This is the letter from the bearded jersey on the Virgin Money website (t/o £70Mn. Trading profit £14 Mn.) who wants the shareholders to ;
1. Accept a "whitewash" - waiving their rights under Rule 9 of the Takeover Code, which requires a bidder to make a takeover offer for the whole company.
2. Be re-branded Virgin Money because Northern Rock is a "Damaged Brand"
3. Put in his own management to run a company with nominally £114 BILLION worth of assets ad 6,000 staff.
4. Rustle up £20 Bn (and rising) to relieve the taxpayers liabilities.
...well you have to admire the guy's chutzpah , but not perhaps, the media's ability to undertake some relatively simple arithmetic.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
“Without a video the people perish”-Is. 13:24
Sergei Victoravitch Pugachev is one of a group of shadowy ex Chekhists and secret service people around Putin from his home town of St Petersburg, such as fellow banker Vladimir Kogan and the oilmen Gennady Timchenko and Yevgeny Malov.
Sergei Pugachev – has been successful in avoiding attention . In 1992 he became chairman of the board of directors of the International Industrial Bank (Mezhprombank MPB). Eleonora Razdorskaya, previously served as vice president of Mezhprombank (MPB). In November 2001, "Novaya gazeta" (at the time owned by British citizen Boris Berezovsky) described her as the right hand of Pugachev when she worked at MPB.
This glamorous lady was said to handle all major financial flows of the bank and later became a business partner of Peter Berlin as co-manager of an offshore venture. It was Berlin's Benex company was featured in the Bank of New York (BONY) multi billion dollar money-laundering scandal.
A 2003 report from the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) reported
An FBI agent, seconded to Russia and involved in the overall investigation of money-laundering throughBONY, said that “Mezhprombank of Russia and its head Pugachev are probably directly concerned with the money laundering.We are aware of a whole series of dubious transfers of big amounts of money and quite possibly we may have some questions we would like Pugachev to reply to. The questions will not only be related toBONY, but also with connections to the Russian mafia.”
Sergei enjoys displaying his orthodox religiosity and this is said to explain his ties to Putin's circle as apart from his close ties to Patriarch Aleksii, the two men are said to share the same confessor, Father Tikhon Shevkunov. The Patriarch along with 3 other members of the Moscow Synod are claimed to have been KGB agents. Patriarch Aleksii II (agent code-name "Drozdov"); Metropolitan Iuvenalii of Krutitsy ("Adament"); Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk ("Mikhailov")the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's foreign relations department; and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk ("Ostrovskii"). The head of the Patriarchate's publications department, Metropolitan Pitirim of Volokolamsk ("Abbat"), was also revealed to be an agent. (If you wish to follow Mafia / Monaco and the Greek Orthodox Church and accusations of child abuse start here)
Putin is perceived to be a committed Orthodox believer. On the 10th anniversary of Patriarch Aleksii II’s election, Putin recognised the Church’s ‘enormous role in the spiritual unification of the Russian land after many years of life without faith, moral degradation and atheism’ and acknowledged the Church’s ‘traditional mission as a key force in promoting social stability and moral unity around moral priorities of justice, patriotism, good works, constructive labour and family values’. In 2004, Putin made clear the link between Russian Orthodoxy and the Russian nation despite the fact that Russia is a secular country, stating: ‘Of course, our church is separated from the state. But in the people’s souls everything is together’.
In 2001, Pugachev entered the government: he was elected senator representing the government of Tuva in the Federation Council, and as a result he had to resign his position as chairman of MPB's board of directors. The bank subsequently made an official announcement that Pugachev owned no more than 5% of the shares in either the bank or its affiliates.
He however controls the bank.
Not without difficulties as the French authorities (according to Le Monde in 2002) suspect Pugachev and his Mezhprombank in money laundering through French Monaco accounts and firms. Investigations proved vast multimillion deposits by the devout banker and structures connected with him to the Azure Shore and Monaco.
Therefore it is fascinating to see that Sergei tells us that he has just splashed out "more than one billion euros", on luxury French retail company Hediard , via Luxadvor his Luxembourg-based firm. The previous former owner, was a Monagesque born businessman and property owner and developer, Michel Pastor.
Hediard is one of Europe's oldest retailers , a temple of haute gastronomie and was founded by Chartres born Ferdinand Hediard in Paris in 1854. It also one of the continent's leading retailers in luxury-class items.
The company has 320 outlets, including cafes, shops and restaurants, in more than 30 countries, including Russia. Each of Hediard's 6,000 products symbolizes “Quality, Reliability and Tradition”... they claim.This year Hediard was awarded the certification of "Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant" (living heritage company) by Renaud Dutreil, French Minister for Small and Medium-size Businesses.
Hediard's president Dominique Richard claims the legendary chain will stick to its traditions despite its change in ownership.
“First of all, Hediard is a French company. Secondly, the financial holding of Hediard has been bought by a European company based in Luxembourg. And if the owner of this company is Russian, it is very good for everybody. But it is very important to know that Hediard will continue to produce in France and be based in France with all its know-how concentrated in France,” he said.
So that's alright then.
The current situation demonstrates that the conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are not simply in deadlock. They have gradually transformed into crime zones that nobody is able to fully control—not the Government of Georgia, the Abkhaz and South Ossetian governments, or the international community.
Organized Crime and Smuggling Through Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Alexander Kukhianidze,
In a post on September 30th Abkhazia - Upper and Lower, countries that are far away and of which we know little attention was drawn to the attack on Russian forces in Kodori Valley in the Russian supported breakaway "State" of Upper Abkhazia.
Naturally, the UN mission to Georgian-Abkhaz conflict zone was asked to investigate the incident. The 2 page report was released yesterday, on October 11.
The Chief Military Observer ordered the UNOMIG Fact Finding Team (FFT) to conduct an independent enquiry into the incident and unsurprisingly he reports that ,"The two sides provided different versions of the incident."
The bald facts appear to be that "Georgian forces attacked a training camp established in 2006 on Abkhaz-controlled territory at the foot of Mt Bokhundjara .... Seven Abkhaz personnel were apprehended by the Georgian side, several were wounded and two former Russian officers reportedly on contract with the Abkhaz de facto border guards were killed. "
The Fact Finding team attended the autopsy of the 2 dead Russians at the Republican Hospital morgue in Sukhumi, Abkhaz. The German Government agreed to provide a DNA analysis of blood samples collected both from the men killed in the incident as well as from the Bokhundjara area.
Then these indefatigable and earnest investigators provided a conclusion ..
Examination by UNOMIG forensic experts of the bodies of the two former Russian officers suggests that both were killed by gunshot wounds caused by automatic weapons fired at short and point-blank range. For the time being, however, the FFT is not in a position to ascertain the exact circumstances of their death.Meanwhile in South Ossetia the Georgian forces have brought in the services of Boney M (although confusingly, several musical groups circulate in the area bearing the name) to seduce the factious Ossetians of the decadent benefits of the Georgian lifestyle at a wild weekend concert in the village of Tamarasheni.
The BBC helpfully report a Georgian official explaining that , peaceful life resumes when people sing songs. They add that 70's "disco icons" Boney M have a loyal following in Russia. Their songs are among the few approved under Communist rule. ......
Perhaps the Lyrics of their "hit", Rasputin offers clue ?
There lived a certain man in Russia long ago
He was big and strong, in his eyes a flaming glow
Most people looked at him with terror and with fear
But to moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear
He could preach the Bible like a preacher
Full of ecstacy and fire
But he also was the kind of teacher
Women would desire
Ra ra rasputin
Lover of the russian queen
There was a cat that really was gone
Ra ra rasputin
Russias greatest love machine
Unfamiliar with the history of Boney M ? ... see here, discover the curious origin of the group's name.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Northern Rock insolvency deepens, BOE providing £13 Bn and demanding £2Bn + a week, Keith Currie, responsible for fancy funding schemes "ill" and ....
Northern Rock plc had had a further injection of £2.3 Bn. of taxpayers funds according to Simon Ward, of New Star Asset Management. This means that the Directors have fraudulently obtained loans totalling £13 Bn.from the public purse.
Company treasurer Keith Currie who has been with the company since 2005 has been absent for 2 weeks due to "stress".
The company website describes his job as ..."responsible for the management of the Company's Group Treasury function including liquidity, wholesale funding, derivative portfolios and the management of the Company's securitisation funding and covered bond programmes." So his fingerprints are all over the crooked schemes for fund raising which hit the buffers on August 12th ....
Meanwhile deputy treasury director, Carl Flinn, who is not a main Board Director has taken over his job. Which must cheer the bondholders enormously.
Can't wait for Mr Applegarth to explain all to MP's on Tuesday.
Derek Pasquill on Official Secrets charges - "it will end in tears before bedtime..you mark my words"
The ridiculous Attorney General and champion spectacles fiddler and adjuster Baroness Scotland had that Derek Pasquill, 48 up in Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday.
Suspended from his job at the Foregn Office and arrested the same day in January last year - he was charged on On Sept 27, with 6 offences of
exposing Jack Straw as a liar and a complete twat under the Official Secrets act with disclosing a letter entitled "Detainees" - which refers to "rendition" or rather " official or State kidnapping" of terrorist suspects without charge or due legal process, representation and contraray to any legal rights of habeas corpus they may have , plus 2 curious letters "Engaging with Islamists" and "Hearts and minds and Muslims".
This extrordinary charge sheet also includes reference to two memos entitled "Egypt: the Muslim Brotherhood - terrorists?" and " Egypt: contact with the Muslim brotherhood".
Remanded on unconditonal bail until October 26th , the case was described as "complex" by Mr Pasquill's solicitor.
The New Statesman has an entertaining cover story today " An abuse of power and the hounding of an official" Martin Bright also provides a brief and enlightening history of Mr Jack Straw's very flexible political views. "Man of straw" (Ho Ho Ho, another journalistic first)
John Kampfner also has an editorial in the New Statesman "An Abuse of state power"
A useful summary of this everyday story of Government lies and decei and attempts to suppress and frighten employees of the State can be found at Index on Censorship: Britain: secrets and sources
The New Statesman exclusive about Foreign Office discussions with the Muslim Brotherhood: Talking to terrorists
Martin Bright's article in the Observer from August 2005: Leak shows Blair told of Iraq war terror link
Bright's Policy Exchange pamphlet on the government's policy of appeasement with radical Islam : When progressives treat with reactionaries - The British State's flirtation with Radical Islam - see acknowledgment below..
Interstate 880 into the Bay area of San Francisco was closed at 6.50 am yesterday.
At 6 am the California Highway Patrol had received a call about a dead dog on the highway in Hayward..
First they found an ear, then the remains of a man aged 30 and 50 with a crew cut wearing jeans (with money in the pocket) , white tennis shoes and a shirt were strewn across five lanes and 1,000 feet of highway.
Based on preliminary evidence, it appeared the man was alive before he was hit.
The highway was reopened by 10 a.m. the CHP has since received about 80 phone calls from witnesses or drivers reporting hair or blood on their cars.
The mind boggles.
Miss Gibb - former nurse , refused to talk to the media yesterday at her £700,000 home in Sole Street, near Cobham, Kent.
Daily Telegraph Online today - By Gordon Rayner and Rebecca Smith
Superbug boss has record of dirty hospitals
The lady is not without form ... or a partner, Mark Rees, who was CEO of Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust for 4 years until Oct 1.
Vincent Cable was the only MP who talked sense and exposed the dishonesty of the Directors of Northern Rock yesterday -
" ........this statement reeks of complacency. Frankly, the Government have become complicit in large-scale irresponsible lending by the same management—and it continues even today—in what amounts to little short of a banking scam. "
"Will the Chancellor tell us how much taxpayers’ money is exposed to this bank? I believe that there is £11 billion in lending and £23 billion in guarantees, so we are talking about a sum of money in one bank that is roughly equivalent to annual spending on the armed forces.
When the Chancellor agreed to the effective nationalisation of the liabilities of this bank, why was the management—including the chief executive, who has been paid £10 million in five years for taking his bank on to the rocks, and the directors, including the ubiquitous Wanless—not sacked? I would include the FSA, which has admitted that in 18 months it did nothing to check the bank. "
Needless to say he got no answers - other than it was the shareholders job to get rid of Directors .... it is a fair bet that they will disappear as soon as the bottom feeders of the City get their hands on it.
There was much lamenting and wailing from NE MP's not a few of whom have no doubt enjoyed the hospitality of the Directors at Newcastle United and Rugby Club, or seen the NR Foundation's donations to their pet constituency projects.
...... and not a mention of the role of the hapless Down's Syndrome North East's role in this sordid affair.
UPDATE Friday am
Reuters - Branson's Virgin eyes bid for Northern Rock
FT - Virgin poised to join Northern Rock bidding
Old Age Pensioner, Lady Dame Pauline Neville Jones (described as Shadow Security Minister and National Security Adviser) will be gracing the Any Questions Panel on BBC4 tonight.
This will afford us a further opportunity to hear Jonathan Dimbleby incessantly interupting both questioners and those who sometimes attempt to answer the questions raised.
Any Questions? Fri 20:00-20:50 Sat (rpt) 13:10-14:00
Any Answers? Sat 14:00-14:30
Thursday, October 11, 2007
There's a whole new generation who see both party politics and office politics as irrelevant to their lives. They're looking for their own ways to change the world.
And they are looking to Comon Purpose to help."
Director. BBC News
Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet secrets revealed - records probably more accurate than the Iraqi Occupation Forces
This beautiful palm sized dried clay tablet comes from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Umma (Jokha in modern Iraq) and can be dated by year, at the very end of the third millennium, was written in month six of the third year of the reign of Su-Sin, 2035 BCE. It records the harvest of ripe dates in two gardeners' date palm orchards (and also shows some dodgy maths - they used a sexagesimal system - based on 60) . It was a gift to Brown University from Henry Thatcher Fowler, Professor of Biblical Literature at Brown University from 1901 to 1934.
Virginia Rimmer an archaeology major and Nicholas Kammer an economics major both at Brown and working with Professor Alice Slotsky's class, HM0232 (Ancient Scientific Writing: Akkadian) translated this , and another tablet.
Read the whole fascinating story here - Whilst the US Government is destroying 21st century civilisation, 2 very bright students are helping to provide insights into what we call the cradle of Civilisation.
Pic © 2002, Brown University Library. All rights reserved
Former Coalition Provisional Authority official John Russell, writing in 2005 in Architectural Record, estimated that some 400,000 to 600,000 cultural artifacts have been removed from the 11,000 registered archaeological sites in Iraq since spring 2003. More
More here about Cuneiform tablets at Black Hills University , Dakota collected by Edgar J. Banks was born May 23, 1866, in Sunderland, Massachusetts who was American consul in Bagdad, Turkey, (!) in 1897. Banks seems to have been an active collector / dealer.
comScore a US based "Internet research agency" reports that in August, using their "qSearch 2.0 " service, they claim more than 750 million people - an estimated 95 percent of global Internet users - conducted 61 Bn. cumulative searches. Of these 37.1 Bn. used Google, 8.5 Bn for Yahoo and 5 Bn. for Google owned YouTube.
The survey covered computer owners 15 yrs and older at home or work. The report did not take into account searches done from public computers, such as Internet cafes or libraries, or access from mobile phones or PDAs.
More about the Finnish startup Jaiku that Google took over on Oct.9th and the Zingku mobile platform they swallowed last month here. (alleged to be involved in the mobile thingy)
The Google share price reached a record US$641.40 today and closed at US$625.80. Bankers Lehman Brothers predict a share price of $714 when the much rumoured mystery Google mobile phone device is launched. Q3 results due October 18th.
A new service has been launched by Google -stunning maps / pics of the Mars surface - Google Mars. How soon before some enterprising soul on Earth starts selling Mars real estate ? Northern Rock will probably spring you a decently priced mortgage.
"This image covers part of the region surrounding Pavonis Mons, one of the Tharsis volcanoes. The ridges running from lower left to upper right on the image are the margin of an areole that surrounds the volcano. How this feature forms in not understood. The margins of lava flows can be seen to the north of the areole. The surface of the areole has been eroded by the wind, indicating that it is not a strongly cemented material - and likely not a lava flow. Some of the material being stripped from the areole has been formed into dunes along the outermost margin of the areole." (Looks ideal for a retirement community golf course)
Image Credits: NASA/JPL/ASU
As there don't seem to be any roads ...would you need a Sat Nav ?
Lancelot Hogben in his entertaining "unauthorised autobiography" explained how when he was Head of Medical Statistics at the War Office his team unearthed the localised resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the region of Naples at the end of the war.
This resistance of up to 40% of the strains tested, was a direct result of the German military medical authorities in providing free supplies of sulphonamides as a prophylactic measure to prostitutes who might entertain the bored German soldiery.
This is the first recorded instance of micro-organisms developing resistance to chemical treatments. A remarkable and little known success of medical science.
Hgben was to remark in his autobiography ( page 186) that even 15 years later "surgeons were dismayed by the incidence of post-operative sepsis due to resistant strains of microorganisms which had developed following indiscriminate prescribing of sulphonamides and antiobiotics."
The continuing widespread use of vancomycin and other "wide spectrum" antibiotics in UK medicine which has contributed (with many other factors) to the epidemics of Staphylococcal and Clostridium is a lesson still to be learnt over 60 years later.
History of Sulfonamides
Bayer AG (who had synthesised apirin) first synthesised the drug as part of their work on dye chemicals, they eventually marketed as Prontasil in 1932. This was undertaken by Josef Klarer and was tested in animals by Gerhard Domagk.
For this Klarer was awarded the 1939 Nobel prize, but in 1937, Hitler had issued a decree that forbade Germans from accepting Nobel Prizes. He considered pacifist journalist Carl von Ossiettzky's 1935 peace prize a slap in the face. ( He was a German pacifist, editor of the antimilitarist weekly Weltbühne from 1927, imprisoned in 1932 for articles exposing secret rearmament in Germany. After election in 1933 Hitler had him put in a concentration camp. Suffering from tuberculosis, he was removed to a prison hospital shortly before the announcement that he had been awarded the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize. Brandt a Swedish MP nominated Hitler for the Peace prize in 1938 !)
Publication of the results of the antiobiotic effects of the sulphonamides was delayed until 1935 and it was patented at the same time by Klarer and his research partner Fritz Mietzsch.
Later the Pasteur Insitute discovered that the action of the drug was a result of being metabolized into 2 parts - one of which interrupted the folate synthesis system which was critical to the production of nucleic acids... an important step in unravelling the structure and function of DNA. (See pic of Linus Pauling with model of sulfanilimide structure)
This wasn't helpful to Bayer because sulfanilimide's dye patent had expired and its manufacture readily undertaken , the drug was therefore widely available.
The drug was widely used throughout WWII on the surface of open battle wounds, shaken on by a sort of pepper pot, by all the forces in the conflict.
In war time and post war Britain the drug M&B 693 , (boxed in 25's) synthesised by May & Baker in Dagenham from Sulphapyridine provided the cure for the hitherto killer-disease, bacterial pneumonia. Their prescription by the doctor signified to the family the measure of concern for the patient - no doubt they were a huge expemnse in pre NHS Britain.
A variant was branded and sold as "Gonazole".
The pale pink tablets stamped with the initials M&B were probably one of the first widely counterfeited pharmacuetical products.
M&B 760 was Sulphathiazole and introduced later ,then came Sulphanilamide then Sulphadiazine, etc each a little better and less dangerous than the previous one. Sulphacetamide is still in use - one of the best eye drops for conjunctivitis.
Listen to second hand car salesman Minister of Health Johnson on BBC "Today"
A report from health watchdog, the Healthcare Commission, concluded that infection by Clostridium difficile probably or definitely killed at least 90 patients and was a factor in the deaths of a further 241 in 3 Hospitals (Maidstone Hospital, Kent and Sussex Hospital, Pembury Hospital) run by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Hospital Trust . Kent Police and the Health and Safety Executive are examining the report. BBC Full report 128 pages
CEO Ms Rose Gibb ( a qualified nurse) who took up the job in late 2003, resigned ahead of the reports publication on Friday 4th October. Chairman of the Trust Mr James Lee Mr said the appointment of a new chief executive may take a few months.
As CEO Rose Gibb was responsible for the hugely unpopular "reconfiguration "plans for the two hospitals which would see a down grading of Maidstone Hospital A&E services. Her plans had also included the loss of children’s and maternity services.
There were two major outbreaks - 150 patients were affected between October and December 2005.
258 patients were affected in a second outbreak from April to September 2006 .
This search of the BBC website alone produces a detailed history of how this nationwide Clostridium epidemic has grown remorselessly as an obsession with centrally devised targets for hospital performance has gripped hsopital managers.
See also here
The screen pic above is from a BBC undercover investigation when BBC reporter Danielle Glevin went undercover in May 2004 in the Kent and Sussex Hospital Go here first and follow links. The interview with Rose Gibbs is here. This was before the 2 major outbreaks.
A sample of the Conclusions of the healthcare Commission report ...
"The trust told us that there had been no deaths that were definitely caused by C. difficile between April 2004 and March 2006. In the Healthcare Commission’s sample of 50 patients who died and had contracted C. difficile between April 2004 and September 2006, our experts found that in 26% of the cases (13) it was definitely or probably the main cause of death and in 78% (39), C. difficile had definitely or probably contributed to the patients’ deaths. "
"Due to poor documentation and record keeping by the trust, a lack of agreed methods and staff being unable to recollect events, the Healthcare Commission has been unable to clarify the precise nature, timing and findings of the various case note reviews undertaken by the trust. "
"The chief executive was widely viewed as being difficult to challenge. "
"Communication between the trust and the PCTs focused on numbers of patients treated and associated costs. There was very little focus on the quality of care. "
UPDATE 12th Oct. Apparently Ms Gibb received a payment of £250,000 severance pay (salary was reportedly £150K pa plus 12.5 K pension contribution) and Health Minister Johnson has asked for any payment to be delayed, pending clarification. It is not unusual for such payoffs to be made tax free as pension contributions.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
German scientist Gerhard Ertl former director at the Max Planck Institute has been awarded the Nobel prize (US$1.5Mn.) for Chemistry on his 71st birthday.
His work concentrated on the understanding of how individual layers of atoms and molecules behave on surfaces - and he has pioneered and developed the study of the dynamical aspects of chemical processes on metal surfaces in atomic and molecular level.
All this helping to explain the way catalysts work, iron rusts, fuekl cells function and the descrtuction of the ozone layer.
An unglamourous research field but essential to providing the tools which have explained such diverse processes as the so-called Haber-Bosch process which makes fertilizers work by taking nitrogen from air and converting it into ammonia by combining it with hydrogen, thus enabling imptovments in efficiency and productivity to be developed.
The consequence of his lifelong work is that the knowledge base which his fundamental studies have addressed is directly related to major commercial processes.
He received the Japan Prize in 1992 which is generally considered to be the Japanese equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Max Planck Press release
HM Treasury brainwashed by carbon trading - well in the case of Kitty and Hilary it just needed a light rinse
Brainy, beautiful, dutiful Kitty Ussher , Economic Secretary to the Treasury, gave a speech to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) at their "Making carbon markets work' event on the 4th October 2007.
This can be consulted at the HM Treasury website as 32 numbered paragraphs ... No 32 consists of two words.... Thank you.
She kicks off by repeating the mantra of the meddling classes ..."I believe carbon trading can play a very significant part, and in fact needs to play a very significant part, in the way that we tackle climate change, both here in Britain and worldwide." Carbon trading she says has to be credible, effective and accountable... which judging by Round One of the ETS it is none of those things.
Well versed in the Stern report's nonsense she picks up on the need (and importance) to give carbon a global price, we can cost the damage of carbonemissions – we can internalise the externality, to use the economists’ jargon - reminding us of course that she is practised in the dismal science.
Of the many ways of creating that price – HMG she says believes that a very important way of doing this is the trading of carbon emissions - not only that , but here is the really scary bit -
"We want it to be strengthened in the future, with limits that tighten over time to create scarcity, and we want it to be expanded – to cover more sectors and more gases, and also to link, eventually, with schemes in other countries."
" ....carbon pricing can only be fully effective if we can create a global price ... which means a global carbon market."
It must have been at this stage that here deep brown eyes started whirling as she set off on a global journey - California .. indeed other US States - it won't be easy - challenging - opportunities ... financial services.
It must have beenat this stage that the asembled accountants stood on their chairs and cheered.
" .... global carbon trading market is worth $30 billion a year – and we expect it to increase significantly in future. This is a new market, and a new opportunity for the UK, and for London in particular ....." London is already the world’s leading financial centre for emissions ..." there musn't have been a dry pair of Calvin Kleins in the room.
Adrenalin racing the pert, petite brain box rattled on ... annual turnover ... environmental goods and services sector... £25 billion in the UK ....... double ....... creating at least 100,000 jobs.
The assmebled money jugglers rolled in the aisles with glee.
"So there are some real opportunities for a green economy and a growing economy – and carbon trading can be at the heart of that." - M & C Saatchi never came out with a better line - just feel it , roll it round your mouth ...."real opportunities for a green economy and a growing economy " all those nights at Balliol studying the rhetoricians.
a green economy and a growing economy - remember that one , you are going to hear it very often.
... er ...32. Thank you.
Now her boss has produced his 3 year Stalinist Plan Pre-Budget Report and her pal Environment Secretary Hilary Benn has added a few hard edges to all this hgh flown rhetoric.
The new measures young and vibrant Hilary announced include:
* Air Passenger Duty to be replaced with a 'per plane' tax from 1 November 2009 to make the tax better fit the environmental impact. So far this is just a "good idea" and HMG will be consulting.
* A commitment (?) to increase the use of auctioning for EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) permits for Phase III, with a significant increase in the level of auctioning for large electricity producers to improve the efficiency of the scheme and tackle windfall profits that have occurred in this sector;
* Confirmation (?) that Climate Change Agreements will be extended until 2017, subject to state aid clearance; and
* Measures to encourage energy efficiency and new technologies, including a push in Europe to speed up action to improve energy efficiency in consumer goods and to reduce the rate of VAT for the most energy-efficient products, consulting on the UK's product standards and providing incentives for businesses to install microgeneration.
The Government will also aim to ensure that future phases of the EU ETS will continue to recognise the carbon savings delivered by Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facilities.
Internationally, a fund will be established at the World Bank as a mechanism for delivering the international element of the Environmental Transformation Fund, announced in this year's Budget.
Which means we will have to wait until Europe approves / catches up / agrees.
The contribution of the UK to global warming is virtually zero. The sole contribution we can make is to reduce fossil fuel consumption - we need to do this as the forthcoming UK energy deficit looms. (FCUKED) - exhortation, fancy trading schemes manufactured, massaged by nameless unelected civil servants whilst the City money juigglers skim the cream is no way to do it.
The only way to cut fossil fuel consumption is to make it too expensive. Tax it. We have been taxing oil at hideously punitive rates for decades throughout Europe - if serious we have to impose those taxes harder and wider.
Carbon trading is just another chip being forged in the casinos of the city, nicely timed to slot in as the trading of "securitised Special Purpose Vehicles" hits the buffers, following mis-sold pensions, and endowment policies (remember those ?).
Boeing have announced that "snags" in completing the assembly of the first 787 airplanes. Deliveries of the Dreamliner are now due in late November or December 2008 for the first customer All Nippon Airways, instead of the May 2008 target date. The first flight is now anticipated around the end of the first quarter of 2008.
Boeing announced a delay in August in the planned first flight of the 787, citing ongoing challenges with out-of-sequence production work, including parts shortages, and remaining software and systems integration activities.
There are also believed to be problems in hitting the weight required.
It is also reported that the rollout plane shell was quickly assembled with temporary fasteners to meet the public unveiling date in early July, and Boeing is still pulling them out and replacing them with permanent ones. This is due to a shortage (!) of Titanium fasteners (or bolts) which are mainly made in California plants of Alcoa. The Shortage is most acute in the center wing box and trade sources point to Alcoa’s Huck Asp (Adjustable sustained preload) lock fastening system commonly used in aircraft such as the Airbus - these were developed by by Cordant Technologies, which Alcoa acquired in 2000.
One example of a complex 787 fitting from AFS is the RFKA9900-13 (SAE AS5550) flareless plug-in union Ring Locked fitting, which was qualified late last year. It’s a high-pressure titanium hydraulic adapter that was selected by Boeing because of its light weight and dual seal protection. It provides up to 49 percent weight savings over the previous design for this application, according to the Alcoa press release. Each 787 uses more than 120 of these parts. (More Alcoa pics here)
“This fitting is designed with a 20º metal-to-metal seal, which is the primary seal between the fitting and mating port, and also incorporates an elastomeric o-ring that acts as a secondary or back-up seal,” Product Management Manager for North America Doug Pyle is quoted in the AFS press release .
This will not impact in any material way on earnings say the company..
This is what Lord Patel said ..."Boeing have taken a massive and daring step. The Dreamliner is a Lego plane, with the bits made worldwide by many, many manufacturers and assembled at Everett, an accountants dream and outsourcers nightmare of logistics. This implies many problems of delivery, quality control, co-ordination all the while dealing with advanced material and manufacturing techniques that have not been attempted before."
Flight Safety Problems CNBC Reuters
Kitty Ussher , 36 was elected as MP for Burnley in 2005 with a majority of 5,778.
She was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Margaret Hodge , the Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry until 29 June 2007. In Gordon Brown's first reshuffle she was appointed as Economic Secretary to the Treasury, succeeding Ed Balls. From 2005 - 2006 she was a member of the Public Accounts Committee.
Kitty was educated at St. Paul's Girls' School (Paulinas include Harriett Harman, Susan Kramer, Stephanie Flanders, Shirley Williams, Rachael Johnson (Boris's sister)) , Balliol College, Oxford, where she read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and Birkbeck College, London, where she took a Master's in Economics (in the evenings).
Prior to her election she worked as chief economist for Britain in Europe and as an economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Centre for European Reform. In addition she has worked as secretary to Paul Boateng and as researcher to MPs Martin O’Neill, Kim Howells and Adam Ingram. In 2001 she was appointed as special adviser to Patricia Hewitt in the Department of Trade and Industry.
She served as a councillor in the London Borough of Lambeth for Vassall ward from 1998 to 2002.
She is married to Pete Colle an accountant ; they have one daughter. Thye live in LOndon but have a home in Burnley where her first daughter was born 1 month after the 2005 election.
Ussher is niece of Peter Bottomley, MP, and (many generations back) a descendant of Archbishop James Ussher. Burnley elected her cousin Gerald Archibald Arbuthnot as MP in 1910.
Kitty likes walking the moors of Burnley and supporting (as does / did Alastair Campbell) Burnley Football Club. Ho.Ho.Ho.
“The previous City Minister, Ed Balls, was a great champion of the City. I intend to be the same. The financial services industry in London, Edinburgh or Leeds faces many challenges as the pace of globalisation accelerates. My role is to work with the industry to ensure the competitiveness of the City is increased as these challenges are met and that it builds on its existing position as the world’s leading international financial centre.” Times
More later ....
Fred joined the debate for the first time in Michigan. He told the Republicans watching what they wanted to hear. Recession ?
"We're enjoying low inflation. We're enjoying low unemployment. The stock market seems to be doing pretty well. I see no reason to believe we're headed for an economic downturn"
What do they want ? A smart ass lawyer who is for abortion ?
No wonder Fred is up there in the National polls ... and he hasn't hit his stride yet and the polls that matter are over 12 months away.
A run off between the ex mayor and the ex (?) actor
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
When Tony Blair lied to the House of Commons - 24th September 2002 - well.... one of the times he did.
Tony Blair (Prime Minister at the time) to Parliament on 24 September 2002:
"I am aware, of course, that people will have to take elements of this on the good faith of our intelligence services, but this is what they are telling me, the British prime minister, and my senior colleagues. The intelligence picture that they paint is one accumulated over the last four years. It is extensive, detailed and authoritative. It concludes that Iraq has chemicaland biological weapons, that Saddam has continued to produce them, that he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes, including against his own Shia population, and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability."
The truth is that the government started a war on a cooked-up pretext, misled Parliament and a host of inquiries to cover this up and is still covering it up. The war remains a matter of life and death, but the cover-up has grave implications for our democracy... says Chris Ames , the indefatigable author of the http://www.iraqdossier.com/
Find out where his battle for the Truth about the sexed up dossier is up to at the Index of Censorship..."Unfinished business"
The FCO and No 10 ? The Stasi were more open.
2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review - counter terrorism, security and intelligence (we'll call it CONTEST)
2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review - counter terrorism, security and intelligence (we'll call it CONTEST)
Some interesting figures can be and have been extracted ..
By the end of 2007-08, CONTEST spending will be £2.5 Bn. a year.
This "investment" in CONTEST will rise to £3.5 Bn. a year by 2010/11 . 3 times the levels of pre 9/11
* the budget for spending on CONTEST will continue its historic real terms growth since 2001, with real growth over this period of 9.6% p.a.
* over £220m additional resources per year by 2010-11 for the Home Office's CONTEST budget - taking real growth in the department's total budget to over 1 % p.a. over the CSR07 period;
* over £100 million over the three years of the CSR07 period to stop people in the UK being drawn into violent extremism; and
* £61 million a year by 2010-11 for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Council and the BBC World Service to breakdown (?) cultural barriers and misunderstandings, working with present and future opinion makers ( a role for Common Purpose ?) and communities at home and abroad - propaganda (AKA "UK's public diplomacy")
£21 million a year by 2010-11 will be provided for the launch of a new Farsi television channel and 24/7 Arabic TV. These services will give the BBCWS a tri-media presence (radio, online and TV) in the Middle East, Iran and Afghanistan. The British Council will receive an additional £3 million a year by 2010-11 for its Reconnect initiative to build understanding with Muslim societies, particularly amongst alienated younger populations.
The Government has also announced :
* a new Single Security and Intelligence Budget which brings together all dedicated counter-terrorism and intelligence funding for the Security and Intelligence Agencies, the police and all parts of government responsible for addressing threat from terrorism. The Ministerial Committee on National Security International Relations and Development, chaired by the Prime Minister, will review the spending plans for this budget on an annual basis; and
* a new counter-terrorism Public Service Agreement (PSA) No. 26 - Reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from international terrorism. This is a 4 page document and it's introduction (see the heading) makes quite clear who the "enemy" is ..."violent extremists who act in the name of Islam".
Want to know more about what is involved in this PSA ? .... the Stasi was more open.
Excerpts from PSA 26 © Crown copyright 2007 and we'll add © RUSI 2007 and © Lady Dame Jane Pauline neville Jones Fan Club 2007 just to be on the safe (ish) side.
Now who was banging on about Fascist - Islamist Awareness week that's simultaneously hitting the campuses (campii?) of the US and the mean streets of London soon as the Stop Islamisation Of Europe is planning to hold a rally in London on 26th October.
Why does the name Dhiran Barot and the Bombless dirty bomber pleads guilty, press spreads the fallout, keep being mentioned around here ?
Here is a riddle : What is the connection between Dhiran Barot and his "Limousines of Death" got to do with the "Mercedes Unexploding Limousines of Death" outside a NIGHTCLUB in London this summer? Please Text your answer to someone at New Scotland Yard.
See Guradian 10/10/07 Security / More for terrorism and neighbourhood policing
In connection with the current problems of Northern Rock, we would like to assure our members and supporters that Down’s Syndrome North East (DSNE) has not been knowingly involved in any misuse of money. We are investigating why our charity appears to have been named as a beneficiary of a Trust without our consent. We have definitely not received any money from Northern Rock or affiliated companies, except for a one-off donation from a staff collection in 2001. Currently we have not received notification that any funds are being raised or collected by Northern Rock or affiliated companies on our behalf.Richard points out that this is a species of identity theft and that the construction of these Special Purpose Vehicles, whether on or off balance sheet (and he point out - every bank uses them) is a based on a fraudulent misrepresentation.
The Trust is said to represent a registered charity 1096003, in this case DSNE , who were blissfully unaware of this "Granite" arrangement, failure to advise them was considered, it was deliberate, and it was done in the name of the Directors of the company and without this deceit , fundamental to the whole whole scheme it would founder.
As he explains - The fraud is simple. It is claimed that an SPV is not owned by the company that creates it - due to the preposterious claim that this untrue - a fraud. "These entities are mechanisms for issuing debt of the creator company, and nothing else. That means that they are a legal fabrication of no real substance that depend upon the fiction of having charitable ownership and intent ..."
"The centre cannot hold, things fall apart " ... Bear Stearns before the New York Bankruptcy Court and Judge Lifland discovered that their 2 bankrupt Hedge Funds Bear Stearns High- Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Master Fund Ltd., 07-12384, and its sister Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Master Fund Ltd., 07-12383 could not seek protection U.S. lawsuits because Judge Lifland said .."The only adhesive connection with the Cayman Islands that the funds have is the fact that they are registered there,'' ... "There are no employees or managers in the Cayman Islands, " he added in his written judgement," the investment manager for the funds is located in New York, the administrator that runs the back-office operations of the funds is in the United States along with the funds' books and records, and prior to the commencement of the foreign proceeding, all of the funds' liquid assets were located in the United States.''
Richard goes on to say that "the City is a persistent party to this deception". ..... hence the anxiety now as Northern Rock is falling apart.
The consequences of this gigantic fraud are too, too awesome to consider.
Chancellor announces 92% drop in VAT carousel fraud (MTIC) ..... Street festivals, joy is unconfined... medals and knighthoods all round
Alastair Darling introduced his 2007 Pre-Budget report today, (286 pages) coyly entitled "Meeting the aspirations of the British people" . The Office of national Statistics also produced simultaneously, "UK Trade 1st Release " from which the adjacent table is extracted from page 8 showing the MTIC fraud trade adjustment = Carousel VAT fraud as calculated by the Office National Statistics - NB this is the first time these figures have been accumulated, displayed and published in this form.
On Page 3 (instead of a picture of big tits) there is a note ...
Changes in trade associated with VAT MTIC fraud mean that comparisons of volume and prices (both including and excluding trade associated with VAT MTIC fraud) should be treated with a great deal of caution.In the Chancellors statement / Document it is worth pondering on Page 27 ...
2.26 The deficit on the current balance in 2006-07 is £4.7 Bn. lower than expected at the Budget, as shown in Table 2.2. This is lower in 2006-07 due to continued success in tackling MTIC fraud and growth in consumer expenditure feeding through to higher-than-expected VAT payments. The deficit is also reduced by lower government expenditure than expected at the Budget, in particular spending by local authorities. The 2006-07 outturn for net borrowing is £3.9 Bn. lower than the Budget 2007 estimate.
At Page 98 we have ....
5.104 New estimates of Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) fraud, published today,show that the scale of attempted fraud fell by up to £1.5 Bn.in 2006-07, to between £2.25 Bn. and £3.25 Bn. The estimated impact on VAT receipts fell to between £1 Bn. and £2 Bn. These reduced estimates demonstrate the success of the Government’s strategy for tackling MTIC fraud. HMRC will take further steps to apply both criminal and civil sanctions to those who are found to be knowingly involved in fraudulent trading.
At Page 174 we can note that ....
B.47 Cash receipts of VAT in 2007-08 are expected to be £1.4 Bn. above the Budget 2007 forecast, helped by the continuing success of the government's strategy for tackling Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud and a stronger-than-expected rise in nominal consumer spending in the first half of 2007. Consumer spending accounts for around two thirds of the VAT base and the stronger growth reflected both higher inflation and real spending growth, above the Budget 2007 forecast range.Finally on Page 154
A.62 As set out in Budget 2007, annual growth in recorded exports and imports and services has been distorted by activity related to missing trader intra-community (MTIC), which significantly inflated the value of measured goods trade in the first half Since the second half of 2006, Government measures to tackle MTIC fraud have led to fall in estimated MTIC-related activity, to a low level. In view of inevitable measurement difficulties involved in estimating MTIC-related activity, the ONS advises that comparisons trade volumes and prices “should be treated with a great deal of caution”. The abstracts from MTIC effects by assuming that beyond the latest quarter of data, export import volumes grow in line with underlying trade, excluding MTIC-related activity.The forecast is therefore based on the neutral assumption that the level of MTIC-related remains constant throughout the forecast at the latest quarterly estimate.So the assault on MTIC fraud has been cut back in 2006 from the VAT on an estimated Total of £ 22.6 Bn. in 2006 to £800 Mn. in the first 8 months of 2007 ! Extraordinary. Something there to trumpet about ...if ...er ...true.... but Cave ! "Changes in trade associated with VAT MTIC fraud ...blah ...blah ... should be treated with a great deal of caution." Too fucking right pal.
Special notes to the ONS figures Page 7 are lengthy and one might just extract....
" ...Changes to the pattern of trading associated with MTIC fraud can make it difficult to analyse trade by commodity group and by country as changes in the impact of activity associated with this fraud affect both imports and exports. Originally, most carousel chains only involved EU member states. From 2004 in particular, some carousel chains have included non-EU countries, for example, Dubai and Switzerland...."
Now VAT at 17.5% on £22 Bbn. worth of goods is ...say £3.8 Bn. so that means VAT receipts should rise for the 8 months of 2007 by say ... £3 Bn.
But the Chancellor says B 47 Page 174 ...
"Cash receipts of VAT in 2007-08 are expected to be £1.4 Bn. above the Budget 2007 forecast, helped by the continuing success of the government's strategy for tackling Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud and a stronger-than-expected rise in nominal consumer spending in the first half of 2007. Consumer spending accounts for around two thirds of the VAT base and the stronger growth reflected both higher inflation and real spending growth, above the Budget 2007 forecast range."
So 2/3 rds of the £1.4 Bn rise is ...say .. £1 Bn. leaving a rise due to the "continuing success of the government's strategy for tackling Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud " of ..er.... £400 Mn.
So VAT receipts should rise this year by £3 Bn. because of the "continuing success of the government's strategy for tackling Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud " but the best estimate is that it will actually be only £400 Mn!!!!
.....Hmmmm. Well they did warn you.
Changes in trade associated with VAT MTIC fraud mean that comparisons of volume and prices (both including and excluding trade associated with VAT MTIC fraud) should be treated with a great deal of caution.
Apologies for the detailed and lengthy explanation, there is no way to reduce it regrettably... When the Gubment set out to confuse and obfuscate they do it in style. But you have to say that the claimed success in controlling MTIC fraud is stunning and the unwillngness to broadcast and publicise their success is really quite startling.... in fact it must count as one of the most successful criminal investigation successes of all time.
Mr Murphy at tax report calculates loss of uncollected Taxes / VAT etc., at £80 BN. (ish)
Brigadier Jeff Mason, DSCOM Director, said today :
"The national railway network is a vital strategic transport asset for MoD. We will take full advantage of it under this contract to continue to move by rail a wide range of armoured vehicles and material. Moving these items by rail saves on road transport costs and exploits MoD's existing rail assets. It also meets the MoD's commitment to greener issues."
Splendid sentiments. The reason for expressing such faith in the " national railway network " ?
The MoD announced today awarding it's £28 million 4 year Strategic Rail Capability and Mainline Rail Freight Services haulage contract contract to EWS - including maintenance of the MoD's wagon fleet.
EWS is the refreshingly and patriotically named railway freight company previously known as BR Freight ( EWS is a contraction and acronym for English Welsh & Scottish Railway Ltd Registered number 2938988. Registered office 310 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7LW ) - which since June is a subsidiary of Deutsches Bahn ...the ...er .. German National Railways.
They also run the Royal Train (whose 2 Royal Class 67 locos (67005 Queen's Messenger/ 67002 Special Delivery ) now run on bio-diesel) - but then they are German ***- and they did get the trains to run on time.
*** Technically the current crop of Royal descendents, night club habitues and demi-mondes should take the name of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg through their father, born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, a line of the House of Oldenburg.
If you go to the Northern Wreck website this is what you will find.
In a total U turn, volte face, the Treasury have told the BOE to guarantee "all accounts, regardless of amount deposited" even to new customers.
State owned France2 is distributed on the Washington based US commercial free cable channel TV5MONDE which claims to be the only global French language TV network. Commentator Jean Marc Morandi was quick to spread the message on Monday and AFP carried the story ...
Freelance translators, collected their lunch pails when they rendered the diminutive French President's call for unity from the electors (”J’invite tous les Français à s’unir à moi.”) into a very freely translated version “to rally my inflated ego so that we can that we can build that dream.”
For those who revel in the Mouvement AntiSarko here are a few videos, from
Monday, October 08, 2007
For those who saw the BBC2 film on the Windscale fire here is a litle more background on the history of the UK WMD's.
10/03/04 WMD lies persist for over 50 years
More Lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction
Group Captain Kenneth Hubbard died on 22nd January 2004. Current obituaries credit him incorrectly with having dropped the first UK H-bomb. The UK never had, and so never dropped the ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction.
Hubbard was the President of the Megaton Club that met annually at the Royal Air Force Club, Piccadilly, London. The club membership was restricted to members of RAF No. 49 Squadron who had participated in Operation Grapple on and around Christmas Island in the Pacific in 1957.
Hubbard had piloted the Valiant B1 Bomber XD818, which dropped the weapon codenamed Green Granite (Small) on the 15th May 1957. This plane now rests as a central exhibit in the RAF Museum at Hendon with signs that maintain the popular fiction (repeated by Harold Macmillan in his memoirs) that the UK produced and exploded an 'H' bomb.
This was a two stage device utilising a "Red Beard" trigger, with a fissile core made from plutonium produced from uranium in British nuclear reactors and weighed 10,000 lbs. The device had a yield of some 2-300 kilotons. "Orange Herald" devices powered by "Dick" explosive bombs in the same test series were claimed to yield 2-3 megatons.
The 'A', Atom bomb, or fission bomb, dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, achieved it 's explosive power from splitting the hydrogen atom. The 'H' bomb produces some 100 times the power of the 'A' bomb by fusion of hydrogen atoms. The bomb exploded by the US on November 1st 1952 on the Bikini Atoll had a power of 10.4 Megatons. Castle Bravo was the biggest bomb ever detonated by the US. This lithium-deuteride fuelled bomb exploded 1st March 1954 at Bikini Atoll. It yielded 15 megatons and a 7 kilometre diameter fireball. It was larger than the test crews had calculated or been expecting. It engulfed its 7,500 foot diagnostic pipe array all the way out to the earth-banked instrument bunker, which barely survived. Test crews and observers were trapped in bunkers well outside the expected limits of the explosion. It rocked task force ships. Marshall Rosenbluth, a U.S. theoretical physicist, was on one of them:
"I was on a ship that was thirty miles away, and we had this horrible white stuff raining down on us. I got 10 rads [100 chest x-rays] of radiation from it. It was pretty frightening. There was a huge fireball with these turbulent rolls going in and out. The thing was glowing. It looked to me like a diseased brain up in the sky. It spread until the edge of it looked as if it was almost directly overhead. It was a much more awesome sight than a puny little atomic bomb. It was a pretty sobering and shattering experience."
Bravo burnt a huge crater 300m deep and 7,500 m diameter in the atoll rock. The 'horrible white stuff' was calcium precipitated from vapourised coral.
The Soviets are said to have invented H-bombs with a yield of 100 megatons – but the design was never tested at full strength. A 'Tzar Bomb' version yielding 50 megatons, (Code Ivan) was tested 30th October 1961.
Why did the UK decide to make atomic weapons?
The day war ended in Europe, the US suspended Lend Lease, thus imposing great hardship on the UK and resulted in even tighter food rationing than during wartime.
Subsequently the US Atomic Energy Act (McMahon Act) of 1946 precluded release of atomic information from the US to the UK, or anyone else. Attlee secretly determined to forge ahead with a UK unilateral atomic bomb and missile programme, a bomb which Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevan famously remarked "would have a bloody Union Jack on top of it".
Starved of funds, with only limited supplies of enriched uranium and plutonium, limited staff and the use of temporary buildings at Aldermaston, using secret and limited funds, without the massive industrial support needed to create such weapons, a true 2-stage fusion device proved to be beyond our capabilities. Eventually it was evident that the "Blue Streak" missile was equally ineffective in delivering the overweight and low yield weapons the Dr Strangelove's in the MOD wanted in order to pursue the Cold War.
In 1956 Calder Hall, (transmuted through Seascale into Sellafield), essentially a military plutonium factory (which it still is) was opened as the first nuclear power station by the Queen. It was promoted as a symbol of the "swords into ploughshares" policy, stressing to an ignorant and easily misled public of the manifold benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear power.
The amount of electricity produced was almost entirely consumed by the site and fed little if any electricity to the National Grid – which in those days operated at 50% efficiency fuelled by abundant and low cost coal. The opening and the attendant publicity was merely a stunt. The flickering TV's showed the Queen on the news, press a button and a huge numerical display counted out the imaginary kilowatts. It was a New Elizabethan moment.
Bomb Tests – Secret and Public
Meanwhile far away on the vast central plains of North Australia secret tests were undertaken of the early atomic weapons resulting from our spatchcock efforts. Conservative Prime Minister Eden maintained the secrecy and funding of the program. He made false assurances of the size and extent of the programmes and the weapons to Australian Prime Minister Menzies – this only became apparent in 1984. Of course Eden at the time was involved in even greater deceit and lies over the Egyptian invasion in 1956. Secrecy was maximum "because of fears that the U.S. and Russia, which were developing their own H-bombs, would seek to exclude Britain from the superpower league that was rapidly developing". Prestige in world society sounds familiar as part of the mind-set of elites in imperial powers.
These people were used to measuring prestige in the number of millions held in the shackles of colonialism; that criterion waning they quickly snapped up a new one: A-bomb, H-bomb, as callous to the effects of bombs as to colonialism.
The 1957 Pacific bomb tests, after ten years work, used what were essentially 'A' bombs, (albeit of high power) and were effectively, a PR stunt, rushed to beat an impending Test Ban Treaty which was due to come into force at the end of September 1958 and meant all the tests scheduled to take place up until the end of October were brought forward and completed early. HMS Scarborough a weather ship chased the original Greenpeace ship (a sailing ship) out of the atomic and hydrogen bomb test area. The tests were an attempt to impress the US, the British public (journalists were invited to watch), and also keep our place in the thermonuclear club which the Russians had recently joined.
The US were listening in, of course
The Christmas Island tests confirmed to the observing and observant US, the UK's inability to produce a true thermonuclear fusion weapon, that could be missile delivered. Generously they offered to amend the McMahon Act, if the UK would scrap their nuclear weapons program. Naturally they would be happy to provide us (i.e. sell) the technology instead.
In September 1958 the UK became the US's biggest customer for military weapons and further developed our continuing "special relationship".
Of course none of this detracts from the bravery and pioneering skills required by the RAF crews to undertake the hurried series of tests – they, like the rest of their countrymen remained hoodwinked for decades.
Munich Oktoberfest and 16 days of debauchery came to an end on Sunday reports Toni Fabuloso. 6.2 million visitors drank a record 6.7 million liters of beer - a record 419,000 litres per day.
Police acted on 1,779 callouts to thefts, serious assualts, rapes and one attempted murder.
Of the 405 people who had blood alcohol tests , 31% were found to have other drugs -ecstasy, speed and Cannabis in their alcohol stream.
The beleaguered prime Minister (Gordon Brown as at mid-day) announced to Parliament today providing £100m of funding for 140 extra Mastiff (known by US as Cougar see pic) Mine Resistant Armoured potection (MRAP) vehicles for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.... that's about £750,000 a pop... which makes it a VERY heavy bus for 6 soldiers.
Secretary of State for Defence believed to be Scottish Solicitor Des Browne said:
"Mastiff has proved its value on operations offering high levels of protection against mines and roadside bombs. Today I am pleased to announce our intention to purchase 140 extra Mastiffs. (MOD pictures of complete vehicles from MOD here)
These vehicles will be ugraded from Cougars obtained from Force Protection in the US to Mastiffs by NP Aerospace in Coventry. This company was owned The Carlyle Group, the global private equity house who bought the company for £30 million from Reinhold Industries in 2005 and it was bought out by Management with help from Morgan Crucible, who have a small share holding and Barclays Bank.
Meanwhile Force Protection are having some problems with deliveries .... Saturday, August 25, 2007 - MRAP delays -"Different things happen in the continuum and there are certainly going to be time lags associated," but it doesn't seem to have occurred to any MP to ask Gordyor any journo to ask Des when delivery is expected.
The news simply consolidates the belief that defence planning is haphazard, last minute, ad hoc, unplanned, panicky, ill planned, hasty, and unco-ordinated.
Ciara Durkin was the eighth of nine children, all born in Ireland.
Their father, Tom Durkin, who was born in New York City, moved to Ireland when he was 3.
After retiring as a teacher in Galway, Tom Durkin returned to the United States with his wife, Angela, and settled in Dorchester in 1986 when Ciara was 9. Ciara’s father died of a heart attack several weeks after the family moved to Boston.
She joined the US Massachussets Army National Guard in October 2005 - she celebrated her 30th birthday in Afghanistan in July apparently never concealing her lesbian lifestyle. (Condolence list of Patriot Guard Riders)
Ciara died froma non combat single gu shot wound to the head an hour after finishing work on Thursday 27th September in the Bagram Air Base , Afghanistan. Ciaran had a desk job with the 726th Unit’s Task Force Diamond undertaking fiance / clerical work included making sure the finances of soldiers were in order and their families back home were receiving benefits.She had been there since February and was due for return to the US next February.
In a statement signed by Jim Boland MA Assistant State Captain dated 1st October (No 1171-07) , the Massachusetts National Guard said Durkin was killed in action on Thursday in Afghanistan.
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Spc. Ciara M. Durkin, 30, of Quincy, Mass., died Sept. 28 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the 726th Finance Battalion, Massachusetts Army National Guard, West Newton, Mass.
The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
For more information related to this release, media may contact the Massachusetts National Guard public affairs office at (508) 233-6562.
Now CBS are reporting that The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
Initially the Pentagon reported that Durkin, had been killed in action, but then revised its statement to read she had died of injuries "suffered from a non-combat related incident" at Bagram Airfield. The statement had no specifics and said the circumstances are under investigation.
"The family has been informed that she was in the compound, and she was shot in the head," Durkin's sister, Fiona Canavan, told the Boston Globe. "She was in a secure area of the compound, which, even though the investigation is not complete, leads the family to believe it was what is called friendly fire," she said.
Fiona Canavan told the Quincy, Mass. Patriot Ledger on Wednesday that when her sister was home three weeks ago, she told her about something she had come across that raised some concern with her: "She was in the finance unit and she said, 'I discovered some things I don’t like and I made some enemies because of it.'"
Canavan revealed that Durkin said if anything happened to her, to make sure it was investigated.
Massachusetts Senators Ted "Mary Joe Kopechne" Kennedy and John Kerry and Rep. William Delahunt are pressing for answers.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that after her military memorial service in Boston on Saturday part of her remains will go to the Arlington cemetary in Washington and the rest will return to be buried alongside her father.
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2007 – The nonprofit group “Operation Homelink” provided 100 Massachusetts National Guard families with refurbished desktop computers earlier this month to ensure they can communicate with deployed loved ones via e-mail - one of the computers supplied by Raytheon was for Ciaran's mother to keep in touch with her daughter more here at DefenseLink
‘Bapu (father) is finished’
New Delhi, January 30, 1948:
Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated today by a Hindu extremist whose act plunged India into sorrow and fear.
Rioting broke out immediately in Bombay.
The seventy-eight-year-old leader whose people had christened him the Great Soul of India died at 5:45 p.m. (7:15 a.m. EST) with his head cradled in the lap of his sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Mani.
Just half an hour before, a Hindu fanatic, Ram Naturam, had pumped three bullets from a revolver into Gandhi’s frail body, emaciated by years of fasting and asceticism.
Gandhi was shot in the luxurious gardens of Birla House in the presence of one thousand of his followers, whom he was leading to the little summer pagoda where it was his habit to make his evening devotions.
Dressed as always in his homespun sacklike dhoti, and leaning heavily on a staff of stout wood, Gandhi was only a few feet from the pagoda when the shots were fired.
Gandhi crumpled instantly, putting his hand to his forehead in the Hindu gesture of forgiveness to his assassin. Three bullets penetrated his body at close range, one in the upper right thigh, one in the abdomen, and one in the chest.
He spoke no word before he died. A moment before he was shot he said–some witnesses believed he was speaking to the assassin–”You are late.”
The assassin had been standing beside the garden path, his hands folded, palms together, before him in the Hindu gesture of greeting. But between his palms he had concealed a small-caliber revolver. After pumping three bullets into Gandhi at a range of a few feet, he fired a fourth shot in an attempt at suicide, but the bullet merely creased his scalp.
The man who wrote this story, James W Michaels died in New York last Tuesday, the eve of Gandhi’s birthday. He was 86.
A famous editor of Forbes Magazine it was said of him that he could edit the Lord's Prayer down to 6 words and nobody would miss anything.
He was responsible for introducing the Forbes Richest 400 Americans List - "Everyone wants to hear about that day-trader who made a few thousand dollars in just a few hours. You put out a magazine with a cover story that says 'Be careful, the stock market is dangerous,' and no one will buy the darn thing."
Forbes has an obituary. Here are some examples of his crisp, clear, concise business writing and reporting.