As Prez Bush delivered his speech committing the USA to return to the Moon and head for Mars, the world was going through a 'nine-hour crisis'. Space watch staff had estimated that there was a 25% chance of a newly discovered asteroid hitting the Earth.
Rosetta mission getting off to a bad start.
The European Space Agency has trusted to the French, the important job of launching the Rosetta space vehicle, which will rendezvous with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in ten years' time. The first launch attempt was postponed due to weather conditions but the second was aborted due to a defect in the Ariane 5 rocket, which had to be returned to the final assembly building for repair.
Stargazers are advised to keep their eyes peeled for Comet Neat (C/2001 Q4) and Comet Linear (C/2002 T7), as both may become visible to the naked eye in late April/early May. But bearing in mind what a flop Comet Halley was last time around, stargazers are advised not to get their hopes up too much!
The latest 'news' on the Open University's lander Beagle 2, which should have landed on Mars on Christmas Day, 2003, is that the Martian atmosphere might have been warmer and thinner than expected due to dust storms, and its parachutes and air-bags were unable to provide a sufficiently soft landing. NASA encountered this same problem when its Spirit vehicle landed a week or so later, but it had more parachutes and tougher air-bags than Beagle 2.
NASA finds new planetoid
The latest substantial addition to the solar system has been named Sedna after the Inuit goddess of the sea. The reddish planetoid is thought to have a diameter of 800-1,100 miles, which makes it smaller than Pluto (1,400 miles) but bigger than Quaoar (800 miles), the Kuiper Belt Object discovered in 2002. Unlike the planets, which have roughly circular orbits, Sedna has a highly elliptical, comet-like orbit. Its year lasts 10,500 Earth years, it is 8,000 million miles from the sun at its closest approach (Pluto orbits at 3,600 million miles) and 84,000 million miles from the sun at the most distant point of its orbit.
BlackFlag News would like to offer its readers a chance to read this work by one of Romiley's premiere authors.
Category : Crime, 1980s
The only exceptions were places where a car had been parked continuously at the roadside since Friday morning. Here, there was a snow shadow surrounded by perfectly dry regions of Romiley's broken pavement.
Another place where the snow had lingered was on a metal manhole cover at the BP petrol station. It had been cooled enough during the night to keep snow solid into the early part of the morning.
Shoppers were agreed that one day's light snow, with no overnight freeze and thaw cycle, is the ideal way to enjoy the 'winter experience' and they would like Weather Control to stick to this recipe in future.
As a final thought:- our Triv-Dem council hurled a lot more salt/grit mixture onto this relatively light fall of snow than we got for the much more serious snowfall at the end of January. Looks like someone has his priorities upside down.
Meanwhile, Romiley's less than magnificent Xmas tree is still there, which leaves the residents wondering if the council has forgotten about it or someone has realized that a living tree can be reused in future years. The only problem with this idea is that it's sensible and financially prudent, concepts which seem alien to local councils and national governments alike.
Attorney General Lord Goldsmith is reported to have dithered over the legality of last year's Iraq war right up to about 4-5 minutes before the bombing started. As he's a crony of Vice-Prez Bliar's, who elevated him to the House of Lords and gave him his job, is it beyond the bounds of possibility that the Vice-Prez reminded his pal that favours going one way in the past command favours going the other way in the right-now? Given the generally dodgy state of the New Labour Experiment, it sounds entirely likely.
British Gas will always let you down
This is the message that comes over from the current TV advertising campaign. Which leaves the viewers wondering:-
Vice-Prez Bliar's credibility in no danger of being damaged official!
Snippets from the Department of Guesswork
(1) Kingston upon Hull is top of the league when it comes to obese residents. And guess which fat bloke is their MP! [clue: he has 2 Jags and 3 homes] And by a curious quirk of nomenclature, Kingston upon Thames is bottom of the obesity league.
Talking about Hull, what did the Labour-controlled council do about a failing school which was facing an Ofsted inspection? They only brought in 8 top-class, fully qualified teachers and sent the 9 worst ruffians among the pupils away on a week-long course. Sneaky lot, these Labourites!
A Department of Transport audit has found that all 6,000 speed cameras are positioned to save lives and not just to raise money. The DoT refused to reply when asked if Lord Hutton performed their audit.
Having run the Royal Navy down to 2 cabin cruisers and a rubber dinghy, the government has suddenly realized that a naval review to mark the 200th anniversary of Lord Nelson's victory off Cape Trafalgar will be a bit of a problem. So they've incorporated it into a NATO exercise and invited any nation with some ships to bring them along, the French and the Spanish included. And in line with New Labour's wishy-washy image, there will be no triumphalism. Guaranteed!
After trying to put the frighteners on Clare Short, Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull has decided that civil servants work for the government of the day, not the Crown. He reckons that they have to be proper little Bliarites now or the government wouldn't trust them.
Lord Hutton is said to be deeply upset at being thought a dotty old judge over his whitewash report. Which confirms that he lives on another planet.
Vice-Prez Bliar hits the deck
The Vice-Prez is reported to have fallen over with sheer delight at the prospect of getting the miserable Mugger out of his carefully styled wig. Some dunderheids have confused his reaction with shock and dismay. They are instructed to 'get real'.
Isn't it amusing, seeing the prime monster in a verbal ass-kicking match with convicted con-man Peter Foster? And being stuck at level-pegging on credibility! Especially after the same con-man helped Mrs. PM to spend a quarter of a million quid; less discount; on 2 flats in Bristol and she claimed she didn't tell her hubby about the deal.
Vote early, vote often!
The government is keen to introduce postal voting as the elector's only option for the local- and Euro-elections in four areas. Why? Because the Labour Party has a lot of experience in manipulating postal votes and outright fraud. Opponents of the scheme are citing the many instances where someone has gone to a polling station only to find that a postal vote has been issued on their behalf and cashed in by a certain political party. The low turn-out at the above elections is given as the reason for switching to postal voting. But people not caring about the outcome of local- and Euro-elections, and not knowing that a vote has been cast on their behalf, is also what makes life so easy for the fraudsters.
March 10th was National No Smoking day, when all smokers were supposed to give up for 24 hours. Anyone see them not smoking?
The Guantanamo 5 have a legal team deciding if they can sue the US government for compensation for their 2-year holiday in Cuba. The US State Department is reported to be standing by with a bill for accommodation and services to match anything awarded by a rogue judge.
In Edinburgh's court of sessions, Lord Drummond has binned Mohammed Fayed's claim that his son and Princess Di were killed by the British security services. His lordship decided that the idea was 'speculative' and 'irrelevant', and he added that courts will accept only concrete evidence. [Well, there's a novelty - Ed.] Mr. Fayed, however, is undaunted and he plans to continue flinging cash at lawyers.
IDS is innocent, OK!
Former Tory leader Ian Smith has been cleared of dishonestly paying his wife a secretary's salary. The parliamentary standards commissioner has decided that he didn't give taxpayers' money to his wife for work she didn't do.
Midland Mainline has found a solution to its late-running trains. Only 60% were running to timetable at the last survey because the customers were loitering on the platform. So MM staff were issued with loud whistles to chase them onto the trains. As a result, 78% of trains on the London-Sheffield route are now arriving on time.
Stockport Council has decided that 2 new chimneys at Sovereign Rubber have to be painted grey to blend in with the usual sky colour. Apparently, Romiley's neighbour enjoys 22 wet days per month and just 2 hours' sunshine per day during the winter. So it's no wonder that the Triv-Dem council is such a gloomy bunch!
Campbell the Forkbender
Harold Wilson, Britain's worst prime minister since Lord North, had Lady Forkbender writing honours lists on her lavender notepaper. According to former sports minister Kate Hoey, Alastair Campbell did the same job for Vice-Prez Bliar (and still does, for all we know). So grumpy Alex Ferguson, Man. Utd.'s belligerent manager, had the twin forces of bunging New Labour and being one of Ally's pals to thank for his knighthood.
The Budget the verdict : The Mugger is being too optimistic and still heading for a huge black hole in his finances, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Death gives no escape from the problems of obesity
Some of today's large people need oversize coffins, which create all sorts of problems for funeral arrangers. They can be too big to pass through mechanical doors at crematoriums, leaving burial as the only option. They can be too big to pass through the church door, ruling out an indoor ceremony. And worse, the relatives could find themselves forking out for 2 burial plots if the deceased overflows a standard single. Health and safety concerns persuade funeral arrangers to use a trolley in some cases instead, of a gang of bearers, and a lack of ramps can give further problems.
Clare Short no longer exists. So New Labour would appreciate it if everyone would stop talking about her.
The Surveillance Ombudsman has found that cops and Customs are regularly going beyond their authority, not putting names on authorizations to spy on people on security grounds and renewing surveillance authorities without doing a review of necessity. They're also paying cash to unregistered informers, putting material on national databases without adding the source and ignoring codes of conduct designed by Parliament to give criminals an easy time.
Alice Pike put goods worth $1,600 in her basket at a Wal-Mart branch in Covington, Georgia, USA then, when she got to the checkout, she tried to pay for them with a $1,000,000 note. The staff refused to give her $998,400 change and called the manager, who called the cops when they found 2 more million-dollar notes in her handbag. Mrs. Pike told the police that the notes were a present from her husband and she thought they were real.
Persecute 'les anti-pub'
Drawing moustaches or writing rude words on advertisements in the Paris Metro is now a crime against humanity. 62 people were hauled into court this month for doing just that. The charges were vandalism and damaging the Paris transport authority's (RATP) advertising revenues.
The Crown Prosecution Service, usually known as the Can't Prosecute Service, is a breeding ground for incompetence. So what is the Home Secretary going to do about it? Tell them to do a proper job or else? No, Blunk wants to change the name to the Public Prosecution Service. We applaud his decision to shift the blame from Her Majesty the Queen to the unwashed customers, but we fear that the PPS will soon be known as the Pig's-ear Prosecution Service or something similarly uncomplimentary and descriptively accurate.
Bogus to Beneficial in one foul swoop!
The government doesn't want to admit bogus asylum seekers to the UK but it is keen to attract 'beneficial migrants', who will work and pay taxes. So last August, the civil servants of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate came up with an ingenious way to cut their lists of unprocessed would-be migrants. All the customer had to do was write 'Business Plan' on a piece of paper and the IND would promptly reclassified him or her as beneficial and desirable.
The Green Party is to abandon tree-hugging as part of a rebranding exercise to make its members more electable. Their target voters are now disaffected Labour supporters. The Greens now believe that they can bamboozle this vast army of unconnected customers if they can come up with a new logo and a new paint job, following the New Labour Experiment's lead.
Sex-change for the Mugger?
Adopting Tory policies proved so successful for the Labour Party that it was elected to office in 1997. Big Gordie Broon slid his bum onto a government bench confident that his next move would be from the Chancellor's job to the top job when Tony moved over for him. But he's starting to realize that the move-over ain't going to happen.
New Labour has turned the UK into a safe haven for terrorists and their supporters, says the former Head of Defence Intelligence. The government no longer has control of its borders and it has no idea who's here or where the dodgy characters are.
The Department of Health has blown £3million of taxpayers' money on revamping its website. Apart from a new URL, users report that it's pretty much the same as the old one except that it's plagued by technical problems and less user-friendly.
Pubs to open 25 hours per day
The so-called Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, is to abolish fixed opening and closing hours for pubs in July (or maybe later). The police say this will lead to increases in drunken brawling, robberies, domestic assault, traffic accidents and assaults on police officers. The medical profession is aghast at this U-turn in the government's previous policy of trying to stop people drinking.
1. Vice-Prez Bliar is to abolish spin by making the PR consultant who did John Major's 1997 general election campaign his head of government communications.
It has been dogma in the health food industry that oxygen free radicals (OfR) are body destroyers which have to be exterminated with massive doses of antioxidants, preferably in high-priced patent medicines. OfR have been blamed for premature ageing, baldness, insomnia, and causing Alzheimer's disease and a whole bunch of other conditions.
Drug of the Month
The big new thing in pharmaceuticals is going to be Rimonabant. Clinical trials have shown that not only can it increase the rate at which fat people lose weight, but it can also double the success rate of people trying to give up smoking. The Department of Health is reported to be over the Moon at the thought of being able to brag about how New Labour will converted the nation from obese smokers into trim non-smokers just by handing out a few pills.
Ten bombs on trains and at 3 railway stations left about 200 people dead and thousands injured. ETA, the Basque terrorist organization, was the immediate suspect as the type of explosive used was thought, at first, to be their usual choice. And a couple of their members were arrested recently while driving a van full of explosives. Al Qaida immediately jumped on the bandwagon with one of its emails claiming that the outrage was pay-back for the Crusades in the 12th Century while ETA had nothing to say right away. ETA later protested their innocence and the suspects rounded up were all described as Al Qaida members or sympathizers.
Ban the BogVert
BlackFlag News would like to leap aboard this particular bandwagon. We support with enthusiasm, the global campaign to ban TV adverts for lavatory products at mealtimes. Most of all, we don't want to see stinky kids not wiping their bums while we're eating. And we urge our readers (both of them) to join the global boycott of the products featured in such adverts.
What's so great about democracy, anyway?
Prez 'Arris Tweed chucked out of Haiti, Prez Mugabe driving Zimbabwe to rack and ruin, and Prez Bush elected via dodgy doings in Florida even though his opponent got more votes. If this is what democracy can produce in nations large and small, is it really fair to impose the same system on the people of Iraq?
Yucatan asteroid is innocent, OK!
An asteroid hit the Yucatan peninsula 65million years ago and got the blame for wiping out the last of the dinosaurs. But fossil evidence from cores drilled at the impact site suggests that the meteor hit 300,000 years before the extinction phase began. So it's back to the drawing board on the cause of the final demise of the dinosaurs. [Or not, if you believe the rivals who say the research is 'inconclusive' which is a polite way of calling it a load of old rubbish.]
We won't bother sending greetings to schoolkids in China because no one there can see this publication. The Chinese government has decided not to give schools Internet access to spare them 'harmful cultural information' like 'Communism is crap and that's why the Soviet empire crumbled' and access to the gory details of the corrupt practices of their leaders.
Mr. Prez sorts out Iraq
Prez Bush is reported to be considering a federal solution for Iraq. It will be divided into Kurdish, Sunni and Shia regions, along the lines of the former Yugoslavia and left to get on with it. And if the whole mess drops to pieces after the Yanks and the Brits have bugged out, then the UN will have to pick up the pieces.
The Mugger to screw up the IMF? Big Gordy Broon is reported to be in line for the top job at the International Monetary Fund, which should demolish the world's confidence in the organization if he's selected. The man who demolished the pensions and savings industries in the UK, and raided the public pocket mercilessly with his 81 (and counting) Stealth Taxes, is a notorious meddler and obscurantist. If he does head up the IMF, the customers can be sure that there will be plenty of cash going into the coffers but precious little escaping past the Mugger's barriers of red tape.
The Saudi government is trying to sneak in votes for women at this October's municipal elections. Be advised, chaps, that nothing good will come of it.
Microsoft and Yahoo! to conquer spam?
They're going to do it by charging people to send emails, which will destroy the spammers' profit margins. Quite what this will do about the people sending out bogus Hotmail emails, many of them containing a virus, has not been disclosed.
Screaming kids the ultimate weapon
The US military is planning to issue a new weapon to its troops in Iraq. It's a sonic gun which emits the sound of a baby screaming (played backwards) at 110 dB, a level which makes the human skull vibrate. The weapon is designed to inflict pain, deafness and even cellular damage in rioters, suicide bombers and snipers. At higher power, the weapon can be used to force snipers from buildings and caves without cause structural damage. The effect can travel 300 yards at a level of 145 dB. The human threshold of pain is 120-130 dB.
"If you want some serious shooters, Muammar, you'll have to come up with more than some one-hump camels."
The agenda behind Vice-Prez Bliar's 'historic' trip to Libya is clear: its oil and natural gas, weapons and trade. Prez Gadaffy is getting on a bit and he's starting to worry how history will see him. Which is why he's now a reformed character, who has given up his Weapons of Mass Destruction and turned into an all-round nice guy.
UN678 in 1991 authorized war to eject Iraq's forces from Kuwait and UN687 made eliminating Iraq's WoMD programmes a ceasefire condition. UN1441 in 2002 declared Iraq in breach of UN687, which meant that the ceasefire was off and the 1991 war could continue, which it did in 2003.
Did this make the world a safer place? As Vice-Prez Bliar would have us believe? Remembering what happened in Madrid on 3-11 and that London is waiting for more of the same.
"Would you not agree that only someone psychotic would question anti-discrimination laws?"
Sainsbury's is selling South American black tomatoes in stores in London, Epsom and Tunbridge Wells this month. They are described as having a similar texture to red tomatoes but a stronger, sweeter taste. They also provide the same nutritional benefits and they are alleged to turn Galapagos Islands giant tortoises into sex maniacs.
Dieting makes you miserable official!
The Atkins diet starves the brain of 'happy hormones' and turns its victims into emotional zombies who are grumpy and too idle to move. So says the latest research from M.I.T. While the Atkins industry says it has research results which prove the exact opposite.
Dietary insult woman arrested
The Customs at Gatwick took an interest in a passenger from The Gambia when they found her shoving 13 stones (68 kg) of luggage around. It turned out that Nenneh Jaiteh had brought her own supply of goat meat, snails and fish for her visit to the UK. She was promptly arrested and charged with seeking to avoid the effects of genetic monstering, BSE, heavy metals, pesticide residues and the other crap with which the EU insists our food must be afflicted.
Genetic Monstering is okay - official
The government is allowing commercial planting of genetically monstered maize for inclusion in animal feed. There will be no requirement to label products containing milk and meat from animals fed with GM products and organic farmers can go whistle for compensation if their land is contaminated by GM fallout. Prez Bush has commanded us to go with the GM Revolution and Vice-Prez Bliar is happy to do as he's told. And if that means ignoring the views of consumer groups and the scientists appointed by the government to provide an informed opinion, that's just too bad.
Most restaurant servings of chicken tikka masala contain illegal levels of harmful dyes, e.g. tartrazine, sunset yellow and ponceau 4R red dye, says the latest shock-horror survey.
A survey of former hopefuls, who have paid good money to learn the secrets of proof reading, copy editing and writing, has thrown up rather dismal results. To be blunt about it, the publishing world doesn't want to know them. Given the choice between someone who has learned their way through the industry and someone who has taken a correspondence course of uncertain merit, the outsider loses every time.
Like Formula 1, horse racing has become a bit dull and predictable. So some of its participants have decided to spice things up by building in another element of uncertainty. Previously, the punters had to decide which horse is the fittest and best suited to the course, and which jockey knows what he's doing better than the others.
If some women drivers want to know why their insurance premiums have shot up, the EU is to blame. Their insurance company decided that they were a better risk than male drivers and worthy of a lower payment. But that's gender-based discrimination under EU rules and illegal. Hard luck, girls!
A policeman playing for Witton Albion tripped a streaker, who was getting in the way of the Cheshire Senior Cup final, which was being played at Altrincham FC's ground. The ref promptly gave him a red card for 'violent conduct' and sent him off! And the other team, Woodley Sports, went on to win 2-1 via a last minute goal. Which left everyone asking: "How did such a brain-dead tosser every qualified as a ref? And how's he going to get out of Altrincham alive?"
In an episode of Only Fools And Horses, Del Trotter sold tap water in posh bottles as 'Peckham Spring'. Coca-Cola is selling filtered Thames Water's product (with added minerals*) under the name 'Dasani' at 95p for a 500 ml bottle a mark-up of 300,000% on the cost to them of the water.
The Mugger has succeeded in sowing so much confusion and obscurity on the fertile ground of the tax system that 90% of his customers are paying too much. In 2003, he misappropriated £3.7billion more than his entitlement for Vice-Prez Bliar and his cronies to waste.
Stealth Tax #73 Another assault on savings anyone with shares in a PEP or ISA will lose their tax break on dividends.
The next Stealth Tax? The Mugger is reported to be keen to get his hands on cash left in dormant bank and building society accounts. The money belongs to customers who, mostly, have forgotten about the account or died. The Treasury would like to annex the cash if the bank/building society has been out of touch with the proper owner for 15 years. But the Mugger is reported to be thinking more in terms of 15 minutes!
In his Budget, the Mugger promised to get rid of 40,000 civil service jobs over the next 4 years. This was on the day after the recruitment plans of the government's Efficiency Tsar were leaked. Sir Peter Gershon is planning to spend £9billion per year on creating 360,000 public sector jobs over the next 2 years. So the Mugger's 40K will get the sack and redundancy money, and then be hired back by Gershon to keep the trade unions sweet.
Stealth Tax #74 A £550 increase (at the standard tax rate) for people who use a company van or people-carrier out of work time.
Stealth Tax #75 Council Tax will be up at least 7.4% next year according to the Budget.
Stealth Tax #76 The financial incentive for owner-operator small businesses to become companies will be removed. (The Mugger introduced the scheme but he's changed his mind because people were actually getting some benefit out of it.)
Stealth Tax #77 Legislation on cross-border payments for goods and services between companies in the same group is to be extended to transactions within the UK.
Stealth Tax #78 Tax on trusts up from 34% to 40%.
Stealth Tax #79 Duty on red diesel up 1p/litre above inflation (57% rise).
Stealth Tax #80 Duty on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used as fuel up 1p/litre above inflation (45% rise).
Stealth Tax #81 Personal allowances for taxpayers under 65 frozen.
The above item is included for the benefit of anyone who wants to know the value of the lesser prizes between the jackpot and the lowly ten quid for 3 correct numbers.
NHS Lottery An awful warning!
A consultant brain surgeon, who was accused to taking more soup than the hospital canteen's ever-shrinking, ever more expensive portion, has been sent home for an indefinite period by the Queen's Medical Centre NHS Trust in Nottingham. He says that all he got was some extra croutons.
Eastern Australia is beset by billions of rampant locusts. The residents of Queensland and New South Wales survived the worst drought for a century and then heavy rains and floods. A good soaking led to bumper crops, and then the locusts moved in. Looks like some people just can't win!
Meanwhile, in the UK, wild boars were driven to extinction 400 years ago. But this year's official wildlife census is including them for the first time. Apparently, there are getting on for 300 of them strolling around in the Midlands and the South of England and they are all descendants of captive stock, which escaped in 1987. The curious are warned to keep clear of these animals, which can be very fast and very aggressive, particularly when defending their young. An illegal trade in wild boar meat is expected to be the next growth industry when poachers who hunt wild deer think they can make a few quid from it.
Somewhat to the east of the boars, police twitchers in the capital were able to observe the common anoraked exhibitionist larking about on the Big Ben clock tower. Their pals said they were protesting about the Iraq situation. But as nothing they did is likely to have the slightest influence on Vice-Prez Bliar, it looks more likely that they were just exhibitionists showing off.
His film roles ranged from the emperor Nero to Charlie Chan and Agatha Christie's detective Hercule Poirot. Mr. Ustinov was a noted humorist, raconteur and mimic, and he was famous for his rich, speaking voice. He projected a cuddly, nice-guy image but there was a cutting edge when things didn't go his way. He also served as one of the first Unicef goodwill ambassadors.
Born in Salford, Mr. Cooke moved to the United States to avoid World War II and he became a US citizen in 1941. After the war, he took on the uphill task of educating Americans about the British way of life and our TV programmes. He received an honorary knighthood in 1973 in addition to a Bafta for his contribution to Anglo-American relations and a Sony Radio Award for his services to broadcasting. He presented the influential cultural TV show Omnibus in the US in the 1950 and his personal take on his adopted country Alistair Cooke's America was shown around the world.
|Created for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.|
Sole © RAL, March 2004.