Manchester United are the finest football team in the world. They run an official forum - anyone interested in the truth about what happened on 7/7 might like to turn to this item7/7: Terrorism Or Inside Job?.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Abebooks (formerly the Advanced Book Exchange), has been around for 12 years as an online marketplace for books focusing on used, rare and out of print titles for sale by independent booksellers - They currently list 110 million titles from 13,500 sellers worldwide and they operate from beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada with 100 of those at its Victoria headquarters they have a European office in Dusseldorf , Germany with 35 staff. (WAPO)
Abebooks also owns 40 percent of Library Thing (a social app for keeping track of your books (modest subscription required) and finding other like-minded book lovers - "Meet the world's largest book club. Find people with eerily (?) similar tastes. " ). Amazon is an investor in a similiar outfit called Shelfari -Free membership.
Abebooks CEO Dr. Hannes Blum sent an email out to its booksellers today telling it's bookseller subscribers that they have been acquired by Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) (terms not disclosed) but would continue to operate as a stand-alone business.
Amazon (he says) is committed to further developing the AbeBooks brand and building upon the success of the past 12 years. This is not the first time AbeBooks has changed hands since being launched in 1996. Hubert Burda Media, a substantial German media company, took a majority shareholding in 2003.
Amazon already has a system for supplying hard-to-find and rare books, which incorporates a similar operation to ABE called Bibliofind a few years ago . Scuttlebut in the "Curiosa" section claims that ABE fees have been increased and sellers have been leaving "in droves".
On the basis of this, Reuters report fevered speculation that in the light of changing (ie rapidly declining personal disposable incomes) eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) would become a merger target.(!)
e Bay Hot tip from Lolla Pallooza ..... children's Boden clothes are selling like this
Former Vietnam Navy SEAL and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura appears on the Howard Stern show and says for the 2nd time in 2 months that 9/11 was an inside job. Ventura claims that all his Navy demolition team friends agree that the WTC buildings were brought down by controlled demolition and that WTC7 in particular proves their allegations:
For all techno freaks, this is the new Blogger Video upload , used here for the first time - let us know of any problems ... seems to work OK for us.
Canadian Tobacco Companies admit massive smuggling activities - huge fines totalling C$1.15 Bn to pay
Canadian Revenue Minister Gordon O'Connor and the RCMP are pleased with the largest fines ever levied in Canada.
Under separate court settlements in Montreal and Toronto on Thursday, 2 of the largest Canadian tobacco companies - Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited was fined $200 million and Rothmans Benson & Hedges (TSX:ROC) $100 million as part of the criminal charges.
The companies will pay another $815 million in civil damages to the federal and provincial governments over the next 15 years. (Bloomberg)
In total, Ottawa will receive $575 million, with the provinces getting the rest of the $1.15 billion.
The companies have finally pleaded guilty to "aiding persons to sell and be in possession of tobacco manufactured in Canada that was not packed and was not stamped in conformity with the Excise Act," the RCMP said.
Les Thompson, an RJR Macdonald sales executive, described in interviews in hotel rooms to the
Montreal Gazette in Ontario and Quebec how RJR Macdonald (now called JTI-Macdonald) established separate offices and companies in Toronto and the United States to oversee the funnelling of its brands, like Export A, to smugglers.
Another key witness was former RJR Macdonald vice-president Stan Smith, who was Thompson's boss. Smith pleaded guilty in Ontario in 2006 and was sentenced to eight months of house arrest. He had been co-operating with police since 2000.
Non-Smokers' Rights Association, a non-profit health organization headquartered in Toronto, is pleased with the fines, the anti-tobacco group is disappointed no charges will be laid against company executives.
"If you or I had any intention of defrauding the government of a couple of million dollars, we'd be thrown in jail," said Francois Damphousse, the organization's Quebec director.
"Why aren't the executives facing such charges for having defrauded the government of billions of dollars?"
Almost immediately following the announcement, Rothmans announced it will be acquired by Philip Morris International Inc. for $2 billion, or $30 per share in cash.
The guilty pleas bring to an end more than eight years of investigation by the RCMPe and the Excise sections in Ontario and Quebec.
The charges involved the shipment of contraband tobacco in Canada to locations in the U.S. and near the Canada-U.S. border between 1989 and 1994.
From there, it was distributed to smugglers or black-market distributors who brought it back into Canada for further illegal distribution.
The smuggling operations became so pervasive that it caused governments to roll back tobacco taxes, reducing the price of cigarettes to similar levels that existed in the U.S.
That brought an end to smuggling, but it made "cheap" cigarettes available throughout Canada. It also set the stage for today's black marketing in cheap cigarettes. Since taxes were hiked after 1999, independent manufacturers have taken up shop in several native reserves, most notably in Akwesasne (scene of much of the smuggling) , near Cornwall, Ont., and the Six Nations reserve near Brantford.
This is precisely what UK tobacco companies were doing in exporting cigarettes through Yugoslavia to be re-imported by Mafia gangs. This has been repeatedly detailed by BBC correspondent Misha Glenny.
See his piece "How cigarettes funded Balkan wars " July 28th 2008 BBC Online
As he explains ..." Mr X explained how Bokan would buy cigarettes direct from factories in Western Europe and the United States for export into Europe's two main free-trade zones, Rotterdam in Holland and Zug in Switzerland.
This meant they attracted none of the high purchase taxes imposed on cigarettes in most countries.
An Italian crime syndicate distributed the Balkan cigarettes through Europe
The billions of cigarettes were then flown to countries in Central Asia and North Africa before being flown back into the Balkans.
Criminals and intelligence services from all the former republics of Yugoslavia co-operated in the logistics of this trade but the cigarettes' physical destination was the tiny coastal republic of Montenegro that borders on Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.
The leading politician in Montenegro - then as now - was the former President Milo Djukanovic."
Bokan was one of the smuggling barons .."on 7 October 2000, as he emerged from his Mercedes 500 in front of his villa in Athens , Bokan's face was obliterated by 29 bullets fired from a couple of semi-automatics." another "Stanko Subotic "Cane", the man alleged to be the biggest cigarette smuggler of all is in a Russian jail awaiting extradition to Serbia.
The next programme about Balkans cigarette smuggling by Misha Glenny will be on:Sunday 03 August 2008 17:00 when he charts the explosion and growth of international crime in our globalised world. 2/2: He investigates cigarette smuggling, from the Balkans through Italy to Brussels.
Customs successfully seized almost 3 billion cigarettes in the UK in 2000–01 alone— 1 billion more than in the previous year.
In 2002, the Chinese Government Government officials opened a global design competition for the Peking Olympics Stadium . With their entry Numbered B11 Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron collaborated with ArupSport and China Architecture Design & Research Group to win the competition. Contemporary Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, is also the Artistic Consultant for design.
The above computer generated image of the entry was no doubt envisaged to incorporate the prevalent enveloping smog.
So in the absence of a £1 Mn. prize winner (Identify this man and win £1,000,000 - who is he and why ? ) we can reveal that the person depicted was Jacques Herzog founder of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. A non - revealing interview full of the sort of self serving guff that architects seem to feel is necessary to explain their buildings is available here.
There is also a stunning gallery of their work here.
Apparently the total cost of producing what is a stunning design (incorporating a sliding roof) was about £250 Mn. Now why don't we just build an identical one for London 2012 ?
"The Olympic Delivery Authority has announced that the stadium will be delivered for a budget of £496m, including inflation and VAT, in line with the budget announced by the Government in March." Press Release on 7th November 2007.
"The stadium's design will be revolutionary as it will largely be a temporary structure, which will be reduced from 80,000 to 25,000 seats after the games," - Wikipedia ( the cost as stated .."does not include dismantling the discarded structure, and neither does it appear to include the cost of the pods, containing facilities like loos, which will also be removed post-Games" ...."Sunday Times reports indicate that the roof structure (a cable stayed roof) will cover approximately two thirds of the stadium's seating, leaving a potential 26,000 spectators exposed to Britain's variable August weather patterns."
Completion of the stadium is expected in summer 2011. Yes Dear.
Lord Patel is willing to bet anyone £1 Mn. that the London Olympic stadium will NOT be completed on time and on budget.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived at Manchester United from Norwegian club Molde a virtual unknown in 1996 for £1.5 Mn. and went on to score 127 goals in 366 first-team appearances.
That summer Ferguson had also brought in Ronny Johnsen a better known but now forgotten Norwegian , Jordi Cruyff, Raimond van der Gouw and Karel Poborsky also joined the squad.
In his first season the "baby-faced assassin", shot to fame with a last-gasp winner over Bayern Munich in Barcelona in 1999 in the Champions League Final.
He famously netted four goals in 12 minutes as a substitute at Nottingham Forest in United's record 8-1 away win.
The testimonial match at Old Trafford today for the 35 year old UNICEF Norway Goodwill Ambassador Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will £2 Mn. from his Testimonial Match to UNICEF education projects across Africa - the receipts don't add up to that he will stick his hand in his pocket to make it up..
Money raised from the match, which takes place at Old Trafford Manchester on the 2nd August 2008 will help fund the building of ten schools in three of Africa’s poorest countries; Angola, Malawi and Mozambique, providing hundreds of school children with access to clean water and sanitation facilities, text books, writing materials and other school and sports essentials, as well as funding the training of local teachers.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s relationship with UNICEF developed as a result of Manchester United’s groundbreaking ‘United for UNICEF’ partnership which launched in 1999 and has so far helped over 1.5 million children worldwide. In 2001 he was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for his native Norway.
Earlier this year Solskjaer joined UNICEF on a visit to Angola - a country devastated by a civil war - where he witnessed at first hand the impact of conflict on children and education in the county. At present, an estimated 1.2 million primary school age children are out of school in Angola. In the poorest communities, up to 65% of children are excluded from education. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, 45 million children miss out on school.
Solskjaer added: “It is more important for me to be able to look back on my career and know that I have contributed with ten schools in Africa, than the goals I have scored on the football field.”
Solskjaer will remain at the world's finest football club coaching United’s reserve team under the watcful eye of Alex Ferguson.
Ryan Giggs is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Friday, August 01, 2008
On 30 May 2007 it was announced that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry , Alistair Darling, would instruct the Nuclear Liabilities Fund to sell up to approximately 450 million shares, representing around 28% of the Fund's interest in British Energy. This raised £2.56 Mn which was available for the Nuclear Liabilities Fund.
Westinghouse was founded in Pittsburgh in 1886 by George Westinghouse. The company (who built the first PWR in 1957 in Shippingport, PA) was acquired in 1998 by British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) from CBS Corp. for almost $1.2 billion . In 2000 the commercial nuclear power businesses of ABB were purchased by BNFL and integrated into Westinghouse Electric Company. In September 2006 Toshiba complete the purchase of the company from BNFL for approximately US$5.4 Bn ( £2.8Mn ish) for the coffers of the Bank of England. Alastair Darling was still at DTI (BERR) and Gordon "Prudence" Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
A US consortium had already chosen Westinghouse technology for the construction of
12 14 new nuclear plants across the southeastern United States. The chosen design was the AP1000™ pressurized water reactor (PWR). It is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The AP1000, based on the proven performance of Westinghouse-designed PWRs, is an advanced 1154 MWe nuclear power plant.
In 2007 Westinghouse and US based major construction and enegineering company the Shaw Group signed a landmark, multibillion-dollar contracts to provide four AP1000 nuclear power plants in China. It is anticipated this could result over the next 25 years in the construction of a further 25 plants throughout China.
Chairman Li Yongjiang,Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant said, in accordance with national planning, By 2020 China will create 40 GWe production capacity of nuclear power, at present, China has only about 10 GWe manufacturing capacity, which means that, within 12 years, a large number of nuclear power projects need to be developed.
The website of the World Nuclear Association states that Mainland China has eleven nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, six under construction, and several more about to start construction.
Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give a sixfold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 50 GWe or possibly to 60 GWe by 2020 and then a further three to fourfold increase to 120-160 GWe by 2030.
The country aims to become self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle.
This week ground has been broken on the first unit at Haiyang of the first of China's Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power reactors as a production line is established for further plants.
Excavation for the first of the two plants will take approximately three months to create a hole 12 meters deep (39 feet) that will house the nuclear reactor and turbine buildings. The volume of the excavation is approximately 48,916 cubic meters or about 19.5 Olympic-size swimming pools. When completed, a base for the plant nearly 175 meters wide (570 feet) by 250 meters long (840 feet) will exist.
The pre-construction milestone comes only 10 days after a ceremony to mark the readiness of a factory specifically designed for nuclear power plant component modules. Shandong Nuclear Power Construction Group built the facility ( their website claims SEPCO enjoys great reputation as “Iron Army for Power Construction”), which has the capacity to support the construction of two AP1000s each year, in just 11 months.
Haiyang nuclear power plant is planned to eventually host 8 large advanced reactors, of which only two have so far been contracted from Westinghouse and Shaw. The new manufacturing facility is local to Haiyang in Shandong province, but also to the Weihei and Hongshiding sites which are also expected to host 2 advanced reactors each.
In order to expand and speed work on site, the latest reactors are designed to be made in prefabricated modules that can be transported and fitted as a whole after production at factories like the new one in Shandong. Located near the sea, the components and modules from the plant could be taken to any new nuclear site in China, and potentially the rest of the world.
Shandong said the new 71,000 square metre factory includes a cutting workshop, a pipeline workshop, a paint shop and a workshop for containment vessels (the steel liners that lie within the overall reinforced concrete reactor containment).
Large components for the Haiyang units have already been contracted: Doosan Heavy Industries of Korea is making the reactor pressure vessels and steam generators, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan and Harbin Boiler Works of China will supply the steam turbines. For Westinghouse's other pair of AP1000s at Sanmen the steam generators and reactor pressure vessels will be made in China by either Harbin, First Heavy Machinery Works or Shanghai Electric.
First concrete at Haiyang - the official start of construction - is expected in September 2009, with commissioning of the first unit about 36 months later - which will be just in time for the Asia Beach games in 2012 to be held in Haiyang - this year in Bali (Oct 18th-26th) will be the First including Surfing: Marathon Swimming: Beach Volleyball: Paragliding.
Now selling off Westinghouse for the cost of ,say, an aircraft carrier might be considered a bargain. The failure to sell the current fleet of clapped out and failing fleet of pick'n'mix nuclear reactors to EDF / Areva further compounds decades of waste, delay, dither, failure and the total loss of energy security of UK plc.
7/7/2005 memorial unveiled with 4 of the dead missing - Guilt of alleged "suicide bombers" by default
A team led by architects Carmody Groarke including Arup as lead consultant, Colvin and Moggridge as landscape architect and UK artist Antony Gormley as independent artistic adviser have unveiled plans for a memorial to 52 of the the people who lost their lives on 7/7/2005.
The memorial design incorporates 52 steel pillars, one for 52 lives lost in bombings, each 3 metres tall and 15cm square. They will be arranged in four clusters, representing the three Tube trains and one bus on which the alleged suicide bombers struck, and each pillar will be cast uniquely. A nearby plaque will carry an incomplete list of the names of those killed that fateful day.
Pending planning permission, the memorial will be installed in Hyde Park over the winter, with an official opening on 7 July 2009, on the fourth anniversary of the attack.
The design of this memorial is claimed to have been undertaken in conjunction with the relatives of the dead. 4 dead, it appears uncommemorated, are the alleged suicide bombers.
No evidence has been produced in a court of law that the alleged suicide bombers did in fact plan suicide attacks. No evidence has been produced that they made any bombs. No evidence has been produced as to the nature of the devices, how they were triggered, what explosives were used nor who produced them.
Are the lives of Mohammad Sidique Khan (30) Shehzad Tanweer (22) Germaine Lindsay (19)Hasib Hussain (18) not to be remembered ?
If you think the four alleged suicide bombers should not be accepted as guilty be default and that their lives should be incorporated in the memorial in the first instance contact Mr Kevin Carmody , Carmody Groarke,25 Denmark Street, London, WC2H 8NJ or e-mail email@example.com
Barry George, whose second trial (lasting 7 weeks) for the murder of Jill Dando has hardly been mentioned in the Press was cleared of murder today after wrongly serving eight years in jail.
Today, a jury of eight women and four men , whe were sent out for a verdict on Wednesday afternoon rejected the prosecution case that George was the killer who shot Miss Dando, 37, through the head on her doorstep in Fulham, west London.
Now, after having "fit up" Barry George for a crime he did not commit, the Metropolitan Police face the task of renewing the search for the gunman nine years after the popular Crimewatch presenter was murdered on her doorstep on April 26th 1999.
George is expected to be released and walk free from the Old Bailey today.
Hilary Bradfield, the CPS reviewing lawyer today defended the decision to bring the case against Barry George, saying it was "fit to be put before a jury".
"Mr George now has the right to be regarded as an innocent man, but that does not mean it was wrong to bring the case."
"Our test is always whether there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction - it would be wholly wrong to only bring cases where we were guaranteed a conviction."
Barry George was held in custody awaiting a second trial for the murder of Jill Dando after his successful appeal in November 2007 .
Jill was killed on 26th April 1999. It was almost a year later on April 11th April 2000 that Detective Constable John Gallagher interviewed him.
Over one month later on 25 May 2000, George was arrested on suspicion of murdering the presenter. He has been in prison ever since for a crime he did not commit.
The Finding of LORD JUSTICE LEVESON and THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE SIMON on 15th November 2007 was Para 54. It is impossible to know what weight, if any, the jury attached to the FDR (Firearm Deposit Residue) evidence. It is equally impossible to know what verdict they would have reached had they been told as we were told, by the witnesses who gave evidence before us, that it was just as likely that the single particle of FDR came from some extraneous source as it was that it came from a gun fired by the appellant. The verdict is unsafe. The conviction will be quashed.
Mr Justice Griffith Williams excluded the FDR from the retrial, agreeing that it was inconclusive.
Even faced with this the Police and the CPS had George held in prison for a further nine months.
See also Thursday, June 21, 2007 Where were you when Jill Dando died ?
The result is a tribute to the tireless and unceasing efforts of Barry George's sister Michelle Diskin to reverse the original verdict.
Video "the Real Killers of Jill Dando"
This video is not presented as a the truth about Jill's death.Just one of several modestly plausible theories.
The wheels are coming off the Government's hastily constructed nuclear bandwagon. EDF have pulled out of talks after failing to reach an agreement on price.
Apparently EDF / Areva have different views on the viability of repairs to Heysham and Hartlepool (even to the extent of saying they will not re-open as the cost don't justify the abbreviated lifetime left) and are concerned about the unexpected shutdown at Sizewell leading to widespread blackouts at the end of May.
They also would like to renegotiate sales contracts for electricity, which would, whilst boosting future profits and sales value have an impact on residential energy costs.
Apparently they also wanted to sell coal fired Eggborough and given the looming EU directive no-one was / is anxious to buy it.
We hinted at the difficulties of establishing what exactly is being measured when discussing carbon emissions Sunday, July 27, 2008 How big did you say your lawn was ? . Now the Stockholm Environment Institute at York University have demonstrated a simple and well known truth. (BBC -UK in 'delusion' over emissions )
The UK's truncated method for measuring domestic carbon was rigged - it didn't include air and sea travel, nor, in a country with a rapidly declining heavy industrial base the switch to importing carbon - ie exporting the industries.
See Identifying climate change impacts of global imports a litle noticed DeFRA Press release on July 2nd of a report from the Stockholm Environmental Institute-
The main messages from the report are:
1. Taking imports, exports and international transport into account, overall CO2 emissions associated with UK consumption of goods and services increased by nearly 115 mtCO2 between 1992 and 2004. (That is an 18% increase but you need to work that out fior yourself)
2. An increasing majority of the emissions embedded in UK imports are produced in countries outside the OECD (i.e. that region of the world that includes most of Asia).
3. The increase can be explained by trends that have emerged over the last few decades:
Some manufacturing has moved from the UK and become established in countries where manufacturing is more carbon intensive that it would be here (i.e. more CO2 is emitted per unit of production).
At the same time as the UK (like many other nations) has shifted to importing a greater proportion of products from such countries, there has also been an increase in the overall volume and diversity of products being consumed.
Final Report here (which cost £58,000 to produce)
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Worldwide, people are remarkably resistant to the health benefits of quitting smoking, or not even starting smoking . Smoking is blamed for 400,000 deaths a year, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a study reported in September 2007 of 9 hospitals (covering 63% of all admissions for heart attacks) there was a drop of 17% in admisions for heart attacks. This included ;
• A 14% reduction in admissions for acute coronary syndrome among smokers.
• A 19% reduction among former smokers.
• A 21% reduction among people who had never smoked.
A University of Munster study reporting in December 2007 concluded that in Germany passive smoking (environmental tobacco smoke ETS) could be attributed to 1248 stroke deaths of women and 589 men - most in the 65-84 age range.
The Spanish Public Health Agency reported a study in 2002 concluded that ETS could be responsible for 1228-3237 deaths from lung cancer and ischaemic heart disease a year in Spain.
A French study in 1999 suggested how dangerous marriage was to non-smokers whose spouses smoked. They said that "Based on our best assumptions, we calculated that 1146 (839 females, 307 males) lung cancer deaths were attributable to exposure to spouse's ETS in the EU in 1990. "
Clare Frobisher, Ph.D., of the University of Birmingham, UK, has just published a study of 14,836 eligible survivors of childhood cancer in the National Registry of Childhood Tumors.Of the patients who replied , 20 % were current regular smokers and 29.8 % were regular smokers at some time in their life prior to the completion of the survey.
This confirmed a study by Karen Emmons, Ph.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston as part of the U.S. Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, in which 17 % of adult survivors reported being current smokers and 28 % reported being heavy smokers.
...the good news is..
In Massachussets the The Department of Public Health commissioner John Auerbach, who is supervising the state's attempt to provide health insurance for nearly every resident, they concluded the primary-care doctor was at the top of the list of halping to make decisions about quitting smoking.
Now the state's medical program insures the poor to pay for smoking cessation counseling and nicotine replacement patches. A more potent factor in quitting has probably been an increase in State tobacco taxes of US$1 a 20 pack since the start of July.
Overall, the state also spent close to $13 million on tobacco control in the budget year that just ended.
Nearly 30 years ago, 4 in 10 men in Massachusetts smoked regularly now the figure is fewer than 2 in 10. Today the state report on an annual survey conducted by the state which shows that last year
Yesterday Joe Auerbach was able to report that nearly 8 % fewer Massachusetts adults smoked in 2007 than the year before, the steepest decline in cigarette use in more than a decade
Only California, Connecticut, and Utah have lower smoking rates.
There are of course other ways of people smoking, killing other people ..."In 2003 alone, there were over 4,000 smoking-related fires in the UK, as a result of which 123 people died, and over 1,400 were injured."
31 July 2008 Bradford & Bingley plc
Notification of Major Interests in Shares
We were notified on 30 July that Barclays PLC reduced their interest in the total voting rights of Bradford & Bingley Plc from 5% to below the reportable threshhold following transactions undertaken on 29 July 2008.
Further to our report on Barclays Wealth withdrawing their branding from the Sky televised British Show Jumping Association 2 day British Masters Invitational, at Chester's Roodee racecourse this week due to them not having been informed of photographs of a couple of promising fillies used for publicity purposes. A spokeswoman for Barclays Wealth, the private-banking arm of the U.K. bank Barclays, called the photos "inappropriate."
Here is another of the "inappropriate" pics, about which those who like horsing about can form their own conclusions - what precisely is going on (and indeed has been going on) with the shareholdings in Bradford & Bungle they can also judge for themselves.
Lord Patel apologises for having published this news item prematurely over 18 months ago ...Sunday, January 21, 2007
Harry de Quetteville in the Sunday Torygraph , " Former spy lines up to replace Israel's leader" says that the Olmert 62, (being investigated for corruption by the Police) and his Government is collapsing ( one poll shows an approval rating of 14%) after last week's resignation of the chief of the general staff, Lt-Gen Dan Halutz, for the Israeli army's failures against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Since then, Olmert has faced a barrage of calls from politicians on the Left and Right to follow suit. Veteran left-wing MP, Yossi Beilin,58 chairman of the Meretz-Yachad party has demanded that the prime minister step aside specifically to make way for Tzipi Livni.
Livni, ex Mossad, whose parents were both terrorists and who was dandled as a child on the knee of Menachem Begin, favourite of Ariel Sharon has been long predicted as the successor to Sharon by Lord Patel. (Search site using "Livni")
Yesterday, as on every Sabbath she visited her father's grave on which is engraved the map of Erutz Israel showing the land that Ben Gurion dreamed of as the Israeli Home, on both sides of the Jordan River.
This hard faced bitch will do all she can to see her father's dream realised.
See also Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni say Olmert must go ...fast, they don't want an election to let Netanyahu in Thursday, May 29, 2008.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the ruling Kadima Party must prepare to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, raising pressure on the embattled Israeli leader to step down in light of a growing corruption investigation.
Livni said she favored holding a party primary. "In this way, we can operate to restore the trust in Kadima."Olmert is due to see Bush in Washington next week.
Full story here
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Getting our priorities right - a decade wasted as our reserves declined and investment was put on the back burner
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office have an Accountancy Training Scheme which they run from their premises at Hanslope Park, near Milton Keynes. They provide a 5 page pamphlet for applicants numbered GFP 0001.
The above section provides a snapshot of why we ask the Boy David to take on the role of Foreign Secretary.
Should you be considering why your household energy bills have risen and will rise so much in the near future, you might want to ponder how active the FCO have been in pursuing Objective No 7 on your behalf.
As you are told that 40% of the gas we consume in our homes and factories is now imported you might ponder the following ..
On the 27th June 2006 Prime Minister Tony Blair met a selection of magazine editors for a special question and answer session in the State Dining Room of Number 10. He said in a unreported remark, " ....there is a simple stark fact that I would just like to put in front of people, which is we are going to go over the next 15 or 20 years to a situation where: one, the 20% that we get of our electricity from nuclear is going to decline to virtually zero; and two, where we are going to go from being 80 or 90% self-sufficient in oil and gas, to 80 or 90% importing it."
British Gas have just increased their prices for gas and electricity. You will search long and hard on their website to find the details - rather coyly under FAQ's "Why are prices going up" they reply
As you may have seen in the news recently, world oil and gas prices have been reaching record highs - this is an issue facing all energy suppliers. This means the cost of energy we buy for you has been going up and will probably continue to rise. In fact, in the last six months wholesale energy prices have increased by more than 60%. Unfortunately, as a result of this, we have to increase our prices.Emma Thelwell, at the Daily Telegraph , no doubt with a handy embargoed Press release to rely on, gives it to you from the (cold) shoulder .."British Gas bills to rise by up to 35pc"
So, for a home with average usage, electricity prices have risen on average by 9% and gas on average by 35%. We understand that these rising prices come at a very difficult time for everyone and we're sorry we haven't been able to delay these rises any longer.
Those 10m customers who just take gas from the company will see their bills rocket 35pc, while the 6m paying for electricity will be hit with a 9pc increase. Of its total 16m customers, the 5m who take dual fuel will see bills rise by 25pc.Emma also has this handy little graphic to help explain where all your money goes -
Be of good cheer thou worthy and honest consumer - OFGEM meeting with Chancellor January 18th 2008 - MARKET IS SOUND – OFGEM ASSURES CHANCELLOR "In their meeting today (Tuesday) with the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, Ofgem Chairman Sir John Mogg and Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan confirmed that Britain’s competitive marketin energy is working". So the sudden rush of price rises by all the major suppliers inadvance of the September review from OFGEM is mere synchronicity.... as Loudon Wainwright III has expressed neatly in a song ..
Little did I know, though I probably should have guessed
By the way you walked and talked and spoke and smoked an dressed
You actually seemed to like me and so naturally I presumed
You were after that thing, it’s the one thing, it’s assumed
So I wined and dined you, hey, I love that kind of stuff
And we blabbed about our backgrounds, how family life is rough
We spoke of what we dreamed of, what we thought of, what we did
Midway through the second bottle I admitted I had kids
But nothing seemed to throw you though I know you better now
At the time my minor crime was figuring out how
To get you in my hotel room unclothed and in my bed
And proceed with the unspeakable, it’s better left unsaid
We went to see a friend of yours and watch me on TV
Sheer coincidence you said, synchronicity
A full moon on a Friday night, the thirteenth of July
A man and two women in a room and on the screen the guy
Your friend, she liked me on the show, yeah she was snowed for sure
Her body language got obscene, her demeanor less than pure
You started venting something wearing spleen upon your sleeve
You got sort of nervous, kind of anxious, had to leave
You told me on the freeway that you didn’t sleep with men
I put two and two together…and I asked about your friend
It turns out she and though she loved my show
She too preferred the fairer sex—I absorbed the blow
It turns out that you did like men but didn’t like their things
That hang down and all the hang-ups being with them always brings
My brother is so practical; this is what he said:
“You should have asked if it was cool to watch them both in bed”
Senior Barclays bank officials will not be at Chester this afternoon as Barclays Wealth have (rather huffily) withdrawn their branding from the British Masters showjumping competition after pictures were published by the British Show Jumping Association to re-vamp the stiffy old Raymond Brooks-Ward image of the sport.
No doubt they were back at the office penning their signatures to the fascinating declaration that has just appeared on the Bradford and Bungle website -
Notification of Major Interests in Shares
We were notified on 29 July that Barclays PLC have a notifiable interest in 5.00% of the total voting rights in Bradford & Bingley plc (30,880,308 shares) following transactions undertaken on 28 July 2008. The full names of the shareholders are:-
Barclays Bank Trust Company Ltd , Barclays Global Investors Ltd . Barclays Life Assurance Co Ltd , Barclays Private Bank Ltd , Barclays Private Bank and Trust Ltd , Barclays Stockbrokers Ltd , Gerrard Investment Management Ltd , Walbrook Trustees (Jersey) Ltd
30 July 2008
So if Mr Tesco wants to buy them up, they had better move quickly.
Fatal Clostridium difficile outbreaks in hospitals throughout UK - hundreds dead but remarkably, no-one is responsible
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 were to examine the report to cosider if there was a case for criminal prosecution. BBC Full report 128 pages
Now Kent Police and the HSE have concluded their review . This consisted, it appears, of series of interviews with the Commission's lead investigators and all the experts who considered the information gathered by the Healthcare Commission in compiling their report. HSE has concluded that whilst mistakes had been made, there is insufficient information to launch a criminal investigation.
It must be remebered that the Healthcare Commission report stated .."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. "
Which must gladded the hearts of the relatives of 331 people who died in the massive outbreak which was reported immediately prior to the premature departure of CEO Rose Gibb. This highly unpopular , but highly paid lady (her salary was reportedly £150K pa plus 12.5 K pension contribution and her £250 K payoff is still subject of litigation) was responsible for the hugely unpopular "reconfiguration "plans for the two hospitals which saw the down grading of Maidstone Hospital A&E services. Her plans had also included the loss of children’s and maternity services.
Sandra Caldwell CB, HSE Deputy Chief Executive, is reported saying that she has expressed her sympathy to all those affected.
She also makes the astonishing conclusion that ," from the information available, we cannot establish with certainty a causal link between failings to manage infection and the death of any particular person. "
"The Trust has acknowledged that mistakes were made and their senior management team has changed substantially."
So that's alright then.
See previous posts on this case here
However this is a repeat performance by our Sandra (since promoted it seems) - some may remember this on Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Stoke Mandeville Hospital escapes HSE prosecution after Clostridium outbreak kills 33 people
Stoke Mandeville Hospital was investigated by the HSE after a Healthcare Commission (HC) report claimed that there were “serious failings” in the hospital’s response to Clostridium difficle infection infecting 334 and killing 33 patients between October 2003 and June 2005.
The HSE decided that they were unable to bring criminal proceedings against the trust due to a lack of “admissable evidence”.
Thames Valley Police and the Crown Prosecution Service were asked to consider the HC’s report under the terms of the “Work-Related Deaths Protocol”.
Their conclusion was there was insufficient evidence of a “causal link” to the action of any individual and the deaths of the patients involved.
Sandra Caldwell, HSE Director of Field Operations, said:“On the basis of the evidence available, HSE did not find sufficient admissible evidence to be able to bring criminal proceedings against the Trust, alleging a link between management failures and particular deaths.”
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Ace Mill, Chadderton (designed by Sir Philip Sidney Stott) is a nondescript building opposite Chadderton library. During WWII it was used for manufacturing Manchester bombers.
It then reverted to use in textile production and ended up owned and run by Courtaulds. Eventually it became a print workshop for Her Majesty's Stationery Office, producing all sorts of printed documentation, including at one time a pallet a day of Greater Manchester Police Parking Tickets. This operation was privatised in the 90's as Security Printing and Systems Limited and is now run by 3M Security and Printing Systems Ltd who purchased it in June 2006 from authentos GmbH, who were the holding company of SPSL and Bundesdruckerei GmbH.
The old style "Colonial" blue passport was first assembled there in the 60's which has been replaced by the claret coloured EU style document.
In what is effectively a cottage industry, all the parts arrive every day from different suppliers , 2 for the cover, 4 for the watermarked numbered pages (each supplier will only print 4 sheets with their specific built in printing faults). The blanked RFID chip is also inserted, ready to receive passport holder details - each of these are identifiable.
The only in house printing operation is the numbering.
There are several batch identity marks, such as radioisotope tags in glues, colours of the 2 sided self adhesive label for attaching your photograph.
After all this careful and elaborate security it appears parcels of completed passports (plus some visas or "vignettes") are made up and despatched on a van to RAF Northolt to be sent to UK Embassies, that is not tracked, driven by a driver who stops off for a newspaper.
UK passports are surprisingly easy to obtain, and fanciful values have been placed on these blank documents by the press / TV... Remember this story ? Wednesday, July 04, 2007 Pssst!!! wanna Passport, Driving Licence ... ID card ?
Police raided a 2 bedroomed flat in Poplar Grove, Colney Hatch, north London, yesterday and discovered 1,800 alleged counterfeit passports, which they claim have a street value off £1m.
Remember this guy ? Sunday, August 07, 2005 Passport Paradox -"35 year old Mahieddine Daikh of Algerian origin (?) was arrested at Bangkok's Don Muang airport on 2nd August, in the latest incident of document forging in Thailand, with 452 fake passports from France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. He said he had been promised £15,000 to take the passports into London. He was routed to fly into Glasgow. Daikh is reported to have told the Bangkok Police that he had lived in London for 7 years and was granted British citizenship two years ago. The passports are said to be worth £2,000 each in the UK market." If you want to follow up the fate of the very relaxed looking Mr Mahieddine Daikh go here - you will be very surprised...."A Foreign Office spokeswoman admitted the cool, calm, Mr Daikh would not be arrested on his return to the UK. "He could not be prosecuted in Britain for this offence," she said.
Of course the most wonderful part of the story is that the oleaginous Mr Vaz who tried to sell the Hinduja Bros. some UK passports (they ended up £1 Mn poorer without passports and Mr vaz without a Ministerial job) is now complaining about security. Good job Tony Blair made sure
Mr Bernard Berezovsky Platon Elenin got his in time.
UPDATE 6th August 2008 Guradian Passport chips can be cloned..."Jeroen van Beek, a security researcher at Amsterdam university who can read, clone and alter microchips so they are accepted by the software recommended for use at airports by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
Van Beek could not be contacted today, but the Times said he had used his own software, a publicly available programming code, a £40 card reader and two £10 radio frequency chips. Within an hour, he had cloned and altered chips so that they were ready to be planted in stolen or fake passports."
It also appears the man in the van was the mastermind and is now in custody.Times AS we said, an inside job.
Monday, July 28, 2008
"We received information from our survey that 34 persons interviewed by Goodling or Williamson said they discussed abortion, and 21 said they discussed gay marriage."
Page 24 An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General
Ms. Monica Goodling not such a good little girl after all - takes the fall at DOJ for Gonzalez and Kyle Sampson over hirings
An In Justice Department report published today concludes that politics illegally influenced the hiring of career prosecutors and immigration judges. It lays the blame on top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
It especially highlights the role of the department's former(Ms. Goodling was hired by US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan to work in the executive office) White House liaison, Monica Goodling, for violating federal law and Justice Department policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists.
''Goodling improperly subjected candidates for certain career positions to the same politically based evaluation she used on candidates for political positions,'' the report concludes.
In one instance, Justice investigators found, Goodling objected to hiring an assistant prosecutor in Washington because ''judging from his resume, he appeared to be a liberal Democrat.''
In another, she rejected an experienced terror prosecutor to work on counterterror issues at a Justice Department headquarters office ''because of his wife's political affiliations,'' the report found.
The federal government makes a distinction between so-called ''career'' appointees and ''political'' appointees, and the long-accepted custom has been that career workers are not hired on the basis of political affiliation or allegiance.
The 140-page report does not indicate whether Goodling or former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson could face any charges. None of those involved in the discriminatory hiring still work at Justice, meaning they will avoid any department penalties.
However, Justice investigators said that Goodling, at least, may lose her license to practice law as a result of the findings.
Gonzales was largely unaware of the hiring decisions by two of his most trusted aides. The report said his aides' decisions weeded out Democrats and that Goodling also rejected at least one lesbian job applicant.
When she resigned her post in April 2007 she wrote a nice letter to Abe Gonzalez which reportedly said ..."May God bless you richly as you continue your service to America."
PS : Monica had last attracted public attention when she authorised the expenditure of US$8,000 on blue drapes to cover an Art Deco stature of the Lady Spirit of Justice by Paul Jennewein, modestly not blindfolded but bearing a plump and unclothed right breast, in the Great Hall of the Robert F Kennedy Building.
The statue notably featured in pictures when she was seen behind then - Attorney General Edwin Meese III as he held up a report on pornography. Alberto had the curtains removed in June 2005.
For previous post see - Monday, August 27, 2007 Alberto G falls on his sword - follows Goodling, Sampson and Battle from DOJ for telling lies, again and again.Messianics at work.
Before you start laughing about Regents College , pause for thought .. Saturday, May 13th, 2006 Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered the commencement address at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, (and founder of the Moral Majority) and vigorously defended his support for the war in Iraq ..WAPO
For years the Government have had no Energy Policy - soon we will have no energy - well none of our own - to have a policy
The Select Committee on Business and Enterprise have published their Eleventh Report today ;
High energy prices affect both individual consumers, and the competitiveness of the UK economy as a whole. We decided to conduct an inquiry after the majority of the 'Big 6' energy companies raised their prices in early 2008.(. Four of the so-called 'Big 6'—Npower, Centrica, EDF Energy and Scottish Power—had, in the space of a few weeks, announced price increases for their domestic customers of between 8% and 15% for electricity, and 13% and 17% for gas. E.ON UK followed shortly after. Only Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) held off from raising its prices during the winter, though it eventually did so on 1 April. )**** We announced our inquiry on 5 February; on 21 February Ofgem announced that it too would conduct a probe into the energy markets. We have accordingly shaped our inquiry to ensure that it can feed into Ofgem's work, for which a preliminary report is expected by the end of September 2008. We intend to look closely at Ofgem's findings when they are available.On Friday, EDF raised gas prices by 22% and electricity prices by 17% for domestic and small business customers.
Which is why OFGEM under the obscenely remunerated and recently ennobled Lord Mogg has remained silent ... and probably on holiday.
If this isn't an indictment of the slothful, wasteful, idle, incompetent lairs and ne'er do wells that run OFGEM then nothing is ..
We are concerned that Ofgem's terms of reference suggest it may pay relatively little attention to the wholesale markets, and, in particular, the wholesale gas market. Our overall conclusion on the functioning of both the gas and electricity wholesale markets is that there are significant questions that need to be addressed in the interests of both retail and business consumers. The price of gas determines the wholesale price of electricity, because gas-fired power accounts for around a third of the UK's generating capacity, and tends to provide the marginal source of generation to the market. We consider that the competitiveness of the wholesale gas market affects the competitiveness of the UK's energy markets as a whole, and deserves particular scrutiny.OFGEM meeting with Chancellor January 18th 2008 - MARKET IS SOUND – OFGEM ASSURES CHANCELLOR "In their meeting today (Tuesday) with the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, Ofgem Chairman Sir John Mogg and Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan confirmed that Britain’s competitive marketin energy is working"
Here at The Forthcoming UK Energy Deficit (FCUKED) we (and so have many. many other people) have been pointing out the declining stock of indigenous energy resource, the limited stocks, especially of gas - some 14/15 days ( This is an issue the predecessor DTI Committee raised in its 2002 and 2005 Conclusion Para 12 ) and the disappearing nuclear power industry.
The Government and the supine MP's who have over the years watched this ,might well relish Conclusion Para 2 as they munch on their Knickerbocker Glory on the beach at Southwold...."As a result, we expect gas and electricity bills for domestic consumers to rise significantly in the near future, over and above the increases already announced this year, with serious consequences for millions of households, and especially the fuel poor. Industrial consumers now face prices above European levels. If these price differentials are sustained, they will affect the competitiveness of the UK economy, and put many thousands of jobs in manufacturing at risk."
They might also dwell on Conclusion 3, which many of us arrived at a long time ago ..."We are particularly concerned by the perception that Ofgem has already predicted the outcome of its inquiry, by stating at the outset that it has seen "no clear evidence that the market is failing".
Simply consider this ..." We are troubled by the apparent discrepancy between the figures cited by our various witnesses on the extent to which gas is delivered to the UK via off-market contracts, as opposed to the visible market. The absence of consensus on such a basic characteristic of the market makes it difficult to reach secure public policy conclusions about desirable interventions. (Paragraph 15) "
If OFGEM cannot obtain even this most basic information how on earth can they hope to perform any regulatory powers ?
This Inquiry is critical to the future health of the nation (especially it's older members) and to the wealth of it's industry - upon which we all rely.
It will of course be put on a shelf to gather dust as Gordon dithers about what to do.
FInally just ponder this as a colossal indictment on the stupid, insane, lame brained, fraudulent, dishonest "Cap'n'trade policy on emissions....so beloved of Saint Margaret a Beckett.." Coclusions Para 18. It is clear that the 'Big 6' firms and the independent generators have, to varying degrees, benefited financially from the free allocation of permits in Phase 2 of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. However, the magnitude of this windfall is not clear. Furthermore, at least some of the value may be passed on to consumers through lower prices, via cross-subsidy from their generating arms, while some may support much needed investment in new capacity. We are disappointed by the superficiality of Ofgem's current analysis."
What to do ?
First step : Take out Ofgem, every
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Carl Bialik the Numbers Guy has a blog at the Wall Street Journal. He was intrigued (and sceptical) about a figure the New Yorker used - that there were 50,000 sq. miles of lawn in the USA (1 sq mile = 640 acres) roughly the size of NY State.
Environmentally the use of pesticides, fungicides, nematocides, weedkillers, fertilisers in residential areas is highly signficant because the greatest environmental pollution is on golf courses and lawns. USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) indicate that the three insecticides most frequently detected in surface water (streams and rivers) are diazinon, chlorpyrifos, and carbaryl. These are heavily used in urban and suburban areas.(FAQ's)
This nice fat round figure of 50K sq. miles dates from 2005, from a study by Christina Milesi who worked for NASA. She tried a sideways approach by studying 80 hi-res photographs of 13 urban areas - she noted (unsurprisingly) the more road, car parks, the less turf.
So she derived a formula, and using a Census Bureau map of roads. NOAA hightime lights she came up with an area of between 49,000 square miles or 77,000 sq miles. She got hold of a better higher resolution dataset, from the National Geological survey and arrived at a figure 31% lower.
Meanwhile NY state had done a survey and came up with 5,400 sq. miles or 11% of the state.
The U.S. DOA Economic Research Service undertook a U.S. land use survey in 2002, "drawing on various sources" Most Americans, and thus most residential lawns, would likely fall within the “urban land” category, which is 2.6% of the country, or 94,000 square miles.
But how big is NY State ? Indeed how big is any state, in a recent article the Numbers Man had the size of Rhode Island (depending on the source) Census Bureau = 1,045 square miles + water area of 500 square miles. Rhode Island government Web site lists an area of 1,214 square miles, including 165 or 169 square miles of water, depending on where on Web site you look. Encyclopedia Britannica apparently splits the difference, listing a total area of 1,212 square miles — which would imply 167 square miles of water.
Estimate Guy resolved the problem quicker and at less cost than all this calculation - Quick back of the envelope calculation…90Mn. homeowners (ish) with 1/4 acre of lawn each (ish) is 35,156 sq miles.
Now huge bets are going to be placed on cleaning up the aerial environment by Goverments worldwide in the next year or two - Kyoto II will (allegedly) shift around mind boggling billions of tonnes of carbon and truckloads of dollars. certainly some carbon traders will become instantly very rich.
Can we have any faith in the accuracy of much of the data upon which decisions will be based ?
PS : The US Census Bureau said that from 1900 through 1980, the U.S. land area held steady at 3,618,770 square miles. In 1990, for reasons unstated , the Bureau included territorial waters, the Great Lakes and coastal waters. “As a result, the total area reported for coastal States has increased correspondingly,” the Census report dryly observed. Nationally, total area shot up to 3,787,319 square miles — a jump of 168,549 square miles or 4.5% .
Monday, October 02, 2006 Tesco - helping keep the Tax Credit costs down brought the attention of readers to the labelling of Milk cartons to advise receipients of Tax credits that if sharing their breakfast with a non-declared partner their tax credits may be in jeopardy.
Now Tesco is joining in the NHS funded chorus for changing lifestyles on their cartons of milk - whilst simultaneously selling unhealthy life threatening cigarettes and tobacco.
All this reflects the possibility expressed on Sunday, June 29, 2008 Could Tesco become a Political Party ? . As recipients of 1 in every 8 pounds spent on the High Street, and considerable spenders on advertising, instore and outside .... and now inside your fridge (or table top - depending on your lifestyle) no Government would wish to cross swords with them over a small matter of, say, legislation over free plastic bags, planning permission, food labelling, food colourings etc., etc.,
It was therefore interesting how the major supermarkets took the opportunity to lower petrol prices just in time for the start of the school holidays - a welcome move for No 10 Downing Street. Tesco have decided to cease sourcing vegetables from Zimbabwe and of course have instituted a ("customer friendly")policy of restricting serving alcohol to under 21's without proof of identity.
How soon before a leaflet pops through your door, ...Dear Lord Patel , we noticed that you have purchased 12 x 1 litre bottles of Old Hogmanay rare old Scots Whiskey and 1,200 Silk Lined Gaspers in the last 4 weeks...do you think this is wise ? We don't.
You have been booked in for a check up next Thursday at your doctor and compulsory Wednesday afternoon sessions at the swimming baths alternating with the Fight Fatness Fast gym for 3 months.
PS : Your prescription for Cialis has been put on hold till you have completed the course.