Black Flag News
2004/August
   FINAL
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Romiley News
ROMILEY NEWS

One month of upset done, lots more to come

Romiley has survived its first month of sewer repairs and traffic jams around the single lane of road available in the centre of the village. Looks like we might even survive to November.

single lane traffic
Romiley centre, not much happening because it's Sunday.

!When the torrential rain on the first Thursday of the month slackened, but with lightning still flashing and thunder roaring overhead, a plague of frogs invaded Romiley's gardens. Where they all came from is a great mystery.

lamp with lynchbarThe Revolution is about to start?

Our Triv-Dem council has been messing about with Romiley's fancy new lamp posts again. Their minions have been sneaking around, screwing bits onto them. They look like innocent, tubular bars set about 15 feet off the ground but inventive minds are assuming that they are lynch-bars.
   What are lynch-bars? Things you can chuck a rope over when, come the Revolution, you start stringing up the lawyers, the politicians and the trade union leaders.
   Romiley's anarchists are now wondering if the council has been warned that the trouble is about to start. Or is there some even more sinister explanation for fitting the lynch-bars?
UpdateWhy did the workmen returned to remove the lynch-bars from the 4 lamps with fancy tops? (The one at Thresher's shown above) And why didn't they put one on the lamp outside Castree's Autobar?

Attention Romiley residents wondering why your Council Tax is shooting up – your Triv-Dem dominated council is planning to spend all your money on yet another pointless remake of the town centre at Stockport.
UpdateIt has been pointed out that the picture on the front page of the Summer 2004 issue of Stockport Council's tabloid The review bears no relation to the street plan of Stockport's town centre as shown in the local A to Z. So does the 'total transformation' in the council's 'Masterplan' require everything to be flattened and rebuilt? And are we looking at another Scottish Parliament with costs soaring wildly out of control and the poor old Council Taxpayer footing the bill?

Rogue weather floods Romiley!
drowned Romiley
The natives were rushing to buy wellies and rowing boats in the third week of the month. Torrents gushed along the gutters, stretches of road were submerged completely and the River Rom burst its banks after a Friday of continuous rain. Luckily, things quickly returned to normal and the good citizens of the village switched their attention from paddling for passing TV crews to making bogus insurance claims.

stop pressstop pressstop press

Smug Bugger arrested for plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea

Smug Bugger"My wife made me do it," he said as he was being led away in handcuffs. "All I was trying to do was depose a dictator with blood-soaked hands and secure his country's oilfields for more enlightened regimes. You let me do it in Iraq so why not in Equatorial Guinea?"
   "The whole thing looks like a desperate attempt to avoid impeachment for starting a war in Iraq after lying to the nation," a spokesman for Her Majesty's Opposition said when informed of the arrest.
   The police are also believed to be preparing charges against the Foreign Secretary as a co-conspirator. He is believed to have fled the country to seek political asylum somewhere in Africa. As well as in the UK, investigations are on-going in the United States and Spain, and further arrests are expected daily.

Home News
HOME NEWS

FA loses the plot

clownThe chief executive of the Football Association has resigned after committing crimes against humanity. His offences include taking his turn with the office bike and not issuing a press release containing the full gory details to Her Majesty's Press. The FA's director of communications stands accused of spin-doctoring. Apparently, he tried to do a deal with the News of the Screws under which the coach of the England football team's dealings with the bike would be deployed but the chief executive's wouldn't.
   The coach, who is a foreigner and possibly a bogus asylum seeker, also took his turn on the office bike. But he thinks he can get away with failing to inform Her Majesty's Press of the details because he was vague when questioned, neither admitting nor denying his crime.
UpdateNah! We can't be arsed.

More good news for savers this month. Interest rates went up to 4.75%.

Whistle-blower gets the boot

Steve Moxton of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate has been sacked for exposing the government's cover-up of visa abuse. IND officers were ordered to authorize thousands of visas for bogus 'self-employed' Eastern Europeans without the usual background checks.
   The Home Office lied initially when the scandal broke, then it admitted that 7,000 false visas had been issued. Immigration Minister Bev Hughes was obliged to resign when the true figure for the false visas of more than 25,000 came out.
   James Cameron, another whistle-blower who exposed visa abuse at the British embassy in Romania [see the Home Office News section of BFN for June, 2004], was rewarded by being recalled to the UK, having his salary frozen and being told that he has no hope of promotion for the next 3 years.
   There is a Public Interest Disclosure Act on the statute book to protect whistle-blowers but this government feels entitled to ignore it when convenient.

clownSerial dodginess, dossier-wise

John Scarlett, head of the Secret Intelligence Service and 'owner' of a dodgy dossier on Iraq, is being robust about accusations of trying to sex up another Iraq dossier. He just shrugged off accusations of trying to insinuate lies into the Iraq Survey Group's report on the search for Saddam's non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction.
   Scarlett's attitude seems to be that it is his job to make Saddam look like a threat to justify the war in Iraq and he has the full approval of the government over to his methods.

Dirty Ditch is the public's fault

The public are to blame for the closure of Princess Di's Ditch, according to a government spokeswoman. They spoilt it with 'irresponsible behaviour', which included dropping litter in it and letting dogs and children play in it, which made the water all muddy.

euro coinCash without responsibility

Anyone who gives cash to Data, Oxfam, Plan UK, Tearfund, Unicef and WaterAid might care to consider redirecting their generosity. Why? Because the cash could well be used to buy a newspaper ad full of blatant Labour party propaganda. The people running these charities seem to think that once the money is in their grubby hands, they can spend it on their personal political causes instead of wasting it on the Third World.

meanwhileHSBC is doing its bit for the Third World by shipping 7,500 British banking jobs to countries where the workforce can be paid in peanuts. So if you approve of a bank cutting costs to boost its profits rather than reduce its charges, HSBC is the one for you!

The government has decided that it will have to get tough with the punters if Diana's Ditch is to be reopened. In future, customers will have to read and sign a 3-page contract cum list of rules before buying a ticket (guide price £5.00). Their behaviour will be supervised inside the fenced-off area by a special Ditch Patrol, which will have powers of arrest and the power to impose spot cash fines on offenders.

carbuncle
Great Waterings on the Wold
Carbuncles of the countryside

A government spokesman has announced that rural planning regulations will be changed to prevent the construction of any more 'classical-style' country houses. "Concrete, steel, pipes on the outside and the more outlandish the better" is what New Labour wants to see dotted around its concreted countryside.
   The ruling is understood to be a reaction to the mock Tudor dwellings favoured by the deputy prime minister, Mr. T.W.O. Jags, and similar jumped-up plebs.
UpdateThe latest bright idea to gush forth from the ODPM is to demolish 400,000 houses in the North and create vast expanses of parkland to pretty the place up. This follows hot on the heels of a plan to build 200,000 houses in the South-East for essential workers with nowhere to live. All of which leaves the nation with a deficit of 200,000 houses – and raises the interesting question, "Where is Mr. Jags going to put his gangs of displaced persons?"
   BlackFlag News says we should be told!

k1The government is sending in the army to sort out alcohol abusers. Public drunks face being shipped off to our equivalent of Guantanamo Bay. So, given the number of binge-boozers around, if the firemen go on strike, Iraq will be on its own.

Rock of GibraltarGibraltar celebrates 300 years of British rule

There were street parties for the people and the politicos had an official junket with the Royal Navy supervising. 15,000 Gibraltarians linked hands to form a 7-mile human chain right around the Rock as a demonstration of possession and defiance. A good time was had by everyone but Gibraltar's grumpy Spanish neighbours – and the chicken-hearted Yanks, who were invited but stayed away to avoid upsetting the Spanish.

fireworksThe end of the nocturnal Big Bang?

The government has made it illegal to let off fireworks after 11 p.m. except on Bonfire Night (midnight extension) and New Year's Eve. Not a word on how they plan to enforce the new legislation, however.
UpdateAttention anyone expecting a good fireworks display on the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar – don't bother going because the government has blown your fireworks money on a failed theme park in Cornwall. The Gaia Energy Centre cost £5.5million, it attracted about 6 visitors per day and it went bust because it couldn't attract enough paying customers to become self-sustaining.
   [Much like the rest of New Labour's renewable energy schemes. Ed.]

MOCAThe Mysterious Organized Crime Agency?

That's what the name sounded like on the wireless when a government spokesman announced that the UK's FBI-clone will open for business in 2006 with 5,000 agents and a director general on £150K. So hijackers, people traffickers, fraudsters, the IRA, other drug traffickers and those who finance major robberies still have a couple of years left to make hay.

Inglish Litracher? No thanks!

A-level customers who can't spell and have not knowledge of grammar are still getting A and A* grades in English literature exams. Who's to blame? Mainly idle and illiterate teachers, who can't; or who are incapable of; correcting work done by their customers.
   But this government and left-wing teaching unions have to take their share of the blame for fostering a culture of 'mediocre is okay' and 'more exam passes means better'; even if standards drop relentlessly year on year.
   There used to be a cartoon showing a toilet roll with the caption 'Sociology degrees, please take one'. The same now applied to top-grade A-level passes.

David DavisTories to slay the 'Human Rights' dragon

Compensation lawyers everywhere were up in arms in an instant when shadow home secretary David Davis (left) offered a challenge to their undeserved income.
   The UK's Human Rights Act, wished on us by New Labour's lawyers, is so poorly drafted and the actual 'rights' are so poorly defined that shifty lawyers and a compliant judiciary have been able to create an endless catalogue of entirely spurious 'rights'. But the gravy train will be derailed if the Tories get their way.

Postal Voting? No thanks!

The Electoral Commission has ruled that New Labour's all-postal voting experiment was a flop. It was badly organized by ministers and their minions, who hadn't thought the scheme through, and wide open to fraud. But it was inflicted on the nation in the hope of boosting the Labour Party's vote. As a result, the public now has no confidence in postal voting. Worse, the government knew that effective anti-fraud measures could not be put in place for the June postal elections but it went ahead anyway. And the same applies to the November postal referendum on a local assembly for the North-East.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Phishers In Action

"Phishing" is the repellent practice of stealing information from other people with the intention of emptying their bank accounts and sticking bogus charges on their credit cards. One way of doing this is to send potential victims an email got up to look like a communication from their bank in an attempt to obtain account, pin number and password information.

As a public service, Jenson Farrago is offering access to examples of phishing emails. CLICK HERE to find out what they look like.

DOSH NEWS

It really is all about the money ...

boozerThe government wants to give drink drivers their licence back early if they're prepared to have an in-car breathalyzer fitted. The offender will have to use the device for 18 months. Critics of the scene have pointed out that a serial drunk could get a friend, or pay someone, to blow into the device on his/her behalf. But the government isn't worried. Why? Because the boozer will have to pay £150 per month for the device, which means a donation of £2,700 to the government's coffers for the 18 month period of use.

If you want to kill someone, Bedfordshire is a cheap place to do it. Lorry driver William Ishani crashed into a car killing all four occupants. His penalty at Luton Crown Court was a fine of £1,000 and a 1-year driving ban.

Every bloody thing is made in China these days. And the list will include uniforms for the British Army, the Ministry of Defence has decided. The switch will save £23million at a cost of hundreds of jobs in the UK.

MPs' expenses for the last 3 year are to be revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. The Westminster Wonders are now in a panic about being shown up as greedy buggers when the customers start making comparisons. The move is expected to lead to a league table showing exactly how much value for money each MP offers.

Rubbish tipAnother Stealth Tax in the making

Your caring government is planning to fit scales on all refuse control vehicles as soon as a crony can be picked to supply them. All unsorted rubbish – the stuff that doesn't go in one of the recycling bins/bags – will be weighed and the householder will be charged an appropriate fee for removing it.
   So expect:

  1. a lot of nocturnal sneaking about as refuse cheats seek to burden their neighbours;
  2. a lot more of the wrong stuff being mixed with recyclables 'by mistake'; and
  3. an epidemic of fly-tipping.

The government intends to cut rate support grants even more (by stealth, of course) and then give councils the option to charge for 'unsorteds' so that the councils will collect the flak for taking more cash off the customers.
   Sneaky and dishonest – the New Labour way!

New Labour's Stealth Taxes to fund its Fat Government Policy have cost the nation the equivalent of 16.5 p in the pound on the basic rate of income tax.

Inheritance Tax, thanks to the government's failure to allow for rising house prices, is up 75% since 1997 to £2.8billion per year, making it another New Labour Stealth Tax.

How much does it cost to trap a wild mink in the Outer Hebrides? The mink-eradication scheme operating there; funded by the Scottish Executive and the European Commission among others; can do it for £10,312.50 per head. But hey, who expects value for money from the people who created the monstrous cost overrun of the Scottish parliament building and the corrupt shambles which is Common Europe?

Another Big Bank rip-off

The independent Banking Advisory Service is accusing the big banks of ripping off their customers with Stealth Charges. Every time they use a credit or debit card abroad, customers are hit with a hidden 'currency conversion fee'. Buy a train ticket, a meal or a present with plastic and there's an extra 2.75% to pay, which is hidden in the conversion calculation rather than listed openly on the bank's bill. And anyone using a cash dispenser abroad will pay an additional charge of at least 2%. Some banks, like Halifax and NatWest, charge the above double fee PLUS an extra fee for using the card abroad. No wonder the major banks can knock out squillion-pound profits.

Customers are fleeing from British Gas after their double-figure gas and electricity price rises. Meanwhile, Powergen, the 2nd biggest energy supplier, has been fined £700K for trying to prevent its customers from switching to a cheaper supplier. So they don't sound like a good bet for a switch.

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HEALTH NEWS

Boozing is okay – in moderation

DrinkRegular drinking of alcoholic beverages is good for the brain, researchers at University College, London, have found. Drinking up to 30 units per week at a steady pace (not all at one go on a binge) can improve verbal fluency and mathematical reasoning. But booze does nothing for the memory.
   [See last month's Health News section for info on how to improve your memory.]

Get scrubbed!

Hospital Zone

ERADICATE MRSA

Please wash thoroughly
after handling each customer

Wash here!

Viagra manufacturer takes on the spammers

Drug giant Pfizer has started a legal campaign against spammers and online pharmacies which are flogging fake Viagra. The fight-back was prompted by a survey which showed that 25% of recipients of spam emails about Viagra believe they come from Pfizer.
   Pfizer is working in the United States with the Justice Department, Customs, the Food & Drug Agency and the FBI to hunt down and persecute the criminals who are selling illegal Viagra. The charges include trademark infringement, unfair competition and deception by selling non-approved Viagra or its illegal generic versions. Pfizer is also running a 'public awareness campaign' to scare consumers with horror stories about the health dangers of taking the illegal pills.

k1The new 5-in-one vaccine for kids is said to be safe because it contains only dead viruses. Which says what about MMR, which contains 3 live viruses?

k2Hot weather is bad for you – it's official! The latest shock-horror study has proved that hot weather encourages air pollution to hang around and nanoparticles in the polluted air can cause 'sticky blood' and promote heart disease. So all those who are worried about the effects of Climate Change are advised to head for Iceland at the earliest opportunity.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
No London Olympics

A London Olympics?
No, thanks!

world news
WORLD NEWS

The 'Land of the Free' becomes a little bit less restrictive

US FlagAfter complaints from frustrated tourists, the USA has put back its demand that visitors have a biometric passport. UK citizens with a machine-readable passport issued after 2004/10/26 will now not need a visa in addition to enter the United States. The deadline has been postponed for 1 year following chaos at the US Embassy's visa desk and accusations of profiteering by charging a sky-high price for visas.

Not guilty, mate!

Poland is claiming that the Warsaw uprising against the Nazi occupiers during World War II has not been properly recognized. This is total bollocks. World War II has been the subject of innumerable books and articles, and it is an integral part of our TV lives, especially on the digital channels.
   It is common knowledge that Britain went to war when Germany and then the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939 and divided the country between them. It is common knowledge that the Russians could have intervened when the uprising began but chose not to.
   Great Britain, which supplied the Poles via air-drops, owes them no apology for what happened 60 years ago. But it might be nice to get the odd word of thanks instead from the Polish government for providing a safe haven for Poles who escaped from Nazi and Communist aggressors from 1939 onward.

Political Panics in the USA?

The US government stands accused to issuing terrorist warnings on the basis of information which is at least 4 years old. Although the 'threat' was supposed to come from vehicle bombs, security guards built up long queues of people on the streets as they checked identity tags before admitting people to their place of work.
   Democrats are now shouting 'Foul!' and accusing Prez Bush of parking his tanks on their lawn to pretend to the voters that he's on top of the problem. Because there's nothing like a bogus security alert for pushing a rival off the front page.

meanwhileon Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty has been reopened to visitors after standing empty for 3 years. The tourist authority clearly thought that the terrorist alert was based on information which was too old to be of any consequence.

Adolf the dog Sieg heilsAdolf's owner loses appeal

Roland Thein (aka Tach) of Berlin has lost his appeal against a 13-month suspended sentence imposed for 'displaying Nazi symbols' and insulting a police officer. Mentioning the war remains an extremely serious crime in Germany.
   As reported in Black Flag News for October 2003 and July 2003, Adolf the mongrel dog will raise his right paw in a Hitler salute on command. He and his owner were originally busted in March 2002 and the case has dragged on and on since then. As a parting shot, the appeal court judge warned Roland, "If something similar happens again, you will be sent to prison."

Arnie stampArnie takes a lot of licking

Austria has issued a 100 eurocent stamp to celebrate the 57th birthday of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film star turned politician who is now governor of California, USA. 73% of the people who responded to a CNN Quickvote said Big Arnie doesn't deserve his stamp. Miserable gits!

k2An exhibition at the Old Town House gallery in Cape Town next month will show paintings by 17th Century Dutch masters – hung facing the wall. The idea is to let the customers see details on the back of the pictures, such as old attempts to preserve the canvas, and labels and comments attached by collectors over the centuries.

k3After the killer kangaroo plague in Canberra last month, it is now Melbourne's turn for an invasion. Colonies of Argentine ants in the city have stopped fighting each other and formed a 60-mile long supercolony. As a result, they are now a major threat to native Aussie wildlife and serial home invaders as far as the human population of Melbourne is concerned.
   And as if that's not plenty to keep the Aussies hopping, they now face plagues of locusts hatching out in nice time to chomp the grain harvest.

Doppelgänger by Henry T. SmithAUGUST SPECIAL OFFER

July 20th 2004 marked the 60th anniversary of one of the plots to kill Adolf Hitler. BlackFlag News would like to offer its readers the inside story of this dramatic event as told by one of Romiley's premiere authors.
   Read the Book on Jenson Farrago's website
   Read about the Book on the RLC website
   Buy the Book at the Lulu.com website

Category : Military History, World War II, 1944

RAIN NEWS

Acid rain is good for us!

Researchers in Scotland have found that acid rain reduces the amount of methane released by that country's wetlands. Low pH rain encourages rival bacteria to thrive at the expense of methane-producers, and small amounts of pollution can reduce emissions of a serious greenhouse gas by 30-40%. Unfortunately, acid rain has no effect on the large amounts of methane generated by Highland cows and sheep.
   FACT: Molecule for molecule, methane traps over 21 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Professor Alan Flowers from Kingston University in Surrey has been chucked out of Belarus after accusing the Russians of messing about with the weather to create lots of rain in that part of the world. Why were they doing it? To keep radioactive fallout from the world's worst nuclear disaster in the Chernobyl area and prevent it from blowing eastwards towards Moscow.
   It is believed that the governments of Russia and Belarus are in the process of wiping the Chernobyl disaster out of their respective histories. Expelling informed foreigners from Belarus is seen as an essential early step in the process of rewriting history.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

POLITICAL CRIMINALITY

Members of the UK parliament, and politicians of other nations, fall foul of the rules from time to time. BlackFlag News has come across the case of a local government councillor who seems to have suffered particular disproportionate treatment in a New Labour inspired kangaroo court.

CLICK HERE to find out (a) what sort of punishments politicians receive for their crimes (and what they can get away with) and (b) how their punishment compares with what happened to Councillor M.

Criminal News
CRIMINAL NEWS

Our incredible shrinking anti-crime system

For the benefit of those who always insisted that Labour is the party of the criminal – you've been right all along. The Home Office has admitted its policy of closing police stations by stealth at a rate of 3 per month. With 262 fewer police stations to be wary of since 1997, life has become so much easier for the nation's burglars, vandals and muggers.

k1It's official : magistrates are too lenient with uninsured drivers. So the police are being given the power to crush vehicles belonging to drivers who won't; or can't; insure them.
   [Should make a bit of space on the overcrowded roads if applied rigorously enough. Ed.]

Michael HowardOpposition leader Howard goes for Lor 'n' Order

If elected to the top job, Michael Howard will make life tough for criminals. His master plan involves building more prisons and keeping sociopaths separated from the community rather than running around loose in it.
   Out will go the left-wing mantra "Society is to blame" and personal responsibility for one's deeds will become the order of the day. Mr. Howard is determined to inject a strong dose of common sense into the nation's consciousness and boot political correctness into touch. He also favours a government which makes fewer rules and abolishes the crazier existing ones. If he's elected to the top job.

k2A serial rapist on weekend leave from an open prison has won a one-third share of a monster Lotto Extra jackpot. But he can't spend his £7million windfall as the prison authorities have decided that his sudden wealth has turned him into a flight risk and they've jammed his ass into a secure prison. And if his victims decide to sue him for compensation, he might have nothing left to come out to, poor chap!

You are so busted, mate!

The government is going to make the police in England and Wales arrest people for every offence on the statute book, no matter how minor. Defacing buildings with graffiti, dropping litter, abusive behaviour in public and not voting Labour are expected to be the main players.
   Arrested customers will be tested for drugs and a record of their fingerprints and DNA will be retained for future reference. The new rules will also make searching suspects and their property much easier. Officials at the Home Officer are describing the changes as "mere tidying-up exercises" to resolve confusion over the law. [Tidying up in the same sense as the European Constitution? Ed.]
   The new powers will let community support officers direct traffic, see off beggars, search people for weapons and enforce bylaws. Police officers will be allowed to fingerprint drivers at the roadside, as an alternative to taking them to a police station, to save everyone's time.
   After an initial purge, only serial offenders are likely to be targetted – and the initial purge will be used to gather data on who the persistent criminals are.

k3A Berlin police precinct has run out of cash because it has blown the annual budget, and more, on repairs to crashed police cars. The section chief has ordered his staff not to spend any more money for the rest of the year.

US flagPrisons in some states of the good old USA are charging their inmates rent. Anyone banged up in New York State, for instance, has to pay $80 per day plus extras, which include haircuts, telephone charges and medical expenses.
   Those who say they can't pay have assets seized until there's nothing left. Then their relatives get the bills. Taxpayers are reported to be delighted with the scheme but prison reformers are up in arms. They are raising the spectre of criminals and their whole family being banged up in prison for debt with no hope of every getting out again. Which should save a few bob on ASBOs.

Skull and crossbonesDon't buy property in Spain
– the natives are a bunch of crooks

In particular, don't buy property in the autonomous Valencia region. Corrupt town hall officials there can declare land occupied by a foreign-owned villa 'needed for public or social benefit'. Which means that the owner can lose half the garden or even the whole plot including the villa. And there is no appeal against the decision.
   A corrupt developer gets part or all of the property at a fraction of the market price, or for nothing or, in the worst cases, the owner is obliged to surrender the property and pay cash towards the development which is providing the alleged social benefit.
   Other Spanish regions are watching and wondering if they can cash in on this swindle and people thinking of buying a holiday or retirement home in Spain will receive no help or protection against violation of their human rights from the Spanish government, the British government or the European Union. You have been warned!

Swings & roundabouts of justice

If you want to be fitted up by the police, try West Yorkshire, where they busted a driver for speeding at 115 mph in a Fiat Punto. The unlucky driver had to spend £2,500 and sell his car to fund his battle for justice. The case was thrown out when it got to court but there's no sign of the coppers involved being charged with perverting the course of justice.
   West Yorkshire is also a good place to get away with a crime. There aren't enough staff to supervise people handed a community service sentence instead of gaol-time, so they're getting off scot-free.

Keeping the customers happy

The Chinese government wants to cremate the nation's dead to save land. The people, however, prefer burial. So a bloke in Guandong province set up a branch of Murder, Inc. so that his customers could give the state a murdered body for cremation while burying their loved one in secret.

space news
SPACE NEWS

Aliens over Siberia?

Russian scientists are claiming they have discovered wreckage from an alien craft at the site of the Tunguska explosion in Siberia. They say they have found the remains of an extra-terrestrial device. They also found a 50kg rock which was sent to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, for analysis.
   What is widely believed to be a meteor exploded over the remote Tunguska area on June 30, 1908. The first scientific expedition, led by Russian scientist Leonid Kulik, reached the mosquito-infested area in 1927, following up reports from Tungus nomads of a vast area of fallen trees and evidence of much burning. The blast flattened trees in a roughly circular area covering some 2,000 square metres.
   There is no crater at the focus of the blast and no fragments of whatever it was that exploded have been reported previously. The devastation caused by the explosion remains evident in the 21st Century.

k6Perseid meteors? Two wet nights in Romiley, no bother!

dead chicken
FOODY NEWS

NOTE : Don't unwrap before eating

Scientists at Oregon State University have invented a clingfilm wrapping which keeps food fresh and can also be eaten. It contains natural preservatives and it can be fortified with vitamins and minerals as a useful dietary supplement. The film is made from chitosan, which is found in crab and shrimp shells. This material is normally thrown away, like inedible clingfilm, so converting it into edible packaging provides a double relief for those saddled with the problems of waste disposal.

v1Good News! Heinz soups have new labels!
Not so good news the price has shot up by 33%.

travel
TRAVEL NEWS

A new hazard for rail travellers
– the wrong sort of information

Staff at the UK's rail information call centres in India are getting their own back for the period of British rule. They are giving out wrong or deliberately misleading information on train times and fares at least 80% of the time to confound their former colonial masters. The staff get away with their disinformation by being "consistently patient, friendly and polite" to the customers.
   "India is striking back," Brenda Smith, a spokeswoman for the call centre staff, said. "We have the power now!"

Morality & the Driving Test

Prez-For-Life (since 2002/08/08) Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan (Iran & Afghanistan's northern neighbour) is at it again. After successfully renaming the months and the days of the week after important events in his life (see BlackFlag News for August 2002), he has decided that learner drivers in his former Soviet republic will have to pass an additional test. The test is based on his Rukhnama or 'Spiritual World' book, which he created as a moral guide to the nation, and which is an essential part of the curriculum for schools and universities. Luckless budding motorists will have to attend a 16-hour course on old Turky's eccentricities to 'ensure they are educated in the spirit of the high moral values of Turkmenistan's society'.
   As another benefit for his customers, Old Turky has ordered the construction of a vast ice palace in his desert country with ski slopes (with real snow) so that the kiddies can learn to ski. Nice to see a despot looking after his people.

trainVirgin's novelty tilting trains have other tricks to entertain the customers – such as overflowing toilets and self-blocking radiators. The computers which report when the toilets are full keep getting constipation, which results in trains going out with only one working bog. So booking a seat can become incredibly important!

Al Qaida kitten menaces airliner

A Belgian airliner had to make an emergency landing after a kitten ran amok in the cockpit. Its owner had taken the animal aboard an SN Brussels Airlines flight to Vienna. She took the kitten out of its box when a child wanted to stroke it.
   Passengers tried to grab the rogue moggy when it made a bid for freedom – but it dashed onto the flight deck when a meal was served to the crew and set about the co-pilot. The pilot felt obliged to land at Zaventem so that the kitten could be rounded up and his co-pilot could receive urgent medical treatment for scratches.

Skull and crossbones"Are you British, sir? Good! We'll rip you off."

If you book a Eurostar train journey on the Internet – tell them you're a Yank and pay in dollars because the bastards will rip you off if you pay in pounds!
   A trip to Brussels or Paris through the Channel Tunnel will cost you £125 if you pay in sterling. The sterling equivalent, if paid in dollars, is £41 to Brussels and £65 to Paris.

k1British Airways plans to sack all staff who go on strike over this month's bank holiday. They will be replaced by asylum seekers. A government spokesman said: "Offering asylum seekers the dignity of employment at the expense of those who don't appreciate it can only be a good thing for BA, air travellers and the British economy."

k2Christina Lauwers of Antwerp would love to register her new car – but she can't because the official Belgian databank says she's been dead since November, 2002. Her husband was able to get her identity card reactivated soon after he received an official 'sorry for your loss'. But over a year and a half later, Belgian computers are still refusing to accept that someone they've killed off can be brought back to life.

k3An inventive German pensioner was able to charge around the suburbs of Ulm at over 60 kph after he fitted a chainsaw engine to his wife's bike. But the next thing he knew, he'd been busted for operating a motor vehicle without a licence. He insisted he was just testing an experimental vehicle but the police weren't impressed. But they did have the decency to send him home on a borrowed (engineless) bike.

trainThe train operators are running a very neat scam. They advertise cut-price tickets which have to be booked ages in advance. But when people ring up, they say the tickets aren't available because Network Rail is doing engineering work. Which leaves the customer with no choice but to buy a 'saver' ticket, which doesn't save very much, or a 'standard' ticket at a rip-off price.

WWE NEWS

World Wrestling Entertainment mourns ...

guide dog burial... as yet another referee's guide dog pays the ultimate price. Senior referee Earl Hebner (left, foreground) looks on and weeps as wrestler turned film star The Rack inters his latest guide dog. The unfortunate animal strayed too close to the 'action' during a clash of the WWE's largest Titans. Mr. Hebner had to be rescued by security staff when he was left blundering about without guidance following his ring partner's unfortunate demise.

DEPARTURES

Paul 'Red' Adair

Paul Red AdairThe man who was played by John Wayne in his own biopic has died at 89. Adair learned to use explosives while serving with a bomb disposal squad during World War II. He went on to write the book on extinguishing and capping blazing oil wells and he was rightly proud that none of his workers suffered a serious injury while fighting a fire.
   Wearing his distinctive red gear (replicas of which were made available to fans), he tackled more than 2,000 fires during his career, including the oil wells set alight in Kuwait by the retreating Iraqi army in 1991 and the Piper Alpha oil platform in 1998.

DEPARTURES

Fay Wray

Fay Wray with King KongThe lady who shrieked her way to stardom in the clutches of King Kong (picture left) has died at 96. Canadian-born Fay Wray (picture right) began her film career in her teens as an extra. She got regular work as the heroine in silent films, and during the 1930s, she starred in enough horror films to earn the title Hollywood's Scream Queen. Although she appeared in some 100 films, she is fated always to be associated with King Kong.

WAR NEWS

The War Ain't Over Yet – Official!

Prez Bush has finally admitted that he was a little premature in declaring the war in Iraq over 15 months ago. It's still going on – but he still hopes to win it eventually.

Skull and crossbonesWoMD? Wot WoMD?

The head of Saddam Hussein's nuclear programme has announced that the former World's Favourite Despot scrapped all of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction after the first Gulf War in 1991. His news comes as a huge embarrassment to the administrations in the United States and Great Britain, which went to war to protect the world from the non-existent WoMD.
   Dr Jaffar Dhia Jaffar poured particular scorn on the British government's claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium ore from the African state of Niger at a time when his country had lots of it. The WoMD production facilities were so badly damaged in 1991 that Saddam Hussein decided that he couldn't afford to restart his programmes and destroyed everything.

Double StormsAl Qaida suspected of weather control

As Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley closed in on Florida, the US Homeland Security Department was studying the possibility that Al Qaida weather control could be behind them. Florida has not been hit by double tropical storms since 1906 and, with a presidential election looming, this month's bilateral assault aroused suspicions in US government circles.
   Those with long memories will remember that George Bush stole Florida in the last presidential election via dodgy doings over the mechanical voting system. Pushing the state into the headlines via a dual 'natural' disaster, the HSD suspected, could well have been a sneaky way of reminding his customers what a cad George Dubja really is.

The war against racialism hots up

White coppers are rushing to take the Metropolitan Police to various courts and tribunals in search of compensation. Most of the complaints come from people who feel they have been overlooked for promotion. All of them are grounded in deliberate favouritism shown to members of ethnic minorities at the expense of more able but ethnically inconvenient white coppers. Has racialism against white Brits had its day? Another feeding frenzy by the nation's lawyers will certainly hasten its demise.

SWIMMING NEWS

Olympic Roundup

v1A Romiley athlete is a hot favourite to win a medal in the Solo Synchronized Swimming event at this month's games. Clyde Wydey is confident that he will be able to see off hot competition from China, the current No. 1 nation in synchronized events.

v2Elsewhere in Athens, the Greek authorities have demonstrated an appalling lack of gratitude to a Canadian bloke who crashed the synchronized diving event in a tutu. His antics put off the Chinese team, who were in the lead, and let a pair of Greeks take the gold medal. But instead of offering grateful thanks, the miserable Greeks have jammed the intruder's ass in gaol for 5 months.

meanwhilein Norway: A bloke swimming in the sea off Birkeland got the shock of his life when a metre-long snake swam up his trunks. To make matters worse, everyone else in the area set off for the shore at high speed and left him to his fate. Luckily, the reptile was a grass snake, which is non-poisonous but which will give someone a nasty nip if harassed.

meanwhilein Sweden: Jan-Ove Sundberg reckons he has caught Selma; a sea-serpent rival to the Loch Ness Monster; on film. He has a 20-second clip showing something 30-40 centimetres long [Not exactly huge, then? Ed.], which is black in colour and possibly has touches of red and white.
   "I have either filmed a gnarled head or the upper part of a hump complete with serrations," Sundberg told newspaper Varden.
   Sundberg is saying that he saw the same creature 4 four years ago but he kept quiet because his film was of poor quality. He built a 6-metre long trap for Selma in 2000 and he remains hopeful of catching the beast eventually.

 
Thoughts for the day:

Inheritance Tax is theft by the state – it's a tax on sound stewardship.

Niagra Falls but Viagra Rises!

This Month's Garbage

The Garbage All the Silly Season antics at the Football Association over a few blokes lying about who's been shagging the office bike.

 The Football League's 3rd division is now the 1st division.

 The Health & Safety Executive's switch of priorities from worker safety in heavy industry to school sports days and trees laden with deadly conkers.

 Lancashire Police blowing £20K of public money on prosecuting a motorist for splashing a traffic cop, only to see their prisoner acquitted forthwith.

 A Southampton Job Centre's ban on the 'hardworking' in job adverts because the term discriminates against people who can't, or won't, work hard.

 Peter Mandelson as the EU's trade commissioner.

 Two Jags Prescott's pathetic attention-seeking attempts – although it's nice to see him trying to help the customers instead of smacking them in the gob!

 The flood at the Scottish Parliament building – they spent £500million on it but they couldn't do the drains properly.

 All this mea culpa crap from and about Paula Radcliffe just because she blew up while running a marathon in daft conditions.

 British Airways' policy of hiring staff who are off sick half the time – and not hiring enough of them to get the job done.

 Lord PowderJect Drayson getting an order giving his company a £20million profit for a bung to New Labour of £100K and a peerage for another bung of £500K.

 The notion that the French did anything useful (for our side) in World War Two; or that they liberated Paris. The British and the Americans did all the fighting and the Germans were long gone before any French 'liberators' arrived.

 
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