If you can put up with this irritating (but knowledgeable) geek and his fucking mutt you will find that Lord Patel is not alone in his execrations about Bill Gate's latest method of destroying the companies like Dell, Acer etc., who have so stupidly in stalled Vista on their hardware.
Be Warned ... this thing is worth than fucking Bluetongue Disease.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The Scotsman reports today that Craig Murray who the students elected to the ancient post of rector at Dundee University, (Dating back to papal edicts of the 15th century. The rector is chosen by the students and the holder is not part of the university's administration.)
The rector has a seat on the university court - its board of governors - and can vote on issues such as its budget and annual accounts. The holder of the post is also there to provide a voice for the students, although other student representatives also have a seat on court - but have good reason to be more constrained in their cricisims of the University authorities..
Craig speaking in his his alma mater, was uncharacteristically outspoken in his maiden speech to students - which he made after the traditional trip through the streets of the town in a carriage pulled by students.
.. see text of his speech below in full - The press office at Dundee University had refused to provide it, place it in the library or put it online. Craig has also spoke previously about some of the wonderful people on Dundee University Council here especially Sir Alan Langlands who was a Director of Patientline (UPDATE - STupid Boy! I realise that this link doesn't work because Craig's Blog has disappeared into cyberspace) the bastards who rob the ill and their relatives. But you will find it all here and More "Patientline, the fucking robbig bastards sinking deeper into debt"
The Scotsman reports Craig's rectorial hi-jinks ..
Craig twice asked for information about cuts in academic provision which he said the university had blamed on "higher-than- expected pay awards, an unexpected increase in the cost of energy and increased building costs through a higher cost of steel."
He said he asked for a cost breakdown at two successive university court meetings this year, but received no answers. Mr Murray also claimed the fact he had asked the question did not appear in the minutes.
"Dissent is deemed not to happen," the rector told students.
Mr Murray went on: "Scottish universities are traditionally democratic self-governing communities, and the election of the rector is a vital reminder of this ... my view is that the governance of this institution in recent years has been more akin to an old English polytechnic than a Scottish university."
ADDRESS GIVEN UPON THE OCCASION OF HIS INSTALLATION
AS RECTOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE
By CRAIG J MURRAY Esq, MA(Hons)
In the BONAR HALL, DUNDEE 26 September 2007
WHY LONDON SHOULD STOP WORRYING ABOUT SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE – WE CAN STILL RULE ENGLAND FROM BRUSSELS
Vice-Chancellor, My Dear Friends,
It is most kind of you to come along here today as I receive the singular honour of being made Rector of my own University.
I arrive here following our tradition of an idiosyncratic pub crawl known as the Rectorial Drag. That sounds like an occasion for which I should be picking out a nice skirt and blouse – which as some of my former student colleagues here will tell you would not be the first time. The Rectorial Drag however is an occasion where the students pull their new Rector through the streets in a carriage, from City Hall to University, entering the pubs on the way. I can honestly say it is the first time I have ever been dragged to a pub. Dragged out, yes. Chucked out, frequently. Dragged in is a new one.
By chance it is thirty years almost to the day since I arrived, bewildered, into freshers’ week, clutching everything I owned in one cardboard box and a battered BOAC flight bag.
Little did I dream that thirty years later I would become Rector of the place. Certainly not – I expected to be much too busy being Prime Minister.
In that distant first week I attended the Rectorial Installation of Sir Clement Freud. He was a man of great wit and perspicacity, and his installation address was hilarious. Sadly, as we all know, decline and decay is the natural order of things, and with the passing years Sir Clement declined to the extent that he eventually became Rector of St Andrews.
These occasions traditionally involve a certain amount of knockabout humour, and I am sure that no offence will be taken. We look in fact with fond regard to our sister institution south of the Tay Estuary, marking with sadness the scent of her senile decline, as we might an elderly relative whom we care about but are grateful we don’t have to live with.
I believe that Clement Freud was the only one of my predecessors to have made that particular error. Stephen Fry was invited to stand at St Andrews but sensibly declined. They can always try again when he’s 70.
All of which brings me to note what a tremendously talented bunch my predecessors as Rector have been. Here I give the obligatory tip of the hat to Sir Peter Ustinov.
I am biased in the case of two of them, George Mackie
and Gordon Wilson, because I was the seconder of one and proposer of the other. That made my own election my third successful rectorial campaign, and I claim the record, to be beaten when I am re-elected in 2010.
Getting elected is of course the difficult bit. My own election was fiercely contested and the result was close. I would like to pay a sincere tribute to Andy Nicol, a real gentleman, for his well-fought and constructive campaign, and for being such a good loser. Though, of course, as a former captain of the British Lions rugby team he did have a great deal of practice.
One excellent piece of electioneering by my opponent was securing the entire front page of the election day Dundee edition of the Daily Record. Most of the page was taken up by a picture of Andy and the headline screamed “I was born to lead Dundee Students”. The Daily Record is a paper which is at least consistent in its standard of accuracy.
The flaw in this great ploy, achieved with considerable effort, was of course that not many of our electorate are Daily Record readers. Some folk surmised that this mistake came about because Scottish Labour HQ were under the impression the election was at the University of Abertay.
Anyway, it was a good bit of electioneering, and made even better by the fact that in this special edition of the Daily Record, my two immediate predecessors, not without some encouragement from within the University hierarchy, chose to endorse the candidature of my opponent.
The Record told us “Outgoing Rector Lorraine Kelly and comedian Fred Macaulay threw their weight behind Nicol as the former Scotland captain urged the University’s Record readers to vote for him in the polls today.”
I believe the University’s Record readers both did.
I don’t regard former Rectors campaigning for a candidate – and thus perforce campaigning against a candidate - as quite the done thing. But it is still potentially effective electioneering. The only downside I see is that, should the ploy fail and someone else get elected, and were that person in the least bit vindictive, that person would then have a great platform in front of the entire University to get his own back. I do see that potential danger, don’t you?
Some of you will be relieved, and some disappointed, to hear that I do not intend to do this. I am very glad that my predecessor, Lorraine Kelly, was Rector of this University. Otherwise she might have gone her entire life without ever seeing the inside of an institute of higher education.
The other ex-Rector involved was Fred Macaulay, apparently a local comedian, though that is not obvious from reading his rectorial address. In the most striking passage, Fred tells us he does a great impression of Sean Connery, adding “Hey, I’m bald and Scottish, how hard can it be?”
Very hard, Fred, very hard. Sean Connery is bald, Scottish and immensely talented. Fred, however, is more like this egg: bald, Scottish and easily crushed. (Breaks egg).
I did say we should have some knockabout stuff, and seriously Fred was a hard-working and popular Rector. I am sure he’ll come up with some much better jokes about me.
Now this is going to be a very dull afternoon if I just ramble on like this and you just gawp at me. We need some atmospherics – feel free to laugh and cheer, or clap or shout “Rubbish” when you want to. Above all do heckle. Heckling is a fine tradition. The very word comes from Dundee.
Heckling is a process in the jute industry. To heckle is to comb out the jute prior to spinning. It was a tough, manual job and the heckling shops were murky with dust that choked the lungs. The hecklers were famous for their radicalism, probably a reaction to their terrible working conditions, and would turn up and yell at politicians. I think that’s quite right – present company accepted I don’t recall ever meeting a politician who did not ought to be shouted at. Thus the hecklers yelled, and the verb “To heckle” jumped from a textile process to a political barracking. Uniquely, as far as I know, what other student unions call election hustings, DUSA called election hecklings.
One appalling development in modern politics is the death of heckling.
Nowadays politicians deliver their sound-bites to a pathetically complacent and complicit media, in front of a carefully selected and vetted audience of the faithful. Just try getting close enough to a politician to heckle them. I mean that literally – please do try. When someone does manage, like Walter Wolfgang, the eighty year old who shouted “Rubbish” at Jack Straw, they are likely to be manhandled and arrested under the laughably named Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Jack Straw, incidentally, is a man who should have “Rubbish” shouted at him from the moment he steps out of the shower in the morning until the moment he retires with his evening cocoa.
The peculiar criminalisation of heckling is part of the most extraordinary onslaught on our civil liberties. Here in Dundee a woman was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for walking on a cycle path. That is true – Google it. And last year we had the extraordinary incident of the Special Branch walking around Fresher’s Fayre. That is something which I promise you will not happen again. A university is no place for the thought police. We have no terrorists here; what our students are thinking is our students’ business. That is why they are here; to think.
The Rectorial Address is a great tradition, and I am standing here on the shoulders of giants. Those who have delivered their rectorial address at Scottish universities include figures like William Gladstone, Adam Smith, Andrew Carnegie and JM Barrie. These addresses were great occasions. They have their traditions and their protocols. They have on occasion been highly rumbustuous, and sometimes speeches have been fiery and partisan.
I have however been told that the recent style has been for speeches to be non-political and uncontroversial. So I gave a great deal of thought to a suitably bland title for this address, and I came up with:
“Why London Should Stop Worrying about Scottish Independence Because We Scots Can Still Rule England From Brussels.”
Nothing to argue with there, I think.
The truth is, my whole life I have believed that there is no point in getting on your back legs and opening your mouth in public, unless you are really going to say something. It may not sound very radical, but the vast majority of speakers, particularly in modern politics, manage to sound off for ages without actually saying anything at all. Our Prime Minister – another former Scottish University Rector – did so in his big conference speech last week. That certainly ought not to happen inside universities, but I am afraid it does.
A university must be a place of stimulating intellectual debate across not only the myriad topics of academia, but on the issues of the day affecting society as a whole. The best minds must clash and spark, and students must be fully and intellectually engaged. A university must constitute a vast whirring machinery of the mind, reacting to and operating on the wider society of which it forms an integral part. It must be a place of the liveliest and best informed debate, where no subject is out of bounds, or over-respected, or immune from the heat of debate. A university must be a democratic discussion. If it is not that, it is not a university.
We must be unapologetic that a University is about much, much more than training to get a job. The over-emphasis of vocational training bedevils higher education. Of course your career is important; but you have the entire rest of your life to be a slave to it. You don’t have to start now. The student who concentrates purely on his future career leaves here equipped for only a small part of life. I learnt vastly more in discussions with people of other academic, social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds in bars and kitchens, and from private reading, than I ever did in the lecture theatre. In my formal university learning I acquired skills of logic, analysis, ordering and debate. A University Education must teach you to think, not just to stack widgets. And that is true across every one of our disciplines – as relevant to nurses and dentists as to lawyers.
Scotland has a great intellectual tradition based on this radical liberal concept. Scotland had a prototype of universal education two centuries before England, and had five universities for centuries when England only had two.
I would like now to quote from an essay by Lindsay Paterson, Professor of Educational Policy at the University of Edinburgh, published in 2020, Agenda for a New Scotland, Luath Press 2005. I am going to break a golden rule of speechmaking and read at length from Professor Paterson, because this states what I believe more eloquently than I can express it, and I believe this is a vastly important essay which everyone involved in Scottish universities should read. Professor Paterson’s aim is to sketch out the principles on which Scottish education should be based:
The first premise is to insist on the emancipatory potential of intellectual, serious, theoretical and difficult learning. If secondary schools and universities are not about that, then they are barely worth having. “Relevance” is something we learn with experience, and experience can only be experienced, not taught; we cannot judge relevance unless we have already grasped the principles of a system of understanding. In particular, therefore, vocational courses are not what initial education should be about. They are about training for specific jobs. Where they are not best done on the job itself, learning from the accumulated wisdom of more experienced colleagues (whatever the line of work), they presuppose a body of theoretical knowledge and understanding that ought to be engaged with first. Practice without theory is blind.
…Second, since the building of an efficient economic system ought never to be an end in itself, but only the means to such goals as building a fair, democratic and culturally enriching society, an equally important premise has to be that programmes of general liberal education are better at preparing people for life as decent citizens than any other kind of learning. That was something which the old radicals understood well. You could make citizens for the new era of mass democracy by equipping them with the cultural capacities which the aristocratic or bourgeois ruling class had acquired through their education. Citizenship was not something to be segregated into discrete programmes, but should permeate many types of study – literature, history, geography, politics, science, religion. The student who learns how to debate the meaning of a poem by Liz Lochead, or a novel by Alisdair Gray, or a film by Paul Lavery, or to weigh the evidence for and against wind farms or genetic modification, or to understand the reasons why Islam and Christianity have sometimes been in conflict is in fact well prepared for life as a citizen of Scotland.
Third, we need therefore a debate about cultural purposes. This is where new radical thinking is urgently needed. Although I have been arguing that we should recover the old idea that democratising access to a general, liberal education is the only programme that is truly radical, it would not be radical
simply to adopt uncritically the content of pedagogical methods that would have constituted such a programme in earlier eras. For example, the culture to which students should now be exposed is certainly not the unitary one of even half a century ago. In Scotland, we inherit ideas from Islam as well as from Christianity, literature by women as well as by men, working class political ideas as well as middle class ones, Scottish philosophical thought as well as Anglo-Saxon. We have to make selections from a potentially enormous set of curricular options. The guiding principles might be partly the intellectual capacities that we want to be the outcome for students. But it can’t be only that…There have to be moral, aesthetic and other judgements about the value of particular knowledge, unfashionable though that is at a time when values are supposed to be inherently relative and the curriculum is supposed to be only about developing competences …
What should we reasonably expect our graduates to know and be able to do, at an advanced level? Is it sufficient to say that their broad cultural and intellectual preparation has finished at school, or should we expect something more? At the moment, to be frank, we don’t even know whether and to what extent existing programmes of higher education are any kind of common basis for citizenship at all.
I am entirely with Professor Paterson, but it is fair to say that almost all the contributions I have heard from others within the governing bodies of the University have been tending to the opposite, with an increasingly narrow vocational focus. The need for students to get a job on leaving has always been there. The lack of grants and the tuition fees paid by some of our students add to the pressures. But my generation graduated into a labour market with three and a half million unemployed and few opportunities. But the idea that our university experience should be solely about finding a job would rightly have been laughed out of court. People are marvellous things, so much more than simply machines for economic production. Indeed, I would say that is the aspect of them that has the least to do with a university.
Professor Paterson sets his thoughts within a specifically Scottish tradition. That is appropriate today – we are a university open to the world and with a worldwide reputation, but we are also Scottish, as testifies the fact that I stand before you today in the uniquely Scottish position of Rector, elected by the students.
Becoming Rector here fulfils two of my great ambitions in life. The first was when I had a Highland Reel named after me, written by in my view Scotland’s best traditional music exponents the Battlefield Band. Sadly the great Jimmy Shand is no longer with us, but I like to imagine it at ceilidhs – “Our next set is a highland reel, with The Lang Heid followed by Lady Margaret Campbell of Glenlyon followed by Ambassador Craig Murray of Tashkent.” That will confuse them.
So my very own reel a great honour, and my first ambition. My second was to become Rector of the University of Dundee.
I might have to give up on the third, as I don’t suppose Kylie Minogue would be up for it.
You will have noted that my robe is rather plainer than many of the gorgeous ones around. That may surprise you in such an elevated office. The Rector is the second most senior officer of the University. In the University’s foundation document, the Charter, Article 4 says “There shall be a Chancellor of the University who shall be the head of the University”. Article 5 says “There shall be a Rector of the University who shall be elected by all the matriculated students”.
Only after these great honorary offices, from Article 6 onwards, does the Charter go on to list the hired help, starting with the Principal. That is not an accidental running order – for one thing, the Queen by definition does not make mistakes, and for another the order is precisely the same in all the Scottish universities which have Rectors, and is clearly set out as such in successive Universities (Scotland) Acts. But it is an order that this University appears to have mislaid in recent practice. I shall be restoring the influence and the dignity of the position to its rightful place, not for me, but for the reason I am wearing this unembroidered gown – this is based on an undergraduate gown, to indicate that my role is to fight for the interest of the students.
I should be plain that everyone in the University has the welfare of the students at heart – it is simply useful to have someone who has it as their primary concern amid other pressures. One of the problems universitys face is that for funding purposes a prime driver of academic departments is the need to publish a large volume of well reviewed books to produce brownie points. This has led to appalling distortions. You can be a great university academic without ever publishing major research, if you are up with your subject, and communicate knowledge, wisdom and love of the spirit of learning to your students. Cutting edge research provides a key edge to our best teaching, and is a great advantage of many parts of this university. But it is not the sole arbiter of merit, and it is in danger of being so.
My own view – and remember, I have said that a university must be a forum for debate. You don’t have to agree with me at all. What you have to do is listen, respect and then engage, from your own perspective and experience.
Nevertheless, my own view is that the University has put too little emphasis on the quality of undergraduate teaching. If you look at The Times’ detailed table of university rankings, you will find that our students arrive with a score representing their school qualifications placing us 23rd highest in the UK. We have the 23rd highest qualified people coming in the doors. But our completion rate – those actually achieving their degree – is the 105th best in the country.
You can look up the table yourself. So we have some of the best students arrive, but do poorly on getting them through their degree. Of course, there are statistical anomalies, and the figures vary widely from course to course. But the figures do not lie on overall trend, however you try to spin them, and the truth is that we are not good at value added. Doing better by our undergraduates in this respect will be a major goal of my time as Rector.
Another goal will be to improve the governance of the University. Let me try to illustrate my point visually. These are the minutes of University Court for 91-92. These are the minutes for last academic year. The difference is startling. These are not freak years – you can look at the bound minutes yourselves, and the series gets slimmer and slimmer, with a real step change down around 2001.
That certainly reflects my experience of returning to University Court in 2007 after leaving it in 1984. Minutes are fewer, shorter. The whole Court does not lunch together beforehand now, but rather the Administration cabals with trusties. Decisions are taken outwith Court and without consultation. As Rector, I do not expect to hear of the cutting of a vital student service like the free Ninewells minibus, simply by receiving an email like any member of staff telling me it has already been cut. If the University continue to treat the Rector – and Court - like that, I will continue to embarrass them like this.
The sparsity of the Court minutes is a genuine reflection of the amount of information given to court and the extent Court really takes the decisions. At my first two Court meetings this year I complained that we were being asked to take decisions on cutting academic provision, without having any but the scarcest financial information before us. We were told, for example, that factors in the University being short of money included higher than expected pay awards, an unexpected increase in the cost of energy and increased building costs through a higher cost of steel. I asked for this to be quantified. How much were wage costs estimated, and what was the outturn? How much were energy costs estimated, and what was the outturn? How much had contactors increased the contract by for the higher cost of steel? None of this could be deduced from any of the information given to Court.
Not only did I raise this at two successive Court meetings, without to this day receiving a substantive reply, but the fact that I had asked the question did not appear on either occasion in the minutes. One reason why these volumes are so slim. Dissent is deemed not to happen.
I started some time ago, and I am grateful to you for your patience, by emphasising the need for a University to be a place of free and open debate. Scottish Universities are traditionally democratic self-governing communities, and the election of the Rector is a vital reminder of this. I keep repeating that nobody is obliged to agree with my view, but you should know it. And my view is that the governance of this institution in recent years has been more akin to an old English Polytechnic than a Scottish University.
Let me make plain to you that I believe that under Sir Alan Langlands, this University has blossomed under dynamic and effective leadership which has seen a tremendous expansion, continued cutting edge academic achievement and the introduction of wonderful new facilities, including this one. This has become a truly world-class institution. But I completely reject any notion that the traditional forms of academic community and decision making cannot deliver such results.
Indeed, a wider input can make things better, and too narrow a system of direction can lead to error. I have already mentioned my concern at lack of priority on undergraduate teaching. Another example is this building.
It is a lovely new asset, but it could have been designed twenty years ago. Huge atrium. Central air conditioning. People and Planet conducted a survey of all the UK’s universities to rate them for how green they are. We were near the bottom of the list – and you can google that equally true. Look at this building with new eyes. What can you see of the modern innovations in building design which work to offset a building’s carbon footprint? What do you think the carbon footprint of this building is? You see what I mean about the need to involve more people. Making this University greener is another of my major aims – because I believe that is in the true interests of the students.
Universities – including this one – have been much afflicted by the cult of right-wing managerialism, exemplified in the view that businessmen are the only people whose expertise is useful and transferable. This goes hand in hand with the obscene view that a business model applies to every form of social interaction and thus social institution. The Scottish Funding Council is packed with businessmen, as is our own University Court. It is worth noting, by the way, that Scottish businessmen are not nowadays renowned for their interest in the cutting edge, as Scottish businesses are in the bottom
quartile of OECD tables on percentage of costs spent on research and development.
Now many of those on our Court are excellent people, but they do seem to have a similar perspective on many issues. Wisdom does exist elsewhere in Scotland. In an institution which embraces a great College of Art, it might be good to see a working artist on the Court, more from the professions, journalism, the law, the clergy, the theatre, the arts, the police. A schoolteacher, perhaps. A bit more creative spark. And representatives of all the staff, not only the academics.
Let us reinvigorate the idea of the Scottish democratic community in its universities. We have a great chance now, we a radical government in Edinburgh determined to emphasise all that is best and distinctive in Scottish tradition.
I have a firm proposal to make. I call for the institution of the Scottish tradition of Rectors in all Scottish Universities, not just the ancient ones. I shall be lobbying the Scottish government to take forward this proposal.
Could Brown, determined to keep the economy on course, determined to retain the option to call an early election and secure his place in Number 10, have ordered the Bank to bolster the markets?
I'd really like to think not. But all I can say is that I suspect he may have - and there are an awful lot of people out there, many of them far more knowledgeable than me, who suspect the same.
Now is fearless Liam the Scourge of Canary Wharf accusing Brown ? ... is he saying it's all Brown's fault ... King's fault ? Liam would "like to think not" .. "he suspects" ... that's what we want, fearless journalism, rooting out the wrongdoers, exposing the scoundrels, pillorying the guilty, identifying the crooks.... whilst King has so far pissed up £8 Bn. of the taxpayer's money up the wall (and rising).
No 10 Downing Street joined You Tube on April 17th (probably Clarence Mitchell's last bright idea) this year and they have to date uploaded 77 videos which so far have been seen in total 213,481times ... "Welcome to the 10 Downing Street YouTube channel" they say, " This is where you'll find exclusive films and features from No10 and the British Prime Minister. "
5,384 folks have watched this one, entitled ..."The PM and Jacqui Smith attend a Citizens' Jury on crime". Watch ,Listen , learn ... and remember that Gordy is not a PR spin type of guy .... well I guess he's a "straight kinda guy" .What's the budget for this raw party propaganda , where does it come from, who authorises it ?
Democracy at work .. now tell me Mr Prime Minister how do I get put on Jury Service .. perhaps they need some alternative voices ?
Socialist Republic of Vietnam sees manufacturing investment from US and Taiwan soar as economy expands by 8% p.a.
Wilbur Ross and his WL Ross & Co. made US$380 Mn. in an afternoon selling their interest in International Steel group - and had a brief (and unsuccesful foray) foray through his International Coal Group in UK Coal plc announced a major investment in Communist Vietnam (More correctly Cộng hòa Xã hội Chủ nghĩa Việt Nam - Socialist Republic of Vietnam) on June 19th 2007.Vietnam was accepted into the WTO on November 7, 2006 just before a historic visit by George Bush (President of the United States)for the 14th APEC summit in November 2006 - that's him with President Nguyen Minh Triet and Uncle Ho looking over his shoulder - George was defending Texas at the time the US were exporting democracy to Saigon.
With Ho Chi Minh City based Phong Phu Corporation, a major cotton textile and clothing manufacturer , Ross's International Textile Group is investing heavily in a joint venture and developing a joint strategic investment footprint in Vietnam.Vietnam is the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia with output of 400,000 barrels per day - and the second largest rice exporter in the world after Thailand.
ITG’s Burlington WorldWide division and Phong Phu have been partners since June last year in a previously announced an $80 million cotton fabric and clothing manufacturing complex under construction in Da Nang, Vietnam, (Tourane province under the French) the site if the USAF's largest base in the Vitenam war. The Burlington Co pants manufacturing operation will commence employing up to 500 operatives from the end of October . Expat website
Now they have signed a Memoranda of Understanding with President Nguyễn Minh Triết, to discuss any potential privatization advisory" that WL Ross "with its proven investment expertise, can provide." This also commits them to explore various real estate related joint ventures and the other looks to a potential WL Ross strategic investment in the currently state-owned Phong Phu "as the latter privatizes through an initial public offering."
Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., WL Ross & Co.’s founder and chairman said "Vietnam is among the most rapidly growing countries in the world and we are delighted to have the opportunity to commit additional capital to support that growth. We are especially eager to broaden and deepen our relationship with Phong Phu and are committed to help that management to change from being a State Owned Enterprise to becoming a privatized business. "WL Ross and Phong Phu are parties to two of the three agreements signed here today.
One commits them to explore various real estate related joint ventures and the other looks to a potential WL Ross strategic investment in the currently state-owned Phong Phu "as the latter privatizes through an initial public offering."
In addition, the two will discuss "any potential privatization advisory" that WL Ross "with its proven investment expertise, can provide."
Phong Phu Textile Co. is currently a state-owned company with over 5,000 employees. They have another joint venture, Coats Phong Phu., Ltd. (CPP) between Coats Holdings Ltd. and Phong Phu Textile Company (Vietnam). It was established on July 25th, 1989. The total capital investment is US$14.6 million that is contributed 75% and 25% respectively by the foreign and Vietnamese partners.
CPP has 2 factories located in Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi and 1 representative office in Danang. CPP is currently the leading thread supplier in Vietnam with nearly half of the total market share and approximately 800 customers.
Taiwanese companies expand in Vietnam in preference to China as incentives are offered
Taiwan’s Hon Hai, the world’s largest (and fastest growing) electronics parts maker, and Compal, the second-biggest contract laptop manufacturer,recently announced a combined $5.5 billion in investments in production facilities in Vietnam.
China has scrapped value-added tax rebates on certain export lines and introduced measures to discourage low-end export-processing trade - the practice of assembling imported components into finished goods for re-export.
Seizing the opportunity Vietnam is offering (very) generous tax breaks and rent-free land to selected foreign investors.
Thailand and Cambodia are trying to muscle in on the act, seeking to divert some of the money that might previously have flowed to China, before the authorities began to get worried by signs the economy was overheating.
Taiwan is now the third-largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with cumulative investment of US$9.1 billion through July, according to Vietnamese Government information.
Taiwan government data showed that investments it approved in Thailand more than tripled in the first half of the year, compared with just a 2.5 % gain for China.
Hon Hai plans are to to boost investments to $5 billion in the next 2/3 years as the Vietnamese economy has expanded more than 8% a year over the past few years.
Tax incentives are also key: one Hon Hai unit managed to get a four-year corporate tax waiver and a 50 % tax waiver for nine years after that for a planned investment in Vietnam’s Bac Giang province, according to the Vietnamese government.
Notebook PC maker Compal Electronics has also been given huge incentives to build its planned US$500 million plant in Vietnam, including a 10-year corporate tax exemption and rent-free land in exchange for using locally made parts.
Pic is the Krait Snake relatively common in Vietnam . This striking black and white banded snake is nocturnal and one of the most dangerous snakes in Asia, and bites without hissing. In addition to this, the bite which injects a powerful nuerotoxin not unlike the cobra's ,is virtually painless, but often fatal, especially if ignored. Deaths from this snake are probably under reported, since most occur at night and unattended.
"Vietnam is a remarkable country. For decades you had been torn apart by war. Today the Vietnamese people are at peace and seeing the benefits of reform. The Vietnamese own their own businesses, and today the Vietnamese economy is the fastest growing in Southeast Asia. Vietnamese students have great opportunities here at home and broad. The Vietnamese people are traveling around the world and sharing this ancient culture with peoples of the world. And the United States, as well as other APEC partners, look forward to strengthening our ties."
President George W. Bush November 17, 2006
See a previous post about Vietnamese investment here.
One of Scotland's greatest football managers died today in 1981. Bill Shankly .OBE - or 'Shanks' as he was known - was most famous for his management of a Liverpool football team the late 1950s until his retirement in 1974.
A tough, determined boss with an insatiable will to see his team both play well and win, Shankly was also noted for his sense of humour.
Upon being asked if it was true that he had taken his wife to see a football game as a wedding anniversary present, he replied: "Of course I didn't take my wife to see Rochdale as an anniversary present - it was her birthday."
Perhaps the line relished most in this neck of the woods is ... "Aye Man United and Man City at the Bottom of Division 1 ... and they'll teck some shiftin'"
Lady Di inquest - Daily Express reports - is a smart sub-editor trying to tell us something ? Amazing pictures !!
Surely nothing to do with the fact that our old friend the Sphincter of the Yard, Peter "Lunchbucket" Clarke was in charge of Met Police Royal protection at the time - or his imminent and much lamented retirement?
Newsround is a BBC TV afternoon program (see pic) aimed at 6 - 12 year old children .
On its website it used to answer the question concerning 9/11, "Why did they do it" by saying: "The way America has got involved in conflicts in regions like the Middle East has made some people very angry, including a group called al Qaeda - who are widely thought to have been behind the attacks." see original page that sat on the web for 5 years here
There were complaints. (Orchestrated, it is now evident 2.pm 29/9/07 see update at foot of page)
The program makers changed it to ...
"Al Qaeda is unhappy with America and other countries getting involved in places like the Middle East. People linked to al Qaeda have used violence to make this point in the U.S.A, and in other countries."
David Cameron's security adviser, ex BBC Governor, spy, Nat West Bank adviser and for 5 five brief weeks from the end of 1993 to the beginning of 1994 she was Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. FCO head of the Dayton peace accords See Waddlin' Madeleine Albright another handbag toting old biddy who did for the Serbs from 20,000 feet with 2 ton HE bombs) , she also made massive profits from helping Milosevic raise a few bob, by selling off Yugoslavian state assets (along with Douglas Hurd) as Managing Director of NatWest Markets and ex officio member of the Lady Dame Jane Pauline Neville-Jones Fan Club is not happy with this version.
She has been rattling the cage of BBC's head of journalism Mark Byford, who is understood to have defended the text as "clear and concise".
The old biddy says the new version is even worse.
"It still says it's all America's fault, and now for daring to be involved in the Middle East at all...It wasn't 'people linked to' al Qaeda who killed 3,000 people that day, it was al Qaeda itself. "
"Osama bin Laden even boasted of the attacks. Is the BBC really saying that if you're 'unhappy' it's quite normal behaviour to murder people? "
"Is the BBC so naive as to take al Qaeda's propaganda at face value? Or is there something more sinister at work here?" (The Evening Standard (copied in Daily Mail today) who report this story show the Newsround team .. and one of them is a darkie - Know what I mean ?)
"How can we expect to win when our national broadcaster is parroting their line to our own children? There is only one set of people who are ever to blame for terrorist attacks and that's the perpetrators themselves." ... and presumably went on to detail the terrist attacks the UK State was involved in over many years via MI5, and various Army cells who funded, and supplied arms to NI terrists over many years, planned murders and bombings, destroyed evidence, and protected known killers .... which the Evening Standard didn't find either the space or time to report.
No doubt she was also vocal on the US aided ethnic cleansing by the Muslim Bosnian forces of the Christian Serbs in Kranje Luka for which General Gotovina is kicking his heels in the Hague slammer whilst everyone wonders what to do about him if he spills the beans about the US in telligence he was given, satellite data, in formation from UAV overflights and the mercenaries under the control of Jay Garner the first US pro-consul if Iraq.
"I never imagined the rot would spread to the BBC's children's programmes. I was wrong." says the slim, glamorous, beautifully dressed old age pensioner (b.1939) (pic of her in a more reflective moment) ex Chairman of Qinetiq plc (who seem to be regular readers of these jottings). Hi there!
Presumably the rot, OAP Pauline (Current address the RUSI "Bide a Wee" Home for distressed State Terrists, Wokingham ) was referring to, was the aimless staring at the TV in the afternoons to fill the aching space and longeurs between dinner and tea time... let's hope she hasn't fallen for one of these "release the equity in your house schemes" scams aimed at such vulnerable old dears.
"Could you just turn up the telly dear , I can't hear it" is her favourite saying.
UPDATE - 2 pm Just discovered the wonderful site Biased BBC who have a handy and lengthy "cut out and keep list" of the outrageous CBBC Newsround outrages against children and public decency.
Their wonderful heartwarming post today ...and we quote, says ...
"This very much reflects the view of Biased BBC - that our national broadcaster, paid for through a compulsory levy on British viewing public, ought to serve our collective national interest - the interest of free people everywhere - when it comes to reporting on terrorism and covering terrorist atrocities. "
...and ends the posting ..
"Please do read the rest of James Chapman's excellent article. Please also ensure that this new development in Biased BBC's campaign highlighting CBBC Newsround's 9/11 coverage receives the attention it deserves. "
So it is not difficult to see who awoke the aged Dame Pauline from her afternoon slumbers ...
Please make sure this fine organisation received ...er ... "the attention it deserves." - the discovery of which was a result of a Google blogsearch on "Dame Pauline Neville Jones " which didn't "discover" the post you are reading - try it.
Biased BBC an interesting site and one to visit regularly , B-BBC today, front page of the unbiased Daily Mail tommorrer my old cockney sparrer. A vocal orchestrated and well organised voice of reason , who see treason everywhere.
UPDATE Sunday 30/9007
Greensalde in the Guradian catches up to date on the blogs ( 2 weeks before the Mail) and finds Biased BBC responsible... over 340 comments to read. At a rough guess (and who is counting ?) about 90% in support of the Beeb. eg :-
Friday, September 28, 2007
Der Speigel reports on a study in a book published this week, "BND Against the Soviet Army," by German historians Armin Wagner and Matthias Uhl who have had access to Germany foreign intelligence agency ( Bundesnachrichtendienst - BND) records covering the period between the formation of the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1949 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
At least 10,000 citizens in the Estern communist controlled part of pre-war Germany were spying for Bonn. For many the decision to spy was provoked by a deep-seated attitude of anti-communism. But others did so out of adventurism, or due to family ties, or simply as a favor to old army buddies from the war.
The Western powers placed a high priority on military espionage in East Germany at the height of the Cold War as 400,000 Soviet troops based in East Germany were the strongest Red Army divisions in the entire Eastern Bloc facing the West - threatening a pre-emptive strike against against West Germany and NATO.
The BND also increased its reliance on information passed on by West German tourists to the GDR.
The East Germans started building the divisive grey forbidding concrete Berlin Wall on Aug. 13, 1961.hrough their spies "The BND knew something was up that July and August," Wagner says. Even though the BND was a reality the Bonn based politicians say the authors didn't want to accept the idea. The BND couldn't pinpoint exactly when West Berlin would be sealed off and until a week before work commenced the authors claim only 60 people knew what was going to happen.
Of course there was spying by East German agents as well , up to 6,000 who were regularly paasing information eastwards. Before 1961 it was relatively easy to recruit spies and to access the information they gathered. According to Uhl, the BND had already recruited 5,000 East Germans by 1955, most of them from the ranks of the defeated German army. Although things got more difficult after the wall went up, a network had already been established and new spies were recruited, for example, by conservative professors at the universities or journalists.
Of course there was spying by East German agents as well , up to 6,000 who were regularly passing information eastwards. The spying game was a two way street (with no doubt many collecting pay packets from both sides) because there were many in West Germany, particularly the 1968 generation, who were attracted by communist ideology and were ready to help the GDR.
West German intelligence, for example, is not known to have managed to place agents high up in the East German government whereas it appears Bonn was riddled with agents. The most famous was Günter Guillaume, who became a top aide to Chancellor Willy Brandt. His discovery in 1974, resulted in Brandt's public humiliation and resignation.
What struck the study's authors as most surprising was how much all the snooping became a part of everyday life. These were not professional agents, but ordinary people, "housewives and students."... e.g pic of Alina Kabbaeva a typical house
wifeguest with access to Russian oligarchs.
Which is of course how the Secret Services in so called Western democracies operate today recruiting, businessmen, journalists, academics, clerics entrapping the weak and the willing with honey traps, judicious blackmail on the vulnerable and relying on a deep seated sense of chauvinism blended with not a little xenophobia of others... plus a healthy dollop of ex-service (are they ever ex-service ?) people... not to mention the odd Jewish Russian billionaire and oligarch with UK citizenship or football club.
".....a tightly knit group of conspirators in Washington known by now to all as "the neoconservatives"--a group of warmongering fanatics morally equivalent to the Islamic fundamentalists they claim to be fighting. ..." "The Power of Nightmares." BBC
Northern Rock plc given £7.75 Bn. of tax payers dosh by thrifty, prudent Scots, Brown + Darling - technically a loan but actually thrown away
The guys who claim experience, expertise and technical skill in examining financial entrails, have determined that a close study of the Bank of England's weekly figures say that £7.75 Bn. classified under the heading 'other assets' is equivalent to (ish) the BoE's support to Northern Rock - massively up from last week's figure of £ 2.9 Bn.
Making more money from Fiction than J.K.Rowling and the Bloomsbury group
Well Simon Ward, a bright, fresh faced, economist at New Star Asset Management, says so and everyone is grasping at this mind boggling quantity of tax payer's hard earned disapperaing forever down the ever widening and deepening black hole that is Northern Rock's work of fiction , their Balance Sheet . The press report that, " Northern Rock could not be reached for comment."
Northern Rock's increasingly grubby shares closed down today at 180p today.
On the 15 September 2007 the Financial Services Authority issued a statement headed - "The FSA reiterates that it judges Northern Rock to be solvent and that savers can continue to deposit and withdraw funds."
Now one can reasonably assume that the Directors of NR having borrowed nearly £8BN. (and probably more by now) haven't just sat round and looked at it. Presumably they needed it to pay some pressing creditors like folks who previously lent them money ... and don't want to reapet the exciting experience.
Northern Rock plc is insolvent
Call me old fashioned but one of the tests of insolvency is when, "the company cannot pay it's debts as they fall due" .... so how can the NSA insist , "that it judges Northern Rock to be solvent ". remembering of course that declaring companies insolvent is not their job , nor do they have the staff or authorisation to decide such things and make such ex cathedra statements.
The sole judges of insolvency of a company whilst trading are the Directors, but by any measure they are clearly incapable of paying their debts as they fall due without recourse to the tax payer.... and it is evident that there are noready buyers in the market.
Snake oil merchants make grab for assets
Furthermore according to a report in today's Financial Times today, "creditors holding Northern Rock's tier two debt are forming a committee to protect their interests in any restructuring or insolvency, amid fresh concerns over the bank's viability." That's the holders of Granite securitised notes, covered bonds etc., etc., with their multi country, multi company , curiously Byzantine layers of companies, trustees, detailed in their weighty and impenetrable prospectuses (ii ?). (Even more dosh for M'learned friends in the pin stripe trousers)
Rather late in the day it has filtered through, from the silent boardroom of Northern Wreck , emptier than the trophy room of Newcastle United, that last week the company distributed almost £40 mln stg in dividends to holders of preference shares just before cancelling the dividend to ordinary shareholders.
Pic is of the beautiful, delightfully athletic, and artistic gymnast Alina Kabaeva who can do remarkable things with balls and ribbons accompanied by music and the Russian President, Mr Putin, with whom I would be delighted to discuss the complex world of global finance especially in relation to the beautiful country of Uzbekistan.
Another fucking thieving VAT carousel fraudster locked up - Harjit Singh Takkar, he stole £4.5 Mn. in 3 months from taxpayer.
Harjit Singh Takkar, 32, of 9 Lampton Park Road, Hounslow, TW3 4HS was convicted and sentenced today to 7 years in the slammer on three counts; Conspiracy to Cheat the Public Revenue (seven years imprisonment), Cheat (three years imprisonment) and Fraudulent Trading (two years imprisonment). The sentences will be served concurrently.
He stole £4.5 million from the taxpayer by a sophisticated VAT fraud.In the 2 months between May 2004 and August 2004 trading as Hi-Profile Ltd, he purchased mobile phones and computer chips from suppliers in France. In a maze of transaction VAT was reclaimed ending up in Dubai . One exporter even re- claimed VAT again on the exports.
In one instance an export was traced to a German company from whom Takkar's suppliers had allegedly purchased phones indicating this was part of the fast growing European wide dimen sion to this sort of fraud which is milking the public purse faster than Gordon Brown can piss it up against the wall on Trident, aircraft carriers, bailing out Metronet, Northern Rock , seeing North Sea oil revenues decline, fines paid by DEFRA to the EU, Tax Credit cock-ups and expanding the prisons.
Of course the money will never be recovered - at least he is pretty low on the Alisher Usmanov Richter scale of stealing from the public purse.
It's time for some Ayurvedic masage from Toni Fabuloso or the lady who shares the saintly Mr Usmanov's home and life, young Alina (pic).
Zug based Biopetrol Industries AG which was founded in 2005 and the Klink family (see below) have a major interest of 65%. On April 27, 2006 3 Mn. shares were and closed @ EUR 8.00 per share see IHT report. They recently announced their interim 6 months results -
1. Consolidated sales revenues by about 48% to €92.4 million (previous year: €62.3 million).
2. Gross profit up more than 50% to €12.5 million (previous year: €8.3 million).
3. Gross profit margin down from 13.3% to 12.7%
4. EBITDA earnings rose by almost 70% to €4.4 million (previous year: €2.6 million).
If you want an excellent and brief analysis of the prospects for the growth of bio-diesel fuel use in Europe read but read this if you do.
Sales revenues increased due to increased capacity.
Sales revenues rose as production started at the Rostock biodiesel plant (production rose 59% period to period) . In conjunction with the Schwarzheide plant, Biopetrol now has an annual capacity of 350,000 tonnes - all meeting the strict DIN EN 14214 standards with a resistance to temperatures of as low as -20° Celsius. The Rotterdam plant which is on target to come on line in early 2008 should increase this to 750,000 tonnes per year making them one of Europe’s largest biodiesel producers. The by product of 30,000 tonnes of pharmaceutical grade glycerine per year (all with a Kosher certificate) will also double as this production is ramped up.
A further enlargement of capacity in Rotterdam is under consideration in addition to securing growth by means of purchases and expansion of the product range based on the by-product glycerine.Glycerine sales are handled by subsidiary Glyctec GMBH curreently. (Where does all this glycerine from bio-fuels go to ?)
Sales accelerated in Q2 grew by 62% to €50.1 million (previous year: €30.9 million), of which 35% was exports.
Political situation in Germany remains difficult
The German Government introduced an energy tax on biodiesel in Germany in August 2006.
This year, the tax rate in the free market is to be increased incrementally from the €0.09 per litre to €0.15 per litre. Subsidised biodiesel imports from the USA are causing extra pressure, particularly in the German fuel market although there have been assurances that the US government will in future restrict these subsidies (so called "splash'n'dash") to the domestic US market.
According to the German Federal government’s roadmap for biofuels, biofuel market share will be 17% of roadfuels by 2020.
In a surprise announcement yesterday the company dismissed Mr. Rudolf Albert from his function as Vice-President and CFO and to terminate his employment contract... "
"The dismissal of Mr. Rudolf Albert is not related at all to the financial and operational situation of the Group. Special payments relating to the termination of Mr. Albert's employment contract will not be made." said a tight lipped CEO , Klaus Henschel, CEO:
WEDECO Gesellschaft für Entkeimungsanlagen mbH
Germany Werner Klink and Horst Wedekamp founded WEDECO Gesellschaft für Entkeimungsanlagen mbH to produce and make the very first UV water disinfection systems. The UV lamps were circular embedded around the quartz tube through which the water was piped. The company was sold to the US company ITT Industries of White Plains.NY (US7Bn.sales) in 2004.
Here is the share price history , they closed today at Euros 5.02 on Frankfurt Bourse.....
It is worth taking a look at Lord Patel's post on Biofuels plc whose factory in the North east Prime Minister Tony Blair opened ... their shares trade at 1.5 p today.
Roger Bolton on BBC 4 Feedback has just been telling us of the huge audience for Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour , where he weaves his dreams, schemes and themes weekly, which is syndicated from XM Radio on BBC Fridays at 9.00 pm and available for 7 days each week here ...and funded by license payers money . You can listen to Bob every day on XM here .. but you have to pay.... but there are free samples.
Lord Patel first brought readers attention to this Friday, February 16, 2007 , "Bob Dylan - Radio 6 - Don't miss it " .... Unmissable
Bob Dylan on the web
- Official Bob Dylan site
Essential Daily News for Bob Dylan's listeners: Expectingrain.com
Bob Dylan on All Music
Bringing It All Back Home Page: a Bob Dylan website
PS : The Beeb are still cranking out last week's "Colours" theme although they claim it is the "Texas" theme .. which is fine at Patel Towers because it means we can listen to "Purple Haze" just one more time.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Alina Kabaeva - World Class Uzbek / Russian artistic gymnast with a fascinating life story - Amazing pictures !
This beautiful young lady with very few clothes on is Alina Kabaeva. She was born on May 12, 1983 in Tashkent and her father was a professional footballer.
Although she started late as a gymnast her success only came when she went to Moscow and lived with the lady who became her coach. She went on to become a famous artistic gymnast and has won three European Championship 1998/ 1999/2000, and was world champion in 1999 and 2001 (which was taken from her) . Dissapointed fans saw her only get the bronze at the Sydney Olympics when she lost her hoop and ran out of the exhibition area. She went on to win Gold at Athens in 2004 and her friend Irina Tchacina won silver. (Lots more interesting photos here)
In 2001 at the Brisbane Goodwill games she won the gold for the Ball, Clubs and Rope, and the silver in the Individual All-Around and Hoop. Alina and her teammate Irina Tchacina both tested positive to a banned diuretic (furosemide) and were stripped of their medals.
Irina Weiner, Russian Head Coach and who also served as the Vice President of the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics Technical Committee, said her gymnasts had been taking a food supplement called 'Hyper' which contained mild diuretics. Which according to Weiner the gymnasts were taking for pre-menstrual syndrome. When the supply ran out shortly before the Goodwill Games, the team physiotherapist restocked at a local pharmacy. According to Weiner, the supplement sold there was fake and contained furosemide. The commission requested that the Goodwill Games organizing committee nullify Kabaeva and Tchachina's results. The FIG also nullified their results from the World Championships in Madrid, nominating Tamara Yerofeeva who was declared the 2001 World Champion.
Alina is now a fillum star , and played in the Japanese kung-fu / ninja film Red Shadow. "It's hardly an action role, but a surprise treat is the presence of Russian rhythmic gymnastics champion Alina Kabayeva as a Russian ninja. She was originally meant to double Kumiko Aso, but due to scheduling conflicts ended up in her own small role instead. She performs some ridiculously insane feats of dexterity and physical grace, but it's clear Nakano was simply tacking her onto the movie with little regard for the story. She's there one minute to pose as an entertainer for a samurai warlord, shows up again to sneak around his castle and then disappears."
Here is a YouTube of her doing some remarkable things with a ball at the Gazprom European Grand prix Championships in Moscow 2006 when she staged a comeback and to the surprise of many won first prize. (Search on her name for many more such fillums)
Her lady who housed her in Moscow and trained her is Dr Irina Wiener AKA Mrs Alisher Usmanov and she is also very friendly with Mr Putin who is President .
What a VERY lucky (and extremely athletic) young lady.
The AMEX Defence Index is composed of the following companies and this table shows who they are and their current relative weighting :
This is the 12 month chart to close of business last night (click to enlarge)
Defence Secretary Robert Gates, has an additional US$42 billion in funding from Congress to cover expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes US$11 billion to buy another 7,000 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAP AKA 28 ton armoured Mack truck buses - see previous posts) on top of the 8,000 vehicles already on order, and US$9 billion to provide new equipment and technology. .. It also means that this brings the total funding to about US$190 billion compared with the $165 billion approved by Congress for 2007.
The massive US$20 billion Middle East arms package peddled by the Bush administration to Saudi, Gulf States and ...er... Israel also adds to the defence industries bonanza. Exports are broadly 10 - 20 % of total sales.
The AMEX Defence Index, jumped 14.25% in afternoon trading. Since last year the index has climbed 47% while the S&P 500 has only picked up 15%.
Shares of Lockheed Martin (LMT) rose 76 cents to close at $105.72. The stock is nearing its all-time high of $107.33, established in July.
General Dynamics Corp. (GD) stock added 7 cents to $84.37
Shares of Raytheon (RTN) also collected 75 cents yesterday, closing at $64.47.
It is not only the well known majopr contractors who have seen a massive doubling of their share price in 12 months . FLIR systems (mkt Cap US$3.7BN.) are major suppliers of infra red / thermographic sensing.
Only last week they announced a $28.6 million order from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its Star SAFIRE® III stabilized, multi-sensor systems. The units delivered under this order will be used for homeland security and high-value asset protection missions.
Kurdistan - Iranian border shut by Iran after US took Iranian hostage last week - 7- + dead in last 3 days in Iraq
From Nur al Cubicle today
US causes Kurdistan to be cut off, prices soar
According to accounts that I have been reading, there is raging inflation in the states along the Arabian Gulf. The US kidnapped an Iranian trade delegation rep in Sulaymaniyeh on September 20th, so the Iranians have responded by closing the border:
This account is from L'Orient-Le Jour
Millions of dollars of losses in Kurdistan after border crossings closed
Sulaymaniyeh's Trade Minister, Mohammad Raouf, said that Kurdistan was losing US$1 Mn. a day after Iran closed border with Kermanshah Province to protest the arrest of a trade reprentative accused of arms smuggling, says Suleymaniyeh's Trade Minister, Mohammad Raouf. A miles-long caravan of trucks containing food, electrical appliances and electronics has formed in Iran after 15 years of trade have ground to a halt.
They also report that violence has increase with the American command admittingyesterday there was a renewal of violence which made nearly 70 killed in three days. At least 27 people were killed yesterday. Attacks and executions reached various localities in the north of Iraq, in the last 3 days. Yesterday, a kamikaze ( Hier, un kamikaze a notamment jeté sa voiture piégée contre la maison ) drove his booby-trapped car against the house of a tribal chief in the locality of Sinjar, in the north of Iraq, killing eight people.
On Tuesday Iraqi special forces supported by American soldiers carried out an important operation on the largest military academy of Iraq, stopping a score "of criminal elements" (d’éléments criminels) ...."We carried out a vast operation to remove criminal elements within the army", the Iraqi ministry of Defense, the General Mohammad Al-Askari told AFP.
The paper also reports that the cannabis farmers of the Békaa valley (see pic of lebanese Gold being harvested) told Reuters agency that this year was the best harvest since the civil war " No one fears the Government because of the current political problems and divisions , so anything goes" said the mayor of the village of Tarayah, Ali Hamiyyeh, stressing that "the farmers are obliged to plant cannabis not to be submerged by the debts and forced to sell their land".
The UN office on Drug Crime says a gram of Lebanese cannabis, whose purity is about 80 %, is sold retail between US$ 8 - 10 , Wholesale a Kg costs US$ 200-400 (and requires neither irrigation nor pesticide).
On a purely comparative basis, the president of the Association of the farmers, Antoine Hoayek, indicated to the East it Jour that the kilo of potatoes costs 300 pounds Lebanese = 20 cents US to produce and sells at 15 - 40 cents retail.
For those with time, a great deal of patience and a high boredome threshold, they can follow Tim Ireland's Timeline / Commentary on the events resulting in clients of Clive Summerfield who hosted his cleints on Fasthosts servers (including Boris, Craig, Tim and some unspeakable labour MP etc.,) being switched off, go here.
Since then, Clive Summerfield and Tim Ireland have publicly issued a request to Fasthosts for all relevant Schillings correspondence, a retraction and/or correction of the above statement, an apology, plus a fair offer of compensation for all parties concerned:
The best of luck Tim and Clive, Fasthosts evidently only respond to lawyers threats so you had better hire a lawyer - no way are they or "Sch you know who", going to compensate anybody before a Court tells them to.
Save your money, and the chance of cardiac arrest, move on, get a life... as Rummy says, "Stuff happens"
Life is just too fucking short.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Dorset Horse Plods erase political message in the sand ... and send one to all political protesters - plus naked OAP's - Amazing pictures!! Ros Altman
Interesting example of how the Police State beckons ... Guradian
An aggreived Labour voter wrote "I want a referendum" in the sand below West Undercliff Promenade in Bournemouth at around 11am yesterday. The message was cearly visible from the Bournemouth International Centre and the secure zone around it.
At 1.20pm, shortly after the end of the conference's morning session, a line of six mounted police walked over the slogan and erased it. PC Plod (Horsey section) of Dorset police said that the removal was accidental: "They didn't know it was there. They were just returning from policing a demonstration along the beach."
Elsewhere on the beach (no pics available) some naked pensioners squealed and froliced under the guidance of the shapely Ros Altman (pic) to protest about the government's decision to protect Northern Rock savers while failing to adequately compensate elderly people who lost their company pensions when their employer went bust.
Labour aides hastened to ensure that Gordon Brown did not make eye contact (and presumably no other) with the nude swimmers.
Jordan Barab writes to tell us that by an overwhelming vote of 260 to 154, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that will help prevent workers in food processing plants from getting a debilitating, irreversible lung disease from butter flavouring diacetyl . A problem known of for over 7 years by OSHA that has already sickened and killed a number of workers nationwide.
HR 2693 (Popcorn Workers Lung Disease Prevention Act ) will force the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA to issue rules limiting workers' exposure to diacetyl which is directly linkedto bronchiolitis obliterans, a severe lung disease often known as "popcorn lung." Despite mounting evidence over several years of the dangers of popcorn lung, OSHA has failed to take action to limit diacetyl exposure, prompting the need for the legislation approved by the House today.
"Seven years after the first cases of popcorn lung were identified, it is stunning that OSHA has failed to protect American workers from this horrible disease," said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the committee. "The cost of the Bush administration's failure to act can be measured in the number of workers who have avoidably grown ill or died. This legislation is critical to stop the delays in protecting workers from this serious workplace hazard."
"It's a travesty that OSHA has done nothing to regulate this chemical, while workers have fallen seriously ill and some have actually died," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and chief sponsor of the legislation.
Thousands of workers are still being exposed to diacetyl at factories that make or use food flavorings.
1. Employers will now have to develop a written exposure control plan that would use engineering controls and respirators to protect workers, and to conduct medical monitoring to determine whether workers' health continued to be harmed.
2. OSHA has to, within 2 years issued a more comprehensive standard , covering all workplaces where workers may be exposed to diacetyl.
House Democrats urged the Labor Department to address this serious health hazard in August 2006.
See "Microwaving popcorn at home - potential harmful if not fatal"
The food processing giant Con Agra (the world's biggest producer of popcorn) have just announced that they will change the recipe for its Orville Redenbacher and Act II brands over the next year to remove diacetyl as a flavouring chemical.
Conagra sells 3 billion bags of microwave popcorn worldwide annually. Americans wolf down 39 million pounds, or about 156 million bags every year, according to the Snack Manufacturers Association.
Interest in the portrait by Boris Grigoryev (1886-1939) of a girl painted in 1917 has been such that we have turned up another portrait, this time of the photographer M.A.Scherling. This was in the collction of Professor Ilya Paleev, now in herited by his son Vladimir Ilich who lives in an overheated and grand apartment in the Academy of Science in St. Petersburg, on the Quay of Peter the Great. Starting in the year 1919, Boris travelled and lived abroad in Finland, Germany, and France, where he died in 1939 in Cagnes-sur-Mer , a suburb of Nice ***. This is where Renoir died at his estate , Les Collettes. This is a detail of Scherling's portrait and the complete picture can be seen here.
A stunning self portrait of Leonid Terentevich Chupyatov (1890 - 1942) probably painted in the 1920's, lives in the same room.
A larger hi-res pic can be seen here
*** As an example of the shite on the web here is a purported print of a painting by Grigoryev from his studio in Cagnes sur Mer sold by a Russian set of Hucksters called Agripohoto !!!
'A Coup Has Occurred'
By Daniel Ellsberg
September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007)
Editor’s Note: Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept. 20.
I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.
..Will Hillary Clinton as president decide to turn off NSA after the last five years of illegal surveillance? Will she deprive her administration her ability to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can provide? I don’t think so.
The Next Coup
Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That’s the next coup, that completes the first.
The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, … what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world – in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.
Read on here
Northern Rock - secret non-funding of Down's Society North East - by £40Bn Offshore based "structured Investment vehicle" ,monster pay , bank collapse
Private Eye have followed up today the connection between "Granite" the Down's Society North East and Northern Wreck. (click to enearge)
They also brought attention to the details of the agressive, go-go bonus scheme carefully crafted by the Chairwoman of the Remuneration Committee Nicola Pease pay as Non Exec. Director = £65K (Day Job CEO Hambro Capital Management) and her thoughtful colleagues including the brain of banking, Sir Derek Wanless who got £86K for troubling himself to attend the monthly Board Meetings and decide how the Exwecutive Diectors could hoover up cash and bonuses from the corporate trough.
So concerned are the Directors about how they get paid that their remuneration covers pages 20-31 of the 2006 year End Accounts.
The EXISTING REMUNERATION PACKAGE
In 2006 the Executive Directors’ remuneration package comprised:
• Basic salary, pension benefits and other benefits in kind, car, medical insurance, 3 Directors also had a concessionary mortgage dating back to the NR Bldng. Soc. etc.,;
• An annual cash bonus worth up to 100% of salary;
• A Deferred Share Scheme – with awards of shares equal in value to the cash bonus (i.e. up to 100% of salary) subject to the Company achieving real Earnings Per Share (“EPS”) growth of 3% p.a. over a three year period; (2006 payout 95%)
• A Bonus Matching Plan – where Executives could invest their cash bonus in shares and receive an award of Matching Shares (ie = doubling the bonus) of an equivalent value subject to the Company achieving real EPS growth of 3% p.a. over a three year period;
• A Long-Term Incentive Plan (“Old LTIP”) – with conditional awards of shares
worth up to 100% of salary subject to a TSR performance condition relative to other FTSE 100 companies.
Executive Directors are also eligible to participate in the Company’s all-employee share schemes
on the same terms as other employees. These schemes comprise:
(i) The Sharesave Scheme, a savings-related share option scheme available to all
(ii) The Employee Share Option Scheme, an H M Revenue & Customs approved share option scheme under which options have been granted to substantially all employees (although Executive Directors have elected not to participate); and
(iii) The Share Incentive Plan (“SIP”), under which the maximum value of free shares awarded to employees cannot exceed £3,000 per year. The value of share awards under this scheme is dependent on the Group’s profits.
Not satisfied with that, CEO Mr Applegarth, who pulled in Total pay of £1,36 Mn.in 2006 (up £200K - 18% on 2005) is also a Non-Executive Director of Persimmon Homes plc and was entitled to fees of £49,916 in respect of 2006.
We have to thank England Expects for the full text of the historic interruption by the absurdly goatee bearded, fun loving Tom Wise MEP - (one of the warmed over Neanderthals that makes up the numbers of the UKIP party) into the debate on EU Energy Securitythis week. This can be found here and the recording here on blip.tv as a 2 minute MP3 file posted by Matthias at Swiss Metablog ,who has been doing a splendid job of concentrating and detailing posts and Press / TV comment on Craig's travails with Mr Usmanov's showbiz lawyers and his ex ISP.
Mr Tom Wise MP the fearless, outspoken, publicity seeking, johnny come lately, rider of passing band waggons, a newbie at the trough of public expenditure, is a recent recruit to slagging off Russian gangsters, and apparently enthralled the assembled European Parliamentary multitudes with these really stinging, forthright, biting, witty, remorselessly damning remarks ..
Gazprom is not a private company; it is a state controlled tool of Russian foreign policy. It is, moreover, in the hands of Putin's political henchmen, and allegedly organised crime.
Take for example Alisher Usmanov...... Allegedly a gangster and racketeer
What a mealy mouthed wanker !
Mr Wise and UKIP appear to have more in common with the wannabe fat , flag waving nationalist and xenophobic Uzbek / Russian, gangster, drug baron, money launderer and rapist than might first appear - although the criminality of their ex and exiled member Ashley Mote jailed for 9 months, 2 weeks ago, for massive benefit fraud (he continues it appears to retain his salary of £75 K whilst in the slammer) cannot match the likes of Alisher Usmanov and his colleagues.
Bloggers must be thankful that he raises the topic - albeit in a forum which their representatives wish to abolish but are happy to be overpaid to appear in. Those who wish to sack the citadels of power must secure them first. Would that the stndard bearers in the cause of freedom of speech were not held by the racist scum, narrow minded bigots, xenophobes and shop keepers that the UKIP are and whose constituency they so ably represent.
It is little comfort that a UKIP loony-toon is the sole Parliamentarian amongst some 1,200 MP's, MEP's, WMP's,SMP's to raise a voice for the "alleged" freedom of speech.
It is not the silencing of the blogs - it is the silence of our elected representatives, our legislators that is so shameful.
Where are Dennis Skinner, George Galloway, Tommy Sheridan , the inheritors of George Lansbury, George Brown, Michael Foot, ... what do we hear from the doe eyed, slim, beautiful telegenic, ex Home Office trained, Sami Chakrabarti with her wistful gaze and carefully tied scarf when freedom of speech is threatened ?
Members of the Sealed Lips Society.
Pic by Beau Bo D 'or who can probably soon expect a carefully drafted letter from Schhh you know who, practised and proven quasi legal extortionists to the stars and Z list celebs, crooks, cooks and con-men acting on behalf of Cadbury Schweppes plc for breach of mandamus, "pissing off", theft of trademark, bringing the company into ridicule, making jokes and compensation for damaging the reputation of a brand established in 1217 by Jacob Schweppes ... and ..er ... legal cost for typing out this letter.
PS : UKIP have a very good Policy statement on UK energy policy prepared by Gerard Batten Oct 2006 which can be viewed here http://www.gerardbattenmep.co.uk/pdf/ukipenergy.pdf
Well the analysis is clear , simple, brief, accurate and commendable. A model of it's kind which any political party could well examine and any sensible schoolchild ( the one's that can read) could understand.
The future policy is .... we are in the shit but carry on best we can.. burn more gas ... dig up more coal(- Q1 2007 Total indigenous UK production of coal decreased by 27.9% on Q1 2006) ...er ... research alternative energy .. build 10 nuclear power stations which would cost the same as the EU for 2 years ...er ..that's it.
Evidently well thought out and highly practical.... Did someone mention the debate Mr Wise was interrupting, was about Euopean energy security ?
UPDATE : 25/9/07 9.30 The text of Wise's words of wisdom, as though they had been handed down from Mt Sinai are repeated here and here . Eurasia Uzbek has a useful article here which gives some handy background and points out that fat gangster Usmanov does have some Uzbek based supporters and points to Arbuz - net and explains ... rather cautiously ..
Alisher Usmanov – an Uzbek-born Russian tycoon
While foreign bloggers and politicians continue accusing Alisher Usmanov of being (a)very shady person, Uzbek internet users support him . The reason is, first of all, for him being Uzbek and secondly, for being a link between Uzbekistan and Russia, a relationship that is very important for Uzbekistan. In general, Usmanov has (a) pretty good reputation in Uzbekistan. Moreover, there are rumors that Usmanov and president Karimov are close friends and bound by many common experiences