Tuesday, 27 June 2006

"Fewer save enough for retirement
Fewer people are saving enough for their retirement, according to research published by a big insurance company. Scottish Widows, owned by Lloyds TSB, says that in the last year the percentage of people saving adequately for their old age fell from 55% to 46%.

Perhaps its got something to do with the fact that having just taken out a 40-year mortgage for their absurdly over-priced house, they're up to their eyeballs in debt already and can't afford to save anything for retirement?

BBC NEWS | Business | Fewer save enough for retirement

Saturday, 24 June 2006

As English hopes build towards the forthcoming soccer World Cup, the most prolific individual scoring feat in Football League history has been commemorated by the unveiling of a plaque in Chesterfield. Joe Payne, born in Brimington, Chesterfield, set a record that is unlikely ever to be matched when he scored ten goals for Luton Town in their Division Three (South) 12-0 victory over Bristol Rovers on Easter Monday, April 13, 1936.

My mum (aged 86) recalls: "My memory of football was when a boyfriend said 'we are going somewhere special today'. I thought it was to buy an engagement ring but instead it was to a Luton Town football match! This was around the time that "Ten-goal Payne" was famous; he was our hero and his record still stands."

Quite something that a 70-year-old record still stands.

Chesterfield | Fans | Supporters News | JOE 'TEN GOAL' PAYNE
Biggleswade Today: Who will net legend's ball? (June 2004)

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Friday, 23 June 2006

"Poll set for early World Cup exit
Graham Poll looks like he has refereed his last World Cup game after a series of high-profile errors during Croatia's turbulent game against Australia. The English official booked Croatia's Josip Simunic three times before sending him off and also twice waved away strong Australian penalty claims.

Isn't the fourth official capable of picking up errors like this?

BBC SPORT | Football | World Cup 2006 | Poll set for early World Cup exit

"4x4 drivers 'put others at risk'
Drivers of 4x4s are putting other motorists at risk by flouting mobile phone and seat belt laws, a study says. Imperial College London found 4x4 drivers were four times more likely to use mobile phones than other drivers, while a third more shunned seat belts. The team said those in 4x4s took more risks as they felt safer in their cars after observing 41,000 motorists, the British Medical Journal reported.

Parents stuff their kids into these Chelsea Tractors to take them to school, citing their safety as one reason - but they never consider the safety of all the other kids - and the pollution they're causing in using them.

BBC NEWS | Health | 4x4 drivers 'put others at risk'

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"Cameron backs Blair on Iraq war
Conservative leader David Cameron has said he still believes going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do. In an interview for BBC's Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, he said the war had been 'very unpopular' and some bad decisions had been made since it began. But Mr Cameron said 'those of us who supported' the military action should 'see it through'.

He praised Tony Blair's reform of the Labour party but said he wanted the Tories to be 'the party of the future'. On the issue of Iraq, he told Ross he supported Mr Blair's decision to go to war.

David, if you want to win the next election, I'll give you a tip: stop helping the opposition.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron backs Blair on Iraq war

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Very disappointed to hear that Northampton's winger Josh Low is to transfer to Championship side Leicester City for the new season. The Cobblers will certainly miss his experience and quality.

"Brown criticised over deterrent
Chancellor Gordon Brown has come under fire after signalling that he wants to keep and renew Britain's independent nuclear deterrent system. The submarine-based Trident missile system needs replacing by 2024. A replacement could cost 'up to' £25bn.

That'll be £50bn then.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Brown criticised over deterrent

Thursday, 15 June 2006

"England 2-0 Trinidad and Tobago
Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard spared England's blushes with late goals against Trinidad & Tobago to book their place in the last 16 of the World Cup. Crouch, who had missed several chances, met David Beckham's right-wing cross to power a header past Shaka Hislop. Gerrard wrapped it up in stoppage time with a stunning left-foot drive after England made hard work of the contest.

It was like watching a Northampton Town game - loads of posession, the odd decent cross but absolutely no quality finishing. Until a couple of sparks of inspiration at the end; Gerrard's goal was an absolute corker. But if we play like that against the likes of Germany or Brasil, we won't stand a chance.

BBC SPORT | Football | World Cup 2006 | England 2-0 Trinidad & Tobago

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

Factfile: How Osirak was bombed
As part of a series marking 25 years since Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, the BBC News website recounts how the operation was carried out. At 1255 GMT on Sunday 7 June 1981, eight Israeli F-16 fighter-bombers take off along with two F-15 interceptors from Etzion air force base in Egypt's Sinai Desert (occupied at the time by Israel). By dusk, all 10 planes are back at base unscathed. The reactor lies in ruins, having never entered operation.

Looks like Bush is a little late for his live-fire renactment...

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Factfile: How Osirak was bombed

Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Icon © BBCForecast: sunshine. Actual weather today: pooring with rain. Still, very glad of the drop in temperature - yesterday was horrible.

"Rubbish collection 'may be taxed'
Charging householders for the amount of rubbish collected from their homes is being considered by the government as part of proposed council tax reforms. Sir Michael Lyons, who is conducting an inquiry into the future of the tax, told the Times newspaper he was looking at environmental taxes. These would be paid in addition to council tax to make the cost of services more visible. The plan raises the prospect of waste being weighed by refuse collectors.

Haven't these people ever heard of (or seen) fly-tipping? Regulations that have already been introduced led to a visible increase in fly-tipping and ideas like this could well make matters worse.

If the government really want to introduce legislation to reduce waste, they should have a go a supermarkets and pre-packaged food manufacturers. Reducing waste at the production stage makes far more sense.

BBC NEWS | UK | Rubbish collection 'may be taxed'

Monday, 12 June 2006

Icon © BBCRain - here? Some hope. BBC weather forcast for home town underestimates the temperature by at least 3 degrees C - it's actually reached 29 here today - and the threatened "thundery downpoors" are nowhere to be seen.

"Rail signallers vote for strike
Thousands of rail signallers will stage two one-day strikes in a dispute over pay, threatening chaos on the network. The RMT union said the Network Rail workers voted by more than two to one to reject a pay deal which they said would amount to a two-year pay freeze.

Some 3,000 workers across Britain are due walk out at 1300 BST on 20 June and again at 2100 BST on 25 June. The first strike will coincide with England's final World Cup group game against Sweden...

Now, is it just me or does anyone else think that choice of day is more than just coincidence? Apparently the second of the two stike days could also coincide with an England game...

BBC NEWS | UK | Rail signallers vote for strike

Saturday, 10 June 2006

"Tabby cat terror for black bear
A black bear got more than it bargained for after straying into a family garden in the US state of New Jersey. The unwelcome intruder was forced up a tree - twice - by the family pet, a tabby cat called Jack.

If you go down to the woods today...

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Tabby cat terror for black bear

The OU hosted Great Brickhill today in their Morrants Four Counties game, in around 30 degrees of heat. I was certainly glad of the shade. Meanwhile, England won their first World Cup game but only because Paraguay scored an own goal.

Friday, 9 June 2006

"Online music row shuts web site
Internet firm Tiscali has suspended its music sharing Juke Box and accused the European recording industry of being "virtually impossible to work with". It took the move after it was told to remove the service's search by artist. Tiscali said services in the US offered that facility, and European music fans were being discriminated against. But the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said Juke Box had offered a level of interactvity that breached its licence.

This just goes to show just how stupid, and backward, the music industry is. Even after Apple has shown just how successful licensed music downloading can be, they still have their collective heads in the sand. Tiscali's own stats showed their service results in increased sales.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Online music row shuts web site

Tuesday, 6 June 2006

Photo © BBC and APBy this time of day, sixty two years ago, hundreds of men had lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy. I speak of course of D-Day, 6th June 1944, the beginning of the liberation of Europe. Having trained for months, some didn't even make it out of their landing craft, cut down by the defences built along the French coast. Spare a moment to think of those whose blood soaked into the sands of Gold, Juno, Sword, Omaha and Utah.

BBC: Voices of D-Day - listen to the voices of eight people who experienced D-Day first-hand
D-Day at the Imperial War Museum
The National D-Day Memorial

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I, like me, you use Microsoft's free (and very effective) spyware blocker "Microsoft AntiSpyware" around now you'll probably find it wants to do an update. If, also like me, you're running it under Windows 2000, you may get an error message during the update process mentioning that it needs "Windows 2000 Security Software Prerequisite Pack". You need to download and install a DLL before the update will work, but don't attempt to do so using Firefox as the Windows verification process may not work - switch to IE. See this page for download directions.

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"Rhys' Everest Adventure
New Forest climber Rhys Jones reached the top of Everest on May 17th, which completed his dream to become the youngest Briton to climb the highest mountains in each of the world's seven continents. Rhys reached the summit of Everest on Wednesday May 17th - his 20th birthday. It had been his ambition to climb Everest ever since joining the Scouts at the age of 11.

An amazing achievement.

BBC - Hampshire - Features - Rhys' Everest Adventure
Jagged Globe report

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Sunday, 4 June 2006

First motocross event for a while, this time a 12-hour Enduro, hosted by TBEC at Whaddon, just West of Milton Keynes. From the dust, you couldn't tell we'd had a very wet May.

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Friday, 2 June 2006

"Day centre rejects home-made cake
A woman who baked a cake for a friend at a day centre was told it breached health and safety regulations. Elaine Richards, 75, from Braunton in north Devon, was told the Age Concern centre in Barnstaple only allowed people to eat bought cakes. It said that it had to make sure its elderly and frail guests were not put at any risk. But former nurse Mrs Richards, who has won WI awards for her cakes, said she was astonished.

More PC BS.

BBC NEWS | England | Devon | Day centre rejects home-made cake

Headers and/or footers not appearing when you print from Firefox? Make sure your top and/or bottom margins are not set to zero millimeters.

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"Iran nuclear bomb 'in 10 years'
Iran could have nuclear weapons within the next 10 years, according to the senior US intelligence chief. In his interview with the BBC, Mr Negroponte accused Iran of being the world's top state sponsor of terrorism. 'We don't have a clear-cut knowledge but the estimate we have made is some time between the beginning of the next decade and the middle of the next decade they might be in a position to have a nuclear weapon, which is a cause of great concern.'

I wonder if this is the same sort of estimate that resulted in Blair warning parliament that Iraq could launch WMDs at us in 45 minutes? Sounds like another plucked-out-of-the-air justification for war. Lets hope the US won't con us into helping them declare war on another country...

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Iran nuclear bomb 'in 10 years'

And, just as a reminder:
BBC NEWS | Politics | Blair terror speech in full

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Thursday, 1 June 2006

"Home-alone son blows up bungalow
A couple cut short their holiday after their teenage son telephoned to say he had blown up their house. Sean Davey, 18, of Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, left a basket of laundry on top of the electric cooker and did not notice the hob had been switched on. A fire spread to a deodorant can which exploded, blowing out the windows and lifting the roof off the bungalow.

Way to go, Sean! Pretty amazing that a single aerosol is so powerful. Makes you wonder if they should be allowed!

BBC NEWS | England | Norfolk | Home-alone son blows up bungalow