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THIS is why northerners take their tops off at football matches:
Rickets, a softening of bone tissue often characterised by bowed legs, is caused by a vitamin D deficiency and was associated with Victorian slums. But a study found that there were 56 suspected cases between 2003 and 2005 in the catchment area of two primary care trusts that cover Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, in Lancashire. A large proportion of the cases came from the Asian community of Blackburn with Darwen.
Public health officials say that the problem is genetic and cultural. The religious imperative to use a hijab to cover up in public means that some women are not exposed to enough sunlight. Dr Ellis Friedman, the director of public health for East Lancashire, said rickets “is caused by a combination of skin colouration, diet and dress, not poverty”.
Tango! Tango! Tango!
So reports the Telegraph. So says a study in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Know that children who watch four or more hours a day are three times as likely as those to have high blood pressure than those who watch less than two.
The paper tells of the “obesity epidemic”. We hear the message. And produce this print-put-and-send letter for your children to take to class:
“Could Armani please be excused media studies today and Mr Palin ’s geography class lest she blow up like a balloon and die, and EastEnders is on later”
Pic: The Spine
With average speeds on the UK’s motorways stuck around the 23mph mark, it’s hearting to know that on a German autobahn you can go as fast you like.
Look out Poland, here we come. See you in a moment, Czech Republic. Belgium – blink and you run it over.
But, as the Guardian reports, plans are afoot to temper the speed. The Social Democrats, partners in the German government’s grand coalition, say reducing the speed will lower carbon dioxide emissions.
Says SPD chairman Kurt Beck: “A blanket limit of 130kph would be a quick and unbureaucratic way in which to increase climate protection.”
You can’t beat bit of top-down un-bureaucracy in Germany. But Bernd Osterloh, of Volkswagen, says “It’s a dream-like idea”.
“For one thing speed limits hardly reduce a car’s already very low C02 emissions, so it’s silly for politicians to keep clubbing the automobile industry between the legs like this.”
Whether he illustrated the clubbing motion is unsaid. But green campaigners have been warned…
Madeleine McCann – Paulo Reis writes:
At last, a Portuguese paedophile suspect of kidnapping Maddie!
Now, it seems that Metodo 3 found something that the McCann were waiting for: a Portuguese paedophile who kidnapped Madeleine and took her to Morocco. Mr. Francisco Marco, the managing director of Metodo 3 doesn’t explain how his company, hired by the McCann, managed to take this conclusion, without having access to the Police files, without questioning witnesses, without analysing the crime scene. But, once again, this is what the McCann wanted: Madeleine was kidnapped, Madeleine is in Morocco and Madeleine can be alive.
This is what they need to say: “See, we were right and Portuguese Police was wrong! We are innocent! We were framed by Portuguese police!” (as they said, before…) and Mr. Francisco Marco has one more satisfied client. I presume that, now, a lot of families in Morocco who have blonde children, like the one spotted by Clara Torres (“If it’s not Madeleine, than it’s her twin sister”, as she said…) live in the fear that a “tourist” can take a picture of her daughter.
And it’s curious, not so long ago, Gerry McCann was positive about Madeline being alive and in Spain: “There is a very real possibility that Madeleine is alive and we want the police to look for her. The possibility that Madeleine is alive and in Spain is real”, he told Spanish daily El Mundo. In a few days, we will know also that Jane Tanner said “Hello” to Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins, when they met near the Ocean Club apartment, not long before Madeleine disappeared. I don’t’ know what Jeremy Wilkins thinks about this, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
SAYS Gordon Brown: “I am delighted that FIFA have opened the door for the World Cup to come back to England. By 2018, it will be 52 years since England hosted the World Cup. The nation which gave football to the world deserves to have the greatest tournament back on these shores.”
Vote Gordon for a better England…
Paulo Reis on Madeleine McCann and a kidnapped American girl found in Morocco:
Metodo 3, the Spanish detectives company hired by the McCann to look for Madeleine, found a kidnapped American girl in the Morocco mountains, according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper quoted a source from Metodo 3 who told that detectives looking for Madeleine in the Rif mountains “found a blonde girl who had been kidnapped by a Moroccan family.” According to the same source, “Interpol is investigating the discovery of the blonde girl living in the Rif mountains — the area where they are searching for Madeleine.”
THE Twenty greatest living genuises. “Creators Synectics, a global consultants firm, chose their geniuses by awarding scores out of 10 to each entrant against a number of factors: paradigm shifting; popular acclaim; intellectual power; achievement and cultural importance.”
1= Albert Hoffman (Swiss) Chemist 27
1= Tim Berners-Lee (British) Computer Scientist 27
3 George Soros (American) Investor & Philanthropist 25
4 Matt Groening (American) Satirist & Animator 24
5= Nelson Mandela (South African) Politician & Diplomat 23
5= Frederick Sanger (British) Chemist 23
7= Dario Fo (Italian) Writer & Dramatist 22
7= Steven Hawking (British) Physicist 22
9= Oscar Niemeyer (Brazilian) Architect 21
9= Philip Glass (American) Composer 21
9= Grigory Perelman (Russian) Mathematician 21
12= Andrew Wiles (British) Mathematician 20
12= Li Hongzhi (Chinese) Spiritual Leader 20
12= Ali Javan (Iranian) Engineer 20
15= Brian Eno (British) Composer 19
15= Damian Hirst (British) Artist 19
15= Daniel Tammet (British) Savant & Linguist 19
18 Nicholson Baker (American Writer 18
19 Daniel Barenboim (N/A) Musician 17
20= Robert Crumb (American) Artist 16
20= Richard Dawkins (British) Biologist and philosopher 16
20= Larry Page & Sergey Brin (American) Publishers 16
20= Rupert Murdoch (American) Publisher 16
20= Geoffrey Hill (British) Poet 16
THE Lego Jesus Of Sweden:
Writes the Croydonian:
They do things differently in….Sweden
“A church in Västerås is asking parishioners to donate enough pieces of white Lego to create a life-size statue of Jesus. A local priest is leading the drive to construct a white plastic Jesus in the central Swedish town”. Source. No indication as to whether it will be an Ecce Homo, Man of Sorrows, Salvator Mundi or a Majestas Dominiis, but presumably not a pietà.
Despite the use of ‘priest’ to describe the man of the cloth, it is far from clear whether he is a Catholic, (Lutheran) Church of Sweden or another denomination entirely. Must say it does not sound like something I imagine Martin Luther would approve of.
Anyway, here’s the punchline: “And the priest was insistent that the statue should be made up only of white pieces, as anything else might be considered tasteless”.
REPORTS the Guardian: “Call to use leftovers and cut food waste. Return to wartime values and reduce emissions, say campaigners.”
Why not just return to war? If the people won’t listen, let the knowing declare war upon their sorry heads. If they listen, hurrah! If they don’t, then so be it; less people means less CO2 emissions. It is win-win.
Research by the government’s waste reduction agency, Wrap, found that “one third of all food bought in Britain is thrown away – of which half is edible”.
How Wrap knows this is unsaid, but for some time a team of Government-sponsored “bin divers” have been touring shopping precincts picking out “edibles”, sniffing them and eating them. Many keep bits of food in their facial hair.
The figures are in and Wrap has deduced that “discarded food is a bigger problem than packaging, as the food supply chain accounts for a fifth of UK carbon emissions and decomposing food releases methane, the most potent of the greenhouse gases”.
And it costs you money. As the Guardian notes: “Wasted food is estimated to cost each British household from £250 to £400 a year.”
Not everyone buys waste food, of course, but the figures suggest a rich market in the stuff.
“If we stopped the amount [of food waste] that we could stop, it would be the same as taking one fifth of cars off the road,” says Liz Goodwin, Wrap’s chief executive.
Not cars made from Styrofoam boxes and run on chip fat, but we hear the message…
The campaign is supported by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Thomasina Miers, MasterChef winner two years ago and the Anorak ‘Sweetcorn Beard’
MADELIENE McCann is missing. Still missing. And the media is filtering the speculation. And we find this on the Anorak comment pages:
Is the treatment of a missing person now hackneyed? Has it lost the power to shock?
And up closer:
WHAT does an MP earn? MPs claimed £87.6m in expenses in the last financial year. That’s a – “like for like” rise of around 5% on the previous 12 months, according to House of Commons figures.
MP’s basic salary: £60,277 (and pension)
Average claim: About £135,600 an MP
1) Malik, Shahid (Labour – Dewsbury) £185,421
2) Byrne, Liam (Labour – Birmingham Hodge Hill) £178,116
3) Ryan, Joan (Labour – Enfield North) £173,691
4) Norris, Dan (Labour – Wansdyke) £172,733
5) Farron, Tim (Lib Dem – Westmorland and Lonsdale) £172,327
6) Doran, Frank (Labour – Aberdeen North) £171,836
7) MacNeil, Angus (Scottish National Party – Western Isles) £169,971
8) Levitt, Tom (Labour – High Peak) £168,660
9) Salmond, Alex (Scottish National Party – Banff and Buchan) £166,814
10) Mundell, David (Conservative – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale) £166,598
11) Joyce, Eric (Labour – Falkirk) £164,180
12) Gwynne, Andrew (Labour – Denton and Reddish) £164,110
13) Devine, Jim (Labour – Livingston) £163,402
14) McDonagh, Siobhain (Labour – Mitcham and Morden) £163,226
15) Hesford, Stephen (Labour – Wirral West) £162,850
16) Johnson, Diana R (Labour – Kingston-upon-Hull North) £162,584
17) Milburn, Alan (Labour – Darlington) £160,888
18) Taylor, Matthew (Liberal Democrat – Truro and St Austell) £160,831
19) Gardiner, Barry (Labour – Brent North) £160,464
20) Rogerson, Dan (Liberal Democrat, North Cornwall) £160,440
Madeleine McCann – a video:
Paulo Reis writes on Madeleine McCann:
Most calls to McCann hotline report Madeleine’s sightings in Morocco
The hotline set up by the McCann, in Spain, received 275 calls until 8.00pm of yesterday, October 25, according to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. Most calls were from British citizens that have been on holidays in Morocco and gave information about alleged sightings of Madeleine in that North-African country.
After the McCann were named as formal suspects, British Press identified at least seven new witnesses , most of them British citizens, claiming not only that they saw Madeleine in Morocco, but also that they contacted Portuguese police and had no answer of just faced a refusal to accept that information. Portuguese Police requested Interpol help to investigate the background and personal connections of those alleged witnesses and, after that, there were no more references about those witnesses in the British Press.
Sources from Metodo 3, the Spanish detectives agency hired by the McCann to managed the hotline, told La Vanguardia that “Portuguese police has give up the idea that Madeleine died in a accidente” where the parents were involved and now “they think, (like Metodo 3 detectives) that Madeleine was kidnapped.” The head of Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro, told another Spanish newspaper , a few days ago, that the strongest line of inquiry was the one that considered Madeleine was dead.
The Portuguese Justice Minister, Mr. Alberto Costa, who is in Spain to participate in a European meeting, told journalists that new initiatives have been launched, in the investigation and said that he trusts the capacity of Policia Judiciária to solve the case.
THE GUARDIAN is at the a vanguard of the anti-global warming crusade, and has launched a “unique website to help readers to reduce carbon footprint”. Plug in, get your eco-PC online and know that “If we all Tread lightly we can make a difference”.
We should tip-toe through the tulips, the supermarket and the graveyard. Tread lightly. Breathe only when necessary. Do not disturb nature. And know:
“”Who first comes up with a sporting chant, and how do they get the whole crowd to sng [sic] along? Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is considered to be England’s unofficial rugby union anthem and was sung by thousands during the World Cup final. But it was a group of schoolchildren who apparently first started singing it during an England v Ireland Five Nations game in 1988. The chant inspired other supporters nearby. When they joined in, the chant quickly rippled across Twickenham. It has been sung at almost every England game ever since.”
Singing is a great way to keep warm. Interesting stuff. (Was this written last Saturday when rugby was still popular?) And what’s more:
“It’s a simple example of how one motivated person can trigger a much wider reaction through such a small action. But many people still have doubts about whether they can achieve much of an impact, and nowhere are these doubts aired so loudly as when it comes to lowering our carbon footprints.”
It does not end there. It’s not just rugby fans but fat people who can help. Fat rugby fans should double their efforts:
“Like a dieter justifying one more chocolate biscuit, the excuses flow all too easily – why should I bother when China and India’s emissions will engulf our own efforts? Why should I bother when the US refuses to sign up to Kyoto?”
Because global cooling will make you slim. Fight global warming and get fit and fanciable:
“Nurturing a sense of community through the project is key. No one likes to feel they are acting alone, swimming forlornly against the tide. Running a marathon is much easier when you know there are hundreds of others around with the same target.”
Chuck in some cycling and join the Guardian’s Triathlon For Nature.
And it works. As readers are told:
If Guardian readers…
“Switched to energy-efficient light bulbs this week, we could turn off a coal-fired power station for one day, one hour, 46 minutes and 1 second.
“Turned off all appliances for a week instead of leaving them on standby, the power station could be turned off for 15 hours, 12 minutes and 43 seconds.
“Turned down their thermostat by 1C for a week, we could turn off a coal-fired power station for 22 hours, 21 minutes and eight seconds.”
We hear you. Turn off the power station! Let the elderly freeze. Cull the selfless sods on energy-sapping life support machines. Save all files before the power cut turns off your PC…
All hail the glorious future!
SARAH Ferguson has finished her historical novel, Hart Moor. “It’s my first historical novel, but I have written 24 books and I’ve written 12 children’s books,” she says. “It’s about my heritage: a redhead,” she says. “It’s set in 1759.” Is that a club?
THE MPs expenses are in, and Dizzy looks at Sion Simon:
So yesterday the expenses of MPs were published. A yearly ritual where we find out who is good and who is bad with our money. Who is spendthrift and who is a fat politician that takes the mick with our money providing very little value in return. Take for example, the West Midlands MP, Sion Simon who as you may recall derided David Cameron for trying to be just like you. Is Sion Simon just like you though?
Last year, he claimed £14,176 for rail expenses. OK you may say, but he lives in Birmingham so he has to catch the train a lot right? Well let’s see shall we. He claims the full £22,000 a year allowance for staying away from his constituency. And how much does it cost to get to his constituency anyway? Well you can get there for as little as £4. Even at peak times the cost of a Virgin direct train is only around £50 return. Travelling home every weekend for his constituency surgery over a 52 week year could only cost a maximum of about £3000.
Does he go back every weekend for surgery though? No he does not. This MP cares so much about his constituents that he only has seven surgeries a year. Yes honestly, seven. So what’s that in rail fares? £350 maximum? Even if he made the journey in every one of the 38 weeks that Parliament sits his rail travel would only cost about £2,000. Perhaps he’s travelling first class though? That would be about £69 return taking the total rail cost to around £5,000.
There seems to be somewhere around £10,000 that just doesn’t add up doesn’t there? After all is an MP that claims £22,000 a year to live in London seriously trying to tell us that his surgeries that are little over 100 miles away cost him £2000 each time he goes to one? One thing is for sure, Sion Simon is most defintely not “just like you”.
PAULO Reis writes on Madeleine McCann:
A teenager, who was with her family at Ocean Club, saw Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins talking, the night Madeleine disappeared – but she didn’t saw Jane Tanner or a man carrying a child. The girl wasn’t in the list of guests, as their presence at Ocean Club wasn’t registered with the management. Father and daughter have been in Portugal, recently, to help Policia Judiciaria in the reconstruction of what happened the night of May 3 and to give a formal statement to Police, according to a source close to the case.
Speaking to SOS Madeleine, the Irish teenager confirmed she saw Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins talking, for a few minutes, near the McCann apartment: “There was only the father of the little girl talking to another man.”
The teenager went out for a cigarette, around the same time Jane Tanner said she saw a man carrying a child. She only mentioned what she saw to her family latter, because she had also to confess the reason why she was there. Since the beginning, Police had some doubts about Jane Tanner [sic] statement, as Jeremy Wilkins, a tennis partner of Madeleine’s father, told them he only saw Gerry McCann near the apartment.
Jane Tanner [sic] description of the man she allegedly saw was used to draw a sketch that the McCann [sic] released, yesterday, October 25. But Jane Tanner was initially quoted, in the British Media, as saying that the man was walking to the church. Later, British newspapers referred [sic] she said the man was walking in the opposite direction, to Robert Murat’s house.
Jeremy Wilkins told the Press he was walking his eight-month son when he met Gerry McCann, who was checking his children. The TV producer said he didn’t saw [sic] a man carrying a child and he also didn’t saw Jane Tanner: “It was a very narrow path and I think it would have been almost impossible for anyone to walk by without me noticing.”
After a few weeks claiming they couldn’t talk to the Media because of Portuguese secrecy laws, the McCann accepted to be interviewd by Antena 3, a Spanish TV channel. Gerry McCann praised the Portuguese Police but, at the same time, the usual “family friends” were quoted by the British Media in another attack to the credibility of Portuguese police, who hasn’t recorded the statements given by Madeleine parents. This is denied by a PJ source, who told that “all formal questionings of the McCann [sic] were recorded, but no recording was made from the informal meetings with them.”
Statements given to Police, in the Portuguese legal system, are only used in the investigation and even confessions are not valued by courts, as only statements made during trial are considered evidence.
HOLD the breath tester, and get me the meth tester:
The Missouri Highway Patrol has been quietly testing a new scanning device that can detect the presence of meth with only the click of a button.
To law enforcement, it could be the future of crime-fighting technology.
To meth dealers and manufacturers, this might signal the turning point in the war against one of the country’s greatest drug scourges.
But before police can begin widespread use of the scanner, it has to overcome several hurdles.
The company needs to confirm its reliability while securing enough investment to bring the device to market. The scanner models will cost between $2,000-$5,500, but the price could drop after several years.
Civil libertarians and defense attorneys are also raising concerns about the device’s use in the prosecution of drug offenses, although no prosecutors yet have submitted evidence derived from the scanner.
Regardless of the obstacles, the meth scanner will likely debut in the coming months.
KEVIN Duffy has built a repilca Tudor town:
Former Lancashire cotton mill worker Kevin Duffy, 62, has poured his life’s energy into creating a magical alternative reality.
Kevin Duffy, with a mannequin which, like most of his material, is donated
For over three decades he has used reclaimed building materials to transform his allotment-turned-garden centre into a labyrinth of three-quarter-size Tudor-style cottages, rendered pillars and curved walls.
On Boxing Day 13 years ago, his wife fell dead beneath the Christmas tree, and Duffy’s work took on a dramatic new urgency. Since then the site has erupted with more than 80 buildings and sculptures.
He doesn’t use scaffolding because it slows him down. He says he will never stop building.
Mr duffy does not work for the government…
A man who urinated on a woman as she lay dying and shouted “this is YouTube material” has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Anthony Anderson also covered Christine Lakinski with shaving foam after she collapsed in a Hartlepool street.
The 50-year-old, who suffered from a number of medical conditions, was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Anderson, 27, and from Raby Road in the Teesside town, had earlier admitted outraging public decency.
The court heard how, on 27 July, Miss Lakinski was making her way home with a box of laminate flooring when she fell ill and stumbled into a doorway.
Anderson, a former soldier, had smoked a cannabis joint and been drinking when he and two friends spotted her.
He tried to rouse her by throwing a bucket of water over her, before urinating on her and covering her with shaving foam.
A crowd had gathered around, watching and laughing, and the incident was filmed on a mobile phone.
She was later declared dead at the scene, the cause of death being given as pancreatic failure.
GLOBAL warming. And the Independent’s front page promises: “NOT AN ENVIRONMENT SCARE STORY.”
So concerned is the Indy not to add to global warming, to conserve the planet’s resources, that it crams as many words on to its front page as possible, the headline limited only by readers’ eyesight.
Know: “A landmark assessment by the UN of the state of the world’s environment paints the bleakest picture yet of our planet’s well-being. The warning is stark: humanity future is at risk unless urgent action is taken. Over the past 20 years, almost every index of the planet’s health has worsened. At the same time, personal wealth in the richest countries has gown by a third.”
Why wealth and environment are linked is not made clear. The Times says in the past two decades Africa’s population has risen by 57.2 per cent. 57.2. That’s more breathing humans. More CO2 emissions. But is Africa richer?
The numbers emerge from a report by the United Nations Environment programme. Almost 400 experts from around the world contributed to Unep’s Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) report.
The Times, which leads with “The Earth Audit”, says 1,400 scientists were involved. Forty-eight governments nominated 157 scientists, who were “split into groups of expertise for each of the ten chapters of the report”. More experts were selected from more than 50 research centres in 47 countries.
Lest you mistake the report for the work of a body with a vested interest in drumming up support for its cause, its raison d’être, and giving work to scientists, the Indy punctuates the piece with: “We were warned 20 years ago. Now time is running out.”
And then just when you thought it was safe to breathe know: “BBC flagship natural history unit budget to be cut by a third.”
First they came for the polar bears…
Ahmet is a former associate of Abu Hamza, the hook-handed, one-eyed, purple people eater now serving time for inciting murder.
Says Ahmet, as heard in a recording by an undercover policeman: “It is better for you if police come and you only have a penknife and they have guns, pick up the knife and start cutting them. Kill them.”
Or failing that, remove a stone from their shoes, blind them with the magnifying glass or use the tweezers in an aggressive manner…
FROM Paulo Reis in Portugal on Madeleine McCann:
The Moroccan authorities expelled a British citizen, a few days ago, after he contacted staff from a gas station near the city of Marrakesh. A source from “Sureté Nacionale”, Moroccan security and intelligence services confirmed that the British citizen offered a large amount of money to several employees, in exchange for specific statements about a sighting concerning a blonde girl. British embassy in Morocco, contacted by SOS Madeleine, refused to comment. The possibility of having private detectives working in their country was referred, by the same source, as “an offence and a violation of national sovereignty”.
A source from PJ also told SOS Madeleine that “any person who undertakes a private investigation about a crime, in Portugal, is committing a crime – perverting the course of Justice – and will be arrested.” The McCann hired a private Spanish company, Metodo 3, to set up a hotline for people having information about Madeleine.
The hotline number has replaced the police phone numbers in the official page of FindMadeleine campaign. But according to Spanish Law and the specific regulations concerning private detective’s activity, any information received concerning a crime must be immediately forwarded to police.
THE Fires in Malibu:
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Federal agents joined the search for evidence Wednesday in brush-covered Orange County hills where an arsonist is believed to have ignited one of the wildfires devastating Southern California.
In San Bernardino County, a man suspected of starting a small fire was arrested and another man was shot to death by police after he fled officers who approached to see if he might be trying to set a fire…
At least two – in Orange and Riverside counties – have been linked to arson.
You can be famous in Hollywood…