Showing posts from September, 2010

Anti-austerity anger

Day of protests
Tens of thousands of European workers protested austerity measures by the EU—the largest demonstrations taking place in Brussels…and Spain. As EU nation states enact budget cuts to fight deficits, unions workers say they will be punished the most.

An RT correspondent explains why.

“They want to cut pay. Some countries are raising the retirement age and slashing pensions, and they’re also talking about slashing jobs in the public sector. So, that’s what they’re trying to prevent. And that’s all in an effort to reduce these debtsthat these countries haverun up, restore budget discipline, and of course boost market confidence in the Euro.”

The European Trade Union Confederation organized the protest in Brussels, and says around 100,000 protesters showed up to march outside EU institutions. European Affairs channel has the word from a confederation representative, who says the banks should be held accountable*for Europe’s deficits, not the people.

“From the very mo…

Model muddle

Next Top Model 'Wrong Winner' Blunder

The supermodel host of Australia's Next Top Model has been left red-faced after she announced the wrong winner of the TV contest.

Sarah Murdoch was close to tears after realising she had mistakenly said 19-year old Kelsey Martinovich was the winner of the Foxtel TV series during the show's live finale.

Martinovich had completed her acceptance speech before Murdoch backtrackedon stage to reveal the real winner from a public vote was 18-year-old Amanda Ware.

"I don't know what to say right now. I'm feeling a bit sick about this," Murdoch told a 2,000-strong audience.

"I'm so sorry. Oh my God, I don't know what to say. This is what happens when you have live TV folks. This is insane, insane, insane."

But Martinovich was gracious in her sudden defeat, saying: "It's okay" over and over and repeatedly congratulating Ware.

The disastrous event was dissected in real time on Twitter, and it …

General strike: success or failure?

European cities hit by anti-austerity protests
Thousands of protesters from across Europe are taking part in a mass demonstration in Brussels against spending cuts by some EU governments.

Other protests against austerity measures are being held in Greece, Italy, Ireland and Latvia.

A general strike is also taking place in Spain, hitting transport and other public services.

Trade unions say EU workers may become the biggest victims of a financial crisis set off by bankers and traders.

Many governments across the 27-member bloc have imposed punishing cuts in wages, pensions and employment to deal with spiralling debts.

In Greece and the Republic of Ireland unemployment figures are at their highest level in 10 years, while Spain's unemployment has doubled in just three years.

In Britain the government is planning to slash spending by up to 25% in some areas, while France has seen angry protests against a planned increase in the minimum retirement age.

The European Trade Union Conf…

New Labour leader

OK, it' not the most exciting thing in the world to listen to a politician make a speech; but here is the new Labour leader, and potential PM, making his debut speech.

Click on the main title to listen  to it. You can follow the trancript as you listen.

How does it compare to the speech of a Spanish politician?

Depressing reading for 30 somethings

Relate survey suggests mid-life crisis 'begins in 30s'

Work and relationship pressures make the mid-30s the start of many British people's unhappiest decade, a survey suggests.

Of those questioned, more people aged 35 to 44 said that they felt lonely or depressed than in other age groups.

The survey also suggested that busy parents were using Facebook and similar sites to stay in touch with children.

Relationship advice charity Relate, which is behind the research, said it revealed a "true mid-life crisis".
Of those surveyed, 21% of men and women aged 35 to 44 said they felt lonely a lot of the time, and a similar percentage said that bad relationships, either at work or home, had left them feeling depressed.

The same proportion said they felt closer to friends than family, and a quarter said they wished they had more time for their family.

Life stress

Claire Tyler, Relate's chief executive, said: "Traditionally we associated the midlife crisis with peopl…

End to cigarette breaks

Norfolk workers might not be paid for cigarette breaks
Workers could be forced to clock off when they go for a cigarette under proposals made by a Norfolk council.

Breckland Council said the moveaimed to make it fairer for individuals who did not smoke.

Staff will not be paid in future for the time they take to have a cigarette if the proposals are given the go-ahead at a meeting on Wednesday.

Simon Clark, from Smokers' lobby group Forest, said everyone was entitled to a break during work.

He said: "Are they going to introduce clocking in and off for people who go on the internet, on Facebook, or people who want to have a cup of coffee?

"I am sure there are some smokers who abuse the situation and go out too often but if that is happening that is a failure of management."

'Management failure'

William Nunn, leader of the Conservative-run council, said: "We want to make sure this policy is fair for all, including those that don't smoke and don't t…

Health bribes

NHS 'Should Pay Obese People To Lose Weight'

Smokers and the obese could be paid to give up their vices as part of NHS incentives designed to promote a heathier lifestyle.

An NHS advisory group suggested offering incentives to people to quit smoking or eat healthier food can lead to positive changes.

A pilot scheme saw pregnant women being awarded supermarket vouchers to give up cigarettes and the obese paid to lose an agreed amount of weight.

Children were also offered toys as a reward for eating more fruit and vegetables.

The independent Citizens Council, run by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) and made up of* members of the public, has backed the scheme.

The wider public are now being asked to give their views before Nice considers whether to implement the policy.

Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of Nice, conceded paying people to quit smoking was a "divisive issue".

But he said it was important to consider alternative policies.


Camping commuters

Commuters Go Camping To Avoid High Rents

Hard-pressed London commuters are increasingly turning to camping rather than paying exorbitant rents in the capital.

"Camping commuters" are pitching their tents or parking their caravans from Monday to Friday and retreating to more permanent homes at the weekends.

Lucy Boggis, from Chippenham in Wiltshire, said: "People think of it as a summer holiday in their little caravan, but as long as you've got a caravan that doesn't leak, you're as good as being in your bedroom at home.

Better known to some as Tempest from the Sky1 series Gladiators, the 21-year-old's campsite at Lee Valley Park in Edmonton, north London, is beside an athletics track where she is training to represent Britain at the 2012 Olympics.

Other residents include an IT contractor working in Canary Wharf and an urban planner for Hackney Council.

Prices do vary and Lee Valley Park is among the more expensive sites in London, with single campers payi…

Scots director wins Golden Shell award

Peter Mullan's Neds wins film awards
Director Peter Mullan's film Neds, a coming of age drama set in 1970s Glasgow, has taken two top honours at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Neds - short for non-educated delinquents - follows an intelligent boy struggling with gang warfare, an alcoholic father and class barriers.

Mullan, who also wrote the script and acts in the film, has described it as "personal but not autobiographical".

It picked upthe best film award, while Conor McCarron was named best actor.

The Scottish newcomer has won glowing reviews for his performance as troubled teenager John McGill.

The film received its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, where it was screened with subtitles.

It is the first film to be directed by Mullan, 50, since 2002's The Magdalene Sisters. That film won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Mullan, who grew up in Glasgow, also won the best actor award at Cannes in 1998 for My Name is Joe.

See you later

There are many expressions that I find annoying. Either they are overused or in fashion or just plain wrong.

"See you later" is guilty on all three counts. It is top of my list of the expressions that get on my nerves.

Suddenly it seems that everyone is saying it. Where did it come from? (American films or Australian soapsare likelyculprits). Until not long ago, a "goodbye" or simply "see you" could be heard. But not now....

I am not going to see you later - I'm off home to bed. I might not even see you tomorrow. Nor next week. God knows when I'll see you next.

I've even heard people say it when going to stay in another country. It is their departing line. I might not ever see you again. What are you saying?!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I was driving out of a supermarket at home in the summer. They had put up a sign with yes.....  Ahhhhhh!

The world's luckiest/unluckiest man

Just to prove that the story about the world's luckiest/unluckiest man really was true, here is an article about the man himself:

Frano Selak: 'world's luckiest man' gives away* his lottery fortune

A music teacher, Frano Selak, who was dubbed the world's luckiest man after cheatingdeath seven times before winning the lottery has now decided to give away his fortune.

The 81 year-old won £600,000 five years ago in the lottery in Croatia, to celebrate his fifth marriage, after earlier surviving plane and train crashes.

He also survived other disasters including landing on a haystack after falling out of a plane door that had blown open.

Now the pensioner has decided that "money cannot buy happiness" and has decided to live a frugal life.

He has sold his luxury home on a private island, given away his fortune to family and friends and moved back to his modest home in Petrinja, which is south of Zagreb, in the centre of the country.

He kept the last bit of h…