|17th November |
Anti-Scientology book unlisted by UK Amazon
Thanks to Nick
Based on article from
Amazon UK has barred the sale of a new Scientology exposé penned by a former member of the church's elite paramilitary group.
The British incarnation of the world's most popular etailer is no longer offering The Complex: An
Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology , by John Duignan, who spent 22 years inside the top secret organization.
In a recent post to an anti-Scientology discussion forum, an Anonymous Brit says that after pre-ordering
the book, he received an email from Amazon announcing it had been removed from sale for legal reasons.
The book is also no longer available at Waterstone's and is out of stock at US Amazon
The US listing describes the book like
For the first time ever, a former high-ranking member of the Church of Scientology is lifting the lid on life inside the world s fastest growing cult. The Complex reveals the true story behind the religion
that has ensnared a Who's Who list of celebrities such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and convinced thousands of ordinary people to join up.
Duignan describes how two years ago he staged a dramatic escape from the elite paramilitary group at
the core of the Church, the Sea Organisation, and how he narrowly evaded pursuit by Scientologists from the Office of Special Affairs. He looks back on the 22 years he served in the Church's secret army and describes the hours of sleep deprivation,
brain-washing and intense auditing or religious counselling he endured, as he was moulded into a soldier of Scientology.
He talks about the money-making-machine at the heart of the Church, the Scientology goal to Clear the Planet and Get Ethics
In, the training programmes, the Rehabilitation Project Force and the punishments meted out to anyone who transgresses, including children. We follow his journey through the Church and the painful investigation that leads to his eventual realisation that
there is something very wrong at Scientology's core.
The Complex was published by the Dublin, Ireland-based Merlin Publishing.
|11th November |
The moral shortcomings of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre
Based on article from
See also The threat to our press from
guardian.co.uk by Paul Dacre
Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has launched an attack on a High Court judge, accusing him of bringing in a privacy law by the back door.
He said Mr Justice Eady had used the Human Rights Act against the age-old freedom of newspapers to
expose moral shortcomings of people in high places.
Mr Justice Eady ruled in favour of motorsport boss Max Mosley in his legal action against the News of the World. He ruled in July that the paper had breached Mosley's privacy, saying he could
expect privacy for consensual sexual activities (albeit unconventional).
Dacre told the audience at Society of Editors' annual conference in Bristol that the judge's amoral judgements, in this and other defamation and libel cases,
were inexorably and insidiously imposing a privacy law on the press.
Dacre said this had huge implications for newspapers and for society. Public shaming had always been a vital element in defending the parameters of what are considered
acceptable standards of social behaviour, he said. Without the freedom to write about scandal, newspaper sales would fall, creating worrying implications for the democratic process, he said.
Now, some revile a moralising media. Others,
such as myself, believe it is the duty of the media to take an ethical stand. Either way, it is a choice but Justice Eady - with his awesome powers - has taken away our freedom of expression to make that choice.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's
Today programme, Lord Falconer defended Mr Justice Eady's role. He said it was not necessarily acceptable for public figures to have aspects of their private lives, such as abortions and other medical treatments, reported in the newspapers.
course, if I'm acting hypocritically or I'm accountable, or there's something that may affect what I do in my public life which emerges from my private life, then that should be published. But there are things which are private and just as we don't want
the state to know everything about us, do we want things that are legitimately private to be made public? I don't think we do.
|17th October |
Saw themed ride to open at Thorpe Park
Thanks to Nick
article from slashfilm.com
UK's Thorpe Park will be opening a SAW-themed roller coaster in Spring 2009.
The coaster will feature a beyond vertical drop of 100º from a height of 100ft (a 4.5 G-force experience), making it the steepest freefall drop in the
Riders will also endure three inversions that will add another dimension to a whole new experience of adrenaline-fuelled fun for thrill seekers.
Merlin Entertainment has been working with Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate to ensure
total accuracy of the key elements from the Saw films.
|25th March |
Police using licensing requirements to prevent showing of protest film
See full article from
See also SchMovies presents On the Verge
Police have intervened across the country to censor On the Verge an independent documentary about the Smash EDO campaign to shut down the Brighton's weapons manufacturer EDO MBM. So far establishments in Southampton, Chichester, Bath and
Oxford as well as Brighton have come under police pressure to cancel film showings. In Brighton police intervened to prevent a showing at the Duke of York's Cinema, just one hour prior to the scheduled premiere.
Using activist, police and CCTV
footage plus interviews with those involved in the campaign, On The Verge ' tells the story of one of the most persistent and imaginative campaigns to emerge out of the UK's anti-war movement and direct action scene.
Spokesman for the
production company SchMovies, Steven Bishop said I am extremely disappointed but not entirely surprised by the police's action. There may be issues with certification but as we're not charging for entry this shouldn't be an issue. If the police really
had problems over the certificate they could have approached us at a much earlier stage. Our film although focussing mainly on the rights and wrongs of protest shows a number of examples of questionable police behaviour – Perhaps this is why they left
their move so late
Meanwhile the On the Verge Screening Tour continues. The upcoming dates this week are:
25th - Bath. Friends' Meeting Place
26th - Hereford. The Barrels Pub
27th - Bristol. Kebele Social Centre
|25th March |
Whingeing at virtual Miss Bimbo game
See full article from the
See also www.missbimbo.com
Parents' groups have criticised a new internet craze in which young girls give virtual characters plastic surgery and feed them diet pills.
The Miss Bimbo game gives girls an online alter ego, which they look after. They compete against other
players in beauty contests to earn money so they can dress their characters in lingerie and take them to nightclubs. The aim of the game is to become the coolest, richest and most famous bimbo in the whole world. Players keep the girls at their
target weight using diet pills.
They are given missions, including securing plastic surgery to give their "bimbo" bigger breasts and finding a billionaire boyfriend to bankroll her.
The game, which was launched a month ago,
already has nearly 200,000 British players, most of whom are girls aged between nine and 16. When they run out of virtual cash, contestants can send text messages costing £1.50 each to top up their accounts.
Parents' groups fear it will
fuel teenagers' desire for plastic surgery and lead to eating disorders.
Bill Hibberd, spokesman for parents' rights group Parentkind, said: It is one thing if a child recognises it as a silly and stupid game. But the danger is that a
nine-year-old fails to appreciate the irony and sees the bimbo as a cool role model. Then the game becomes a hazard and a menace.
Children's innocence should be protected as far as possible. It depends on the background and mindset of the child
but the danger is that after playing the game some will then aspire to have breast operations and take diet pills.
The game's creator, 23-year-old web designer Nicolas Jacquart, from Tooting, south London, said: The game is structured in
such a way that it simply mirrors real life in a tongue-in-cheek way. It is harmless fun.
|23rd March |
YouTube are blocking BBC videos from being seen in Britain
See article1 and
article2 from Nart Villeneuve
As Youtomb discovered There is a tag available through the YouTube API the indicates the country (or countries in some cases) to which YouTube will restrict access to the video. These videos are not (necessarily) blocked by the country itself, but by
Here’s what I’ve found blocked so far
(TH Thailand, FR France, CN China, GB Britain)
PL TH DE
PF TF YT GP DE RE FR GF MQ PM PL,www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt2Zsr9bwlE
I wondered if Youtube might start tagging videos of the protests in Tibet in order to have Youtube unblocked with the specific videos being blocked for users in China. But after running a few
(definitely not comprehensive) Tibet related search terms all I found so far was that it appears that BBC videos are blocked for users in Great Britain:
|22nd March |
Sussex police accused of film censorship in Brighton
See full article from the The Argus
As one of those who turned up at the Duke of York's cinema expecting to see On The Verge , a documentary dealing with the campaign to close the EDO arms manufacturing factory in Brighton, I was disgusted to discover that because of the
intervention of Sussex Police the film could not be shown.
Having seen the film at another venue later that night, I could understand why Sussex Police were so keen to prevent the people of Brighton from seeing it.
The film shows Sussex
Police in a poor light. We also discover something of the closeness of the relationship between Sussex Police and the management of EDO, their solicitors and security personnel.
Paddy O'Keeffe, chair, Brighton Stop the War I was one of the many
would-be film-goers turned away from the Duke of York's cinema on Monday following a call from Sussex Police to Brighton and Hove City Council and a subsequent ultimatum from a council officer to the cinema, threatening the loss of their licence. The
council officer raised concerns over the lack of a certificate.
Cinema staff say they were told police had contacted the council to inform them of the potential breach of their licence.
|21st March |
Suicide information blamed for Bridgend suicides
See full article from the
Tougher regulation of the internet is needed to stop websites giving detailed instructions on how to commit suicide, a coroner said before the inquests of five of the 17 young people believed to have killed themselves in Bridgend.
who has been investigating a string of suspected suicides in the area since January 2007, singled out video-sharing websites such as YouTube for criticism.
In one YouTube clip, viewed by the Bridgend coroner, an American man explains how to tie a
hangman's noose and mentions his growing fanbase in the UK.
Walters said the man's diary was very disturbing and that there was no doubt it was encouraging people to take their own lives: If that was not the case, why bother to instruct people
to commit suicide?
|16th March |
Anti-smokers call for 18 rating for smoking in films
Yes but if ratings are unrealistic and over cautious then people will soon start ignoring them totally.
Thanks to Shaun
Based on an
article from the BBC
An anti-smoking group in Liverpool is calling for all movies with smoking scenes to be given an 18 certificate.
SmokeFree Liverpool told BBC's Radio 5 Live it wanted to see the change but the film classification board said the idea was
This suggestion comes about amid research showing young people pick up the bad habit from watching films containing smoking.
One city official said Liverpool may even act alone to restrict film access. Andy Hull,
the city's head of public protection and chair of SmokeFree Liverpool, said an adult rating on movies that depict smoking will reduce the number of young people lighting up: The international evidence...is that one in two children between 11 and 18
who witness smoking in movies actually experiment with - and therefore start - smoking themselves .
Hull said if the BBFC is not prepared to adopt an 18 certificate then the city will consider using licensing laws to bring in its own stricter
ratings for films screened locally.
A spokeswoman for the BBFC said smoking and alcohol use are already taken into consideration when a film is rated and a blanket 18 certificate for all smoking scenes is "heavy handed": To simply
classify a film 18 because people smoke in it would not be popular with the public, the spokeswoman said, adding an extensive public consultation has already examined the issue to come up with existing guidelines.
For example, if a character
popular with children such as Harry Potter was somehow promoting cigarettes or seen smoking, the film would be rated accordingly, she said.
Dr Stacey Anderson, of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, said the evidence of smoking's influence
on young people is very clear: The more smoking a child views in films, the more likely they are to take up smoking, she said of the scientific evidence gathered in the United States and elsewhere. Anderson said characters do not even have to be
smoking for there to be an adverse influence, just the sight of a pack of cigarettes or a tobacco advertisement has an effect on youth attitude. She said if part of the role of the film board is to protect young people from potential harm, then smoking
should be included in those considerations.
From Shaun on the Melon Farmers Forum
Re the BBFC's liberal
decision to pass Last House on the Left uncut
Maybe they are just waking up to the fact that people are sick to death of all the nannying... See the furore on the BBC site about Liverpool wanting to censor fag smoking in their cinemas:
If such censorship isn't politically acceptable any more, they won't do it.
|15th March |
Unhealthy ideas to impose junk censorship on the internet
See full article from the
Food and drink companies should be banned from marketing unhealthy snacks and drinks to young children via new media such as social networking sites and text messaging, a coalition of international consumer groups and health bodies recommends today.
The group is urging governments to adopt a code that they say would curb the rising obesity rates among children. The code would restrict junk food marketing, including outlawing the use of cartoon characters, celebrity tie-ins, free gifts and
competitions aimed at younger audiences.
The federation of consumer organisations - including the UK group Which? - wants its code to be adopted by governments as part of the World Health Organisation's broader strategy to tackle obesity and
The code, which will be recommended to the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly in May, tackles the failures of the food industry to regulate itself.
Some of the world's leading food manufacturers
market to children on social networking websites and internet chat programmes.
In the UK, popular brands such as McDonald's, Starburst, Haribo and Skittles have switched to the internet to target children since new rules from the media regulator
Ofcom have made it difficult to advertise during children's television.
The proposed code demands a ban on radio or TV adverts promoting unhealthy food between 6am and 9pm, any promotion of unhealthy food in schools, and the inclusion of free
gifts, toys or collectable items which appeal to children to promote unhealthy foods.
|13th March |
Retrial over restaurant review contended as being libelous
A fundamental freedom of speech under scrutiny
full article from the Guardian
A Northern Ireland newspaper has won an appeal overturning the award of £25,000 in damages to a restaurant it had criticised in a review.
The Irish News welcomed the unanimous verdict by Northern Ireland's court of appeal and said it had
been vindicated on "a point of principle".
If a newspaper has to be entitled to express its views, we have defended that principle and we will continue to, said the paper's editor, Noel Doran.
In a review of the
Goodfellas pizza restaurant in west Belfast, food writer Caroline Workman criticised the quality of the food and drink, the staff and the smoky atmosphere.
The restaurant's owner, Ciaran Convery, claimed the article was defamatory and sued. At a
trial last year, a jury awarded him £25,000 in damages.
Today the Northern Ireland lord chief justice, Sir Brian Kerr, quashed that verdict and ordered a retrial: I have decided that there was misdirection in the present case. I would
allow the appeal and quash the order made in favour of the respondent .
Although I consider it likely that a properly directed jury would conclude that sufficient factual substratum existed for the comment which constituted the
preponderance of the article, I cannot be certain that this is so and I would therefore order a retrial.
Convery declined to comment on today's ruling and gave no indication as to whether he would proceed with a retrial.
two-day appeal in January, the Irish News argued that its criticism of the restaurant was "fair comment".
Lord Lester QC, representing the newspaper, told the appeal it would be "perfectly ludicrous" if libel proceedings were
to follow any adverse review in a newspaper.
|13th March |
In a 'holier than thou' environment
Who'd be a teacher? Liable to lose one's career on a petulant accusation or a long past indiscretion that wasn't anywhere near illegal anyway...and all for
very middling pay.
Based on an article from the Telegraph
Teachers have a certain
image to uphold
A teaching assistant has taken leave of absence after her pupils found pornographic videos of her. Explicit images of a teaching assistant whose record was described as "excellent", were found by pupils on the internet and spread around the
school on mobile phones.
An investigation has been launched at De Ferrers Technology College in Burton on Trent, but no action has yet been taken.
The emergence of the film, shot 10 years ago, prompted calls for the teacher to be sacked.
Frank Bather, a governor at the school, said: It is something that will be viewed in the gravest sense, even in this so-called enlightened age.
Others, however, warned against being too tough for something that happened a decade ago,
before she entered education, leaving the possibility that she could keep her job.
|12th March |
A censorial old fossil like Austin Mitchell
From Yanis on the Melon Farmers Forum
www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/VideoPlayer.aspx?meetingId=1306 [32 minutes in]
A censorial old fossil
Yesterday 73 year old MP Austin Mitchell demanded that softcore satellite pornography channels are banned.
MP Austin Mitchell : I watched just for the purposes of research the pornography and sex channels which are available certainly on my
satellite dish. Now these are horrible actually, they should be BANNED I can't see why we are allowing them.`
This is a terrible thought if we are equipping the country to watch this degrading rubbish.
Thanks to Yanis & Shaun
Does the MP know that (R)18 has a complete ban?
Does the MP know the nature of (R)18?
It should be explained if he
does not like those satellite pornography channels they can be removed from the guide.
Thanks to IanG
At 73 you'd have thought people would act like adults, no?
What your 'research' should have turned up
you old fart, is that the British public are being RIPPED OFF because OFCOM have decided REAL PORN cannot be shown on TV - despite having NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that this material needs to be banned. It isn't banned in France, Germany, Holland, Denmark,
Sweden, Spain, or the USA etc. etc. for that matter.
What EXACTLY is so 'wrong' with porn, what's so 'dangerous' or 'disgusting' about sex that stuck-in-that-past Britain keeps up this idiotic, rights-abusing charade?
|10th March |
Nutters never learn
See full article from the
Bully: Scholarship Edition is available at
A Bully computer game sends out the wrong signals and should be withdrawn from sale, say UK teachers.
They are part of a global coalition concerned about the impact of the game, which has been released in new formats.
Scholarship Edition trivialises and glorifies bullying in school , say opponents from eight international teacher groups.
UK retailers say they will not act as censors and will continue to sell the game to children over the age of 15.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SCTA) are part of an international group which thinks the game could encourage bullying.
Although it carries a BBFC 15 rating, campaigners fear Bully
could get into the hands of much younger children. The idea of a game that rewards bullies and those who engage in brutal and savage attacks is irresponsible in the extreme
Steve Sinnott, general secretary, NUT
The game, designed by
US-based Rockstar Games was originally launched in 2006 but has been updated for the new generation of games' consoles - Xbox and Wii.
NUT general secretary Steve Sinnott said: At a time when there is a growing concern about bullying in
schools and the increasing violence shown towards teachers, the idea of a game that rewards bullies and those who engage in brutal and savage attacks is irresponsible in the extreme. I call upon Amazon, Game, Play and HMV to withdraw this product from
The Australian Education Union's federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said: We were disappointed when the game was first released in 2006 and we are appalled this new version is said to be more realistic, featuring new
methods to torment and bully. The coalition of countries calling for the game to be withdrawn from shelves includes Canada, South Korea and the Caribbean.
HMV told the BBC News website they would not actively promote the game by placing
adverts in national newspapers and that their approach would be more discreet, but they would not remove it from sale.
The BBFC explain their uncut 15 rating as follows:
BULLY: SCHOLARSHIP EDITION is a third person 'beat em up' game for the Xbox 360 console. The player character is Jimmy, a new pupil at a tough boarding school. He has to complete various missions, attend lessons and fight his way to
the top of the pecking order in order to progress through the game.
This game received a '15' classification because it contains strong violence. Jimmy has a range of weapons available to him, including a catapult, fire crackers, aerosol sprays
and a firework gun. Fighting does not result in blood or visible injuries, but it is a frequent part of the game play. While the frequency of the violence places it at the '15' category, the lack of detail and the way the game makes it very difficult for
Jimmy to attack vulnerable characters (girls, younger pupils, etc) by sending prefects to apprehend and punish him with boring tasks helped to keep it out of the '18' category. The '15' classification was also felt to be the most appropriate category for
the imitable behaviour in the game, such as using the items listed above as weapons. While the dangers may be expected to be obvious to players aged 15 and above, it was felt that this may not be so clear to younger gamers.
BULLY also contains
some moderate bad language including 'bitch' and 'slut', and some mild sexual innuendo
|8th March |
Man arrested for simulating sex with a lamp-post
full article from the Telegraph
A 32-year-old man has been arrested in Wiltshire for allegedly simulating a sex act with a lamp-post.
A police spokesman said officers were called to a road in the town of Westbury on February 16 after they received a report of a man acting
indecently outside a block of flats "occupied by several young women".
When they arrived they arrested him on suspicion of outraging public decency.
The man was released on bail, but following an investigation into the incident
and several interviews with witnesses - including children - he was recalled for questioning. He has since been re-released pending further inquiries.
The Wiltshire police spokesman said: We are awaiting a decision as to whether there should
be a prosecution.
Comment: Social Engineering?
Thanks to Steve
Note that the Boys in Blue questioned children about the event, no doubt concerned that
the lamppost may have been under 16 years old.
I seem to have missed the sex with a Henry Hoover vacuum cleaner incident also mentioned in the article. This is probably a result of the government policy to stop people using prostitutes. Perhaps
regular sex with domestic appliances will soon become the norm for men.
They are putting something in the bread, and it isn't folic acid.
|7th March |
Nutters wound up by nude surfers
See full article from
An agency from London decided Scotland's breathtaking scenery was best illustrated by filming three men surfing in the nude for a clever little viral ad to be circulated worldwide on YouTube, Bebo and Facebook.
Within hours of the three locals
stripping off to run along one of Barra's most famous beaches, the tourism agency VisitScotland had taken a furious phone call from one of the Catholic island's parish priests.
Devout islanders, said the Very Rev Angus John Provost MacQueen, were
incensed, not least because the film crew had chosen Cockle Beach, Barra's seaside landing strip near the main town of Castlebay. Two flights had just come and both planes were still on the strand there. Many people were there and they were outraged.
Would you like people going stark naked running down your runway? We don't want to attract this kind of tourism to Barra. We are overbooked in the summer as it is.
The controversial footage was immediately destroyed, VisitScotland confirmed
yesterday, although other adventure sports such as kayaking are still featured, fully dressed. The idea behind this particular element was to do something quirky which we're getting on YouTube and social networking sites, a spokeswoman said. But there was some feedback from the local community that they were offended by the filming. As soon as we heard that, we realised we'd misjudged that and destroyed that bit of filming.
|3rd March |
Freedom to Protest at Parliament Square
See full article from
Disproportionate policing was the name of the game in Westminster on Saturday, where hundreds if not thousands of police were on duty over the area in an obvious attempt to avoid a repeat of the January Freedom to Protest debacle.
the gravity of the issue, only a small group of demonstrators turned up, and at the start of the event they were outnumbered by the media - and were only a minute fraction of the police presence. A few arrived later, and some went home quickly, but at
the peak numbers were still under 50.
A senior officer came over at the start and issued a warning that serious action would be taken if any demonstration in the SOCPA designated area were attempted, handing out copies of the usual notice. A
demonstrator took notes and the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) photographer photographed and filmed everything that moved.
A small group of demonstrators decided to set off for Parliament Square, walking quietly along the pavement. One young man
who managed to evade the police (but not several press photographers) was stopped and searched by police opposite Downing St, who forced him to remove his balaclava. The most suspicious things found on him were a National Express ticket and a strong
Later in the day a small group of the Freedom to Protest demonstrators walked down Whitehall and through Parliament Square, and a short protest was held. Followed by a police van and the FIT photographer and minder they
then made their way to a pub on the Horseferry Road, causing a little consternation among police around the Home Office as they passed close by. But the demonstrators went into the pub and police and press went home.
|29th February |
Shame on Scotland as Naked Rambler jailed again
From the Scotsman
A sheriff conducted a hearing in the holding cells at court when the Naked Rambler refused to put his clothes on – again.
Stephen Gough – who has now spent 20 months in jail – was found guilty of another breach of the peace and now faces a
further four months behind bars.
Earlier, the court heard Gough was taken into custody in January after walking free from court naked after a sheriff gave him the chance to end his "vicious circle".
The ex-marine took just six
steps of freedom before police took him into the back of a van and re-arrested him.
Yesterday's sentencing was his 13th straight breach of the peace – all for appearing nude in public.
|28th February |
Supporting the hype for Untraceable
See full article from
An 'alternate reality game' (ARG) on video blogging community Seesmic , was brought to a premature close last week after one of the site's moderators mistook the staged torture of
a community member for the real thing and threatened to involve the police.
Marketing agency The Picture Production Company (PPC) launched the ARG for Universal Pictures to promote the UK theatrical release of Untraceable on 29th February.
The ARG depicted the abduction and killing of a member of the invite-only community, mirroring the storyline of Untraceable, in which a serial killer creates an "untraceable" website where he conducts violent and painful murders live on
A series of clips were filmed live by webcam and posted to the site at regular intervals, over a 48-hour period. They showed a community member, nicknamed Sharpeshooter, being subdued and violently electrocuted.
The ARG used a
related Twitter feed to create a digital 'paper-trail' leading back to www.killwithme.com , the film's official website.
The ARG was closed after Seesmic contacted PPC to make them aware that a member of staff had been on the brink of involving
The similar promotional page on Facebook called Kill With Me was also pulled
|26th February |
Odeon 'ban' Rambo for undisclosed reasons
Thanks to Byron F
See full article
Odeon, the UK's biggest cinema chain, will not show Rambo at its theaters citing undisclosed “commercial reasons.”
News has sent shockwaves around the local industry as Rambo is the most significant new release in the UK. News has
also enraged online Sylvester Stallone fans, especially those who live in rural areas where their only local cinema is an Odeon.
Odeon is tight-lipped on the decision not to play the franchise sequel. Owing to commercial reasons, Odeon has
made the decision not to scree the film Rambo across its cinemas in the UK, said a statement.
An source told Variety that Odeon's decision to pull Rambo must be “over a disagreement over the terms. But to us, the film
rentals rate seems reasonable enough for a release such as Rambo .
There has to be a time when neither player steps down. Both companies have their budgets and both are playing the game, commented Andrew Turner, Cineworld
director of film booking, adding that: I can't remember the last time this happened in the multiplex era.
Update: Body Count Down
And indeed Rambo failed to capture the top box office takings slot. It ended up 3rd to Jumper and Be Kind Rewind
|20th February |
Looking up a bit of background about a law case
See full article from the
Articles relating to high-profile court cases should be removed from online news archives, the former Lord Chancellor has told the BBC.
Lord Falconer believes the action is necessary to avoid news stories written before a case influencing its
Action would be necessary for around 20 cases a year, he said, in trials which attract a lot of pre-trial coverage.
The Attorney-General would have to be responsible for identifying cases that could be affected, he said: I
think the state needs to be better at identifying those cases in which they think there's a contempt risk, he told BBC Radio 4's Law in Action programme.
The rules would only apply to cases, such as the Soham murders, which generate intense
media interest. News organisations would have to remove stories from their archives that were written before an arrest was made and a case became active.
If they refused to comply it would be very strong evidence they'd committed contempt , he said.
Under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, reporters must be careful not to publish or broadcast anything which poses a substantial risk of serious prejudice to a fair trial, such as a defendant's previous convictions unless they are mentioned
in open court.
The restrictions apply when a case becomes "active", that is when a warrant is issued for a suspect, an arrest is made or charges are brought.
But a journalist may have legitimately reported this information
before the individual was arrested and faced trial, and that article could lie in vast online archives that are easy to access.
Lord Falconer says articles should only be removed for a temporary period, in the run-up to and during a court case,
and that search engines should also be asked to ensure prejudicial material doesn't come up at the top of search results lists.
Judges do warn juries against doing their own research on the internet, but media barrister Rupert Elliott said there
was concrete evidence that the temptation is difficult to resist:
|15th February |
Martin McGuinness rails at soap opera pubs
Based on an article from the Times
Martin McGuinness has condemned the “drunkenness” being depicted in television soap operas. McGuinness said : I have to say, I am absolutely appalled at the level of concentration around the pub in the programmes.
He added: I am not a
fan of EastEnders or Coronation Street but my wife and my children, particularly the girls, watch the programme. I am appalled at the drunkenness that is quite clear for everybody to see and all of that before the 9 o'clock watershed when children as
young as 8, 9, 10 and 11 are watching. Now I regard that as irresponsible broadcasting and I think something should be done about it.
McGuinness's comments, which followed a meeting of the British-Irish Council in Dublin at which
representatives from all the administrations in the British Isles discussed measures to tackle drug and alcohol misuse among young people.
McGuiness is known for his teetotalism and strict Catholic upbringing.
|14th February |
Reading extremist literature is not a crime
See full article from the
The country's top judge has overturned the convictions of five Muslim men jailed last year for downloading and sharing extremist terror-related material. The Lord Chief Justice ruled that unless there was clear evidence of "terrorist intent" it
was not illegal to read or study such literature.
The prosecution of the five young Muslim men was regarded as a test case, and is likely to lead to other convictions being overturned. These include that of 23-year-old Samina Malik - the
so-called "lyrical terrorist". She was the first woman to be convicted under the Terrorism Act and was given a nine-month suspended sentence in December after being found guilty of possessing terrorist manuals.
Irfan Raja, Awaab Iqbal,
Aitzaz Zafar, Usman Malik and Akbar Butt were all convicted last year after becoming "intoxicated" with jihadi websites and literature.
Under the Terrorism Act 2000, a person commits an offence if he possesses an article in
circumstances which give rise to a reasonable suspicion that his possession is for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
Prosecution lawyers have argued that simply obtaining and sharing
extremist literature was an offence under the law. However, Lord Phillips ruled against this interpretation and said there had to be a direct connection between the object possessed and the act of terrorism. He added: Difficult questions of
interpretation have been raised in this case by the attempt by the prosecution to use section 57 for a purpose for which it was not intended.
The ruling was welcomed by human-rights lawyers who said it safeguarded the right to freedom of
speech and thought.
Imran Khan, solicitor for Mr Zafar, said: My client is over the moon. He says it is surreal and he cannot see why he has spent the last two years in prison for looking at material which he had no intention of using for
terrorism. Young people should not be frightened of exploring their world. There will always be people out there with wrong intentions, but we must not criminalise people for simply looking at material, whether it is good or bad.
have seven days to appeal against the ruling.
|11th February |
Rewording of gagging contract promised
Based on an
article from the Daily Mail
The decision to ban UK competitors at this year's Games in Beijing from commenting on "politically sensitive issues" triggered protests from human rights groups.
Former sports minister David Mellor said the gagging clause amounted to
"sucking up to dictators".
In the face of such criticism, the British Olympic Association agreed to look again at the wording of the contract handed out to all prospective competitors.
It had previously demanded that athletes
not make political comments or engage in "political propaganda" at Olympic venues.
Mellor called the contract a timely wake-up call for all of us who thought sucking up to dictators was something we had left behind in the Thirties.
Tory culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt accused the British Olympic Association of being "heavy-handed". He added: "I think that given America, Canada and Australia are explicitly saying that their athletes can say what they want
when they go to Beijing, I think it is inappropriate to put this restriction on our athletes.
Amnesty International campaigns director Tim Hancock said: People in China can't speak out about human rights without fear of reprisals - people
in Britain can.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said the move would be effectively "kowtowing" to China's authoritarian regime: We have to be very clear with the Chinese - they now play a significant role in the world economy and
international affairs. That brings certain domestic responsibilities with it and I think for us to sort of gag ourselves is a real abdication of our moral responsibility.
British Olympic Association chief executive Simon Clegg said: I
accept that the interpretation of one part of the draft BOA's Team-Members Agreement appears to have gone beyond the provision of the Olympic Charter. This is not our intention nor is it our desire to restrict athletes' freedom of speech and the final
agreement will reflect this.
|10th February |
British Olympic athletes forced to sign contractual gag
full article from the Daily Mail
British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China's appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.
The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to
the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.
The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes' contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment
about countries staging the Olympic Games.
It is contained in a 32-page document that will be presented to all those who reach the qualifying standard and are chosen for the team.
From the moment they sign up, the competitors will be
effectively gagged from commenting on China's politics, human rights abuses or illegal occupation of Tibet.
Prince Charles has already let it be known that he will not be going to China, even if he is invited by Games organisers. His views on the
Communist dictatorship are well known, after this newspaper revealed how he described China's leaders as “appalling old waxworks” in a journal written after he attended the handover of Hong Kong. The Prince is also a long-time supporter of the Dalai
Lama, the Tibetan leader.
Yesterday the British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed to The Mail on Sunday that any athlete who refuses to sign the agreements will not be allowed to travel to Beijing. Should a competitor agree to the clause but
then speak their mind about China, they will be put on the next plane home.
The clause, in section 4 of the contract, simply states: [Athletes] are not to comment on any politically sensitive issues. It then refers competitors to Section
51 of the International Olympic Committee charter, which provides for no kind of demonstration, or political, religious or racial propaganda in the Olympic sites, venues or other areas.
The BOA took the decision even though other countries
– including the United States, Canada, Finland, and Australia – have pledged that their athletes would be free to speak about any issue concerning China.
To date, only New Zealand and Belgium have banned their athletes from giving political
opinions while competing at the Games.
|6th February |
UK's media regulation
See full article
from the Guardian
Sir Christopher Meyer, the chairman of the press watchdog, today said that the system of media regulation was "pretty weird" and needed to be sorted out with a new communications act.
Meyer, appearing before the House of Lords
communications committee, said the system of separate media regulators including Ofcom, the Press Complaints Commission he chairs, the BBC Trust and the Advertising Standards Authority was a "typical British fudge" and needed rationalisation.
I don't think that architecture can last, it is going to need some kind of rationalisation , he said. I think some of the deficiencies that you can see in the legislative/statutory approach is shown by the fact that there is going to be
almost certainly going to be a need for another communications act in the next couple of years to cover the lacunae in the first one, Meyer added.
The committee is examining media ownership and the impact of control of the media on news
Meyer defended the PCC's independence and its complaints process, saying that the total number of complaints to the commission was 4,340 in 2007, with 1,227 being ruled on. Other complaints did not come under the PCC code or the
complainant dropped the complaint, he added.
Former Downing Street communications chief Alastair Campbell told the Lords committee that the PCC was pretty useless and out of date. I think it is a pretty useless organisation. I don't
think it offers a real system of redress for people that are traduced by newspapers, Campbell said.
|28th January |
Pretending the web doesn't exist will not serve justice
From the Scotsman see
full article by Graham Greig
Mainstream media reportage has been overtaken by the unregulated content on the internet, where material that is prejudicial by any definition appears on countless sites, hit by millions of visitors. The dividing lines between fact, allegation, rumour,
fiction and deliberate fabrication are completely blurred. The courts seem paralysed and unable to acknowledge the internet is in danger of overwhelming the old defences against publication of prejudicial material.
In December, in the first case
of its kind, a defence lawyer in Tennessee attempted to have the venue for the imminent trial of his client moved because false and fabricated accounts of the facts of the case on YouTube and blogs may have prejudiced prospective jurors and witnesses.
Attorney Philip Lomonaco of Knoxville, Tennessee, had his first application to the Eastern District Court dismissed. The appeal outcome is awaited.
While there have been no attempts in the UK to claim mistrial on the basis of prejudicial internet
material, the time may not be far off. In Scotland, Donald Findlay QC is disturbed at the reluctance of legal authorities to acknowledge the serious problem that arises not only in high profile trials but in mundane cases where a Google search will
produce assertions about key evidence that the jury will have to decide in court.
Prejudicial publicity is our real problem in the criminal courts these days. It's very serious. And the biggest part of the problem is the internet. For example the
courts go to great lengths to excise any material that may refer to previous convictions of the accused. But it's not the rare obsessive going to the Mitchell Library that makes a mockery of that. The fact is anyone can put the name of the accused into
Google and come up with a complete history of the investigation and all the accused's previous convictions in a second. Don't tell me jurors don't do it when they get home after the first day of a trial.
I don't have an easy answer but I do
think if we accept we can't control or stop the internet then maybe we have to think again about how we manage juries. Jury vetting. What I do know is pretending the internet doesn't exist won't serve the interests of justice.
Read the full
|21st January |
Whinging at the new Scholarship Edition of Bully
From Game Politics see full article
Rockstar’s Bully was the video game pariah of 2006. The title was criticized by those who - wrongly - assumed that it cast the player in the aggressor’s role.
With new versions of Bully scheduled to appear next month, the
controversy seems to be starting up again. Bully: Scholarship Edition has a March 3rd ship date for the Xbox 360 and Wii.
An article in today’s Telegraph sounds the alarm: A violent new video game which is set in a school and encourages
players to act out assaults on pupils and teachers has been condemned by anti-bullying campaigners and teaching unions. The game, called Bully , features a shaven-headed pupil who torments fellow students and teachers at his school.
Niall Cowley of BeatBullying told the newspaper:
We’re disappointed this game was created in the first place. Some mindless people thought this was a fun, interesting piece of software to create, but it undermines all the hard work that organisations like ours are seeking to do.
Bully was released in the UK under the title Canis Canem Edit (Dog Eat Dog), the new versions will revert to the Bully name. Retailers PC World and Currys have already announced that they will not carry the game.
Nutter Labour MP
Keith Vaz chimed in: The idea that people should be glorifying bullying is just tasteless. It is hardly encouraging good social values for our children. Just the name Bully is going to attract young people to buy it.
spokesman defended the game: It is not a game about playing a bully. It is about the trials and tribulations of a boy in his first year at school. He protects children against other characters. People have to be able to make their own decisions and to
judge for themselves, with an open mind.
|19th January |
Artist a prisoner of war in Bethnal Green
Thanks to Nick
From the Hackney Gazette see full article
An artist who planned to open an exhibition with an automatic assault rife as its centrepiece has been arrested.
Andy Link was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm at the AA Gallery in London's Vyner Street. Police officers took away the
Kalashnikov rifle, which was to be the focus of his Interaction exhibition.
Link, who goes by the name Ak47, spent the night in Bethnal Green Police Station. He was released on bail the next morning.
Link was due to open his latest show
featuring a Kalashnikov rifle on top of an American flag and a small coffin. The idea was for visitors to handle and pose with the decommissioned weapon, which was placed in front of a large mirror.
Defending his exhibition, he called the
automatic rifle the "style icon" of his generation.
But campaigners oppose gun crime in the community reacted with horror.
Darrell James is a former gang member who now works for the charity, Be Safe in Hackney: We are out
there trying to stop kids getting into violence and you get somebody who wants to make a statement setting back our work by 25 paces. It's diabolical.
An AK47 is a weapon that can shoot through a wall, it can shoot through a tree. How can a grown
man actually sanction people to handle a weapon of mass destruction? What kind of image is that? That's not art.
It's people getting fame out of death. It may be decommissioned but it still has blood on it and everyone who picks it up has blood
on their hands.
|19th January |
Naked Rambler jailed for 20 months and still inside
From the Times see full article
Stephen Gough, a former Marine who has been dubbed the Naked Rambler for his insistence on his right to walk naked across Britain, enjoyed six steps of freedom yesterday.
Gough was freed after 20 months in prison by a sheriff who gave him the
chance to end his “vicious circle” of release and rearrest, but was given warning that he would be rearrested if he failed to cover up when let out of the back door of Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Gough emerged into the rain wearing only a rucksack
and an untidy beard. After he had taken only six steps in the nude, police took Gough into the back of a van and rearrested him. He will appear in court on Monday.
|15th January |
Church of Scientology threaten Tom Cruise biography
Based on an article from News.com.au see full article
Leading Australian book retailers have bowed to pressure from the Church of Scientology and will not stock a biography on Tom Cruise by British writer Andrew Morton. Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography , due out in the US on Tuesday, is seen
by the group, which has Cruise as one of its most high-profile and loyal members, as an attack on its teachings.
Morton alleges Scientologists threatened to blackmail Nicole Kidman if she spoke out against the church after her failed 10-year
marriage to Cruise. The church has threatened legal action against Morton in the US, describing the book filled with lies.
Australian book retailer Dymocks says it will not sell the biograph: We take all accusations of defamation very
seriously and, as a result, we wonâ€™t be stocking the book ,a spokeswoman said.
Angus & Robertson spokeswoman Kate Jones said: There are certain legal issues that have occurred overseas and with all of the risks involved
we will not be stocking it .
As a consequence Pan Macmillan will not now print an Australian edition of the book Tom Cruise, An Unauthorised Biography in Australia due to legal concerns, a move that has been labelled an act of censorship.
The book won't even be published in the UK. Andrew Morton faces a hefty penalty for claims the actor is second-in-command of the Church of Scientology and comments about the conception of his young daughter, Suri. Cruise is said to vehemently deny
the claims and has enlisted lawyers to sue St Martin's Press, publishers of Tom Cruise: An Unauthorised Biography.
The book will not be published in Australia and the UK, but goes on sale in the US on January 15.
|15th January |
CSI inspiration for the perfect murder?
From the Telegraph see
A fan of television drama CSI killed and beheaded his half-brother and attempted to cover his tracks using tricks from the show, a court has heard.
Andrew Scanlan was found murdered in woodland at Sandy Hill, Hampshire, after
disappearing from his home.
Cambridge Crown Court heard he had probably been strangled before having his head and hands cut off and his remains left in shallow graves among the trees.
Factory worker James Baigent was said to be "very
keen" on the US crime series. He and his brother Mark and their friend Jeff Woods all deny murdering Scanlan. James Baigent's wife Charlotte Baigent denies assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.
The court was told that
the couple had used knowledge of forensic science gleaned from CSI to try and throw detectives off the scent.
|13th January |
Livingstone blames media for 27 teenage murders in London
From The London Paper see full article
Ken Livingstone has clashed angrily with Boris Johnson over London's epidemic of teenage murders during a current affairs TV show.
Livingstone's Tory opponent urged him to explain the spate of gang-related teenage murders over the last year -
27 of them.
London's current Mayor blamed the recent murders of young people on the horrendous levels of glamorised violence in cinemas and on TV.
He continued: This is the generation whose parents grew up in the 80s - get
your snout in the trough and it doesn't matter a damn about anyone else.
Comment: No Solutions
Ken has previously blamed rap music for violent crime amongst youngsters. It's obvious he has no solutions to the spate of violent crime amongst teenagers and would rather sit on his arse and point the finger at
scapegoats like films, TV shows and rap music.
He's hardly doing his election prospects any good!
|13th January |
BBC cut Bhutto claim that Bin Laden has been murdered
From Broadcast Now see full article
The BBC has apologised for editing an interview on its website with Benazir Bhutto after it deleted her astonishing claim that Osama Bin Laden had been murdered.
In the original interview with David Frost, conducted last November for the al
Jazeera channel and later aired on BBC.co.uk under a licensing deal, Bhutto casually stated that Bin Laden had been killed by Omar Sheikh.
But the version shown on BBC.co.uk did not show the Bhutto's claim, prompting accusations on online message
boards that it the BBC was censoring public information.
BBC News website editor Steve Herrmann said the comment was edited out because of time pressure and because it appeared so unexpected that it seemed she had simply mis-spoken.
In a post on the BBC.co.uk editors blog, Herrmann apologised for the editing and promised to replace the online footage with a newly edited clip, including Bhutto's allegation.
|12th January |
Horror film associated with insane killing
Based on an article from Yahoo News see
A millionaire city executive killed his two-year-old daughter after supposedly becoming obsessed with the horror film Bug, the Old Bailey has heard.
Alberto Izaga fractured his daughter Yanire's skull when he woke up one morning and started
smashing her head on the ground.
During the attack he ranted about God and called for the girl to die.
His wife Ligia tried desperately to stop the attack but Mr Izaga continued in an episode of madness that could not be predicted, the
It happened on June 3 in 2006, less than a week after the couple returned from a trip to the US where they watched the film Bug . The film centres on a man and his girlfriend who are driven mad by bugs under the skin.
On June 2, he returned to London but complained of exhaustion and said he had not slept for 72 hours. On the following day he woke at 4.30am and began talking about a sect recruiting executives to take over the world, talked about the
Bug film and said he had not slept for three days.
Two hours later the child woke up and Mr Izaga began attacking her. Mrs Izaga heard him say: I know what I have to do. I have to kill her.
Judge Richard Hone told the jury it
was "an exceptional case" and that it would be asked to find Izaga not guilty of murder through insanity.
to DarkAngel who asks:
During the attack he ranted about God and called for the girl to die. Now, which part of this story do you think the pro-censorship lot will seize on? The fact he had been watching a horror film? Or his fanatical
rantings about god?
|10th January |
Blogger writes that he will be arrested on return to UK
From Lionheart see
Lionheart is a right wing blogger who speaks about the issues of muslims in the UK. His language is hardly what you may call moderate and readers will have to judge for themselves if the essence of what he writes is anymore inflammatory than say the
Bishop of Rochester's recent comments on no go areas.
It must also be said that the arrest warrant is unconfirmed. Nevertheless the blog is causing some discussion in the blogosphere so should be reported here.
British police have been charged with arresting me!
I am currently out of the Country and on my return home to England I am going to be arrested by British detectives on suspicion of Stirring up Racial Hatred
by displaying written material" contrary to sections 18(1) and 27(3) of the Public Order Act 1986.
What has become of my homeland, the land my forefathers fought and died for on the battlefields of the world when one of their
children is forced into the position of facing years in prison for standing up for what is right and just within British society.
At least my words of truth have obviously now reached people's eyes and ears, with the powers that be now intent on
silencing me - Third World Tyranny in a supposed 21st Century democracy!