We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
DO you believe what you see coming from the Middle East? You should doubt it:
An online video that purported to show the heart-stopping moment when a small boy risked his life to rescue a little girl from gunfire in Syria has been exposed as an elaborate hoax. Lars Klevberg, 34, a Norwegian film director based in Oslo, admitted last night that he was behind the staged clip, which has been viewed more than five million times and prompted international headlines.
Mr Klevberg scripted the scene after watching news coverage of the conflict in Syria…
The 60-second video appears to show a Syrian street raked by gunfire. A boy, who looks no more than ten years old, tries to reach a girl of about the same age as she shelters from gunfire behind a burnt-out car.
Entitled “Syrian hero boy rescues girl in shootout”, the video then shows the boy falling dramatically within yards of the car, apparently feigning injury, before leaping forward and pulling the terrified young girl to safety. They then run, hand-in-hand, under heavy fire to shelter.
The children were actors.
Mr Klevberg said, adding that his purpose had been to urge “action on behalf of innocent children”.
What a guy:
Klevberg contacted the BBC and admitted that the video was not authentic, revealing that the footage had been filmed in May 2014, not in Syria but in Malta. The Oslo-based filmmaker said his team wanted to draw attention to the plight of children in war-torn Syria:
If I could make a film and pretend it was real, people would share it and react with hope. We shot it in Malta in May this year on a set that was used for other famous movies like Troy and Gladiator. The little boy and girl are professional actors from Malta. The voices in the background are Syrian refugees living in Malta…
By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that’s often used in war; make a video that claims to be real. We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video.
Well, if it confirms their prejudices, they lap it up without question.
The New York Daily News lapped it up:
Metro was iumpressed:
In the incredible clip, which was released by Syrian activist group Shaam News Network, the boy can be seen lying on the floor as bullets whip around him in a rubble-filled courtyard.
(Shaam - the second ‘a’ is silent.)
TO the University of Waterloo, where being socially akward is a crime. Cambridge University students look on with fear:
“I’m sure some of them were very concerned about how this guy approached, but we still had to deal with university policies and laws, and we’re not seeing he’s breached any of those,” says Dan Anderson, director of UW Police Services.
IT’s not only men who attack children. But if you read the mainstream media, you wouldn’t know it.
The Guardian notes:
There is much more we don’t know, including how many paedophiles there are: 1-2% of men is a widely accepted figure…
And of women? No data is given. Not even a guess.
An Albuquerque woman photographed herself engaging in sex acts with a 7-year-old boy and told police she couldn’t promise to not do it again, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. Gwendolynn Lindgren, 34, was charged with criminal sexual penetration, among other things, after her husband told police he found photographs of her and the boy in emails on her cell phone.
We’ll keep track on the women who abuse children. It might makle men feel less like abusers-in-waiting…
SO what the European Space Agency landed the Philae spacecraft on that singing comet. It was an awesome thing. Humanity is great. The names Rosetta and Philae are high on the news cycle. Space and the adventures imagained and realised is captivating.
Jonathan Freedland spoke for many:
…the fascination this adventure has stirred. Part of it is simple, a break from the torments down here on earth… For a few merciful days, the news has featured a story remote from the bloodshed of Islamic State and Ukraine, from the pain of child abuse and poverty. Even those who don’t dream of escaping this planet can relish the escapism.
But the comet landing has provided more than a diversion: it’s been an antidote too. For this has been a story of human cooperation in a world of conflict. The narrow version of this point focuses on this as a European success story. When our daily news sees “Europe” only as the source of unwanted migrants or maddening regulation, Philae has offered an alternative vision; that Germany, Italy, France, Britain and others can achieve far more together than they could ever dream of alone. The geopolitical experts so often speak of the global pivot to Asia, the rise of the Bric nations and the like – but this extraordinary voyage has proved that Europe is not dead yet.
Humanity is wonderful.
THE web hates men because of new feminism. Well, so they say…
Sigh. A new current has developed in the polluted ocean of online videos. If you’re a Facebook user, you’ll have noticed it: it involves women, and men, and the former being incessantly harassed by the latter.
I’m talking about those hidden-camera clips in which a female actor records the appalling level of harassment that she was subjected to by men in the street.
The best known was made by Shoshana Roberts, who was filmed walking the streets of New York amid catcalls and sexual comments. Thus far, it has attracted a staggering 36 million views, and has been hailed as a much-needed exposure of the plight of a woman in 21st Century society…
Depictions of decent men have now become strikingly absent online. The overall suggestion is that men are guilty until proven innocent; this only reinforces gender stereotyping.
Indeed, we have reached a stage where feminist sites like Jezebel run stories like “How to kick men in the balls: an illustrated guide”, confirming the impression that the internet hates men. Misogynist trolling by horrid little men is a huge concern, but the answer is not to alienate the rest of us.
DO we belive a Westminster paedophile ring operated in the 1960s and 1970s? Do we believe there was murder?
Scotland Yard is looking at claims that an alleged paedophile ring with links to former government figures, could have been involved in a murder
Detectives investigating allegations of organised child sex abuse in the 1970s and 1980s are now examining possible murder links, the Metropolitan Police has said.
IN “Fashion student Serena Bowes faces extradition to Italy after being accused of making up rape story”, the Telegraph reports:
Bowes, who claims she was raped during college trip to Florence, is refusing to return to Italy after being told she could face 12 years in prison for lying
Martin Evans tells the story:
A student who was allegedly raped while on a college trip to Italy, has been told she could be extradited and charged with making the story up. Serena Bowes, 21, was visiting Florence as part of her fashion degree, when she claims she was raped by a man in a nightclub bathroom. She reported the alleged attack to the Italian police and was also examined by a doctor at a hospital in Florence.
But after returning home and attempting to get on with her life, she was astonished to receive a letter from the Italian Police stating that she could be charged falsifying the rape and faces up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.
THE Leicester Mercury has news: the Haymarket Shopping Centre has NOT cancelled Christmas:
As you were…
Freddie deBoer on the you-can’t-say-that moraliser who police free speech on twitter:
“It may be tempting to embrace the violent power of the state as the solution to ideas and expression you find hateful and ugly… Whether the elites that so credulously embrace the notion of empowering the police state to squash harassment like it or not. And it may be tempting to embrace the coercive power of large corporations to limit speech online. But I promise you: that power will also be used against you by your antagonists, who are opportunistic and learn quickly.
“Lefty Twitter might be obsessed with policing language. But they won’t actually get to do the policing themselves. Instead, they will hand that work off to the same broken institutions and corrupt authorities that they themselves have diagnosed as broken and corrupt. And that is one of these fundamental, existential paradoxes within contemporary left-wing orthodoxy today: simultaneously recognizing that we live within structures of intrinsic, intentional inequality and injustice, and yet forever ready to abandon that skepticism towards those structures when it seems convenient to do so.”
Free speech. No buts…
LONDON is now so expensive to live in, artists and creatives cannot flourish – well n ot unless they have family money to rely on. The youth are screwed.
There’s an established image in the collective imagination of the kinds of places artsy types tend to live: the painter in a Paris garret, the actor in a Brooklyn brownstone, the musician in a San Francisco Victorian, or the playwright in a fisherman’s shack on Cape Cod. It’s all very romantic. We currently associate these places with vacation destinations and cutting edge high culture so of course that’s where the avant garde would naturally congregate. But people forget that in their day these were the cheapest least desirable locations available.
These spots were economically depressed, populated by the lower working class, immigrants, “working girls”, and the substance abusers of their day. In short, they were places that respectable people avoided and where the authorities generally turned a blind eye. How else could artists survive without family money or the income that comes with full time employment in the mainstream economy? And where else could fringe elements of various subcultures thrive without inhibition from the dominant culture? It’s only after decades of anonymous incubation that these neighborhoods eventually became safe and vibrant enough to attract middle class residents in search of good food, nightlife, and tourist photo opportunities.
The bright young things move in. Then the gallery owners take a pitch and attract the monied crowd. The property prices go up. The place gets hosed down. Everything vital is now retro or artisan and 10 times as dear. And only the impoversish creative class moves to… the suburbs!
WHO has right of way on a bus: wheelchairs or pushchairs? No contest surley. Wheelchairs must win. Children can be carried. Unless you’re on an ATOS bus in which case the wheelchair user can bloody well walk:
A court will decide whether wheelchair users have priority over pushchairs on buses, but how do you decide who is more entitled to the space? In February 2012, wheelchair user Doug Paulley was not allowed to board a bus in Leeds because the wheelchair space was taken by a pushchair. The mother, not wanting to wake her sleeping baby, refused to move.
Paulley was left with no choice but to get off and wait for the next bus. That one was an hour away, and took him to the wrong side of the city. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. “That day in February resulted in me not using a bus again for a year. I lost all confidence and couldn’t face it anymore,” he said last year.
“BASICALLY I went into a cafe, it’s one that I always go to except during the summer I’ve been sitting outside. It wasn’t great weather so this time I sat inside. I got to my table where I normally sit. I made sure I was out of the way of everyone else. Despite this the guy working there, he basically said to me you cannot sit inside because the customers have complained about you.”
So says Kelly Sawyer, 34, of her visit to the Star Burger in Sidcup High Street,
THE BBC has news of Rotherham, where the State turned a blind eye to child abuse. So far, no police officer, politician, lawyer or doctor has been arrested about their roles in the scandal. What we have is educated guess work – 1,4000 children were abused – a police force in full PR mode and politicians scrambling to be righteous and consign the horror to the past.
What we need are evidence and criminal trials.
Police in Rotherham tore up paperwork relating to one child sex abuse victim and stopped another from being medically examined, the BBC has been told.
Anorak likes to be objective. But do we all believe the victim’s claims? We do. They are too easy to believe.
One woman claimed a policeman called her a liar after she reported being abused aged 15, and the other alleges police prevented her being examined after she was abused aged 13.
IN the USA, where equiality rules, Minneapolis public schools have set a racial quota for discipline:
“Moving forward, every suspension of a black or brown student will be reviewed by the superintendent’s leadership team. The school district aims to more deeply understand the circumstances of suspensions with the goal of providing greater supports to the school, student or family in need. This team could choose to bring in additional resources for the student, family and school. . . . MPS must aggressively reduce the disproportionality between black and brown students and their white peers every year for the next four years. This will begin with a 25 percent reduction in disproportionality by the end of this school year; 50 percent by 2016; 75 percent by 2017; and 100 percent by 2018.”
Anyone think that just means less suspensions?
CAROLE Mideley has few sane words about the paedo panic. Last week a man was banned from Puxton Park park for being an adult male unaccompanied by a child:
We can be bawled out by security for filming our own toddler in a ballpool (legally you can photograph anyone in a public place, but on private property it is at the management’s discretion), yet serial child sex abusers ran rampant in places like Rotherham undisturbed. What seems to matter is being seen to be vigilant, even if it does amount to a hill of beans. Julie Spence, former chief constable of Cambridgeshire, recently said the force spent more on CRB checks than they did on real child protection, ie, tracking actual sex offenders. About 3.9 million such checks were carried out last year. Most will be vital, of course, but 843,000 of those were on volunteers offering to help with school trips, discos or reading. A friend recently volunteered as a helper at her son’s school but was told she hadn’t been “trained”. What they probably meant but were too polite to say was that she hadn’t been vetted for a paedo past. Worth remembering, meanwhile, that a CRB-type check would have picked up nothing amiss with Jimmy Savile.
HARRY Roberts, the murderer, is free.
A police killer who was jailed for life in 1966 for the murders of three unarmed officers has been released from prison. Harry Roberts, 78, was part of a gang planning an armed robbery when they were disturbed by the policemen in west London. He was released from Littlehey prison in Cambridgeshire on Monday, The Sun reported.
FREE Speech Watch:
Eric, a manager at a Chick-fil-A restaurant, made a list of words that he forbade his staff from uttering while at work. When someone crossed out “bae” he added it back on the list and wrote, “scratch it our & you lose your employee meals!”
Spotter: Boing Boing
MODERN romance features Aminah Hart who wanted her daughter to meet her biological father – the one who sired her by donating his sperm.
A British-born woman who had a child through IVF is engaged to the anonymous sperm donor she tracked down and later fell in love with. Aminah Hart, 45, an Australian woman born in London, only met her fiance after she had given birth to their daughter Leila, it has been reported.
She originally selected Scott Andersen, an Australian cattle farmer who lives on an island off the south coast, from five possible sperm donors because she liked that he listed himself as “happy and healthy”.
Aminah discovered his identity through a series of internet searches based on his name as well as his profession as a cattle breeder and his role as a Aussie rules football coach.
MADELEINE McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child in the news. Today the tabloids’ ‘Our Maddie’ is back on the Mirror’s front page:
The ‘EXCLUSIVE’ news is that there a ‘Brit Man & Woman’ are ‘NEW SUSPECTS’.
WHO are the world’s most persecuted minoroty, asks “Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim thinks he knows:
One hundred years ago, 20% of North Africa and the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, was Christian. Today, Christians make up 4% of the population. Much of that decline has occurred in the last decade. In essence Muslims are rendering North Africa and the Middle East free of Christians.
Take Egypt, for example, my ancestral homeland. In just the past two years, tens of thousands of Christian Copts have left Egypt. And many others want to leave, but they simply cannot afford to. Why they want to leave is no mystery.
On New Year’s Day 2011, the Two Saints Church in Alexandria was bombed, leaving 23 Copts dead and 97 injured. In recent years dozens of Coptic churches have been attacked, many burned to the ground. In August 2013 alone, the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters attacked and destroyed some 80 churches.
Unfortunately, Egypt is more the rule than the exception.
Hundreds of Nigerian churches have been destroyed in recent years, with especially deadly attacks reserved for Christmas and Easter church services, leaving dozens dead or mutilated. Churches have been bombed or burned in Iraq, Syria, and just about every place in the Middle East where churches still exist except Israel. Christian businesses have been torched, Christian girls have been kidnapped, sold as child brides or slaves, and had acid thrown in their faces for not being veiled. Anyone born a Muslim who converts to Christianity faces jail and possibly execution. The list of fresh atrocities by Muslims against Christians grows longer almost every day. Even in Muslim countries often portrayed as “moderate” — Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan — Christian minorities are under legal pressure not to build churches or evangelize.
IN the Us you can own a gun whilst blind. And you can drive a car, too. But if you want to take marijuana to alleviate stress or help relax your eyes, you’re a criminal. Hit and Run looks at the States where guns and pot go together:
A Reddit user recently posted a graphic called “The Venn Diagram of Cultural Politics,” showing which states allow at least some citizens to use marijuana, which states recognize gay marriages, and which do both. The chart got us wondering: Which places embrace the personal freedoms beloved by the left and the right? Where can you buy both a vibrator and a Big Gulp? Where can a gay couple not just marry but avoid a high sin tax on the cigarettes they smoke after sex? Where can you carry a gun while passing a joint?
The image below tackles that last question. If you include states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes only, there are now 24 states that permit pot. There are 42 states where an adult non-felon’s right to carry a concealed gun is either unrestricted or subject only to permissive “shall issue” laws. Sixteen states fall into both categories.
MAX Clifford has lost his appeal against his eight year sentence for sex offences. The PR fixer remains in prison. His victims remain damaged:
Sky News has apologised over an error which led to one of Max Clifford’s victims being named in a recorded broadcast of his appeal… The woman, who has lifelong anonymity under the terms of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, complained to the police when she heard her name 17 minutes into an edited clip which went out on Sky’s website on October 10.
Sky took the clip down. But did you catch the error?
Sky’s counsel, Adrienne Page QC, claimed that the maximum number of viewers was five – including the victim…
Websites aren’t taking over the news business yet, are they…
NEWSPAPERS are dying. So are the readers who grow up with them. That’s tragic. But it’s life.
Print sales of The Sun dipped below two million a day for the first time in its modern history last month.
Average sales of the paper dipped 8 per cent year on year to 1,978,324 making it still the UK’s best-selling daily.
Publisher News UK is expected to release an update later this month on the progress of the paper’s digital subscription strategy which may soften the blow of falling below two million.
The Daily Mirror dropped below two million copies in 2004 and fell below the one million mark last December.
MATTHEW Williams: a look at reporting on the ‘cannibal’ who killed Cerys Yemm and then, reportedly, ate parts of her face. Williams was then tasered by police at a hostel in Argoed, Caerphilly county. Police hit him with 50,000 volts. He died.
The Sun: “Call me the wolf… I like to eat people”
DEPRAVED Matthew Williams bragged he was a cannibal in jail — weeks before he killed a woman and ate her face. An ex-lag who spent time inside with the 34-year-old said he liked to call himself The Wolf. When asked why, Williams said: “Because I am a cannibal and I eat people.”
Can we trust this ex-lag to be honest?
His ex-cellmate, who did not want to be named, said Williams was hooked on heroin substitute Subutex and had a feared reputation.
He said: “People say all sorts in prison but he seemed to mean it. He said he had already eaten someone. I put it down to talk — until I heard what he’d done.”
The Daily Mail aks a question about the Great British Sandwich:
Rightly, the death of the Great British sandwich (surely the hungry editor’s yell as a headline – ed) has been highlighted by the paper of record. A Great British traditional is being undone by foreigners.
Let’s take a look at the Great British sandwich in history.