Monday, 30 July 2007

Here's a video of part of an interview by "Democracy Now" of retired US General Wesley Clark (NATO commander during the Kosovo war and who, incidentally, stood as Democratic Party candidate for President in 2004) talking about the Bush administration's plan to "take out" no less than seven Middle East countries in succession.

Wes has now set up a website to try to stop the US starting a war against Iran.

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India don't stand a chance:
"SECOND NPOWER TEST, Trent Bridge, day four:
England 198 & 2040-3 v India 481"

(no point me putting in the link since the BBC are updating this page constantly)

Gordon brown-noses his way into Camp David.

"Brown flies to US for Bush talks
Gordon Brown is flying to the United States to meet President George Bush for the first time since he became prime minister. Mr Brown reaffirmed the UK's close relationship with the US ahead of the visit saying he wanted to discuss how the two countries could work together.

[Earlier] A foreign office minister had suggested the US and the UK would no longer be 'joined at the hip' on foreign policy. But Mr Brown said links with the US would become stronger in the future.

Oh, look. Bush has a new puppy.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Brown flies to US for Bush talks

The BBC have actually changed this story since I blogged it. The headline now reads "World owes US a debt, says Brown". Yeah, I guess the 1.8 million refugees from Iraq are ever so grateful.

"Nearly a third of the population of Iraq is in need of immediate emergency aid, according to a new report from Oxfam and a coalition of Iraqi NGOs."

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Third of Iraqis 'need urgent aid'

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Sunday, 29 July 2007

"Flood chiefs get big cash bonuses
SENIOR executives at the Environment Agency face new controversy after it emerged last night that they received five-figure 'performance bonuses' shortly before the recent floods hit Britain. Baroness Young, the quango's chief executive, got a bonus of about £24,000 on top of her £163,000 salary. A further eight executives, including the director of water management, shared in the bonus handout last month. The average paid to each executive was equivalent to 10% of their salaries, although Young received 15%.

Details of the bonuses were to be revealed in the agency's annual report, which was expected to be released last week but publication has been delayed due to the floods. Board minutes also show that the agency's top executives privately expressed strong concerns last September about the country's preparedness for serious floods.

New Labour used to bang on about "the fat cats of industry" paying themselves enormous bonuses whilst making employees redundant. Now we find New Labour quangos rewarding themselves for poor performance - at the tax-payers expense.

Flood chiefs get big cash bonuses - Times Online

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Way to go, Bush - let's promote peace in the Middle East - by selling them all weapons:

"Israel hails US military aid rise
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has confirmed that the United States is planning a significant increase in military and defence aid to Israel. The package would reportedly amount to more than $30bn (£14.8bn) over the next 10 years. US defence aid to Israel currently stands at $2.4bn a year - the new package would amount to a 25% increase.

BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Israel hails US military aid rise

"US 'plans huge Saudi arms deal'
The United States is reported to be preparing a major arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states worth $20bn (£9.8bn) over the next decade. Defence officials quoted by US media said the sales would include advanced weaponry, missile guidance systems, upgraded fighter jets and naval ships. It is said to be an attempt to counter the regional threat posed by Iran.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US 'plans huge Saudi arms deal'

Iran, you'll remember, is the country that the US sold 79 F-14s and 284 Pheonix Missiles to in the 1970s.

And some people wonder why there will never be any peace in the Middle East.

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Friday, 27 July 2007

Some stories have caught my eye relating to "yobs", the Police, and how the general attitude to the young in the UK has changed in recent years. One story appeared on Teletext and I can't find any trace of it on the Internet: some branch of Government was apologising for wrongly labelling the youth of today as "yobs" and was blaming the media for showing the youth of today in a poor light. But then, we get the following:

"Man dies after gang delays medics
Paramedics were delayed by youths who tried to attack them as they treated a heart attack victim who later died. At one stage the crew was forced to leave the scene as three youths shouted abuse and attacked them. Norman Bell, 84, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, was playing crown green bowls at a club in Ashton-in-Makerfield in Gtr Manchester when he collapsed.

A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said the experience had been 'frightening' for the crew. 'Paramedics are not used to being called to give medical assistance and being treated in such a way,' he said.

Greater Manchester Police are investigating the incident which took place at Council Avenue Bowling Club at 1945 BST on 19 July. A GMP spokeswoman said the incident happened after a motorcycle was put in the path of the ambulance. 'The driver of the ambulance got out to move the motorbike, when it is believed three people ran over to him and stood in the way,' she said.

BBC NEWS | England | Man dies after gang delays medics

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Tuesday, 24 July 2007

BBC NEWS | England | London | Reporters held in 'fake bomb' bid

"Reporters held in 'fake bomb' bid
Two journalists have been arrested after attempting to plant a fake bomb on a Tube train, police said. The Daily Mirror reporters were arrested at the Stonebridge Park depot, north-west London after they were seen acting suspiciously by staff.

What a bunch of idiots. Haven't they heard of Jean Charles de Menezes? How would their paper have reacted had they been shot by anti-terror police? What possible good did this stunt do for anyone?

BBC NEWS | England | London | Reporters held in 'fake bomb' bid

Had my first experience of a hospital A&E last night having to take my 87-year-old Mum in because her tooth extraction hadn't stopped bleeding after 12 hours. Paramedic turned out to our call in minutes but couldn't do anything; ambulance appeared just a few minutes later. Fortunately it wasn't a Friday or Saturday night, so the hospital was very quiet. Doctor called an oral surgeon who gave some injections and managed to stop the bleeding. Considering the hour (about 4 in the morning), the staff were all very attentive - so a big "up" to the NHS.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

"Bank boss wants mortgages measure
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has told the BBC he wishes mortgage costs were part of the official inflation target. They represent the biggest expense for many households, but are not included in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).

The CPI fell to 2.4% in June, official figures show. But at the same time, the more familiar Retail Prices Index, which does take mortgage costs into account, rose to 4.4%.

Meanwhile annual house price inflation is around 11%.

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Inside Money | Bank boss wants mortgages measure

Friday, 20 July 2007

Well, in the end, we didn't get quite such a downpoor here - less than Sunday - but other areas of the South of England certainly got a good soaking. I think the most was about 5" near Worcester.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Lots of rain - image © BBC Weather website
Here's the BBC's weather forcast for tomorrow (20th July) - I live and work near the little red cross. They're predicting up to 4 inches of rain. These are certainly the brighter colours (strongest downpoors) I've ever seen on these weather charts!

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Sydney urged to pack for attack

Australia's government takes paranoia of terrorism to a new level:

"Sydney urged to pack for attack
Residents of Australia's biggest city, Sydney, have been urged to pack a survival kit to prepare for a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. The local authority wants people to put together an emergency 'Go-Bag', including maps, food and a radio.

Officials have denied the campaign is a government attempt to create fear and enhance national security credentials ahead of elections due later this year.

Critics are not impressed. A member of the Greens in Sydney said the campaign was a conspiracy by the federal government to whip up fear ahead of national elections due in the next few months.

Sydney's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has brushed aside the criticism. She said that cities had to be aware of the threats posed by militant groups and climate change.

Reminds me of America's McCarthyism of the 50s.

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Sydney urged to pack for attack

Monday, 16 July 2007

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | New X-Files movie 'coming soon'

Surprising news:

"New X-Files movie 'coming soon'
A new film reviving the cult 1990s TV series The X-Files is moving closer to being made, according to reports.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | New X-Files movie 'coming soon'

Sunday, 15 July 2007

The torrential rain we had on Sunday did at least wait until the end of Northampton club's enduro event at Barn Farm, Whaddon near Milton Keynes.
Full gallery now online.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Was actually called on to play in the OU's home game against Milton Bryan today. We lost, but I did score 1 not out.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007 - 50 Best Websites 2007 - TIME

I've just received personal thanks from Michael Tippett, as a regular contributor, for helping NowPublic achieve a place in Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites of 2007.

"...nowhere are the merits of citizen journalism more apparent than at NowPublic. At this 'participatory news network,' a.k.a. bastion of 'crowd-powered media,' anyone can write a story, or upload images, audio or video." - 50 Best Websites 2007 - TIME

Monday, 9 July 2007

BBC NEWS | Business | Boeing unveils Dreamliner plane

"Boeing unveils Dreamliner plane
US plane manufacturer Boeing has unveiled its 787 Dreamliner - the firm's first all-new jet since 1995. It is the only big commercial aircraft made mostly of carbon fibre rather than aluminium and is billed as the most environmentally friendly ever built.

Environmentally friendly? I think not. Not unless its made from 100% recycled materials, takes zero energy to make and runs on carbon dioxide, methane or ozone. In no way can an airliner be friendly to the environment.

BBC NEWS | Business | Boeing unveils Dreamliner plane

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Apple's iPhone - oh, so much hype.

This thing doesn't cost $500 - its costs $1940 - when you've factored in minimum the AT&T contract you have to have just to use it.

Peter S Magnusson evangelises thus: "It is a fantastic device. I am in love with it.

"So why was the iPod different? Very simple: Steve Jobs actually understands music and related technologies. He’s an artsy guy. He's even known to have a real good musical ear. That's why the iPod was awesome. Jobs actually understood the target customer.

All Steve Jobs did was to take a Walkman - invented at least 20 years before - and take away the moving parts and put an Apple logo on it. The clever bit was getting the incredibly (and still) reluctant music industry to allow the digital sale of music.

iPhone’s missing killer app: social networking « Peter S Magnusson

Here's a list of 10 Things that "Absolutely suck" about the iPhone.

The OU played Caddington away this weekend. Weather stayed sunny most of the day. I decided to use my 1D Mk.II body for a change to see just how the autofocus is miss-behaving. Even when the subject didn't hardly move relative to the camera, there are instances where one frame in a sequence can be sharp and another blurred. Really must get around to having it fixed!