Farangland News

2011 July-Sept

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15th September   

Breeding Easy Offence...

A couple of Topman t-shirts wind up the easily offended
Link Here

The clothing chain Topman has been removed from sale supposedly sexist T-shirts.

Some customers complained about two designs, one of which was said to have glamorised domestic violence by listing male excuses such as You provoked me ; I was drunk; I was having a bad day.

The other T-shirt carried the slogan Nice New Girlfriend: What Breed Is She? prompting complaints that women were being likened to cattle and dogs.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of the domestic violence charity Refuge, said:

It is an outrage that such offensive T-shirts were put on sale. Domestic violence takes the lives of two women a week and it is no laughing matter. These T-shirts perpetuate ignorance and misunderstanding. Shame on Topman.

In a statement, a Topman company spokesman said:

We have received some negative feedback regarding two of our printed T-shirts.

Whilst we would like to stress that these T-shirts were meant to be light hearted and carried no serious meaning we have made the decision to remove these from store and on-line as soon as possible.

We would like to apologise to those who may have been offended by these designs.


6th September   

In the Year 11 APC (after Political Correctness)...

Australia renames calendar terms
Link Here

  Time to be rebaselined at 2000>
years after will be called After PC (APC)
years before will be called Before PC (BPC)

Australia is to remove the birth of Jesus as a reference point for dates in school history books.

Under the new politically correct curriculum, the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) will be replaced with BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).

The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, condemned the move as an intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history . He described the phrase common era as meaningless , and compared it to using festive season instead of Christmas.

The changes, introduced by the government, were supposed to be pushed through next year, but have been delayed by the row.

The terms CE and BCE became popular in academic and scientific publications in the late 20th century. They were used by publishers to emphasise secularism or sensitivity to non-Christians, but both still use the Gregorian calendar and the year-numbering system revolving around BC and AD.


4th September   

Privacy Theft...

Couple using stolen computer can sue for lost privacy over surveillance software used to pursue thieves
Link Here

An Ohio woman and her boyfriend can sue a laptop-tracking company that recorded their sexually explicit communications in an effort to identify thieves who stole the computer that the woman was using.

U.S. District Judge Walter Rice ruled against Absolute Software, which provides software and services for tracking stolen computers. Absolute sought a summary judgment in its favor, insisting that one of its theft recovery agents acted properly when he captured sexually explicit images of Susan Clements-Jeffrey communicating via webcam with her boyfriend and passed them to police in an effort to recover the stolen computer.

But the judge found that there were grounds to believe Absolute had gone too far, and that a jury might reasonably decide that it had violated the plaintiffs' privacy and broken the law. The case raises an important issue about the length that someone can legally go to recover stolen goods.

It is one thing to cause a stolen computer to report its IP address or its geographical location in an effort to track it down, Rice wrote in his decision (.pdf). It is something entirely different to violate federal wiretapping laws by intercepting the electronic communications of the person using the stolen laptop.

The woman using the computer said that she had bought the computer not knowing that it was stolen.


28th August   

Brains in their Dicks which they are Abstaining from Using...

New Zealand Telecom embarrassed by a crass publicity campaign for the Rugby World Cup that called for fans to abstain from sex
Link Here

The ex-All Black, Sean Fitzpatrick, is fronting a ludicrous publicity campaign in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup

Fitzpatrick urges Kiwi fans to abstain for the game, kicking off early next month, drawing the ire of myriad pockets of supporters including Prime Minister John Key.

Key has questioned whether the organisers got bang for their advertising dollar while former captain Brian Lochore has labelled the campaign crass .

The public outcry of No, we're not. Are you kidding? via a New Zealand Herald poll, prompted the major All Blacks sponsors Telecom to pull their plug on backing the tickler.

In fairness to the instigators, it was always intended to be tongue-in-cheek to get the message across to the fans - but it appears their flippancy didn't accurately gauge the mood of the public.

Telecom's retail chief executive Alan Gourdie said the campaign was designed with the best of intentions, but we got it wrong : No excuses. We caused offence to some people, and for that we apologise. We listened to your views, and we acted quickly to change our game plan.

A Telecom spokesman refused to answer questions about what would now happen to thousands of black abstinence rings designed for the campaign.

Asked in South Africa if he was surprised to see the Telecom campaign canned, All Blacks coach Graham Henry said: I think I should abstain from talking about that.


27th August   

Update: The Pits of Humanity...

Shameful Scottish 'justice' dooms the Naked Rambler to another 2 years in jail beyond the 5 years he has already served
Link Here
Full story: Naked Rambler...Stephen Gough imprisoned for being naked

Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has been jailed for another 657 days after enjoying less than 60 seconds of freedom.

He was arrested outside Perth Prison almost immediately after he was released from his previous 21-month sentence, itself a continuation of the sentence now stretching back more than 5 years to May 2006.

He was found guilty of breaching the peace and being in contempt of court. he has now been behind bars in Scotland for much of the past decade. He was found guilty of breach of the peace after a 'trial' at Perth Sheriff 'Court', which was initially held up while court staff found a sheet of brown paper for him to sit on for hygiene reasons .

Gough appeared naked in the court dock and was also found guilty of contempt of 'court' for failing to display the decency required by the court process.

He claimed that arresting him for walking around naked was a breach of his human rights and his right to freedom of expression. Repeated arrests

But 'Sheriff' Michael Fletcher rejected Gough's defence and found him guilty of conducting himself in a disorderly manner by walking naked, refusing to put clothes on, and breaching the peace in Manson Terrace, Perth, on 20 July.

'Sheriff' Fletcher said: The court expects people to come here in a decent state of dress. That has been explained to you in the past. I gave you the opportunity to dress yourself.


27th August   

Inappropriate to Drink in Pub...

Britain gets more and more miserable every day
Link Here

It was a straightforward request for refreshments during a day out. But two mothers were left bemused and angry after staff at a central London pub refused to serve them alcoholic drinks because their children were present.

In what appears to be a case of the nanny state gone mad, friends Ali Ineson and Emma Rutherford say the barman told them it would be inappropriate to let them drink in front of their four children.

The group had gone into the Britannia pub in the City hoping for a spot of lunch after climbing the nearby Monument. They had ordered a white wine and spritzer, a vodka and Coke and soft drinks for the youngsters, aged between eight and 12.

Miss Rutherford from Wimbledon, said: I thought it was a joke at first. It seemed like it was the kind of gag a barman might make to break the ice. We were trying to order a white wine spritzer and a single vodka and Coke - it wasn't like I'd asked for a bucketful of whisky with six straws. l)

Mrs Ineson added: I was totally shocked and asked the barman to reiterate. He said he wasn't going to serve us because it would not be "appropriate". The children's drinks were served with no problem, so it was not as if the management did not want children in the pub.

The pub is owned by Stonegate, one of the UK's biggest pub chains including Yates's and Slug and Lettuce, which has said it will investigate the incident.


26th August   

When Things Go Wrong in Farangland...

UK father wins court backing to prevent his foreign ex-wife returning to her home country with their children
Link Here

Relocation after divorce is an issue which effects a large number of families in the increasingly globalised world in which we live. The family lawyers' group Resolution estimates that there are more than 1,000 cases a year in the UK in which a parent gets permission from the courts to leave the country with children after divorce. Characteristically it is almost always the mother who applies, so the following information makes that assumption, although it is important to note that the principles apply equally to mothers and fathers.

In a recent case heard in the UK Court of Appeal, a Canadian mother of children aged four and two wished to return home to Canada after the breakdown of her marriage. The mother applied to return to her native Canada with her two daughters and a judge ruled that she could return. The ex-husband and father to the children appealed, and in a landmark decision the Court of Appeal decided that in fact the mother was not allowed to relocate because of the major role the father played in the children's lives. The father had been looking after the children for two nights each week.

The mother's application was refused because the damage to the children caused by the reduction in the contact with their father, should she be allowed to relocate, outweighed the damage arising from the distress to the mother if the application was refused.

This latest court decision signals a significant shift: from now on if parents share the care of their children, courts will be far more reluctant to allow one parent to take the children to live in another country.


26th August   

Wet Blankets?...

Iranian police arrest water fighting youths
Link Here

Colourful plastic guns, soaked clothes and soap-laden headscarves, the giant festive water fights organised by Iranian youths are not to the taste of the country's authorities. Two water fights have ended in arrests, with police accusing participants of breaking Islamic law and warning that any future water fights would be promptly shut down.

It all started when hundreds of Tehran youths answered a call on Facebook to gather in the city's Ab-o-Atash ( water and fire in Persian) park on July 29 for a giant water fight. Carrying spray guns and water balloons, they playfully fought for several hours, revelling in the sweltering summer heat. It was a new, fun way to spend a Friday afternoon, a non-working day in Iran.

The first water fight was met with such success that the organisers decided to turn it into a weekly event. They created a Facebook page, Tehran's water fights , to announce the dates and venues of upcoming festivities.

But the fun ended when photos of water-fighting youths, laughing and dishevelled, came to the attention of Iranian authorities. Ten young men and women were arrested a few days after the first fight took place, and accused of breaking Islamic law.

On August 5, seventeen participants in a second water fight in the city of Bandar Abbas suffered the same fate. A local police official ruled that the promiscuity between men and women during these fights was unacceptable, and even more so the use of water during the Ramadan holiday.

All of the arrested youths were eventually freed, but the chief of the country's morality police warned that all future water fights would be severely punished. Since then, though there have been repeated calls online for new water fights, no one has dared participate.


9th August   

Scoring on Credit...

So is buying porn with a credit card a risky proposition?
Link Here

So how has your credit score been looking? Think you've been doing all the right things but you're not seeing your credit score shape up the way you want it to? Believe it or not, even some of your most innocent decisions and actions can hurt your credit score.


4. Making Risky and Risque Purchases

Some lenders look closely at what you spend money on in order to determine if you are a financial risk or not. This means that if you are using a credit card for adult entertainment (i.e., strip clubs, adult website memberships) on a consistent basis, you will be considered riskier than others.

Risky purchases don't stop at porn. If you are using your credit card to buy lottery tickets every week or for sporadic shopping sprees, credit card issuers and lenders see this as a sign of desperation and financial irresponsibility.

If you regularly rack up impressive bar tabs or liquor store receipts, credit card issuers are likely to think you are drowning financial sorrows away with alcohol. While it's perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to have a regular happy hour session, if you make it a habit of frequenting bars and charging a bunch of drinks, you can raise a red flag.


7th August   

Dangerous Technology...

US researchers link facial recognition technology with Facebook profiles to identify people in the offline world
Link Here

US technology researchers have demonstrated that they can link up facial recognition camera technology with a database of people with their pictures tagged by Facebook.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University combined off-the-shelf image scanning, cloud computing and public profiles from social network sites to identify individuals in the offline world.

In another experiment, researchers were able to extract the social security number of a student starting only with their photo.

When we share tagged photos of ourselves online, it becomes possible for others to link our face to our names in situations where we would normally expect anonymity, said team leader Professor Alessandro Acquisti.

The researchers have also developed an augmented reality mobile app that can display personal data over a person's image captured on a smartphone screen.

The results of the research will be presented at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week.


7th August   

Torture as Punishment in Singapore...

Amnesty International comment on the horrific dangers of visiting Singapore
Link Here

Amnesty International writes:

Another story about Brits abroad. Getting caned. Though this time, this is not a classic binge-drinking Britain story, but a caning of another sort. British businessman Austin Cowburn from Manchester, is facing a potential caning punishment for allegedly squeezing a woman's bottom in a nightclub in Singapore.

He is reported to be charged with the offence of outraging the modesty of the woman. The story seems to have caught the public interest, at a time when holidaying and what might be in store for people travelling to other countries, is at the forefront of people's minds.

Amnesty has not commented on Mr Cowburn's alleged behaviour. We are always concerned about any allegations of assault against women and have a long history of campaigning to stop violence against women. But caning is a brutal and archaic practice that is never acceptable. It should be consigned to the history books.

The pain inflicted by caning is so severe that victims often lose consciousness as a result. Afterwards the suffering can last for weeks or even years, both in terms of physical disabilities and psychological trauma. As a punishment that intentionally inflicts severe pain and trauma, caning violates the absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment under international law.

Caning was imposed for some 30 offences in Singapore last year, including for vandalism, and in April a man from Cameroon was caned for overstaying his visa. Whatever offence Mr Cowburn is accused of, when someone is found guilty of an offence after a fair trial there are a great many avenues of sentencing, which do not constitute torture, available; such as a custodial sentence, or a financial penalty.

At Amnesty our position is simple. Caning is a form of torture, and constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Neither Austin Cowburn, nor anybody else should face being hit with a cane as a punishment, wherever in the world they are and what ever they are accused of doing.


6th August   

Recording Cable...

Ripping up outdated law
Link Here

Vince Cable, the UK Business Secretary,  has given his broad backing to a review by Professor Ian Hargreaves of copyright law, claiming it would stimulate innovation:

We are removing the barriers to the intellectual property system to encourage innovation. We need a legal framework that supports consumer use rather than one that sees it as regrettable.

The suggested changes would make it legal for individuals to make digital copies of their CDs and DVDs.. As well as legalising format shifting , it also suggested relaxing rules on parody and creating an agency to licence copyrighted content. The change would not make it legal to make copies and then share them online.

The changes are expected to pave the way for Google and Amazon to launch cloud music storage systems for UK consumers - although there was still some confusion over whether this could run into conflict with European law. A government spokesman said any conflicts would be dealt with during the consultation period, but Cable said he was confident there would not be problems.

The shake-up will also allow anyone to apply data-mining technology to published journals, making it easier for the scientific community to access research. However, the move was met with hostility by publishers, who see data-mining as a major source of growth.


4th August   

Human Rights Abuse...

Britain's rights abusing law to prevent spouses joining their partners in the UK is challenged in court
Link Here

A new immigration rule requiring people to be able to speak English to move to the UK to be with their spouse is a breach of human rights, a court has heard.

A couple have requested a judicial review to challenge the rule, which they claim contravenes their rights to a family life and is discriminatory.

Rashida Chapti, a British citizen, and her husband, Vali, who is an Indian national and does not speak, read or write English, have applied for him to be allowed to join her in the UK.

The couple have been married for 37 years and have six children. Mrs Chapti has reportedly been travelling between India and England for 15 years and has now asked for her husband to join her.

Under immigration rules which came into force last November, he cannot do so due to an English language requirement, thought to be part of the Government's pledge to reduce net migration. The Chaptis and two other couples have begun proceedings to contest the rule.

At the High Court in Birmingham, Manjit Gill QC, representing the Chaptis, told the court that the requirement to speak English contravenes several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. He said individuals have certain core rights , such as the right to marry, to find a family, to cohabit and to live in a family unit, a family being an essential building block of society.

Someone who is settled here, someone who is a British citizen, is ordinarily entitled to have their spouse living with them, providing it is a genuine marriage, providing there is no recourse to public funds, he said. He said the rule prevented people who are British citizens from living with their spouses.


1st August   

Update: Arbitrary Health Guidelines...

Safe drinking guidelines were plucked out of the air
Link Here

Guideline alcohol limits may be raised for the first time in 20 years. MPs are to examine the evidence behind official advice that men should drink no more than four units a day and women three.

That is the equivalent of two pints of ordinary strength lager for men and a large glass of wine for women. The review could see drinkers granted one extra drink a day

The Commons science and technology committee will look at the situation in other countries, a number of which have more generous limits.

Italian and New Zealand guidelines allow for an extra bottle of wine a week while those for Spain, France and the Netherlands give an extra half bottle.

The Dutch and the Canadians make no distinction between the amounts recommended for men and women.

The safe limits were introduced in 1987 by the Royal College of Physicians in its first report on alcohol misuse. Setting the level at 14 units a week for women and 21 for men, the college warned excessive consumption could lead to liver disease, strokes, heart and brain disease. But Dr Richard Smith, a member of the original working party on alcohol and a former editor of the British Medical Journal, admitted in 1997 that the figures were plucked out of the air for lack of any decent data .


31st July   

Update: Bull Balls Bullshit...

Victim of easily offended traffic cop shows that she has balls
Link Here

Americans are wrestling with the question, whether the use of truck nuts constitutes obscenity or is a question of free expression.

The debate began when a South Carolina woman was ticketed for hanging a pair of gargantuan plastic testicles from the backup of her pickup truck. Virginia Tice was given the $445 ticket under the state's obscene bumper sticker law, according to the Associated Press.

However, Tice has opted to let a jury trial decide whether having a big red pair of balls swinging from the back of your trailer hitch is a threat to public morals or if it's constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

WCSC quoted local police chief Franco Fuda explaining, Genitalia is offensive. As a law enforcement officer, I'll advise that if it warrants a citation, I'll issue a citation.

Locals have rallied to Tice's defence, with one telling the local ABC station that People have the right to freedom of speech. Fellow truck-nut swinger John Caddedl agreed it was a matter of personal expression. My truck's got power.

The case is set to be heard next month,


16th July   

No Human Rights to a Family Life for the Poor...

Discriminatory minimum income for Brits to take their Thai wives to the UK
Link Here

British citizens who are poor or unemployed could be prevented from marrying the spouse of their choice if new family migration proposals become law.

The government wants to introduce a new minimum income threshold for those looking to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependants to come to the UK.

Under the proposals the unemployed or those living on less than around £ 5,000 a year would be banned from doing so, while the probation period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in Britain would be raised from two to five years.

A Home Office consultation paper also proposes making it more difficult for families to bring dependant grandparents to live with them in the UK. Instead, it encourages people to send money to support them abroad.

The shakeup of the family migration route to Britain, under which 48,900 visas were granted last year, is the fourth phase of the government's plan to curb immigration abuse and reduce net migration to below 100,000 a year.

However, the Oxford University-based Migration Observatory estimates the plans contained in the paper would reduce annual net migration by no more than 8,000 a year.

The immigration minister, Damian Green, said the proposals would encourage better family migration and were designed to end abuses and send a message that if you can't support your foreign spouse or partner, you cannot expect the taxpayer to do it for you .

The majority of those who come to Britain under the family route are women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The consultation proposes tougher English language standards and a more rigorous approach to sham marriages including a new test to establish whether relationships are genuine by investigating whether the couple live together, speak the same language and knew each other before getting married.

Ministers also want to change the wording of article 8 of the European convention on human rights -- which protects the right to family life -- to allow even genuine wives and husbands to be deported if they have been living in the UK illegally.

The family migration plan is expected to be implemented this autumn.


14th July   

Bailiffs Seize Royal Jet...

German authorities seize royal jet over Thai Government's unpaid bills
Link Here

German administrators have impounded a jet used by Thailand's Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, in a dispute over an unpaid debt from 20 years ago.

The administrators say Thailand's government has refused to pay a bill of more than 30m euros ( £2 6m; $43m) to a now-defunct German construction firm.

The Boeing 737 was seized by court order, and will remain grounded, said a spokesman for Munich airport.

Thailand's Foreign Ministry said the seizure was highly inappropriate : The Thai authorities have expressed to the German government its great concern over the incident and have requested it to resolve the problem as soon as possible, ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi told Reuters news agency.

But Walter Schneider, the administrator for the now-bankrupt construction firm, said the drastic measure was virtually the last resort . The Thai government always stalled and did not respond to our demands . The German firm was part of a consortium that helped to build a toll road between Bangkok and Don Muang airport.

Update: Returned

10th August 2011. See  article from  google.com

Germany has released a plane belonging to Thailand's crown prince which was seized at Munich airport as surety for an outstanding Thai government debt, a court official said Wednesday.

The plane has been released, Christoph Fellner, vice-president of the Landshut regional court in the southern state of Bavaria told AFP.

For this to have happened a surety must have been paid. I haven't yet heard from the parties concerned as to whether the whole affair has been settled and if the main proceedings can now be dropped, he added.


2nd July   


Visa runs don't work in the USA
Link Here
A British couple described how their holiday in America turned into a nightmare when they were detained as illegal aliens .

Barbara Dixon and her husband, Richard Cross, had spent three months visiting family and driving around the U.S. before travelling to Canada for a few days.

When they returned to America they thought their visa waiver - which had allowed them to stay in the country for 90 days - would be renewed automatically.

But three months later, in March, they were horrified to discover they had made a terrible mistake when their Honda Civic was surrounded by eight armed border control guards in Texas.

Their car was impounded and the couple led away to a nearby trailer where they were questioned for five hours.

That's when they told us we were going to jail, said Mrs Dixon: I gripped Richard's hand and stared at him. I was completely stunned.

They were taken to a detention centre in El Paso, where they were held for five weeks before being deported back to Britain in April.

We were classed as illegal aliens because we had stayed over the initial 90 days. They wouldn't accept that it was a simple mistake.


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