Farangland News

2010: Oct-Dec

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28th December   

Update: Shite Britain...

CD Universe

Scottish proposal to use barcodes and CCTV to individually track all alcohol purchases
Link Here

  Customers adopting standard privacy
protection to buy a bottle of beer

Bottles of alcohol should be tagged so adults buying drink for under-18s can be traced by police, a Labour MSP has said. Under the scheme, bottles would bear a printed barcode enabling authorities to track whether legally bought alcohol has been given to youngsters.

The scheme, which is already being piloted in areas of Dundee, involves the police seizing alcohol from under-18s and then using the coded bottle labels to trace where the drink was bought from.

Officers then use CCTV from the shop to identify who bought the drink - whether it was an adult or an under-age customer being illegally sold it. Customers are even easier to trace if they use store cards.

Labour's Orwellian sounding 'community safety' spokesman James Kelly wants to roll out the scheme to other parts of the country and says the Scottish Government should encourage licensing boards to sign up to the initiative.

Although the scheme aims to catch shops selling alcohol to under-age customers, it is also used to target proxy purchases - adults buying drink on behalf of minors.

Those caught supplying alcohol to those under the age of 18 would be reported to the procurator-fiscal and could be hit with a fine of up to £5,000 or a prison sentence.

The scheme is understood to cost less than £100 per shop to run and authoritarians claim it would reduce alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour in areas with under-age drinking problems.


26th December   

Young Wives Tales...

British court finds that young adults ARE entitled to the human right to a family life
Link Here

A British court of appeal rules that the home secretary's ban on non-European under-21 spouses entering the UK is impossible to justify

Two couples made successful appeals against the ban on young spouses entering the UK. Both couples had married abroad, with one half of each pair returning to the UK alone. They were unable to be reunited in the UK because of the home secretary's ban on non-European under-21s wanting to live with their British partners in this country.

The law was brought in two years ago as a measure against forced marriages.

Allowing the appeals, Lord Justice Sedley said: I have reached the conclusion that the arbitrary and disruptive impact of the rule on the lives of a large number of innocent young people makes it impossible to justify, at least where one spouse is a UK citizen, notwithstanding its proper objective.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said it would appeal.


25th December   

Update: An App for Everything...

Including snitching on your personal details for use by advertisers
Link Here

Dozens of popular iPhone apps are secretly monitoring users and sending information back to companies – who then use it to target them with adverts.

More than half of the programmes and games for smartphones sent data back to the private companies once they had been downloaded, a study found.

Armed with this information firms including Google track the individuals' movements and sell personalised adverts for which they can make more money than regular ones.

The study found that of 101 apps tested, 56 transmitted the phone's individual number to a private company. Some 47 sent the phone's location and five sent age, gender and other personal information.

The research by the Wall St Journal found that smartphone users had no way of stopping the tracking.


23rd December   

Update: National Identity Improves...

Labour's ID card scheme now officially trashed
Link Here
Full story: ID Cards in UK...UK introduces ID cards

Labour's ID cards were officially trashed when the Bill to abolish them received Royal Assent.

The few thousand cards that people bought voluntarily will be cancelled within a month.

In addition, the database holding the biographic information and biometric fingerprint data of cardholders, known as the National Identity Register, will be physically destroyed within two months.

The ID card scheme was symbolic of the last administration's obsession with control and nannying. It was put up as a panacea, capable of preventing everything from benefit fraud and illegal immigration to terrorism and organised crime.


12th December   

Offsite: A Common Sense Revolution...

Growing numbers of volunteers are refusing to put up with humiliating and unnecessary vetting checks
Link Here
Full story: Vetting Workers...UK vets all adults to work with kids
Blakey from On the Buses

  CRB vetting?
Best thing that ever
happened to this country

Last January, Annabel Hayter, chairwoman of Gloucester Cathedral Flower Guild, received an email saying that she and her 60 fellow flower arrangers would have to undergo a CRB check. CRB stands for Criminal Records Bureau, and a CRB check is a time-consuming, sometimes expensive, pretty much always pointless vetting procedure that you must go through if you work with children or vulnerable adults .

The cathedral authorities expected no resistance. Though the increasing demand for ever tighter safety regulation has become one of the biggest blights on Britain today, we are all strangely supine: frightened not to comply. Not so Annabel Hayter. I am not going to do it, she said. And her act of rebellion sparked a mini-revolution among the other cathedral flower ladies.

...Read the full article


28th November   

Happy Sexmas...

Bah humbug! says the church over safe sex campaign
Link Here

Church leaders have urged the Scottish Government to show more respect for Christmas as ministers are poised to launch a festive safe sex message titled the Sexmas Survival Guide .

The government is set to approve an official sexual health website that substitutes the word Christ with sex when issuing advice to young people on how to avoid risky behaviour.

But the £100,000 promotion's fun with the word Christmas has angered church figures, who also disapprove of the website's innuendo-laden approach to discussing sex.

The advice should be more respectful, said John Deighan, the parliamentary officer for the Catholic Church: Using the word Christmas like that is symptomatic of a whole philosophy that undermines their safe sex strategy. They don't show enough delicacy of language and they don't show enough respect.

Rev Alan Falconer of the Church of Scotland's St Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen said: This would not be appropriate at all. This detracts from the festival for it to be classified in this way.

The Sexmas Survival Guide will advise young people on how to deal with festive social occasions such as the After Work Do when inhibitions are relaxed and office workers have to negotiate the unexpected rise , and encounters with the employee of the year , who is ready for anything . For such situations, the guide advises: Slip a few condoms into your bag or pocket.

According to the guide, another hazard is the end of night ride . Getting home safely, it says, is best achieved by keeping a spare £20 note and some taxi numbers handy so that a cab can be taken at the end of the night.

Deighan claimed: This sort of approach trivialises sex and turns it into just another pastime when we should have a humanised vision of sex - that it is part of love and an intimate part of human relationships. The result of this sort of approach seems to be that things just get worse. The more you trivialise sex the more reckless people become.


27th November   

Update: Be Proud of Your Body Scan...

Airports ban Peta adverts having fun with invasive security checks
Link Here

   Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan

PETA, the animal rights organization that never shies away from controversy, has produced sone new ads that make light of invasive body scanners and pat downs.

The Boston Herald writes that one of these ads, a video featuring Pamela Anderson as a sexy TSA agent removing leather and fur from travelers, has been banned at Logan Airport. It doesn't sound like an appropriate ad for the airport environment, says Massport spokesman Matt Brelis.

PETA's also trying to launch a body scan-mocking ad campaign featuring still photographs. One shows a scan of a woman wearing only a bra that's emblazoned with the words Be Proud. Elsewhere, the true message of the ad is visible: Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan. The Associated Press writes that airports in Las Vegas, Charlotte, N.C. and New York City have all refused to display these ads.

Update: Hong Kong

31st December 2010. From  cnngo.com

Pamela Anderson has made a new video promoting PETA causes with an airport security checkpoint theme. But Hong Kong Airport won't be playing the video, because it has been deemed too racy.

In the video, Anderson is a half-dressed airport security checkpoint officer who gives the yea or nay to passengers according to whether or not they're wearing fur, leather or other animal skins.

One couple does manage to pass through the security check without a glitch -- they're completely nude. Their naked tushies are shown on screen and were probably what crossed the line for JCDecaux, the ad agency responsible for what airs in Hong Kong Airport.


27th November   

Offsite: Whatever happened to freedom of speech?...

Very Daily Mailish but worth a read
Link Here

We live in a democracy in which it is widely supposed that anything can be said and anything done - at least by celebrity television performers.

Yet within politics, freedom of speech is more drastically constrained than ever before. Seldom have those who govern us been so much inhibited in what they feel able to say or write, not by legislatively-imposed censorship, but by a smothering blanket of supposed propriety and oppressive liberal values.

...read the full  article


23rd November   

No Poot Ungrit, No Go England...

Thai girls now have to learn English to get a UK marriage visa
Link Here

Thai spouses applying for visas to join or marry British partners in the UK now have to pass an English language test.

From November 29, any non-European migrant who wants to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled in the UK will need to show that they can speak and understand English, by taking an approved English language test, according to an official British Embassy announcement released on Sunday.

The new rules will apply to anyone applying as the husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, same-sex partner, fiancé(e) or prospective civil partner of a UK citizen or a person settled in this country, it read.

The tests will be mandatory for people applying from within the UK as well as visa applicants from overseas, it added.

This new requirement was announced in June this year and as we get close to the implementation date we'd like to remind those planning on applying for a marriage visa to the UK that from November 29 they will be required to pass a compulsory English Language Test, said Ed Mackie, UK Border Agency Regional Manager, East Asia.

Speaking English promotes integration into British society and broadens opportunities. The new rules will help ensure that migrant spouses are able to participate in British life from the outset and integrate more easily into wider UK society, he added.

Migrant spouses and partners will have to demonstrate English language ability at A1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for speaking and listening.

Applicants will be required to provide evidence with their application that they have passed an acceptable English test with one of the UK Border Agency's approved test providers. Details of approved English-language test providers testing at A1 level in Thailand can be found at: www.vfs-uk-th.com

The test centers are in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Khon Kaen.


13th November   

Update: Miserable Scotland...

Excessive ID checks for drinkers and an end to happy hours
Link Here

New drinking restrictions have been passed by Scottish Parliament - but without plans to bring in minimum drink pricing.

But the more prohibitionist measures, including raising the purchase age for off licence sales, failed to find enough support.

The bill will ban supposedly irresponsible drink promotions at off licences. This aims to end the sale of alcohol at heavily discounted prices, as well as offers such as two-for-one deals. Specific measures are expected to be in place in the spring.

The bill, which was passed unanimously will also pave the way for the introduction, in future, of a social responsibility fee on retailers who sell alcohol.

And licensed premises will be required to operate more repressive proof of age rules, based on the age of 25, rather than 21.

Ministers claimed a wide range of professionals, including senior police officers and health 'experts', backed plans to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol at 45p. But Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems said the move would penalise responsible drinkers and could be illegal under European competition law. As MSPs debated the bill for the final time, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon attempted to re-insert minimum pricing into the legislation after it was removed at an earlier stage, but parliament opposed the move.

Government plans to allow local licensing boards to raise the age for buying alcohol from off licences from 18 to 21 were previously dismissed as discriminatory by opposition parties.

The Tories failed to find enough support to insert a sunset clause in the legislation, which would have required a review of its main measures after five years.


7th November   

Comment: Dangerous Trolling...

Man faces jail over offensive comments posted on celebrity tribute websites
Link Here

  Just ignore him!

A man who trawled the internet leaving reportedly obscene messages on tribute sites for dead people is facing jail after being brought to court under a rarely-used law.

Colm Coss found Facebook memorials to victims of high-profile tragedies around the world - and added comments said to be sexual slurs. His targets included a site dedicated to Jade Goody.

He was prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003, which governs all communications networks including internet, e-mail, mobile phone calls and text messages.

Coss  also posted comments about a car crash victim in Australia, and a dead baby in the U.S. Coss targeted the sites purely for his own amusement and to get a reaction, Manchester magistrates were told.

He was only caught when he sent residents on his street photos of himself saying he was an internet troll . The neighbours rang police. When Coss was arrested, he admitted the offence.

Matthew Siddall, prosecuting, said: The defendant told police that he finds the comments amusing. He said it causes reaction.

District Judge Khalid Qureshi told Coss: This crosses the custody threshold.

Coss was granted bail and will be sentenced later this month.

Update: Troll Jailed

30th October 2010. Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

An internet troll who posted obscene messages on Facebook sites set up in memory of dead people has been jailed. Colm Coss posted on a memorial page for Big Brother star Jade Goody and a tribute site to John Paul Massey, a Liverpool boy mauled to death by a dog.

He was jailed for 18 weeks for sending malicious communications .

He was charged under the Communications Act 2003, for sending malicious communications that were grossly offensive.

Chairwoman of the bench Pauline Salisbury said: You preyed on bereaved families who were suffering trauma and anxiety. We know you gained pleasure and you aren't sorry for what you did.

Offsite Comment: Do not jail the troll

Thanks to pbr
7th November 2010.  Based on article from  guardian.co.uk by Ally Fogg

However vile Colm Coss's online behaviour may have been, sending him to prison sets a dangerous precedent.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the prime objectives of the justice system were to protect physical wellbeing, integrity and property rights. With very little debate or awareness, we have slipped into a society where the justice system is equally concerned with protecting the intangible sensibilities of the individual. In that sense, this issue overlaps significantly with those around blasphemy and protection from religious insult. I can see no rational reason why causing severe, grievous offence to Jade Goody's admirers should be an imprisonable offence while causing severe, grievous offence to Christians or Muslims should be considered freedom of speech. It cannot be the role of the law to dictate which flavours of offence are reasonable and which are not. I cannot see any reason why an Islamic organisation, to take just one example, could not use this precedent to press charges against anyone who participated in the recent, juvenile Everybody Draw Mohammed Day that circulated online and grew in support on Facebook. And talking of pressing charges, is there anything to now stop Facebook UK or any other site host from dealing with persistent and egregious trolls by calling in the police and handing over IP addresses?

... Read the full article


3rd November   

CCTV Banned Wagon...

Rotterdam to install face recognition cameras on public transport
Link Here

Rotterdam City Council have announced the roll-out of facial recognition scanners on their public transport network.

According to DutchNews.nl:

The scanners will record the biometric features of passengers as they enter the tram. If a passenger with a public transport ban is spotted, an alarm will sound in the driver's cabin and the passenger will be removed.. At the moment, drivers are issued with photos of banned passengers and have to recognise them from these

No doubt the information will also be available to the police and security services too.

For the moment there are no plans yet for Amsterdam so one can still visit the red light area without a permanent entry recording this on your official records.

No doubt it will make interesting reading for the authorities to also record who people are traveling with. There could be a lucrative market for such information from the likes of marital investigators.


1st November   

Update: Castellammare di Sharia...

Mini skirt ban passed by Italian town council
Link Here
Full story: Miniskirt Ban...Miniskirts banned in Italian town

The nutter mayor of the southern seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia got his way when the City Council approved a ban on football games in public parks and squares, blasphemy out loud and very skimpy clothes, the ANSA news agency reported.

Mayor Luigi Bobbio said that miniskirts and other provocative outfits will still be allowed as long as they are not too revealing.

The measures also include a ban on playing football in public spaces -- Bobbio said these games often turn into fights -- sunbathing or undressing in town, blasphemy and foul language in general. Men cannot go around shirtless, the rules say.


1st November   

US Airport Security...

Can we take a look at your dick?...or would you prefer us to fondle it?
Link Here

Airline passengers and civil liberties groups have expressed disgust and outrage at new security measures that are tantamount to foreplay .

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration trialled a new pat-down technique at Logan International Airport and is now rolling out the measures to all 450 of its airports.

The technique, described as horribly invasive by a passengers rights group, involves security staff sliding their hand over passengers bodies, rather than patting them down, if they object to going through full-body imaging scanners.

Kate Hinni, founder of the non-profit FlyersRights.org consumer group, said the new searches amount to a foreplay pat-down that for many people is going to feel like a moral issue. It's like having to choose the lesser of two evils, Hinni said: Both are horribly invasive.

One shell-shocked female passenger who was subjected to the measures after her underwire bra set off metal detecting scanners said the experience left her in tears.

Rosemary Fitzpatrick, who works for news channel CNN, said a female screener ran her hands around her breasts, over her stomach, buttocks and her inner thighs, and briefly touched her crotch: I felt helpless, I felt violated, and I felt humiliated, said Fitzpatrick. Choice:

Passengers who refuse to walk through the full-body image scanners are subjected to the pat down searches, and the TSA also picks random passengers for the searches.

Lots of airline passengers are in for a surprise, said Chris Ott, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which objected to the new pat-downs when the were trialled at Logan Airport: Travelers are being asked to choose between being scanned 'naked and exposed to radiation, or getting what people are describing as just a highly invasive search by hands of their entire bodies.


24th October   

Italy Goes Sharia...

Mini skirt ban proposed by Italian town council
Link Here
Full story: Miniskirt Ban...Miniskirts banned in Italian town

Italian women face 500 euro fine for wearing miniskirts in Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples.

In a move sharply at odds with a country which produced the likes of Monica Bellucci and Sophia Loren, the town of Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples, intends to prohibit women from wearing provocative clothing.

The town's council also wants to ban men and women from wearing low-slung jeans as part of a list of 41 new rules that every good citizen must respect .

The nutter mayor, Luigi Bobbio, said it was all part of an effort to restore urban decorum and improve coexistence by targeting people who were rowdy, unruly or simply badly behaved .

Playing football in parks and gardens and swearing in public will also be banned under new regulations which will be put forward for approval at a council meeting on Monday.

If the new regulations are approved, offenders will face fines of between 25 and 500 euros.

A local parish priest, Don Paolo Cecere, said he supported the crackdown: It's the right decision. In this way we can fight the spread of sexual molestation, he told a local newspaper, the Cronache di Napoli.


21st October   

Offsite: Miserable Britain...

My ill-fated night on the town in Southampton
Link Here

Recently I had the misfortune of being invited for a night out in Southampton.

This visit was a real eye-opener to me and taught me how much the Big Brother society is starting to negatively impact on our day to day lives. I also had a lesson in how little power we have to challenge the people who are doing this.

Let's start with the basics: it is not possible to have a night out in Southampton without carrying some form of identification.

The types that the bars and clubs accept are: a Prove it card (which at 30 I am too old to have), a driving licence (I don't drive) or a passport (which in line with Home Office guidelines I use for immigration purposes only!). Without one of these documents, snarling bouncers will refuse you entry to almost every club or bar, even if you the last time you got IDed John Major was still Prime Minister!

So my night out began by one charitable doormen turning a blind eye to the fact I couldn't prove I was over 18. My 30 year old face and girth was apparently not enough evidence on its own. On to another bar and door staff helpfully told me that it was discrimination to only ID people who looked young. Apparently they'd have merrily turned away a pensioner!

...Read the full article


20th October   

Brits Recalled...

British passports can only be renewed in the UK from April 2011
Link Here

The latest news that is all the passports held by Britons overseas will have to be renewed in the UK from next year.

I never imagined I would fill a 32-page passport within 10 years. But once you live away, the visas and regular trips add up and most people, especially those who travel a lot with work, find themselves needing to renew their travel documents.

First the service was changed so that passports from mainland China were renewed in Beijing. Since May this year they have had to be sent to Hong Kong, the new regional processing centre .

On October 9, the FCO announced that from April 2011 the Identity & Passport Service (IPS), an agency of the Home Office, will assume responsibility for the provision of all regular British passports. The website says, The reason for this change is that, from October 2010, new, more secure passports are being introduced in the United Kingdom, and it is simply not economical for these new documents to be produced overseas.

The FCO implies that the UK is behind the times with what was an antiquated but convenient service: The UK remains one of the few countries still printing passports in Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates overseas. This is expensive to do and transferring blank passports around the world presents great security risks. Never mind the risk of identity theft for expats awaiting their new passports.

Time will tell how the centralised system will work, but if you are running out of pages or know that your passport will expire next year, you may be well advised to renew it now.


20th October   

A Snitch in your Photo Album...

The data hiding away in digital photo file
Link Here

Skim through the photos on Flickr or Photobucket, and you'll find pictures of holiday conquests and illicit fun.

Dig a little deeper, and you can unearth the exact locations of many of those places, embedded in data within the pictures.

Images often contain a bundle of information and various traces left by phone cameras, digital cameras or photo manipulation software.

This data, called Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) details whether the photographer used a flash, which digital effects were applied to a picture and when the photo was taken.

EXIF can also contain the precise GPS coordinates for where a photo was taken. This information is readily accessible and can be plugged into software such as Google Maps -- leading some security and photography experts to express concerns about amateurs unknowingly disclosing private information, such as the location of their home.

Thomas Hawk, an active Flickr user and the former chief executive of competing photo site Zooomr, said: I think it's a huge concern. I think a lot of people don't realize or recognize what's in all of the EXIF data that they're publishing.

Many smartphones, such as those from Apple and Google's Android system, let users employ this location feature. Apple's and Google's systems ask each user once or a few times for permission to access their location in order to provide additional services. If they click OK on that popup, every photo they take is tagged with GPS coordinates.

Judging by the abundance of pictures in Flickr's database that include geolocation data in the EXIF, some smartphone owners aren't thinking twice about opting into their devices' GPS feature. Doing so can facilitate useful tools. For example, software like iPhoto and Picasa can group images by location and display them on a map.

But amateur photographers may not realize that this info stays with the image when it's uploaded to Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa Web Albums and some other photo-sharing services. (Facebook says it strips the EXIF data from all photos to protect its users' privacy.)

Users who don't want their photos tagged with GPS data can either disable the option on their cameras or run the images through software, such as Photoshop, that can remove the EXIF.


17th October   

Offsite: A Hooters Hoot!...

Sorry, I found this burger bar more offensive than a lapdancing club
Link Here

Hooters, the American restaurant chain, where waitresses wear slightly low cut t-shirts, has just opened in Britain. So what did Liz Jones make of it?

This is probably the worst Friday night of my life - and that's saying something. I'm sat on a high stool at a small table, plasma screens are oozing sports programmes around my head and there is a grubby plastic menu in front of me that is littered with pictures of fast food.

Not a green vegetable in sight, unless you count a deep fried chilli, coated in batter.

There is the thump, thump, thump of awful music in the background, competing with the braying of table upon table of men: young men, old men, students, office workers, football supporters...

Weaving between the tables are young women bearing enormous, overflowing jugs of beer and steaming piles of food. I keep beckoning the wrong waitress, as it's so hard to tell them apart.

The ironed, bottle blonde hair, the Cheryl Cole eyelashes and, most of all, the bodies: high, round breasts, small waists, curvaceous thighs and squashy buttocks.

I don't normally examine the physiognomy of my waitresses this closely, but, in this case, I can't help it. Because I'm inside the UK's only branch of the U.S. fast-food chain Hooters, a place that makes me feel simultaneously bilious, outraged and old.

I cannot believe that I am in Nottingham or that it is the year 2010.

...Read the full article


14th October   

Little Reason...

Internet censor justifies 'I Hate Ryanair' domain removal over a tiny income
Link Here

A website set up to criticise Ryanair has been shut down by an internet censor on a technicality about earning the owner a small sum of money.

The founder of IHateRyanair.co.uk whose strapline was The World's Most Hated Airline was forced to surrender the web address after the budget carrier complained to the domain name dispute resolution service.

The UK internet domain controller Nominet, ruled that the stinging criticism and passenger horror stories published on the site were not sufficient grounds for it to be scrapped. I Hate Ryanair website ...HOWEVER... it ruled that a small profit made by Robert Tyler from sponsored links on the site meant he abused domain name rules.

Disgruntled passengers' comments have filled the pages of the website since it was set up three years ago by Tyler.

Ryanair complained that the site took unfair advantage of the brand's name and claimed it hosted damaging and defamatory articles including false comments about its safety, maintenance and operating standards.

It featured free links to rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic under the heading Sites we like . From January to May 2010 it also displayed commercial links to third party sites offering travel insurance and foreign currency, which earned Tyler a 322 profit.

Tyler argued that while Ryanair has some goodwill and reputation in legal terms, it has also built up substantial dissatisfaction over its services. It has become synonymous with trying to obtain maximum money from customers using unappealing revenue generating techniques, he added.

Nominet Adjudicator Jane Seager claimed the links to third party websites that earned Tyler money were problematic . [He] only earned money because of the traffic to the website, and such traffic must have been influenced by the domain name.

Tyler had effectively taken unfair advantage of Ryanair's rights in order to gain a financial advantage and therefore should forfeit the domain name, she said.

The website has now found a new home at www.IHateRyanair.org


10th October   

Cumming Out Soon...

3D TV without the glasses
Link Here

Toshiba has unveiled two new 3D TVs at a technology conference in Japan this week that enable the user to view the 3D experience without the use of glasses.

The TVs, which aren't expected to be sold in the U.S., utilize autostereoscopic 3D technology by providing a filter on top of the TV. The viewer must sit at a certain angle to properly experience the 3D effect.

With 3D porn becoming a hot commodity within the industry, not to mention the ramp up in production of such content, how could the adult industry benefit from the rollout of this technology? Ostensibly, the experience becomes less cumbersome and easier to access without having to wear special glasses.

Following Toshiba's lead, Sony and other manufacturers expect to release similar types of TVs that don't require glasses in order for the viewer to process 3D images.

Toshiba's new TVs are expected to be released in Japan by the end of the year.


9th October   

Police Dick Heads...

Police quick to act on a nutter complaint that a dick shaped hedge somehow threatens public order
Link Here

  A topiary impression of
police intelligence

A Fenland man's topiary skills landed him with the threat of an 80 on the spot fine by police after a complaint was made about his phallic-shaped hedge.

Ian Ashmeade has been forced to reshape his garden hedge after a an easily offended member of the public complained that it was offensive.

Ashmeade admits the phallic-shaped hedge was a bit naughty, but says it has always been a source of much amusement in the village.

But officers from Cambridgeshire police took a miserable view this week after a member of the public complained and ordered Ashmeade to prune the offending foliage or face an 80 fine for public order.

The hedge has stood proudly for eight years before the complaint this week which prompted police to act.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: Officers received a complaint from a member of the public regarding the shape of a shrub. Officers went round at the weekend and asked the man to change its shape or he would be fined for a public order offence.


7th October   

On Yer Bike!...

Miserable German city bans beer bikes
Link Here

Beer bikes - the unlikely combination of a multi- person bicycle and bar - should not be able to ply the streets of German cities, a court has ruled.

The 16-man pedal-power pubs have become an increasingly common sight on the streets of German cities, to the joy of stag night parties.

The administrative court in Dusseldorf ruled that no more beer bikes should be allowed to roll without a special permit, and such permits would not likely be forthcoming. The ruling now paves the way for other cities to clamp down.

A two-hour tour of Berlin on a beer-bike with 30 litres of beer - led by a sober guide - costs over 600 euros (830 dollars).

Judge Ute Fischer however poured cold water on the proceedings, saying that the purpose of the beer bike was in fact a party in a public place, which required a licence. The fact that the party moved was, in the judge's view, beside the point. There was also safety to consider

Operators say they will file an appeal to a higher court.


6th October   


Website to pay viewers for spotting crimes on live CCTV
Link Here

A website that pays the public to monitor live commercial CCTV footage has been criticised by civil liberties campaigners.

Internet Eyes says it offers up to 1,000 to online subscribers who can spot crimes as they happen and click an alert button to notify the business owner.

All too often criminals get away with crime because, although their activity is monitored by CCTV, it is not observed at the time of the offence but only later on reviewing the footage when it is too late to stop commission of the crime, said a spokesman for the company.

Any company wanting to have its CCTV systems wired up to the site will have to pay a subscription and viewers who sign up can see the images on their screens. More than 13,000 people have indicated their interest and more are expected to join once it has launched. The cameras are based in stores across the UK, but the rewards are open to anyone from the EU.

However, civil liberties campaigners say the idea encourages people to spy on each other. They urged anyone affected to contact us with a view to legal action .

Charles Farrier, of No CCTV, said: This is the privatisation of the surveillance society - a private company asking private individuals to spy on each other using private cameras connected to the internet. Internet Eyes must be challenged. He said he feared people would upload copies of the live stream to file-sharing networks.


1st October   

Italy Threatens to Send the Boys Round...

Italy easily offended by jokey 'What Country' app
Link Here

Italy's tourism minister has demanded that Apple remove the supposedly offensive What Country app from its online store after the travel guide described the Italy as the home of pizza, the Mafia and scooters .

The application, which can be downloaded to iPhones, iPads and iPods, characterises each nation with words and images; Italy is summed up with a road sign which reads Mafia parking only .

Britain is characterised by tea, weird sense of humour, football hooligans and rain , while Germany is summed up with beer, discipline and autobahns . China is reduced to overpopulation, kung fu, Great Wall, Tibet and tea ceremony , while the most defining characteristics of the US are melting pot, hamburger and the American dream .

The tourism minister, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, condemned the app as an affront to Italians' dignity, describing it as offensive and unacceptable .

She instructed government lawyers to take legal action against Apple and demanded that the application be removed from its iTunes online store.

Italy is a beacon in the world for its history, culture and style. I cannot allow our country to be discredited by having it represented by a criminal organisation, the minister said: For this reason I have asked Apple to withdraw the application from sale on its online site and asked the state attorney's office to take legal action against those responsible for it.

The application is described on the iTunes website as a light- hearted and funny view of the world. This is not a travel guide and should not be taken too seriously. Enjoy and have fun!


1st October   

Update: Cheers to the Opposition...

Miserable Scottish government move to increase drinking age to 21 thrown out
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Miserable Scottish plans to ban people under the age of 21 from buying drink in supermarkets and off-licences have been thrown out.

Holyrood's health and sport committee rejected an Scottish National Party proposal to give licensing boards the discretion to ban sales in areas where excessive drinking has led to antisocial behaviour by five votes to three.

Opposition MSPs ignored a last-minute plea from Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon who said more than 2,000 under-20s were discharged from hospital in Scotland with an alcohol-related diagnosis in 2007-08.

Liberal and Conservative committee members voted in favour of an amendment lodged by Labour public health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson, which argued that the proposal discriminated against young people.

Dr Simpson said he was glad that the majority of committee members had supported his amendment. The fact is Nicola Sturgeon has lost the argument with young people in exactly the same way as she is losing the argument with pensioners who would be penalised by minimum unit pricing, he added.


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