Farangland News

2010: April-June

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30th June   

Theresa May: Human Rights Abuser!...

A right to married life is only available to some Brits if they emigrate
Link Here

Theresa May
Human Rights Abuser

The Home Secretary Theresa May has recently announced that foreign spouses of British people will only be able to settle in Britain once they have learnt to speak English.

A twist, raised by how this restriction affects people seeking asylum, has resulted in a fascinating admission:

Human rights no longer apply in Britain as long as people have the ability to emigrate to somewhere else.

The issue arises over the launch of Britain's first-ever cap on immigration and a requirement for all immigrants to pass an English speaking test.

Based on article from  dailymail.co.uk

Former Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said: This ruling means that a British man who marries, say, a Brazilian girl who can't speak English will not be able to bring her into this country.

The Tories gave the impression that the English speaking test would apply to all immigrants.

However, a little-noticed Commons written reply last week said: The new language requirement will not apply to dependants of refugees and people granted humanitarian protection in the UK.

The Government granted the exemption after being warned that forcing refugees' dependants to learn English breaks Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which gives everyone the right to a family life .

Lawyers say a refugee could argue that as they cannot return to their country, they can gain their right to family life only by having it allowed in the UK whether or not they speak English. Britons whose foreign spouses cannot speak English could get their human right by emigrating.

So how many other human rights can be denied on the grounds that you can always emigrate?


22nd June   

Loose Tackle...

New Zealand nutters wound up by a bit of naked rugby fun
Link Here

New Zealand's TV3 is being accused of striking a new all-time low in broadcasting standards.

Nutters of Family First are lodging a formal complaint over an item featured on the late night news show Nightline . It featured naked men in training for the annual nude rugby game in Dunedin.

Family First's National Director Bob McCoskrie says the images were full-frontal, and there was no attempt to pixellate them. He says it is meant to be a news bulletin and not an R16 movie, and the network has crossed a dangerous line.


19th June   

Update: Discriminatory Scottish Police...

Stereotyping the English as easily offended by lighthearted football banter
Link Here
Full story: Anyone but England...Police investigate football shirt banter

Retailer HMV has withdrawn anti-English World Cup banners, following complaints to police that they could incite racial hatred.

Record chain HMV has removed items with the letters ABE which stands for Anyone But England from window displays in its Scottish stores.

It follows a number of objections from the public to the company, as well as a complaint to the police from the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP).

A police officer visited an HMV store in Kirkcaldy constituency earlier this week and company bosses quickly agreed to remove the banners from all their stores north of the Border.

Now HMV said it was no longer actively promoting the ABE goods, including T-shirts, through banners and displays, and that it would stop selling them once stocks had been sold. [they will hardly have chance to restock, England don't look like lasting long]

Stuart Parr, a member of the CEP's national council whinged: The Campaign for an English Parliament will challenge any company that incites racial hatred towards the English, he said. Racism is unacceptable no matter who it is directed against, including English people.

But Tam Ferry, from the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said: This is just political correctness gone mad again: I have got one of the T-shirts, and I think it's great that HMV were putting up banners.

Football is all about rivalry and having a bit of banter. Have the police got nothing better to do than take away a bit of fun from people? There's bigger problems in this country that they should be dealing with rather than this.

Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has described the ABE slogan as good-natured banter that was unlikely to cause offence .

Aberdeen North SNP MSP Brian Adam said: I would have thought that it's all light-hearted and not in any way serious. If people take offence, they should remember that we have to put up with a lot of images about Scotland, such as the ones about mean and miserable Scots. Also, people in Scotland might take exception to having goods promoted with images of the English team on and the English flag. The whole thing will be over soon and people should just get a sense of humour.

A spokeswoman for Fife Constabulary said: We received a complaint on Monday 14 June, regarding the Anyone But England banners. An officer attended the HMV store in Kirkcaldy and spoke to the manager there to make him aware of the complaint and to give advice. Ultimately, it was HMV's decision to remove the banners.


14th June   

Leading the Way in Extortion...

£1000 fine for a dog lead that's too long
Link Here

A cash-strapped council has come up with an ingenious way of raking in revenue from law-abiding people

Dog owners are facing £1,000 fines if they take their pets to the park on long leads.

The ban on leads longer than 2m applies to dozens of parks and open spaces. Common retractable leads are generally 5-8m in length.

Bosses at Tameside council claim they have brought in the measure to reduce dog fouling. The council says owners are more likely to clean up after their pets if they are on a short lead.

bigbrotherwatch.org.uk asked: I would love to see the council's research that suggests the distance between dog-on-lead and dog-owner is representative of the likelihood of said dog-owner cleaning up dog mess. I would predict that no such research exists (not even a council would be stupid enough to commission something like that) - but even if it did, I would think that the personality of the dog owner is a far stronger (if not the strongest) indicator of whether dog mess is cleared-up.

Overall, it takes a sane person all of 10 seconds to realise this idea is completely barking mad (if you'll excuse the pun). Rather than targeting the people that leave dog mess, it hits law-abiding dog walkers in the pocket. Fining someone for the length of their dog lead is absurd; fining someone £1000 is outrageous.


12th June   

Update: US Morality Police...

New York State police charge woman with adultery
Link Here
Full story: Adultery...Check the marital status of your girl

Suzanne Corona faces prosecution under the rarely used adultery laws after she was caught with Justin Amend.

The pair were arrested on suspicion of having sex on a picnic table in a park in the small upstate New York town of Batavia.

They were charged with public lewdness but Corona was also maliciously hit with an additional charge of adultery because the arresting officer said he knew she was married. Amend was not charged with adultery because he said he did not know Corona was married.

Under a law enacted during the early 1900s, adultery is a criminal offence punishable by a fine and prison sentence. The law has rarely been used but remains on the statute books of ten U.S. states. Section 255.17 of the New York State penal law states: A person is guilty of adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse. It is now considered a Class B misdemeanour and is punishable by a £350 fine and 90 days in jail. adultery story

Legal experts said Corona was only the 13th person in New York in the past 40 years to be charged with adultery.

Corona and Amend were spotted by police sitting on a picnic table in full view of people in the park. When officer Matthew Baldwin approached the couple, they insisted they were just talking . Corona was fully clothed but Amend's shirt was off and his trousers were unbuttoned as Corona sat on his lap.

Corona denied they were having sex and said they had chosen a picnic table out of the view of others in the park. She later made a brief appearance at Genesee County Courthouse where she arrived with her husband. Corona did not enter a plea but instead said she planned to challenge the constitutionality of the laws making adultery a crime.

Her husband of six years said he planned to stand by his wife and help her fight the adultery charges.


10th June   

Testing Times...

A new English test for those wanting to take their Thai ladies to the UK
Link Here

Thousands of foreigners who want to marry a British person will have to pass an English test before being allowed to enter the country.

The new rule will come into force in the autumn and will mean that non-EU migrants seeking a visa to marry will need to be able to understand English at the level of a child of 5 or 6.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said: I believe that being able to speak English should be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to settle here. The new requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services.

The Government also indicated that the new tests for those seeking a spousal visa would be made more difficult in years to come.

The English language test will apply to about 38,000 spouses, civil partners and fiancés a year, including many from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan who come for arranged marriages. Officials believe that the number of spousal visas will fall by 6,000 a year.

The new test will apply to spouses or civil partners, fiances or proposed civil partners, unmarried partners or same sex partners of a UK citizen or permanent resident.

Testing will be provided overseas at centres accredited by the UK Border Agency. The Home Office said that it thought migrants would need to undertake between 40 and 50 hours tuition to meet the required standard. Applicants will be able to repeat the test until they pass.


9th June   

Getting Rid of Labour Rubbish...

Refuse collection fines set to be thrown out
Link Here

  Government faces fines for
overfilling bins with
Labour's old rubbish

Powers which allow council bin police to fine households who leave rubbish out on the wrong day are set to be scrapped.

Under current rules, so-called bin police can levy a standard £110 penalty fine for a household waste offence - such as putting rubbish out on the wrong day or not closing a bin lid.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles is understood to be looking at scrapping these powers. One source close to Pickles said: This is something we are looking at. That is the direction of travel. We are looking at things bit by bit.

Pickles said that instead, families should be rewarded for the amount they recycled, along similar lines to a scheme operating in Windsor and Maidenhead where thousands of householders get vouchers to spend in local shops or leisure facilities in return for recycling their waste.

Under the scheme, households place recycled material into special recycling bins, which are then weighed by refuse lorries using a microchip built into the bin.

Cllr Liam Maxwell, lead member at the council for policy and performance, said: Paying the public to recycle works it increases recycling rates, reduces our environmental impact, reduces council tax and helps local businesses. The results of our trial with 6,000 local homes far exceeded our expectations. Our policy is to put residents first: we believe that incentives not penalties are the best way of encouraging every resident to recycle more, and more frequently. This reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill and brings economic benefits for our local businesses in these difficult times.

Unfortunately, leaving the refuse weighing technology in place leaves an opportunity for a future Labour govenment to restore its stasi nastiness.


6th June   

Miserable Policing...

Police use actors to hassle pubs for serving drunk customers
Link Here

British coppers to get new uniforms
to reflect policing in the 21st Century

Police have been accused of entrapment after sending amateur actors into pubs to order drinks while swaying and announcing to bar staff in a slurred voice I'm hammered .

Two actors visited ten pubs in Bexley, southeast London, and managed to get served in every one of them despite reeking of alcohol, slurring their words, fumbling their change and shoving other customers on their way to the bar.

They later repeated the performance at a conference for local publicans and bar managers who insisted, unanimously, that they would be refused service and asked to leave. They were stunned when a senior police officer revealed: You've already served them.

Under current legislation, bar staff caught serving alcohol to intoxicated drinkers are liable for an £80 fixed penalty notice or a fine of up to £1,000.

Although the bar staff served the hired actors they can not be prosecuted because they were not actually drunk.

Bexley Police are planning to step up their undercover initiative lest anyone gets to enjoy a drink during the World Cup.


5th June   

The Pattaya Connection...

Cumbrian killer was a Pattaya regular and a sponsor
Link Here

Derrick Bird, the Cumbria shootings gunman, has been making the newspapers with connection sto Thailand and Pattaya.

He has been partaking in twice yearly trips to Thailand's fleshpots in a group nicknamed The Bad Boys.

One of the Bad Boys was Chris Bulmer who owned one of the trio's favourite haunts at Pattaya Beach - Spicy Girls A Go-Go. (Which has now been closed for 18 months)

Bulmer said: I knew a fair bit about him and when I heard a cabbie had gone berserk with a gun in Cumbria I stared at the telly. His picture came up and I recognised him instantly. I felt sick.

He told how Bird not only sent a bargirl a fortune from Britain, but bombarded her with messages promising to return to Thailand so they could be together.

Careful who you tease about being a Cheap Charlie

Based on article from  telegraph.co.uk

Derrick Bird, the Cumbria shootings gunman, was deported back to Britain after he was involved in a drunken row at a Middle Eastern airport, friends said.

The 52 year-old taxi driver become involved in the drunken rage with a friend at Doha airport in Qatar after being teased about money.

Security at the airport refused to allow him to board his connecting plane to the Thailand capital Bangkok amid fears he was a flight risk .

He had been travelling to the east coast city of Pattaya with several friends for a pre-christmas holiday last year.

The group of divorced taxi drivers, aged in the late 40s and 50s who travelled to the country several times a year, started drinking heavily during their short stopover in Doha.

One unnamed member then started teasing Bird about money who then lashed out at the departure gate and was then restrained by security.

Police then deemed him too drunk to board the flight and took him to a secure location to sober up before deporting him back to Britain.

A friend, who asked not to be named, reportedly said: It all kicked off though when Birdy mentioned that he loved Thailand because it was cheap and someone made a joke about him being cheap. Birdy saw red. He went mad and went for him and officials had to step in. They'd never seen him flip before and it really shocked them. He must have had a lot of stress just bottled up. He was taken off and the next thing they knew was he wasn't allowed on the flight and was flown back to England.


4th June   

British Birdshit...

Pensioner fined for feeding the birds
Link Here

We have been dismayed to learn of another bird-feeding incident that has led to an elderly woman being slapped with an £80 on-the-spot fine.

A woman was fined £80 for littering after wardens caught her throwing bread crumbs to the birds. Heartless rubbish spies spotted the frail woman sprinkling bread over her garden railings onto the pavement for starlings.

Voluntary group St Peter's Neighbourhood Monitoring started the campaign to catch litter louts last year.

Spies record residents who litter then post the footage onto Youtube. Neighbours are then encouraged to name and shame those dropping litter.

Footage of people who litter is passed to the local authority who are then able to use it as evidence to issue fines.

There are any number of authoritarian crimes here - from Neighbourhood Monitoring groups dishing out justice; to spying on residents and illegal covert camera recording - but once again the real tragedy is the victim: a law-abiding elderly woman who has been fined most of her weekly pension for feeding the birds.


1st June   

Ridiculous Britain...

Tesco refuse to sell alcohol to 33 year old man without ID
Link Here

Tesco has been noted in the news for demanding ID from a 33 year old man and then refusing to sell him alcohol when he hasn't got any

Imposing their own unnecessary rules above and beyond the law ( Think 25 ) - driven in part by absurdly harsh laws that punish shops for misselling goods, and also by a total lack of common sense on the part of stupid, literalist, jobsworth staff. Rules is rules. You can't be too careful. Typical demonstration of the ridiculous culture we've allowed ourselves to fall into.

But wait, there's more: his fiancée (aged 29) was there, and gave her ID. The shop still wouldn't sell it to them because she might be buying it for a minor (i.e. the chappie, aged 33).


28th May   

Update: Expiry Date...

UK ID cards set for an early demise
Link Here
Full story: ID Cards in UK...UK introduces ID cards

ID cards will be history within 100 days, the government said as it published laws to destroy the scheme.

The Home Office, for years tasked with promotion of the project under Labour, said it aims to pass the Identity Documents Bill before the Parliamentary recess starts in August.

It is the first legislation introduced by the ConDem coalition. Both parties campaigned against the scheme at the election.

The National Identity Register, the database that was set to centrally store an array of personal information about every British citizen, will also be consigned to the political dustbin. The next generation of biometric passports, which would also have fed the National Identity Register, will be scrapped in separate legislation.

The wasteful, bureaucratic and intrusive ID card scheme represents everything that has been wrong with government in recent years, said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg: By taking swift action to scrap it, we are making it clear that this government won't sacrifice people's liberty for the sake of Ministers' pet projects.

A separate ID cards scheme for foreign nationals will go ahead.


27th May   

No Bottle...

Bottle censors ban Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head vodka
Link Here

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) has banned Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head vodka, deeming the bottle to be in poor taste. LCBO is the only legal source of distilled spirits in Ontario.

Aykroyd, an Ontario native, is unperturbed by the ban, which he says kind of makes the product more appealing.

A spokesman explains the LCBO's concerns:

The image of the human skull is the thing that's really problematic for us. That's an image that's commonly associated with death. It's especially problematic at a time when there are concerns around binge drinking by younger adults, which in some cases unfortunately has resulted in alcohol poisoning.

Whatever the merits of that argument, it's highly improbable that binge-drinkers will want to lay out $60 for a bottle of Aykroyd's super-premium vodka in the first place.


26th May   

Update: Ominous Double Speak...

Protester Brian Haw arrested whilst the Queen was saying her government would restore the right to peaceful protest
Link Here
Full story: Policing UK Demonstrations...Heavy handing policing of demonstrations

David Cameron's coalition government promised Britons a new era of freedom and civil liberties today, only hours after the country's most prominent antiwar campaigner was arrested outside Parliament.

Brian Haw, who has kept up an anti-war vigil for eight years, was forcibly detained and handcuffed at 8am as police with sniffer dogs moved in to search the ragtag collection of tents on Parliament Square. A supporter, Barbara Tucker, was also detained.

They were arrested under 'police can make it up as they go along' Section 5 of the Public Order Act. The two were being held at a Central London police station.

This morning's swoop was reportedly ordered by the Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to remove what he called the mess and chaos ahead of today's state opening of Parliament.

But it sat uneasily with the more libertarian and reformist elements of the Queen's Speech, which included widespread political and parliamentary reform and a new Freedom Bill which will enshrine the right of individuals to protest peacefully without fear of being criminalised .


24th May   

Safer Searches...

Google starts offering searches via SSL
Link Here

Google has begun rolling out an encrypted version of its search engine in an effort to protect Internet users from having their searches sniffed by Governments, ISPs and others on their network. The new version of Google is SSL encrypted and located at https://www.google.com .

SSL search means that an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google's servers. When you perform a search, your search terms and whatever results come back from them will only be visible to you. Anyone who might be sniffing packets on your network (such as, say, Google!) won't be able to see what you're looking up.

Google says it's only in beta for now. The reasoning for the beta tag is because SSL only covers the core search technology for the time being, and not for for searches such as Google Maps or Google Images.

Also, since SSL connections require additional time to set up the encryption between your browser and the remote web server, your experience with search over SSL might be slightly slower than your regular Google search experience, Google wrote in a blog post.


23rd May   

Searching for Something to Watch...

Internet TV based on Google search and Chrome browser
Link Here

Google has unveiled its long-rumoured new service for enabling viewers to browse the web while watching TV.

The new Google TV platform will combine the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the internet .

Using the Android operating system, Google TV-enabled sets will allow viewers to search content on the web and download applications via an on-screen Google Chrome browser.

Google TV will be incorporated into television sets and Blu-ray players manufactured by Sony, with the first products due to launch in the US this autumn.

In a statement, Google said: With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favourite websites and easily move between television and the web. This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the web. Your television is also no longer confined to showing just video.

Google further intends to tap into the Android developer community for creating a range of apps specially designed for the TV screen.


19th May   

Scary Shite...

Home inspections proposed to check on 'safety' for kids
Link Here

Parents of children under five are to get home checks to supposedly ensure they are keeping their youngsters safe.

Inspectors will check whether families have installed smoke alarms, stair gates, locks on medicine cupboards, windows and ovens, and fitted temperature controls to stop bath water getting too hot and no doubt be on the lookout for other unstated 'dangers'

The draft guidelines issued yesterday call for all families to have the option of home safety inspections by trained staff from the NHS or local councils. Health and safety organisations are told to identify homes where children are thought to be most at risk of accidents and offer home risk assessments .

In some cases, the offer will come after GPs or school nurses have raised the alarm because a child has been to hospital repeatedly for emergency treatment.

Mike Kelly, Nice's public health excellence centre director, said: Our aim is not to promote a nanny state ...[BUT]... It's a normal part of growing up for children to sometimes hurt themselves in day-to-day life, but we also need to prevent serious injuries from happening. These can have a profound effect on a young child right through to adult life, as they could be permanently disabled.

Simon Davies of the Privacy International pressure group said he was particularly concerned over the additional powers that would go to state officials. He added: This is a landmark expansion of government intervention in home life. It must be regarded with great concern. If the database identifies you but you are unco-operative or you refuse to comply, the next step will be your door broken down at five in the morning. That will happen as surely as night follows day.

A spokesman for NICE said all parents could take advantage of the scheme. She added: It's optional, it's not mandatory. Even if your GP suggests a home inspection because there have been a number of unintentional injuries, it must take place with consent.


16th May   

Foul Play...

Lincolnshire police support nutter scheme to log every adult purchase of alcohol against an ID card
Link Here

Police in North Lincolnshire support a big brother style swipe-card proposal that, if devised, could force adults to use it to purchase alcohol.

Nutters of Fair Play for Children are campaigning for a new scheme to be introduced to make it more difficult for underage children to get their hands on alcohol and deter adults from buying it for youngsters.

The swipe-card device would record details of every item purchased, date, place and time.

Also each can or bottle would have a strip which would contain details of where it was purchased, date and so on.

Any child found in possession of bottles or cans would therefore carry the evidence of the identity of the provider and where that person purchased it.

Sgt James Main, lead officer on the North Lincolnshire Respect scheme, said: We would welcome any scheme that would help to control the sale of alcohol to minors.


13th May   

Big Brother Printers...

Be warned that photocopiers retain every image on an internal hard drive.
Link Here

Most people don't know that photocopiers save an image of every scan or copy ever made.

I'd say that the general public has absolutely no clue that the high-end copiers have a hard drive inside them, said Clayton Moline, a data retrieval specialist with Data Doctors.

CBS 5 News asked him to grab four hard drives of random copiers that were scheduled to be recycled and analyze them to see what kind of information would pop up.

After just 15 to 20 minutes, we got the hard drives from those machines and started to analyze them on site, said Moline.

He found page after page of sensitive payroll data from the Scottsdale Tommy Bahamas restaurant. Names, Social Security numbers, even copies of payroll and traveler's checks were found after the first few clicks, but the hard drives often contain hundreds of thousands of documents.

These copiers are all over the place. Many people do not recycle them or they are being sold by a third party, whether it be a used computer shop or it could be something on Craigslist, said Moline.

For a few hundred dollars, identity thieves can get their hands on personal information, like medical and immunization records from a local health care facility that CBS 5 found during the survey.

No doubt the facility has been included for law enforcement purposes so that police can follow up on what their suspects have been up to.


11th May   

Update: Britain is being Protected by Lard Heads...

Man fined a grand for making an obviously jokey bomb threat
Link Here
Full story: Police Twitter Twits...Man charged over terrorism quip on twitter

A man who made a joke bomb threat on Twitter after his local airport was closed by heavy snow was ludicrously found guilty of sending a menacing electronic message.

Paul Chambers, who used the social networking website to express frustration at the potential disruption of romantic travel plans, becomes the first person in Britain convicted of posting an offensive tweet.

Chambers told his 600 Twitter followers: Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your s*** together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

District Judge Jonathan Bennett at Doncaster Magistrates' Court fined him £385 and told him the message was of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live . In addition to the fine, Chambers must pay a £15 victims' surcharge and £600 in costs.

Chambers, who lost his job as a company finance supervisor after his arrest and prosecution, said that it never crossed his mind that anyone would take the message seriously.

Chambers said the message, sent in the early hours, was his way of venting frustration at the possible postponement of a trip to which he had been looking forward. Its wording, he said, was innocuous hyperbole .

An off-duty airport manager spotted the message and alerted security staff, who contacted police. Chambers was arrested under the Terrorism Act, and questioned by detectives for almost seven hours. His mobile phone, laptop and home computers were confiscated. The court was told that police printed 460 tweets posted by Chambers over eight days in January.

He was found guilty of sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing nature, contrary to the Communications Act 2003.


10th May   

Contemptible Judge...

Judge jails woman for 2 days over her t-shirt
Link Here

Jennifer LaPenta was jailed this week by Lake County Associate Judge Helen Rozenberg who held her in contempt for wearing the T-shirt in her courtroom. It was emblazoned with the words: I have the Pussy so I make the Rules.

The judge asked me if I thought the shirt was appropriate for the courtroom, LaPenta said. I said I didn't think it was offensive but said I wouldn't have worn it if I was the defendant.

LaPenta said she offered to take the shirt off but that Rozenberg told her it was too late and was having her jailed for 48 hours for contempt of court.

LaPenta said she was asked by a friend to drive her to the courthouse in Waukegan so the friend could settle some minor traffic tickets. It wasn't long after she sat down that Rozenberg summoned her to the front of the courtroom and asked about the slogan.

I didn't mean to offend anybody, LaPenta said.

First Amendment Issues

Based on article from firstamendmentcenter.org

A similar situation occurred more than 30 years ago in another Illinois courtroom involving a then-19-year-old Sue Watts, who wore a T-shirt that read Bitch, Bitch in 5-inch letters. The Stephenson County court judge sentenced her to three days in jail for the vulgar shirt, saying: You're not very lady-like wearing that on the street, I don't think. It is a vulgarity. It borders on obscenity and it impinges on the dignity of the court.

On appeal, the Illinois appeals court reversed the trial judge's three-day contempt sentence, finding that the judge failed to act reasonably. In In Re Watts (1978), the court said contempt requires some form of constructive or actual knowledge of what conduct is forbidden in order that people can avoid such conduct.

The appeals court explained that Watts' shirt was not proper courtroom attire but noted that she was not given a reasonable opportunity to alter her behavior.

A key question is whether LaPenta was given an opportunity to replace her T-shirt. If she was not, the actions of the judge become questionable.


28th April   

Update: Bye Bye Brits...

Last ash victims cleared from Bangkok Airport
Link Here

The last Briton stranded in riot-hit Bangkok went home last night as Thai airlines finally cleared their backlog.


28th April   

Rubbish Britain...

Old rubbish recycled into Basildon environmental officers
Link Here

A grandmother has been dragged to court for carefully leaving a cardboard box next to a council recycling bin.

Lynne had taken the box which held her new washing machine to the recycling point at a Somerfield supermarket near her home in Wickford, Essex, in October.

It was too big to fit in the slot and the bin was nearly full. Lynne was filmed wedging it between two bins to stop it blowing away. Days later she got a card from Basildon Council asking her to call about an incident .

An environmental officer later turned up at the fancy dress shop she runs and handed her a £300 fine. She threw it in a bin and ordered him out. On March 22 she received a letter charging her with depositing controlled waste and summoning her before magistrates.

Many would have been bullied by the nasty council into paying up. Luckily, Lynne did not...so she was ordered before a court. However on the advice of a lawyer she requested trial by jury. What do you think happened...?

She has now received a letter, without apology or explanation, saying the council was dropping the case.


24th April   

Offsite: Like the last days of Saigon...

350 British tourists cause near-riot at Bangkok airport
Link Here

A rather good pictoral write up of the aftermath of the volcano ash fiasco.

Hundreds of angry and frightened Britons left stranded in Thailand by the volcanic dust cloud today were battling for plane seats out of the country's capital.

Many were left to sleep on cardboard mats in Bangkok airport after their money ran out.

Some were also without a meal or roof over their heads because non-European airlines - including Thailand's main air carrier - declined to offer customers hotel accommodation which must be offered by air carriers under EU regulations.

...Read the full article


23rd April   

Offsite: Copy Police...

Secretive international copyright enforcement treaty finally revealed
Link Here

  We have reason to believe
you may be concealing a
pirate mp3 up your arse!

We've been covering the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for two years now, and in that entire 24 month period no official text of the agreement has been released.

That all changed as the countries behind ACTA have finally released a consolidated draft text (PDF) of the agreement. Though billed as a trade agreement about counterfeiting, ACTA is much more than that: it's an intellectual property treaty in disguise.

Tucked inside the draft are provisions that will prevent people from bypassing digital locks on the items they buy, that will force ISPs to shoulder more of the burden in the fight against online piracy, and that bring US-style notice-and-takedown rules to the world.

The text is not final—that is due to happen later this year—so if you want to see changes made, the time to act is now. After a year of partial leaks and finally complete leaks, ACTA's basic outlines are familiar.

iPod-scanning border guards?

Early ACTA commentators often complained that the agreement might give customs officials the right to rifle through your bags and search your iPod, confiscating it if they determined that it contained any infringing songs. Border guards might become copyright cops, turning out the bags of anyone who has visited China, say, to see if they might be bringing home any illicit copies of movies or software.

This was always a strange idea; ACTA's backers are hunting bigger game than iPods. The draft text contains a de minimis provision that allows countries to exclude from ACTA enforcement Small quantities of goods of a noncommercial nature contained in travelers' personal luggage.

...Read full article

Update: Criminalisation

27th June 2010. Based on article from  boingboing.net

More leaks from behind the scenes at the secretive Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations: the EU is pushing for criminal sanctions for non-commercial copyright infringement. That means putting kids in jail for trading music with one another.

The ACTA agreement, by its opacity and undemocratic nature, allows criminal sanctions to be simply negotiated. The leaked document shows that the EU Member States are willing to impose prison sanctions for non-commercial usages of copyrighted works on the Internet as well as for 'inciting and aiding', a notion so broad that it could cover any Internet service or speech questioning copyright policies.

EU citizens should interrogate their governments about their support to policies that obviously attack freedom of speech, privacy and innovation. Around the next round of negotiations and beyond, ACTA should be restlessly combatted and opposed worldwide. concludes J้r้mie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.


21st April   


Long distance traffic surveillance and speed enforcement
Link Here

Speed cameras which communicate with each other by satellite are being secretly tested on British roads.

The hi-tech devices can follow drivers' progress for miles to calculate whether they have broken speed limits.

Combining number plate recognition technology with global positioning satellites, they can be set up in a network to monitor tens of thousands of cars over huge areas.

Known as SpeedSpike, the system uses similar methods of recognition as the cameras which enforce the congestion charge in London, and allow two cameras to talk to each other if a vehicle appears to have travelled too far in too short a space of time.

After a covert national trial which has not been publicised until now, authorities hope the new cameras will enable them to re-create the system used on motorway contraflows. The Home Office is currently testing them at two sites - one in Southwark in London and another on the A374 between Antony and Torpoint in Cornwall.

Conservative MP Geoffrey Cox, whose Devon constituency is close to the Cornish test site, said fundamental questions had to be addressed before such an alarming level of surveillance was extended: You always have to ask if it is really necessary to watch over people, to spy on them and film them. We will get to a point where it becomes routine and it should never be a matter of routine that the state spies on its citizens.

In the company's evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee, it boasted of number plate capture in all weather conditions, 24 hours a day as well as pointing out the system's low cost and ease of installation. The company believes the cameras can be used for main road enforcement for congestion reduction and speed enforcement , can help to eliminate rat-runs and cut speeds outside schools.


20th April   

Update: When the Dust Settles...

Flights from Britain
Link Here

Scottish airports likely to open at 7am 20-4-10
Manchester airport likely to open at 9am. 20-4-10
London main airports unlikely to open

by Thursday 22-4-10 should be fully working

Dunkirk repeat in confusion

Some passengers are being told it could be six weeks
to return them from long-haul destinations.

or read all this

ps French railways are on strike


18th April   

A Warning Shared...

File sharers targeted for extortion via malware
Link Here

A new type of malware infects PCs using Japanese file-share sites and publishes the user's net history on a public website before demanding a fee for its removal.

The trojan installs itself on computers using a popular file-share service called Winni, used by up to 200m people. It targets those downloading copies of games in the Hentai genre, an explicit form of anime.

The virus, known as Kenzero, is being monitored by web security firm Trend Micro in Japan. Masquerading as a game installation screen, it requests the PC owner's personal details.

It then takes screengrabs of the user's web history and publishes it online in their name, before sending an e-mail or pop-up screen demanding a credit card payment of 1500 yen (£10) to settle your violation of copyright law and remove the webpage.

Website Yomiuri claims that 5500 people have so far fallen victim.

Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro said Interestingly we've seen a separate incident that focuses on European victims, he said.

A fictitious organization calling itself the ICPP copyright foundation issues threatening pop-ups and letters after a virus searches the computer hard drive for illegal content - regardless of whether it actually finds anything.

It offers a pretrial settlement fine of $400 (£258) payable by credit card, and warns of costly court cases and even jail sentences if the victim ignores the notice. However rather than take the money, the outfit sells on the credit card details, said Ferguson.

If you find you are getting pop-ups demanding payments to settle copyright infringement lawsuits, ignore them and use a free online anti-malware scanner immediately to check for malware, was his advice.

Update: Apprehended

29th May 2010. See  article from  tgdaily.com

Japanese police have arrested two individuals accused of spreading a nefarious piece of malware that stole personal information and posted it on the Internet.

The malware was reportedly spread via the Winny peer-to-peer file-sharing network posing as an adult-themed Hentai game. Upon installing the program, victims were asked to enter their name, date of birth, contact details and other personal information

At the same time, information such as browser bookmarks were being stolen from the users' computer. At this point afflicted users probably didn't realise anything untoward has occurred. They later they received an email, asking for a fee to be paid to have the information removed.

Over 5,000 PCs had been targeted by the two extortionists.


16th April   

Offsite: Wrong Type of Cloud...

Why northern Europe flights are cancelled
Link Here

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are all doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.

When volcanic ash stopped a Jumbo at 37,000ft from news.bbc.co.uk


13th April   

Schengen Accord...

Visa rejections for Thai girlfriends to visit Europe are speeded up
Link Here

A new visa code has come into force in most EU member states, speeding up and standardising visa procedures for travellers to Europe.

The new rules apply to the 25 countries in the Schengen zone, where people can cross borders without passport checks.

Schengen embraces 22 EU countries and three non-EU nations - Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. The UK and Irish Republic are among those outside.

Getting a Schengen visa will be faster and fairer , the EU Commission says.

The code applies to third-country nationals seeking a short-stay visa for travel within the zone - that is, valid for 90 days. Visas for long stays - beyond 90 days - remain under national jurisdiction.

The European Commission says the visa code is now being applied by Schengen countries' consulates worldwide.

The code sets a maximum deadline of two weeks for states to interview a visa applicant. Then officials have to decide within 15 days whether or not to grant a visa.

Currently officials do not have to explain a refusal to grant a visa, but from 5 April next year they will have to give a reason. Disappointed applicants will have a right of appeal.

The code also introduces a reduced visa fee of 35 euros (£31; $47) for children aged between six and 12. The normal fee is 60 euros.

The five EU countries that remain outside Schengen are: the UK, Irish Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus.


10th April   

Con Demmed...

Lib Dems wind up British expats over denying them voting rights
Link Here

Just fancy that. A member of the Liberal Democrats on behalf of leader Nick Clegg, has written to James Preston, heroic campaigner for the expat right to vote, to say that his party supports existing legislation preventing British expats from voting back home after residing overseas for more than 15 years.

That's all very well for Mr Clegg to say but surely he can't have his cake and eat it? Like Gordon Brown, he seems happy enough for British expats like Mr Preston to keep contributing to the government's coffers, but doesn't concede that they should be able to vote in UK parliamentary elections. Perhaps the leader of the Liberal Democrats is just too blas้ to bother about garnering the vote of an estimated 5.5 million British expats, approximately 10% of the UK population, living overseas. Of course if short-sighted Mr Clegg did the maths he might realise what an impact such a collective vote could have on his ailing party.


9th April   

Police Dicks...

Police censors confiscate willy garden ornament
Link Here

A curiosity shop owner and councillor has had his stone willy seized by police after complaints it was supposedly obscene.

Jason Hadlow, chairman of Yarm Town Council and owner of the Simply Dutch store in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was left gobsmacked at the confiscation.

Now he faces an £80 fine to get his 4ft high masonry manhood back - something he has refused to do. Hadlow has instead ordered 150 more of the garden ornaments from Indonesia, 10 of which have already been sold.

It's absolute madness they've taken this willy - it was right there in the shop window next to a statue of Venus and a replica of Michelangelo's David, said the entrepreneur, who lives in Yarm. They involve boobs and willies - and there was a sign nearby saying Big Dick's Sausages and they didn't take that.

Hadlow was given 24 hours to remove the stone penis. When officers returned and he hadn't complied, it was put into a police van and Hadlow ordered to pay an £80 fine to release it or face court action. He added: The policewoman said it was 4ft tall. It's not that high, but people do often overestimate when it comes to willy size.

Hadlow has 21 days to pay the fine - but is hoping a Facebook group he set up called Free Willy will persuade the police to drop the charges - at the time the Evening Gazette went to print today he had 269 supporters online.

A spokesman for the North Yorkshire Police dicks said: The owner of Simply Dutch was visited on March 31 following a complaint from a member of the public. He was given the opportunity to remove the offending item within 24 hours. Officers returned the next day and issued him with a penalty notice for disorder for committing a public order offence after his decision to leave the item on view.


6th April   

Update: A New Life Outside of Dubai...

Air Stewardess cannot return to Dubai home as she becomes unmarried mum
Link Here
Full story: Dangerous Kisses in Dubai...Kiss and tell and go to jail

An air stewardess fears she can't return to Dubai where she lives because she has had a baby out of wedlock.

Irish Ex-pat Liz Curry has Alexandra during a 24-hour stopover in South Africa.

Dubai's strict Muslim laws mean Liz could now be sent to prison if she goes back to the country where she has lived for eight years.  The penalty for having sex outside marriage is at least three months in prison followed by deportation.

Liz said: I'm on unpaid leave at the moment but I can't go back to work in Dubai because of the law. I'm unmarried so if I'd had the baby in Dubai I would have been arrested and I can't take that risk.


5th April   

A Strategically Located Pizza Slice...

Australian police censor Pizza advert
Link Here

Shop owners call it clever marketing, but some local nutters called it pornography.

The cut-out drawing of a naked woman with a pizza slice covering her nether regions in the window of Pizza Supremo in Murray Bridge has had tongues wagging.

But owners Damien Eve and Sarah Budarick who have had to remove the artwork after a visit from the police, say they don't know what all the fuss is about.

The eye-catching piece - painted by Mrs Budarick is entitled A Slice of Heaven .

But since then, there have been complaints about the sign, with nutters describing it as offensive and even porn.

Gloria Booker, Murray Bridge Council's manager of development and environmental services, told the Sunday Mail she had received four written complaints and six phone calls about the sign on Pizza Supremo's roof, which is close to a primary school.


5th April   

Number Plate Spies...

Liberty to challenge UK's mass traffic surveillance
Link Here

UK Police chiefs are facing the threat of a High Court privacy action over a nationwide network of cameras that is being used to take up to 14m photographs of motorists every day.

The images are being stored daily on a huge Big Brother database linked to automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) technology to track vehicles' movements.

The records not only include details of car registrations, but often photographs of drivers and front-seat passengers, a police document has revealed.

They are being held on a database in Hendon, north London, for at least two years without drivers' knowledge or permission.

This weekend Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, the civil rights group, said it planned to launch the first legal challenge to the surveillance system: It's bad enough that images and movements of millions of innocent motorists are being stored for years on end, she said. That the police are doing this with no legislative basis shows a contempt for parliament, personal privacy and the law. Yet another bloated database is crying out for legal challenge and we will happily oblige.

Liberty is seeking a motorist of good character who objects to having their daily movements stored on the ANPR database to bring a test case.

The ANPR network has expanded unchecked by parliament since police first decided to develop a national system in 2006. It is now linked to more than 10,000 CCTV cameras discreetly placed on motorways, main roads and in petrol stations. It has also been integrated with the cameras originally set up in 2003 to enforce the congestion charge in London.

Software being developed for the system will eventually allow police to track the movements of up to 100m vehicles at any time — more than double the number currently on the road. The database can also be mined to track the past movements of specific vehicles.

Liberty says there has been a massive expansion of ANPR in the past 18 months. New police figures show that the number of images stored from vehicles in the Milton Keynes area alone has risen from almost 1.8m in 2008 to 8.9m last year.

Acpo said that between 10m and 14m images were being stored nationally each day. A spokesman pointed out that on one day last month, police made 249 arrests and seized 431 vehicles as a result of ANPR.

Deputy Chief Constable Simon Byrne, the head of Acpo's national user group on ANPR, said: By denying criminals use of the roads, the police will be better able to enforce the law and prevent and detect crime.


5th April   

Update: Kissing Visitors Goodbye...

Dubai not a nice place to visit as couple seen kissing are jailed
Link Here
Full story: Dangerous Kisses in Dubai...Kiss and tell and go to jail

A British couple jailed in Dubai for kissing in public have lost their appeal against their conviction.

Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams were sentenced to a month in prison with subsequent deportation and fined about £200 for drinking alcohol.

The couple were arrested in November after a vengeful local woman accused them of breaking the country's decency laws by kissing on the mouth in a restaurant.

The couple's defence lawyers said the woman - who did not appear in court - had not seen the kiss herself, but had been told by her two-year-old child that the girl had seen the couple kissing.

The pair said they would make a second appeal against the judge's decision. The couple decided not to start their sentence immediately, but the Dubai authorities are holding their passports so they are unable to return to Britain.

The BBC's Ben Thompson, at the court, said the judge spoke entirely in Arabic as he quickly dismissed the appeal, saying he upheld the previous sentence.

Professor John Strawson, an expert in Islamic law, told BBC Radio 5 Live he was not surprised by the judge's decision. He said: The problem in this particular case is that one of the British citizens is of Muslim origin.

And I think that the combination of the alleged kissing and the consumption of alcohol in an illegal place, meant that this was a case that the authorities really wanted to pursue, and they are probably sticking to their rigid interpretation of the law.


4th April   

Fat Profits...

Expensive chocolate at airport duty free
Link Here

Travellers hoping for Easter chocolate bargains could find airport duty free outlets more expensive than supermarkets. Treats such as a 400g bar of Toblerone can cost as much as £5 in duty free compared with £2 at Asda, the retail price comparison website mySupermarket.co.uk found.

And if you're lucky, your local pound shop sells them at £1.

A 400g box of Cadbury Roses can cost £5.50 in duty free compared with £2.69 at Sainsbury's, and a 400g Lindor offering costing £10.50 at duty free is £6 at Ocado.

MySupermarket.co.uk spokesman Jonny Steel said: Many holidaymakers are still under the illusion that products in duty free always represent good value which is sadly not always the case.


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