31st July 2012
I happened to hear a report on Farming Today this morning about naturally growing ragwort and horses. It is poisonous for them and they will avoid it when grazing. However when in hay they eat it. Although it appears to do them no harm it’s toxins build in in their bodies until liver damage is caused.
India has been suffering a serious of power outages over the last couple of days at the same time as a train fire in Andhra Pradesh killing 47. Over half the country has been affected in the northern part of the country causing power cuts to about 600 million people. The chairman of the Power Grid Corporation says the causes are unclear but it appeared to be associated with some areas taking more than their fair share creating a knock down of skittles effect.
Last night the BBC webpage reported that three tonnes of hashish have been sized off the coast of southern Portugal in a Portuguese operation, with nine arrested and one dying by accident. It appears smugglers from Morocco to Spain are having to change their routes due to better law enforcement.
A piece on yesterday’s Today had been recorded on one of our five a nuclear submarines near Yemen. It seems they carry out secret intelligence and anti-terrorism work. It seems they fired a lot of cruise missiles during the Libyan conflict and a chap said their current role is to keep the sea lanes open.
1st August 2012
Not that I understand the technicalities but I would say my milk story has moved on a bit. The way it seems to work is that when the Gang have been caught out they bring attention to their activity anyway, to make the best of things. That is what happened with the BBC most popular webpage story and my guess it is also why the young Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen did so well the other day, as much to her surprise I expect as anyone else’s. I also now suspect my milk was tested in the Games anti-doping laboratory in Harlow run by GlaxoSmithKline. Today the Prime Minister has announced before 500 leading figures from the global health industry that after the games the section will be turned into a phenome facility with £10 million of funding over five years from the Medical Research Council and the Department of Health’s Institute for Health Research. It will be the first of it’s kind in the world and allow us to understand the characteristics of disease and how these link into genes and our environment. It will enable us to take advantage of the opportunities that lie in combining genetic data with the results of medical tests on tissues and blood. £20 million in kind will also come from scientific instrument makes Bruker and Waters Corporation. University partners are Imperial College and King’s College London.
A very unusual non-economic political piece in today’s FT by John Kay concentrating on the subversive powers of the press. Around the time of the Sarah Payne, Soham and Milly Dowler murders in July 2000, August 2002 and March 2002 respectively Rebekah Brooks ran a campaign to bring in Sarah’s Law so that neighbours would know where paedophiles live. Mr Kay points out that normally there are between 5 and 10 cases of children being murdered by strangers every year. But in 2002 there were 17 and in 2003, 15. His conclusion is that publicity provokes intimidation.
2nd August 2012
There is something going in the Iberian peninsular at the moment after the recent hashish bust. My guess is that the Gang there have been infiltrated by a goodie. Today three suspected al-Qaeda operatives, a Turk and two from one of the former USSR republics, have been arrested in Southern Spain. They had explosives sufficient to blow up a bus. Then linked on the same BBC homepage is a story about 390 lbs of cocaine being seized from a yacht off the Algarve. Two Brits and two Germans were caught there with another man arrested in Spain. It seems 178 kilograms of cocaine were also seized in Portugal last week and four men arrested.
There is an interesting webpage up today by Michael Wood who compares the private security fiefdoms of G4S, Haliburton and Blackwater with the private armies of the East India Company which fell apart in the seventeenth century. Even though we have the fourth largest military budget in the world after America, China and Russia, G4S, operating out of Crawly, is four times larger. It was only founded in 2004, includes what was Securicor and Group 4, and it’s 2011 income was £7.5 billion.
3rd August 2012
Yesterday a private consortium called Discovery Park Ltd, who I think specialise in turn around situations, agreed to buy the former Pfizers site at Sandwich. I suspect they got whiff that things are suddenly happening in the bio research field.
James Blitz is a well connected journalist and in today’s FT he says that UK security forces believe Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London in 2006 on the instructions of the Russian state.
8th August 2012
Ian Learmonth was on Today on Monday on the anniversary of the riots speaking in his capacity as ACPO lead for public order and safety. He didn’t say much, it was purely symbolic. But it was nice of him.
10th August 2012
There was an interesting piece in last weekend’s FT Magazine about the drugs use information that can be obtained though analysing sewage. Apparently it can show you how big the drug market in a city is and can also measure changes in consumption over a short time such as after a police raid or custom’s seizure.
12th August 2012
Last week the Lib Dems said they would drop their proposals for House of Lords reform due to Conservative back bench opposition. However they will not now be prepared to support the Conservatives’ boundary changes.
Last Tuesday’s Today reports that the FT’s digital subscribers now outnumber their paper readers. The Mail website beaks even. The Guardian has lost 15% circulation this year and has lost money for a decade: it will have to go digital only over the next few years. The FT, Mail and Telegraph are in good financial health.
Last Monday Today were publicising a NHS report which says that there are up to 45,000 premature deaths every year due to poor detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease where the organ inadequately filters waste products from blood. The death rate is higher than due to lung and breast cancer combined. It seems 1.8 million people have been diagnosed with the condition but it is thought there are 1 million more undetected.
The closing Olympics Games ceremony has just started at 9pm. Just after noon a fire started at a single building recycling centre in Dagenham. Over two hundred firefighters attended but no one was hurt. The BBC webpage says it is the biggest in London for years.
There was a story running last week about Standard Chartered being accused by a regulator from the New York State Department of Financial Services of illegally hiding transactions with Iran. However I don’t think the number of transactions were that great and we tended to look upon it as a bit of London bashing. It was alleged the regulator gentlemeen was doing it for his own New York political ends.
13th August 2012
Last Thursday’s Today had a piece on air pollution in London and how there is a comprehensive survey underway involving 80 scientists and 11 universities to find out exactly what is in the air in London, both at ground level and up high using one research aircraft. It is called the ClearFlo project and is government funded. Looks like it is associated to my milk story to me.
The BBC Kent TV news has just said that Kent police are one of 12 organisations putting up money for a £3 million prototype drone project. It should be ready for testing in September 2013. A bit of a woolly report.
Before 7am on Friday Today reported on a review which is currently taking place into the centuries old offence of scandalising a court or judge, or showing unreasonable contempt. That contempt for example could be in the form of a book.
According to last Thursday’s Today it was on 9th August 2007 that PNB Paribas suspended three of it’s funds associated with American home loans. For that reason they say it was the start of the financial crash.
14th August 2012
Apparently James Callaghan said, when he was defeated by Margaret Thatcher, that sea changes in politics happen once every 30 years. Gideon Rachman suggests in last Tuesday’s FT that that we are currently in a global sea change, from America, to Europe to China, of believing the rich should pay more in taxes.
David Cameron’s try to get Mr Putin acting positively with Syria may have failed but I wonder if more success has been achieved with China. It is reported this morning that an aide to President Assad has flown to Beijing for talks. The Chinese foreign ministry has said it is also considering an invitation to members of the Syrian opposition. The same webpage quotes the former Syrian prime minister saying from Jordan that his old regime is collapsing morally, financially and militarily. He says the government now only controls about 30% of the country.
There was also a piece on the World at One today where the correspondent was saying the former prime minister had said he left Syria with the help of Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The significance of that apparently is that it is an indication that the Saudis and Qataris are supplying arms to the opposition using routes both through Turkey and Jordan.
On Today this morning there was a discussion about an offensive the Pakistanis are about to launch against the Haqqani Network in their tribal heartlands area near Afghanistan. That information has come from Mr Pannetta so it seems quite possible they might be getting covert American assistance. It seems one factor is the increased confidence being generated by the reopening of the cyber pass to American supplies in and out of Afghanistan.
Today’s FT says that Avaaz are training Syrian opposition groups in neighbouring territories to take over in government when the time comes.
Last Tuesday’s FT says the recent trouble in the Sinai Peninsular is really down to the lawless Bedouin tribes that live there, whose activities the Egyptians have allowed to grow to the extent that jihadist groups have moved in. Amongst other things the tribes are involved in arms smuggling into Gaza and people and drugs smuggling into Israel.
The same paper reports that in a joint operation with Hong Kong and Chinese police, Macau authorities have raided casinos and hotels detaining 150 people for money laundering. Apparently about $3 billion passes through the territory every month.
Tobias Buck reports in yesterday’s FT that over the last few days there have been a lot of leaks and anonymous briefings to Israeli media over a possible military strike against Iran before the American election.
15th August 2012
According to Saturday’s FT the Neil Heywood story all came about over a property investment that went wrong. Neil was promised £130 million from it but got upset when it did not materialise. He started making threatening noises about Gu Kailai’s son. It seems the typical Gang response to that was to frame him for possession of drugs in league with the police chief, Mr Wang. But I suspect Ms Kailai herself got so worked up she decided to take action into her own hands. Initially Mr Wang helped her cover that up but at some point obviously, the way he saw things changed.
The same paper reports that Iraq has now overtaken Iran to be Opec’s second largest oil producer.
16th August 2012
Following on from the Neil Heywood story I feel today’s FT highlights that China seems to be moving away from it’s past non-alignment policy. It now sees the value of making alliances with other countries in it’s part of the world.
An interesting piece by Martin Sandbu in today’s FT saying effectively that when we succumb to Gang schemes it comes down equally to poor leadership and systematic failures. On the Brievik killings he says the street where the bomb was left had been identified as a security risk years before. Those at the top, such a political leaders, should take responsibility for such failures. He says that the G4S debacle was not spotted until it was too late. It was only because the army were able to step in at the last moment that a disaster was averted.
This story I heard on Radio 4 news this morning and then a Google search brought up an article on FT.com, not in the paper. It is that the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar have all advised their citizens to leave Lebanon immediately. It seems that various targetings and kidnappings are taking place there due, I suspect, to those countries coming openly out against the Gang.
17th August 2012
Then in journalistic conspiratorial mode there was a piece on UFO’s. It seems there are one or two sightings a month of unexplained things with some recordings over time of quite strange happenings. The thought was put across that some people on earth might have flying objects moving around which the rest of us are not meant to know about.
18th August 2012
The third item on Today this morning was a completely home grown BBC item with contributions only from Mark Urban and Mark Mardell on the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran before the American presidential election. They were saying it is essentially a domestic Israeli political issue.
19th August 2012
The Person in the News in yesterday’s FT is Mark Thompson. It says his move to the New York Times, where he will be going head to head with Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street journal, is to lead them into the digital age. It says his lowest moment at the BBC was when Alan Johnson, now their Rome correspondent, was kidnapped in Gaza in March 2007 by Palestinian militants. When Hamas took full control of Gaza in mid June they said Alan should be released but on 24th June his captors filmed him wearing a suicide vest full of explosives. He was eventually freed on 4th July after 114 days.
22nd August 2012
I think there must have been some recent intelligence that the Syrian government is thinking of using chemical weapons. Barack Obama said yesterday that if he thinks that could happen it will change the way he sees the current situation, implying that America would take military action.
23rd August 2012
We already have rights to access our private data under the Data Protection Act, as I did with [my MP]. Yesterday Today had a piece about the government wanting to publicise that fact and asking large companies, such as supermarkets, to have all the information available digitally ready for if we ask for it. The Mydata initiative is being headed by John Hayes the Minister at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
This morning’s news is saying that David Cameron, Francois Hollande and Barack Obama have spoken on the phone about Syria and Mr Cameron agrees with Mr Obama’s position on the nerve gas situation.
On Monday it was announced the 57 year old prime minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, has died whilst in a hospital abroad. It seems he was quite an enigma starting life as a Marxist-Lenninist but then bringing economic growth to his country. Although he was a repressive ruler I think the West looked upon him as an asset in the Horn of Africa. It seems to me his death could be a long term power play by the Gang in the region.
Yesterday Russia finally joined the World Trade Organisation which should help to open up their economy and institutions to world market forces. It has taken 20 years of negotiations and seems anti-Russia feeling in America is part of the reason. China joined in 2001.
It was also reported on Today yesterday that nine Americans have been killed by Afghan troops they were supposed to be training in the last 10 days. There have been 40 deaths that way this year including 7 British soldiers. They have been going on since 2008. As suicide is not involved the perpetrators are just doing it for money paid by the Taliban. A commentator says it shows the level of deep resentment within the country against occupying forces.
Again thanks to Today on Tuesday I know that during the 1920’s a disease called encephalitis lethargica struck the world killing nearly one million people. It attacked the brain leaving people like statues. Doctors never found out what caused it. In reappeared again in Britain in 1993 and thanks to a doctor in Great Ormond Street hospital it was discovered some 20 people were suffering from it at the time. Apparently it forms through a mutation of the streptococcus bacteria which causes sore throats. It causes some people’s immune systems to turn on themselves destroying their own brains.
Somalia’s first formal parliament has been sworn in this week.
Not sure what to make of this following my conversation with …. yesterday so I will just write this down. [FT editorial writer] writes about the legitimate (forcible) rape comment by Todd Akin the other day. Apparently what it seems he meant was that as a matter of faith, a woman will find she does not become pregnant if she is raped. Presumably if she did his argument would then be she must have consented. In simple terms …. seems to be suggesting that that perception of a war on women now being generated means that the Republicans have little chance of winning the Presidential election.
24th August 2012
Anders Breivik was unanimously found sane by five judges today meaning he will spend the maximum terms of 21 years in prison. With a term like that it means he will get a second chance with his life. What a civilised society.
Not a story I had heard before but it seems there has been an ongoing battle between American cyclist Lance Armstrong and his anti-doping agency. A typical Gang story in that he, and therefore cycling in America, came to prominence after he battled testicular cancer, going on to be the only person to win the Tour de France on seven consecutive occasions. I don’t think he has ever tested positive for drugs but he was charged in June with using them going back 16 years. He maintains his innocence but says he won’t contest the investigation meaning his past wins will probably be stripped from him. On the World at One they were saying his support from some Americans is more a matter of faith that logical conclusion.
29th August 2012
There is a BBC webpage up at the moment saying that a book called No Easy Day contradicts the official version of the killing of Osama bin Laden at Abbatobad. It is being published by Penguin Group’s Dutton imprint and American officials say criminal charges could result from the improper disclosure of secret information.
Mali was highlighted on BBC yesterday. Islamist militants took over the north of the country earlier this year at around the time the elected government was overthrown by a military led coup. The divided government say they don’t have the resources to do anything about it themselves and it seems drugs trafficking could be involved. Tibuktu in Mali where artifacts have been attacked has also been in the news recently.
31st August 2012
Had an interesting trip out to Lynton today. The Somerset gang picked me up in . . . . and were heavily with me all day. At Dunster Beach I happened to park near a lady who was already crowding a group on the other side of the breakwater. One of this gang’s characteristics is the depth and complicatedness of their silly driving games on quiet roads such as on Exmoor.
There is a huge wildfire at the moment in Spain which is threatening to reach Marbella. Southern Spain has had it’s driest summer for several years. The authorities don’t discount that it was started deliberately.
Seven years to the day after Hurrican Katrina reached land Hurrican Isaac hit New Orleans on Wednesday. That also coincided with the Republican National Convention in Florida.
Yesterday’s Today said there has been a big drop in the world production of heroin. In came up when they were reporting on the effects of heroin substitutes.
…. on Today yesterday …. . He specifically referred to Richard Holbrooke and referred to the allies’ Afghanistan strategy as cultivating an allotment in a jungle where the gardeners are soon to leave. His critique is that the military strategy has never been accompanied by a political approach. That an overarching approach in the region, to include Iran, has never occurred he says is entirely down to the American dysfunctional political system. If we leave Afghanistan without a political solution the country will be doomed. He said all leaders know what is required, it is common sense, but sufficient political courage is lacking. He sounded very down.