Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Camping in Norfolk

Simon, Holly, Don, Christine, Dani, Rachel, Ben, Olga, Hanes, Katie & Myself went camping near Cromer in North Norfolk over the bank holiday weekend. It's a beautiful area. Combined with not too shabby weather, it was a pretty relaxing time with lots of Morrison's sausages and Carlsberg lager.

We ventured one day to Cley-by-the-sea, and visited a delicious smokehouse, and a scrum delicatessen. Not to mention a pretty cool beer garden.

Campsite management not that pleasant, but not enuf to ruin a perfect weekend.

Got some pics here.

In a new Euroblather feature, we proudly debut the online video. Click play to watch Hanesey eat a steak sando and neck some cider, all from the comfort of your office chair:*

*May disturb the young, the old and/or those of frail heart.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Comedian calls for 'mass lone demonstration'

Alexi Mostrous
Thursday August 24, 2006


Hundreds of demonstrators are expected to gather in Parliament Square next Thursday to take part in a unique protest. The subject: absolutely anything. Opponents of war, fur, fees, developing world debt - whatever - will come together for what has been called a "mass lone demonstration" by its organisers.

The stunt is designed to subvert the government's widely criticised ban on taking part in protests within a kilometre of parliament without prior police authorisation. Each participant is being encouraged to apply to the police for a "lone protest" licence (one demonstrator holding one placard), in the hope that the constabulary will be overrun by having to grant huge volumes of individual licences. The police cannot refuse an application made at least six days in advance.

The organiser, comedian and political campaigner Mark Thomas, said: "What we hope to achieve is to put a sense of fun and play into protest. We want the police and the politicians to know that these laws preventing us from peaceful protest are ridiculous. The government needs to know that it has passed bad law." But he warned that any protester without a licence could face a £5,000 fine and even prison. "The deadline for applying to the police is today."

The ban was drawn up last year in an unsuccessful attempt to evict Brian Haw from Parliament Square, where he had staged a protest for more than four years. Last year it resulted in the conviction of Maya Evans, 25, for reading out the names of 97 British soldiers who died in Iraq.

Critics have denounced the law, part of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, for undermining free speech and have accused police of inconsistency in its application. "Surely these new security laws were not intended to protect parliamentarians from hearing peaceful protesters," said Doug Jewell, Liberty's campaign coordinator. "Freedom of expression is too precious to be marginalised in this way."

At Charing Cross police station, PC Gary Smith said he was aware of Mr Thomas's plans. "We can't refuse a demonstration but we can impose any conditions we think fit. But until the applications come in I can't comment."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Just when you thought it was safe......

To get back on your bike....


*Photographed in mainland Europe, not necessarily coming to London (but don't trust 'em!).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bomber vs Ironbar

A FEDERAL Liberal backbencher has called Kim Beazley a "fat so and so" after the Labor leader labelled him "weak" for supporting the Government's immigration laws.

Mr Beazley and West Australian Liberal Wilson Tuckey traded verbal insults, their faces within centimetres of each other, as they arrived at Parliament House in Canberra this morning.
The angry exchange came ahead of today's vote on the Government's controversial migration Bill.

Some rebel Liberal backbenchers are threatening to cross the floor and vote with Labor against the changes.

Mr Tuckey was speaking to reporters as Mr Beazley stood by, waiting for his turn to address the media.

"Oh here's Kim," Mr Tuckey said as he spotted Mr Beazley.

"This is not about Liberals, this is about you mob," he said referring to Labor.

Mr Beazley came within centimetres of Mr Tuckey, telling him to "take your tablets".

"Don't you insult me with tablets," Mr Tuckey shot back.

"I'm asking you why you are defying the Australian people on border protection."

Mr Beazley replied with: "Off you go mate, off you go, off you go mate".

Mr Tuckey refused to move saying he was entitled to stand outside the doors of Parliament.

"Now I'm interviewing you, I'm asking you why your entire party is going to kill off legislation that the Australian people want," Mr Tuckey said.

Mr Beazley said Mr Tuckey was supporting "weak sop legislation".

"Why don't you take your weak, worthless self in there with the weak, worthless piece of legislation," the Labor leader said.

Mr Tuckey fired back angrily: "Don't you call me weak ... you fat so and so."

He then left Mr Beazley to make his morning address to reporters.

Labor's industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith later said Mr Tuckey's behaviour showed how worried the Liberals were about today's vote.

"It shows how rattled some government members are with Liberals crossing the floor and Nationals running out of dinner parties," he said.

Mr Smith also said rising petrol prices, interest rates, and its workplace laws, were damaging the Government.

"Skyrocketing fuel prices, interest rate hikes and extreme IR changes are seeing government members fray at the edges," he said.

"I wonder whether this is the type of bully-boy behaviour that sensible Liberals who want to cross the floor on a bad immigration Bill are being subjected to?"

Postscript: Despite three Liberals crossing the floor, and one abstaining from the vote, the legislation passed 62-78. Let's hope the Senate show a bit more moral conviction.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Keeping Cuba Healthy

A rather timely story on BBC2's Newsnight last night regarding healthcare in Cuba, which despite being one of the poorest countries in the world and crippled by US initiated trade sanctions, has one of the highest standard and most effective health systems going. And it's all for free.

All eleven million Cubans have a local doctor and nurse per every six hundred head of population, twenty four hour dental care, and they train doctors from many different countries, including good old Uncle Sam.

One thing that seems to differentiate the revolutionary state's medical service from most others is it's focus on prevention, rather than cure. This is partly due to the fact that trade embargoes severely restrict the import of essential medicines and equipment, etc.

On the positive side of the trade embargo, there's no junk food or McDiets, and you'll more than likely see kids playing outside rather than slothed in front of an X-Box.

As far as hard and fast statistics go, the CIA factbook itself notes that live birthrates are higher in Cuba than the US, and life expectancy is neck and neck. Though expect that second stat to plummet should the US try and institute some "regime change"

Here's hoping Fidel pulls through his current illness and outlasts (at least) one more US President.

You can watch John Harris' report on the BBC site here. It's only twelve minutes long and streaming quality is quick and very good.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

George: "I've always been a scrubber"

Boy George ordered to sweep up litter in dirtiest New York streets

Oliver Burkeman in New York

Tuesday August 1, 2006


The litter-clogged streets of New York's Chinatown, Little Italy and Lower East Side should be marginally cleaner by the end of the month, thanks to the personal efforts of Boy George. The singer, sentenced to community service after the discovery of cocaine at his Manhattan apartment, had originally hoped to fulfil his obligations with an Aids fundraising concert before resigning himself to what his lawyer last month predicted would be "raking leaves in Central Park".

But instead the former Culture Club frontman will be required to show up a week on Monday to receive a shovel, broom, gloves and plastic bags from the New York department of sanitation's district three offices.

The district includes some of the most heavily touristed parts of the city, along with fish markets and day-long commercial deliveries, exacerbated by stifling heat which is expected to reach 40C (104F) later this week.

Work often begins as early as 7am to spare litterpicking crews the worst of the afternoon heat, sanitation department spokesman Vito Turso said.

Boy George, whose real name is George Alan O'Dowd, struck the deal after falsely reporting a break-in at his apartment in lower Manhattan, an incident he has said he cannot explain. Police found no sign of a burglary, but did find 13 bags of cocaine. Drug charges were dropped in exchange for community service, a $1,000 fine, and the singer's agreement to undergo drug treatment in London.

At the time of his sentencing, Boy George argued that "it would have been more useful to make 30 grand with a concert, rather than be prancing around in a park". But he joked that he would tolerate the street cleaning, because he had "always been a scrubber". He has promised to show up in "something loud".

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006