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News | Anorak - Part 49

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Transfer balls: Bale to Manchester United for a fee that makes Neymar to PSG look cheap

The summer’s here and with it comes the usual news that Gareth Bale dreams of leaving the heat and glory of Real Madrid for life at Manchester United. Like everyone else, the Star hears Real Madrid president Florentino Perez state the current European champions have no intention of selling Bale, 28, to Manchester United or any other club. “He’s a Madrid player, he’s important for us and he’s one of the world’s best,” says Perez of the Welsh powerhouse bought from Spurs.

But the BBC tells its readers that “privately Perez has told Jose Mourinho that he would be willing to let the Welshman leave”. Got that? Perez told the Manchester United’s manager something in private and the BBC got wind of it. And so did the Daily Express, whose Jack Otway reveals beneath the headline “Real Madrid stunner: Man Utd given green light by Perez to sign Bale after private talks”, that his source is Diario Gol. Slap its story through the prism of Google Translate and you get:

José Mourinho has returned as best he knows to the press rooms: with his provocative instinct. In the previous one of the Supercopa of Europe, the Portuguese technician sent darts poisoned.

One of them went to Florentino Perez. Luso acknowledged that he would be willing to tackle the signing of Gareth Bale. Especially if he sees that his club does not have him.

Mourinho believes that Bale could not be indisputable in Real Madrid. In contrast, the Setubal would secure a place without hesitation in Manchester United.

The two sides have approached positions but lack consensus. A Bale something happens like what happened to Neymar : he wants a club where he is the leader.

Neymar could not be in Barça because he was Messi , and Bale can not be in Madrid while Cristiano Ronaldo. But the case of Welsh is different. The good moment of form of Isco and Marco Asensio make think that not even its site in the initial eleven is guaranteed. Everyone can not play.

That is the main asset of José Mourinho. The United coach wants to persuade him to change his mind. What was not expected was that Florentino entered the rag.

The president of Madrid wants to play and has recognized that if they are willing to pay what it is worth, “Bale is for sale “. The problem is that Neymar has already assessed the market price of Welsh.

Florentino paid 101 million euros for him and will not let him escape for less than 200 million euros. This is how PSG put things and that is what United should study . The cunning of Florentino, with much higher clauses than the Barça has, makes it unfeasible that nobody can pay Bale’s departure . Only a transfer will be negotiated.

In other words, Perez has apparently told Mourinho and Manchester United that if they love Bale so much they can make an offer starting at €200m for him. And they can forget about triggering any escape clause because Perez, the Real Madrid maestro, is no dummy like those negotiators at dread rivals Barcelona who allowed Neymar to slip away to PSG.

If that’s a green light, any drivers reading the Express fact sheet should proceed with extreme caution.

 

Posted: 9th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Facebook is punishing smaller publishers

Is Facebook a friend to quality journalism? As well as publishing Anorak, I publish Flashbak. It’s Facebook page is up to 280,000 followers. But very few of the people who choose to follow the Page get to see it. Facebook limits the reach of anything I and others post there.

To reach every reader who wants to see our stories in their newsfeed, we’d have to pay Facebook a few hundred dollars per post. Post 5 stories a day and we’d be giving Facebook around £1,000. Add that up over a week; a month; a year. We can’t afford it. But that’s the deal. So we play along in the hope that readers will seek us out and find us though Facebook and other means – such as a weekly newsletter pulled together by the excellent Rob Baker.

But Facebook is making it even harder. Facebook is to penalise “reposted” content. They want us to post “new, original, content”. Posting links to stories on Flashbak.com we’ve taken a long time to research and resource, for instance, will be seen by even fewer readers. But slap up a livestream video of one of us walking about an art gallery, say, and lots more people will see it.

Come on, Facebook, we want to work with you but you’re making it harder and harder for small and mid-sized publishers to make the deal work .

Posted: 9th, August 2017 | In: Key Posts, Money, News, Technology | Comment


Clickbait balls: Southampton’s Virjil can Dijk wants Express move to Liverpool or Arsenal or Chelsea

Transfer balls: news is that Southampton’s Virjil can Dijk no longer thinks Southampton’s ambitions match his own. The defender has asked the Saints to let him know if he can move to a club higher up the pay scale. Liverpool want the Dutchman, but back in June, Southampton alleged the Reds had made an “illegal approach” for him.

Liverpool released a statement:

“Liverpool Football Club would like to put on record our regret over recent media speculation regarding Southampton Football Club and player transfers between the two clubs. We apologise to the owner, board of directors and fans of Southampton for any misunderstanding regarding Virgil van Dijk. We respect Southampton’s position and can confirm we have ended any interest in the player.”

 

So today the Daily Telegraph declares:

After Virgil van Dijk handed in a stunning, forthright transfer request on Monday, asking that Southampton “consider the interest in me from top clubs should it still exist,” Liverpool will revive their interest in the defender.

But Liverpool ended their interest in the player. Which makes us wonder where the Telegraph sourced its story?

That’s according to reports in the Daily Express this morning, who say Liverpool will not be deterred by the fact Southampton reported them to the Premier League earlier in the summer for their pursuit of Van Dijk.

When the trusty Express is your source, it’s worth a look at what the self-style ‘World’s Greatest Newspaper’ (aka: The Daily Clickbait) has to say. In a word, lots. In the past 24 hours, the Express has spun Virgil’s transfer demand into 24 stories. We’ve picked out the highlights:

  1. Virgil van Dijk: Jim White goes on radio rant at Southampton star
  2. Transfer news: Virgil van Dijk will likely join Chelsea, not Liverpool – journalist
  3. VIRGIL VAN DIJK is likely to join Chelsea and not Liverpool, according to journalist Alex Crook.
  4. VIRGIL VAN DIJK wants out of Southampton and Express Sport bring you live updates on his future as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal chase the defender.
  5. VIRGIL VAN DIJK needs Champions League experience before he can be compared to the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Danny Mills has suggested.
  6. VIRGIL VAN DIJK will not stay at Southampton this summer because player power is too strong, says Jamie Redknapp
  7. VIRGIL VAN DIJK is wanted by Chelsea and Arsenal – who both hope Southampton will refuse to sell him to Liverpool
  8. VIRGIL VAN DIJK is understood to prefer a move to Liverpool over Chelsea after going public with his Southampton transfer request.
  9. LIVERPOOL are ready to revive their £60m move for Virgil van Dijk after the defender went public with an incendiary transfer request.
  10. ROBBIE FOWLER believes Liverpool face a tricky task to bring Virgil van Dijk to Anfield.
  11. Chelsea set to make move for Virgil van Dijk: Antonio Conte assured of three signings
  12. CHELSEA are set to make a firm enquiry with Southampton for Virgil van Dijk with new signings being promised at Stamford Bridge
  13. Chelsea Transfer News LIVE updates: Drinkwater top target, £27m Aurier deal, Van Dijk move

 

To recap: van Dijk is off to Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Posted: 8th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, News, Tabloids | Comment


Man jailed for shooting woman up vagina during sex game

vagina gun crime manchesterDavid Jeffers, 47, inserted a loaded shotgun into his lover’s vagina. And fired. He’s starting a 10-year prison sentence for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The 46 year-old victim was a willing participant in the sex game. In readiness for the insertion, she had texted Jeffers: “I can’t sleep, so excited.” The victim, who works in Stockport, Greater Manchester, had arranged and paid for Jeffers to travel from his home in Leeds to stay with her at the Britannia Hotel on the evening of January 30. Booze and dugs were consumed by both parties.

At some point in the evening, Jeffers, who claimed to have found a gun in the toilet of the Wetherspoon’s pub at Leeds train station, inserted the firearm into his lover’s vagina. His hand was on the trigger it accidentally went off. With the woman in agony and suffering “catastrophic injuries”, he dressed and before fleeing called reception to request an ambulance, telling them a woman had been shot.

It was, said the judge at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court “a sexual fantasy with dreadful consequences”.

The gun has never been found.

 

Posted: 8th, August 2017 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment


Who is Neymar’s lover? Tabloids haven’t a clue

Bruna Marquezine nude

 

Brazilian footballer Neymar Junior has moved from Barcelona to PSG, and the tabloids are looking for a love interest. Unable to find one, they instead rest their gaze upon 22-year-old Brazilian actress Bruna Marquezine, who used to date the player. Bruna has 21 million Instagram followers. Discovering her is akin to finding your own arse with both hands.

But the Sun is excited, declaring: “NEYMAR’S world-record Paris Saint-Germain move is not the only reason for fans to be excited.” PSG’s sex-starved fans will be frothing at the lips because in a city short of women Neymar’s former girlfriend Bruna “could follow her man to the City of Love”. This guesswork is cemented in the headline: “Who is Neymar’s girlfriend?” Indeed, who is she? She’s not Bruna Marquezine. One down. A few million more model /actresses to go and the Sun should find her.

After seeing a mere 17 photos of Bruna reaped from her Instagram page, Sun readers might be able to recognise her should she walk past them, but they won’t know anything about her. Toby Gannon’s dossier doesn’t even include her age! (She turned 22 yesterday.)

The Star invites its readers to “click through the gallery to see photos of Neymar’s gorgeous on-off girlfriend Bruna Marquezine”. The Evening Standard’s Fiona Simpson opts to simply rewrite history. The headline above her story boasts: “With the Brazilian set to join PSG, we take a look at the lady in his life”. She isn’t the lady in his life. They are not dating. Indeed, after illuminating her text with a few photos taken from Bruna’s social media accounts, Simpson quotes Neymar: “Me and Bruna are separated.”

Such are the facts.

Posted: 5th, August 2017 | In: Back pages, Celebrities, News, Sports | Comment


Meet Kan-chan the enema mascot that goes where the sun doesn’t shine

The Japanese terms for people who like dressing up as toys is kigurumi. The Premier League is full of such people. But in Japan mascots are pretty much everywhere. This week another mascot waddled into life. Representing the Ichijiku Pharmaceutical Company, Kan-chan posed for media in front of Tokyo’s Skytree Building.

Kan-chan is the super-sized soft face of the company’s range of enemas. Oddly, Ichijikusays Kan-chan is a… penguin. The pointy head is not for easy access, rather a “hair accessory”.

 

Kan-chan Kan-chan

 

And here’s the inevitable plush toy.

 

mascot plush

 

 

Spotter: SoraNews24Kakeibo Mama

 

Posted: 5th, August 2017 | In: News, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment


Arsenal owner bows to pressure and censors big game killing from his TV channel

Kronke hunting TV

 

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has bowed to pressure. The UK version of his bloodsports channel will not broadcast big-game hunting, an utterly barbaric and wholly sad hobby for psychopathic dentists. (Yes, I now that’s tautological, but you take the point.)

The UK version of subscription service MyOutdoorTV, run by Kroenke’s Sports and Entertainment, was to show footage of men and women dressed in camouflage gear posing with inedible animals they’ve killed for fun. Now you’ll only get to see Bob and Mary-Jo grinning next to dead rarer breeds in the US.

Kroenke spokesman Jim Liberatore says that “in light of the public interest” there’ll be lots of to-deadline deaths but not of any big-game animals. They’ll be shot off-camera, like Aintree horses and Celebrity Big Brother losers. “While many on both sides of this issue have made their voices heard,” adds Liberatore, “and this content is only available through paid subscriptions, Stan Kroenke has directed us to remove all content related to those animals in light of the public interest.”

Liberatore added some guff about Kroenke being there for animal welfare, in the way that Mr Toff is there to support foxes who if it weren’t for hunting would died of boredom and lack of exercise. “He has a decades-long track record of environmental stewardship,” Liberatore continues, “working with conservationists, hydrologists, microbiologists, and others to responsibly manage habitat and enhance wildlife preservation.”

You can just imagine the animals and birds camped outside Mr Kroenke’s fencing, waiting for the chance to leap inside and be cared for by his welfare state.

PS: Of course, if you’re stinking rich, as Kroenke is, and really love animals why not just buy a large swathe of land and leave them alone?

Posted: 4th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports, TV & Radio | Comment


Transfer balls: Monaco want Sanchez, Arsenal want Lemar, Barcelona pay Neymar’s dad earns more than Messi

More news on Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez, who has endured a busy summer in the media, joining Paris Saint GermainBayern Munich and Manchester City. He was on his way to Chelseadefinitely staying at Arsenal – who will sell him for £80m – and yesterday kissed the badge on his Arsenal shirt.

 

 

On Monday, the Daily Mirror told readers Sanchez would put in a transfer request this week. It’s Friday. He hasn’t.

Today’s news is that he could be on his way to Monaco. The French champions will bid £45m for the Chilean, says the Metro. The Express says Barcelona, rolling in filthy lucre since Neymar let for PSG, will try to bring Sanchez back to Spain. Incidentally, did you know that Neymar’s father has reaped more money from Barcelona in the last four years than Lionel Messi has? It’s true. And it illustrates just how over-hyped football is.

Meanwhile the Sun reasons that Monaco will use Arsenal’s interest in their midfielder, Thomas Lemar, “to try to tempt” the Gunners into lobbing Sanchez into a swap deal.

Unless they don’t.

 

 

Posted: 4th, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, News, Sports | Comment


Sanchez kisses the badge and stays at Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez has been training hard at Arsenal. And today he did the unthinkable: he kissed the badge.

 

 

Might it be that Sanchez wants to remain at Arsenal, the club offering him £280,000 to extend his current contract? The Mirror says Sanchez” will tell Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger this week that he wants to join Manchester City.” But he hasn’t told him yet. And even if he does, Wenger’s non-plussed. “He is focused. My decision is clear, he will stay. He will accept that,” says Wenger. He adds: “The frame of mind of a footballer is quite easy – once you go out into the game, you focus on that.”

 

Posted: 3rd, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comment


New Yorkers have stopped vaccinating pets over autism fears

The Brooklyn Paper reports that local New Yorkers are refusing to vaccinate their pets over autism fears. Holistic hipsters are buying into the anti-vaxx movement and “applying it to their pets”.

“I really don’t know what the reasoning is,” says Dr. Amy Ford of Veterinarian Wellness Center of Boerum Hill. “They just feel that injecting chemicals into their pet is going to cause problems. I had a client concerned about an autistic child who didn’t want to vaccinate the dog for the same reason,” adds Dr. Stephanie Liff of Clinton Hill’s Pure Paws Veterinary Care. “Most trends in veterinary medicine are extensions of human medicine, so I think the anti-vaccination movement extending into veterinary medicine is natural.”

Dog and cat owners are legally obliged to inject their pets with anti-rabies serum. How many of these pets have autism is hard to tell. But we should be able to count the number of human being being treated for rabies after a hipster’s dog bit them. As ever, the lawyers are ready…

 

 

Posted: 3rd, August 2017 | In: News | Comment


Jade Goody returns for one more Big Brother

jade goody derek acorah

 

Good news for TV types looking to create telly on a low-budget: when you hire to-deadline psychic Derek Acorah, you also get Jade Goody and David Gest. It’s a three-for-one deal. Sure, two of the trio are dead, but if it’s good enough for God, it’s more than works for Celebrity Big Brother.

In the Daily Star, we read: “Derek claims to be in touch with dead housemates Jade Goody and David Gest.” The rest of us can catch them on Big Brother highlights reels, which haven’t needed to be updated for years.

Now, who fancies a Popadom?

 

Posted: 3rd, August 2017 | In: Celebrities, News, TV & Radio | Comment


In Germany you can drink at the UnBrexit pub

In Ahaus, Germany, you can drink at the UnBrexit pub. spotted the place which opened in July this year:

 

UnBrexit pub germany

UnBrexit pub germany

 

British pubs are closing – patrons driven away by the smoking ban and a lack of cash; pulled home by discount supermarket fizz, central heating, your own toilet, fridges, smart phones and take-away delivery drivers schlepping round anything your heart desires to shove in your pie-hole. The pub, once the hub of British social life has been killed off by wealth.

The UnBrexit is more Harvester than hipster. No stripped brick walls, rickety, eclectic furniture and too-cool-for-school staff who do tattoos with irony and holes with narcissism. This one’s got those vomit-friendly carpets, high seating and a gastropub menu.

 

Unbrexit Unbrexit Unbrexit

 

The theme pub is on a mission:

The die is cast: Britain will leave the European Union. But only one year after the British have voted to quit the EU, The Unbrexit is our answer to this unexpected referendum: 400 sq m of British ground in the center of Europe. The Unbrexit will be the last British place remaining part of the EU in the near future.

Order your lasagna and chips at the bar.

Posted: 3rd, August 2017 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Norwegian news site blocks readers who don’t understand the story before commenting

NRK comments vetting

 

Anyone visiting the website of Norway’s NRK website is asked to take a quiz if they want to comment on a story. The idea is to ensure that everyone about to comment understands the story, which is, of course, factually accurate and not in the least bit biased.

Readers are faced with three questions. Get them all right and you can post a comment. Get just one wrong, and you are banned.

“We thought we should do our part to try and make sure that people are on the same page before they comment,” journalist Ståle Grut tells Nieman Lab. “If everyone can agree that this is what the article says, then they have a much better basis for commenting on it.”

“If you spend 15 seconds on it, those are maybe 15 seconds that take the edge off the rant mode when people are commenting,” said Marius Arnesen, editor of NKRbeta.

While many outlets have gotten rid of comments and outsourced reader conversations to platforms such as Facebook, others like NRKbeta are working to improve on-site conversations.

Last week, Google parent company Alphabet announced that it was working with The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, and Wikipedia to test a new tool called Perspective that uses machine learning to identify “toxic” comments, which it defines as “rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment that is likely to make you leave a discussion.”

Machine learning v human speech and interaction. Only one winner there. Can we agree to just let the bots and SEO wonks take over the Internet and the rest of us go down the pub?

 

Posted: 2nd, August 2017 | In: News, Technology | Comment


Alexis Sanchez was in Paris to get his UK work permit

alexis sanchez agents Paris

 

You read the news that Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has “agreed“a  four-year contract with Paris Saint Germain? You read that the Arsenal player had been in Paris to meet with PSG reps? And like me you thought it odd that no-one had a photo of Sanchez in Paris. Now Sanchez is in London, training with – yep – Arsenal. But the Daily Mail has news: “Judgment Day: Wantaway Sanchez flies back to London ahead of return to Arsenal… but what was he doing with his lawyer in Paris?”

He was, er, agreeing to play for PSG?

The Mail doesn’t answer. It just notes that “his brief stop-off in France has led to some fans questioning whether PSG is his next destination, while Man City supporters are still hopeful he will arrive at the Etihad.”

Hie next destination turned out to be Arsenal. Which leaves us to wonder what Sanchez was doing in Paris, if it wasn’t to sign a contract with PSG? The Daily Telegraph explains:

Ruben Inostroza Povea, who is Sanchez’s lawyer, uploaded a picture of the pair preparing to leave Santiago airport, Chile, on Sunday evening.

Odd. The paper said he was already in Paris. But at least his time there was a photo to prove that he wasn’t. But why was Sanchez heading to the French capital?

According to Povea’s Instagram picture, the trip included a stopover in Paris, where the forward is thought to have renewed his British work permit.

Just like he did in 2014, when he first joined Arsenal.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, August 2017 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Manchester City, News, Sports | Comment


Snowglobes top list of confiscated airport items

MArmite London airport

 

In a move that should have marketing types swooning, London City airport has issued a Marmite amnesty. Passengers passing through the airport found in possession of the processed spread will not have it seized at customs so long as the jar is the new 70g miniature. Passengers will be offered the chance to exchange any larger jars in their luggage for the smaller pots for free

It’s a move that should prove popular because Marmite was found to be the most common branded food item confiscated from passengers’ hand luggage.

“With 4.5 million passengers travelling through our doors each year, we see all kinds of weird and wonderful restricted items, including Marmite,” says Melanie Burnley, director of customer experience at London City airport. “The Marmite swap is a temporary but popular addition which means that whether you love it or hate it, you’ll still be able to get your Marmite fix when travelling from this airport.”

The airport has listed the 10 most commonly confiscated items:

Snow globes
Jams and spreads
Toiletries
Jars of chutney and pickles
Olive oil
Wine
Spirits
Marmite
Nutella chocolate spread
Furry handcuffs

No sign of knives, bombs, poison and all the other stuff the officials are actually looking for.

Posted: 1st, August 2017 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Did the Kosher Conspiracy do for Kevin Myers – sacked for using anti-Semitic tropes in the Sunday Times?

The Sunday Times has sacked Kevin Myers for his appalling article on the BBC gender pay gap. In it, Myers looked own the list of BBC earners and picked out Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman. The two Jews, he suggested, earned more because of their Jewishness.

The story is no longer on the paper’s website but you can see part of it below:

 

Sunday Times Kevin Myers Jews

 

Myers wrote:

I note that two of the best-paid women presenters in the BBC – Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, with whose, no doubt, sterling work I am tragically unacquainted – are Jewish. Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity. I wonder, who are their agents?”

Myers has gone. The paper has apologised. But how did the nastiness ever make it into print in the first place? Frank Fitzgibbon, editor of the Sunday Times Ireland, tells everyone: “As the editor of the Ireland edition, I take full responsibility for this error of judgement.”

Judgement? He means the story was looked at and approved? And what of Myers, who in 2009, wrote for the Irish Independent:

“There was no holocaust (or Holocaust, as my computer software insists) and six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich. These two statements of mine are irrefutable truths.”

That article remained online until yesterday. Didn’t the Sunday Times know what it was getting with Myers on the payroll? Didn’t it just get what it paid for?

 

 

Irish Indy Kein Myers holocaust

 

 

The New Statesman’s ‘Media Mole’ says Myers has been sacked for using an “antisemitic trope”. It goes on:

The Irish edition of the Sunday Times operates separately from the UK versions of the Times and Sunday Times. However, the column’s appearance on the TheTimes.co.uk is likely to reflect on the brand as a whole.

Rival organs like to stick the boot in, using the others’ pain to bolster their own sound morals. But readers might recall the New Statesman’s vile cover which employed another anti-Semitic trope, that of Jews being only out for themselves:

 

anti-Semitic new statesman kosher conspiracy

 

Its editor followed up:

“The cover was not intended to be anti-Semitic, the New Statesman is vigorously opposed to racism in all its forms. But it used images and words in such a way as to create unwittingly the impression that the New Statesman was following an anti-Semitic tradition that sees the Jews as a conspiracy piercing the heart of the nation.

“I doubt very much that one single person was provoked into hatred of Jews by our cover. But I accept that a few anti-Semites (as some comments on our website, quickly removed, suggested) took aid and comfort when it appeared that their prejudices were shared by a magazine of authority and standing.”

It’s funny how so many intelligent, sensitive and compassionate people keep getting it wrong and coming across as anti-Semitic bastards. But – hey-ho – you can’t legislate for your readers’ misunderstanding.

Sunday Times cartoon shows bloodstained Netanyahu burying Obama in his wall of death

Posted: 31st, July 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, News | Comment


Angelia Jolie’s celebrity colonialism comes a cropper

Angelina Jolie has been casting for her film set in Cambodia. The film, First They Killed My Father, features children living under Pol Pot’s murderous regime. According to Evgenia Peretz writing for Vanity Fair, the auditions involved a novel form of mental torture and exploitation. Jolie, a woman with the purchasing power to pluck orphans from slums, slap an ‘X’ on the names and transport them to an American mansion to appreciate the kind of lifestyle a Russian oligarch might find gauche, was looking for the right kind of desperate child:

To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie says. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.” Jolie then tears up. “When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral.”

Presumably all the losers in this ugly contest got an all-expenses paid trip back to the slums from whence they’d came. And what of the local stage school kids who’ve trained to act – because it’s all about pretending, right? Would Jolie pull a similar stunt in the US? Would poor children in Jolie’s native LA be used to make the stinking rich, self-aggrandising narrator’s moralising resonate with purpose and meaning?

Angelina Jolie says she’s been misrepresented. She responds:

Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present. Parents, guardians, partner NGOs whose job it is to care for children, and medical doctors were always on hand everyday, to ensure everyone had all they needed. And above all to make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history.

I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened.

The point of this film is to bring attention to the horrors children face in war, and to help fight to protect them.

Is grandstanding and ‘raising awareness’ better than coming up with solutions and handing over cash? Jolie’s work is a movie, something she hopes people in her homeland will spend their leisure time and money watching. Celebrity colonialism might well make viewers and fans in rich countries take notice of stuff in poorer places but is there a shred of evidence it changes lives other than those lucky enough to make it on the plane to the land of make believe?

Posted: 30th, July 2017 | In: Celebrities, Film, Key Posts, News | Comment


Reporting is sketchy in the Witton Station rape case

What facts we have are simply those reported over the newswires. A girl aged either 15 (BBC, Daily Telegraph) or 14 (Birmingham  Mail, Express) was allegedly raped twice at Witton railway station in two separate attacks.

The Times opts to age the alleged victim at 14 and 15:

 

witton rape crime

 

The story goes that the girl was with a friend at Witton station not far from Aston Villa football ground. The BBC says she was “approached by a man who led her to a secluded part of the station and raped her.” It was around 8pm. Reeling from her ordeal, the girl “flagged down a passing car and was assaulted again” at around 2am. There is no word on what happened to her friend.

The Times reports:

She had walked to the station with a friend but was led away by a man who approached her. Shortly after that attack, the girl walked out of the station and flagged down a passing vehicle to ask for help.

After getting into the car, she was then raped by the second man. Detectives from British Transport Police and West Midlands police are looking at CCTV and appealing for witnesses.

British Transport Police and West Midlands Police are treating it as two separate reports of rape.

The BBC describes the suspects:

The first attacker is described by police as an Asian man in his early 20s with light skin, brown eyes, skinny build and about 6ft tall.

Police said the second man was also Asian and in his early 20s and about 5ft 6in to 5ft 7in tall. He was of a large build, with a beard and wore a blue jumper and black jeans.

Police released CCTV images to the public. The Express follows up:

Khurram Rahi, 27, of Rosefield Road, Smethwick was arrested yesterday, July 29, morning in connection to an incident at Witton station on Tuesday 25 July.

He will appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ court on Monday morning.

A 34-year-old man from the Birmingham area who was also arrested on suspicion of rape,has been released under police investigation whilst enquiries continue.

Innocence must be presumed. So no speculation, please. But what of the second man police are seeking. In the Guardian he is described thus:

The man suspected of carrying out the second rape is described as thick set, about 5ft 6in, with large biceps.

The “Asian” part is now omitted.

Det Ch Insp Tony Fitzpatrick, from British Transport Police, tells media:

“This case has gained national interest and I am pleased we are now in a position to charge a man. However, we still have a suspect outstanding for the offence in the vehicle. I would urge anyone who may have any information regarding this attack to get in touch as soon as possible.”

Surely he means the ‘alleged offence in the vehicle’?

 

Posted: 30th, July 2017 | In: News | Comment


Casual anti-Semitism creeps into a Times story on BBC pay: Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz are Jews

Kevin Myers writes in the Sunday Times:

I note that two of the best-paid women presenters in the BBC — Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz, with whose, no doubt, sterling work I am tragically unacquainted — are Jewish.

Good for them. Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price, which is the most useful measure there is of inveterate, lost-with-all-hands stupidity.

I wonder, who are their agents? If they’re the same ones that negotiated the pay for the women on the lower scales, then maybe the latter have found their true value in the marketplace.

 

bbc jews

 

Ouch. How did that one slip past the editors?

sunday times jews bbc

 

Update: The Times online has removed the article.

PS: the Jewish Chronicle notes:

When the BBC reported on its list of highest-paid broadcasters on its News at Ten last night, it said there was no one from an ethnic background in the top 20.

Which was wrong (well, wrong depending on your definition of ethnic minority). For the top 20 included two Jewish women – Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz.

Spotter: Mat Morrison

 

Posted: 30th, July 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal offer Alexis Sanchez £300,000 a week one year deal and other tall stories

What news of Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean footballer last seen cradling the dog that most likely ate his homework when the Arsenal player was a lad? Is the Chilean as ill as she claims to be? That question to Arsenal manger, Arsene Wenger, who replies:

“Your job is to be suspicious. Your job is built on mistrust and my job is built on trust. That’s why I prefer my side… I had him [Sanchez] on text yesterday, he will come back as soon as possible. We were in touch with him and his doctor. There is no basic problem.

“He comes back on Tuesday. I cannot reveal what he says to me. I cannot reveal a secret conversation. He is flying back as soon as he is in position to fly back. He has flu, that is normally four to five days.”

The Sun gives its readers the side eye:

the sun alexis sanchez ill

 

but the facts are the facts. Sanchez is returning to Arsenal and will not be old, something Wenger has stated previously. To date the frenzied press have spotted Sanchez in Paris, where he was meeting with PSG reps in Paris before agreeing a four-year contract, talking in code, met with Manchester City’s reps in London, was on his way to Chelsea, is definitely staying at Arsenal – who will sell him for £80m – and was on his way to live his “dream” and play for Bayern Munich.

Today the Mirror publish more total balls. The paper brings news of a “new twist in the Alexis Sanchez saga”.

 

daily mirror balls alexis sanchez

 

The twist is:

Alexis Sanchez will tell Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger this week that he wants to join Manchester City.

How do we know this? We’re not told.

 

And, as exclusively revealed by Sunday Mirror Sport, he has priced himself out of moves to Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain by demanding £400,000 a week.

This would be the same Mirror newspaper that has told its readers:

Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez finalises deal to join Manchester City in blockbuster summer transfer signing – June 10, 2017

Bayern Munich prepared to make Alexis Sanchez their highest paid-player with £350,000-a-week offer – June 8, 2017

Arsenal superstar Alexis Sanchez targeted by super rich Inter Milan as “poster boy” of new era at San Siro – July 10, 2017

Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Paris Saint-Germain preparing £35million Alexis Sanchez bid? – July 30, 2017

So much for the Mirror’s scoops. And let’s not forget their news that Wenger has quite the club:

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

 

The paper adds today:

Wenger insists his star striker will not be sold – even for £50m, with less than 12 months left on his contract. Arsenal are preparing a compromise deal, with the offer of a one-year contract at £300,000 a week and a promise to review the situation next summer.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 30th, July 2017 | In: Arsenal, News, Sports | Comments (3)


Charlie Gard has died and journalists are ‘digging for dirt’

Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old boy whose life pitted reason against emotion, has died. Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, tells the Mail, which seem to have bought the parents’ story from Alison Smith-Squire’s Featureworld: “Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you Charlie.”

 

daily mail charlie gard covers

 

Over at Featureworld, another story is brewing. Smith-Squire writes an “open letter”:

While myself and the Charlie Gard family contemplate the death of a little boy, Alexi Mostrous ‘Investigations Editor’ at the Sunday Times is ringing me to dig up dirt on all of us for a nasty little story …

Smith-Squire addresses Mostrous:

Dear Alexi Mostrous

Do you have children? Are you a father? If you do you then you should be ashamed. Because in my opinion if you have any heart whatsoever you, Alexi Mostrous, never would never have rung me as you did today as Charlie is about to die and asked me how much money are myself and the Charlie Gard family making out of their story.

Many parents have been and are nasty sods. To be a breeder doesn’t make you any more or less compassionate than a man who has not fathered children. Are we impressed by people who have had children? Mostrous has merely asked a question. The top of the Featureworld site does include a section “HOW MUCH MONEY”.

 

 

The Mail framed Charlie Gard’s story as a “fight” not only for the child’s life but against medical advice and the ethics that underpins it. Surely a story can be told more than one way”? Isn’t Mostrous trying to do just that? As the late AA Gill noted, “Journalism isn’t an individual sport like books and plays; it’s a team effort. The power of the press is cumulative. It has a conscious human momentum. You can – and probably do – pick up bits of it and sneer or sigh or fling them with great force at the dog. But together they make up the most precious thing we own.”

You can read Smith-Squire’s letter in full here. In it she writes:

Let me tell you how it is. Let me show you, Alexi Mostrous, how compassion for interviewees and a desire to help them rather than ‘getting the story and making money’ is what my sort of journalism is about.

Let me guide you away from the nasty little world in my view you clearly exist in – where everyone is in it for money and you, a salaried staffer at the Oh so squeaky clean Sunday Times and The Times are apparently not…

Without someone like me ensuring vulnerable members of the public are guided through the media hell, some media individuals circle like vultures to take, take, take.

I am a mother myself of three children. So I can glimpse at the hell that Connie Yates and Chris Gard have gone through and the dark days to come.

Yes I am also a journalist . Of course I have to make a living. Like you, Alexi Mostrous I write stories for a living, I report on stories for a living, I supply photos to the media for a living.

This is why interviewees never pay me a penny. It is why I can represent them for free and indeed in some cases also broker deals so that newspapers and magazines are paying them.

The story of Charlie Gard’s plight captured hearts and minds. But ultimately it had something to do with money – if the child’s parents had more of it they could have funded treatment privately.

Posted: 28th, July 2017 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


Transfer balls: Bale joins Manchester United is a recurring fantasy

Transfer balls: questioned by Real Madrid’s official website, the club’s manager Zinedine Zidane was asked if Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo (the so-called ‘BBC’) were likely to remain.

“I hope the BBC stay for this season,” he replied. “I hope everyone remains. I want everyone who is here now to stay…but anything can happen right up until August 31.”

On the chance of Kylian Mbappe joining Real, Zidane added: “I’m the coach here and you’d have to ask someone else about that. We’re working on things and we’ll see what happens. We’ve got the players who are here now and we’ll just have to see what happens.”

All coy stuff, then. But stick it through the tabloid mincer and you get:

 

bale manchester united bale manchester united bale manchester united

 

That follows the Daily Express’s news of July 19 2017:

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has secret agreement to join Man Utd next summer

 

And there was the Manchester Evening News story of May 8 2017:

Gareth Bale has agreed to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford next season, should the club be able to guarantee involvement in next season’s elite European competition by winning the Europa League .

The story of Bale to United is a familiar one. In November 2015, the Sun said Bale was heading to Old Trafford and Real were in “crisis”. Bale never came. Real went on to win the Champions League.

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 28th, July 2017 | In: Back pages, manchester united, News, Sports | Comment


Charlie Gard: an emotive trial by media

charlie gard

 

Charlie Gard’s face is splashed across the Daily Mail’s front page. His face hovers above the word “MANSLAUGHTER”. The accusation is not levelled at those who have ruled that the child should die but given some of the reaction to his story it might as well be.

A judge, a rank the Mail not long ago labelled “enemies of the people”, has “ruled” that Charlie Gard cannot die at home. His parents’ words – “We’ve been denied out final wish” – complete the picture. This is another chapter of the story of parents v State – and once gain the State is winning.

Charlie Gard has featured on the Mail’s front page many times. His loving parents sold their story and we got to know about the chronically ill baby boy and his parents’ fight to defy the experts and allow him to leave hospital and undergo experimental treatment.

 

daily mail charlie gard covers

charlie gard newspapers

 

The court case is now over. Charlie Gard will not be subjected to any further treatment. His parents conceded defeat in their legal battle. He is being allowed to die. Reason has triumphed over hope. One US website told is readers that Charlie Gard is the baby the “British courts sentenced to death”. But the ruling was never that callous. Nothing close to it. The therapy on offer was no cure. The High Court judge heard from eight doctors and two nurses. He told the court: “The entire highly experienced UK team, all those who provided second opinions and the consultant instructed by the parents in these proceedings share a common view that further treatment would be futile.”‘ Charlie Gard is living what might be termed a faux life, kept going by machinery but not living autonomously. Medical opinion is in total agreement: he will never get better.

The judge added: “If Charlie’s damaged brain function cannot be improved, as all seem to agree, then how can he be any better off than he is now, which is in a condition that his parents believe should not be sustained?… with complete conviction… that it is in Charlie’s best interests that I accede to these applications and rule that Great Ormond Street Hospital (SOSH) may lawfully withdraw all treatment, save for palliative care, to permit Charlie to die with dignity.”

But emotions run high. Reason fails to inspire. The Star notes how “some on social media channels for campaign group ‘Charlie’s Army’ believe the tot will breathe on his own.” Would you take belief over medial knowledge?

So now news that Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have been denied time with their child.  They wanted to spend “a week or so” in a hospice with their son before the machines keeping him alive were switched off. But GOSH says that would require a round-the-clock intensive care team. And with none forthcoming by the courts’ deadline, a GOSH spokesman tells media: “Sadly, as the judge has now ruled, there is simply no way that Charlie, a patient with such severe and complex needs, can spend any significant time outside of an intensive care environment safely. The risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie’s life is an unthinkable outcome for all concerned and would rob his parents of precious last moments with him. As the judge has now ruled, we will arrange for Charlie to be transferred to a specialist children’s hospice, whose remarkable and compassionate staff will support his family at this impossible time.”

Intensive life support cannot be supplied away from a hospital intensive care unit. So Charlie Gard cannot die at home.

This, says the Mail, is “heart-wrenching”. Charlie’s mother tells the paper amid photos of a family picnic  by GOSH: “We just want some peace with our son, no hospital, no lawyers, no courts, no media just quality time with Charlie away from everything to say goodbye to him in the most loving way. Most people won’t ever have to go through what we have been through, we’ve had no control over our son’s life and no control over our son’s death.”

The parents now agree with his son’s doctors that he should die in a hospice. They want him to be kept alive for up to a week but medics say he should “slip away” within a few hours of arriving.

And so a baby kept alive for five months will be allowed to die. The medics who looked after Charlie Gard are not uncaring pen-pushers. GOSH and the courts are not places where children are sentenced to death and human life is cheap. Ethics matter.

But something nags. Was it all about money? And if it was – and money must always be a factor when resources are not infinite – why can’t a rich country provide for its own?

This struggle was for Charlie Gard and the future for us all. It was for those not yet born. It was for love, reason and force of argument. Through that we hope to get to the truth.

Posted: 28th, July 2017 | In: News, Tabloids | Comment


Reject new trolling laws: free speech means being free to lampoon and abuse MPs

British politicians have been subjected to a wave “of racism, sexism and homophobia” on social media, spiking during the General Election. Not all of it is satirical lampooning of our elected and unelected representatives. A fair amount of it is cruel and vindictive. But – yep, there’s the ‘but’ – so what? If you trammel what can and cannot be said to an MP, you have lost an essential part of democracy.

Tory MP Simon Hart said things have taken a turn for the worse. The “robust banter followed by a shake of the hand and a pint in the pub” of past campaigns has mutated into ‘”death threats, criminal damage, sexism, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and general thuggishness”. Was none of that there before? And can the downturn in pubic discourse be linked to the death of pubs, hastened by the smoking ban and tax on booze? The problem is not one of less pubs, of course, but more internet, which has given voice not only to the oppressed and isolated but also to the bigots, prudes, nutters, mentally negligible and mouth breathers.

So Theresa May PM has ordered the Committee on Standards in Public Life to investigate whether existing laws governing threats against MPs are enough. The mood is that new laws are required to keep MPs protected and the less attractive elements of the demos at bay. The Independent says the MPs are looking at “online trolling laws”.

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, had a word on her own experiences. “We are talking about mindless abuse and in my case the mindless abuse has been characteristically racist and sexist,” she said. “And just to outline I’ve had death threats, I’ve had people tweeting that I should be hung if ‘they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight’. There was an EDL-affiliated Twitter account BurnDianeAbbott, I’ve had rape threats, described as a pathetic, useless, fat, black, piece of shit, ugly, fat, black bitch.”

Nasty. But is being “pathetic” the same as being threatened with rape? Can mindlessness be banned? What about the figures?

Research undertaken by Buzzfeed News and the University of Sheffield looked at 840,000 tweets sent during the month before June 8.

It found that male Conservative MP candidates received the highest percentage of abuse on Twitter while male Ukip candidates were second with just over four per cent of their mentions deemed to be abusive.

Male Labour candidates were next with just under four per cent while female Conservative candidates were also on about four per cent.

Meanwhile, just over two per cent of female Labour candidate mentions were abusive.

What’s considered abusive?

 

Moron. Twat. Coward. Should such words be banned? Of course not. A new law that protects politicians from being hailed by such words – a law that criminalises us from using them when addressing one of our elected reps – is abhorrent.

In 1964, the US Supreme Court ruled that “debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

Well said.

Freedom of speech is, as AA Gill noted, “what all other human rights and freedoms balance on.” Don’t let them or anyone own it.

 

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Man knifes mind-controlling pig before hiding at bottom of swimming pool

pig killer

 

Bobby Andreas Heck, 41, is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and animal cruelty. Before his arrest, Heck was standing in his family’s home, accusing Mr. Oinkers, a pet pig, of “trying to control his mind”, it being known well that “all pigs are brainworkers”.

Heck claimed the pig was trying to force him to kill other pigs.

He then stabbed the pig.

Heck’s father grabbed Heck. Heck turned the knife on his father, knifing him in buttocks. Police were called. Heck fled. The cops found Heck holding his breath at the bottom of a neighbor’s swimming pool.

“It must be some kind of record for how long he held his breath underwater,” says an arresting officer. “I don’t think it was as long as ten minutes, but, heck, it had to have been at least six minutes, maybe seven. We were all amazed.”

Heck was pulled from the pool and roasted with a stun gun. His hairline (see above) remained undisturbed throughout.

The mind-controlling pig is recovering well and moving into the hairdressing business. Be afraid.

Posted: 27th, July 2017 | In: News, Strange But True | Comment