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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.

Northern Rock: Press Release

HM Treasury (National) -(HMT) Northern Rock

HM Treasury, on behalf of the Tripartite Authorities, today announces a new financing structure that could be made available to Northern Rock and other interested parties, for a possible private sector solution for the entire company. This new financing structure would only be available for proposals that would protect taxpayers’ interests, as well as meeting the Tripartite Authorities’ other stated objectives of financial stability and the protection of consumers. If no proposal is received which meets these objectives, the Government would bring forward legislation in order to facilitate temporary public ownership of Northern Rock.

In any event, the existing Government guarantee arrangements remain in place. Savers’ money continues to be safe and secure.

The proposed financing structure envisages Northern Rock raising funds from investors in the financial markets backed by a mixed pool of assets. This structure would ensure all Bank of England loan facilities to the company are repaid in full, with interest, upfront, as soon as the funds are raised. To facilitate this, the Treasury would put in place a guarantee for the payment of investors in the event that the assets were insufficient to fulfil the obligations, although any losses to the asset pool would first be borne by Northern Rock to protect the taxpayer. Northern Rock would pay a fee for this guarantee in addition to the fees for the existing guarantee arrangements which will continue.

The Tripartite Authorities consider that this would reflect their stated objectives, as a proposal using this structure would have the potential to:

- ensure the Bank of England’s loan facilities to the company are repaid in full, with interest, upfront as soon as the funds are raised;

- contribute to finding a cost-effective solution under private sector ownership with the private sector at first risk for Northern Rock’s commercial success or failure;

- involve significant private sector participation, including new private sector capital, in the financing of Northern Rock; and

- provide the Treasury with the ability to share in the potential upside returns for private sector participants in return for the financial support being provided to the company.

Proposals would need to demonstrate compliance with a range of conditions, including a robust business plan, commitment of sufficient additional capital and management and ownership by suitable persons, appropriate for the provision of financial support of the kind contemplated. There would also be clear restrictions on the sale of the company and on dividend payments whilst the taxpayer remains at any risk. The proposals will also have to be consistent with the regulatory requirements of the FSA.

HM Treasury and the Bank of England, as providers of financial support to the company, and the Financial Services Authority, as its regulator, will consider proposals received by 4 February from Northern Rock and other interested parties.

The Tripartite Authorities recognise that any proposal relying on this financing structure is likely to involve state aid, which would require approval by the European Commission, and will submit a restructuring plan to the Commission by 17 March. HM Treasury and the Bank of England will make arrangements for the existing Bank of England loan facilities to be extended up to this date to allow time to explore the financing structure with Northern Rock and other interested parties.

In the event of temporary public ownership, the company would be managed at arms’ length on a commercial basis. An experienced and professional management team would be appointed. Services for savers and borrowers would not be affected and the company would continue to operate and provide services to customers as normal. Branches, call centres, postal and internet banking would all continue to be open and accessible, as usual.

Any decision or announcement to take Northern Rock into temporary public ownership would also address the future of the Northern Rock Foundation.

Posted: 21st, January 2008 | In: Money, Twitterings | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A Life In Mugshots

downward spiral A Life In MugshotsA LIFE in mug shots

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Anorak In New York, Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Polar Bear Watch: Bosch The Snowflake

snowflake Polar Bear Watch: Bosch The SnowflakePOLAR Bear Watch: Anorak’s look at polar bears in the news

Nuremberg Zoo’s new celebrity resident, a female polar bear cub, has been branded, sorry, named Snowflake.

Nuremberg Mayor Ulrich Maly announced the name at 3 p.m. Friday at a press conference broadcast live on national television.

Germany is now a haven for polar bears, who are said to be attracted the locale by the country’s renowned white goods, especially chest freezers…

The polar bears are coming… 

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Global Warming, Polar Bear Watch | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Chicken Feet For China

chicken3.thumbnail Chicken Feet For ChinaARE free range chicken feet leaner than battery farmed birds?

Chicken feet are not generally considered as produce nor consumed in Turkey, but rather than throw them away, companies are making money by exporting them to Far Eastern countries.

Turkey’s exports set a new record last year, rising to a total $105 billion last year, and $17 million of this amount came from chicken feet, mostly exported to China.

Would the Chinese eat Jamie Oliver?

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Food & Fat | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Brandon Davis Better Never Than Late

BRANDON Davis, Hollywood Hillsbilly, is in Melbourne for the Millions Main Event tournament at Crown Casino.

Davis is not doing all that well. Having arrived laden with cash and planned to buy into the tournament, Davis managed to turn up a day late to actually qualify.

Did he chicken out?

There are sharks in Australia 

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Celebrities, Poker And Casino, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Celebrity Baby Names: Orion Christopher Noth

CHRIS Noth, Mr Big from Sex And The City has new son called Orion Christopher Noth…

Orion a constellation often referred to as The Hunter

Orion” is the seventh track from Metallica’s 1986 album Master of Puppets. It is an instrumental piece composed by Cliff Burton with help from James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich.

Some of the guitar and bass solos on this song were taken from the original demo of “”Welcome Home (Sanitarium).”

The title is in reference to the cosmic or space-like sounds heard during the transitional point of the song. “Orion” was the third instrumental Metallica recorded, the first being “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” from Kill ‘Em All and the second being “The Call of Ktulu” from Ride the Lightning.

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Celebrities, Twitterings | Comments (4) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Simplicity Of Opera

ON opera. The Rest Is Noise:

“Oh, it will need some small changes here and there as we work,” the Doctor said. “But it is a fine schema; coherent and simple for people who can’t follow a difficult plot, but with plenty of meaning underneath. An opera has to have a foundation; something big, like unhappy love, or vengeance, or some point of honor. Because people are like that, you know. There they sit, all those stockbrokers and rich surgeons and insurance men, and they look so solemn and quiet as if nothing would rouse them. But underneath they are raging with unhappy love, or vengeance, or some point of honor or ambition — all connected with their professional lives They go to La Bohème or La Traviata and they remember some early affair that might have been squalid if you weren’t living it yourself; or they see Rigoletto and think how the chairman humiliated them at the last board meeting; or they see Macbeth and think how they would like to murder the chairman and get his job. Only they don’t think it; very deep down they feel it, and boil it, and suffer it in the primitive underworld of their souls. You wouldn’t get them to admit anything, not if you begged. Opera speaks to the heart as no other art does, because it is essentially simple.”

As said by Robertson Davies, The Lyre of Orpheus

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Munich Air Distaster Forgotten

A SAD look at British football:

Fabio Capello’s first match as England manager will not be preceded by a minute’s silence for the Munich air disaster after the Football Association reluctantly came to the conclusion that supporters could not be trusted to show respect….The game falls on the 50th anniversary of one of the worst sporting disasters of all time…

Can’t be trusted to be silent for killed footballers? Does this have something to do with there being so many minute’s silences that the fans’ have got bored? Or are some England supporters scum?

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Back pages, Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Katie Holmes New York Marathon Rumour

A BLOGGER called Harlem 26.2 whose description has, as Defamer reports, been following all the Katie Holmes marathon conspiracy theorizing. He adds his thoughts:

All the conspiracy theories fail to mention or recognize the “mystery runner” that accompanied Katie in the race.

He wore bib # 6074, he does not show up or exist in the results database. He’s the first runner in the history of the NYC Marathon to “not exist”. He can be seen in photos on Flickr, we have the links on our site, just look in the comments of today, you’ll see them.The conspiracy fails when you see Katie has registered “split times” – however they could have been recorded by this “mystery runner, bib # 6074 – wearing her assigned timing chip – clearly adjacent to her at all times in the few photos that exists. Check out site, the photos on flickr, the NYC Marathon database – that runner is a total mystery….

A conspiracy, or not..

My point is, reading that Katie Holmes ran the entire New York City Marathon then posed for photos and attended the premiere of Tom’s movie “Lions For Lambs” strikes me as another one of those moments. How can this story be true? How could Katie — who in some circles is rumored to be pregnant — have had the time to get into phenominal running shape in “two months” while attending to a one-year-old child, run the entire marathon, then glowingly appear in photos right at the finish line?

On the other hand, though, how can this story be made up?

File under: This is how gossip on the internet works…

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Celebrities, Tom Cruise, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Barack HUSSEIN Obama

MICKEY KAUS: “It’s going to get ugly in the South. By the time Hillary is through with Obama, voters will think his middle name is ‘Hussein’!”

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Barack Obama, Politicians, Race For The White House, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Team McCann: A Video

DO we post this video based on the Madeleine McCann case? And if so, what does it say? Is is cruel and unjust? Satirical? Does it say something about how the disappearance of a little girl has been treated in the media? Someone made this video…

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Anorak TV, Madeleine McCann, Twitterings | Comments (18) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Barack Hussein Obama Calling

THE Barack Obama campaign has released a recording (mp3) it claims came from a Nevada local’s answering machine of an anonymous automated call.

“I’m calling with some important information about Barack Hussein Obama,” comes the voice. “Barack Hussein Obama says he doesn’t take money from Washington lobbyists or special interest groups but the record is clear that he does.”

Hussein. Hussein. Hussein.

“You just can’t take a chance on Barack Hussein Obama.”

Click here to listen to the campaign’s recording of the call.

Via 

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Barack Obama, Politicians, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Buckingham Palace Snubs Kiwis

SIR Edmind Hillarey is dead. And our dear Royals: “Buckingham Palace has decided not to send a member of the royal family to Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral in what will be seen as a snub to one of the country’s greatest legends.”

Are they saying that Prince Edward is too busy?

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Royal Family, Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Education: Selection, Selection, Selection

SIR Martin, director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa), is responsible for ensuring that higher education is open to students from less privileged backgrounds.

He tells the Telegraph: “We will never go back to selection…”

Although, as the paper notes: “Potential Oxbridge students should be identified at 11 and given special mentoring throughout their school years to help them compete for a place, the Government’s access tsar has proposed.”

So, no going back to selection, then..?

Posted: 20th, January 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Borat Wins

BORAT wins. A court sided with Sacha Baron Cohen on Friday in a lawsuit filed by etiquette teacher Kathie Martin. She claims she unwittingly appeared in his hit movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”.

The justices overruled a lower court and said Martin can’t sue Cohen and the companies that produced the movie in Alabama because she signed an agreement stating only courts in New York could hear any disputes that arose from her appearance…

Several other people who appeared in the 2006 movie have filed suit claiming they were duped into appearing in the comedy, which grossed more than $200 million…

During a segment in Alabama, Borat sought etiquette lessons from Martin and is shown in the movie presenting guests at a dinner party with a bag of human feces.

No, not a hot dog – a real turd…

Source 

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: Celebrities, Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The World’s Best Store Website: HEMA

THE World’s Best Department Store Website: HEMA.

This is how to use the web to promote your store…

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: Online-PR, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Lindsay Lohan Is Queen Of England

THE “craze” going on in the United Kingdom involves people take pictures of themselves partially covered with folded banknotes. At least so say the American site Freaking News.

(Has anyone seen anyone doing this?)

The result is this:

lindsay lohan money Lindsay Lohan Is Queen Of England

American Royalty…

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: Celebrities, Money, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Yasser Arafat’s Post 9/11 Fake Blood Donating Act

YASSER Arafat gave: “Joel Pollak (no relation) reports on his blog that Charles Enderlin, the France 2 television reporter implicated in the Mohammed al-Dura fabrication, admitted at a talk at Harvard last night that the famous scenes of Yasser Arafat donating blood after the 9/11 attacks were, like the footage of the IDF killing al-Dura, staged:

Enderlin said the event had been staged for the media to counteract the embarrassing television images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

The blood donation story made headlines around the world. It was reported by esteemed news agencies like the BBC, and photographs of Arafat lying with an outstretched arm ran on many front pages. But the whole scene was staged, Enderlin said. Arafat didn’t like needles, and so the doctor put a needle near his arm and agitated a bag of blood. The reporters took the requisite photographs.

Source

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: Twitterings, War On Terror | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Hezbollah Collects Israeli Body Parts

THIS is revolting: “Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah says his armed group has body parts of Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon during the 2006 conflict.

Sheikh Nasrallah told the crowds: “Our fighters were fighting and confronting these Zionists. They were killing them and collecting the remains of their bodies.

“I am not talking about insignificant bodily remains. I tell the Israelis we have heads, hands, legs of your soldiers. We also have a nearly intact cadaver from the head down to the pelvis.”

How would the UK reacts if this were the IRA saying this?

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: Twitterings, War On Terror | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Hills TV Show Might Not Be Real

THE HILLS on TV today:

10:55 T4: The Hills Reality series following former Laguna Beach star Lauren Scott as she moves to Los Angeles to study fashion and work as an intern at Teen Vogue magazine. She finds it’s harder than expected to juggle work, school and partying, especially when her unpredictable room-mate sabotages one of her projects (888)

11.25am T4: The Hills Lauren must deal with the fallout of the Teen Vogue party. Meanwhile, Heidi lands an interview for her dream job and considers leaving school permanently (888)

And a health warning before the episodes:

‘The following programme may contain scenes that have been created purely for entertainment purposes.”

They hope…

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: TV & Radio, Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Cockpit Recording Of The Heathrow Crash

PPRuNe the Professional Pilots Rumour Network site has this posting from Corsair.

It is the alleged cockpit recording after flight BA 038 Boeing 777′s rather unusual arrival on its return from Shanghai crash landing almost on the runway at Heathrow on Thursday.

Just received this exclusive transcript of the last couple of minutes on the CVR.

12:42:35 ALL Sound of metal scraping on concrete.

12:42:40 CAM 1 It’s stopped, well done but what the hell happened?

12:42:45 CAM 2 I’m not sure but I think the (unintelligible) stretched the glide (unintelligble) hit quite hard (unintelligible)

12:42:50 CAM 1 You’re right and if the (unintelligible) and (unintelligible). We were (non relevant comment deleted). That was damm good flying Number one.

12:42:55 CAM 3 Well done guys, I thought we were cooked for sure.

12:43:05 CAM 2 I can’t wait to see what they have to say about this on pprune. Should be good. (laughing)

12:43:15 CAM 2 Yeah, the ‘experts’ will be out in force. Danny will have his work cut out for him.

12:43:20 ALL Sound of laughter.

12:43: 24 CAM 3 Hey lads, I have the laptop. I’ll log on and see what they’re saying.

12:43:33 CAM 1 Great.

Read on

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Media Messengers And The Media Message

WRITES Guido:

Yet Andy Marr fathering a child with Alice Miles whilst married to Jackie Ashley goes unreported. Across newsrooms, at Islington and Hampstead dinner parties it has been common knowledge for years. These three journalists are at the heart of the politico-media nexus that constitutes the new ruling class. The producers and editors who are the media gate-keepers would not be keen to dish the dirt on their own… despite the fact that it would be of huge interest to the public.

Rumours of unattractive people having sex – discuss… Or ignore… Are the messsengers as important as the message?

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: TV & Radio, Twitterings | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Classes Of Poultry

IN ‘Poultry is not a class issue, old Etonian Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tell us about chicken:

But a commercially produced free range bird, not organic, can be had in most supermarkets for a little over £5. And there is another – cheaper – higher welfare option provided by the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods method of poultry rearing. All the major supermarkets offer this bird or an own-brand equivalent, and these typically sell for about £4. As one of these birds will easily feed a family of four – twice, in the hands of a keen and resourceful cook – you could even say they are a bargain.

You could. Only:

And be in no doubt, these birds may be reared inside but they have, through lower stocking levels and an enriched environment, certainly led more comfortable and less stressful lives than the “two for a fiver” birds piled beside them in the supermarket chill cabinet. The irresistible pressure on many shoppers to buy cheap chicken arises not because higher welfare birds are expensive, but because standard factory farmed poultry is aggressively, artificially and, I would say, shamefully cheap.

I would say a bargain…

I believe that there is a continued need for a domestic poultry industry that can deliver good value chicken at a keen price for a massive popular market. But basic welfare reform is an urgent matter. If something like the RSPCA standards were adopted as a new starting point for the industry, it would add only 50p to the cost of raising a bird. That includes a fairer price for the farmers, who are struggling to stay in business as their grim product sells for insultingly low prices.

Let’s hear it for more expensive chicken!

Source

Posted: 19th, January 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Food & Fat, Money, Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Victoria Beckham Is Sick On Stage?

becks sick Victoria Beckham Is Sick On Stage?RUMOURS on the web that Victoria Beckham has enlivened a Spice Girls concert in London by vomiting on stage.

Probably rubbish. But we do recall when the Beckhams did everything alike – knickers, hair, puking…

Posted: 18th, January 2008 | In: Celebrities, Posh and Becks, Twitterings | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Paper Airplane Launched Into Space

WILL it carry paper people? “Researchers from the University of Tokyo have teamed up with members of the Japan Origami Airplane Association to develop a paper aircraft capable of surviving the flight from the International Space Station to the Earth’s surface.”

The researchers are scheduled to begin testing the strength and heat resistance of an 8 centimeter (3.1 in) long prototype on January 17 in an ultra-high-speed wind tunnel at the University of Tokyo’s Okashiwa campus (Chiba prefecture). In the tests, the origami glider — which is shaped like the Space Shuttle and has been treated to withstand intense heat — will be subjected to wind speeds of Mach 7, or about 8,600 kilometers (5,300 miles) per hour…

No launch date has been set for the paper spaceplane, but Shinji Suzuki, an aerospace engineering professor at the University of Tokyo, is thinking ahead. “We hope the space station crew will write a message of peace on the plane before they launch it,” says Suzuki. “We don’t know where in the world the plane will land, but it would be nice to send a message to whoever finds it.”

Who would not want to find that?

Via 

Posted: 18th, January 2008 | In: Strange But True, Twitterings | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0