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.
UK beats France at international sport. EU Ref:
Given all the breast-beating about street violence in the UK, it is interesting to see that the French authorities are congratulating themselves that the national sport of car burning seems to be under control.
This year, as part of the New Year “celebrations”, only 372 cars were torched in the French banlieues, compared with 397 last year, with a mere 259 people arrested.
The “normal” marker is about 50 cars burned each and every weekend, although when there is something very special to celebrate, the tally goes up. On the night of the presidential elections in May, for instance, Muslim rioters set fire to 367 cars – slightly less than the New Year tally. To compensate, arrests were slightly higher at 270.
However, while the French tally seems to get special media attention, it is worth noting that, in the UK, “malicious car fires” seem to be as much of a problem. From about 40,000 in the year in 1996, the last available figures (2002) show a near doubling, to about 70,000 in the year, or close to 200 a day.
Considering how popular this sport has become, one wonders whether it should be included in the Olympics for 2012 – but there is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Renault are looking to sponsor the event.
DIZZY looks at Gordon Brown’s airbrushing: “Should anyone wish to have a good laugh on this utterly pointless day back in the office for the shortest working week of the year, then I strongly recommend having a look at the review of Gordon Brown’s year on Downing Street website. Pay particular attention to September, October, November and December which make no references to the nightmares he’s has faced.
“There is no mention of ‘changes’ to inheritance tax which he tried to hail as significant. Nor is there mention of the changes to Capital Gains Tax which have caused so many problems. Nor is there a mention of his desire to map out his vision for the country that we heard so much about.
“There is no mention that the tripartite system of banking failed to stop a run on a British bank, resulting in the taxpayer propping it up to the tune of over £20 billion. It gets merely a brief mention in December about how the economy is strong and he’s going to save the day.
“Don’t expect to see anything about the Government’s inability to get its own immigration figures right, resulting in correction after correction. As for the loss of 25 million personal bank details from Her Majestys Revenue and Customs it never happened. Repeat after me. It. Never. Happened.”
“’Our next song,’ announces 11-year-old Robert Ntegereje, at the front of his primary school class, ‘is about how we can look after the gorillas by planting trees wherever they live.’ It’s hardly an announcement you’d hear in a school in Britain.”
The Anorak confesses that it took three readings to understand that the boy’s call to planting was not enacted in a British school.
Indeed, it was only when Jamie Oliver failed to arrive to tell the little ‘uns that Gorilla Twizzlers are disgusting that we realised our error…
Two Algerian sheep are due to be slaughtered to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid Al Adhha. Two British men see the sheep. Something occurs. And the two are accused of “Sheep violation”.
Being British, and this being a tabloid story, the oil workers could have done one of three things:
a) Kidnapped the sheep and taken it to the Woolly Bottoms Sanctuary, Wiltshire
B) Named the sheep Mohammed
C) Had sex, real or simulated, with the sheep?
Says an ex-pat living in Algeria: “If you relate this to teacher Gillian Gibbons they can thank their lucky stars.”
Indeed, sex with a teddy has not been tried since Iggy Pop dry humped a already stuffed bear on Top of the Pops.
Gillian Gibbons’ sex life remains a private affair…
(The two sheep remain f*cked whatever happens)
FREE Speech: “RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — An outspoken Saudi blogger is being held for “purposes of interrogation,” the Saudi Interior Ministry confirmed Tuesday.
“Gen. Mansour al-Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman reached by telephone, said the blogger, Fouad al-Farhan, was “being questioned about specific violations of nonsecurity laws.” Mr. Farhan’s blog, which discusses social issues, had become one of the most widely read in Saudi Arabia.”
AS reported on Hillary CLinton: “Mrs Clinton, whose support is heavily skewed with older women voters, seeks to generate a more genteel atmosphere, with the crowd at one event being entertained by an accordion player.”
And readers look at the paper’s “SPACE LEAGUE” and learn that England is less crowed than Malta and Holland, one a holiday resort, the other the place where the world’s most fortunate children live (source: Unicef).
Keep ‘em coming. The Mail is getting ahead of itself – but fingers crowd that one day we really can be Number One…
MIKE Huckabee is a nice guy: “DES MOINES – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) told reporters Monday that he was pulling a negative ad designed to target his chief rival in Iowa, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
“Then he showed the ad to a room packed wall to wall with reporters.
“When asked if it is hypocritical to make an announcement about not running negative ads, and then show a negative advertisement to dozens of members of the national and local media, Huckabee said he had to show the ad to prove its existence.”
“I want to show you that we were fully prepared,” Huckabee said.
OH: “Malaysian Health Minister Chua Soi Lek has admitted that he is the man who features in two widely circulated DVDs of an unmarried couple having sex”
Alan Johnson married? What about Public Health minister Caroline Flint – Minister For Fitness?
“I am the man in the tape,” Mr Chua, 60, told reporters.
“The girl is a personal friend.” Indeed..
“I would like to emphasise I did not make the tape myself,” he added.
“Who [did] this is not important. What is most important is that my family, wife and children have accepted my apology.”
CONTINUE like you will carry on – happy viewing: “About 9.2 million people were watching New Year fireworks on BBC One as 2008 began, overnight estimates suggest”
2008 – A year on the telly
Pancakes In A Can. It’s not junk food. It’s organic…
A ban on adverts for junk food during television programmes aimed at children under 16 has come into force.
Regulator Ofcom has outlawed adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar in an effort to tackle rising childhood obesity levels.
The Government doesn’t like fat bastards – nor does it like biogtry…
LET’S Boycott Jews:
BENAZIR Bhutto is dead – so too is Osama bin Laden:
Did the sunroof do for him, too?
LINDSAY Lohan is to receive an award for her “contribution to cinema” at the Capri Film Festival in Italy tonight.
Addressing a congregation at St Mary Magdalene Church, Norfolk (the Royal Family in attendance), the Bishop says: “Some people, I have noticed around here, turn their houses into minor ecological disaster zones.”
The Queen’s Sandringham estate was, as the Telegraph notes on its front page, lit up by half a mile of fairy lights.
Whether aimed at the Windsors or not, the Bishop’s point is noted. And we commend to his attention another story in the Telegraph: “London’s £1.3m big bang to welcome in 2008.”
The picture is of the London Eye Ferris Wheel lit up like a massive halo. Of course, this is a picture from last year. And in the spirit of Recycling we urge all revelers along London’s South bank to party like it’s 1999 and thrill to the River of Fire.
Anorak will be handing out pictures of that event (blink and you miss it), and encouraging party goers to nod in appreciation (breathing, whooping, and cheering only add to global warming).
It’s what the Bishop would want…
The Queen Mother is be exhumed and her remains scatterd by a sapling in London’s Green Park, Prince Charles ears are to be fitted with solar panels and Prince William encouraged to breathe only when absolutely necessary
Somewhere in Benazir’s mind – in spite of ten years of daily bulletins from people back home, in spite of all the threats and menaces, in spite of what she saw on the ground upon her return, and even in spite of the blistering, bloody attack of that first day – somewhere in her mind, this Pakistan still existed.
This Pakistan where the old power elites still ruled, and where owning land meant running the country. Where you could still trust the old post-Partition power bases, and stand up and wave to the people royally from your car. This was still the turf on which she ran, with Bush alongside.
She refused to accept that this Pakistan, her imaginative homeland, was just a memory, as people will refuse to do when they are orphaned, or have lost their homes and families.
And Christopher Hitchens:
When she was prime minister, she pursued a very active pro-Taliban policy, designed to extend and entrench Pakistani control over Afghanistan and to give Pakistan strategic depth in its long confrontation with India over Kashmir.
The fact of the matter is that Benazir’s undoubted courage had a certain fanaticism to it.
She had the largest Electra complex of any female politician in modern history, entirely consecrated to the memory of her executed father, the charming and unscrupulous Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had once boasted that the people of Pakistan would eat grass before they would give up the struggle to acquire a nuclear weapon.
CONTINUING Anorak’s series Me And Benazir Bhutto, the Mail’s Peter McKay delivers: “Benazir, the girl in the yellow MGB sports car.”
It turns out that McKay does not work for Pakistan’s ministry of information and has been reviewing footage of her death by sunroof, rather the Mail.
McKay remembers the time Bhutto “invited me to speak at the Oxford union… I don’t remember the topic, or the outcome, but she was a pretty, amusing dinner companion, full of fun and laughter”.
Such credentials marked Bhutto out for leadership. And this is not all. She once gave McKay a gift – “some piece of glasswear”.
Great stuff. And should McKay recall the debate or the token of esteem, he has the makings of a pretty good anecdote.
Readers also learn that Bhutto once drove “a bright yellow, open-topped sports car”. Which McKay may see as ironic…
Or as bad for you?
When thinking of exercise, the Anorak takes the advice to lie in a darkened room until the urge passes.
But the Mail says the “sheer effort” of standing upright is enough to double the metabolic rate”. Great news. But one Professor Hamilton, of the University of Missouri, says it is not so much the standing up as what you will do when standing, chiefly moving. It is this moving that causes fat to be burned off.
Unless, of course, you are moving to the fridge to retrieve a large slice of cake. In which case the answer to the Mail’s puzzler is “no”.
Look out for in 2008: Could rolling over be as good for you as standing up?; Is begging good for the heart? and Is reading the Mail the new keep-fit…
BILAWAL Bhutto is leader of the Pakistan People’s Party. He is 19. He is the son of Benazir Bhutto.
The Croydonian ruminates on a few what might have beens:
Mark Thatcher, PM. Euan ‘drunk in Leicester Square‘ Blair, PM, James ‘married to a micro celeb none too fussy about keeping her clothes on‘ Major PM. Randolph ‘professional drinker‘ Churchill, PM.
Further thoughts when they occur to me, with reader submissions most welcome.
HOW they try: “Twelve Catholic priests have swapped their pulpits for favourite pastimes in a calendar designed to try to recruit young men to the priesthood.
The priests, from the Diocese of Leeds, are pictured in an array of activities, including reading celebrity magazines, watching baseball and DIY.
Each featured priest also reveals what inspired them to join the church.
The calendar has been created as part of a drive to encourage teenagers to take up Holy Orders.
HURRAY: “China is organising classes in cheering aimed at preparing Chinese sports fans for the Olympic Games next year.
“For the Chinese government, the Beijing Olympics are a big part of the country’s emergence onto the international stage.
“It wants the games to be perfect – right down to the applause.”
All spectator will be assigned an officil cheer companion who will measure their cheering on a “device”. Those found not to be cheering in the approved manner will be taken from this place and…
US PRESIDENTIAL lame duck Fred Thompson tells the media: “Today I had this story written about me regarding what I said at a Town Hall event in Burlington, Iowa by a reporter who wasn’t even at the event”
It’s “Benazir Bhutto’s assassin…”
Is it the man who fired the shots? Detonated the bomb? Made her sunroof?
It’s him. It’s Carlos…
INDEED, Mr Gordon Brown:
Quite apart from ethical limits to what government should do, there are natural limits to what government can do well or do at all. Going beyond those limits, or failing to recognise them, will end in disaster, as Brown is finding. One of those many limits is what these days we call “resources”, meaning the wherewithal.
For years we have watched Brown and Tony Blair throwing money at health, education and child poverty, with little to show for it. We have put up with all this astonishingly mildly and are only now beginning to recognise the waste and bossy incompetence with which our money has been squandered.