to anything.)
If worse comes to worse, you may always redirect the problem to your niece's parents. Because what better way to solve your problem than to share or give it to someone else, right?
Best of luck with your niece!
Dear Daily Prophet,
There is this boy I like and I want to ask him out but I just don't know how please help!
~ LOST HEART
Hello there, Lost Heart!
Young love is ever the fickle thing. I know it's hard to ask someone you like out, and the nerves can really get to you. You feel anxious, excited, scared, frightened, and basically a whole lot of other emotions all
mashed into one. It happens, really. It's normal. But I think the only way for you to ask someone out is simply to be yourself.
Sure, you may think that it's a bit plain and lame to just be who you are when asking someone out. For me, though, that's what makes it even more special. You decided you wanted to be yourself, you took it upon yourself to ask and face this boy you like. The fact that you were courageous enough to do that already means you're someone to look forward to. You're honest, and you were yourself. If that wasn't reason for him to take your offer, I don't know what is.
Alternatively, if the boy doesn't want to go out with you then it's not your loss -- it's his. For him to have not agreed to meet and get to know someone like you is something that he'll regret. It's not your loss, it's his. (Also, on the chance that he does do this, feel free to send a message again, and I'll personally give the boy a piece of my mind and my thoughts about him. If you know what
Other than that, though, I have nothing else in mind to help out. I do hope this helps you somewhat, and I hope you manage to ask the boy out! Just be yourself and believe in what you can do, and I think you'll be able to go far.
Dear Daily Prophet,
At school I'm bullied constantly. And I'm always ignored, even when I try to talk to people. Its not super obvious, but I hear snippets all of the time. I don't know why people hate me so much. I've tried to get over it, but all of those nasty comments have brought me down. How can I make myself get happier and how can I be more noticeable and likable around school and at home?
Hello there, Depressed,
It's hard to go through things like that, knowing the people around you aren't too supportive of you. I think it's important to build your own group of people who will be there for you and support you. I know that in a time like this, there are people out there who take advantage of others and bully them one way or another. You should stand up for yourself and face them. By doing that, I think you'll be able to find other people who you share similarities with.
I think what's important in making new friends and wanting to meet new people is to be yourself. I mean, I know that sometimes it may seem like it isn't the best option, but for me, at the end of the day, you can find the people you're meant to be with by being yourself. Sure, it may take some time, and the path might be a little bumpy, but you'll get there.
If in spite of that, it doesn't work out know that it's not your loss -- it's
theirs. And you can always have online friends like us who care about you and
love you all the same.
Take care, all right? I hope things will go well for you.
Dear Daily Prophet,
Christmas songs have been stuck in my head for the past few weeks now. I can't seem to get them out no matter how hard I try. What in the world can I do to solve this? Please, I think I need help.
~ Jingle Bells
Hello there, Jingle Bells!
Sadly, there isn't any advice I can give to you for that. Earth to Jingle Bells, it IS the Christmas season, after all. How in the world can you NOT have Christmas songs stuck in your head? I mean... really?
Okay, fine, perhaps you could try listening to other music to pass your time. Perhaps if you listen to THAT 24/7, your mind will be lifted from all the Christmas songs that keep going through your head. You can try distracting yourself with non-Christmas-themed songs and other activities, so you're not bound to keep having those songs stuck in your head.
At the end of the day though, you can't really escape Christmas songs at a time like this. So unless you find the main perpetrator behind all the songs, you can never rid yourself of the tendency to have these songs stuck in your head. Tough luck, sorry!
Dear Daily Prophet,
I haven't sent Santa Claus my letter yet. Is it too late to try sending it? Will I still be able to receive my gift, even if I send my letter late? Or am I doomed to not receive anything this year? Ah, I need your help!
~ Santa Gifts
Hello there, Santa Gifts!
Just a reminder that this portion of the Daily Prophet is meant for advice, not predictions of the future~ Though I suppose I can give my two cents on your problem.
I think that as long as you send your letter before Christmas, you should be good to go~ Just don't send it on the 24th itself or something, cause that'd be difficult. I think what the question really is would be IF you'll be getting a present.
Think about it. Were you nice this year? Were you not naughty? Did you do enough good deeds for Santa to acknowledge how nice you are? If you think you have, well that's great! If not... well, maybe you should look for someone else to provide you with a nice present for Christmas.
Good luck with that!
AUNT EDNA'S CLEANING COLUMN
My favorite time of the year has arrived. It's a time for celebration and bringing trees into the house and decorating them lavishly with all kinds of beautiful ornaments.What is not to love? Well, I suppose there might be a small problem with the needles that fall onto the rug from the pine tree we bring into the house. They do have a nasty habit of getting inbedded into one's carpet, and I've heard so many complaints about how hard they are to remove. I'm happy to let you all know that you needn't worry about that, because I've found a solution which works beautifully!
By Samantha Bradley
I know you all want to know how to get those nasty needles out of your rug. All you have to do is to go out in your backyard and fill a bucket full of flobberworms. Just bring them into your house and dump them onto your carpet and they will happily munch down every single pine needle that they find there. They're not too bright but they love pine needles. In fact,I hear it's one of their favorite foods!
Oh dear, I just remembered something. It's been reported that flobberworms have been known to eat the entire rug along with the pine needles. Like I told you, they're not too bright. Never worry about that, though, I'm looking for a solution to the problem as we speak. I'm sure I'll have come up with something by the time the holidays roll around next year; don't worry!
MONTHLY RECIPE: YOGURT SANDWICH
This recipe is extremely simple and easy to make. It uses ingredients that are easily available to most people and the recipe may easily be modified as per a person's taste. The vegetables mentioned in the recipe are largely optional - one may omit them or replace them with something more desirable if they choose to do so. With such ease of making and low cost ingredients, this recipe is ideal for a snack as well as for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For the filling
1 cup yogurt (unflavoured)
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup tomato chopped
1/2 cup cucumber diced
1/4 cup bell peppers (you may use any color you wish to use)
1/4 cup green chillies, finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot, grated (optional)
1/2 cup coriander/parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt as required
For the sandwich:
Bread slices as required (the filling is generally enough for 4-5 sandwiches) - You may use any bread you like. I prefer brown bread.
Butter as required
1. Take one cup yogurt into a large bowl. Make sure the yogurt is thick or else the filling will become runny.
2. Take the onion, tomato, cucumber, bell peppers and carrot into the bowl. Mix everything well for a minute.
3. Add sugar and salt. Make sure you taste before adding too much. The quantity of sugar and salt that should be added depends on the taste of the yogurt, so it's better to keep tasting the mixture while adding. Mix well.
4. Add the chopped coriander and mix well again.
5. Take a bread slice. With the help of a spoon, place sufficient mixture onto the bread slice.
6. Take a pan and heat it on medium-low flame.
7. Add butter and wait until it melts.
8. Cover the bread slice with another slice and place it on the pan.
9. Once the slice turns brown, add some butter to the other side and flip it. (Additional butter is optional. You may not add more butter to the second side if you don't wish to do so.)
10. Once the other side is brown as well, remove the bread from the pan onto a plate.
11. You may present the bread as it is or cut it into a desired shape. I like cutting it diagonally. Select an easy cut to make sure that the mixture doesn't spill out while you're cutting.
12. Serve hot. Any mixture left can be stored up to one day in a refrigerator.
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DAILY PROPHET STAFF
Kay85 (Lorraine Kingston)
Should you wish to participate in the Daily Prophet as a guest writer, please send an owl to IL PROFETA with the subject, "Daily Prophet Guest Writer."
The Daily Prophet is also looking to hire new writers for a permanent position. If you are interested, please owl Samantha Bradley or kay85 for more information.