Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Straw vetoes Iraq minutes release

"BBC NEWS | Politics | Straw vetoes Iraq minutes release
Justice Secretary Jack Straw has vetoed the publication of minutes of key Cabinet meetings held in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003. He said he would use a clause in the Freedom of Information Act to block the release of details of meetings in which the war's legality was discussed. Releasing the papers would do 'serious damage' to Cabinet government, he said, and outweighed public interest needs."

Presumably vetoed because he knows what a bunch of deceiving tykes it will reveal the Government to be.

"'There is a balance to be struck between openness and maintaining aspects of our structure of democratic government,' he [Straw] said."

There was no democracy involved in the decision to go to war - the Cabinet's decision was a complete travesty.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Straw vetoes Iraq minutes release

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Pay recycling costs, stores told

"BBC NEWS | Business | Pay recycling costs, stores told
UK supermarkets produce too much packaging, almost 40% of which is non-recyclable, local councils say. The Local Government Association argues supermarkets should pay towards the collection of their packaging as an incentive to cut back. In a survey of 29 common grocery items, it found Waitrose had the most wrapping while Tesco had the least.

Rather ironic given yesterday's posting about Tesco - and the fact I shop at Waitrose. From personal experience, I don't agree with the above. However, the level of packaging is still excessive.

BBC NEWS | Business | Pay recycling costs, stores told

Ministers 'using fear of terror'

"BBC NEWS | UK | Ministers 'using fear of terror'
A former head of MI5 has accused the government of exploiting the fear of terrorism to restrict civil liberties. Dame Stella Rimington, 73, said people in Britain felt as if they were living 'under a police state' because of the fear being spread by ministers. 'It would be better that the government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, precisely one of the objects of terrorism - that we live in fear and under a police state,' she said.

She has been critical of Government policy before; this is quite outspoken - but she's right on the money.

BBC NEWS | UK | Ministers 'using fear of terror'

Monday, 16 February 2009

Typical Tesco waste

Typical Tesco waste
Typical Tesco waste,
originally uploaded by hockeyshooter.
This photo demonstrates one of the reasons why I never shop at Tesco. Lots on the packaging about how bad the cakes are for you, but nothing about how, or even if, the incredibly wasteful container can be recycled. What's wrong with a cardboard box? Or a paper bag?

Photographers angry at terror law

"BBC NEWS | UK | Photographers angry at terror law
Hundreds of photographers have staged a protest outside Scotland Yard against a new law which they say could stop them taking pictures of the police. The law makes it an offence to photograph police officers or military personnel if the picture could be used for a purpose linked to terrorism. The National Union of Journalists said the law could be used to harass photographers working legitimately. The Home Office said it was designed to protect counter-terrorism officers.

...but you can just bet that, just like other "anti-terrorism" legislation recently introduced, it will be applied in other circumstances.

BBC NEWS | UK | Photographers angry at terror law

Anti-terror tactics 'weaken law'

"BBC NEWS | World | Anti-terror tactics 'weaken law'
The UK and the US have 'actively undermined' international law in the way they fight terrorism, a report by judges and lawyers has said. The independent International Commission of Jurists carried out a three-year global study. It concluded that many measures introduced to fight terrorism were illegal and counter-productive.

Anyone with half a brain (and that obviously discounts the Bush administration) could see that abducting and torturing people, and even using foreign interrogation centres to get around your own laws, isn't exactly taking the moral high ground.

"Mr Chaskelson, chairman of the panel, said: 'In the course of this inquiry, we have been shocked by the extent of the damage done over the past seven years by excessive or abusive counter-terrorism measures in a wide range of countries around the world. Many governments, ignoring the lessons of history, have allowed themselves to be rushed into hasty responses to terrorism that have undermined cherished values and violated human rights. The result is a serious threat to the integrity of the international human rights legal framework.'"

It is a shame that the panel doesn't go a step further specifically name Bush.

BBC NEWS | World | Anti-terror tactics 'weaken law'

Friday, 13 February 2009

Price of petrol creeps up in 2009

"BBC NEWS | Business | Price of petrol creeps up in 2009
The price of petrol at the pump has been steadily rising since the start of January, figures have shown. However, the price of crude oil is now 40% lower than the last time petrol cost 90p a litre, back in March 2007, according to the AA."

Blatant profiteering by the oil companies again - and of course the Government benefit, so they're in no hurry to say anything untoward.

BBC NEWS | Business | Price of petrol creeps up in 2009

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Government plans travel database

"BBC NEWS | UK | Government plans travel database
The government is compiling a database to track and store the international travel records of millions of Britons. Computerised records of all 250 million journeys made by individuals in and out of the UK each year will be kept for up to 10 years.

The government says the database is essential in the fight against crime, illegal immigration and terrorism. But opposition MPs and privacy campaigners fear it is a significant step towards a surveillance society. The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details of travellers.

The Police State expands ever further. Pretty soon we will have to ask permission to travel. This country gets more like Eastern Europe under Communism by the minute.

BBC NEWS | UK | Government plans travel database

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Miliband defends secrecy stance

"BBC NEWS | Politics | Miliband defends secrecy stance
David Miliband has told MPs that releasing classified US information could do 'real and significant damage' to British national security. Publishing details of the treatment of Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, against US wishes, could damage trust vital to intelligence sharing, he said."

Bush has gone - there's no need for the UK Government to be afraid of him or his cronies any more. Miliband is obviously scared that revealing anything about Binyam Mohamed's treatment will open the floodgates of evidence pointing at yet more UK Government complicity in CIA torture.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Miliband defends secrecy stance
'No torture pressure' - Miliband
Ministers face torture pressure

Halifax claim 1.9% house price rise

"BBC NEWS | Business | House prices 'up 1.9% in January'
The price of UK homes rose by 1.9% in January, compared to December, according to the Halifax."

Does anyone really believe that? How come the Halifax often report rises when others report drops?

"Last week, a survey by Nationwide suggested house prices fell by 1.3% in January, and they said job worries were putting off people buying homes."


BBC NEWS | Business | House prices 'up 1.9% in January'

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

From Nokia 6124 to Flickr via Shozu

Walton Church
Walton Church,
originally uploaded by hockeyshooter.
Impressed with how well Shozu is working on my new Nokia 6124 mobile phone. There doesn't appear to be any location data being sent, but then this phone doesn't have built-in GPS. But the app works pretty seemlessly, showing a little popup each time I take a photo to ask if I want to send it straight to my Flickr account. Vodafone have helped too by reducing significantly the cost of data on PAYG - you can now get 24 hours of "unlimited" data traffic for just £1.

Webcam revisited

Once again struggling with an IP webcam and encountering D-Link's daft choice of Direct-X as the only way to display the video from their cameras. Meaning that only IE 6 users can view them. An now, additional security in IE 7 means you often can't view with that either.