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News | Anorak - Part 37

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Master embroiderer performs wing transplant on Monarch butterfly

Romy McCloskey used not little skill to transplant a new wing onto a Monarch butterfly. “I am a professional costume designer and master hand embroiderer,” says Romy. “This was right up my alley.”

Equipped with a coathanger (wire), a towel, a wire hanger,  a toothpick, cotton swabs, scissors, tweezers, quick-drying cement, talcum powder, Romy set about using a dead butterfly’s wing to give flight to a newborn.

No anaethetics were used. Apparently, Monarch butterflies do not feel pain in their wings.

 

monarch-butterfly-new wing

“The patient: this 3-day-old little boy was born with torn upper and lower wings. Let’s see how we can help!”

 

 

“The operating room and supplies: towel, wire hanger, contact cement, toothpick, cotton swab, scissors, tweezers, talc powder, extra butterfly wing”

“The operating room and supplies: towel, wire hanger, contact cement, toothpick, cotton swab, scissors, tweezers, talc powder, extra butterfly wing”

 

“Securing the butterfly and cutting the damaged parts away. Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt them. It’s like cutting hair or trimming fingernails”

“Securing the butterfly and cutting the damaged parts away. Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt them. It’s like cutting hair or trimming fingernails”

 

“Ta-da! With a little patience and a steady hand, I fit the new wings to my little guy”

“Ta-da! With a little patience and a steady hand, I fit the new wings to my little guy”

 

“The black lines do not match completely and it is missing the black dot (male marking) on the lower right wing, but with luck, he will fly”

“The black lines do not match completely and it is missing the black dot (male marking) on the lower right wing, but with luck, he will fly”

“FLIGHT DAY! After a day of rest and filling his belly with homemade nectar, it is time to see if he will fly”

monarch-butterfly-new wing

“With a quick lap around the yard and a little rest on a bush, he was off! A successful surgery and outcome! Bye, little buddy! Good luck”

Via Romy McCloskey on Facebook; Bored Panda

Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Wenger watch: Arsenal manger swore at Chelsea player and never flinched

How did Arsene Wenger find life sat in the Chelsea press box for Arsenal’s League Cup match semi-final tie? Well, last time we discovered that he has a huge garden:

A year ago, when he was also serving a touchline ban, Wenger crept to his seat beside the corporate area in the East Stand at Stamford Bridge and was welcomed with a handshake by an Arsenal supporter.

“I said, ‘Good afternoon’ and he replied, ‘I’m your gardener at your house’,” Wenger said. “I didn’t even know him. I do have a big garden.”

And this time, what did we learn?

Here’s Jeremy Wilson in the Daily Telegraph:

Spending 90 minutes literally just a few feet from Wenger ensured a fascinating insight. Not for anything he said, but simply the magnified perspective provided by his body language. We hear so often of how football managers live every moment of a match that we become almost immune to the draining reality of that statement. Yet to see Wenger fidgeting with each pass, almost straining to make every tackle and, even surrounded by media, still letting out the occasional shout of encouragement or kick of frustration was to feel just how much it all means.

Phil McNulty was there for the BBC:

Wenger remained relatively calm, even when Lacazette wasted a presentable first-half chance, only rising from his seat once during the game when Welbeck was penalised for a foul on Moses, but it was also easy to detect the strains and stresses.

He banged the table in front of him when Granit Xhaka committed a foul against Eden Hazard, shifted constantly in his seat, throwing back his head in frustration when opportunities came and went, such as Lacazette getting carelessly caught offside and when a promising free-kick position was wasted.

The Islington Gazette:

“I was two rows down so I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but colleagues reported him kicking the backs of their chairs and using the odd swear word, especially when possession was lost or the ball hoofed into the air.

“Whatever you think of him you simply can’t deny his passion.”

Jack Polden in the Mirror:

Commenting on referee Martin Atkinson blowing up for a foul on the Spaniard, Wenger shouted: “Every time Alvaro Morata goes down it’s a f****** free-kick.”

Gary Jacobs dedicates an entire column to Wenger Watch. Highlights include:

Wenger gently leans back in his seat, as Arsenal look more comfortable…

Wenger’s presence is noticed by Chelsea fans to his left. They stand, thrust their arms towards him and chant, “We want you to stay.” There is no response

Jack Wilshere is injured — again. Wenger never flinches

Such are the facts.

Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Broadsheets, Chelsea, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Donald Trump’s gorilla channel dupes the media

Donald Trump watches a channel that only shows gorillas fighting. It’s true. We read it on Twitter. Pixelated Boat, the self-styled “Prince of Lies”,  shared an extract from Michael’s Wolff’s book on the President, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House:

 

donald trump gorilla channel

 

“On some days he’ll watch the gorilla channel for 17 hours straight,’ an insider told me. ‘He kneels in front of the TV, with his face about four inches from the screen, and says encouraging things to the gorillas, like ‘the way you hit that other gorilla was good.’ I think he thinks the gorillas can hear him.’”

We know it’s true because no sooner had “Prince of Lies” tweeted it than the New York Times broadcast it as fact:

 

donald trump gorilla channel

 

Newsweek had more.

 

 

The Atlantic’s contributing editor Shadi Hamid hooted:

“This is my favorite part of Wolff’s book so far. Amazing for what it says about this administration! (It’s worse than you think!!). So amazing, I can barely even believe it. It’s *literally* incredible.”

Even more incredible than Pixelated Boat’s previous Tweet to the Gorilla TV news:

 

 

 

David Burge nails it: “is that the gorilla turned out to be Trump and the stupid gorilla-obsessed Trump turned out to be the media.”

 

Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Australian role models upset by cricketers smoking

Fresh from swatting England 4-0 in The Ashes, Australia’s cricketers decamped to Sydney’s Coogee Pavilion for a “relatively low key and good natured” celebration, where “the players happily chatted with fans and posed for selfies”.

In the hunt for sensation, the Mail picks up a scent, noting that the venue was festooned with “admiring female fans” – a scoop that amounts to a few of the players “chatting to a group of women”.

It’s all sedate stuff, despite the Mail’s attempt to spin a story of sex and excess at a “boozy” do from a few long lens photos.

But the paper missed the scoop. Australia’s Telegraph brings shocking news:

Two of Australia’s leading players Shaun Marsh and Jackson Bird were captured smoking during the team’s celebrations in Sydney on Tuesday following their 4-0 Ashes win …

The pair freely puffed away in public as other players chatted nearby.

Puffing on…tobacco!

At which point we recall when England won The Ashes in 2005. After a night’s drinking followed by a champagne breakfast, Mike Gatting asked Freddie Flintoff whether he had had anything to eat. “Yes,” replied Flintoff, “a cigar.”

So, about those ciggies. Well, Dr Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association, is unimpressed. “One answer is that they are private citizens but the truth is they are role models at an elite level that are looked up to by boys and girls and men and women across Australia and they expect a certain level of behaviour.”

Personally speaking, my kids look to Dr Michael Gannon for guidance. They can’t throw a ball for toffee but with dedication they should be able to purse their lips and pass judgement with the very best of them.

Dr Sarah White from Quit Victoria, verbalises: “It is really poor judgment and really poor role modelling for them to be doing this in public.”

For the want of a bike shed, where smokers can go bike shedding.

Dr Sarah, whose photo hangs over a millions children’s beds, adds:

“Cricket in Australian presents itself as family friendly but this is at direct odds with that given that smoking is the biggest cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. I would expect better judgment. It goes against their elite sports modelling and their healthy behaviour on the field. Smoking is against social norms in Australia and these players are doing damage by virtue with the regard they are held in by young Australians.”

David Chalke, a personal hero of mine, adds: “Smoking really is beyond the pale these days. It is not simply having a bit of fun. It is very anti-social. The players are role models… It’s not cool and it is not fashionable. If they are doing this, if they have to do it, they should not be doing it in public, they should be doing it in private.”

Time, surely, to make doctoring and therapy spectator sports, and give us the chance to see our role models at work and play. Call me Sky, I have ideas…

 

Posted: 11th, January 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


To all the fat nurses everywhere: keep taking the sugar

After a lengthy stay in hospital, I was advised by a charming, caring and professional nurse to go out for ice-cream and champagne. She told me this as we chatted over a huge plate of biscuits and sugary tea. I felt instantly better. But sugar is taboo at an NHS hospital in Greater Manchester. Staff are being weaned off the stuff.

Karen James, Chief Executive Tameside hospital, says: “My staff work very hard. Long hours and shift patterns often make it very difficult for people to make healthy choices, so they opt for the instant sweet fixes, which until now have been readily available. These are dedicated healthcare professionals who believe they should be role models for their patients but the food environment has been working against them.”

Role models? I just wanted the nurses to give me the right drugs at the right time and stay wake.

“We’ve taken away the sugary drinks, we’ve taken sugary snacks out of vending machines, we’ve taken away cookies and muffins and replaced them with fruit,” thunders Amanda Bromley, director of human resources at Tameside “You’d go to the till and there’d be a Twix and a Bounty bar staring back at you. People are working long shifts and if things are in front of them we know they are going to reach for them.” Adding: “Nurses and other health professionals need to be leading by example. They need to be role models for patients.”

“If someone is visibly overweight people don’t necessarily trust that advice. The public expect nurses to be role models,” says Richard Kyle, of Edinburgh Napier University, who led a recent study to find measurements on people working in health professions, and found them to be as obese as the rest of us. “It’s a priority of Simon Stevens [head of NHS England] that the NHS should be an exemplar, have a better proportion than the general population.”

So the vending machines have been cleansed.

The Times has more:

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, is planning to ban the sale of sugary drinks in hospitals this summer if on-site shops cannot get them down to under 10 per cent of sales.

Maybe the shops can sell other stuff to get the higher-spending punters in, like running machines and cannabis, say.

He is also imposing calorie caps on sandwiches, crisps and chocolate to fight a “snack culture that is causing an epidemic of obesity, preventable diseases, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer”.

After so much PR guff – and the message to nurses to buy cheaper multi-pack of snacks at the supermarket – one thing is missing for the table: hospital food is disgusting. On my first night on the ward I was fed a baked potato with more ‘eyes’ than a Piers Morgan column. Thankfully, I had a someone who bring in fresh and edible food. And when I felt like a pick me up, well, the nurse was always there with biscuits. I can’t recall her weight, BMI or vital statistics, largely because I didn’t give a shit. But next time I’ll be sure to check as I seek her views on religion, politics, investment strategies and other things that I need from her to make sense of my own life.

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


H&M woo racist shoppers with black boy in a monkey jumper

How did you feel when you saw the H&M advert for a child’s top featuring the legend “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”? Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weekend, tweeted “woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”

The photo? This one:

 

coolest monkey in the jungle h&m

 

And then Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku shared the image with his Instagram followers, adding his own logo-style caption: “You’re prince soon to be a king. Don’t let anybody tell you different.” Basketball star LeBron James used his Instagram post to add his own logo: “when I look at this photo I see a Young King!!”

H&M-endorsed rapper G-Eazy also called the child “coolest king of the world”, adding: “Unfortunately, after seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I’ve decided at this time our partnership needs to end. Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it’s truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable.”

H&M duly begged for forgiveness. “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended…We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken…We’ll thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”

Best tell the child and his parents that calling him a “little monkey” is racist, moreover accusing him of “monkeying around” or being a “cheeky monkey”.

 

h&m clothing racist

Also my H&M – more life-affirming slogan and locations

 

And, of course, politicians get involved. Labour MP Kate Osamor tweeted: “I was totally shocked, dismayed to say the very least, to find this online imagine. hm do you think this imagery is an appropriate representation of a young black boy?”

Maybe they only saw ‘the boy’? Maybe you have to be obsessed with race to spot the offence? Maybe we pick our prejudices, and being shocked and dismayed by a black boy in a top is more upsetting than Labour’s problem with anti-Semitism? Explicit racism is obvious. Was the child model paid less than the others? The implicit stuff is tricky. How do you go about defending yourself against accusations that your subconscious opinions are wrong? Is the safest option to accuse others of racism first and in their apologies and entrails find evidence of your own clean mind?

One Indy writer opines: “Their intention was clearly not to cause offence; it just obviously didn’t enter their minds to think seriously about their black customers.” So what’s the point of featuring black models – to appeal to non-black customers who don’t mind a bit of racism, or maybe even enjoy it? Well, yeah. A HuffPost writer calls it a “blatantly racist advertising campaign”. Klan members form an orderly queue.

The Indy writer adds: “A glance at their all-white board of directors tells you everything you need to know.” From being on the board of a Swedish clothing company, H&M directors are now suspects. As are well all…

 

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


BBC staff should be paid less than ambassadors says new Culture Secretary

Does the BBC pay staff too much? No, not the cleaners and caterers. This is about the presenters and mangers – people doing skilled jobs. New Culture Secretary Matt Hancock thinks they earn too much. His benchmarks for what a top BBC editor earns is Her Majesty’s ambassador to Costa Rica.

“This isn’t just a matter of levelling women’s pay,” says Hancock, picking up the story that the BBC employs less women on big salaries than men,  it is a matter of equality. Working for the BBC is public service, and a great privilege, yet some men at the BBC are paid far more than other equivalent public servants.”

So what? It’s a different job. Why not compare what the ambassadors earn to, say, the bloke who empties your bins.

“The BBC has begun to act and I welcome that, but more action – much more action – is needed, especially when BBC foreign editors can earn more than Her Majesty’s ambassadors in the same jurisdiction.”

Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor, earns £200,000-£249,999 per year. Sir Kim Darroch, Britain ambassador to the US, earns £180,000-£184,999.

Add in the perks of free board and lodgings, boarding school for children

The Foreign Office spends more than £14m per year on private school fees for children of its staff, including £6m for staff based in the UK…It meant that last year staff stationed in the UK received school fees worth on average more than £33,000 per year.

Factor in the perks and the BBC editor earns less.

But Hancock’s point is, presumably, that the BBC is either a public service or it isn’t. It can’t be commercial and public, not if it’s funded by a tax, which it is.

It also reminds me of the moan many GPs guff out when they see the bigger money consultants earn. Never mind the fact they are very well paid for doing their jobs; look instead of what they would be earning as a specialist had they only not made the sacrifice.

Posted: 10th, January 2018 | In: Money, News | Comment


Donald Trump was the first person to think Oprah Winfrey should be in the White House

trump oprah daily news

In 2009, Donald Trump said his ideal running mate would be Oprah Winfrey. The actress used her acceptance speech for  receiving a lifetime achievement gong at the Golden Globe Awards to tell a room full of her peers (including the cheaters, narcissists and SADOS – Sons and Daughters of Stars ) that the time for social change for nigh. Oprah for President, came the media response. and the job is surely hers should she give away a free car with every vote.

But the idea was not of the media’s making. In 2009, Donal Trump told us that Oprah would be his dream deputy:

 

 

“Oprah would always be my first choice… I’ll tell ya, she’s really a great woman, though. She is a terrific woman. She’s somebody that’s very special… If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic… She’s popular. She’s brilliant. She’s a wonderful woman. If she’d ever do it, I don’t know if she’d ever do it… She’d be sort of like me. I mean, I have a lot of things going, she’s gotta a lot of things going.”

And Oprah seems to love The Don:

 

 

Spotter: EW

Posted: 9th, January 2018 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Clickbait balls: Arsenal and Man City fans tricked by Daily Express Sanchez fakery

The Daily Express online is clickbait mire. Arsenal and Manchester City fans checking up on news of Alexis Sanchez’s move from London to the champions elect are seduced by the headline: “Transfer news LIVE updates: Sanchez deal agreed; Man Utd, Liverpool, Barcelona, Chelsea.”

The Express appears to have a scoop when you search for Sanchez news on Google News. No other news source has the story that a Sanchez deal has been “agreed”. Indeed, Sky Sports says City haven’t even bid for the Chilean.

 

Here’s the that Express headline again on the paper’s website:

 

Stuart Ballard has the scoop! But to save you clicking, we’ll not pick out the words relevant to Sanchez’s transfer to City.

Here’s the first mention of Sanchez is Ballard’s story:

Sanchez ‘no bids’
10.00: Arsene Wenger has claimed Arsenal have received no offers for Alexis Sanchez and he fully expects him to stay until the end of the season .

When asked if the Gunners had received any offers, he replied: “No and I expect nothing.

“I am focused on tomorrow’s game. When solicitations happen you respond to it. At the moment it’s very quiet. I have nothing to add.”

Come on, Wenger, keep up with things. Read the Express. The deal has been “agreed”. But what’s this? Reading on we find no word on the agreed deal.

We

05:30: Manchester City could complete a deal to sign Alexis Sanchez this week after opening talks over a £30million deal.

 

Could? What happened to “agreed”?

Express Sport understands the Chile international has been told City will be making a bid for him in the coming days.

What about what readers understand by the phrase “Transfer News: Sanchez Dal Agreed”?

But Ballard has nm’t finished. Let’s not be hasty. What else?

05:00: Arsene Wenger has reignited Arsenal’s interest in Thomas Lemar in the fear they could miss out on him with Alexis Sanchez seemingly on his way out of the club, according to reports…

And with Sanchez constantly linked with a move to Manchester City, Arsenal are prepared to enter the race once again to sign Lemar.

 

Total balls, then. It might even be fake news.

 

Posted: 9th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Manchester City, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comments (3)


Epic fail: resting Guardian editor mistaken gets Samuel L Jackson comeback

When Peter Preston, a former editor of the Guardian, died earlier this week, his old paper paid tribute to the man who led between 1975 and 1995.

Janice Turner, Preston’s daughter-in-law, and a Times columnist, read the Guardian’s obituary to the great man. She was moved to tweet:

Strange error in The Guardian’s obit of Peter Preston which would have amused him. He did not write the action movie 51st State starring Samuel L Jackson but a novel of the same name which predicted Britain would leave the EU.

peter preston fail 51st state

 

Not so strange. The BBC made just that error, noting:

His wrote the book 51st State, which was later adapted into a film starring Samuel L Jackson.

 

peter preston 51st state

 

The Herald Scotland told its readers

He also penned novels including Bess and 51st State, the latter of which was made into a film starring Samuel L Jackson.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 8th, January 2018 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment


Data shocker: Westminster workers less likely to watch porn than the rest of us

In 2010, Online MBA produced a porn infographic. It claimed to know that 70% of men visited porn sites in a given month. Dan Savage, a Seattle-based sex columnist, had a word on the demographics of porn watchers. “All men look at porn, ” he stated. “The handful of men who claim they don’t look at porn are liars or castrates.”

Only men like to look?

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz claims women are fans of online porn, too:

Speaking to Vox in an interview about how Google data proves that most Americans lie about their sexual preferences, the researcher and author of “Everybody Lies” asserts… “Porn featuring violence against women is also extremely popular among women…It is far more popular among women than men. I hate saying that because misogynists seem to love this fact,” he added. “Fantasy life isn’t always politically correct.”

In 2014, the US Public Religion Research Institute, said 29 percent of Americans think watching porn is morally acceptable. That’s a lot of people feeling guilty about watching other people having sex.

Which brings us to news that the burghers of Westminster are not like the rest of us:

Staff working in Parliament tried to access online pornography once every nine minutes in the last couple of months, despite a crackdown on inappropriate sexual behaviour, new figures show.

More than 24,000 attempts were made to get onto adult websites from inside the Parliamentary estate – around 160 requests per day – although most were blocked.

Users on the Parliamentary network, including MPs, peers, staff and contractors, used their devices to try and connect to banned content almost 25,000 times in just four months.

Is that a lot?

At the end of January 2015, the headcount of the number of people employed by the House of Commons was 2,040

Add on 650 MPs, 800 Lords, their staff and media workers, and you can add another, say, 2000 people to the Westminster head count. Given the figures supplied for the popularity of porn, Westminster looks relatively clean.

Here’s the date from the MBA company:

 

porn statistics watching

 

Posted: 8th, January 2018 | In: News, Politicians, Technology | Comment


Liverpool balls: Mahrez guff, Coutinho paid to leave and Nike called the shots

So keen was Philippe Coutinho to quit Liverpool than he paid part of his own £142 million transfer to Barcelona. The Times says it’s “understood” the Brazilian invested £9 million “out of his own pocket and is committed to paying another £2.5 million in the future”.

Of course, it’s not hard to understand anything in the world of big business than now owns top-flight football: it’s all about the money. As Liverpool were reiterating their desire to keep hold of their best player, Nike, which sponsors Barcelona, Coutinho and Brazil, last month published a photo of a Barcelona shirt with the player’s name across the back. “Where the magic happens,” said Nike. “Philippe Coutinho is ready to light up Camp Nou. Get your 2017/18 FC Barcelona kit with the Magician’s name on it. Act fast – free personalisation only available until January 6.”

 

Liverpool looked strong when they blocked Coutinho’s mover to Barcelona six months ago. At the season’s start, after Liverpool had rejected three Barcelona bids for their playmaker, Jurgen Klopp told media: “I wasn’t manager when Suarez was sold, I wasn’t manager when Sterling was sold, and we’re not selling Coutinho.”

Faced with predators from Nike and Barcelona, Liverpool caved in, waving a not-all-that-fond farewell to the player who now joins another former Anfield star, Luis Suarez, in attack.

Minds now turn to what Liverpool will do with all that money. Well, £75m has been invested in Virgil van Dijk. And the rest? We, the Times says, “There is no appetite, as it stands, to pursue AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar or Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez”.

Or as the Mirror puts it: “Liverpool to test Monaco’s resolve over Thomas Lemar transfer with January bid.”

 

 

Which on Sky Sports becomes:

 

 

As for Mahrez, well, the BBC reported on January 7: “Liverpool are set to sign Riyad Mahrez, with the 26-year-old Leicester City and Algeria forward expected to have a medical on Sunday.”

The story echoed a report on BeIn Sports, which guffed:

 

Total balls, then. Who Liverpool sign next is unclear, but one thing is certain: they’ll pay well over the odds.

 

Posted: 8th, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Barcelona puts Premier League in its place with £142m deal for Liverpool Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool have have sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142m – and reassured the world that the Spanish league is bigger, better and starrier than the hyped Premier League. The mighty Reds will get £105m up front for the 25-year-old Brazilian and more should he win cups in the Nou Camp, which he will do.

It’s a huge profit for Liverpool, who paid Inter Milan £8.5m for the player in January 2013. It was also a big profit when Liverpool sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona for £64.98 million in 2014. Suarez went on to win:

La Liga: 2014–15, 2015–16
Copa del Rey: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Supercopa de España: 2016
UEFA Champions League: 2014–15
UEFA Super Cup: 2015
FIFA Club World Cup: 2015

Liverpool have in that time won nothing.

The top players don’t dream of playing for Liverpool. They dream of playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona. Unless Liverpool can compete with mega-buck Manchester City and pay huge wages to hire talent the big Spanish clubs don’t want or can’t find room for, they won’t win titles.

Cheerio, Philippe. You’ll be missed…

Posted: 6th, January 2018 | In: Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment (1)


John Warboys: sex attacker worse than Savile grooms the CPS

In 2009, London taxi driver John Worboys was given a prison sentence of indeterminate length after being convicted of rape and sexual assaults. He’s to be released on licence. The trial judge ordered Warboys to serve a minimum eight years behind bars for one rape and 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting at least 12 women. He has convinced the three-strong Parole Board panel that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that he remain in custody. The therapy has worked.

 

 

The problem is that police “believe” there are many more victims. In October 2010 detectives stated their “belief” that Worboys had attacked at least 102 women. The Sun says Warboys attacked 200 women. The Mirror leads with the headline that Warboys took part in “100 rapes and sex attacks”. Police “believe” Warboys is “probably Britain’s most prolific sex offender”, says the Times. Wore than Jimmy Savile, even, the BBC DJ and TV presenter who never got his day in court but post-death was nonetheless branded the man “who groomed an entire nation” and “one of the UK’s most prolific sex offenders”. Savile was a depraved criminal hiding in plain sight. But, as with Warboys, to accept each claim as proof is troubling. There’s no need to hurdle barriers to justice in court, where both sides of a case are heard, when you can announce guilt and trawl for ‘victims’.

And there are lots of victims:

Detectives told The Times that they feared he might have assaulted as many as 500 women, but his use of drugs meant that many could not recall details of what happened to them.

The Mail says “police suspected him of more than 500 attacks”.

It’s worth looking at this BBC story from April 2009:

The Metropolitan Police was told sex offence units were overstretched months before the arrest and release of taxi rapist John Worboys, it has emerged.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating why he was released after an arrest in July 2007.

A report said specialist sex offence units, known as Sapphire teams, were understaffed and overstretched.

A report by Government inspectors, which was seen by Met chiefs nine months before the original arrest and release of Worboys, found that Plumstead CID, in south east London, needed urgent reform.

Ch Supt Nicola Grevatt, of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, said the Greenwich borough only had six officers with specialist training to deal with sex offences. Detectives were investigating up to 20 rape investigations each, the report added.

The effect had been that rape victims were losing contact with the police or withdrawing their support.

Ms Grevatt also said senior officers were responsible for poor communication, in-fighting and an atmosphere of political correctness and paranoia.

Worboys was held at a police station in Plumstead, south-east London, but released on bail.

In February last year he was arrested for a second time, which led to the charges on which he was convicted.

Do we have faith in the police, who failed women seeking help but when talking to media believe everyone is a victim; choosing to tell rather than to listen? Do we trust the justice system? Here’s an easier one: do we admire politicians? The Times makes the link between Warboys and the Labour Party explicit in its reporting. The headline tells readers: “Labour law chief backed ‘lenient’ term for taxi rapist John Worboys”:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the former Labour attorney-general, decided against referring the sentence handed to John Worboys back to the courts despite an outcry over its leniency, it emerged last night… Lady Scotland’s decision not to challenge the sentence is one of a series of actions by legal authorities that might have enabled his early release…

And:

Scotland Yard said that in the aftermath of the trial it had been contacted by 19 further suspected victims and referred their cases to the Crown Prosecution Service in October 2010. It was told that further prosecutions were not in the public interest.

The director of public prosecutions was Sir Keir Starmer, now Labour’s frontbench spokesman on Brexit.

The Sun also notes that Starmer was “in charge of the CPS as 115 new victims told police Warboys had attacked them”. The Mail (page 5), thunders: “How Labour’s Keir Starmer let him escape more charges”. Starmer is “accused of ignoring scores of women” who claim Warboys attacked them. A “senior Whitehall source” opines: “If Warboys had been ordered to stand trial for more attacks, it is possible he would have been convicted”. If. Possible. So much for considering the facts. And do we know if Starmer had any role to play in the Warboys trial? No. The Mail concedes: “It is not known if he was personally involved in the decision not to prosecute.”

In the Left-wing papers, the Guardian makes no mention of Starmer and Baroness Scotland in its report “John Worboys: MP demands reasons for release of ‘black-cab rapist'”. The Mirror declines to mention Baroness Scotland and Starmer in its tale of the “sex beast”.

Biased reporting to the fore, then, in a story about a sexual predator’s depravity and prison’s ability to rehabilitate even the most sickening criminals.

 

Posted: 5th, January 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal v Chelsea balls: Jack Wilshere’s ‘outrageous dive’ wasn’t a dive say top refs

One day with video technology being a football referee will be easy. Mistakes will no longer be made. To emphasise the point, former refs have been reviewing the tapes of the Arsenal v Chelsea match for newspapers. Take the incident when Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, already on a yellow card, was hit the turf on the edge or the Chelsea box. Did he fall or was he tripped?

Former referee Mark Halsey reviews the tape. He tells Sun readers:

I also felt Taylor [referee Anthony Taylor] did well by not handing a second caution to Jack Wilshere when he went down under a challenge from Andreas Christiansen [sic]. Taylor saw the incident and played on which was the correct thing to do. He didn’t go looking for trouble. It wasn’t simulation or a foul – it was just normal contact. Not every time a player goes down is simulation.

 

Or as former referee Graham Poll puts it in the Daily Mail:

Jack Wilshere should have been sent off for an outrageous dive but luckily for him, referee Anthony Taylor’s view was blocked by a number of players…. But knowing he was on a yellow card, he was stupid to dive over Andreas Christensen in the second half.

Also commenting on the match was former referee Dermot Gallagher, who tells Sky News:

The referee is in a position there where if he gambles and gambles wrongly he’s got a red card. It’s not possible to send somebody off for something you didn’t see. There is no way the referee can see that situation clearly enough to make a decision to send the player off. He’s waved it away and play has gone on. I think that’s exactly the right decision for that situation.

Such are the facts.

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, News, Sports | Comment


Nine who overdosed on hyoscine further cause of legalised cocaine

More evidence that all drugs should be legalised comes to us from Perth, Australia. Nine backpackers from France, Morocco, Germany and Italy are in hospital undergoing treatment for overdosing on a prescription drug called hyoscine, also known as scopolamine. It’s used to treat motion sickness. Reports suggest the victims, aged 21 to 25, thought they were snorting cocaine.

Three of the travellers are in intensive care in induced comas.

“They didn’t know where they were,” says Dr David McCutcheon of the Royal Perth hospital, where some of the victims were treated. “They were rolling around on their stretchers. It is lucky someone called an ambulance. Several of these people would have died without medical attention … their bodies were overheating, they were having seizures.”

One backpacker discharged form hospital says they found the drugs in a package with a New York stamp dated December 11. It was addressed to a name none of them knew. Inside was a white powder wrapped in aluminium, which had the word “scoop” written on it.

The upshot must be that people will always look for ways to get off their faces. The sensible thing would be to legalise drugs and reduce the chance of anyone taking unknown poisons. Drugs should be legal because they can be dangerous and pose serious risks. It’s time for a war on the war on drugs.

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: News | Comment


Starlings scare predator by forming shape of a huge bird

To evade predators starlings cluster. In the skies over Costa Brava, Spain, a murmuration of starlings took the form of a a far larger bird. Daniel Biber, who took the photo, tells the Independent:

“I was taking pictures of the murmurations over several days. Only when I checked the pictures on the computer later, I realised what formation the starlings had created.

“I was so concentrated on taking pictures at the time that I hadn’t realised that the starlings had created a giant bird in the sky.

“It took less than 10 seconds for the birds to create that formation. I realised that I had captured a unique snapshot, technically, sharp and in high quality.”

 

 

 

Mr Biber’s picture won first prize in a contest run by the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach, which sims “to inspire public interest in birds and raise awareness for their protection”.

Says Daniel: “In the northeast of Spain, hundreds of thousands of Common Starlings gather at nighttime to sleep. While I was watching this spectacle, the billowing flock suddenly took the shape of a huge flying bird. What luck!”

Posted: 4th, January 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


West Brom’s Jake Livermore should shun the police after West Ham fan taunts him over dead son

Can terrace abuse go too far? West Bromwich Albion say their player Jake Livermore was on the receiving end of a West Ham United fan’s comments about the death of his newborn son, Jake Junior, who died in May 2014. We don’t know what was said to the former Spurs player, but it’s unlikely to have been along the lines of “Sorry for your loss, Jake” and “I wish you a long life”.

The alleged comment was made as the Baggies’ midfielder was being substituted in the second half of his side’s 2-1 defeat. Livermore was incensed, clambering into the stands and making for the berk. The only sad thing is that the stewards stepped in and prevented it becoming an “I was there” moment. Not that the non-event has stopped media from trailing it as must-see TV. One site oozes: “Watch: Jake Livermore Climbs Into Crowd And Tries To Get At Fan.”

 

 

I was at an Arsenal v Newcastle United match in 2008. Seated four rows back from the pitch, one row behind me three dickheads were screaming abuse at Joey Barton, recently readmitted to society after serving prison time for assault and affray. Joey winked at the criminally unfunny fans, who called him a “pikey c*nt” and encouraged to “come and have a go”. Of a like mind, Arsenal fans moved left and right to form a path, a gap though which he hoped Barton would accept the challenge. That he didn’t was a pity. We’d have loved it. But Barton understood that it was just mindless banter, taunts designed to do one thing: unsettle the opposition. Livermore took the bait.

West Brom have issued a statement: “The club would like to think that all right-minded football supporters could understand this reaction which did not result in any physical exchanges before Jake was led away to our dressing room. Jake is an outstanding young individual who has the total support of everyone at the club and he has made it clear he considers this statement to be an end to an unhappy incident. Albion were very appreciative of the swift response by the officials of West Ham in dealing with this matter and are more than happy to leave any further action they deem appropriate in their hands.”

What further action is right for a man who upsets a footballer or a footballer who “wades into crowd and shoves” a fan (Daily Mirror)?

West Ham add: “The player has confirmed he does not wish to make this a police matter, however, given the nature of the allegations, the club will continue to investigate before taking the appropriate action.”

A police matter? What’s the crime? Saying vile things to upset a player who used to play for the local rivals, and hoping that in so doing you cement yourself with the Hammers faithful who cheer on a team owned by Arsenal fans and who against West Brom featured two English players in the starting XI, one from Liverpool, the other Gateshead? It really is that stupid. And being stupid is not a crime – after all, if it were, we’d soon run out of coppers…

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Media bias: sorry Swansea lose to a ‘pinpoint’ offside Spurs goal

When Spurs visited Swansea in the Premier League, the game’s opening goal in a 2-0 win for the Londoners should have been ruled out for offside. New Swansea coach Carlos Carvalhal says assistant referee Marc Perry apologised to his error.

But how does the Spurs website report on the controversy?

The former Swansea City target man marked his maiden Premier League start in our colours following his summer move from south Wales with an early breakthrough from Christian Eriksen’s free-kick.

It was also the Spaniard’s first domestic goal for us and came amid a spell of intense first-half pressure in the driving rain, but it took until the 89th minute for us to find a second through Dele Alli.

Adding:

Christian Eriksen delivered the set piece and Llorente shook off his marker to glance in a header at the near post.

No word at all on the offside there. No word that the ‘marker’ had stepped up to play Llorente offside. But on the Swansea City website it’s a different story. The match report begins thus:

Liberty old boy Fernando Llorente set Spurs on the path to victory with an early header which should have been disallowed for offside.

And in the fourth paragraph, there it is again:

Tottenham took the lead on 12 minutes as Llorente headed home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick, but the Swans felt hard done by as replays showed the Spaniard was a yard offside.

What about local media?

The London Evening Standard describes the goal thus: “Tottenham old boy Tom Carroll felled Son Heung-min near the touchline and Eriksen’s trademark delivery quality picked out the head of Llorente in the penalty box.”

He picked out an offisde player.

And in the South Wales Echo: “…it was more the errors from referee Bobby Madley than anything else that contributed to this two-goal defeat in a middle of a torrential downpour… Tottenham’s key first goal was clearly offside. And long before Dele Alli sealed the game in the 89 minute, Spurs should have been reduced to ten men as Davinson Sanchez avoided an obvious second yellow card.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, News, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Would be Tube fare-dodger caught by the penis

penis underground

 

The last time anyone of note vaulted the turnstiles on the London Underground, they were on their way to shoot an innocent man in the head. So it could have been worse when our hero leapt over the ticket barriers at Covent Garden station (more evidence of the London 2012 Olympic legacy – ed). Well, at least he tried to. The barriers shut and the young blade was caught by the penis.

The alleged dodger’s todger had upset the plan.

In addition to kind hearts stopping to record the spectacle on their mobile phones, advice was offered, not last of all the directive, “Butter him up, butter him up.”

Once freed, the man thanks a police officer (unarmed) and a passer-by who had helped.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Liverpool balls: Coutinho is determined to join Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho wants to leave Liverpool for Barcelona as soon as possible. The Times says Coutinho “believes that he has played his last game for Liverpool”. Not that belief is as legally binding as a contract.

Liverpool have rejected a bid of £119m for the 25-year-old. But Liverpool are now, reportedly, willing to sell should the Spanish side come up with an improved offer for the Brazilian – something in the region of £130m.

Coutinho has been playing well for Liverpool, scoring 12 goals in 20 appearances. But the problem for Coutinho is that his contract keeps him at Liverpool until 2022. He earns a not-too-shabby £150,000-a-week on the deal he signed last year, but his earning would rocket at Barcelona, and that’s without any signing-on bonus, which would be huge.

So is Coutinho, who was absent for Liverpool’s scrappy win New Year’s Day win at Burnley, off? Last week, Nike, the player’s sponsor and suppliers of Barcelona’s kit, stated a deal had been done. That was incorrect, say Liverpool.

Over in Spain, the front page of Mundo Deportivo declares: “Coutinho 145 millones.” Of course, what the newspapers say is ofter utter tosh. In October, the Liverpool Echo opined: “Philippe Coutinho deal to Barcelona may have already been done.” Or it may not have been.

One thing is certain: Liverpool are primed for Barcelona’s next move.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, News, Sports | Comment


RyanAir passenger exits via the emergency door at Malaga Airport

“This man decided he wasn’t going to wait any longer. He activated the emergency door and left, saying: ‘I’m going via the wing’. It was surreal. He was sat on the wing for quite a while until the crew managed to get him back inside.” So says Fernando Del Valle Villalobos as he recalls how a fellow passenger on board a delayed RyanAir flight from Stansted to Malaga, Spain, grew tired of waiting to disembark and opted for the quicker exit.

The traveller, a 57-year-old Polish national, sat on the wing of flight FR8164 with his hand luggage. The plane sat on the tarmac. Coaxed back inside the plane, he was soon arrested.

A spokesman for Ryanair goes on the record: “This airport security breach occurred after landing in Malaga airport on 1 January. Malaga airport police immediately arrested the passenger in question and since this was a breach of Spanish safety and security regulations, it is being dealt with by the Spanish authorities.”

Reports that the man was a RyanAir employee investigating new classes of travel, and doing away with steps, are wide of the mark. Probably.

Posted: 3rd, January 2018 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Banning traffic apps is a wholly stupid idea

Given that the purpose of traffic apps is to help motorists avoid congestion, you’d suppose everyone would love them. Roads are a finite and scarce public resource. To maximise their value, they should be used. If one road has too much traffic, directing vehicles to underused roads makes sense. But some people don’t get it. They want the apps banned.

Caroline Russell, Transport Spokesman for the Green Party and member of the London Assembly, has been pricked into action by people who don’t like drivers using roads by their homes. And they’re blaming apps. “We have a huge congestion problem, and apps which provide a cut through, simply move that problem into areas where people are living,” says Russell.

But they don’t. The apps present a solution to the problem. And there being cars where people live is pretty much the point of the things – cars are very good at getting you home.

She continues: “It might be good for a few drivers, but it is much less healthy for the residents in those streets. A lot of these streets have so much parking you can’t even get two cars down, so you get jams, and a build up of pollution.”

So drivers can use the apps and, er, change direction to find an alternative route.

She continues: “Mini-Holland schemes have completely transformed neighbourhoods. Cars can no longer get in anymore. Those areas which were bumper to bumper now feel upbeat and positive. People now enjoy walking or riding their bike, so not only has it cut pollution but it’s a nudge in the right direction towards a healthier lifestyle.”

(Mini-Hollands are when roads are blocked to all vehicles except cyclists and motorists who live on them. The scheme is being implemented in three London boroughs.)

Meanwhile, people living nearby already busy roads get to see the value of their property fall as these new ‘gated communities’ are protected from outsiders and ‘other drivers’.

Why not do something more imaginative than banning things that keep traffic moving, like building more roads?

Posted: 1st, January 2018 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Media bias: Arsenal are robbed by West Bromwich Albion’s deserved penalty

Biased footballer reporting is very much in evidence in match reports on West Bromwich Albion’s 1–1 draw with Arsenal. Having taken the lad with an 83rd minute own goal, the Gunners were denied a win when Albion scored an 89th minute penalty. Referee Mike Dean decided that it was hand ball when, as the Arsenal website puts it “former Gunner Kieran Gibbs flicked the ball into Calum Chambers’ hand in the area”. The reporting is clear: any handball was not intentional.

Former referee Graham Poll uses his Daily Mail column to state: “It wasn’t a penalty. It should never have been a penalty.”

The Times says “Calum Chambers was penalised for handball when the ball was kicked at him from a yard away”.

But in the Express and Star, the local West Bromwich Albion newspaper, the report looks like this:

Having been the better team for large parts of the game, Alan Pardew’s team found themselves staring defeat in the face after Alexis Sanchez squeezed a free-kick through a brittle Baggies wall seven minutes from time.

There will be an inquest into that goal, which has officially gone down as a James McClean own goal, but in the 89th minute, referee Mike Dean pointed at the spot after Callum Chambers handled in the box.

No inquest about that.

And: “Albion hadn’t been awarded a spot-kick for more than 50 games, so they were certainly due one.”

So that’s alright, then.

Posted: 1st, January 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comments (2)


Swede paints huge pink penis in Chinese area of New York

The four-storey painting of a penis on the side of a building in Broome Street, New York, has been painted over. Carolina Falkholt’s massive knob is a mural bookend to her huge “abstract vagina” on the city’s Pike Street.

“I usually paint giant vaginas, pussies and cunts,” says Falkholt, “and since I had just finished one on the side of a five-storey building, I felt like a dick was needed. The wall space on Broome was a perfect fit for it. To paraphrase [the artist] Judith Bernstein, if a dick can go into a woman, it can go up on a wall.”

Something to think about, readers, as you take a wazz down the side of the pub. Aim high. Aim proud.

Or maybe do it on your own house. “We don’t like it, and we hope they take it down,” says a local. For reasons unclear the Guardian says the area is a “mainly Chinese neighbourhood”. Why would a Swedish woman paint a huge pink penis in an area mostly occupied by non-pink Chinese people? If identity matters, which the papers suggests it does, why not think bigger and get your huge dick on a Protestant skyscraper?

And adolescents cannot help but notice that the penis is not attached to the man, let alone a Weinstein, Clinton or Trump. No balls. No ejaculate. No intern. Nothing an adolescent would consider all that good. It’s a painting of a giant dildo. It’s not edgy and daring. It’s a blunt tool, although useful, perhaps, to assist Kevin Spacey, Louis CK et al in ‘battling their demons’…

Posted: 28th, December 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment