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12, August 2010

Journal Of Secrets

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3, July 2010

Journal Of Secrets

3rd February 2009 18:48GMT, UK evening news flash

3, February 2009

Top Stories:

Sky – Questions are being asked about preparations for the arctic weather after another day of travel chaos and forecasts of more heavy snowfalls. Over five million people have taken the day off work while thousands of schools across the UK have remained closed. Rail services have been hit again with commuter lines into London among the worst affected. There have also been further delays at major airports, although tube and bus services in London have begun to recover.

BBC – Concern: Iran says it has launched its first domestically made satellite into orbit. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the launch had been successful and that with Iran had “officially achieved a presence in space”. The satellite, carried on a Safir-2 rocket, was meant for telecommunication and research purposes, state TV said. A US state department official said the launch was of “great concern” and could lead to ballistic missile development. Iran insists its intent is peaceful. France has also expressed concern, saying the technology used was “very similar” to that used in ballistic missiles. Iran is subject to United Nations sanctions because some Western powers think it is trying to build a nuclear bomb.

ITN – North Korea is preparing to test-launch its longest range ballistic missile, according to reports. The news comes just days after Pyongyang warned that the Korean peninsula was on the brink of war. The hermit kingdom typically launches missiles in periods of political tension. Last week, North Korea said it was scrapping all agreements with South Korea in a move analysts said was aimed at pressuring Seoul and grabbing the attention of new US President Barack Obama.

Star – Dungeon rape monster Josef Fritzl is to make a fortune by flogging his horror home. The Austrian incest beast could get more than a million pounds for the house because sick buyers will want to turn it into a museum. Neighbours fear businessmen will pay three times its £400,000 value to see the place where evil Fritzl imprisoned and raped his daughter Elisabeth for 24 years. Fritzl, 73, is selling the horror apartment from prison, where he is awaiting trial charged with rape, incest, kidnap, false imprisonment and slavery.

Business:

Guardian – Britain’s battered banks have borrowed a total of £185bn from the Bank of England in just nine months under the Special Liquidity Scheme, the emergency measure set up last April to relieve them of some of their toxic debts and unblock the credit markets. The SLS, which was designed to remove the need for further bank bail-outs, allowed financial institutions to swap hard-to-value securities, including “toxic” mortgage-backed debt, for more liquid government bonds, over a term of up to three years. Because taxpayers’ money is at stake under the scheme, the Bank has demanded “haircuts”, insisting that the 32 participating banks pledge securities worth considerably more than the gilts they received. The SLS closed at the end of January, and in a statement published today, the Bank reported that, as a result, it is now sitting on a pile of securities with a face value of £287bn. Most of these are mortgage-backed securities, or residential mortgage covered bonds.

Scotsman – THE chairman of part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland stepped down two months early today. Sir Tom McKillop – originally due to retire in April – brought forward his departure to allow successor Sir Philip Hampton to complete an overhaul of the troubled bank’s board. RBS is set to be 70% owned by taxpayers after a year of financial turmoil which could leave it as much as £28 billion in the red, due to bad debts and write-downs on the value of past acquisitions.

Also In The News:

Times – An Australian pigeon fancier was apprehended at Melbourne airport today for smuggling two birds into the country – while stuffed inside his trousers. The 23-year-old man wrapped the pair of pigeons in newspaper and concealed one on the inside of each of his legs for the duration of a ten-hour flight from Dubai. Customs officials say he would have escaped detection if they had not discovered two eggs hidden in his pocket and decided to carry out a full body search. The officers also uncovered seeds inside a money belt hidden in his luggage and an undeclared aubergine in his holdall. Australia has some of the strictest customs laws in the world. As an island nation it is particularly fearful of importing new animals or plant life, which could spread disease or threaten its native species.

Express – England fans are celebrating after finally beating Germany on penalties in a world cup final – at table football. Joe Hamilton, 22, and Rob Atha, 25, beat 500 players from 36 countries before meeting Germany in the final of the Inter national Table Soccer Federation World Championships. Joe saved a penalty in the last minute of normal time, forcing the two sides, who were drawing 1-1, into a sudden-death shoot-out which England won 1-0.

Telegraph – Doctors in California have been stunned by the birth of Kamani Hubbard, a boy with 24 fingers and toes. The six digits on each of Kamani’s hands and feet are so perfectly formed and fully functioning that experts at St Luke’s Hospital in San Francisco said that they do not constitute a deformity or disability. It is not especially unusual for children to be born with additional digits, a condition known as polydactylism. However, cases in which each hand and foot is affected, and each with extra digits that look and function normally, are extremely rare. It appears that the baby looked so normal that maternity staff at the hospital didn’t even notice the discrepancy after he was born three weeks ago. Nor was it picked up by the radiographer who conducted pre-natal ultrasound scans.

ITN – No headline acts have been announced but tickets for Glastonbury 2009 have already sold out. An early ticket deposit scheme was launched in October, and organisers said the “vast majority” of festival-goers completed their full payment by February 1. Emily Eavis, who runs the Glastonbury Festival with her father Michael, said: “We’re chuffed to bits that we’ve managed to sell so many tickets so far ahead, especially when you look at the weather outside.

Links to more news stories, from the UK and around the world, and email subscription details for these summaries at WhitDawg.com

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2nd February 2009 19:06GMT, UK evening news flash

2, February 2009

Top Stories:

BBC – Britain is bracing itself for rush-hour disruption after heavy snow blanketed much of the country. South-east England has been hit by the heaviest snow for 18 years, causing buses and trains to be cancelled and airports to be closed. Fresh bands of snow are now sweeping across the country. Parts of London could see a foot (30cm) of snow by Monday evening, while the Pennines and other parts of the north could see as much as 20 inches (50cm). The Met Office has issued an extreme weather warning for England, Wales and parts of eastern Scotland.

Times – Lord Mandelson today raised the stakes in the row over foreign workers by declaring that “no laws were broken” by the company which brought over Italian and Portuguese employees. As a new wave of wildcat strikes hit Britain, the Business Secretary appeared to pre-empt the findings of Acas, the conciliation service, which has been asked by government to determine if any laws were broken at the Total refinery in Lincolnshire. The Government’s stance appears to have inflamed workers at energy and construction sites around Britain.

Independent – A protester threw a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and called him a dictator as he delivered a speech on the global economy in England today. The shoe missed Wen and landed on the stage about a metre away from him during an address at Cambridge University in eastern England, a Reuters witness said. The protest mirrored the hurling of shoes by an Iraqi journalist at U.S. President George W. Bush on his farewell visit to Iraq in December. The protester, who was held by university security guards, blew a whistle and then shouted: “How can the university prostitute itself with this dictator?” Wen hesitated for a few moments in his speech before continuing speaking. University officials bundled the protester out of the building and security guards fanned out across the stage.

ITN – Zimbabwe’s central bank has revalued its dollar again, cutting another 12 zeros off its currency in a bid to tame hyperinflation and avert economic collapse. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono said: “This Monetary Policy Statement unveils yet another necessary programme of revaluing our local currency, through the removal of 12 zeroes, with immediate effect.” Mr Gono gave no updated inflation figures but said broad money supply growth rose from 81,000 per cent in January to 658 billion per cent in December. The last time inflation was officially recorded in mid-2008 it had soared to 231 million per cent.

Business:

Telegraph – The Government should allow every distressed bank to go bankrupt and set up a fresh banking system under temporary state control rather than cripple the country by propping up a corrupt edifice, according to Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. Professor Stiglitz, the former chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told The Daily Telegraph that Britain should let the banks default on their vast foreign operations and start afresh with new set of healthy banks. “The UK has been hit hard because the banks took on enormously large liabilities in foreign currencies. Should the British taxpayers have to lower their standard of living for 20 years to pay off mistakes that benefited a small elite?” he said.

Guardian – The Woolworths brand is to be resurrected as an online store by the Barclay brothers, owners of the Daily Telegraph, who specialise in buying up home delivery retail groups. The sale will rescue the household name which appeared to be heading for an existence only in the pages of history following the store group’s collapse into administration in November with the loss of 30,000 jobs. Woolworths will join the Barclays’ already crowded Shop Direct mail order and online retailing empire, which encompasses Littlewoods as well as several former home delivery divisions of Argos including Kays, Marshall Ward and Great Universal.

Also In The News:

ITN – Gold bullion worth more than £700 million could be lying at the bottom of the English Channel. It has been confirmed that the wreck of legendary British warship HMS Victory, which sank during a storm in 1744, has been located around 330ft under the Channel. More than 1,100 sailors and 50 volunteers lost their lives when the Victory, the predecessor to Lord Nelson’s Victory and the world’s largest and finest warship, went down on October 5, 1744, with Admiral John Balchin at the helm. Florida-based firm Odyssey Marine Exploration located the vessel in May last year, around 60 miles from where it was historically believed to have been lost – near the Channel Islands. Jason Williams, executive producer of JMW Productions, who filmed the discovery, said: “Reports from the time say that the ship was carrying four tonnes of gold, around £400,000 sterling, which it picked up from Lisbon on its way to Gibraltar. “Today this has a bullion value of £125 million, but that is just its raw weight. That means it is worth about $1 billion.”

Express – BABY chimpanzees are smarter than human babies, British researchers revealed yesterday. They found that rejected chimps raised lovingly by human carers are cleverer than the average human baby up to the age of nine months. And they said the findings were a “stark warning” that children needed love as well as physical care or they risked growing up “maladjusted, unhappy and under-achieving”. The study is the first to compare the effects of the way chimp and human babies are raised.

London Paper – THOUSANDS of competitors battled through knee-deep mud and braved bitterly cold conditions today to take part in a race billed as the world’s ultimate test of endurance. Entrants wearing fancy dress and others wearing little clothing at all were among those taking part in the Tough Guy challenge at Perton, south Staffordshire. Those courageous enough to enter the event, which incorporates an Army-style assault course, are advised to undertake “cold water training” beforehand to guard against the threat of hypothermia. Open to individuals and teams, the event is described by its organisers as a “uniquely fear-ridden” test of both body and spirit.

Links to more news stories, from the UK and around the world, and email subscription details for these summaries at WhitDawg.com

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1st February 2009 19:04GMT, UK evening news flash

1, February 2009

Top Stories:

Times – PEERS who avoid tax or have criminal convictions – such as Lord Archer and Lord Black – are to be expelled from the House of Lords in the wake of the lords for hire scandal. The reforms are being drawn up by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, in an attempt to restore the Lords’ battered reputation after last weekend’s revelations in The Sunday Times. He plans to enact the legislation necessary to expel them before the general election, which has to be held by May next year. Peers who are “non-domiciled” or “non-resident” for tax purposes – there are thought to be at least seven – will lose their seats, as will those who have been convicted of a serious criminal offence.

News of the World – PICTURED: The astonishing photo which could destroy the career of the greatest competitor in Olympic history. In a NOTW exclusive photo Michael Phelps, who won a record EIGHT gold medals for swimming at the Beijing games last summer, draws from a bong. The glass pipes are generally used to smoke cannabis. And after sporting chiefs announced laws which mean four-year bans for drug-taking, Phelps’ dreams of adding to his overall 14 gold medal tally at the 2012 games in London could already be OVER. Those dreams seemed the last thing on his mind when he puffed from the bong during two days of partying with students last November, a quiet time in the swimming calendar when athletes would not expect to get tested for drugs.

Metro – The Prime Minister was accused of “inflaming” the increasingly bitter dispute over foreign labour after he condemned the outbreak of wild-cat strikes as “indefensible”. Paul Kenny, General Secretary of the GMB union urged the government to do more to try to resolve the row rather than “blame” British workers. Gordon Brown found himself under attack after he stepped into the dispute over the hiring of non-UK workers by criticising unofficial strikes that were held at up to 20 construction sites at the end of last week.

Sky – Pro-Tibetan protesters have clashed with police outside the Chinese embassy in London. It happened as Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao arrived for talks with staff. Police said five men were arrested for public order offences after trying to push past officers. Protesters said a small number of their group were trying to place the Free Tibet flag at the Embassy’s doors. Pro-Chinese deminstrators on the other side of the road beat drums and set off firecrackers to welcome Mr Wen.

Business:

Telegraph – GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s biggest pharmaceuticals will announce it is cutting thousands of jobs when it posts full-year results this week, the Sunday Telegraph has learnt. GSK is putting the finishing touches to plans which will see in the region of 6,000 global positions axed as it faces up to the growing challenges in the industry. Competition from generic manufacturers and doubts about company pipelines are posing a serious threat to the sector and, in a bearish note last week, ING analysts warned of an “intellectual property meltdown” as top-selling products come off patent and sales slow dramatically. Glaxo’s UK rival, AstraZeneca, said on Thursday that it will cut 15,000 staff by 2013, 6,000 more than initially thought, while industry leader Pfizer has acquired US rival Wyeth for $68bn (£47bn) as it seeks a different route of consolidation.

Observer – A groundbreaking “people’s bank”, offering a full range of financial services and using the UK network of 12,000 post offices, is being promoted by Peter Mandelson, the business secretary. The plan to use the remaining post office outlets as the backbone of a new national bank would head off a Labour revolt over Royal Mail privatisation and provide the country with a fiscal impetus. Last night Pat McFadden, the minister for postal affairs, said he was keen to expand their operations and allow them to function more like fully fledged banks, but with a clear social purpose. “I am warm about the idea,” he said. “The secretary of state [Lord Mandelson] has said he wants to see a stronger role for the Post Office. This is something we are working on. We have asked the business and enterprise select committee to look into this.”

Also In The News:

ITN – Britons are being told to wrap up warm as snow storms start to brew over the North Sea. Wintry weather moving in from the east will bring freezing temperatures, biting winds and snow to the eastern half of the UK, forecasters said. Weather forecaster Stephen Davenport said temperatures would barely get above freezing, with icy winds making it feel even colder. He said: “There are snow storms growing over the North Sea that will hit the eastern half of the UK tonight. The maximum temperatures will barely get above freezing and in some places it will feel several degrees below because of wind chill.” Up to 10cm of snow could fall in places, with Lincolnshire and Yorkshire likely to be worst affected.

BBC – Danny Boyle has been named best director by the Directors Guild of America for Slumdog Millionaire – a key indicator of Oscar success. Only six times in the 60-year history of the awards has the winner failed to take an Oscar for best director. The movie, about a Mumbai slum-dweller who takes part in a game show, has now won prizes at four major awards.

Guardian – Half of British adults do not believe in evolution, with at least 22% preferring the theories of creationism or intelligent design to explain how the world came about, according to a survey. The poll found that 25% of Britons believe Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is “definitely true”, with another quarter saying it is “probably true”. Half of the 2,060 people questioned were either strongly opposed to the theory or confused about it. The Rescuing Darwin survey, published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of ­Species, found that around 10% of people chose young Earth creationism – the belief that God created the world some time in the last 10,000 years – over evolution.

Telegraph – A bizarre new alarm clock uses the smell of freshly cooked bacon to wake you up in the morning. The Wake n’Bacon clock cooks a frozen rasher for 10 minutes before the time you need to rise from your slumber. Designer Matty Sallin says the sizzling sound combined with the classic aroma is enough to wake you. The user is also welcomed by the almost-instant breakfast of a bacon sandwich in bed. Mr Sallin altered a regular alarm clock so that instead of a sound going off, two halogen lamps are switched on. The lamps then take 10 minutes to cook a piece of bacon that was placed inside the clock the night before.

Links to more news stories, from the UK and around the world, and email subscription details for these summaries at WhitDawg.com

Recommended Blogs:

Fly The World – Articles about just about anything, from technology to politics, an excellent read.

Joels Blog – It’s like recess without all the dangerous playground equipment. Fun daily posts. Give it a click.

Letters From A Tory – Does what it says on the tin. Daily letters addressing topics currently making the news headlines.

Maggies Notebook – Daily articles centred around US politics, with a Republican accent, a great read.

Order Order – Guido Fawkes blog of plots, rumours and conspiracy.

Pickled Politics – Current affairs for a progressive generation.

Time In Moments – Makes compelling reading. Stories from all around the world and all subjects.

Wake Up America – A must read blog following the ins and outs of US politics, and other interesting stories.