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Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 09:36:53 +0100
Subject: Freedom of speech case outrages Germany



Right - folk in UK (+USA?) tend to forget, or just don't know, how ruthless and evil unchecked gov'ts can be.
Ray


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-33784479
Freedom of speech case outrages Germany
By Damien McGuinness | BBC News, Berlin | 06 Aug 2015

Journalists have been accused of treason; a chief prosecutor fired; and we have witnessed the unedifying spectacle of government ministers scrambling to get out of the firing line after popular outrage.
...
Earlier this year, Andre Meister and Markus Beckedahl published classified documents on the digital rights website Netzpolitik, indicating that Germany's intelligence service was planning to expand online surveillance to combat terrorism, and that a special unit could be set up to monitor social media.

Last week the journalists announced that they were being investigated for treason.
If the state prosecutor had his way, wrote Andre Meister on Netzpolitik: "Markus and I will soon be sitting in jail for two years."

There was a national outcry. Headlines screamed that freedom of the press was under attack and thousands took to the streets of Berlin in support of Netzpolitik.

Painful memories
That seems less surprising when you remember Germany's painful experience of totalitarianism during the 20th Century.

Hitler's secret police, the Gestapo, and communist East Germany's Stasi agents spied extensively on their own citizens and severely controlled the press.

So privacy rights and the role of the media are not simply matters of academic debate.  People here are all too aware of the dangers when a state gets too powerful.

(more at page ...)







Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 16:00:04 +0100
Subject: "Firm ... will no longer consider degrees or A-level results when assessing employees


Yup, and it'll work better, because we've known for a decade or more that UK's secondary, tertiary and onward `qualifications' - GCSEs and A levels to degrees - are corrupt (see ed4.html#read-write)

And you can see why the elite schools are objecting (see below) - Yup, they always benefitted from the corruption - see ed2.html#prestige for third-party evidence.
Ray
- - [see replies below]

www.independent.co.uk/~/ey-firm/~/no-longer-consider-degrees-or-alevel-results-assessing-employees.html
http://tinyurl.com/plg6euh
EY: Firm says it will not longer consider degrees or A-level results when assessing employees
One of Britain's biggest graduate recruiters will no longer consider degree or A-level results when assessing potential employees.

EY, the global accountancy firm, announced that it was scrapping the requirement for applicants to have a minimum 2:1 degree pass or Ucas point score of 300 (the equivalent of three B grades at A-level).

The company said it had made the decision to change the application rules for its graduate, undergraduate and school-leaver programmes after an independent study rated its in-house assessment programme and numeracy tests as "a robust and reliable indicator of a candidate's potential to succeed".

Maggie Stilwell, EY's managing partner for talent, said she hoped the new policy would "open up opportunities for talented individuals regardless of their background and provide greater access to the profession". It has been welcomed by many in the universities sector.

However, the decision will also be seen as a indictment of the degree-awarding system at British universities. Recruiters have long complained that degree scores fail to give employers a true picture of a candidate's potential.

The new policy may also be met with scepticism from independent school heads who believe their superior exam results should act as a spur in helping their pupils gain places at the UK's most selective universities.
(more ...) ---

-
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 23:35:19 +0800

Same thing here Ray, and I am suspecting those ministers are involved in downgrading the system so to produce "better results" each time and make themselves look good.

Choong
-
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 18:23:42 +0100

Right Choong.  When I got back to UK did a lot of reading and then some investigating of the general situation - mostly from public domain sources.  However, did make friends (over the phone) with a girl - C******* - on the staff of one of UK's broadsheet newspapers with Literary and Education remits.

Eventually she admitted that her paper knew that the University Examinations Board was biased towards private elite schools (where most of them had been educated).  So much so that those private shools were getting advance knowledge of exam contents - especially of elite subjects like English Literature.

And I already knew that other elite-only subjects like Latin and Greek (the so-called `Classics') were being tested some eight to ten times easier than normal `democratic' subjects like Computer Science, plain English, Geography etc. - see that ed2.html page.

That was well over a decade ago and things haven't changed, except for the worse.
Ray

-
Date: 04 Aug 2015 08:37:00 -0700

I can't think that those who study at Oxford or Cambridge can be too pleased with this trend.
Roy
-
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2015 18:34:12 +0100

Right Roy.  A younger pal who got to Oxford on a mathematics scholarship was decently unassuming - unlike many of them; their kudos / prestige is mostly undeserved.
Ray







Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:02:19 +0000
Subject: Fees for FOI appeals


Campaign for FOI news July 2015

Dear supporter,

Our email yesterday (July 29) encouraged you to respond to the Ministry of Justice consultation which proposes that fees should be introduced for appeals to the Tribunal against Information Commissioner FOI decisions.  However, figuring out precisely where these proposals can be found is a little tricky.

The consultation document confusingly combines the new proposals on fees for FOI appeals with the government's response to an earlier consultation about fees for other kinds of legal proceedings.

From our point of view, the key part of the consultation is on page 29 of the consultation document.  This deals with proposed fees for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber).  This is the part of the tribunal system which, amongst other things, deals with appeals against decisions of the Information Commissioner under the FOI Act and Environmental Information Regulations.  The Information Commissioner is mentioned (just once) in paragraph 124.

The General Regulatory Chamber also deals with appeals involving charities, consumer credit and transport.  There is no need to mention on these, unless you happen to have specific views on the issues involved.

Paragraph 126 states:

"In the remaining jurisdictions within the General Regulatory Chamber we have proposed one fee for an appeal decision on the papers and one fee for an oral hearing. Our proposal is to charge a fee of £100 to issue proceedings, which would entitle the claimant to a decision based on a review of the papers. The claimant may alternatively elect for an oral hearing, in which case a further fee of £500 would be payable. Based on current volumes, we estimate that this proposal would generate a cost recovery percentage of around 17% after remissions."

This is the proposal that would affect FOI appeals.  We would urge you to respond to Questions 14 & 15.

In broad terms you might say something like:

Question 14:
No. I/we do not agree with the introduction of fees for proceedings under the Freedom of Information Act in the General Regulatory Chamber.

Unlike other proceedings which involve the appellant's private rights, FOI appeals seek to promote the public interest by making information publicly available.  Many potentially successful FOI appeals against orders upholding an authority's decision to refuse an FOI request are likely to be deterred by the proposed fees, and this will affect the public as a whole not just the individual appellant.

Question 15:
Yes. I/we believe that proceedings under the FOI Act should be exempt from the proposed fees.

The introduction of fees for appeals to the employment tribunal has severely cut the number of unfair dismissal claims to about 1/3 of their previous level.  Introducing fees for FOI appeals is likely to have a similarly drastic impact.  However, public authorities challenging pro-disclosure decisions by the Information Commissioner are unlikely to be deterred by the proposed fees resulting in an inequality of arms.

If you're able to express this in your own words it's of course even better.  In particular, please add any additional arguments you may have based on your, or your organisation's, experience of using the FOI appeals system.

Responses must be sent by Tuesday 15 September to: Michael Odulaja, Court & Tribunal Fees Policy, mojfeespolicy@justice.gsi.gov.uk

We'd be grateful if you could send us a copy of your response.

Best wishes,
Katherine

Katherine Gundersen
Campaign for Freedom of Information
Unit 109, Davina House, 137-149 Goswell Rd, London EC1V 7ET, UK
Tel: (020) 7490 3958 | www.cfoi.org.uk | http://twitter.com/CampaignFOI

Our mailing address is:
Campaign for Freedom of Information
Unit 109 Davina House
137-149 Goswell Road
London, EC1V 7ET
United Kingdom







Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 10:01:49 +0100
Subject: "NSPCC expresses concern


Ha!  This article's mention of Sussex [as the police force most protecting/covering-up of pedophiles] reminded me of a casual remark made by a local bus-driver when talking of latest UK pedophile scandal/cover-up (around 2005 maybe):- he said "bet you they're all hiding in East Sussex, it's the pedo-capital of UK, after London".  Asked why, he answered that East Sussex was where many/most senior judges, bureaucrats, churchmen and politicos retire to.
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/30/child-safety-worry-after-inconsistency-in-releasing-paedophile-information
Child safety worry after inconsistency in releasing paedophile information
NSPCC expresses concern after figures show just one in six requests by parents for sex offenders' information has been granted since scheme rolled out in 2011

Children may be at risk because of a wide discrepancy in police responses to requests for information made under a paedophile warning system, campaigners have warned.

According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), just one in six applications for information has been successful since the child sex offender disclosure scheme (CSOD), or Sarah's law, was rolled out in England and Wales in April 2011.

Introduced following a campaign by Sara Payne, whose daughter Sarah was murdered by a convicted paedophile, the scheme is a watered-down version of laws in the US - under which, details of the residences of convicted paedophiles are actively publicised.

We are both disturbed and surprised by this wide discrepancy of figures
Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive
Payne, whose eight-year-old daughter was killed by Roy Whiting in July 2000, led a campaign calling for a British equivalent. Under the Home Office scheme, parents can ask police about anyone with access to their children and officers will reveal details confidentially if they think it is in the child's interests.

As well as parents, carers and guardians, any concerned member of the public can formally ask the police to tell them if someone has a record for child sexual offences.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, the NSPCC found that between 2011 and 2014, 5,357 applications were made to 33 forces, but only 877 applications resulted in disclosures being made - or one in every six.

Five other forces said they had received 908 applications, but did not provide information about disclosure numbers. The NSPCC expressed concern over the wide variation in the proportion of disclosures made by different police.

Suffolk police disclosed information they held for around a third of applications (31 out of 93 made). Sussex police, the force that investigated Payne's murder, gave out information for only 7% of applications (14 out of 193). At the other end of the spectrum, Cleveland police gave out information to 131 out of 147 applications, which equates to 89%.

"We are both disturbed and surprised by this wide discrepancy of figures across the country, revealing that there is a postcode lottery when it comes to how forces deal with Sarah's law," said Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive.

"While there may be very good reasons for not disclosing information held to applicants, some forces seem to be too cautious, which could put children at serious risk of harm. We need to see regular independent evaluation of this vital law to make sure it's working as it should."

Once a request is made under the CSOD, police assess if it raises concerns - including the discovery that the subject has child sex convictions or a criminal record for other relevant offences, such as violence, drugs or domestic abuse. If a disclosure is subsequently made, it is strictly confidential.
---







Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:44:54 +0000
Subject: Stop FOI restrictions


Campaign for FOI news July 2015

Stop FOI restrictions
The Freedom of Information Act is under serious attack.

As you may have heard, the government has announced a new Commission on Freedom of Information.  The terms of reference and composition indicate that its sole purpose is to consider the case for restricting the right of access.  It is likely to consider restrictions in three key areas:

preventing the disclosure of government policy discussions;
strengthening the ministerial veto; and
reducing the Act's `burden' on public authorities.

The case for strengthening the legislation is not on the agenda.

The Commission's members consist mainly of ex-ministers or officials.  They include former home secretary, Jack Straw, who has publicly advocated measures to limit the right of access in each of these key areas.  The other members are Lord Howard of Lympne (Michael Howard, also a former home secretary), Lord Carlile of Berriew (the government's former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation) and Dame Patricia Hodgson, chief executive of OFCOM.  It is chaired by Lord Burns, former permanent secretary at the Treasury.  It is due to report by the end of November 2015 - a surprisingly short timescale for a thorough review of a complex issue if that is in fact what is proposed.

Fees for FOI appeals
The government is also proposing to introduce fees for appealing against the Information Commissioner's FOI decisions to the Tribunal.  An appeal solely based on written submissions would cost £100; an appeal with an oral hearing would cost £600.  Appeals are currently free of charge.

Unlike other tribunal proceedings, which typically involve the appellant's private rights, FOI appeals generally seek to promote the public interest by making information public.  Measures that restrict the ability to appeal will affect the whole public, not just the individual requester.  The introduction of fees for appeals to the employment tribunal has severely cut the number of unfair dismissal claims to about 1/3 of their previous level.  Introducing fees for FOI appeals is likely to have a similarly drastic impact.  However, public authorities challenging pro-disclosure decisions are unlikely to be deterred by the proposed fees.

The proposals are available for consultation (PDF) until September 15 2105 together with an impact assessment (PDF).  Please let the Ministry of Justice know what you think.

The Campaign has taken a lead role in opposing these changes and was quoted in the Independent, Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times, Daily Mail and Press Gazette. The Campaign's director, Maurice Frankel, also appeared on the Today programme and on LBC Drive.

We have launched a Stop FOI Restrictions campaign page highlighting what various parties have said about the proposals.  We will be keeping this constantly updated.

We will keep you informed of what you can do to help.  In the meantime, please help us defend FOI more effectively by making a donation to the Campaign.

You can also help by signing a 38 Degrees petition to protect FOI.  Over 75,000 people have already done so.  Please sign and share the petition with friends and colleagues.

Our mailing address is:

Campaign for Freedom of Information
Unit 109 Davina House
137-149 Goswell Road
London, EC1V 7ET
United Kingdom







Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:16:34 +0100
Subject: "West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis


He goes into a lot of (recentish) history - but maybe if he thought about the long-term histories of `ascendancies' (as we'd discussed a while ago) then he might be even more pessimistic - or not?
Ray


www.independent.co.uk/~/the-west-likes-to-think~otherwise.html
http://tinyurl.com/pj26szv

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise
We cling to our belief that barbarism will never outlast the power of the righteous
(lots more at page ...)







Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:50:31 +0100
Subject: "Examining government plans to tackle the activities of non-violent extremists


Distinctly Orwellian.   I.e. this new "law" would need the creation or allocation of police or agents dedicated to finding, or labelling, `extremist' views - as defined by themselves, or by corrupt politicos.

That means: - thought-police.
Ray D


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b062khlh
Should Extremism Be a Crime?
Examining government plans to tackle the activities of non-violent extremists. (R)

John Ware investigates plans to counter the activities of those classed as non-violent extremists. Glorifying terrorism is already a crime. In future, expressing views deemed contrary to British values could be illegal too. A new bill would allow police to impose prevention orders aimed at silencing those who preach an extremist message. The law could be used to shut down the premises used to host such speakers. It is part of the "muscular liberal" approach set out by David Cameron in 2011. But does it risk compromising the liberal values it is designed to protect?







Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2015 23:04:19 +0100
Subject: Yuval Noah Harari: What explains the rise of humans?


Interesting - and so true it's almost tautology - we humans live in a partial dream.  The kicker comes right at the end.
Ray


http://www.ted.com/talks/yuval_noah_harari_what_explains_the_rise_of_humans?
Filmed June 2015 at TEDGlobalLondon
Yuval Noah Harari:  What explains the rise of humans?






Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:34:01 +0000
Subject: Dead bees and birds


Dear Ray,

In a matter of days or even hours, our Environment Minister may allow banned toxic chemicals to be used on UK fields.  [1] It's the profit hungry pesticide industry vs. our beautiful countryside.

Liz Truss, the Environment Minister, is about to decide whether to rubber stamp a request to ignore the European ban on bee-killing pesticides, and allow them on our fields this autumn.  Even her own experts rejected the application, but they've now been gagged by the government.  [2] It's all pretty dodgy.  But it's not too late.

We need to act fast. If she sees how much public anger there'll be if she does the bidding of the chemical industry bosses rather than protecting our environment, she'll be forced to do the right thing.  Let's make sure Liz Truss keeps our fields free from chemicals which are blamed by scientists around the world for killing bees and birds. [3]

Already over 400,000 of us have signed the emergency petition - please can you join us?

Sign the petition

Bumbling around our countryside covered in pollen, our bees are often overlooked. But they are essential to, not only our economy, but the very future of our food production. Without bees everything from apples and pears to turnips and tomatoes would be nearly impossible to grow. [4]

Last year, 38 Degrees members managed to pressure the previous Environment Minister to uphold the ban. The pesticide industry tried to pull the same trick, but a combination of a huge petition, thousands of emails, and even an early morning demonstration outside Downing Street forced them to back down. [5]

People power could protect our bees once again.

Can you sign the petition to Liz Truss now, and demand that she protects our bees and our countryside?

Sign the petition

Thanks so much for everything you do

Robin, Nat, Maddy and millions of British Bees.

NOTES:
[1] Farmers' Weekly - NFU makes second `emergency' request for neonicotinoids http://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/nfu-makes-second-emergency-request-neonicotinoids.htm
[2] The Guardian: UK government gags advisers in bees and pesticides row http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/17/government-gags-pesticide-advisers-refusal-support-bee-harming-neonicotinoids
[3] Wired - Not Just Bees: Controversial Pesticides Linked to Bird Declines http://www.wired.com/2014/07/neonicotinoid-bird-declines/
[4] Honey Love: list of food we will lose if we don't save the bees: http://honeylove.org/list-of-food/
[5] 38 Degrees blog - Bees 1: Syngenta 0 https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2014/07/04/bees-1-syngenta-0/







Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 21:34:52 +0100
Subject: "Illiterate raider slips up by mistaking chippy for nearby bookmakers he planned to rob


Yup, despite the `official' figures there's a surprising amount of illiteracy in UK.

A few years ago, when I had some spare time and was anyway involved in a nearby college (on a PGCE course), was persuaded to teach English, Maths (and anything else that cropped up) to `Second Chance' classes composed mostly of late teens and twenties who'd missed out on their GCSEs and wanted to try again, and, because some local rural areas were quite isolated, a surprising number of older adults who couldn't read/write.

It was rewarding work and was sorry when other commitments ended it (so were the permanent staff - they said I was a `natural' - not sure what they meant).
Ray


http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/illiterate-raider-slips-up-mistaking-6109958
Illiterate raider slips up by mistaking chippy for nearby bookmakers he planned to rob
17:08, 21 JULY 2015 | BY VIC RODRICK

An illiterate drunk bungled a robbery bid at a bookies shop by going into a nearby chip shop instead.

Derek Carr got his pal to write the robbery demand on the back of a Ladbrokes betting slip because he can't read or write.

He had planned to rob a branch of rival bookies Corals, Livingston Sheriff Court was told.

But dopey Carr went into the local fish and chip shop in Blackburn, West Lothian, instead.

When the server realized he didn't want chips, he directed Carr to the bookies shop next door.

Lewis Crosby, prosecuting, said witnesses had earlier noticed that Carr, who was carrying a blue plastic bag, was 'clearly under the influence of something'.

He entered Corals just before 6pm, walked up to the counter where manageress Karen Jamieson was standing and handed her the note, which said: "Put the money in the bag or someone will die."

Mr Crosby said. "This was read by the complainer who handed the note back to the accused and asked him: Are you telling me you're holding me up?

"The accused didn't respond at this time, however he opened the carrier bag and said 'put the money in the bag'.

"This was overheard by another member of staff who had been on the shop floor. Both members of staff pressed the silent panic alarm.

"The complainer thereafter informed the accused that she was not giving him any money. The accused smirked and said: I was only joking.

"He then calmly walked out of the door taking with him his note and the carrier bag. "

Carr, 49, admitted attempting to rob the shop on April 25 this year. He had sentence deferred for background reports.

His friend Greg Tod, 33, who wrote the note for Carr, had a not guilty plea to the same charge accepted and was formally acquitted.

Darryl Lovie, defending, said Carr was so drunk at the time he had no memory whatsoever of the botched robbery bid.

He said: "The chip shop attendant noticed he had a betting slip in his hand and inquired if he could help him.

"He then realised Mr Carr was in the wrong shop and told him he was in a chip shop not the bookies next door.

"He didn't write the note. His former co-accused was seen writing the note. Because Mr Carr is illiterate and cant read or write he didn't know what was on the note, but he was aware of his actions.

"He appreciates the seriousness of his position and has the record of a man who has had a drink and drug problem for a significant period of time.

"He recognizes that given the seriousness of the charges, its almost inevitable that a custodial sentence will be imposed."

Sheriff Peter Hammond called for social work reports to assess Carrs suitability for post release supervision. The case will call again on July 30.
---







Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 18:14:51 +0100
Subject: "Don't tweet while drunk, report warns MPs


So they recommend MPs to not tweet when drunk and to think rationally - that should keep most of them off-line forever.
Ray


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dont-tweet-while-drunk-official-report-warns-mps-10400796.html
Don't tweet while drunk, report warns MPs

MPs have been warned not to tweet while drunk and to always wait 60 seconds before posting messages online in order to avoid political gaffes.

A 5,500-word report submitted to the Speaker of the House of Commons gave representatives a series of tips on how to avoid gaffes on Twitter.

"Because it is so quick and easy to tweet people make mistakes and there have been several high profile examples of political gaffes," the report warned.
(more ...)







Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:25:42 +0000
Subject: Campaign responds to announcement of an FOI commission


Press release: 17 July 2015
New FOI Commission heralds "crackdown on the right to know"

A major attack on the public's right to information is likely following the government's announcement today of a new Commission to review the Freedom of Information Act, according to the Campaign for Freedom of Information.  The Commission has been asked to consider whether new measures are needed to protect the government's internal discussions from disclosure and to reduce the `burden' of the FOI Act.

The Campaign's director Maurice Frankel said: "The government is clearly proposing to crack down on FOI.  Ministers want certainty that policy discussions will not only take place in secret but be kept secret afterwards.  They don't like the fact that the Act requires the case for confidentiality to be weighed against the public interest in disclosure.  The Commissioner and Tribunal give substantial weight to the need to protect ongoing government discussions and the frankness of future exchanges. But after a decision has been announced they sometimes order disclosure where exchanges are anodyne, the material is old or the case for openness is overwhelming.  If that balancing test is removed mistakes, bad decisions and policy failures caused by deliberately ignoring the evidence will be concealed for 20 years."

The Campaign pointed out that the FOI Act had been fully examined only 3 years ago, by the Justice Select Committee in its post legislative scrutiny of the Act.  The committee reported in 2012 that FOI had proved "a significant enhancement of our democracy", that the Act was "was working well" and concluded that "We do not believe that there has been any general harmful effect at all on the ability to conduct business in the public service, and in our view the additional burdens are outweighed by the benefits."

For an account of the way in which recent Tribunal decisions have protected genuinely frank discussions but ordered disclosure of inconsequential exchanges see this article on the Campaign's web site.

Our mailing address is:

Campaign for Freedom of Information
Unit 109 Davina House
137-149 Goswell Road
London, EC1V 7ET
United Kingdom

-
Here's relevant News items from The Metro and The Independent - and, as Straw is given power to kill F-o-I - here's some lowdown on Straw
Ray D







Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 19:33:17 +0100
Subject: Lowdown on EU (and Greece etc.)


Lowdown on EUROPE

13 July 2015
I can remember being initially enthused by the idea of a united Europe, partly inspired by French, Danish, Bavarian and above all Italian friends (when I was first working there) who wanted UK in so we could clean up politics and really help working people.

Didn't think about it much afterwards until some years later, when I saw the effects on the street (late 70's - back in Italy again, working there for the second time), of the hard EU imposition [to pay the inflated salaries and pensions of fat greedy EU politicos + bureaucrats] of `Value Added Tax' - which I later analyzed and realized to be the most wasteful, regressive and corrupt (and corrupting) tax imaginable.

VAT adds cost to every necessity, even food and kids' clothing which is supposed to be exempt, and that cost now amounts to about 40% of the spend of ordinary people (the 99%). But the rich (the 1%) don't even notice it because it costs them less than 1% of their spending power.

I then realized that the EU was run by the same corrupt and incompetent perverts (because only perverts would want to invent VAT) who rule UK, the USA, and - from my experience - the rest of the world.

Sadly,
Ray D

On checking, you'll find that V.A.T. breaks all the tax-rules given by Adam Smith for efficient + fair government

-
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2015 12:31:40 +0300
Subject: Re: Lowdown on EU (and Greece etc


Kali Mera (I live in Greece)

Please excuse me ... I thought you might be interested in this

http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/14/on-the-euro-summits-statement-on-greece-first-thoughts/

Trish R*****
-
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2015 21:48:18 +0100
Subject: Re: Lowdown on EU (and Greece etc.)

Thanks Trish, probably wouldn't have found that by myself.  His article seems a lucid and unarguable statement of political and economic realities, so I'll try to watch out for further thoughts from Yanis.

I've posted my initial message [here] so folk can have links ... and hope you don't mind me attaching your message, as I think more people should read that Yanis article.

best wishes
Ray D







Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 08:34:23 +0100
Subject: "NHS chief warns one in seven hospital procedures are unnecessary


Yup, think most aware folk knew this already and suspect the situation is even worse in USA [where profit motives, now being introduced in UK, are long entrenched].
Ray

PS - Like I mentioned before it's c. 20 years or so since I saw my doctor - think he's long ago retired or passed away by now
PPS - at least it's not as bad as "psychiatry", where almost everything is fake.


www.independent.co.uk/~/nhs-chief-warns-one-in-seven-hospital-procedures-are-unnecessary-10383383.html
http://tinyurl.com/q7tgh9p
ALEXANDER SEHMER Sunday 12 July 2015
NHS chief warns one in seven hospital procedures are unnecessary

England's most senior doctor says waste in the health service is `profligate', while research shows one-in-20 hospital admissions are a waste of money

As many as one in seven hospital procedures are unnecessary, leading to "profligate" waste in the health service, a senior NHS official has said.

Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of NHS England, was quoted by The Sunday Telegraph as saying he estimated about ten or 15 per cent of treatments should not have been carried out.

"The waste is profligate in our system. I don't think we should be ashamed of pointing that out and certainly we shouldn't be ashamed of dealing with it," he said.

Research from NHS England suggests that many patients are being diagnosed with conditions they do not actually have, and that one-in-20 hospital admissions are a waste of money.

It comes as the NHS tries to make £22 billion of savings over the next five years in line with government targets.

According to NHS England, unnecessary operations and medication cost the NHS up to £1.8 billion a year.

The Telegraph cites Sir Bruce's analysis suggesting one-in-seven women are having unnecessary hysterectomies, the equivalent of about 6,600 hysterectomies a year.

A report from The King's Fund, a public health charity, notes another common incidence of 'overdiagnosis' as the over-prescribing of antibiotics as a cure for coughs and colds.

Antibiotics offer few benefits to patients with coughs or colds and prescribing them unnecessarily fuels antibiotic resistance.

The report, entitled `Better value in the NHS', suggests further examples of inappropriate treatment that could be addressed if the NHS is to spend its £115 billion annual budget more efficiently.

Alongside overdiagnoses leading to unnecessary treatment the report suggests tackling under-diagnosis, where a patient is not given the recommended treatments that could improve their health, and medication errors which give rise to complications.
---







Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 08:13:36 +0100
Subject: "Royal household scrutinized in child sex abuse inquiry


If she/they are telling the truth then I suspect we might see some sudden deaths (disguised as illness, suicide, accident etc.) in high places  [for precedents maybe see past evidence re: "Jack the Ripper" and a homo-pedo `brothel' in London].

That's because the men-in-grey-suits who really own this country are ruthless if they think anyone might scare the `sheeple' to possible revolt.

Although initially their ruthlessness is reserved for victims / whistleblowers - see modern evidence - it might be they've already started cleaning their pigsty; check other `sudden deaths':  Leon Brittan's maybe?

Cheers
Ray D


http://rt.com/uk/272935-royal-household-sex-inquiry/
Home / UK / Published time: July 10, 2015 15:58
Royal household scrutinized in child sex abuse inquiry

The Royal household will not be exempt from scrutiny over pedophile allegations and may be asked to provide evidence to a newly launched child sex abuse inquiry, it has emerged.

Justice Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand judge chairing the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, had initially not included the Royal household in a list of institutions to be investigated over historical crimes.

However, a statement from the inquiry, launched on Thursday, later confirmed the monarchy would also be "within the scope" of the investigation.

The child abuse inquiry could take up to five years and cost £100 million, it has been confirmed, as authorities will investigate every level of British society including local authorities, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the NHS, the media and armed forces.

Justice Goddard told the Times: "There is no limit on the types of institutions that fall within the terms of reference. The monarchy is an institution and it runs a number of other institutions, all of which are potentially within the scope of the inquiry."

In a statement, Goddard described the investigation as "the most ambitious public inquiry" ever undertaken in England and Wales.

The Royal household has come under scrutiny in recent years following several allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Duke of York (Prince Andrew) came under the media spotlight in January after being accused of having forced sexual relations with an American teenager who was underage at the time.

He was named in court papers relating to an ongoing civil case by Virginia Roberts, 30, against convicted billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in the United States.

US judge Kenneth Marra ruled the sex allegations against Prince Andrew be struck from the public record in April, but made no ruling as to whether the claims were true or false.

In March, a former police officer claimed a member of the British royal family was part of a pedophile ring under investigation by police until the case was suddenly dropped.

The former Metropolitan Police officer said the investigation, which took place in the late 1980s, was halted for national security reasons.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, the former officer said: "I was in a car with two other vice squad officers."

"They were discussing a madam who had provided a girl of about 15 to Oliver Reed ... the detective sergeant said he had just had a major child abuse investigation shut down by the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] regarding a royal and an MP ... he did not mention names, but he said the CPS had said it was not in the public's interest because it `could destabilize national security.'"

"What I was told has stayed with me to this day," he added.

Goddard's child abuse inquiry was set up last year following claims investigations into a pedophile ring that operated in Westminster in the 1980s were covered up.

Several government figures who were prominent in the 1980s have since faced allegations of sexual impropriety.

The late former home secretary Leon Brittan faced accusations of child sexual abuse shortly before to his death in January.

The CPS formally apologized for failing to investigate allegations of child sex abuse made against the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, who was exposed as a pedophile following this death in 2010.
---







Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 06:53:42 +0100
Subject: "Tunisia and Britain in diplomatic row as UK tourists fly home


That UK Gov't "advice" (not to go to Tunisia) seems more like an order.  Don't personally think Gov'ts have any business telling people where to go or not go - if they're aware of a problem then do something about it, or, if not capable, simply publish summaries and let people decide for themselves (although most folk seem to be losing that habit).

This `nanny-state' attitude seems recent;  years ago was attached to a diplomatic group in an out-of-the-way and maybe primitive part of the world (although I was the only military guy we were a small bunch on first name terms, helping each other out as and when).  Any Brit travellers were assisted if absolutely necessary (we had few resources), but I don't recall anybody being given alarmist `warnings', or even advice - if they'd got there they were presumed to know what they were doing.
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/10/uk-tourists-fly-home-tunisia-criticises-travel-advice-sousse
Tunisia and Britain in diplomatic row as UK tourists fly home
Britain and Tunisia are becoming embroiled in a diplomatic row after the UK Foreign Office tightened its travel advice for the north African country and sparked a mass exodus of British holidaymakers.

Tunisia's prime minister, Habib Essid, reportedly told a late-night session of parliament that the revised guidance would have repercussions for Britain although he did not specify further.

Nabil Ammar, the Tunisian ambassador to the UK, said the decision was "what the terrorists want" as holiday firms laid on extra flights to pull their customers out of the country.
(more ...)







Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 06:35:11 +0100
Subject: "US pilot flushed bullets down a toilet on flight to Germany


Heck - how things change.  As a young lance-corporal went to Seletar (or Changi?) airport in Singapore to get on a plane (a creaky old Halifax) going to north Borneo (Sarawak).  I had a couple of mates with me, signalmen (privates) IIRC, and we each carried 7.62 SLR rifles with maybe four loaded magazines (i.e. maybe 110 / 120 rounds).

The RAF crew told me we couldn't go aboard with loaded magazines so we went to the cafeteria / lounge, unloaded the mags and put the rounds down our trousers (long `jungle greens' with the bottoms either tucked into ankle-puttees or clamped around the puttees by elastic bands).  They felt quite heavy and we maybe walked a little stiffly but successfully boarded the plane and flew to Borneo.
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/10/us-pilot-flushed-bullets-down-a-toilet-on-flight-to-germany
US pilot flushed bullets down a toilet on flight to Germany

United Airlines captain discovered the ammunition in his bag and first put them in a bin before an attendant found them and he threw them down the toilet
(more ...)







Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2015 18:20:46 +0100
Subject: "Don't shred evidence, judge warns ahead of child sex abuse inquiry
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/09/child-abuse-inquiry

Don't shred evidence, judge warns ahead of child sex abuse inquiry
The long-awaited independent inquiry into child sexual abuse opens on Thursday in London amid renewed warnings to the cabinet secretary, religious leaders and public bodies not to shred documents which might be needed in evidence.
Justice Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand judge recruited as chair after two previous appointees resigned over their apparent links to the establishment, will open proceedings with an hour-long statement outlining the work ahead. She has written to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the head of the civil service and cabinet secretary, warning that there must be no "premature destruction of files or records that later become required as evidence".
(more ...)
---


One fact not mentioned by UK media:  having to appoint a New Zealand judge is evidence that there are NO `clean' English judges, they're all tainted, either active or passive members of the secret elite-pedo network.

Ray







Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2015 20:53:26 +0100
Subject: "The Pseudo-Patient Study


Just listening now.  This was the `experiment' which revealed that psychiatry is a fake.  However the `state' (i.e. bent politicos, bent cops and bent judges) continues to pretend that psychiatrists are `doctors', which is not true.

Ray


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lny48
The Pseudo-Patient Study
Mind Changers

Claudia Hammond revisits another classic psychology experiment, David Rosenhan's Pseudo-Patient Study, gaining access to his unpublished personal papers to discover how it changed our understanding of the human mind, and its impact 40 years on.

Between 1969 and 1972, the clinical psychologist David Rosenhan and seven other people - none of whom had a psychiatric diagnosis - got themselves admitted to 12 different psychiatric hospitals around the United States. They did this by presenting with a single symptom, saying that they heard a voice which said words such as 'empty', 'dull' and 'thud.' Once admitted, they acted completely normally. Nevertheless, they were kept in for periods of between 8 and 52 days. Seven of them were diagnosed with schizophrenia and were released as being 'in remission'; not one of them was judged to be sane.

After Rosenhan published On Being Sane in Insane Places in the journal Science in 1973, the psychiatric profession went on the defensive to protest its diagnostic competence. The study struck at the heart of their attempts to medicalise psychiatry and be accepted as proper doctors. Its impact was felt when the third edition of the profession's bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, came out in 1980: changes had been made which brought more rigour to the diagnostic process.

However, as Claudia discovers from Rosenhan's unpublished papers, for him the study was less an experiment of diagnostic efficacy than an anthropological survey of psychiatric wards. In a chapter of the book he never finished, she reads his poignant account of his own first admission, and his sense that 'minimal attention was paid to my presence, as if I hardly existed'.
(more at page ...)
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Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2015 20:30:56 +0100
Subject: "Simon Danczuk steps back from campaigning against child abuse


Reckon he's had the whisper - i.e. if he doesn't stop then he gets what Jill Dando got (along with many others) - check the multiple-murder evidence.
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/06/simon-danczuk-steps-back-campaigning-against-child-abuse
Simon Danczuk steps back from campaigning against child abuse






Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2015 22:58:39 +0100
Subject:"Iceland's Pirate Party gets law passed abolishing `blasphemy'


Seems Iceland is leading the world in common sense - recall they've jailed their corrupt bankers as well.
Ray


http://rt.com/news/271645-iceland-pirates-blasphemy-law/
Published time: July 04, 2015 12:53

Iceland's Pirate Party gets law passed abolishing `blasphemy'

The Pirate Party, which has just three MPs in the Icelandic parliament but is leading in opinion polls, has had its first bill signed into law, decriminalizing "blasphemy." Churches opposed the move.

The motion passed by the Iceland's parliament repealed a 75-year-old blasphemy law, which made "ridicule or insult" of the doctrine of legally recognized religious community a crime punishable by a fine or a prison term of up to three months.

The bill was introduced by the Pirate Party in January in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France. As the vote was under way on Thursday in the Althing, all three MPs from the party stood before fellow legislators and declared "Je suis Charlie" in solidarity with the French satirical publication, The Iceland Monitor reported.

One MP voted against the bill, while three abstained. All four are from the current ruling coalition.

In decriminalizing blasphemy, Iceland is following the example of Norway, which passed a similar measure in May in a gesture of support for freedom of expression.

Several churches opposed Iceland repealing the 75-year-old blasphemy law, arguing that it would pave the way to hate speech.

"Unlimited and unrestricted freedom of expression, without any sense of responsibility or natural social constraints, may lead to psychological abuse of individuals or groups. The Catholic Church in Iceland cannot and will not accept this new possibility of inflicting psychological abuse on individuals or groups," the church said in a statement.

The passage of the law scores a legislative victory for the Pirate Party, which is enjoying skyrocketing popularity this year. It won only 3 seats in the 63-seat legislative body in the 2013 general election, barely scoring 5 percent of the votes. But, according to the latest Gallup poll, it would have 24 seats if the new election were held today.

With the approval rating of the party surpassing 34 percent, making it the country's most popular political party, veteran politicians appear to be worried about the Pirates' growing power.

"If general discontent led to a revolutionary party - a party with some very unclear ideas about democracy, and a party which wants to upheave the foundations of society - becoming influential, that would be cause for concern for society as a whole," Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said in an interview on Friday.

The PM's Progressive Party is viewed favorably by just 8.9 percent of Icelanders, according to the Gallup poll, while its partner in government coalition, the Independence Party, has a 23 percent approval rating.
---







Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2015 15:46:09 +0100
Subject: "UK TV is getting worse as younglings shun the BBC et al


Ha!  No regrets for me at least - don't have a TV.

And those "UK specific" dramas they mourn the loss of were almost always complacent, reassuring, condescending crap.  That's because the elite broadcasters (esp. BBC) have an interest in covering-up for the fraudsters and pervs in power.

BBC has long been a main hiding place for huge numbers of homo-pedos from the ruling elite, plus more than a few ex-working class quasi-hetero pedos like Saville.

Which is why innocents like Jill Dando have to be silenced when they find out too much.

So roll on `pure' PSB services and channels.
Ray


http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/07/03/ofcom_psb_report/
UK TV is getting worse as younglings shun the BBC et al, says Ofcom
Religion, formal education, classical music? What's that?

3 Jul 2015 at 08:28, Andrew Orlowski
If you thought that British TV drama was getting cheaper and there was less of it, Ofcom has just confirmed your hunch.

Ofcom's first (since 1998) review of Public Service Broadcasters, or PSBs, the regulated terrestrial TV dinosaurs, has found three things you already knew.

Namely, that British TV companies now spend less creating original material; scrapping regulations means you get low quality programming; and people are losing the habit of watching live TV.

In fact, in one of three scenarios Ofcom paints, PSBs could become completely irrelevant.

The review didn't pry into the funding or the organisation of the BBC, the biggest of the PSBs. That's a matter for the Charter Review, it says.

But it appears likely that Ofcom will end up regulating the BBC, instead of the New Labour-era BBC Trust.

Ofcom reports that UK broadcasters spend a fortune on original material, which is good for the UK economy, creating thousands of jobs. But that number has declined since its peak in 2004, when around £3.3bn was spent on programmes.

Since then the spending has fallen by some 15 per cent to £2.4bn in the following six years. Since 2008, the number of hours of original programming has fallen four per cent, to 32,000 hours last year.

Original programming is defined as UK-first run material. The BBC accounts for just over half of this.

Newcomers such as Amazon and Netflix have started to invest in original material, but it's mostly not UK specific and doesn't match the PSB spending. In addition, Ofcom notes, it focuses on a few hours of expensive drama.

Ofcom is not so concerned by this, because the cost of making TV has fallen by less than the rate of inflation (doubles, not trebles all round?). It does doubt the savings can continue at the same rate.

The report also observes that big-budget high-profile dramas such as Sherlock and Downton Abbey "mask substantial falls" in original TV first-run drama.

In 2008, 627 hours of new UK output were broadcast. By 2014 it was down 41 per cent to 371 hours.
---







Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:14:36 +0100
Subject: "GCHQ secret unit involved in domestic internet manipulation


Maybe scroll down to final paragraph - you might have been affected by them in the past.
Ray


http://rt.com/uk/270418-british-spy-manipulating-behavior/
Published time: June 29, 2015 15:16 | Edited time: June 29, 2015 20:44
GCHQ secret unit involved in domestic internet manipulation - report

A secretive unit of the UK's GCHQ intelligence agency reportedly helps traditional law enforcement with domestic spying and online propaganda, recently published documents reveal.

Documents recently published by the Intercept show how a secretive unit of the GCHQ, called the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), has been involved in domestic operations when not busy with counterterrorism operations abroad.

A 42-page report from 2011, entitled `Behavioral Science Support for JTRIG's Effects and Online HUMINT [Human Intelligence] Operations,' which details JTRIG's activities, has recently been made public. It describes how the unit uses tactics to manipulate public opinion based on scientific and psychological analyses.

Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman, who released the report, suggest that the targets of these manipulations are "traditionally the province of law enforcement rather than intelligence agencies."

The report states that the JTRIG works with such agencies as the Metropolitan police, Security Service (MI5), Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Border Agency, Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and National Public Order and Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).
...
Documents leaked by Snowden revealed that JTRIG's secretive activities descended to some particularly `dirty tricks' like deploying sexual `honey traps' to discredit targets, launching denial-of-service attacks to shut down internet chat rooms, pushing veiled propaganda onto social networks and warping online discourse, just to name a few.
(more at page ...)
---







Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2015 13:07:05 +0100
Subject: FWD - "Police files on child sex abuse at Gordonstoun school have vanished


Ha!  Many police files "disappear" - usually those on police / political corruption and police collusion with pedophiles (mostly homo-pedo in high places;  see past evidence).

We know damn well the files aren't actually "lost" - they're simply destroyed by order of [bent] police and politico bosses - who then lie to us;  see modern evidence.

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/28/gordonstoun-child-sex-abuse-search-for-victims The Guardian | Alex Renton | Sunday 28 June 2015 00.05 BST

Police files on child sex abuse at Gordonstoun school have vanished
Official files on police investigations of child abuse at Gordonstoun, the school in the Scottish Highlands that educated the Queen's sons and Prince Philip, appear to have gone missing or been destroyed.
...
The Procurator Fiscal's office said that such files would normally be kept, even if the decision was made not to proceed with a prosecution
...
The office was unable to say whether all records relating to abuse complaints at Gordonstoun, of which there have been several since the 1970s, had gone missing or just the documents that were concerned with the Jones allegations.

In England and Scotland, lost police files have been a recurring problem in the current wave of revelations around historical abuse in childcare institutions.

One of the reasons for setting up an inquiry, which is soon to begin in England under a New Zealand judge, Lowell Goddard, was the fact that the Home Office had lost files of allegations concerning important people given by Geoffrey Dickens MP to the then home secretary, Leon Brittan. Both men have since died.

The Scottish government has announced its own inquiry into abuse of children in institutions. After protests, its remit was extended to private boarding schools. Police Scotland recently announced that its National Child Abuse Investigation Unit had started inquiries into 45 institutions, including 17 schools.

A spokeswoman for Gordonstoun said: "It is absolutely right that any allegation of abuse is thoroughly investigated. We have recently taken a number of steps to address any allegations of historic abuse proactively, including writing to former students urging them to come forward if they were affected. We will continue to help any former student as best we can."
(more at page ...)
---







Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2015 21:54:29 +0100
Subject: "Combat Landing"


Today heard a (radio) reference to "combat landings" where an RAF bloke was explaining that you _could_ land on short airfields if you bounce the aircraft a few times (so losing velocity on each bounce).

Recalled our landing, some years ago, in a C.130, in the Virgin Isles one time.  The first _hard_ bounces weren't enough so we went around and tried again.  The second time was even more violent bouncing and things were coming apart on the aircraft [loaded with our vehicles and tack], but it sufficed to get us down without going into the sea.

Ray
PS have had some experiences with the RAF, mostly in Transport Command aircraft







Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2015 11:38:37 +0100
Subject: UK's "Numeracy crisis"


Ha!  Suspect there's a long-running reason why UK's politico bosses don't want people to be able understand numbers or statistics - maybe check the background, and have a lighter look at "averages" and the "Bell Curve".
Ray
PS - Plato gave some advice (over two thousand years ago) - it's still being ignored by UK's thicko politicos


www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jun/25/numeracy-crisis-threatens-uk-global-data-revolution
Numeracy crisis threatens to hold back UK in global data race
Report says Britain could become world leader in `big data', but must improve quantitative skills teaching and the basic skills of the general population

Sally Weale Education correspondent | Thursday 25 June 2015 00.01 BST
The government has been urged to tackle a numeracy crisis in the UK, which experts are warning threatens to hold the country back in the face of a global data revolution.

There needs to be a dramatic improvement in the population's grasp of basic numeracy and statistics if the UK is to keep up with its neighbours and make the most of the potential offered by `big data', says a report by the British Academy published on Thursday.

It calls for a transformation in the UK's approach to building numeracy, statistics and data analysis skills to ensure that students, consumers and workers are as fluent with numbers as they are with words.

The report, entitled Count Us In, focuses on the need for current workers and future generations to develop quantitative skills in order to understand and interpret the vast quantities of data being generated.

It says the UK has the potential to become a world leader in big data, which would in turn lead to enormous economic benefits. The Centre for Economics and Business Research has estimated that 58,000 new jobs a year could be created in the UK between 2012 and 2017, with the UK economy benefiting by £74bn over those five years.

But not only does the numeracy crisis mean the country is in danger of falling behind in the big data race, on a more immediate level, employers are complaining that workers lack numeracy skills, while consumers are unable to make informed choices.

"The ubiquity of statistics makes it vital that citizens, scientists and policy makers are fluent with numbers," the report says. "There have been some important and encouraging developments to address the UK's weaknesses in quantitative skills.

"But the urgency of this challenge demands that much more should be done. What is needed now is a concerted, continuous national effort - with leadership from government."

Among its recommendations, the report calls on the government to improve the quality of quantitative skills teaching in schools and colleges, with particular focus on teacher recruitment and the quality of teaching skills.

Currently the UK's performance in maths in Pisa international tests places it in the middle ranks among developed nations. UK students are much less likely to be studying maths beyond 16 than in other countries, and one in six maths lessons in state schools is not taught by a specialist maths teacher.

"Successive governments have overhauled school curricula across the UK in recent years," the report says. "We recognise the efforts of policymakers in emphasising the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) in their reforms.

"However the task of improving curricula should not be seen as a matter of free-standing changes every few years, but as a structured, long-term project of continuous, strategic review."

In addition, universities are accused of failing to incorporate quantitative skills into the core of the curriculum - as in countries such as the US, the Netherlands and Germany - leaving them to "languish in the margins".

Prof Sir Ian Diamond, chair of the British Academy's quantitative skills strategy group, said: "Our ability to handle data and reason using numbers will not be transformed overnight. But we need to put in place the structures that will begin to effect that change.

"Whichever way we look at it - the sheer potential for our economy and society on the one hand, and the risks of not acting on the other - this is an agenda that demands the interests of decision makers at the highest level."

Former national statistician and chair of the British Academy project, Dame Jil Matheson, added: "For our ambition to be fully realised within a generation, we must not underestimate the cultural change that is required - starting now - primarily, but not entirely, with the UK's education systems."
---







Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2015 10:15:35 +0100
Subject: "The 10 happiest countries in the world


From small personal experience, folk in that area seem more laid-back and least concerned with status or wealth.
Ray


http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/these-are-the-10-happiest-countries-in-the-world--bylFEOpq1Ge
These are the 10 happiest countries in the world

Although there's some debate over where people are the happiest - the UN thinks it's Switzerland and self-reported happiness puts Fiji in the top spot - in a new study looking at overall wellbeing, Panama was crowned as the world's happy place.

The 2014 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index [http://www.well-beingindex.com/2014-global-report] surveyed more than 146,000 people in 145 countries about factors including their sense of purpose, involvement with the community, financial situation, physical health and relationships.

We suspect that Panama's ranking could also have something to do with the fact that the country has the most beer in the world per capita.

The happiest countries in the world on the 2014 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index:

1. Panama
2. Costa Rica
3. Puerto Rico
4. Switzerland
5. Belize
6. Chile
7. Denmark
8. Guatemala
9. Austria
10. Mexico

With seven countries in the top ten Latin America is definitely the hakuna matata place to be.
The UK ranked 44th, and the least happy country in the world was Afghanistan.
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Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2015 09:42:16 +0100
Subject: "Andy Warhol painting of $1 bill set to be turned into $26m at London auction


See the `money world' ascends to even greater heights of stupid peer pressure; really they're only chasing fashion and scarcity, not `art'. [Most works are not rated as good or beautiful immediately - as they would've been if intrinsically `good' or `beautiful'].
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/26/andy-warhol-silver-certificate-dollar-bill-sothebys-auction-london-francis-bacon
Andy Warhol painting of $1 bill set to be turned into $26m at London auction
Sotheby's contemporary art auction is most valuable held in city, featuring works worth up to £200m including Francis Bacon's Study for a Pope I

A painting of a one dollar bill can be bought in London next week. You will, however, need as much as $26m to buy it.

The work by Andy Warhol, Silver Certificate, is part of the most valuable contemporary art auction that has been staged in the capital.

On Wednesday, Sotheby's will sell art with a pre-sale estimate of between £143.2m and £204.6m, including an important Pope painting by Francis Bacon and a significant number of works by living British artists such as Peter Doig, David Hockney, Paula Rego and Howard Hodgkin.

At Christie's on Tuesday, the total estimate is lower (£82m-£117m) but a world record price for the artist is expected for a spectacular work by Chris Ofili, The Holy Virgin Mary, which famously attracted the ire of the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who described it as `sick stuff' and tried to close down an exhibition featuring the work.

Contemporary art prices are unquestionably going through the roof, with a string of auction records for living artists in the past year.
(more at page ...)
---







Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:44:28 +0000
Subject: Campaign responds to Gove FOI comments


Gove comments indicate government plans to weaken Freedom of Information

The Campaign for Freedom of Information expressed concern at today's Commons statement by the Justice Secretary Michael Gove saying that the government would `revisit' the Freedom of Information Act to ensure that civil servants' advice to ministers was protected so they could `speak candidly'.

The Campaign's director Maurice Frankel said: "the Information Commissioner and Tribunal already take steps to ensure that advice is protected where disclosure would harm the public interest. But it does not adopt a blanket approach. Mr Gove should know this: earlier this year the Tribunal ruled that the advice he had received as Education Secretary before cancelling Labour's Building Schools for the Future programme should not be disclosed. Releasing it would expose the working relationship between ministers and officials and undermine the future provision of frank advice, it said. But in other cases it has ordered disclosure, particularly where the advice is anodyne or old or the arguments for confidentiality are implausible."

The Campaign warned that Mr Gove's comments suggest that he is planning to significantly restrict the FOI Act. It highlighted his suggestion that what the public need is access to `data' for example on public spending rather than information on how decisions have been reached. "The public needs both and the Act provides a vital element of scrutiny which should not be weakened" said Mr Frankel.

Notes:
[1] Mr Gove's comments were made during justice questions in the House of Commons in response to questions from Labour MP Chi Onwurah and SNP MP Corri Wilson.

[2] The Tribunal's ruling in Department for Education & Information Commissioner (EA/2014/0079), is here.

Our mailing address is:

Campaign for Freedom of Information
Unit 109 Davina House
137-149 Goswell Road
London, EC1V 7ET
United Kingdom







Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 09:20:21 +0100
Subject:Megabats


Interesting - and had a `megabat' experience on Gan Island (Maldives) when overnighting on a transport flight to Singapore (for second or third time).

At dusk was walking along a lonely road through palm groves, and, as the sky darkened, huge `flying foxes' started swooping down to investigate me, passing closely over my head - they took turns checking me out and, if you'd been watching vampire movies recently, might've upset some folk.
Ray


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05zhphg
Kate Jones | The Life Scientific
Kate Jones is Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity at UCL and the Institute of Zoology. An expert in evolution and extinction, her special interest is in bat research and conservation.

Bats make up one in five of all mammal species on Earth, from the miniscule bumblebee bat to the enormous megabat.
As well as controlling harmful insects bats also pollinate a large variety of crops, from bananas to blue agave plants that are used to make tequila.

Kate has pioneered ground-breaking technologies that allow the public to monitor bats, including the citizen science website Bat Detective.
This work led her to investigate human infectious diseases, including those spread through animals. Together with a global team of researchers, they drew up a map of global hotspots to try and predict where the next 'zoonotic' disease will emerge.
---







Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 17:48:33 +0100
Subject: "In full: The trivial incidents which led to 'violent crime' reports


Now they tell us!  Some years ago, on return to UK, it didn't take too long to become aware that Police "reported crime" figures were a load of crap.  Cops are daily paraded and instructed on what crimes to attend to and report - depending on what the Chief Constable (and local / national politicians) want to inspire fear or complacency in the population.

I.e. at that time virtually no rapes were reported, although they were rife, and child abuse (esp. homo-pedo by elites: judges, politicos, bishops etc.) was totally ignored.  Ever wonder why?

Cheers
Ray


www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11691408/In-full-The-trivial-incidents-which-led-to-violent-crime-reports.html
In full: The trivial incidents which led to 'violent crime' reports

Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner reveals list of petty incidents which ended up being recorded as assault and actual bodily harm in official crime statistics

A police and crime commissioner has complained that trivial incidents are being recorded as "violent crimes", making the problem in his area seem worse than it is in reality.

Stephen Bett, who oversees Norfolk Police, revealed a number of examples in an official report.  In full, the cases he disclosed are:

* A member of the public reported seeing a mother slap her three-year-old child on the hand as they left a shop.
The police investigated and found the child had taken a bar of chocolate from the shop and hidden it in their clothes.
The parent gave the child a single slap on the hand and made them return the chocolate bar to the shop.
The police had to record this as an "assault" by the mother on the child and "shoplifting" by the toddler.

* A young boy was bought a boxing glove by his parents.
While excitedly swinging it around, he accidentally clipped his small sibling with the glove.
The incident was recorded as "actual bodily harm" (ABH).

* A woman threw a biscuit at a man.
The biscuit hit the man, leaving a "small red mark".
The incident was recorded as an ABH.

* Two children were playing together and one brushed a stinging nettle across the other's arm.
Police were called and recorded the incident as ABH.

* Two children playing together were performing "wheelies" on their bicycles.
While doing the tricks, one child rode his bike into the other.
This was recorded as an assault.

* Several members of staff were scratched at a care home.
Each scratch was recorded as ABH, meaning police recorded five violent crimes from the one incident.
---







Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2015 16:10:10 +0100
Subject: History + that Irving video


Finally got to watch the rest of it.   Regardless of his own possible agendas, Irving's references and detailed accounts only confirm what I've long thought (from general reading):  that all mainstream `history' is bunk, and corrupt bunk at that!
Ray


-------- Original message --------
From: Ray Dickenson ****@****


Opposite to what I expected, this piece is both amusing and informative:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDSpwDhKkr8
David Irving The Faking of Adolf Hitler for History
---
Ray D
PS - found some background at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgGP_evkvOk
David Irving - The Biggest Lie







Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2015 10:55:33 +0100
Subject: "Baboons exercise democratic group decision-making


Interesting - maybe owe my life to that baboon trait - once accidentally got into the middle of a large baboon troop on a mountain in northern Kenya - I had gone there to await arrival of a platoon who were marching (and climbing) south to meet me.  The big males immediately surrounded me and looked angry and aggressive, the females all froze and hid their babies and young ones - so, as I had no options, I just lit a smoke and looked at the view (the fantastic Rift Valley stretching to the north).  After a few minutes some of the big males relaxed and then they all did, the females resumed browsing the bushes and their babies peeked out at me from over their shoulders or from behind their legs.

Maybe twenty minutes or half hour later the guys appeared over the rim of the plateau, but the baboons had quietly disappeared into the bushes a moment or two before, so their (SAS) leader wouldn't have believed me if I'd told him there and then.  [Later, over a few beers (we were drinking partners from way back) I told him the story and he just nodded.  He had some good African wild-life tales of his own, which he scared trainees with.]
Ray


http://www.dailytimesgazette.com/baboons-practice-democratic-group-decision-making-study-reveals/14625/
Baboons exercise democratic group decision-making, study reveals
Science | Jun 19, 2015
A new study on a troop of baboons found that these primates are able to make collective democratic decisions even in the face of disagreements.

Animal behavior scientists were able to gain valuable insights on how animals that live in socially-complex, hierarchical societies reach consensus by tracking a group of 25 wild olive baboons wearing customized global positioning system (GPS) collars.

The research, conducted at the Mpala Research Center in Kenya, aimed to determine whether democracy plays out in animal societies with hierarchies such as primates and wolves, or the decisions are made by the apparent dominant leaders. Previously, scientists were only able to conduct studies in simpler social systems due to the limits of recording and tracking collective animal behaviors.

For this particular study, the researchers made optimal use of the advances in GPS technology to track and record every movement of the baboons, analyzing individual movements relative to one another. The team then set traps in the vicinity near the trees along a river where the troop of baboons sleep.

They found that certain baboons initiated movement decisions in the face of conflict. These are the ones "that start moving away from other baboons and either `pull' followers with them or `anchor' those individuals in place until the initiator wanders back."

Baboons, it seems, follow the majority rule as they tend to agree with the direction agreed upon by multiple initiators. However, when the opinions are divided, the baboons tend to take longer to decide. They settle the differences by the number of agreeing baboons, and the difference in the distance of the options presented.

When the baboons are split over two directions that are more than roughly 90 degrees apart, they choose one option over the other and do not negotiate. But when the angle between the two options is less than 90 degrees, the two baboon initiators compromise and agree on taking the middle path.

The observations made on the troop of baboons shed light on how movement decisions emerged through a shared process even within highly socially structured species. The authors noted that this gives weight to the idea that "democracy may be an inherent trait of collective behavior."

"These results are consistent with models of collective motion suggesting that democratic collective action emerging from simple rules is widespread, even in complex, socially stratified societies," the study said.
Sources: LATimes.com and EurekAlert.com
---







Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2015 08:38:52 +0100
Subject: "Michael Gove instructing his civil servants on grammar


Ha!  Another example of how folk in authority keep making the same mistake:  thinking that their opinions matter or are `the truth'.

The truth about language (and its grammar) was actually told (for the first time in public media so far as I know) by Jean Aitchinson (a Prof), back in 1996 in her Reith Lecture series (BBC R4); here's my quote about its content:

"She implicitly admitted that 'live' languages are created and driven (evolved), not by the snooty elite who pretend to be in charge of language, but from the bottom up: by ordinary people on the ground-level. By you and me, in other words."

It all boils down to this - languages are temporary phenomena, always being changed by the people who use them, regardless of `authority'.

Cheers
Ray D
PS - check these refs for all above
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00gmvwx - Jean Aitchison: The Language Web: 1996
www.perceptions.couk.com/spell-formal.txt - Re: FORMAL SPELLING & PUNCTUATION - ENGLISH LANGUAGE


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/michael-gove-instructing-his-civil-servants-on-grammar-10334298.html
Michael Gove instructing his civil servants on grammar
Officials warned never to use the word 'impact' as a verb and to spell out contractions so that 'doesn't' becomes 'does not'

Lord Chancellor Michael Gove has been accused of `patronising' his civil servants with an eccentric set of grammar rules and pet peeves designed to shape departmental correspondence.

Instructions posted on the Ministry of Justice intranet after he was appointed Lord Chancellor last month warn officials never to use the word `impact' as a verb and to spell out contractions so that `doesn't' becomes `does not'. The bureaucrats are also told that `the phrases best-placed and high-quality are joined with a dash, very few others are'. Mr Gove also disapproves of `unnecessary' capitalisations and the word `ensure', which his civil servants must always replace with `make sure'.
(more at page ...)







Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 07:16:55 +0100
Subject: "Global Peace Index Scores


Interesting - just released; there's a good interactive map on the page (click on a country for breakdown of causes) and these interesting figures.
Ch****, I see that Malaysia (28th) is more peaceful than UK (39th).
Ray


http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#page/indexes/global-peace-index/2015

Countries ranked 1st have a lower score and are the most peaceful.







Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 01:29:51 +0100
Subject: "Over half of UK workers believe their job will be automated in the next decade


Right - one way in which this era is unique.
Ray


http://www.itproportal.com/2015/06/15/over-half-of-uk-workers-believe-their-job-will-be-automated-in-the-next-decade/
Over half of UK workers believe their job will be automated in the next decade
15/06/2015 | By Darren Allan, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR | BUSINESS NEWS

We've been hearing a lot lately about how robots could possibly be taking jobs away from humans in the future, and another piece of research has just emerged with further findings after questioning British workers.

This particular survey comes courtesy of Protecting.co.uk (a business law consultancy), and it found that 76 per cent of employees in the UK believed their job could be done by a robot.

Indeed, 56 per cent believed that their job could be automated within the next decade, with 18 per cent admitting that some of their workload was already taken care of by a machine.

Only a quarter of those questioned felt that their job was `machine-proof', in other words, there was no possibility whatsoever of them being replaced by a robot or machine of some kind.

However, Protecting.co.uk notes that even those who are highly trained with specialist jobs could find the metallic fingers of a robot tapping them on the shoulder one day, and telling them to clear out their desk.
(more ...)
---







Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2015 16:43:58 +0100
Subject: "'Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed'


These fashionable folk should check the evidence.  Pictorial and statuary stuff (from last 2500 yrs) says there were several succeeding different ethnic groups all nowadays classed as `Maya' (the last group looked almost modern Irish/Scottish - while the `potato-heads' that you see in the Codexes were the ones dedicated to pain, torture and murder on a grand scale - really psychotic).

Those folk being called Mayans today (Lacandóns and others) are - IMHO - descendants of the erstwhile slaves of the early Mayans.  Like most slave groups they survived while their `masters' died out thru incompetence and inbreeding.
[See Spartans + Helots at metamail97.html#precedent]
Cheers
Ray D


http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/jun/10/maya-hidden-worlds-revealed-san-diego/ Maya exhibit examines mysteries
San Diego Natural History Museum opens 'Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed'
...
Hager especially hopes "Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed" reaches visitors from Mexico, many of whom are Maya descendants. "It's a misconception that the Maya people died out," Hager said. "There are actually more Maya people living today than at the time of the exhibit. The advanced civilization may have failed, but the people still continue to live around the world."







Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 21:09:51 +0100
Subject: "Nobel laureate ... has resigned.


Looks like the pillock's trying to get out of the spotlight - urgently.  Think he's lying about mixed genders "interfering with work", but has accidentally revealed his own character defects (I wrote he was indulging in "grubby wishful thinking").

Experience says so - although normal Army life didn't have much mixed-gender work settings, for some reason I was sent to be escort to a young woman from the English Foreign Office.  We lived in a small house in a [jungle/swamp] region of Central America and got along fine together.  (She had a sense of humour - much later when writing to me in Europe, she used a large official-looking envelope with red-wax seals and "From the British Embassy at The Hague" printed or embossed across the top, which really impressed my local mail-clerk!).

Later was again chosen to be `escort', this time for a young lady arriving - from the USA - to work in southern Italy.  Like the F.O. girl she was fresh out of college and held officer rank and, again, had a good sense of humour, so we meshed well - attending Thanksgivings at the homes of US military friends, who got used to inviting both of us to parties (only place she wouldn't come with me was mountain-climbing, usually two to four day lone hikes).

So the Prof's wrong - and wrong about being wrong.
Ray D


http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/11/europe/hunt-women-scientists/
(CNN)The scientist and Nobel laureate who sparked criticism after saying women in laboratories "fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry" has resigned from his position at a UK university.
-

Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2015 12:55:05 +0100
Subject: "Nobel laureate Tim Hunt has apologised for comments he made about female scientists


Ha! Have a look at the mug-shot - he looks like a typical no-lifer who's come to prominence and indulges in grubby wishful thinking.  From the photo, doubt if he's ever had a romance, never mind a passionate one.

To give the lie to his waffle, see list of (mostly female) scientists who achieved great things despite small-minded (mostly male) opposition - at greatest.html
Ray


www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/10/tim-hunt-apologises-comments-trouble-female-scientists
The Nobel laureate Tim Hunt has apologised for comments he made about female scientists.

Hunt had told a conference he had a reputation for being a chauvinist, before saying: "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls.  Three things happen when they are in the lab.  You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticise them, they cry."
(more ...)
---







Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2015 21:54:33 +0100
Subject: "Legends say mysterious women built the megaliths of Portugal


This article is a bit of `catch-up' really.  First heard of the background when reading "Before the Flood" by historian and researcher Ian Watson (the "Flood" was the Mediterranean breaking through into the Black Sea).

Watson found and tied together many histories (and their evidence) of the female-run societies that explored, colonized and left their traces from Turkey through the Danube area, and from the Med. along the coasts to Iberia, France, western England, all Wales, Ireland and up to the Orkneys.  At the same time they lived along the coast and inland lakes of N Africa, and colonized the Azores and Canaries.

Maybe Google "The Great Goddess, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Artemis Azzanathcona, Atargatis, Athirat, Ceres, Cybele, Dana / Danann, Demeter, Easter, Eostre, Innana, Ishtar, Isis, Lilith"

- and the top result (hopefully) should give the stories, links and _many_ images.

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/legends-say-mysterious-women-built-megaliths-portugal-003176
Legends say mysterious women built the megaliths of Portugal
Prehistoric Europeans told legends about powerful, mysterious female makers of European stone tombs called dolmens and cromlechs.
...
In her master's thesis of 2014, archaeologist Henna Lindström of the University of Helsinki in Finland writes of the folktales and legends of years gone by that grew up around the supposed supernatural makers and guardians of Portuguese dolmens. Ms. Lindström's fascinating paper details stories from other parts of Europe about the Mouras Encantadas, as the mysterious women are called in Portugal.

Carbon dating shows the people of Europe began building megalithic tombs between 4800 and 3800 BC, corresponding to about the beginning of the New Stone Age or Neolithic. At first the megaliths were menhirs, or single standing stones; then people made cromlechs, or stone circles. People in Portugal were among the first to build megaliths, around 4800 BC. There are thousands of known megaliths in Iberia alone.

As for the women who built them, "Folklore makes it clear that these women are about omnipotent - they have everlasting life, youth, beauty and riches, wisdom and skills, which they [taught] to people. Big part of these skills connects the mouras ... to the Neolithic revolution - mouras taught people spinning, weaving, cheesemaking, brewing and plowing and gave sheep, pig and cow as a gift for people," Lindström wrote.

She said linguistics connects the Portuguese mouras to many other European goddesses, including the Greek Moirae, or Fates, who held everyone's destiny in their minds and to whom even Zeus had to answer. The Fates, like the Mouras Encantadas, wove mankind's fate on their looms and then cut it at death.

"Linguistics gives also a hint about the tasks of these moura-mari-marion goddesses by connecting them to the themes of death and spirits, and folkloristics connect them to life, fertility, health and old wisdom," Lindström wrote.
(lots more at page ...)
---






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