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.
Africa’s richest man is Nigerian Aliko Dangote, says the Sun. He wants to use some of his £8.3billion fortune to buy Arsenal football club within four years.
Dangote, described by Newsweek as “a lifelong Arsenal fan”, tells Bloomberg: “Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”
As Arsenal fans lick a collective finger and hold it in the air, Dangote adds: “It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual. It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.”
Turning it around? According to Forbes, Arsenal are doing ok:
Here are the top 10 with profits (using June, 2015 exchange rates):
1. Manchester United: $190 million
2. Real Madrid: $162 million
3. Manchester City: $131 million
4. Arsenal: $122 million
5. Liverpool: $115 million
Looking around for more news on Dangote, the top story right now is: “Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote is not dead.”
Is he resting? No. He’s tweeting: “I am hale, hearty and alive. Please disregard malicious report saying otherwise. Thank you.”
When WBTV News of Charlotte Tweeted “LIVE NOW: Protesters on I-277 stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles. AVOID. Watch live » http://3wb.tv/1TGw8DS #KeithLamontScott”, @Instapundit, aka Glenn Reynolds responded, “Run them down.”
For that Reynolds was banned from free-speech loving twitter for a day. And it got worse. He was then suspended for one month by USA Today, which runs his twice-weekly column.
Reynolds works as a law professor at the University of Tennessee and publishes the Instapundit news aggregator and comment sheet.
The Dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law Melanie D. Wilson says: “Professor Reynolds has built a significant platform to discuss his viewpoints, but his remarks on Twitter are an irresponsible use of his platform…. The university is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, and diverse viewpoints, all of which are important for an institution of higher education and the free exchange of ideas. My colleagues and I in the university’s leadership support peaceful disobedience and all forms of free speech, but we do not support violence or language that encourages violence.”
Did he encourage violence? Would anyone sane who follows Instapundit see the tweet and be inspired to run someone down?
Twitter has a pretty low view of its users if it thinks they can be driven to commit violent acts in just 13 characters (including spaces). And does Tennessee College of Law really think Reynolds was advocating violence?
The tweet was snappy, a tad glib and, well, a tweet. The great American tweet has yet to be written. In the meanwhile, millions struggle to make a defining comment in 140 characters or less. The trouble is that in the current climate of ‘You can’t say that’ one tweet can be held up as something that defines you. The twitter mob love a twitter hunt. One tweet can ruin you.
Free speech needs context. Reynolds is no rabble-rouser bent on civil disobedience and violence. But stripped of context, a three-word tweet can be corrupted to reveal something essential about the tweeter and the banner. If you agree with it, then you’re a right-wing loon. Disagree with it and the tweet signals your virtue. You can get a T-shirt bearing the message: “Deliberately killing innocent people with a car is WRONG.” Honk twice is you agree. Don’t bother honking if you don’t (it’ll only warn them that you’re coming).
The backdrop to these tweets and their fallout is the death of Keith L. Scott, a 43-year-old black man shot dead by police officer outside an apartment complex.
It’s a highly sensitive subject. Was the victim armed? Are the police institutionally racist?
Do these questions scare twitter, the Press and the universities? If the subject is big enough, do the aforesaid champions of free speech start advocating a need for censorship, slapping a big ‘but’ after ‘I believe in free speech…”? Yes. It sure looks that way.
Reynolds has explained his position: “Sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat. Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content.”
He says he removed the offending tweet “so that I can tweet my response to this affair. But once that’s over, I intend to shut it down. I don’t see why I should provide content to a platform that will shut me down without notice.”
The USA Today ban hurts more. That gig pays. Reynolds apologised to the paper’s readers. He explained some more, saying automobiles in a riot should keep driving, in order to ensure driver safety. “What I meant is that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles,” he said. “I remember Reginald Denny, a truck driver who was beaten nearly to death by a mob during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. My tweet should have said, ‘Keep driving,’ or ‘Don’t stop.’”
Two words beats three. On twitter, brevity rules. Play it safe and say nothing.
Reynolds explained some more: “But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest – it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.”
To Kentucky, where Jonathan Martin, 20, has been arrested and charged with wearing a mask in a public place and disorderly conduct. Martin’s crime was to dress up as a clown. Police found him at 1:00am dressed in “full clown costume” crouching among trees.
The local news says, “Recent reports of clowns trying to lure children into woods have sparked alarm.”
On a list of things likely to seduce a child, dressing up as scary clown is one below a plate of raw broccoli.
“Dressing as a clown and driving, walking or standing in public can create a dangerous situation for you and others,” says Kentucky, police. “While dressing up is not, in and of itself against the law, doing so in public and thereby creating an unnecessary sense of alarm is illegal.”
When Donald Trump had his hair ruffled on the telly, Armando Iannucci thought it “beyond satire”.
What could Trump do that could be un-presidential? Well, he could carry on doing what he’s doing – being a TV show creation building towards the big shark jump.
Barons says it’s all for the cameras. And we love it.
The audience for the confrontation [first Presidential debate] could exceed 100 million, not far short of the 112 million viewers for the biggest U.S. sporting event, the Super Bowl. And if folks get together for parties on Monday with chicken wings and beer, maybe this debate will match that total.
According to the Strategas political team led by Daniel Clifton, that would be about half again the 67 million viewers that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney drew in their first debate in 2012 and nearly twice as many as the 52.4 million who tuned into Obama’s first face-off with Sen. John McCain in 2008. Indeed, Monday’s face-off is likely to shatter the record set in 1980, when 80.6 million watched Ronald Reagan’s first bout with Jimmy Carter.
Iannucci says President Trump is no longer a joke: “I used to say I was very sure, but I’m kind of sure.”
Trump bills himself as a anti-Establishment candidate. Why does that chime? “Who would want to be politician?” says Iannucci. “You’re not allowed to earn a certain amount of money, or go on holiday, or buy some dog food and put the receipt in the wrong place. You do anything wrong, and you’re just scum.”
Norman Cook (DJ – Clubs/ Wedding/ Bar Mitzvahs) and Zoe Ball (DJ – Radio) are to divorce. And the Sun know why. The paper thunders: “‘I WANT SEX AND BOOZE’ – Zoe Ball dumps Norman ‘Fatboy Slim’ Cook after 18-year-marriage ‘because of fling with toyboy’.”
His fling? Her fling? Whose toyboy? The Sun doesn’t seem certain of much. “It is said Zoe has a lover in his twenties,” the paper reports. Said by whom? Dunno. But Ball has told the “shattered DJ she just wanted booze and sex with her new toyboy.”
We hear from a “pal”, who adds: “Zoe told heartbroken Norman he was boring.” He’s being boring with the couple’s 16-year-old son Woody and daughter Nelly May, six. Ball, we read, has left the family home. “Zoe understands that, but she is in a very different place. She doesn’t want to be sat on the sofa of an evening having a cup of tea, the pal continues. “Despite being previously teetotal, she loves a party and will get stuck into a night out.”
On Twitter we get the following: “With great sadness we are announcing that we have separated. After many exciting adventures together over the last 18 years, we have come to the end of our rainbow.”
Traditionally, the end of the rainbow is where you find a crock of gold. Norman and Zoe have found a divorce lawyer.
But we appreciate the part about living next door but one? We like the idea of a middle house. They live close to one another but he doesn’t have to hear Ball’s cackling mates and she gets a buffer from Fatboy’s snoring.
And the Leprechaun in the middle house get to sell stories to the Sun.
No fans of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, we at Anorak are nonetheless perplexed by former Labour Cabinet minister, Yvette Cooper, who has “revealed” to the Telegraph how she has been “subjected to death threats online” – one trolls wanted to see her “beheaded”. And she wanted Corbyn to stop it. The paper opines:
Although from not a Labour party member, the beheading threat against Ms Cooper illustrates the growing problem of online abuse, which she says Mr Corbyn must now address.
How does he do that, then? Twitter is a private company, one being sold. Twitter’s top dozen executives are due a $2bn payday as Google and salesforce.com look to buy the business for $16bn. Jeremy Corbyn is not one of them.
Says Cooper, who filed in her bid to be Labour leader: “With the leadership election over, our party may feel divided, but we are determined not to split.”
And you do that blaming Corbyn for some pillock saying your head should be split from our body?
It’d been looking iffy for a while. We at Anorak were not the first to notice that MODE media were not the best payers. They routinely paid 90-120 days. MODE got the money into their bank accounts, used it for a while and then paid the bloggers who hosted their ads, typically on a 50-50 split (after their company costs have been paid for).
Now MODE has gone bust. Bloggers – people from all walks of life and businesses – have been creamed.
Putting a lot of energy into building a readership and letting MODE take first dibs at getting ads in front of those readers’ eyes was a mugs’ game.
Bloggers have been told nothing since the company abruptly ceased training last week. Your money has sat in MODE’s bank accounts while their directors and owners knew the company was in peril. All the while they let everyone carry on working to keep their side of the bargain and said nothing.
It’s reported MODE made $90 million in 2015. Mode Media was expected to make $100 million in revenue this year.
Those contracts MODE made bloggers stick to – the ones that commanded their ads to be shows only above the fold and before all others – are worthless.
For online publishers who depend on page views to sell advertising against, MODE have pulled a fast one. We wrote the copy, built audiences and they sold the ads. It was a two-way reciprocal arrangement. We also advertised their company – contracts stipulate bloggers must slap MODE’s log on their sites.
And then they shafted us.
We, like many others, simply can’t afford to lose the money MODE owe us.
We can sympathise with the perils of business. But MODE are cowards. A visit to the company’s website, MODE.com, reveals nothing.
Disgusting. Talk is that MODE also screwed their workers.
We and hundreds if not thousands of others who bought into MODE’s business want our money.
In today’s Other Parents news we go Linzi Marie Cake Supplies and Confectionary in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, where a family are robbing the place. The man is putting chocolate bars in his pockets. the woman is stuffing confectionary down her top. The two kids are ‘browsing’.
When the store posted CCTV footage of the felons’ family day out nicking on Facebook, the father figure returned, “gave a lot of excuses” and paid.
Do you find golliwogs offensive? The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) does. It’s banned the Ginger Pop store’s advert featuring a golliwog holding a glass of ginger bear. The golliwog has caused “serious or widespread offence”.
The Ginger Pop store is housed in Dorset, just by the foot of what remains of the 11th century Corfe Castle. Store owner Viv Endecott had covered the window of her shop with golliwog-themed tea towels she had designed. The tea towels were inspired by author Enid Blyton, who was partial to a golliwog and had visited Dorset.
The towels feature a thirsty golliwog in the centre surrounded by slogans: “freedom of speech”, “political correctness gone mad” and “English Freedom”.
Adnan Choudry, chief officer of Dorset Race Equality Council, opines:
“Golliwogs don’t just offend black people, they’re offensive to people of any race. People used them as a means to abuse black people in the 1970s and 1980s – people still remember those days. I thought we had all moved on but obviously not. I have had dealings with her in the past – I have told her my opinion, that they should not be sold, but goes on selling them.”
It boils down to a difference of opinion.
In October 2008 the Enid Blytonshop was under attack for stocking gollies. A year later Carole Thatcher’s “golliwog” remark reawakened the issue.
One side says golliwogs are dolls, and therefore incapable of thought and racism. Children, for whom they are intended, see them as cheery dolls and are blissfully unaware of their controversial nature.
But to say the golliwog has no racial connection is as ridiculous as it is monocular and thick-headed. When Florence Kate Upton debuted the ‘Golliwogg’ in a 1895 book, she called him “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome”. Enid Blyton’s Gollywogs were called Golly, Woggy and Nigger. They ambled around the place “arm-in-arm, singing merrily their favourite song – which, as you may guess, was Ten Little Nigger Boys”. Enid’s Noddy character was once mugged by golliwogs, who nick his car.
In 1939, the cover of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers portrayed a golliwog hanging from a tree.
Should golliwogs be banned? No. Of course not. You could try to ban them, just as you might ban people who dress up as Nazis to relax and teach their dogs to salute whenever they hear the word ‘Hitler’.
Forget these loons and fantasists. Let people who shop for novelty tea towels in 1950s-themed ‘shoppes’ deal with them whilst the rest of us with our mechanised dishwashers get on with more vital issues, like discussing Jose Mourinho’s coat and Prince Harry’s sex life.
There is No anti-Semitism in the Labour Party Watch.
In this video, Labour supporters discuss the undeniable fact there is no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. All diverse faces featured in this video agree that there is no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and anyone who says there is (there is) has already lost the argument:
Joseph Connagh, a former Egghead on the BBC quiz show Eggheads has been arrested as part of an investigation into an alleged killing in the Netherlands. CJ de Mooi, as he was known on the show, was arrested under a European arrest warrant issued by Dutch Police at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday.
Barnsley-born Connagh is former president of the English Chess Federation and a winner of the TV gameshow 15 to 1. He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
“I was born in Barnsley and lived there until I was four and then moved to Rotherham,” he said. “What I do remember about Barnsley is the road I was born on in the town centre, a little about the surrounding area and I have got some memories of the school I used to go to.”
His life took a completely unexpected direction just after his 17th birthday – he left home and chose to sleep on the streets… He found his way to Holland and endured 18 months sleeping rough on a staircase in Amsterdam before stowing away on a train to Cologne in Germany.
“While I was there begging, a guy came up to me who was a photographer and offered me a modelling job. In 2000 I thought to myself I’m a bit bored and I have got good general knowledge so I entered a few TV quiz shows.
“The second one I went on was 15 to 1 and I won so then I applied for The Weakest Link and was voted off despite being the strongest link.”
Paul Gascoigne is not in the best of health. This we know because the tabloids love to feature Gazza in variousstagesoftrouble. He’s back in the news for the criminal offence of telling a joke. At Dudley Magistrates Court, the former England footballer’s joke was appraised. It was found wanting. Gascoigne was deemed guilty of using ‘”threatening or abusive words”. Those words also cost him a £2,000 fine.
By now you all want to know what Gascoigne said. What does a £2000 joke look like? At An Evening With Gazza at Wolverhampton Civic Hall last year, the show’s eponymous star told a black security guard, Errol Rowe: “Can you smile please, because I can’t see you?”
Anyone heading to an evening with Gascoigne, a man who seemed to run on nervous energy, is unlikely to attend expecting a night of coherent thought and incisive wit. Nonetheless, District Judge Graham Wilkinson was outraged, telling Gazza, “it is not acceptable to laugh words like this off as some form of joke… We live in the 21st century — grow up with it or keep your mouth closed.”
The 21st Century looks a a draconian place. Gascoigne’s joke was sad, weak and, worst of all, unfunny. And that’s crucial to the crime. The advice is that if you’re unsure of what is and what is not acceptable to the state, you should not speak. You should censor yourself lest you cause the State to be offended.
And take care not to be famous and unfunny. Wilkinson told Gascoigne that his punishment is a warning to us all. “A message needs to be sent that in the 21st century,” said the Beak, “such words will not be tolerated.”
Intolerance will not be tolerated. How’s that for freedom?
PS: If you want to look for racism. you can find in a pathetic joke, if you want. But what about in the judiciary? Wilkinson told Gazza: “”It is the creeping ‘low-level’ racism that society still needs to challenge.” And what about the institutional racism?
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Sun bring news of “Maddie Hope”. What hope? The Sun tells us: “Madeleine McCann fund given £100k of government money to keep search alive until April.” That word “alive” is an odd choice. Why not ‘going’?
The paper notes that the police hunt “has already cost taxpayers millions”. So is £100 enough – or too much? When should the money end. If £12m has been spent on the hunt so far, why stop now?
The Star adds that this cash means the search can continue until April 2017. Madeleine McCann vanished in May 2007. It’s pretty safe to expect lots of news about the child one month after the police’s latest budget runs out – unless, of course, she has been found before then.
We then hear of the family fund. The Star says more than £4.2m has been donated to Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd since its launch 12 days after she vanished in May 2007. Unnamed sources says there is “as little as” £480,000 left. If £100,000 buys six-months of police work, surely nearly five times that sum is enough for private detectives to look for the child for the next five years?
Yes, maybe. But the fund’s money has been earmarked for other causes. “The McCanns face paying £434,000 to ex-Portuguese police chief Goncalo Amaral’s lawyers after losing their libel action against him,” says the Star, “which would leave less than £50,000 in the coffers.”
That libel action was always fraught with danger.
Maybe the McCanns can raise funds from their daughter’s appearance on TV shows. E! has rather tasteless article entitled: “Nancy Grace’s 10 Most Captivating Cases: Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias and More Crime Stories We Couldn’t Stop Watching.” In the Top Ten grim stories about loss, murder and death, the entertainment broadcaster includes Madeleine McCann.
From a bit sick to depraved. Australian news tells us, “A convicted paedophile has been convicted of producing child pornography material after he was caught scrawling notes on his prison cell wall and writing stories about missing children William Tyrrell and Madeleine McCann.” Sick stuff. But a crime? Did he abuse children or just think about abusing children? If you can be convicted for drawing revolting images and writing nasty stories, can you be convicted of thinking things you don’t put down on paper?
A Tasmanian man who wrote fictitious stories in prison about the fate of high-profile missing children William Tyrell and Madeleine McCann has pleaded guilty to producing child exploitation material.
Can you tell the difference between fact and fiction?
Sonny Day, 60, pleaded guilty after he was caught writing about the sexual activity of children on the walls of his prison cell, under a desk and on paper. He was convicted of accessing, transmitting and possessing child pornography in 2014 after being jailed for similar offences in 2011.
Writing things is a crime in Australia.
Meanwhile, in the world of non-fiction, Madeleine McCann is still missing.
Mrs Donna Lodge, head of Wilmington School for Boys, in Dartford, Kent, responds to news that pupils in her charge mutilated what appears to have been a dead squirrel with a brick, set it alight and posted images and footage of their abhorrent behaviour on Snapchat. “The culprits were interviewed along with their parents,” she says.
The Sun leads with the fact that the pupils are “sick grammar school students”.
There’s been much debate of late over selective state schools. It appears, however, that selection takes no account of attitudes to their fellow creatures. School catchment areas are no barriers to stupidity. Who knew?
The paper notes that the students, said to be ages 14 and 15, were given one-day suspensions from school and made to do community service.
Does community service include eradicating pests? No, not these horrible kids, but squirrels.
Squirrels are officially classified as pests ion Kent. Dartford Council’s website notes:
Whilst the Council does not offer a service for dealing with Squirrels a number of professional pest control companies do, many of which can be found in the Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory.
One pest control expert in the area tells us grey squirrels are pests and should be killed with spring-loaded traps. If trapped in the home they must not be released in the wild because they are not indigenous species.
Killing live squirrels is ok. Teenagers mutilating a dead squirrel is national news.
Ever hear of the spider whose bite can give you a four-hour erection? The spiders are free and come with bunches of Asda bananas. Right now everyone with a flaccid bellend is heading to the supermarket, browsing the aisles for discount Viagra.
Ashley Gamble tells the Sun that he bought some of the phallic fruits. His partner Sophia Newcombe and their two daughters spotted the Brazilian wandering spiders and “fled” their home after “dozens of the creepie-crawlies burst out of a nest that was stuck to a piece of fruit”.
They hoovered a load of the little beasts up but didn’t get them all. Sophia wants Asda to fumigate her home. Pfizer, makers of Viagra, doubtless want the spiders killed.
And anyone keen to offer Sophia cash for the contents of her hoover bag should be aware of the health warning: the erection lasts four hours but the man wearing it is dead inside two hours.
And, no, rigor mortis, is not a recognised cure for impotence.
Ahmad Khan Rahami has been charged in New Jersey with the attempted murder of two policeman. Ahmad Khan Rahami also allegedly tried to murder scores of people in New York in a bomb attack that left wounded 29 people. Terrorism is a crime in New York.
Following that blast, the authorities received a call telling them “There will be more”. The FBI has arrested five more people in connection with that Chelsea bomb.
The Press get to work. The Telegraph leads with news that Ahmad Khan Rahami has Islamist links. The paper says he “may” have been radicalised after making a trip to his native Afghanistan and Pakistan. Which means he “may” not have been radicalised there. He “may” have been radicalised in his bedroom.
The Times leads with news Rahami is the “Afghan gunman”. Not quite. He became a naturalised US citizen in 2011.
The paper of record adds that Rahami’s nickname was “Mad”. Because he’s insane? No. Because Mad is a short version of Ahmad. Ah!
We hear from ‘Flee Jones’, who grew up with Rahami – and who might really be called Flee. He says Rahami was changed after a trip to Afghanistan. He had a beard, dressed in traditional Muslim robes and was “praying regularly in the back of the family’s chicken restaurant”, American Fried Chicken.
The Gaurdian says he was just your everyday normal guy. “Regulars at First American Fried Chicken in Elizabeth, New Jersey say Ahmad Khan Rahami was a friendly person who did not express extremist beliefs.” Vocally, no. But he may have expressed them by bomb?
CNN has more. Rahami might be a bit thick: “According to multiple officials, investigators also believe Rahami is the man seen on surveillance video dragging a duffel bag near the site of the New York explosion, and the location where police eventually found a suspicious pressure cooker four blocks away.”
Bearded man dragging duffel bag close to sign of suspected terrorist explosion… Mad? Or just dangerously stupid?
We’re told he “majored in criminal justice at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey, school spokesman Tom Peterson said. Rahami attended the college from 2010-2012 but did not graduate.”
He can soon test out what he did learn first hand.
For many years it’s been “feared” Ben Needham was abducted. Ben from Sheffield, was 21 months old when he vanished on the Greek island of Kos on 24 July 1991. Now we are told:
Missing toddler Ben Needham may have been crushed to death by a digger, campaigners searching for him have been told.
May. Is that news?
Ben vanished after travelling to the island with his mother and grandparents who were renovating a run-down farmhouse building in the village of Iraklis.
Yes. And those are pretty much all the facts we know.
Daily Mirror: “Ben Needham investigation breakthrough as cops probe witness claims missing tot was killed”
Can a claim be a breakthrough? What of evidence?
The Mirror writes on:
Police have told Ben Needham’s mum her missing son is now feared dead. For 25 years Kerry Needham has clung to the hope that her missing son Ben is still alive. But when police officers this time arrived at her home, she knew by their demeanour they were not bringing her the good news she longed for.
The 43-year-old’s world came crashing down when they told her they now believed Ben may be dead – crushed by a digger on the Greek island of Kos in 1991.
Facts? Nothing new. So why is this news?
The detectives told her to “prepare for the worst” and announced they would start a second search for the toddler’s body within weeks.
Who else thinks she has been prepared for the worst for years? And given the lurid speculation surrounding Madeleine McCann’s vanishing, do we think death is ‘the worst’? Isn’t a child vanishing”every parents worsts nightmare”?
Police broke the grim news to Kerry after a friend of digger driver Konstantinos Barkas, known as Dino, came forward to say he believes Dino may have been responsible for the death of the 21-month-old Brit.
“A new witness had come forward and given information about a friend of his who had recently died. The information was there had been an accident that day with the JCB which was working in the area and his friend who was driving it.
“They have got two areas of land to search. One is in the vicinity of the farmhouse where he went missing, the other I don’t know.”
A dead eye witness. A rumour. And? Nothing.
But we can speculate. The Mirror does:
It is understood the witness, who has been quizzed several times by South Yorkshire detectives, said it was accidental but officers have not ruled out a more sinister chain of events.
Well, quite. They have an open mind. They also have no body and no evidence.
In 2012, the Mirror tracked down Mr Barkas who confirmed he was excavating earth for a property to be built 50 yards from the house where the Needhams were staying.
Speaking at the time in what was his first ever interview, he told us: “Yes, I was the man with the JCB that day. Loads of earth were being taken to clear the ground for the new house.
“I think people were misled in thinking the child was abducted. Could there have been an accident? I don’t think so but no one really knows what happened.
“The little boy was two years old and the thorns in that field were as high as my waist.”
Big news in the Express. And it’s hard luck on those Scots who wanted independence. “The EU has declared WAR on Britain”.
Express readers are conflicted? Do they read about the coming invasion, or the that TV’s Phil and his mum have been “driven mad” by parking fine Nazis? Option ‘c’ is to go to bed and hope the Express‘ cover is the product of some bad (French) cheese. But sleeping will give you diabetes. So stay awake and know that war has been declared by… EU MEP Nigel Farage. The dirty turncoat!
Says Farage at EU HQ:
Mr Juncker sat with his head in his hands as Mr Farage told him: “In fact there is only one real nationalist in the room and it’s you because you want flags, anthems, armies. I frankly think that this appointment amounts to pretty much a declaration of war on any sensible negotiating process. You are an EU nationalist and I frankly think that this appointment amounts to pretty much a declaration of war on any sensible negotiating process.”
The appointment he refers to is the EU appointing “hardened federalist Guy Verhofstadt to a key role in the Brexit negotiations”.
Yeah. The EU’s only one and given the job to someone who like the EU. The sneaky sods.
Anyhow, it’s war. But not with our EU partners who are also NATO members -22 out of 28 NATO countries also belong to the EU. So it’s war with the rest: Sweden, Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland and Malta.
Where do we stand on women’s shoes? Sky News reports that Unions want Theresa May to dress down – literally:
May has been urged to kick off her kitten heels and wear flat shoes instead to support a campaign against women being forced to wear high heels at work.
The call came during a debate at the TUC conference in Brighton in which delegates backed a demand for a new law to ban workers being compelled to wear stilettos.
The story can be linked to a story back in May, when Nicola Thorp’s employment agency told her she must wear high heels for her part-time job as a receptionist. She said the demand was discriminatory. After a bout of news on Nicola’s shoes, the employer’s dress-coded was revised.
Meanwhile, Jenny Robinson, of the GMB, thundered:
“We now have someone running the country who can set an example for the rest of us by making a point of wearing sensible shoes.”
Over in Australia: “Former Army chief David Morrison says no to domestic violence at a Walk a Mile in their Shoes event.” He eschewed trainers, ballet pumps and Wellington boots for a pair of high heels.
New constituency boundaries will result in 600 MPs sitting at Westminster – we have 650 now. What this will do to London markets in second-homes, vanity mirrors and prostitutes can only be guessed at. Emily Thornberry (lab) calls it a “gerrymandering sham“. “I am sure that there is no conspiracy,” she told in the Commons whilst rolling her eyes.
They are also designed to bring greater consistency to constituencies, which form an irregular patchwork of sizes — covering between 21,000 people and 110,000. In the future each seat will be formed from 71,000 to 78,500 constituents.
Many experts believe the shake-up goes some way to remedying anomalies in the system – such as the disparities in constituency sizes which means MPs need different amounts of votes to get elected – which were historically unfair on the Tories.
But Labour claims the opposite, accusing the Conservatives of seeking to gerrymander the boundaries to their own political advantage
In an act of grotesque gerrymandering, some 23 Labour seats will be liquidated, hundreds of other seats affected and 2 million voters disenfranchised. On an out-of-date electoral register, hundreds of thousands of young people who registered to vote in the EU referendum are being denied a voice in the new constituencies. Wales will lose a quarter of its representatives as no account is taken of the asymmetric needs of the Union. While the Tories pack the Lords, they are thinning out the Commons beginning, with their usual gift for power, with Jeremy Corbyn’s own Islington North seat that is set to be discontinued.
Driving these changes is not a considered idea about the nature of representation and accountability in the 21st century, but David Cameron’s arbitrary desire to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600. So it was perhaps only fitting that he chose to quit on the day the Boundary Commission announced its conclusions.
The Commission is an outside body. It has no party allegiance. It is a professional outfit, not a bunch of Tory stooges. ..
the boundary review’s critics have a choice. They could either calm down and engage constructively with the proposals, or they could dismiss it as a Tory plot. They may find that comforting, but a review of the system is overdue. Britons will not appreciate having to continue with a system where some of their votes aren’t as valuable as others simply to satisfy Labour and Liberal Democrat egos.
The Times predicts:
Research conducted by the political website Electoral Calculus found that planned alterations to the size and make-up of constituencies would increase the Conservative majority from the current 12 seats to a comfortable 48-seat lead. Coupled with recent changes in the public’s voting intentions as support for Labour and Ukip slips, the net effect would give the Conservatives a majority of 90 seats in a smaller House of Commons.
And this is great:
Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary seat is set to disappear under boundary changes to be announced today, forcing him to fight for a seat at the 2020 general election.
The Labour leader’s Islington North seat could vanish under plans to redraw the electoral map from 650 to 600 seats. Mr Corbyn’s seat is set to be divided between Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry.
Did you see Emily Thornberry on Sky News? No? The Press Gazette explains what you missed:
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry tells Sky News it is ‘sexist’ to ask her to name the South Korean president
Says Thornberry: “I’ve seen delegations of French and I’ve seen quite a lot of the Norwegians … but not their foreign ministers. We are in the process of arranging for me to go to France and Germany.”
Presenter Dermot Murnaghan asked her who the French foreign minister is. Thornberry didn’t know. So she blathered and attacked the questioner.
“Don’t start pub quizzing me, Dermot. Do you know what, what really upsets me about your attitude to me is that you do this with me. I don’t remember you doing it with anybody else you know.
“Have you done it to David Davis? Have you asked these questions? Do Sky journalists have a go at Boris Johnson on this basis? How about Liam Fox? Do you do pub quizzes with them?”
The Guardian says it matters not that Thornberry is rubbish at pub quizzes:
Is it important that Thornberry should know, off the top of her head, who the French foreign minister is – or, for that matter, the answer to Dermot Murnaghan’s next question, the name of the president of South Korea? I don’t know.
On the one hand, she’ll obviously be given the relevant information before she meets either party, and since she is unlikely to ever be in government anyway, the question is more or less moot.
When Thornberry complained to Murnaghan about the high bar imposed on women in politics, a more compelling example than her own foundering on basic facts would have been that of Angela Eagle, whose leadership challenge stumbled and ultimately faltered under a hail of abuse that included homophobic jibes and actual bricks through window. Invoking this toxic environment as cover for her own lack of preparation was an unsisterly act from Thornberry.
Remember when you were worried about Boris Johnson being Foreign Secretary?
Writing in the Gaurdian, Travis N Rieder wants to talk about what leading Left-wing British politicians call ‘the human virus‘:
Yes, humans are producers, and many wonderful things have come from human genius. But each person, whatever else they are (genius or dunce, producer or drag on the economy) is also a consumer. And this is the only claim needed in order to be worried about climate change.
Eating and breathing are wrong? Before we go on, one of the comments below the line is wonderful:
‘Modern human beings’ have only inhabited the earth for around 200,000 years. I have no doubt that one day a microbe will wipe us out, efficient little things that they are…
Mother nature will have its day! So I’d stop worrying about population growth and concentrate on saving the NHS for the here and now.
Once you stop rolling your eyes and sneering, we can continue:
The problem here is that we have a finite resource – the ability of the Earth’s atmosphere to absorb greenhouse gases without violently disrupting the climate – and each additional person contributes to the total amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. So although humans will hopefully save us (we do, in fact, desperately need brilliant people to develop scaleable technology to remove carbon from the air, for instance), the solution to this cannot be to have as many babies as possible, with the hope that this raises our probability of solving the problem. Because each baby is also an emitter, whether a genius or not.
What is the IPAT Equation, or I = P X A X T?
One of the earliest attempts to describe the role of multiple factors in determining environmental degradation was the IPAT equation1. It describes the multiplicative contribution of population (P), affluence (A) and technology (T) to environmental impact (I). Environmental impact (I) may be expressed in terms of resource depletion or waste accumulation; population (P) refers to the size of the human population; affluence (A) refers to the level of consumption by that population; and technology (T) refers to the processes used to obtain resources and transform them into useful goods and wastes. The formula was originally used to emphasize the contribution of a growing global population on the environment, at a time when world population was roughly half of what it is now. It continues to be used with reference to population policy.
David Satterthwaite of the International Institute for Environment and Development, points out that the old formula taught to all students of development – that total impact equals population times affluence times technology (I=PAT) – is wrong. Total impact should be measured as I=CAT: consumers times affluence times technology. Many of the world’s people use so little that they wouldn’t figure in this equation. They are the ones who have most children.
The Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was published in 2000. Tim Worstall looks:
More humans means more emissions therefore we should have fewer humans. This is one of those things which is possibly true. But of course what we want to know is, well, is it true? And the answer is no.
For this has been considered. In the SRES which came out in, erm, 1992? And which is the economic skeleton upon which every IPCC report up to and including AR4 was built. And it specifically looks at the varied influences of wealth, population size and technology upon emissions. That’s what it’s actually for in fact. It can be thought of a working through of Paul Ehrlich’s I = PAT equation, impact equals population times affluence times technology. Except, of course, it gets that equation right, dividing by technology, not multiplying by it.
And the answer is that population isn’t the important variable. Nor is affluence, not directly, it’s technology which is. Move over to non-emitting forms of energy generation (and no, not some crash program, just the same sort of increase in efficiency which we had in the 20th century will do it) as in A1T and we’re done. Or if you prefer a bit more social democracy, as in B1.
Population size just isn’t the driving force behind the problem. Thus it’s also not the solution. And we’ve known this for more than 20 years.
Compare and contrast Hillary Clinton’s opinion of millions of Americans. She said the words at a New York fundraising do:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic. you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Now listen to Barack Obama in 2008:
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.
“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations.”
And Hillary Clinton’s response:
“I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America. His remarks are elitist and out of touch.”
You can’t win an American presidential election without the deplorables’ vote. Deplorables are America’s biggest minority. They might even be the American majority. They may or not be racist, homophobic and so forth, but they know they’re deplorable. Deplorable, and proud…
They might even forgive Hillary for losing tens of thousands of compromising emails on an illegal private server and then repeatedly lying about it in a way that insults the deplorable intelligence of the average voter. But the one thing you can’t do is spit on them and tell them it’s raining. They’ll never forgive you for that. They’re hurting, and they rankle at candidates who rub their faces in it.
Clinton’s staffers started handing out stickers saying “I’m not bitter” and she went on to win the primary by nine points. She ultimately lost the nomination by a convincing margin.
What of the lasting damage to candidate Obama from this revealing insight into this elitist character? In the general election, Obama won Pennsylvania by 10 points. He took God-fearing Virginia by 6 points, and gun-loving Indiana by 1 point.
Many people see the choice of Donald Trump as the Republican nominee as a disaster for the Republican Party. Maybe. That out of the chaos of 17 Republican candidates we get Trump because of a disconnect between the Republican base & the money-men is one thing. But, for the entire Democratic political & cultural establishment to get together & choose Hillary as their only possible standard-bearer is a rot of an entirely more profound order. The fact that within the Democratic Party the only faction that resisted Hillary’s spell was the space-cadet Left under Bernie Sanders just makes the total picture all the more horrifying.