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News International's Big Day

by ceebs Wed Jul 25th, 2012 at 01:18:25 AM EST

At 11 AM Alison Levitt QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, got behind the podium at their offices to announce the results of the Operation Weeting investigation.

Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and six others face charges - live | Media | guardian.co.uk

* Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and five other former News of the World journalists, plus the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, charged over phone hacking.

* Six ex-News of the World employees, including Brooks and Coulson, face charges of conspiracy to intercept Milly Dowler's voicemail messages.

* The eight charged are: Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Glenn Mulcaire, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup.

* All eight charged with a six-year conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages of more than 600 high-profile people.

* Neville Thurlbeck, the former News of the World chief reporter, and James Weatherup, the ex-assistant news editor, charged on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept the voicemails of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

* CPS announce three others will not face charges. Prosecutors defer decision on two other suspects.

Now each of these charges could theoretically be two years of hard time, plus there are other outstanding charges, this is only the first step (or maybe second after the perverting the course of justice cases).

Read more... (21 comments, 577 words in story)

On Forgetfulness at Leveson

by ceebs Sat Jul 7th, 2012 at 04:09:56 AM EST

We have now concluded the first three modules of the Leveson Inquiry into the standards of the press.  Throughout the recent days there have been many complaints that Leveson has become a partisan witch hunt, when questioning has concentrated on the Murdoch BskyB deal that was in process at the start of the current session, it has necessarily dealt with those in power at the time, there has also been an allegation that there has been nothing coming out of Leveson, as nobody can remember anything.  How does that relate to the figures?

When we look at the evidence, transcripts of witness sessions run to in excess of 450,000 lines of text with approaching 30,000 questions asked by lawyers at court 73 and the judge.  Covering in excess of 500 hours of time, spread over several months.  Now in previous times this would have just headed off to sit on an academic shelf somewhere, but with the internet, and computing power, nowadays, anyone can download the lot, and as the saying goes, there's always someone out there with an idea and time on their hands.

My idea turned up in a conversation with Brit from DKos, during one witness's evidence, about the number of times there had been mention of "I don't remember".  Which lead to the idea of throwing all of the evidence into several spreadsheets, and seeing if there was anything interesting that came out at the far end.

Read more... (12 comments, 1365 words in story)

How Ridiculous is Nick Clegg?

by ceebs Tue Jun 12th, 2012 at 09:05:50 PM EST

A question maybe posted in exasperation, but tonight one that needs asking.

Last Thursday Jeremy Hunt appeared before Lord Justice Leveson. At best his evidence could be characterised as being poor, and in the morning he dealt with the inquiry's lawyer about as effectively as Lembit Opik dealt with a professional wrestler. In the afternoon, the inquiry seemed to go much softer on him, either out of sheer embarrassment that they were going to end up with a government minister in tears in the room if they carried on, or because he was already shredded, and so they just put together details for the final report and to put together information for Cameron's questioning next week.

Within thirty minutes of this terrible performance, Downing Street had managed to put together a statement saying what a wonderful chap young Jeremy was and how the Prime Minister couldn't see anything that he'd done wrong at all, to general shock.

Read more... (33 comments, 694 words in story)

Twenty days of Crisis for Cameron

by ceebs Wed May 9th, 2012 at 08:02:39 PM EST

Ten days ago Rupert and James Murdoch were brought up before the Leveson inquiry, and the fallout is still echoing round the British political system. The thing that fired it off was the three days of evidence given by Rupert and James. In amongst this was a shot across the bows of the Cameron government, a selection of emails between News International's chief lobbyist and various others, detailing contacts between the lobbyist and the government department involved in adjudicating the control of the UK Media Market, and hence the monopoly situation on the BskyB ownership.

Read more... (22 comments, 1666 words in story)

More Murdoch Fun

by ceebs Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 08:27:42 PM EST

A big day once again and the Murdoch press just can't manage once again to stay out of the papers. (Even when in this case it appears to be mostly unconnected) And something big from the US side of the Atlantic too.

Firstly we have  an announcement by the UK's Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer that the police have today handed  four files to the Crown Prosecution service

The New York times explains this step,
British Prosecutors Consider Charges in Phone Hacking Case - NYTimes.com

Under  Britain's judicial system, criminal charges are drawn up by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis of evidence gathered by the police. A spokeswoman for the service said that the names of those now being considered for prosecution would not be released, and that the service could not say when it would take the next step, deciding whether to prosecute those involved or not.

Read more... (14 comments, 998 words in story)

A Horse Tale

by ceebs Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 03:30:34 AM EST

We've had a week of fun at the Leveson Inquiry, we're now onto the second module of part one which covers the interactions between the police and the press.  The first section seemed to consist of heroes and villains, the innocent and their tormentors in the press and their victims.  The second part has appeared to consist of villains on both sides of the argument.  Dodgy reporters and corrupt cops, with the occasional stellar performance by the honest copper.

The big news this week has been all about a horse, although it should have been all about corruption between journalists and the Metropolitan Police.  But this story's duck house is a horse called Raisa.  And Raisa was a retired police horse who was placed with Rebekah Brooks.  In less intense periods the fact that a newspaper editor whose husband owns a stable was looking after a retired police horse would go almost unremarked, but this isn't a normal time.

Read more... (47 comments, 1127 words in story)

Another week in Murdochland

by ceebs Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 08:38:38 PM EST

It's been a week of ups and downs for the followers of this story. The main feature was a big down, Rupert has flown in after a couple of weeks of arrests of Sun journalists, and has begun a fightback. On the eve of his arrival, Trevor Kavanagh, the long running political editor of the Sun, his weekday tabloid, painted the attacks on the paper's journalists as a witch hunt.

Trevor Kavanagh: 'Police have treated Sun journalists like suspected terrorists' - Telegraph

The paper's former political editor said the tabloid was "not a swamp that needs draining" and that a police "witch-hunt" was making press freedom worse than in former Soviet states.

Five senior Sun journalists were detained over the weekend over alleged corrupt payments to police as part of Operation Elveden - the inquiry examining allegations of bribery - which has more than 60 detectives on its team.

Writing in The Sun today, Kavanagh said the journalists has been "needlessly dragged from their beds in dawn raids" and humiliated while their homes were ransacked by officers.

He accused police of treating them "like members of an organised crime gang" and "threats to national security" simply for doing their jobs, uncovering stories in the public interest.

The fact that the article was somewhat flawed in its arguments didn't stop it getting picked up by a variety of other newspapers worried about the impact of the Leveson inquiry on their own underhand methods.

Read more... (7 comments, 1402 words in story)

Murdoch - Outsourcing and Hubris

by ceebs Fri Feb 3rd, 2012 at 10:43:13 PM EST

And so it comes to pass. Some days the ironies of history hit with the force of a hammer. For the past decade or two the firmest advocate of globalisation has been Rupert Murdoch, his papers pushing the agenda of outsourcing may find that it is this which will provide the evidence to bring his organisation down.

How did we get to this situation? Well it turns out to be raising questions for any company that wants to sail close to the wind on the oceans of legality.

Read more... (18 comments, 1627 words in story)

The Spartacus report

by ceebs Mon Jan 9th, 2012 at 09:49:43 AM EST

Just a quick one while I'm at slave

Today a group of disability rights campaigners have turned up with a thorough analysis of the governments changes in Disability benefits.

It turns out that the government entirely misrepresented the result of the public consultation, which has been discovered by an analysis of public responses gained the FOI requests.

Crowdsourced research reveals strong opposition to disability benefit reform | Blog | False Economy

The report, Responsible Reform (pdf), was entirely researched, written and funded by disabled people, and coordinated Sue Marsh and Kaliya Franklin of the blogs The Broken of Britain and Diary of a Benefit Scrounger. It is based on the responses to the government's own consultation on its planned DLA reforms, which were only made public once disabled people requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.

Findings included:

  • 98 per cent of respondents objected to the qualifying period for benefits being raised from 3 months to 6 months 
  • 99 per cent of respondents objected to Disability Living Allowance no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits 
  • 92% opposed removing the lowest rate of support for disabled people

Read more... (25 comments, 709 words in story)

The Murder of the NHS

by ceebs Fri Oct 28th, 2011 at 12:02:39 PM EST

Here is the lethal blow

Read more... (8 comments, 486 words in story)

A weekend with scenes from the 1940's

by ceebs Tue Sep 6th, 2011 at 04:30:25 PM EST

Annually I end up helping with a local Music societies fund raising craft fair. for which i end up directing traffic,  into and out of the car parking facilities,  being up at an obscene  hour of the morning to help stallholders set up, and be overnight security.

The site used for this is in the gardens of a local country house. a walled garden of which is used as one of the car parks.  In part of the walled garden there is a miniature railway track, which it has been suggested will be running each year, but up till now hadn't happened.

finally this year it did.

and over the next few hours we also had a range of 1940's aircraft passing on their way to nearby air displays.

the second day I was however more likely to see submarines rather than trains or aircraft. Horizontal rain being the main feature of the day.

Read more... (31 comments, 169 words in story)

The Thinking Insomniac

by ceebs Sun Aug 14th, 2011 at 08:23:44 AM EST

suggests that in the past several days we have seen a variety of causes suggested for the English riots ranging from cuts to single mothers, from social media to welfare dependence, from racism to weak policing from video games to consumerism, from rap music to social exclusion. As of yet nobody knows, research has not been done and anybody who tells you any of the causes is certain is speaking from personal prejudice rather than knowledge and so can be laughed at. So let me suggest some alternative causes, after all I've as much a chance as any other halfwit commentator of being right.

front-paged with a slight edit by afew

Read more... (55 comments, 1219 words in story)

Murdoch - When did phone hacking start?

by ceebs Fri Aug 5th, 2011 at 07:11:13 PM EST

One of the most regular questions asked is when did the phone hacking start?  Now the initial story, on which the police had no choice but to act happened in 2005, the reason they acted was that the one group of people more important and with more influence than the Murdochs is the Royal Family. Since then we've been staggering between the police not examining, and a very narrow group of politicians and newspapers holding the investigation together. The recent cases have pushed the boundary of when things began first to 2003 and then to 2002, but how far back does it actually go?

Read more... (24 comments, 3047 words in story)

Explosion [And Mass Shooting] In Oslo

by ceebs Sat Jul 23rd, 2011 at 07:01:18 AM EST

news coming in of a huge explosion at the building housing the prime ministers office in Oslo

Picture here

Reports of injuries, this doesn't look good.

[UPDATE 23 July by afew] As many as 80 young members of the Labour Party were shot dead on an island where they were holding a summer congress by a man posing as police sent to guarantee security after the bomb attack. A man of 32 was arrested last night. An extreme-right anti-Islamic nationalist, his name, according to leaks, is Anders Behring Breivik. The bombing, in which 7 died, is suspected to be also his work.

Read more... (293 comments, 179 words in story)

Murdoch Select Committee Day

by ceebs Tue Jul 19th, 2011 at 10:16:04 AM EST

Today looks like being a big day in the Murdoch Investigation. First up we have a selection of Police members and retirees, before the home affairs committee, then we have the two Murdochs and Brooks before the Culture Media and sport committee.

so here's somewhere to place comments and  other things about todays circus.

Comments >> (58 comments)

Phone hacking, a roundup Part 1

by ceebs Wed Jul 6th, 2011 at 05:30:02 AM EST

In the past few months we have seen a sudden return to prominence of the News International phone hacking scandal after the New York Times published a magazine article.  This isn't the first time that this story has hit the streets in the UK and here's a brief rundown of the history up to the state of play roughly a month ago.  (I've been promising this for ages, but there have been things constantly getting in the way, by which time entire re-writes have been needed through new information have the first part of it.)

Read more... (96 comments, 2823 words in story)

On Honesty

by ceebs Tue Apr 19th, 2011 at 08:11:05 PM EST

The other Day, Dr John Reid stood on stage with David Cameron and in the middle of his speech made an utterly false claim. Now that may be par for the course with politicians, especially during the current AV debate where honesty has been particularly lacking, but for once it was provably false.

Read more... (16 comments, 842 words in story)

Japanese Earthquake Diary

by ceebs Fri Mar 11th, 2011 at 04:02:13 PM EST

Earthquake/Tsunami news appears to be all that exists tonight.So to save overwhelming every other diary, here's your single stop for everything related.

Massive quake unleashes tsunami on Japan

A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday, unleashing a monster 10-metre high tsunami that sent ships crashing into the shore and carried cars through the streets of coastal towns.

Many injuries were reported from Pacific coastal areas of the main Honshu island and the capital Tokyo, police said, while TV footage showed widespread flooding in the area. One person was confirmed dead.

A powerful 10-metre (33 feet) wall of water was reported in Sendai in northeastern Miyagi prefecture, media reported after a four-metre wave hit the coast earlier.

Helicopter footage showed massive inundation in northern coastal towns, where floods of black water sent shipping containers, cars and debris crashing through towns.

Mud waves were shown racing upstream along the Natori river in Sendai city, blanketing farm fields.

Read more... (277 comments, 232 words in story)

Day of protest

by ceebs Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 01:33:43 PM EST

This Friday appears quite intense in the middle east, reports are coming in from several countries of clashes  So here's a place to drop general stories

Read more... (62 comments, 610 words in story)

Dealing with the benefits jungle

by ceebs Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 10:19:42 PM EST

Having seen Helens description of the impending visit to the local office,  I decided to throw up something that has been kicking around for the last few days, half completed,  showing the mind numbing problems of dealing with the UK social security system. This is my last couple of weeks  of paperwork and phone calls.

So you have broken glasses, Normally not a disaster, but frequently a major expense.  But how does that go when you're in receipt of benefits?

Read more... (20 comments, 1616 words in story)
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News and Views

 18 April 2014

by In Wales - Apr 17, 38 comments

Your take on today's news media

 17 April 2014

by dvx - Apr 16, 71 comments

Your take on today's news media

 Thursday Open thread

by Helen - Apr 17, 9 comments

Disturb the strange tranquility

 Wednesday Open Thread

by Helen - Apr 16, 6 comments

when you were riding along

Occasional Series
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