Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Death of the ID Card?

After today’s farcical cack handed debacle of the 25million records now out in the ether maybe its time to be thankful in one respect that the ID Card must surely be dead in the water. Night night.

‘Emergency Rule’ in Pakistan

A very interesting addition to formal news coverage is available on our sister sites in Pakistan:

It’s so amazing to read the day-to-day, personal experiences behind the headlines.

From Karachi: “I woke up early morning, went to TV lounge , turn on TV and found it dumb & dead again. No channels. Its indeed a question to ponder how much we are a laughing stock for the rest of the world which is planning for MARS in 2025. Media is supposed to be the only hope people have to reach out to truth in difficult times but being unique our government blocked tools of news/information not allowing people to know what’s happening around.”

Another fab London attraction

Forget family fun at the British Museum’s exhibit of terracotta warriors — take the kids to this week’s London Arms Fair!

You might as well, since you paid for it: four million pounds of our tax dollars are being used to police it. Thank god our money is going to such worthy causes as arresting peace demonstrators.

The Independent reports,

The exhibition organisers say the event is “not an arms fair”. A spokesman said: “You can’t just walk in off the street and buy weapons.” He stressed that only a small proportion of exhibitors sold actual weapons and that the majority were concerned with such areas as disaster relief, peacekeeping and humanitarian activities and homeland security.

You certainly wouldn’t know it based on the fair’s home page, which prompts gleefully: “CLICK HERE FOR Night Vision, Electronic Warfare,” with no mention of humanitarian products.

An interesting overview of the latest arms trade news, including the BAE bribery scandal, is on the Guardian website.

Next time you go to the polls in your borough and for mayor, remember who opposed this travesty in our city.

Welcome to Mandela’s new statue: scrap SOCPA

laun.jpgA statue of Nelson Mandela was unveiled in Parliament Square today.

It’s wonderful to see this great man honoured, but it’s a bit ironic that the statue has been placed where the free-speech-crushing SOCPA (Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005) aims to prevent Brian Haw and other peaceful protesters from exercising their civil rights.

Comedian Mark Thomas, writer of the excellent As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela book about the British arms trade, writes that Gordon Brown will scrap SOCPA.

The statue is beautiful, but scrapping SOCPA and closing loopholes in arms trade legislation would also be fitting tributes to this man’s lifetime of work.

Personal coverage of the Red Mosque siege in Pakistan


The on-the-ground coverage of the showdown between the government and the fundamentalists of the Red Mosque, on our sister site Metroblogging Islamabad, is an excellent companion to the regular mainstream news coverage.

The comments, in particular, are always an interesting insight into life in Islamabad.

“Lack of Civil Liberties, Not Poverty, Breeds Terrorism”

After the attempted bombings this month, the media focused heavily on the fact that some of the people arrested are doctors.

People seem to be shocked by this for two reasons: that doctors would murder, and that the culprits may not be young, ignorant and disaffected.

Addressing the latter point only, the Wall Street Journal reports:

When Princeton economist Alan Krueger saw reports that seven of eight people arrested in the unsuccessful car bombings in Britain were doctors, he wasn’t shocked. He wasn’t even surprised.

“Each time we have one of these attacks and the backgrounds of the attackers are revealed, this should put to rest the myth that terrorists are attacking us because they are desperately poor,” he says. “But this misconception doesn’t die.”

Link to the article in the Wall Street Journal

Alan Johnston freed! Yay!


Wonderful, wonderful. BBC reporter Alan Johnston has been freed by his kidnappers in Gaza.

Hamas, who was heavily involved in negotiations for his release, asked that we take time to consider the Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. I suggest that we think of all hostages and prisoners held without trial, around the world.

But Alan Johnston is a special case. His job as a journalist makes his safety and freedom even more important. Journalists risk themselves to report the news, for all of us and our well-being.

Welcome back, Alan Johnston.

Photo from the BBC news in pictures article

Letter bomb update

miles.jpgA 27-year-old school caretaker has been arrested for the spate of letter bombings that I posted about earlier.

Is it wrong to say: Duh, look at the photo (age 16, but still). (Also, school caretaker!)

Photo from the Guardian story

Letter bomber targeting car offices

A third letter bomb in three days has gone off in the UK. A woman has been taken to hospital after the latest incident, a device hidden in a jiffy bag delivered to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea. All three devices have targeted offices connected with motoring, although police have not formally linked them.

Yesterday a package arrived at offices of a firm linked to a company that makes speed cameras for the police. Emergency services treated two people for minor injuries at the scene. And on Monday, a letter bomb went off at the London offices of a company running the capital’s congestion charge scheme. One person required medical treatment.

Guardian news story

Small letter bomb explodes at Capita headquarters

A letter bomb exploded at the offices of Capita Group Plc, the company that runs London’s traffic- charging system, on the same road as the U.K.’s Scotland Yard police headquarters, police said.

One woman is reported to have been injured by the bomb.

Reports seem to imply that anti-congestion charge sentiment is to blame (the congestion charge is being expanded to the West of London soon). Surely not?!

Bloomberg article

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