25th September

  Smart Arses...

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New Zealand schools ludicrously asks Thai students to rethink their nicknames, Pee, Poo, and Porn. What's the betting the centre's boss is nicknamed Dick?
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smart education centre logo Some Thai students are being asked to consider changing their nicknames for smoother cultural integration in New Zealand.

The 'Smart' NZ Education Centre said six out of 10 students who applied through the agency had been advised to rethink their nicknames. Chonnanit Na Songkhla (no doubt aptly nicknamed Nit), an agent at the centre, spouted:

Some nicknames may contain unfavourable pronunciation like 'poo', 'pee', 'chit', which resemble 'shit' or 'porn'. There are nicknames that you know will result with the student getting harassed if nothing is done.

Most Thais are given nicknames at birth, a tradition rooted in the belief that a second name will confuse evil spirits intent on snatching a newborn.

 

8th September

 Updated: The threadbare Fabric of British nightlife...

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Britain is suffocating its nightclubs with impossibly onerous regulations
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fabric logo One of Britain's best known nightclubs, Fabric, has been forced to close permanently after its licence was revoked by the council at the request of the police.

The Metropolitan police had asked the council to shut down the 2,500-capacity nightclub after the deaths of two teenagers in the space of nine weeks. One died after collapsing outside the club in August, while another died in late June.

At a meeting to consider the police request, Islington Borough Council decided that searches by security staff at the London venue had been:

Inadequate and in breach of the licence. People entering the club were inadequately searched.

It added that covert police operations suggested people were openly buying and taking illegal drugs on the premises and that staff should have been aware of it.

Leading figures who played at the venue, one of the most important for fans of electronic music, joined regulars in expressing their sorrow at the decision. A Change.org petition to halt the closure of the club had reached almost 150,000 signatures. Jacob Husley, who initiated the petition and has worked at the club's Sunday night party for the past eight years, said of the decision:

We are in shock. I am feeling a mixture of disbelief and anger and sadness ... It would be a devastating blow for London and culture, and clubs across the UK. It sets a precedent.

The chair of the Night Time Industries Association, Alan Miller, said he would start a grassroots fund to help save the club.

Fabric's campaign to stay open had been backed by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan who said:

London's iconic clubs are an essential part of our cultural landscape ... My team have spoken to all involved in the current situation and I am urging them to find a common sense solution that ensures the club remains open while protecting the safety of those who want to enjoy London's clubbing scene.

The MP for Islington, Emily Thornberry, also wrote on Facebook that she believed Fabric should stay open.

newsbeat logo Update: What next for the UK's club scene?

8th September 2016. See  article from bbc.com

The BBC has weighed in with a surprisingly damning indictment of the police and local authorities:

Fabric, one of Britain's best-known nightclubs, has been shut after the deaths of two clubbers. But fans, DJs and venue owners have decried the decision, saying it will not solve the drug problem but will have a chilling effect on the clubbing scene.

Our culture has been torn apart, tweeted dance act Chase & Status , noting that almost all of London's iconic dance venues have now closed their doors.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh said the decision marked the beginning of the end of our cities as cultural centres .

And a host of other artists and DJs, from Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers to Radio 1's Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw, also expressed their dismay.

Singer Roisin Murphy told the BBC: For London it is a sign of things going downhill, in terms of being a fun place. I think people have seen the same thing happen in New York.

...Read the full article from bbc.com

 

27th August

  Don't use WhatsApp to call your mistress or toy boy...

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Lest Facebook use your phone log to suggest them as friends to your partner
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whatsapp logo The UK's data protection agency has announced it is looking into Facebook's plans to use WhatsApp phone numbers and customer data to generate leads and for personalised advertisng on Facebook.

Privacy fears were raised earlier this week when a change in WhatsApp privacy policy revealed it users' phone numbers would be passed to the parent company to inform ads and for providing friend suggestions.

Mirroring the concerns of many Brits, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said it will monitor how WhatsApp data is shared with the Facebook. Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement :

We've been informed of the changes. Organisations do not need to get prior approval from the ICO to change their approaches, but they do need to stay within data protection laws. We are looking into this.

Denham said ICO planned to pull back the curtain and ensure both Facebook and WhatsApp were providing users with the requisite transparency.

Plenty of users have objected to the plans, with many choosing to opt out and not to share the details with Facebook.

 

27th August

 Offsite Article: The War on Cash...

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tax man pointing Banks, governments, credit card companies and tech evangelists all want us to believe a cashless future is inevitable and good. But this isn't a frictionless utopia, and it's time to fight back. By Brett Scott.

See article from countercurrents.org