Monday, 23 June 2008
Friday, 20 June 2008
Consumers have seen their monthly outgoings soar by 26% during the past two years driven by higher housing and energy costs, research has shown.
The amount people spend on bills and living costs has soared from an average of £945 in June 2006 to £1,281 now, according to insurer Combined Insurance.
Consumers are spending around a third more on rent and mortgages than they were two years ago, with rents rising by an average of 30% and mortgage repayments jumping by 33%.
At the same time households claim they are spending about 32% more on gas and electricity at an average of £90 a month, while other everyday bills such as television subscriptions and water rates have risen by 30%.
Council tax has increased by 22% during the past two years to average £90 a month, while car running costs are 34% higher and spending on food has risen by 20%
Families with children have been particularly hard hit, with their average expenditure on child care soaring by 77% during the past two years, while other spending on children, such as clothes, has risen by 37%.
But there are areas where people have cut back on their spending, with households now spending about 8% less on insurance than they were in 2006, while telephone and broadband costs have fallen by 7%.
Nigel Brittle, director of Combined Insurance, said: "The many cost of living hikes are taking their toll on the monthly budget and many Britons are living on the edge with their finances."
YouGov questioned 1,983 people during May.
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
picture 2 source: http://bouchard.blogvie.com/2008/06/10/sir-sean-connery/
**Comment: Gordon Brown is a Scot, on of the reasons for his selection as Prime Minister to the United Kingdom was to keep the Scotland from seprating from the U. K. According to the explanation of some Britions, it is so happened that Gordon Brown was strolling along Downing Street, and at "Number 10" he met Merlin. With the touch of his magic wand Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. For this he may have prevented the Scotland for becoming independent from the UK. I think the reason why Great Britain need to have Scotland is similar to what George W. Bush's explanation of why he is invading Iraq. For liberty, justice, freedom and democracy? Or to defeat Osama or Obama what's the difference? He was actually going after the petroleum reserve in Iraq.Scotland is controlling the largest portion of the North Sea petroleum reserve. Without Scotland, the English will have to pay more $20 USD for a gallon or whatever equivalent to GBP/litre doubling the current $9 USD per gallon. Also, imagine what will happen if the United Kingdom loses Scotland:
(1) She will be called Ununited Kingdom,
(2) Her police headquarters will be called "England Yard" instead of Scotland Yard.
(3) The "Union Jack" will be missing one color and call "Union Jill".
(4) The Queen cannot call her husband Duke of Edingburgh but have to call him Duke of Yorkshire,except he is not fat enough.
(5) The male members of the Royal Family will no longer wear skirts.
(6) The English will not drink Scotch.
(7) James Bond 007 will have to work for Scotland.It will be a disaster for both Scotalnd and England. So I sincerely urge the United Kingdom to keep on being united! See what the dungeon and dragon have done to British politic? ** read about the source in Newsweek
Monday, 16 June 2008
The micro-chips enable bins to be weighed by the refuse lorry so the amount each household recycles and throws away can be assessed.
South Norfolk Council became the first in England to use the micro-chipped bins which it introduced in 2002 but scrapped the initiative following technology problems.
The Tory-run authority blamed a combination of electrical, data, mechanical and hydraulic faults.
Council leader John Fuller said: "A system that sounded good on paper in London failed to work at 7.30am on a cold and wet Monday in December in South Norfolk. It was time to bin the technology."
The council paid for the scheme using government grants of more than £1 million but the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) stressed that it was not a pilot scheme and the council had chosen how to spend the grant.
"They were given Government grants to expand their recycling service and they choose with their own free will how to use it," a Defra spokeswoman said.
"If something doesn't work for a local authority, we think it's right for them to drop it. Systems don't work equally everywhere. They wanted to try it and they decided to stop it. That's their decision."
She added: "We haven't even passed the legislation to enable pilots to take place. The earliest pilots will start is April next year, after legislation is passed and authorities are asked to come forward."
Five pilot areas are in line be chosen for the scheme.
Targeting state-owned industries
The economics of coal
Breaking the miners' strike
Socialism turned back
Watch all of Commanding Heights at PBS.org
A divided United Kingdom in conflict under a Conservative government during the 1980's.
Battle 4 Brixton pt1 of 6
April 11th 2008 sees the 27th anniversary of the Brixton Riots. The Battle for Brixton was a pitched battle, fought between disgruntled youth, members the community, the police and anyone who represented "the system". Witness this history as told by those who were on the front line.
Coverage of the 1990 riots in London against Margeret Thatcher's introduction of "poll tax". A peaceful demonstration turns into a major riot
Saturday, 14 June 2008
Most of us – even the not so jealous types—know that feeling of, “Is my sweetheart really working late…or could this person be two-timing me?” I’ve counseled many individuals dealing with this concern, so let me share my knowledge with you about the signs that someone is cheating (or seriously contemplating it). Use this information and insight – and either stop worrying or have a serious talk with your partner!
Sign 1: Your sweetie keeps you a secret from his/her family & friends
Cheaters keep you in the dark while they play in the light. Your relationship won’t work if you’re getting what I call the Shadow Treatment. The Shadow Treatment means that you are often kept waiting in the wings, while your mate is out socializing. Think about it: Are there gatherings of friends, family reunions or workplace parties that you are not invited to? Do you only meet some of your honey’s network of friends? If you are kept on the sidelines, there’s probably a good reason. Maybe your sweetie is on the prowl for someone else. Or perhaps there is already someone else and so your role in his or her life can’t be made public. Anytime you are kept on the fringes once you believe you are an exclusive couple, be suspicious. And know that the only way to end Shadow Treatment is to stop accepting it. Once you challenge it, you will either be fully accepted in your sweetheart’s life…or know it’s time to leave.
Sign 2: Your sweetie is emotionally absent
Cheaters conceal their emotional whereabouts so they can be evasive about their physical whereabouts. Love is exhausting when you have to pry the truth out of a partner.
Consider this story: After enjoying a platonic friendship for a decade, Margaret and Roy began dating. Roy was a traveling sales manager. While he was on the road, Margaret heard from him only occasionally. But he continued to say he wanted to spend more time with her—which he never did. Margaret was obviously a low priority for him. She was shocked to learn he had another girlfriend across the country.
An emotionally absent partner may say what you want to hear, but will not change his or her actions—unless he or she wants to. Saying the right thing and doing the right thing are very different. If your honey talks a good game about spending more time with you and paying more attention to you but never delivers—look out! This person may be juggling multiple relationships.
If someone says, “I don’t want a commitment,” take them at his or her word. Don’t fall into that “I’ll be the one to change all that!” trap. Cheaters rebel against control and might even have an affair to spite a partner who wants to rein them in.
Too often people ignore the clear message a potential date sends them. If someone tells you, “I’m not into serious relationships,” “I won’t give up my freedom,” “I’m not ready to settle down,” or anything resembling that, take a giant step back! He or she is clearly telling you, “I want to play the field.” If you pursue the person anyway, hoping for an exclusive relationship, you may find yourself two-timed and broken-hearted. Never push people into a situation they don’t want to be in. Never pursue a committed relationship with someone who tells you he or she doesn’t want one.
Sign 4: Your sweetie admits to cheating on exes—and justifies the betrayals
Cheaters rationalise their behaviour to let themselves off the hook. The way they justify their actions tells much about their character.
Listen to the excuses for past cheating your sweetie uses. Here are a couple I’ve heard from clients in my therapy practice over the years:
• “My ex was abusive because of a drinking problem, so I deserved to see someone kinder on the side.”
• “My father cheated on my mum, so cheating on my girlfriend is how I’m working through my past.”
Everyone has a tale to tell. But are these rationalizations—or any rationalizations-- acceptable to you? A person who admits to infidelities in the past and explains them away has a good chance of straying again. He or she has not taken responsibility for past actions, nor worked through the issues involved.
Sign 5: Your sweetie has never been without a mate
Cheaters won’t ride solo…ever! Leaving one romance and hopping into a new one--or having simultaneous affairs at once--doesn’t leave time for assessing whatever went wrong. They don’t bother with introspection; their focus is squarely set on pulling new people into their orbit.
If you are dating a person who shares a romantic history that always involves finding a new partner before breaking up with the current partner, take heed. This person may think of their mates only as void-fillers. Filling a void is never a basis for lasting love.
Cheaters lie about everything, which leads you to question their truth from their fiction. When the need to embroider overshadows the desire to be honest, the relationship becomes a sham.
Craig’s friend set him up on a blind date with divorcee, Alice, who was a top attorney in town, with no children. Each time they were together, Alice described her interesting caseload. Craig was fascinated--and falling hard. He was so caught up in her charismatic personality that he chose not to focus on the fact that some of her stories contradicted themselves, and that Alice seemed to change certain details as she got further into her story sharing. One day, the local newspaper featured someone who had been indicted for impersonating an attorney. He was shocked to find that it was Alice, and that she was a wife and mother, as well! Alice had lied to both Craig and his friend.
If you are dating someone who seems to be untruthful about mundane topics – where he or she had lunch, what he or she is doing on Sunday morning—take note. The lies probably run deep.
Sign 7: Your sweetie brags about his or her sex appeal
Cheaters are insecure, and need to attract constant attention on the side. They flaunt their popularity in attempts to boost their own low self-esteem. Let me give you an example: Marilyn met a “hot guy” on a singles cruise, and the pair became inseparable for the week. When they returned home, they spoke to each other constantly. He sent her a plane ticket to visit him. While together, Hot Guy boasted that he was his town’s “go-to” guy for all the lonely women. Instead of Marilyn reading that as a sign to stay away, she interpreted his description of himself as “cute.”
Visiting her two weeks later, he said he was available throughout the week—except for a lunch date he had with a woman he had just met. Marilyn found that peculiar, but said nothing. After a dinner party, he detailed how many women had come on to him. Marilyn began feeling disrespected and put down. Finally, after crying herself to sleep, she told Hot Guy he was too hot for her.
If a partner boasts how in demand he or she is, recognize how insecure he or she really is—and steer clear. This person probably needs more ego-stroking than any one person can provide…and will look where he or she has to in order to find it.
So now you know the signs that indicate that maybe your sweetie isn’t such a sweetie after all.
Friday, 13 June 2008
Mrs Gül wore the full Turkish headscarf while the royal hairline was hidden by a piece of chiffon. Mrs Gül is the first presidential wife to wear the scarf, infuriating generals and establishment leaders desperate to maintain the nation’s secular character.
There's a crisis on our streets, especially in London, and it has nothing to do with the cost of housing. As the blame game is played out between ministers and bankers over why mortgages are suddenly much more expensive, the price of life in parts of Britain's inner cities has hit rock bottom.
Forget, for a moment, that the property market is dying, and look instead at the number of murders through unprovoked attacks by amoral teenagers demanding a perverse "respect". While we obsess about a rise in payments to the building society, the society we have built is falling apart.
Moral Decline Of Great Britain
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Interestingly enough, she had only ever worn this crown once, 65 years earlier, at the Coronation of herself and her husband, King George VI, in 1937. The largest and most important jewel in this crown is the priceless Koh-i-noor Diamond, which had been presented to Queen Victoria by Lord Dalhousie in June 1850. This followed the British annexation of the Punjab, India, after the British had defeated the Sikhs. From that date the diamond became part of the British Crown Jewels.
The Origins of the Koh-i-noor
Some say that the Koh-i-noor was originally found more than 5000 years ago, and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings. Devout Hindus claim that it was once worn by the great god Krishna, but was stolen from him as he lay sleeping. By contrast, another source has it that the diamond was discovered in a river bed in 3200 BC. The first reliable evidence of it, however, is in the writings of Babur, the founder of the Mogul Empire, who names this diamond as part of the treasure won by Ala-ud-deen (Aladdin) at the conquest of Malwah in 1304 AD. The Moguls acquired the diamond in 1526.
At that time it was said to weigh 793 carats, but through some incredibly ham-fisted cutting and polishing by a jeweller named Borgio it was reduced to 186 carats. Borgio had been working on it for years, but so enraged was Aurungzebe (the Emperor at the time) at the result that he confiscated all Borgio's worldly goods and contemplated executing him as well.
How the Koh-i-noor Got Its Name
The Koh-i-noor remained with the Mogul emperors until 1739, when Nadir Shah of Persia, the conqueror of India, got hold of it after laying siege to Delhi. According to legend it was a member of the harem of the Mogul Emperor Mohammed Shah who told Nadir Shah that the jewel was kept hidden in the Emperor's turban. So, at a victory celebration, Nadir used a cunning ploy. He suggested that he and the Emperor partake in a well-known Oriental custom whereby the two leaders would exchange turbans. This would symbolise their close ties and eternal friendship. For the Mogul to refuse would have been a great insult to the conqueror. Later that night, when Nadir Shah unfolded his host's turban he duly found the gem, and cried out 'Koh-i-noor', which means 'mountain of light'. Nadir Shah then brought the jewel back with him to Persia.
From Persia to Afghanistan to India
After the death of Nadir Shah the Koh-i-noor came through devious means into the possession of Ahmed Shah, the Lord of the Royal Treasury and an Afghan chief. Then Ahmed Shah, after a series of long and fierce battles, established himself in Kabul as King of Afghanistan, and held on to 'the great diamond' as a symbol of his authority. Through various subsequent upheavals and rebellions the diamond came back into the possession of the Indian princes, until the annexation of the Punjab secured it for the British.
The British colonial officials found the Koh-i-noor in 1849, in the treasury of the Punjabi capital, Lahore. They confiscated everything they found in the treasury as compensation for having to fight against the Sikh army, who didn't think much of the British claims to power in India.
Sir John Lawrence, Governor General of India, used to tell the story of how the Sikhs handed the diamond to him in a plain old battered tin box, which he then forgot about. Weeks later London was asking him if he had any idea where the diamond was. He replied in the negative. Then came a second, more urgent letter, in which London expressed a desire to present the jewel to the Queen. Following another negative reply, the Prime Minister himself, Lord Palmerston, sent a plea. Sir John searched high and low but couldn't find it, until one of his servants remembered there was 'a bit of glass in an old tin box'. Luckily the servant was the sort of person who never throws anything away, and eventually discovered it in the tool-shed. There it was, not even wrapped - the most famous gem of India, the fabled Koh-i-noor, the 'Mountain of Light', the jewel to die for (and very many unfortunate people had done just that). And Lawrence didn't have the faintest idea what it was.
The Curse of the Koh-i-noor
The British were rather disappointed at the lack of 'fire' in the diamond, and so they decided it should be re-cut to make it more brilliant. This further reduced it from 186 carats to its present size of just under 109 carats. Over centuries of murder and mayhem, brutality and torture - not to mention deceit and duplicity - the stone had long carried with it a curse that misfortune would always befall its owner, though any woman wearing it would remain unharmed. There was some talk of whether Queen Victoria would return the stone because of the curse. Defiant as always, however, she was adamant it should instead be re-cut and set in a tiara along with over 2000 other royal diamonds.
In 1911 a new crown was made for the coronation of Queen Mary, with the Koh-i-noor at its centre. Then in 1937 the stone was transferred to another new crown, this time for the coronation of Elizabeth (later to become the Queen Mother) as Queen Consort and Empress of India.
Read more about this and the Conflicting Claims
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Channel 4 Monday 19 May 2008 8PM
As the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Bill continues its way through Parliament, David Modell follows some of the leading members of Christian pressure groups as they attempt to win converts and convince MPs to base laws on Biblical beliefs.
Hard-line Christian activists are now mobilising believers in an attempt to make an impact on society nationally. Followers believe abortion and homosexuality should be illegal, there should be no sex before marriage and that the law of blasphemy should be strictly enforced.
They say the Bible is the definitive word of God and is literally true and are intolerant of other faiths. The film follows well funded and politically active Christian groups and shows them emerging as a significant voice in British politics.
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Bill Bryson calls the Norman conquest of 1066 the "final cataclysm [which] awaited the English language." When William the Conqueror became king of England, French took over as the language of the court, administration, and culture - and stayed there for 300 years. Meanwhile, English was "demoted" to everyday, unprestigious uses. These two languages existed side by side in England with no noticeable difficulties; in fact, since English was essentially ignored by grammarians during this time, it took advantage of its lowly status to become a grammatically simpler language and, after only 70 or 80 years existing side-by-side with French, Old English segued into Middle English.
During the Norman occupation, about 10,000 French words were adopted into English, some three-fourths of which are still in use today. This French vocabulary is found in every domain, from government and law to art and literature - learn some. More than a third of all English words are derived directly or indirectly from French, and it's estimated that English speakers who have never studied French already know 15,000 French words.
English pronunciation owes a lot to French as well. Whereas Old English had the unvoiced fricative sounds, (as in thin), and (shin), French influence helped to distinguish their voiced counterparts,(the), and (mirage), and also contributed the diphthong (boy). (at is voiced/unvoiced/fricative?)
Another rare but interesting remnant of French influence is in the word order of expressions like secretary general and surgeon general, where English has retained the noun + adjective word order typical in French, rather than the usual adjective + noun used in English.
By David Pilditch
THE grieving family of murdered Harry Potter star Robert Knox yesterday blamed violent Britain for the tragedy which has torn them apart.
The young actor’s heartbroken parents broke down and wept as they paid an emotional tribute to the son they described as “an angel on earth without wings”.Devastated Sally and Colin made an emotional appeal for an end to the scourge of knife crime in Britain.Robert, 18, paid with his life after stepping in to protect his brother Jamie, 16, from a crazed knifeman.Sobbing uncontrollably Colin, 55, said he hoped his son’s role in Holly-wood blockbuster Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, to be released in November, would help highlight the tragedy of violent crime.He revealed the bitter irony that the last conversation he had with Robert was about the danger of knives on Britain’s streets.He said: “There’s a lot of fear out there and someone has to change the way we think. With knives there are no winners and only losers.“Rob was so popular because of his role in Harry Potter. If that serves the purpose, then hopefully Robert will have done something else exceptional in his short life.”Robert was killed and three other youngsters stabbed after the group of friends were confronted by the attacker outside the Metro Bar in Sidcup, Kent. It is believed Robert was trying to defend his brother after a row broke out over a stolen mobile phone.
British police are concerned drunken youth violence is intensifying. (Getty Images: Christopher Furlong)
One of Britain's top police officers has called for urgent moves to stem a rising tide of youth violence after a 47-year-old father of three was kicked to death by a group of young drunks.
The man, a company director from Warrington in north-west England, had tried to remonstrate with the group when he saw them damaging a vehicle and other property outside his home.
It was the latest in a series of violent, and frequently deadly, attacks by abusive, drunk young people in Britain.
"We cannot have a society where adults feel scared to go out and challenge youngsters up to no good," chief constable of Cheshire Peter Fahy said.
"Every night of the week Cheshire officers are engaged in a constant battle against anti-social behaviour and alcohol-induced violence ... it breeds fear and isolation."
Hardly a day goes by in Britain without another alarming report of alcohol-fuelled teenage violence.
While the phenomenon of unruly - some say feral - youth is hardly new in Britain, there are concerns the social breakdown is intensifying, as those involved get younger and the violence seems to worsen.
Mr Fahy's comments were widely applauded on news programs and radio call-in shows on Wednesday, but the Government did not immediately respond to his suggestion the drinking age be raised from 18 to 21.
The Sun newspaper, the country's most-widely read, ran an editorial saying it was time for parents to take responsibility.
"Should parents be arrested if they let their kids run wild? Should benefits be reduced or even stopped for those who won't work?" the paper asked.
"It is another signal that the 'Great' is going out of Great Britain."
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged a decade ago to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime", and later pioneered the introduction of so-called ASBOs (anti-social behaviour orders) to try to control unruly youths.
But 10 years on, statistics show scant improvement.
Sociologists say British youth do not spend enough time with adults, spending free time with friends unsupervised.
Julia Margo, a researcher at the IPPR think tank, says European young people spend much more time under supervision.
"Our young people drink more and take more drugs than others partly because they can," she said.
"Young people need to interact with adults to socially develop, and those that spend time away from adults will more rapidly fall into bad behaviour, or very bad behaviour."
The British Medical Association said the booze epidemic was causing a health nightmare and called for sweeping new measures.
It blamed cut-price alcohol for intensifying the misery and demanded an end to cheap supermarket deals.
It also said taxes on alcohol should rise and the drink-drive limit cut.
The calls come in the wake of the Mirror's Can It! Stop Kids Boozing campaign.
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of science and ethics, said: "We see first-hand how alcohol destroys lives. It causes family breakdowns, is a major factor in domestic violence, ruins job prospects, is often related to crime and disorderly behaviour and it kills.
Source: The Mirror uk
It is cheap, it is readily available and it is wrecking lives. Super-strength lager, containing around 8% alcohol is, for many of Britain's alcoholics, the drink that starts and finishes every day.
Read more on BBC UK