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BARACK Obama tells Israel’s most popular newspaper, Yediot Aharonot: “I am not a Muslim and I never have been. I never studied at a Madrassa and I have never sworn on the Koran. I am committed to Christianity.”
And Christianity has been good to the Jews..?
NORTHERN Rock and the Northen Rock Foundation – it’s your money now. The Croydonian takes a look:
Very generously, the expropriators of Northern Rock have agreed to continue giving the Northern Rock Foundation large sums of money to spend as the trustees see fit:
“Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that the guaranteed funds for the Northern Rock Foundation will go to funding arts and heritage projects.
Angela Eagle: As part of the Government’s decision to take Northern Rock plc into temporary public ownership, on 17 February the Treasury announced that the Northern Rock Foundation will receive from Northern Rock a minimum of £15 million a year in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The distribution of funds is a matter for the trustees of the Northern Rock Foundation.
A quick snoop around the Foundation’s website makes it exceedingly clear that it is not going to be operating under straitened circumstances, relative to previous years:
“From 1997 to 2007, the Foundation received 5% of Northern Rock’s annual pre-tax profits, totalling more than 190 million. As part of the Government’s decision in February 2008 to take the company into temporary public ownership, the Foundation will receive from Northern Rock a minimum of £15 million a year in 2008, 2009 and 2010“.
And what is the NRF’s remit?:
This: “Our current objectives are to tackle disadvantage and to improve quality of life in North East England and Cumbria. To achieve these objectives, we invest in charitable activities that help those most disadvantaged in society, and that make our area a place for everyone to enjoy and celebrate“.
And more specifically:
Question 3. Where will you fund?
Answer. We offer funding exclusively for work that takes place in North East England (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and the Tees Valley ) and Cumbria . If your work takes place outside these areas, please do not apply.
Might even this government feel that funding such a Foundation is just not cricket?
SAY Hanif Kureshi in Time Out: “I was in Germany a couple of weeks ago. They referred to me all the time as an immigrant, as if I’d just got off the f***ing boat. I’d think, ‘For God’s sake! You don’t have any idea, do you?'”
FIDEL Castro. Crazy name. Crazy guy. Writes Daniel Finkelstein:
I had a strange idea yesterday. I had the idea of inviting Harriet Harman home for dinner. This isn’t a thought that occurs to me often, but I suddenly felt it might be fun.
I’d invite my Dad too. And then, when we’d given Harriet a nice meal (what do you think she likes to eat?), my father could tell her his story.
He could tell her how the Soviets and the Nazis closed in on his home town of Lvov in September 1939 and how the town council chose the Soviets to surrender to. Then he might tell her how the fathers of his friends were taken to the woods at Katyn and shot by the communists.
He might recount the story of his father’s arrest as an antisocial element, of Adolf Finkelstein’s repeated interrogations leading to a trial in his absence and a jail sentence of 15 years’ hard labour. Then Dad could tell the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party about his own experience as a child, exiled to a remote Siberian village. And how he and his mother and his father never saw their home again.
And, when he’d finished, he could let Harriet speak. And she could explain to Dad why she thinks that Fidel Castro is a hero.
Yet still the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, the Leader of the House of Commons, a member of the Cabinet, is in love with Fidel. When asked, earlier this week, in an interview: “Fidel Castro – authoritarian dictator or hero of the Left?” she answered unhesitatingly – “hero of the Left”.
“SHOPPING BILL UP £18 A WEEK,” announces the front-page headline. “Food crisis is new blow for families.”
This on top of the soaring gas and electricity prices. “To make matters worse, council tax bills will rise by an average 4.5 percent in April,” says the paper.
The clear advice is to remain as you are, Mr Foreigner. The Express says the price of grain from Kazakhstan is “soaring” to a “record high”. Peoples of the East have never had it so good.
But still they come.
“Yet another coachload of migrants setting out from Poland to look for jobs in Britain,” says the Express, words hung below a a shot of a coachload of young men and women holding gigantic sausages with menace. “The scale of the influx of foreigners into Britian is breathtaking,” says the paper.
But we are not a thriving, vibrant and confident nation that values hard workers and their desire. We are a country of soaring food prices, where a loaf of bread costs a week’s wages.
Turn back, says the Express. Haven’t you hear, the UK is over.
From today, a free copy of the Daily Express will appear on every coach seat leaving Poland, Romania and Bulgaria!
That’s the message on the Mail’s cover page as readers are urged to “BANISH THE BAGS”.
See “a British family on a weekly shop”. And know: “In a distant sea a rare turtle, plastic bags lodged in its guts, is slowly dying.”
Can something be done to save it? No, not The Great British Shop – that for another campaign – the turtle? Yes, says the Mail. In all there are “13 billion ways you can help.”
Sadly, one of these ways does not involve pulling the plastic bag from the featured turtle’s guts. Nor does it include removing the plastic bag that “chokes” another turtle, also pictured. It is too late to save the gannet, which lies on a Cornwall beach, strangled by a carrier bag. Shame on you, purveyors of “VAPORMATIC”.
The Mail tells of the minke whale that was cut open and found to be hoarding 2lbs of plastic bags. With no kitchen drawers, the poor whale was forced to store the bags in her stomach. And died.
Say no to eating plastic bags.
“QUAKE ROCKS UK,” screams the Sun’s front-page headline. “5.1 rumble felt from Brighton to Durham.”
We race to tell Old Mr Anorak. “Where’s the pun?” he asks. “Has the world gone utterly mad?”
First global warming, then an invasion of foreign species and now earthquakes hit the UK. The country is changing and it our duty to innovate.
Buildings are rocked. An eight foot crack appears in Mark Young’s neighbour’s garden in Leicester. John Burton’s house in Wakefield shakes. Simon Smith does not exaggerate when he says, “It was like a juggernaut was going down my road.” Says Phil Cass, Wellingborough: “I was just sitting watching the TV and my chair started moving and the glass cabinet was wobbling.”
The epicentre of this earthquake is in Lincolnshire. As the poster says “Skegeness is bracing”. And what it has bracing itself for is now made apparent.
We need advice. And we turn to the Government “PREPARING FOR EMERGENCIES” website
We search “earthquake”. And we are met by the chilling message:
“The page cannot be found
The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.”
Aaah!! Are we alone? Hello! Mayday. Hello…
What you see on the screen, in all capital letters, is nothing but a fortune cookie-like message that tells you something good (though purely invented) that Barack Obama has done for you:
“Barack Obama took off when he heard you weren’t coming,” for instance.
The site opened just last week and the domain name is registered to Mathew Honan, 35, San Francisco-based contributing editor to Wired magazine. He explained how it came about in response to a query I sent via e-mail:
I came up with the idea for the site last week, on [Wednesday, Feb.]13, while riding the bus up Market Street on my way home for the day. My wife is an avid cyclist, and loves to talk about bikes and cycling. Recently, she’s gotten really active in the Obama campaign, and I had been kidding her that “Barack Obama is your new bicycle.” There seem to be a lot of people who feel that way.
I told one of my friends about it, and it made him laugh too. And then the idea just sort of fell into place. I got home, registered the domain, and had everything up just as it is now four hours or so after I thought of the idea. Needless to say, I’m pretty surprised at how it took off.
I thought it was something my wife and friends would get a kick out of, but I had no clue it would be all over the blogs and news sites. There are even sites in Italy, the Netherlands, and France linking to it.
M. Hervé explains how to unboil an egg:
… when an egg is cooked, the protein molecules unroll themselves, link up and enclose the water molecules. In order to ‘uncook’ the egg, you need to detach the protein molecules from each other. By adding a product like sodium borohydride, the egg becomes liquid within three hours. For those who want to try it at home, vitamin C also does the trick.
Part I of our interview explored the role of law in the show, exploring topics such as the legal system, lawyers, trials and tribunals, torture, necessity vs. moral principles, and deference to the military.
GLOBAL Warming attacks!
MOHAMMED Hamid, a Londoner, ha been found guilty of training men in secret camps in the Lake District and New Forest to prepare them to fight abroad.
Among those to have passed through Hamid’s camps were the four failed suicide bombers of 21 July 2005.
All four of the men responsible for the failed bombings were friends of Hamid.
The conviction marks a major success for counter-terrorism policing with Hamid regarded as a key figure in extremist networks.
Police say Hamid played a crucial role in grooming young men for terrorism and possible training overseas.
Atilla Ahmet, 43: Guilty of soliciting to murder
Kibley Da Costa, 24: Guilty of attending terrorism training, providing training, holding terrorist articles. Jailed for four years and 11 months
Kader Ahmed, 20: guilty of attending two training camps. Cleared on third charge. Jailed for Three years and eight months
Mohammed Al-Figari, 42: Guilty of attending camps and holding terrorist articles. Four years and two months.
Hassan Mutegombwa, 20: Guilty of seeking cash for terrorism overseas. Jailed last year for 10 years
Mohammed Kyriacou, 19: Admitted attending training camps. Three years and five months
Yassin Mutegombwa, 23: Admitted attending training camps. Three years and five months
Hamid’s training came in the form of camping trips around the UK and late night talks in the living room of his home.
Prosecutors said he sought to groom impressionable young men, a process that had only intensified after the July 2005 suicide bombings.
Hamid, 50, was found guilty of three counts of soliciting to murder and three counts of providing terrorism training. The jury at Woolwich Crown Court found him not guilty of providing weapons training at camps.
Basil Fawlty – Fawlty Towers. To Sybil: “Oh dear, what happened? Did you get entangled in the eiderdown again? Not enough cream in your eclair? Hmm? Or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn’t have time to perm your ears?”
Mrs Merton – The Mrs Merton Show. To Debbie McGee: “So what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”
Edmund Blackadder – Blackadder II. To Lord Percy: “The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn’t he, Percy?”
Roseanne Conner – Roseanne. To husband Dan: “Your idea of romance is popping the can away from my face.”
Father Jack Hackett – Father Ted. “Drink! Feck! Arse! Girls!”
Carla – Cheers. Cliff: “I’m ashamed God made me a man.” Carla: “I don’t think God’s doing a lot of bragging about it either.”
Patsy Stone – Absolutely Fabulous. “One more facelift on this one and she’ll have a beard.”
Jim Royle – The Royle Family. Nana: “Is this hat too far forward?” Jim: “No. We can still see your face.”
Malcolm Tucker – The Thick Of It. To a junior minister: “All these hands all over the place! You were like a sweaty octopus trying to unhook a bra! It was like watching John Leslie at work!”
Statler and Waldorf – The Muppet Show. Statler: “Wake up, you old fool, you slept through the show.” Waldorf: “Who’s a fool? You watched it.”
SAYS Meg Hillier MP, the minister responsible for ID cards scheme, to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee:.”You should see an ID card like a passport in-country”
The Express is in the French town of Eymet, twinned with a vision of Britain rarely seen beyond the Mail’s Keith Waterhouse column and Polly’s Tea Rooms, Marlborough branch.
It is home to ex-pats buying cans of Heinz tomato soup (American), Weetabix (founded by South Africans) and Tetley Tea (produced Indian tea giant Tata) from Kevin Walls’ corner shop, the Magasin Anglais. There are tea rooms, market stalls selling stilton cheese and British newspapers. There are white men in cricket whites playing cricket. Of the town’s 2,600 residents, around one third were born in the UK.
Says the Express: “If you want to live in France but don’t speak French it seem this is the place to be.” Or there’s Euro Disney, that other theme park, near Paris.
In Eymet, the Express sees children playing hide and seek in meadows on the way to school. It sees unlocked doors. It sees knife crime only on the television.
“I like living here because it’s like England 50 years ago,” says Simon Colebourne. And just like in 1958, Mr Colebourne runs an internet cafe. As you’d expert the cafe is chock full with ex-pats sat indoors “using the computers to e-mail friends at home and regale them with tales of the good life”.
As the Express says in headline form: “WE FOUND A LOST BRITAIN…IN THE HEART OF FRANCE.”
Lost. And maybe it should be lost once more.
Rachel Sylvester on Michael Martin’s class
Norfolk Blogger on the EU ref
Ellee Seymour on spin and PR
Michael Moynihan on the economics of assassination
Paul Canning on Home Office murder
Donal Blaney on Hillzilla
Ben Brogan on Prescott and Sarkozy
Burning our Money on private schools for state teachers
WHAT the odds?
Two siblings being born on the same day in different years was unlikely enough. But when Kim MacKriell had a third child delivered on the same day, she beat odds of more than 130,000 to one.
Ruby MacKriell was born last month on January 29. Her brother, Robin, was born on January 29, 1994, and her sister, Rebecca, on January 29, 1996.
According to statisticians at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, the chances of this happening are 7.5 in 1 million.
Unless you only have sex on certain days…
While the other tabloids champion their own pet causes “Conquer Obesity Through Pole-Dancing” (Sun), “Ban Free Knives On Teen Mags” (Mail) and “Make Immigrants Take Diana Test ” (Express), the Mirror shows us it medal.
Readers see the noble token, a disc bearing the words “HONOUR THE BRAVE” and the image of a soldier peering through a gun sight. All is underscored with the noble legend: “DAILY MIRROR.”
Reading all in one go, the legend reads: “HONOUR THE BRAVE DAILY MIRROR.”
If the Mirror can get this gong pinned to the chest of dead and injured servicemen and women, it will have pulled off something marketing departments in rival newspapers can only dream of.
And it just might. The nodding heads have assembled. It says much about how we view out Armed Forces that the following fighters put their heads above the parapet to back the campaign: Moore, Roger (SP.Y), Lynne, Dame Vera (B.L.U.E.B.I.R.D.S) and Waite, Terry (R.A.D.I.A.T.O.R).
The tin hat is placed on the irresistible movement by the appearance of old Ross Kemp (Ultimate Force, EastEnders Corps.), not to be confused with Richard Kemp, ex-commander of British Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
Says Kemp: “It’s very important to show our troops they’re appreciated. You can’t fight a war on terror and not thank, or respect, the people doing the work for you.”
And if Kemp can pin it – or stick it – on them, so much the more rewarding…
REUTERS sees the demonstation in Gaza. And sees a small tun out for a day when “schools were closed for the day, and thousands of pupils were taken in buses to participate”.
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – Thousands of Palestinians formed a human chain in the Gaza Strip on Monday in a protest against an Israeli blockade that has deepened hardship in the Hamas-controlled territory.
Israel had put troops on alert along the frontier and threatened to open fire if protesters tried to surge across the border. Organizers had forecast 40,000 to 50,000 participants but only about 4,500 people turned out in inclement weather.
Although the event, promoted by Hamas Islamists and allied activists, was peaceful, militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets at southern Israel while the protest was under way, wounding a child.
After the human chain broke up, Palestinian youngsters hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers at Gaza’s Erez border crossing. The Israeli army said it detained 50 stone-throwers.
The Associated Press ignores the rockets in favour of Hamas Gaza protest passes peacefully.
YAEL Kaynan, on Gaza’s Culture of Self-Destruction.
Phil Taylor has yet another example of Ken Livingstone’s mendacity.
Liberal Burblings on Ming
Biassed BBC on Marr
Chicken Run EU
The McCain campaign
Tracey Crouch’s day in the life of a parliamentary candidate
ADVERTISING bloggers have been accused of behaving badly in light of ad exec Paul Tilley’s suicide . Nina Disesa, chairman of the New York’s McCann Erickson left a comment on the Agency Spy blog that calls bloggers hateful failures, and their commenters “losers.”
Saraa Barhoum Host: Amani, you’ve seen the kind of attack that the West launched against the Prophet Muhammad. What do you have to say on behalf of the Prophet Muhammad?
Amani: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, I say to those cowardly infidels…
Assud the Bunny: Those criminals…
HILLARY Clinton wants to be the head of a country with the biggest economy on the planet. Hillary Clinton says:
It’s imperative that we approach this mortgage crisis with the seriousness that it is presenting. There are 95,000 homes in foreclosure in California right now. I want a moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days so we can try to work out keeping people in their homes instead of having them lose their homes, and I want to freeze interest rates for five years.
Freeze interest rates for five years. Anyone want to explain to her how the economy works..?