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Dutch say world sailor, 16, would not have succeeded without them


The Dutch authorities praised the "extreme strength of character" of 16- year-old Laura Dekker yesterday, but remained unrepentant at trying to restrain her from becoming the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Miss Dekker was celebrating with her family in the Caribbean island of St Maarten after finishing the epic 27,000-nautical-mile journey at the age of 16 years and 123 days.

The confused kids putting off puberty


Six children are being turned into real-life Peter Pans because parents are unsure about their gender. The youngsters have been prescribed drugs by an NHS clinic to delay puberty so that later gender-change ops will be easier to carry out. Critics say eight out of 10 youngsters who think they are the wrong sex will change their minds after puberty.

Benefits gap to hit 8,000 children


Up to 8,000 Scottish children will be pushed into poverty by the government's plan to cap benefits, according to Citizens Advice Scotland. It says 3,000 households would lose an average of pound;83 a week. The revelation came as the Tories suffered a defeat in the House of Lords over its bid to set an upper limit on benefits at pound;26,000.

Babies born into poverty are damaged forever before birth


The health of babies born in deprived areas could be damaged for life before they have left the womb, research from Scottish scientists has revealed. They found that stressful conditions experienced by expectant mothers could have an impact on children's DNA - leaving them with an increased chance of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Teachers warned over pupil Facebook friends


More than one in 10 school teachers accused of misconduct last year had used social networking sites and email to forge inappropriate relationships with pupils. Facebook, Twitter, online chatrooms and emails were used to befriend children in 43 cases brought before the General Teaching Council for England. Eighteen teachers were given prohibition orders and struck off; 14 were suspended.

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