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30th September   

Fingerprinting Slot Machine Players...

Australian PM exceeds her daily limit of gambling away tax payers' money
Link Here

Slot Machine Mania Dwayne CreveltThe spending habits of Australian poker machine players would be tracked by their fingerprints and memory sticks under a proposal supposedly tackling gambling addiction.

Clubs are calling to rule out possible technology that would force a finger print scan for pokies players. The radical proposal, known as mandatory pre-commitment , is being considered by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to fulfil her gambling deal with independent Andrew Wilkie.

Ms Gillard has promised to bring in mandatory pre-commitment by 2014 to stop gamblers blowing too much money on the pokies.

Options to implement the scheme include smartcards to police daily limits in all machines - which could be open to cheating - or a more secure system where each gambler would be set a daily limit and a USB memory stick carrying their fingerprint.

The Government has put anti-gambling Senator Nick Xenophon and Wilkie on a parliamentary committee to work out how the regime would be implemented.

Under the scheme, the smart cards or USB sticks would be linked to every club and pub to ensure people didn't pass their daily gambling limit.

 

30th September   

Fearful Policing...

Police snitched to employer after finding photos of sunbathing neighbour and mini-skirted girls on the street
Link Here

Old BaileyWhen should the police disclose a person's private sexual practices to his employer?

The high court has just ruled that a detective inspector breached a man's human right to privacy by telling his employer that he had been taking pictures of short-skirted women in the street without their knowledge.

The police had searched this claimant's house whilst investigating a woman's disappearance. During the search, they found adult pornographic pictures and DVDs. He had large telephone bills, some over £1,000, from calling sex chat lines, and had filmed his own masturbation. None of this was illegal.

What concerned the police were voyeuristic photographs found on his mobile phone of a woman sunbathing in the next door garden, as well as pictures and videos of various woman taken in the street seemingly without their consent.

But was this behaviour dangerous? The experienced detective inspector decided that it was. In his view, the claimant's pursuit of sexual gratification was not constrained by the boundaries of morally acceptable behaviour and his behaviour may be capable of escalating into sexual offending as these boundaries are eroded. He was therefore a clear danger to young woman.

The claimant worked in a university and volunteered at Mind, a mental health charity. The detective decided to tell them of his concerns, in order, he claimed, to protect the young women he might come into contact with.

A sued the police, arguing that they had breached his human rights by making the damaging revelations without proper cause.

The high court agreed. The police had been too heavy-handed, and had not taken enough care before deciding to disclose the claimant's sexual practices.

 

25th September   

Offsite: Snitches...

Daily Mail let British parents know what their backpacking kids get up to in Thailand
Link Here
full moon party

  Well it looks like they are
having a good time to me

Is THIS what your teenager is up to on their gap year? Graphic dispatch reveals the dangerous reality of what's meant to be a cultural experience

Were it not for the waves of green, clinking beer bottles, you'd think the hundreds of inert bodies strewn along the shore had washed up dead.

Behind them, many more youngsters are slumped, their heads between their knees, vomiting into the sand.

Then there are the men urinating in the sea and an array of naked couples bobbing up and down in the water. The sordid scene is lit by a beautiful, white full moon. But then this is the Full Moon Party on Thailand's Koh Phangan island — the most renowned and revered experience on every backpacker's itinerary. Full moon party

Popular: The Full Moon Party on Thailand's Koh Phangan island is a must for all backpackers

Every month, 10,000 youngsters gather here and many of them are British middle-class school leavers for whom a trip to Thailand — and the rich cultural experiences it has to offer — has become a rite of passage.

Well, that's what their parents would hope as they wave their offspring off at the airport.

But the sad reality includes spectacles such as the above picture on Haad Rin beach.

...Red the full article

 

25th September   

Update: Charleston Repents Old Sins...

West Virginia city repeals law against unmarried sex
Link Here  full story: Adultery...Check the marital status of your girl

West Virginia state sealMembers of Charleston City Council decided Monday that an obscure statute in city code outlawing adultery and sex between unmarried individuals should be stricken from the books.

The council voted unanimously to repeal Chapter 78, Article V, Sec. 78-291, which labeled sex acts between unmarried people a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

There was little discussion on the matter before the vote was finalized. Mayor Danny Jones laughed at the law before casting his vote to repeal it: How did they ever put something like this on the books? the mayor said.

Councilwoman Mary Jean Davis was a cosponsor of the bill to repeal the adultery and fornication law. She only recently became aware of the law's existence. She said times have changed and the law needed to go.

But the adultery and fornication law isn't the only ordinance on the city's books that some might find outdated.

Take Chapter 78, Article V, Sec. 78-311, for example. That ordinance makes it a crime to sell, give away or possess pornography or immoral books in city limits.

It shall be unlawful for any person within the city to sell, distribute, lend, give away, exhibit or offer to sell, distribute, lend, give away, exhibit or have in his possession for any such purposes any obscene, lewd, lascivious or immoral book, magazine, pamphlet, paper, writing, advertising, picture, circular or newspaper, the code states.

Another section of Chapter 78 declares it a crime to use indecent language in public performances like plays and concerts.

Ellis said he doubts any of those provisions could ever be enforced. Davis said those sections of the code also will be reviewed.

 

18th September   

Offsite: Sardine Saddle Class...

Airline perch seats unveiled
Link Here

  skyriderPotential passengers were given the chance to saddle up and try out a plane seat which brings a new meaning to the term cattle class - but it doesn't look as though they enjoyed the ride.

Appearing rather squashed, people were strapped into the Skyrider , which could be used by budget airlines to cram more passengers on board, as it was unveiled in America.

Those behind the design, first revealed by the Mail, claim they have not compromised on comfort.

But, with the chair less than a foot from the end of their noses - with seven inches less leg-room than the standard 30 inches - these flyers seemed far from impressed.

...Read the full article

 

15th September   

Barack Obama Easily Offended...

British teenager banned from the US over angry email to Obama
Link Here

barack-obama stony facedA British teenager has been banned from America for life for sending Barack Obama an abusive email, in which he calls the President a 'prick'.

Luke Angel, 17, insulted Obama while drunk after watching a programme about the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

Angel was reprimanded by police on both sides of the Atlantic after firing off the message to the White House.

The FBI intercepted the message and contacted police in the UK who went to see Angel at his home. The college student is now on a list of people who are banned from visiting the States.

When asked about the ban, Luke said: I don't really care. My parents aren't very happy about it. The police who came round took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: The individual sent an email to the White House full of abusive and threatening language. We were informed by the Metropolitan Police and went to see him. He said, "Oh dear, it was me".

Police will take no criminal action.

 

11th September   

Dangerous Place to Complain...

Expat in Indonesia complains about vandals only to inspire village lynch mob to trash his villa and accuse him of blasphemy
Link Here

lombokA foreigner residing on Lombok Island in Indonesia has found himself the target of local lynch mob over a vandalism complaint.

Locals from Sidemen village on Lombok's main tourism area of Senggigi told the Jakarta Globe that hundreds of residents had attacked and wrecked a villa belonging to a German national, Stephen Alexander, and torched his motorcycle.

Mustan, a local, said Alexander discovered that a vandal had decapitated one of the statues in front of his villa and took the severed head to the home of village chief Amalsah.

He came carrying the statue head and got angry at the village chief, accusing the villagers of damaging his statues.

Alexander threatened to report the vandalism to the police if Amalsah could not find the vandal within two weeks, Mustan said.

He said villagers had just finished tarawih (evening prayers during Ramadan) and were 'insulted' when Alexander demanded to know, What kind of Muslims we were? His words were deeply hurtful.

As Alexander fled for the forest, the enraged lynch mob trashed the resident's villa and burned his motorcycle.

Alexander, who has lived in the Lombok for ten years and is married to an Indonesian, only emerged from the forest when police arrived. They promptly arrested the expatriate and are holding him in protective custody at Senggigi Police headquarters.

 

9th September   

Update: Ample Bosoms Judged Untroubling...

Mother's claim that son's were 'troubled' by topless sunbather thrown out of court
Link Here  full story: Topless Sunbathing in Italy...Mum claims topless sunbather distressed kids

Photographic Print SUNBATHING Mary EvansAn Italian court has thrown out a complaint by a mother who said that her young sons were troubled by the sight of a busty young woman applying suntan lotion on the beach.

The Rome court took just a few minutes to reject the case, in which the mother-of-two had accused the 26-year-old woman of committing obscene acts in a public place .

Police in Italy were called after a row broke earlier this month out on a beach near Anzio, south of Rome, between the two women.

The mother had asked the fashion store assistant, identified only as Luisa under Italy's privacy laws, to cover herself up because her large breasts and the act of rubbing cream on them had troubled her sons aged 14 and 12.

After the court handed down its decision the young woman's lawyer, Gianluca Arrighi, said he had never had any doubt that the accusation of obscene behaviour was without substance. He pointed out that it was not illegal to sunbathe topless on an Italian beach and said it was not his client's fault if she had an ample bosom .

Luisa said she was heading to Greece on holiday this week, where she would continue to sunbathe topless: This whole business has ruined the first part of my summer holiday, she told Corriere della Sera.

 

4th September   

Bordering on Oppressive...

US Border Patrol routinely check immigration papers on domestic trains
Link Here

us border patrol logoThe Lake Shore Limited train runs between Chicago and New York City without crossing the Canadian border. But when it stops at Amtrak stations in western New York State, armed Border Patrol agents routinely board the train, question passengers about their citizenship and take away noncitizens who cannot produce satisfactory immigration papers.

Hundreds of passengers are taken to detention each year from domestic trains and buses along the nation's northern border. The little-publicized transportation checks are the result of the Border Patrol's growth since 9/11, fueled by Congressional antiterrorism spending and an expanding definition of border jurisdiction. In the Rochester area, where the border is miles away in the middle of Lake Ontario, the patrol arrested 2,788 passengers from October 2005 through last September.

Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for United States Customs and Border Protection said that the patrol had jurisdiction to enforce immigration laws within 100 miles of the border.

The patrol says that answering agents' questions is voluntary, part of a consensual and nonintrusive conversation Some passengers agree, though they are not told that they can keep silent. But others, from immigration lawyers and university officials to American-born travelers startled by an agent's flashlight in their eyes, say the practice is coercive, unconstitutional and tainted by racial profiling.

 

3rd September   

Update: Treated Like Kids...

Britain is infantilising young adults buying supermarket alcohol
Link Here  full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians

id check signConstant ID checks in supermarkets and off-licences are infantilising young adults, a report by a civil liberties group claims.

The survey by the Manifesto Club suggests that cashiers' over-zealous questioning of customers in their 20s is penalising thousands of innocent people and forcing them to carry their passports all the time.

The study, 2 8¾: How Constant Age Checks Are Infantilising Adults , is published as the coalition government is considering increasing to £20,000 the maximum penalty for those illegally serving underage drinkers .

The most annoyed constituency is people in their late 20s, who are being frequently ID checked, particularly by supermarkets, the report says.

Campaigns under the slogans of Think 21 and Think 25 have led to confusion about the correct age limit for consuming alcohol, resulting in some checkout staff refusing to sell products to those who are under 25 but over 18, the Manifesto Club maintains: People are being refused alcohol when shopping with younger siblings or children – including one woman who was prevented from buying a bottle of wine, because her 23-year old daughter and 22-year-old friend could not provide ID.

The Manifesto Club describes its aim as campaigning against the hyper-regulation of everyday life . Its director, Josie Appleton, added: 'Producing your passport should not be a routine part of the checkout procedure. There is little point in the government abolishing ID cards while backing policies that mean we have to show ID whenever we go shopping. People in their 20s and 30s should be free to go to the supermarket or off-licence without being constantly challenged.

 

30th August   

Employees Save Face...

Germany bans employers from checking social networking sites of employees
Link Here

Facebook logoGood news for German jobseekers who like to brag about their drinking exploits on Facebook: A new law will stop bosses from checking out potential hires on social networking sites. They will, however, still be allowed to google applicants.

Lying about qualifications. Alcohol and drug use. Racist comments. These are just some of the reasons why potential bosses reject job applicants after looking at their Facebook profiles.

According to a 2009 survey commissioned by the website CareerBuilder, some 45% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. And some 35% of those employers had rejected candidates based on what they found there, such as inappropriate photos, insulting comments about previous employers or boasts about their drug use.

The government has now drafted a new law which will prevent employers from looking at a job applicant's pages on social networking sites during the hiring process. The draft law is set to be approved by the German cabinet on Wednesday, according to the Sddeutsche Zeitung.

Although the new law will reportedly prevent potential bosses from checking out a candidate's Facebook page, it will allow them to look at sites that are expressly intended to help people sell themselves to future employers, such as the business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn. Information about the candidate that is generally available on the Internet is also fair game. In other words, employers are allowed to google potential hires. Companies may not be allowed to use information if it is too old or if the candidate has no control over it, however.

The draft legislation also covers the issue of companies spying on employees. According to Die Welt, the law will expressly forbid firms from video surveillance of workers in personal locations such as bathrooms, changing rooms and break rooms. Video cameras will only be permitted in certain places where they are justified, such as entrance areas, and staff will have to be made aware of their presence.

Similarly, companies will only be able to monitor employees' telephone calls and e-mails under certain conditions, and firms will be obliged to inform their staff about such eavesdropping.

 

30th August   

Update: Extraditing Justice to Europe...

Britain slavishly inflicts injustice whilst other nations protect their citizens
Link Here  full story: European Arrest Warrants...Arrested in Britain for non-crimes

EU flagBritain slavishly implements foreign extradition requests while other countries are protecting their citizens with opt-outs.

Anger at Britain's gold-plating of the controversial European Arrest Warrant is growing after it emerged that other EU countries have secured significant safeguards for their citizens that are not available to British nationals.

More than 1,000 people in Britain last year were seized by police on the orders of European prosecutors, a 51% rise in 12 months.

Many are accused of trivial crimes overseas such as possessing cannabis or leaving petrol stations without paying. No evidence need be presented in British courts of the alleged offence and judges have few powers to resist the person's extradition.

Those affected can spend long periods in jail here and abroad for crimes which might not even be prosecuted in this country. They can also be seized for offences which are not even crimes in Britain.

The Sunday Telegraph has established that many other European countries have given themselves opt-outs or conditions to protect their citizens.

Holland will not extradite Dutch nationals under the EAW unless the accusing state agrees that they can serve any prison sentence in a Dutch jail. The Belgians have opt-outs so that the warrant does not cover abortion. France appears reluctant to extradite its own nationals under the EAW and has stated in the past that they will not be extradited.

Europe's largest country, Germany, has imposed a proportionality rule stating that only those accused of serious crimes can be seized under a warrant. The definition of serious is not given, but it would exclude large numbers of the trivial charges dealt with by the British extradition courts.

Karen Todner, one of Britain's leading extradition lawyers, said: It is typical of us not to have given ourselves proper protection. British judges apply the EAW treaty to the letter and these massive injustices come about because the Government hasn't thought this through. There are a lot of quite simple things we could do now to mitigate the harm done to British citizens, which could be done quite quickly through a simple administrative decision.

Jago Russell, the chief executive of Fair Trials International, said: The human impact of an extradition is crazy. In its forthcoming review of extradition law, Britain needs to learn lessons from the likes of Germany, which have put much-needed safeguards in place to protect their citizens.

 

26th August   

Biometrics Failure...

British man who put on weight denied entry due to differences to old passport photo
Link Here

UK PassportA British man who put on 31kg was denied entry to the UK and forced to spend three months from Amsterdam because he looked different from his passport photograph.

Derrick Agyemen was returning home to Britain after spending a weekend with friends in August 2006 when border control officers stopped him, Fox News reports.

They said his fuller lips and ears did not match his passport photograph — which was taken nine years ago.

Agyemen said he looked different because he put on 31kg. He stayed in Amsterdam for three months before he was allowed back home.

I cry when I think about what happened with me, Agyemen said.

He is now considering another round of legal action after losing an appeal in Britain's High Court over his treatment.

 

25th August   

Name and Shame...

Software that recognises and names photos posted on the internet
Link Here

face recognition softwareA software company is developing revolutionary software which provides the ability to identify people from photographs posted on the internet.

Face.com has produced technology that can identify individuals on social networking sites and online galleries by comparing their image against a known picture of them.

It means detailed profiles of individuals can be built up purely from online photographs and critics have said it could lead to exploitation by employers.

The software works be creating an algorithim of the face - a measurement of the arrangement of features including the eyes, nose and mouth.

The company says it is 90 per cent accurate when scanning typical images which appear on social networking sites.

Face.com has previously limited the availability of the software over concerns about invasion of privacy. But it has now released the Photo Finder software to developers building applications allowing people to search for anyone on the internet.

Gil Hirsch, chief executive of Face.com, told The Sunday Times: We have launched a service that allows developers to take our facial recognition technology and apply it immediately to their own applications. The technology is already being used by 5,000 developers. You can basically search for people in any photo. You could search for family members on Flickr, in newspapers, or in videos on YouTube - but it would take a lot of processing power.

 

22nd August   

Lessons in Mugging...

UK school sends out pupils to rob innocent people on the street
Link Here

ciggybusters video Pupils at the Hundred of Hoo Comprehensive School in Medway have been running up to smokers in the street, shouting ciggy busters and snatching their cigarettes from them. And filming themselves doing it for later upload to YouTube.

Here's a quote from the teacher responsible, an Italian media artist named Margherita Gramegna. From a write-up in the Medway Messenger:

I was scared about doing something so crazy on the street - I mean you can get arrested.

I knew we could not really go and film in public and attack people in that way and take goods off of them, so we devised a cunning plan.

We planted some people and we started with them. People were watching and following us and at the end we tried with some other people.

And here's a quote from the write-up at This is Kent: Kent police in Medway were made aware of the planned filming, prior to the event taking place.

And didn't stop it!?

This is a remarkable and quite disgraceful story. Law-abiding people in Kent are being robbed on the street, with the tacit approval of the local constabulary. The mob action is part of an ongoing scheme from the school and is going to continue in September.

Shame on you, Kent Police. Shame on you, the school!

 

20th August   

On by Default...

Facebook kindly adds a facility to relay your location to busy bodies, stalkers, burglars and state snoopers
Link Here

Facebook logoFacebook Places , which will launch in the US only at first, will allow users to check in at a location

Facebook app Facebook Places is a location based service allowing users to share their location. The new tool is bound to spark criticism from data privacy campaigners.

The feature allows users to check in at locations which will then be shared with their friends and Facebook network but it is likely to raise concerns over safety. Users will also be able to browse shops, clubs and nearby venues to see which friends are nearby, leading to concerns it could put individual's security at risk.

What we see with Facebook is a massive learning curve. Every time they make a change, consumers scramble to figure out the privacy settings, said Rainey Reitman, spokeswoman for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in the US. Location data is tied to people's safety – if people know where you are, they know where you're not. Your location data is some of the most sensitive data we have. I expect we'll see from the get-go people who don't understand how to control the privacy settings.

The service will launch in the US only at first. Reitman said users should be particularly judicious about who they accept as friends, and be aware that even information shared with an intimate network could be copied and pasted elsewhere. Don't post anything online you wouldn't want to get out publicly to anyone.

Yang said protections include notifying a user as soon as they are tagged at a place, and offering a complete opt-out of places tags. Users under 18 can only share location with their immediate friends network and their real-time location will only be seen by friends at the same location.

Critics will note that once a user decides to check in at a location, the primary location setting is switched on by default, which means any places tags automatically being shared with immediate friends. But the service does offer a range of protections and controls including the option to detag locations, notifications if friends add your location and the option to disable Places entirely.

Widespread smartphone take-up has allowed location services such as Foursquare and Gowalla to flourish. Facebook has been watching the development of these services, which are setting up a steady stream of promotions and prizes with venues and retailers to reward loyal customers who check in regularly.

Initially available as an update to Facebook's app for Apple iPhone, updated apps for BlackBerry, Android and other handsets are expected in the next few months. A version will also launch for the UK.

 

14th August   

Factor 40 for the Hyper Sensitive...

Whingeing mother sparks Italian debate about topless sunbathing
Link Here  full story: Topless Sunbathing in Italy...Mum claims topless sunbather distressed kids

Photographic Print SUNBATHING Mary Evans A mother of two boys has sparked a debate in Italy over topless sunbathing after she reported a woman to police because the way she applied suntan lotion was troubling her sons [Sounds unlikely, more likely enjoyed by the sons and troubling the mother].

The 26-year-old woman, identified only as Luisa under Italian privacy laws, was questioned by officers after they were brought to the scene by the unnamed mother.

She had initially asked the woman, an assistant in a fashion store, to cover herself up as her ample breasts and the act of rubbing cream on her body had troubled her sons aged 14 and 12.

The woman, who was sunbathing on a public beach at Anzio south of Rome, refused and so officers were called – much to the amusement of other holidaymakers who looked on as she remonstrated still topless.

The case has triggered a debate in Italy about topless bathing. Lawyer, Gianluca Arrighi, said: Something like this happening in 2010 is absurd. My client was approached and asked to cover up by the woman and she simply asked her what her problem was. The fact a file has been opened is compulsory following the complaint but I can't imagine any judge in 2010 convicting a woman for sunbathing topless. Let's be clear my client is tall, brunette and has an ample breast and is therefore going to naturally be sensuous when she applies cream to her chest.

Arrighi said that it was not illegal to sunbathe topless on a public beach, unless there is a local bylaw.

Topless sunbathing has dropped out of fashion in recent years. In both France and Italy far fewer people abandon their bikini tops when on the beach.

 

13th August   

Nutter Life Centre...

Chessington zoo exhibits primitive human life
Link Here

mermaid bikiniManagers at Chessingtons Sea Life centre have covered up a topless mermaid sculpture.

Justine Locker, Chessingtons Zoo Experience Manager, said: Young boys, and not so young boys, spending a lot of time ogling her in the walkthrough ocean tunnel

 

10th August   

Sweeny Todd with Balls...

The Sun hypes the Thai horror movie Meat Grinder
Link Here

Meat Grinder DVD Mai Charoenpura Meat Grinder is a 2009 Thai horror by Tiwa Moeithaisong

See article from thesun.co.uk

Prepare to hide behind your sofa - as the most graphic gore film ever is soon to be released.

The devilishly named Meat Grinder has a title that suggests human insides will soon be on the outsides. And now the BBFC have just given the Thai movie the green light to a completely uncut version.

Horror fans will be treated to plenty of blood splattering and cannibalism, with gruesome scenes including nails being hammered through fingernails and multiple dismemberment of limbs.

The film tells the story of a deranged woman who runs a noodle stall and starts hearing voices in her head. When she finds a dying man in her stall one night, she decides to chop him up and grind his body parts into meatballs as ingredients for her soup. When the dish proves popular and business begins to flourish, she must find a steady supply of fresh human meat to feed her customers.

Even the company distributing the film had doubts it could ever be released in the UK uncut. Tony Taglienti, Managing Director at 4 Digital Media said: We were expecting the BBFC to send us to the cutting room before being able to release it. We are pleased that this is not the case and applaud their decision to let the public have the chance to watch it as the filmmakers intended.

Comment: Quite Bloody

From DarkAngel on the Melon Farmers Forum

I've seen an advanced screener copy of Meat Grinder , and whilst it is indeed quite bloody in places, and features a few yucky ouch moments, its nothing that hasn't been seen before.

Hostel and some of the Saw films are notably gorier!

 

8th August   

Unwelcome Fee...

$14 fee to be introduced for online travel authorisation to the US
Link Here

welcome usa signTravellers to the United States will have to pay $14 (£9) to apply for permission to enter the country using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (Esta) from next month.

The fee is being levied for all passengers using the compulsory online pre-approval scheme that is replacing green I-94W visa waiver forms.

Prospective visitors must pay the fee from Sept 8, which officials said would go to a fund to promote tourism.

Esta applies to nationals of all 36 countries, mostly western, that enjoy visa waiver status – the system that allows tourists to enter the US without a full travel visa. Visitors to the US who need a visa pay a fee starting from $140 (£85), depending on the nature of their trip.

An approval from Esta is valid for two years and can be used for repeated visits to the US. Around four million Britons visit the US each year.

Air travellers to the United States already pay a slew of minor charges which are included in their ticket price, such as US customs user fee of approximately $2.70 (£1.70), a US immigration fee of approximately $3.50 (£2) and a US animal and plant health inspection services user fee of about $2.50 (£1.50).

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said $4 of the Esta fee would cover costs while the remaining $10 would be used to increase marketing to help boost tourism.

 

31st July   

Nationwide Fall Out with British Expats...

Suddenly withdrawing cash in Thailand will get very expensive
Link Here

Nationwide Building Society logoNationwide is to end its policy of free withdrawals from foreign cash machines – a move that will upset millions of its current account holders.

Nationwide will announce today that customers using its debit cards at cash machines outside the UK will in future pay a commission charge of 2% plus a £1 flat fee – a major shake-up for its FlexAccount, which is used by around 3.5 million people.

The FlexAccount has been hugely popular with regular travellers, partly because its no-fee policy on overseas purchases and cash withdrawals compares so favourably with charges of up to 5% levied by high street banks. Nationwide says the new charges will be effective from 1 November.

On purchases in shops and restaurants abroad, debit card customers will pay a 2% conversion fee, while at ATMs there will be a 2% fee plus a £1 flat rate. The fee for credit card purchases abroad will remain 1%.

Nationwide has been frustrated by the number of customers who use the FlexAccount purely for travel purposes and who maintain their principal bank account elsewhere. Of the 3.5 million people with a FlexAccount, only 1.2 million use it as their main account.

Today's increase in charges is being offset by the offer of free travel insurance, but only for those who use the FlexAccount as their main bank account. Nationwide says that to qualify, customers have to pay their monthly salary (minimum £750) into the account.

 

26th July   

Update: Policies Revealed Warts and All...

UK government to push for airbrush warnings on all adverts
Link Here

Framed Christina Hendricks Photograph 25cm The UK government is to put the fashion industry under pressure to stop promoting unrealistic body images and clamp down on airbrushed photographs in magazines and adverts.

Lynne Featherstone, the inequalities minister, who has long campaigned against size-zero photoshoots, will convene a series of discussions this autumn with the fashion industry, including magazine editors and advertising executives, to discuss how to promote body confidence among young people.

The first will focus on airbrushing, which Featherstone argues is contributing to the dreadful pressure that young people, girls and women come under to conform to completely unachievable body stereotypes .

She will push for a Kitemark or health warning on airbrushed photographs, warning viewers that they are not real. I am very keen that children and young women should be informed about airbrushing, so they don't fall victim to looking at an image and thinking that anyone can have a 12in waist. It is so not possible, she told the Sunday Times.

The minister wants to see more women of different shapes and sizes used in magazine photoshoots, including curvaceous role models such as Christina Hendricks, who plays vivacious office manager Joan Holloway in Mad Men , the US TV series about the 1960s advertising industry.

Christina Hendricks is absolutely fabulous. We need more of those role models, she said. Instead, young girls and women were continually confronted with false images of incredibly thin women, which could create lifelong psychological damage. [Perhaps we'll then get a generation of girls feeling inferior over an impossible dream of boobs like Hendricks].

She is trying to convince magazine editors and advertisers to stop using digitally altered photographs and underweight models. Advertisers and magazine editors have a right to publish what they choose ...BUT... women and girls also have the right to be comfortable in their own bodies. At the moment, they are being denied that, she said.

Magazines that do retouch pictures run the risk of breaking their own code of conduct, which states they should not publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, she added. Magazines regularly mislead their readers by publishing distorted images that have been secretly airbrushed and altered.

She also called the actions of the advertising industry into question. Likewise, the advertising standards code says no advert should place children at risk of mental, physical or moral harm, but adverts do contain airbrushed images of unattainable beauty in magazines aimed at young teenagers.

 

26th July   

Cover Up...

Swedes relatively prudish about topless sunbathing
Link Here

Sweden flagSwedes, long famous round the world for their relaxed attitude to nudity, are now some of Europe's biggest prudes, according to a new survey.

While Italians, Spaniards, Brits and Germans were unperturbed about the idea of women taking their tops off on the beach, Swedes were far less at ease with the practice, according to a survey of 3,000 people by flight website Skyscanner.

99% of Germans were in favour of topless female sunbathing, but only 84% of Swedes agreed, and a mere 67% of Swedish women thought it was acceptable to let it all hang out at the beach.

Now, even traditionally prudish Americans are more relaxed about stripping off on the beach than people from Sweden, according to the survey.

A Dip in the Nip

Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

IrelandI don't know about this sin-sodden corner of the world, but in Ireland public nudity is illegal. In theory at least, striding proudly around my native country in the buff, apart from scandalising passing grannies and inviting the jeers of hooligans and corner boys, could easily earn you 30 days in the local calaboose.

Hats off, then, to the 200 brave ladies of every age and shape, from all four corners of Erin's Isle, who gathered together this month on a beach in Sligo, in the shadow of Ben Bulben's mighty head, and divested themselves of every last stitch, then hurled themselves into the chilly Atlantic waters.

They call it A Dip in the Nip and they're not doing it to flaunt themselves in front of lascivious eyes, nor to moon the local constabulary, but to raise money for cancer charities.

Some of these women have suffered the ravages of the disease themselves, but for all of them, it takes nerve and courage, knowing that they'll be filmed and photographed. It's a brave, inspiring sight.

 

24th July   

Dangerous Lies...

18 months in jail for consensual sex and a little white lie
Link Here
wedding vows

  Do you promise to be faithful
to her until death do you part?....
And do you understandeth
the consequences of a
false declaration?...
I'm waiting....

A Palestinian man has been convicted of rape after having consensual sex with a woman who had believed him to be a fellow Jew.

Sabbar Kashur was sentenced to 18 months in prison after the court ruled that he was guilty of rape by deception. According to the complaint filed by the woman with the Jerusalem district court, the two met in downtown Jerusalem in September 2008 where Kashur, an Arab from East Jerusalem, introduced himself as a Jewish bachelor seeking a serious relationship. The two then had consensual sex in a nearby building before Kashur left.

When she later found out that he was not Jewish but an Arab, she filed a criminal complaint for rape and indecent assault.

Although Kashur was initially charged with rape and indecent assault, this was changed to a charge of rape by deception as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

Handing down the verdict, Tzvi Segal, one of three judges on the case, acknowledged that sex had been consensual but said that although not a classical rape by force, the woman would not have consented if she had not believed Kashur was Jewish.

The sex therefore was obtained under false pretences, the judges said. If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated, they added.

 

23rd July   

Beaten Senseless by the PC Brigade...

Punch and Judy under duress
Link Here

punch judyPuppeteer Daniel Liversidge has been ordered to tone down his Punch and Judy act after organisers claimed the traditional show could be deemed offensive.

Liversidge has been told his upcoming Mr Marvels Punch and Judy performance at Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower cannot include any scenes with Punch hitting Judy.

As a result, the puppet has ditched his whacking stick for a more benign fluffy mop.

Liversidge, who has been performing his act for 21 years, said: We have had to change the show a few times over the last six or seven years to reflect modern tastes. You always get people asking for the traditional stick to come back but you have to move with the times. At the end of the day I am a children's entertainer and my job is to keep children happy. Mr Punch is still a rascal and still has a variety of weapons in his arsenal but they are more socially appropriate like a feather duster or a tickling stick.

Liversidge added: Punch no longer throws the baby out of the bath instead he puts him to bed.

Paul Mahy, commercial manager at the Spinnaker Tower, said: We think some people could be offended by the traditional Punch and Judy story, especially at our family friendly attraction. We have agreed that many aspects of the traditional script had to be omitted. For example, Judy was originally put through a mangle and that is how sausages were made, obviously we cannot do this anymore.

 

22nd July   

Rubbish Councils...

Council snoops in Britain sift through people's rubbish
Link Here

Swordfish 1000XCD Space Saver Cross Cut Shredder Councils are secretly rifling through thousands of dustbins to find out about families' race and wealth.

Waste audits allow officials and private contractors to check supermarket labels, types of unwanted food - and even examine the contents of discarded mail.

The local authorities are using social profiling techniques to match different types of rubbish to different ethnic groups or wealthy and poor households, as part of a recycling drive initiated by the last Government.

Critics condemned the move as highly intrusive . Most homeowners have no idea that their rubbish is being searched or that data collected could be used to prosecute those who place rubbish in the wrong bin.

At least 90 councils ran covert bin-rifling operations last year, according to Freedom of Information requests. They targeted a total of more than 10,000 families and argue that Government guidance suggested all checks on bins should be done without the knowledge of householders.

Councils in Leeds, Poole, Kensington and Chelsea, Swindon and Cheshire East all used some form of social profiling to target homes for bin searches.

Councils cited little-known guidance from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for secret searches. Enfield Council, in North London, said: In line with Defra guidance we took the view that householders would not be notified in order to avoid prejudicing the results. When waste is placed out for collection by the householder the law regards this as being discarded, ie: not wanted or owned by the householder. When collected by the local authority the waste falls into their ownership.'

 

17th July   

Update: May We Take Photos?...

Theresa May utters fine words about an end to the police harassment of photographers
Link Here  full story: Policing of Photographers...Snapshot of a British police state

theresa may good sideTheresa May's made a speech in the House of Commons in a discussion of the absurd treatment of photographers under current anti-terror laws. Prompted by the excellent Tracey Crouch,  May gave the following assurance:

Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford) (Con): Under the previous Government, a photographer from Medway was arrested in Chatham high street under section 44 stop-and-search powers, and he and fellow photographers from Medway will welcome today's announcement from the Home Secretary. Will she assure the House that any future revision of anti-terror legislation will strike the right balance between protecting the public and safeguarding the rights of individuals?

Theresa May: I am happy to give that assurance to my hon. Friend. She may have noticed that in my statement I specifically said that we would look at the issue of photographers and stop-and-search powers. It is one issue that has been brought home forcibly to me. I have had constituency cases of people who have been stopped under those powers and been concerned about it, and I have received a number of representations from Members of this House, and indeed of another place, about those problems.

 

15th July   

Bonfire of the Labour Vanities...

UK government to scale back draconian anti-terror laws
Link Here

Con Lib logoA bonfire of draconian anti-terror laws was promised by Theresa May to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties by Labour ministers.

The Home Secretary said powers that could be scrapped or scaled back include 28-day detention without charge, control orders, stop and search and Big Brother snooping by town halls.

She also pledged a sweeping review of laws that allow the arrest of people who take pictures of police officers or hold peaceful protests without permission outside Parliament.

There will be a new drive to kick out foreign terror suspects who currently enjoy protection from the Human Rights Act to avoid deportation, and an investigation into allowing intercept evidence in court. There will be a drive to secure agreements to deport foreign suspects placed under the orders by reaching deals with their homelands that they will not be ill-treated. This would stop courts blocking their removal on human rights grounds.

Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions and an outspoken critic of the last government's legislative record, will lead the review.

In a statement to MPs, May said she wanted to correct mistakes made by Labour, which was allowed to ride roughshod over Britain's hard-won freedoms.

She added: National security is the first duty of government but we are also committed to reversing the substantial erosion of civil liberties. I want a counter-terrorism regime that is proportionate, focused and transparent. We must ensure that in protecting public safety, the powers which we need to deal with terrorism are in keeping with Britain's traditions of freedom and fairness.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, used by town halls to spy on dog foulers and people suspected of cheating school catchment area rules, is likely to be scaled back. Councils will have to seek permission from a magistrate to use it, and only for serious crimes.

The stop and search of people without reasonable suspicion, which is already under an interim ban, is likely to be ditched.

The right to protest close to the House of Commons without prior police permission -restricted by the last government, is likely to be restored.

 

14th July   

Butlin's Preferred to Pattaya...

Brits give foreign holidays the push
Link Here

butlinsBruised by the recession and struggling with their diminished spending power in tapas bars and trattorias, Britons are spurning the temptations of foreign sun spots and exotic cities in record numbers, leading to the fastest drop in visits abroad from the United Kingdom since the 1970s.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed a record 15% decline in the number of trips abroad by UK residents in 2009 as the beaches of Cancun, the hotels of Marbella and the villas of Umbria lost some of their allure. In total, Britons last year spent £5.1bn less abroad than they did in 2008.

Taken alongside predictions that it will take until 2012 for Britain's outward-bound travel industry to return to pre-credit-crunch levels, the findings suggest that in the short term at least, the foreign holiday is likely to remain an unaffordable luxury for millions of Britons for whom it had previously been a regular fixture.

 

14th July   

Offsite: Do you Mind if I Speak Candidly?...

Scots will have to ask permission before speaking sexily
Link Here

nudge nudge wink winkIn October Scotland's new Sexual Offences Act will come into force. Unlike the 2003 Act that was written for England and Wales, the Scottish act contains a clause outlawing indecent communication . It will soon be illegal to communicate with someone sexually – either in writing or in speech – without obtaining their consent, or without the reasonable belief that they do consent to it. Quite simply they have taken the standard traditionally applied to rape – to the actual penetration of another person's body – and applied it to what people say.

Thankfully it is fairly normal to ensure that somebody consents to sexual intercourse. This is because putting your penis inside another person can have a serious and lasting affect on them, not least if they do not want it there. More generally people expect to enjoy sovereignty over their bodies and their physical experiences. By contrast we do not have – nor would any sane person require – a general right to be protected from hearing things we don't want to hear. And that is why, in our culture, it is not normal to ask people for permission to say something sexual during the course of a facebook chat or a conversation in a bar. Do you mind if I deploy an innuendo just wouldn't sound right. And quite frankly it shouldn't.

...Read the full article

 

11th July   

iPhone Snitch App...

Highlighting some of the privacy dangers
Link Here

Apple MB489B iphone 3 8GB As Apple's iPhone grows in popularity, technology experts and US law enforcement agencies are devoting increasing efforts to understanding their potential for forensics investigators. While police have always tracked mobile users by locating their position via conventional mobile phone towers, iPhones offer far more information, say experts.

There are a lot of security issues in the design of the iPhone that lend themselves to retaining more personal information than any other device, said Jonathan Zdziarski, who teaches US law enforcers how to retrieve data from mobile phones.

Zdziarski told The Daily Telegraph he suspected that security had been neglected on the iPhone as it had been intended as a consumer product rather than a business one like rivals such as the Blackberry.

An example was the iPhone's keyboard logging cache, which was designed to correct spelling but meant that an expert could retrieve anything typed on the keyboard over the past three to 12 months, he said.

In addition, every time an iPhone's internal mapping system is closed down, the device snaps a screenshot of the phone's last position and stores it.

Investigators could access several hundred such images from the iPhone and so establish its user's whereabouts at certain times, he said.

In a further design feature that can also help detectives, iPhone photos include so-called geotags so that, if posted online, they indicate precisely where a picture was taken and the serial number of the phone that took it.

 

10th July   

Update: Trains Packed with Officious Ticket Inspectors...

South West Trains gets nasty about photography
Link Here  full story: Policing of Photographers...Snapshot of a British police state

south west trains logoA UK rail passenger who took photographs of an overcrowded train carriage was threatened with arrest under anti-terror laws.

Nigel Roberts was so appalled by the cramped conditions commuters have to endure he warned a ticket inspector that dangerous overcrowding could cost lives.

But when he showed his mobile phone photos of luggage-crammed aisles and exits he was told it is illegal to take such pictures and threatened with prosecution.

The inspector then demanded Roberts' personal details as Roberts explained: When I told him I had taken some photos he said it was illegal under the Terrorism Act and that I could be arrested and demanded my name and address.

He said there were police officers on the train and I may be arrested for taking the photographs. He said he had powers given to him under the Railways Act to ask me for the information and it was an even more serious offence for me not to comply.

I felt as if I was in a police state. He explained that for some reason it was for my own protection but my argument was that every passenger on the train would have needed protection in the event of an emergency.

He told me he would make a note of our conversation so that they could be used in the event of a prosecution. He was pleasant enough but it was a frightening and chilling experience for me.

A spokeswoman for South West Trains - owned by the Stagecoach group - said: Staff are aware they need to be particularly attentive to unusual photos being taken or suspicious behaviour and to challenge this if necessary. However this was clearly not an issue in this case and we will ensure our staff are re-briefed to avoid any misunderstanding in the future. We are sorry for any upset and anxiety caused to Mr Roberts.

 

9th July   

Update: Liberty Wins...

UK police told to stop illegal stop and searches
Link Here  full story: Stop and Search...Ever more checks without justification

romford police video Police are to be stripped of the power to stop and search anyone for no reason, the Home Secretary has announced.

Theresa May told the Commons she will immediately limit Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 so members of public can only be stopped if officers reasonably suspect they are terrorists. The threshold of suspicion will bring the Act into line with traditional stop and search powers.

The move follows defeat for the UK government in January at the European Court of Human Rights. The court found that Section 44 violated the right to respect for private life; article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.

May said: The Government cannot appeal this judgment although we would not have done so had we been able. I can therefore tell the House that I will not allow the continued use of Section 44 in contravention of the European Court's ruling and, more importantly, in contravention of our civil liberties.

Police use of Section 44 to stop individuals will no longer be allowed, although it will still apply to vehicles.

The legal challenge against Section 44 was brought by Liberty, the human rights charity, following the stop and search of a peace protestor and a journalist who were planning to attend a demonstration against a large arms fair in London in 2003.

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti hailed the withdrawal of the power today. It is a blanket and secretive power that has been used against school kids, journalists, peace protesters and a disproportionate number of young black men, she said: To our knowledge, it has never helped catch a single terrorist. This is a very important day for personal privacy, protest rights and race equality in Britain.

 

9th July   

Update: Obstacle Course...

Unvetted parents banned from their children's school sports day
Link Here  full story: Vetting Workers...UK vets all adults to work with kids

CRB Vetted onlyA school turned a father away from his son's first sports day after banning parents who have not been checked by police from mixing with pupils.

The taxi driver had gone to watch his son, a year seven pupil, compete in sprints and egg-and-spoon races.

But teachers refused to let him spectate because they did not believe he had undergone checks by the Criminal Records Bureau.

De Lisle Catholic Science school in Loughborough has a policy which says that any parent who has not passed the checks is banned from attending events in which pupils take part.

The father told a Talksport radio programme: I couldn't believe it when they told me I wasn't allowed in because I didn't have the relevant CRB checks. I'd called the school that morning to ask if it would be OK if I came along and they said it would be no problem. But when I got to the school the assistant head teacher said that as I hadn't had a CRB check then I couldn't watch.

I'm a taxi driver and I have to have regular CRB checks as part of my licence. I've never had any trouble.

What is the world coming to when parents can't watch their own kids take part in what is a big day in their young lives? I'm all for protecting kids, but surely there has to be a place for common sense.

The school said in a statement: We fully appreciate that one parent was upset by our policy regarding the attendance of parents at sports days.

A spokesman for Leicestershire County Council told Talksport: Parents should have access to school activities. We certainly do not issue any guidance to say parents should have a CRB check to attend school sports days. The day-to-day running of the school is a matter for the school and its governors, but we are contacting the school to discuss their policy with them.

 

7th July   

Land of the Not So Free...

Travel Passes Required in the USA
Link Here

big brother obamaAt the Long Beach, California, airport, a 28 year-old married student, Halime Sat, tried to board a plane to Oakland. She was denied access. Ms. Sat, a resident of Corona, California, has suddenly been put on the government's no-fly list. She has no criminal record nor affiliation with any outlawed organization anywhere in the world. The only crime committed by this young German citizen, who is married to an American: Flying while Muslim.

Ms. Sat is one of a ten plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging that thousands of people have been added to the no-fly list and barred from commercial travel, without any opportunity to learn about or refute the basis for their inclusion on the list. Plaintiffs in the case include a disabled U.S. Marine Corps veteran stranded in Egypt and a U.S. Army veteran stuck in Colombia.

Ms. Sat was only trying to fly from one place to another in the state where she is a permanent resident. Denying people such fundamental rights in complete secrecy and without due process is unconstitutional and un-American. They become pariahs, deemed unworthy to fly — but no one says why.

While Muslim residents like Ms. Sat are being kept off our nation's airlines, Latinos in the Southwest are worried about what might happen to them on the Arizona highways. The ACLU of Southern California is so concerned about what the Arizona police that they have issued a travel alert to educate Latinos (but not just Latinos) about the dangers of driving to Arizona.

The ACLU is distributing a cardboard pocket guide in Spanish and English, explaining what to do if people are stopped by the police in Arizona. I should say, our guide is for Latinos and those who look as if they might be Latino — because Arizona's new law gives police broad powers. They are required to investigate the immigration status of every person they come across whom they have reasonable suspicion to believe is in the country unlawfully. To avoid arrest, citizens and immigrants will effectively have to carry their papers at all times. The law also makes it a state crime for immigrants to willfully fail to register with the Department of Homeland Security and carry registration documents.

These powers are so broad, they've created a new Arizona-specific crime: Driving while Latino.

 

6th July   

Big Brother Obama...

US propose an (inevitably mandatory) ID token for online access
Link Here

big brother obamaThe White House has outlined a national strategy for trusted digital identities that could ultimately eliminate the username-and-password model and lay the groundwork for a nationwide federated identity infrastructure.

Howard Schmidt, cybersecurity coordinator and special assistant to the president, unveiled the administration's strategy for what he called an identity ecosystem for users and organizations to conduct online transactions securely and privately such that identities of all parties are trusted.

For example, no longer should individuals have to remember an ever-expanding and potentially insecure list of usernames and passwords to login into various online services. Through the strategy we seek to enable a future where individuals can voluntarily choose to obtain a secure, interoperable, and privacy-enhancing credential (e.g., a smart identity card, a digital certificate on their cell phone, etc) from a variety of service providers -- both public and private -- to authenticate themselves online for different types of transactions (e.g., online banking, accessing electronic health records, sending email, etc.), Schmidt blogged late last week.

The new National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace [pdf] (NSTIC) draft paper is open for public comment and input until July 19.

The paper, a product of the White House's cybersecurity policy review last year, was created with input from government agencies, business leaders, and privacy advocates. Among other things, it calls for designating a federal agency to lead the public-private sector efforts to implement the blueprint, and for the federal government to lead the way in the adoption of secure digital identities.

The Holy Grail of trusted online authentication -- a so-called high-assurance authentication vouching for the identity of a banking customer conducting a transaction online, for example -- has yet to take off. No one has stepped up to the plate to vouch for identities ... a Bank of America or a high-assurance provider to make all of this work, says Gartner's Avivah Litan, adding we may never get systems in the U.S. to say an online user is who he or she says he is, she adds. They may not want to assume the liability and pay you if they are wrong, she says.

 

5th July   

Off Their Trolley...

Russian bikini stewardess adverts wind up Australian air crews
Link Here

avia nova advert A new ad by a Russian airline featuring bikini-clad flight attendants washing planes has taken raunchiness to another level.

The saucy clip promoting Moscow-based start-up airline Avianova shows women stripping out of their stewardess uniforms and washing the company's planes.

It is the latest airline to use sex as a selling point. Last week another new airline, Spirit Airlines, came under fire for its raunchy ad. The commercial, featuring scantily clad women with the slogan Check Out The Oil On Our Beaches , was slammed for poking fun at the BP oil disaster. The airline has since pulled the ad following widespread condemnation.

Based on article from jaunted.com

The Australian Flight Attendants Association is petitioning the International Transport Federation to put a stop to Avianova-style travel advertising, which they consider to be over-the-top demeaning to women.

The basic claim isn't so much an abstract argument about sexism in advertising, although that's definitely included. The real issue is one of potential sexual harassment. If male passengers are told and shown that female flight attendants are sex objects, as the reasoning goes they're more liable to treat female flight attendants as sex objects. The result is that you have more drunks grabbing the thighs of more stewardesses in the middle of more flights.

 

4th July   

Update: Police Won't Stop...

UK police to continue making illegal stop and searches
Link Here  full story: Stop and Search...Ever more checks without justification

romford police video A Big Brother stop and search power which has been used by police to harass hundreds of thousands of innocent people will remain in force despite being ruled illegal.

The news that police may continue to search members of the public without having any reasonable grounds for suspicion provoked fury among civil liberties campaigners.

The power - section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 - has been ruled unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Home Office now has no remaining grounds for appeal. But, despite the crushing Strasbourg defeat, officials say they will not stop the police from using the power for months or even a year or more.

In the meantime, tourists, photographers and other members of the public will continue to be subjected to the humiliating searches - of which 256,000 were carried out last year, without catching a single terrorist.

Isabella Sankey, policy director for the campaign group Liberty, said: The objectionable policy of broad stop and search without suspicion was wrong in principle and divisive and counterproductive in practice.

The Lib Dems and Tories now say that they want to wait until a review of all Labour's draconian anti-terror laws has been completed before deciding what to do next. Ministers are given a period of grace by the European court to implement its ruling which, based on previous examples, can last for up to a year, or even longer. Enlarge High-profile victims of terror legislation

 

4th July   

Wisconsin Cops Don't Know where their Genitals Are...

Attached above their necks
Link Here

World Naked Bike RideIn the days following the World Naked Bike Ride, which rode boisterously through Madison, Wisconsin, on June 19, championing alternative energy and body acceptance, several questions remain unanswered.

For cited participant Lea Zeise, one big question is: Does the Madison Police Department understand the meaning of the word genitalia ?

Zeise was shocked that after following the instructions of Madison police to cover her genitalia during the event, she was later issued a citation, even though only her breast were uncovered.

I asked [the ticketing officer] what genitalia was, because I know the meaning of genitalia does not mean breasts or nipples, says Zeise. The officer informed her that all the riders had been warned plenty of times to cover up and she could dispute her disorderly conduct citation in court.

According to Zeise, early on in the event, the entire group of naked riders had been stopped by Madison Police officers and specifically instructed over a megaphone to cover their genitalia. Zeise begrudgingly, but dutifully, cooperated by covering her bottom-half with shorts, and then continued the ride only to be ticketed later.

I was fully ready to comply, but we never received a direct 'you need to have fully-covered breasts,' says Zeise, who was one of multiple women issued citations for being topless during the ride. Zeise also has concerns about the forceful manner in which she saw police officers force two naked female riders off of their bikes.

She's not alone in her complaint about the way police officers handled the event. Many of those who received $429 disorderly conduct citations say they intend to contest them in court.

 

4th July   

Propaganda News...

China set to dominate satellite propaganda with an international news channel in English
Link Here

xin hua logoChina's state news agency Xinhua has launched a 24-hour global news channel in English.

Officials said CNC World would present an international vision with a China perspective .

The launch is being seen as an attempt by China to develop its influence abroad and counter foreign media views.

Beijing keeps close control over media in the country - it often accuses Western media of bias and of reporting only negative news stories from China.

China Xinhua News Network Corporation said it would offer a better view of China to its international audiences and enable more voices to be heard by the rest of the world .

It will broadcast news reports in a timely way and objectively, and be a new source of information for global audiences, said Xinhua's President Li Congjun at a launch ceremony in Beijing.

He said the channel was initially broadcasting in Hong Kong but aims to reach 50 million viewers in Europe, North America and Africa within its first year.

Wu insisted that the coverage would remain objective, saying: We are a news channel, not a propaganda station.

 

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