Failed arrest of former Bush aide at Hay Festival

Hey, I just read about this after Big Dog brought it to my attention:

The environmental campaigner George Monbiot last night tried and failed to make a citizen’s arrest of the former Bush administration official John Bolton over alleged “war crimes” committed during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
As Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, ended an hour-long discussion at the Hay festival, Monbiot, who had earlier challenged him for alleged breaches of the postwar Nuremberg Principles, defining war crimes, moved towards the stage waving a charge sheet. But security staff intervened and bundled Monbiot out of the tent as 20 supporters chanted “war criminal” and waved placards. The comedian Marcus Brigstocke, who tried to pursue Bolton as he left the other side of the tent, was also blocked by security staff.
Afterwards, Monbiot, a contributor to the Guardian, said: “I’m disappointed I couldn’t reach him, but I made what I believe to be the first attempt ever to arrest one of the perpetrators of the Iraq war, and I would like to see that followed up.”

If he had arrested him, the police are obligated to investigate – would have been funny though.

Further to all this, former White House press secretary Scott Mclellan’s new book slams the administration over the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina.

Personally I’ve never understood why the Iraq war took place, it’s never been a real threat to the US or the West. On the other hand I fully understand Afghanistan. Don’t get me wrong, Saddam was a bad guy – but there are better more effetive wars to be fought elsewhere.

Big Dog is standing in for Rightwingsparkle this next week, so go and check it out and do comment.

Published in: on 29 May, 2008 at 09:51  Comments (1)  

The Hay Festival

I was in Hay-on-Wye on Monday working.
Around this time of year they hold a huge international book festival.

Hay-on-Wye is one of the smallest places you could find tucked away in Welsh valley straddling the banks of the river Wye.
So I find it almost amazing when you see the names of the people attending.
President Jimmy Carter, Salman Rushdie, Cherie Blair, Martin Amis, Jamie Oliver, John Irving, Jeremy Clarkson and Jools Holland, all competing for your attention.

The weather on Monday was nothing short atrocious and the whole place was a complete muddy quagmire.
In amongst the rain and mud and the narrowness of the village of hay with people and cars parked everywhere – the squeezing through of a 58 foot 44 ton truck was not (how should I say) popular!

The festival is apparently famous in the literary world and the village certainly seems to have dozens of book stores. But what struck me as odd was the fact it was such a small thing, there were only a few marques, but plenty of people.
I’d only been to Hay once before to drop an old mate’s gear off and wasn’t to impressed then – oddly, the village hasn’t seemed to improved too much since either lol.

Bank Holiday Weekend continued (rant)

Earlier I said I was impressed how people were driving for a change on the Motorways of this fair Isle… .

Yesterday (Sunday) while missing the Monaco GP-  the day started out well albeit the weather not so great – but when I was driving back from a town in south Wales called Pyle (lets not get into why they named a town ‘pyle’). Well, let me say that I have seen all sorts of driving around the world and with travelling the UK motorways every day I get to see some odd things here too.

Bank holidays and summer are when people come away from there normal lives and take to the motorways, something they probably only do once or twice a year. This does not make me a great driver – I’m a terrible driver! And so are we all. I simply do this for work and try to get my job done without injuring myself or anyone else. But as a former instructor once said to me, “There are two things in this world that will ignite tempers instantly, 1) tell someone they’re bad in bed and 2) they’re a bad driver. Ironically both are always true – we’re all bad drivers and we’re all bad in bed”.

NOTHING on this planet could have forewarned me of the stupidity and oblivious recklessness I witnessed yesterday!

Contrary to popular belief there is a minimum speed limit on motorways in the UK and while it isn’t listed it’s easy to work out – it’s 52mph!!!!

Several times I have nearly hit cars joining motorways doing farless than this speed and yesterday was no exception. A girl driving at 47 – 48 mph in a Citroen AX totally oblivious to the traffic conditions around her due to the fact she was so engrossed in the conversation with her friend (who may be dead now for all I know) had cars, trucks and coaches swerving all over the place to miss her. The worse part is the pride of drivers… no one has a right on the motorway and all the rules in the world are not going to save your life if you don’t switch on to what is happening around you!

How many times do we hear of horrorific accidents when the person hit wasn’t aware of what was happening – it does not in any way make it their fault, but it gives you a chance to react and survive.

Well eastbound M4 Wales was full of stupidity yesterday from camper-vans to cars… and eventually this. Yep, stuck in accident tail-backs.

So how do we know and work out the minimum speed limit on a motorway?

In the UK previous prosecutions for car drivers on driving too slowly have been prosecuted at speeds of 18mph, 32mph, 40 mph and 50mph – and of course THIS more famous one.

The Road Traffic Act 1991 has (under a missleading heading) this;

 111.   Racing and sport on public roads.—

 (1)  For the purposes of this section the expression “race or sport” includes— 

(a) any race, speed trial, reliability trial, hillclimbing competition or sports meeting; 

(b) any other activity whatsoever(nice catch huh?)

 (i)which may constitute a source of danger to traffic;

or

 (ii)which may hamper, impede or disrupt the normal flow of traffic.

There it is… So I’ll explain it;

The speed limit is 70mph for cars and 60mph for Trucks, Coaches and caravans.The minimum speed for a truck is between 52 and 54 mph according to EU rules and with the Euro5 engines 89kph (55mph) is the most any truck will soon be able to do as they’re limited. If a car driver can and has been prosecuted for driving at 50mph it is an obvious conclusion that the speed of 50mph is too slow. So basically if you drive slower than a truck – you’re driving illegally and damn right dangerously.

However, you obviously can drive slower – but only with a lot of amber flashing lights or an escort and are required to inform the police before doing so. The actual rule for trucks is 48 mph or slower. Oddly, this does not even come close to covering the use of vehicles with trailers in the 3rd lane, 7.5t trucks (rollerskates) in the 3rd lane also and so very much more I witnessed yesterday – frankly, I wshed I’d stayed at home!!

So the rule of thumb for speed for all roads as quoted from ‘Roadcraft’, The Police Drivers Manual: “You should drive at a speed that enables you to stop in a controlled manner on your side of the road, in the distance you can see to be clear”. The IAM then adds “except where other limitations apply” recognising speed limits. As for motorway speeds it is an offence under the road traffic act to impede traffic, a driver, driving excessively slowly on the motorway can (and have been) prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

Published in: on 26 May, 2008 at 09:26  Comments (3)  
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HORROR In Johannesburg; Immigrants Beaten & Burned Alive

WARNING ON CONTENT : DISTURBING PHOTOS
on the rioting this last week in Johannesburg.

Residents laugh as a foreigner burns in his own blankets
Halden KrogThe Times photographer
The photos in this posting are from the South Africa riots this week.

As we made our way through the Ramaphosa squatter camp in Reiger Park on Gauteng’s East Rand, a woman’s words made us freeze in horror. “They are burning people down there,” she said.

I ran to the nearest police officer and said: “The locals say they’re burning a person at the other intersection.”

Officers leapt into a Casspir and a Nyala, and drove through the debris and barricades in the road.

I ran after them, with other photographers following.

Two hundred metres down the road we found the first man. He had been severely beaten and was semi- conscious. Police thought he was dead, but later realised he wasn’t.

About 25m from him a man was on his knees. There was a mattress covering him, and it was on fire.

He, too, was alight.

Police threw the mattress off him and kicked sand onto him to put out the flames. Another officer ran over with a fire extinguisher, pointed it at him and extinguished the flames. Other officers radioed for medical help.

The man was alive, but barely. He groaned, but he could not speak.

It was all over in 20 seconds.

There was a concrete pillar lying near him, splattered with blood. We can only imagine what was done to him before he was set alight.

The police stayed with him until the paramedics arrived, doing what they could . But residents gathered at the scene were laughing.

Kim Ludbrook, a photographer, admonished them, and we reminded them this was human being and that what had happened was barbaric.

Still they laughed.

The burn victim, whose name has not been released, died last night in hospital.


A man was ‘necklaced’ in Reiger Park as marauding gangs hunt down foreigners in the streets. Heavily armed police fought a ferocious battle across the greater Johannesburg area yesterday as xenophobia-related attacks spread like wildfire.

Since Friday, 12 people have been killed in attacks by rampaging South Africans trying to purge foreigners from informal settlements and central city districts in Johannesburg and the East Rand, following violence in the Alexandra and Diepsloot townships.

By late afternoon marauding gangs roved Johannesburg’s streets setting alight shops owned by foreigners in Jeppestown, Cleveland and Malvern, and engaging in running battles with police. Earlier, mobs attacked foreigners in Hillbrow.

In perhaps the most vicious attack, a man was “necklaced” in Reiger Park on the East Rand.

Jody Kollapen, chairman of the Human Rights Commission, said such scenes were reminiscent of “the dark days of apartheid”.

The HRC will meet today to discuss the violence.
One victim was a deaf mute who was attacked outside the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg. Known only as “Tarro”, the young man suffered a gash to his forehead at the hands of a mob.

Medical student Herbert Nedi tended to him and said the bewildered Tarro, who could only write his name and could not provide a surname, did not know what was happening around him.

“It was clear he did not have a clue what they [the mob] were talking about. He doesn’t understand what is going on,” said Nedi, as Tarro held a cloth to his head.
At the church, next to the Johannesburg High Court, the situation was on a knife edge as hundreds of Zimbabweans and other foreigners prepared for the worst.
They armed themselves with bricks, and a small police contingent had their work cut out as they vowed to protect themselves.

“Is this how you South Africans are going to treat foreigners when they come here for the World Cup?” asked one irate Zimbabwean, identifying himself only as Charles.

“This is a s**t country. It’s a shame to the rest of the world that they are allowing the World Cup to take place here. South Africans seem to think that no one’s life is precious.”

David Mokone, 22, came to South Africa three weeks ago, seeking a job and a better life. The young man, tears welling in his eyes, sat outside the church as others scampered for weapons to defend themselves.

“It’s better in my own country than it is here,” he told The Times. “I would rather go back and die in Zimbabwe than be killed by South Africans,” he said.

Tony Maara, 30, said: “I have never been more frightened. I didn’t go to work on Saturday because I was threatened. The world must take note of what is happening here.” His sentiments were echoed by 25- year-old Brian Burayai of Zimbabwe.

He said his brother was beaten up on Saturday when a group of Zulu-speaking men asked him if he knew the Zulu word for “elbow”. When he could not answer, they started beating him.


“I thought I would be safe here because Mugabe is a serial killer. But these locals are just as bad,” he said.

 

h/t Andy Mack

Published in: on 23 May, 2008 at 11:34  Comments (3)  

So, a man walks into a restaurant…

Because I finished work late the night before, I got up late today and rushed to work for a 12 noon start.

On the way to work, travelling up the M5 I notice a massive police presence, on bridges, intersections and travelling the motorway itself.

I leave the depot at 13:00 and head north, the radio is off and I’m drinking coffee wondering where on earth the places I’m delivering to actually are.

Then I see a convoy of identical unmarked cars travelling fast in the opposite direction with a blue lights flashing in their grilles.

Now I get convinced something is happening, so I ring my mate in Chepstow who has access to the internet and all manner of media and ask if anything has happened. He tells me that he’s not heard of anything.

Half an hour later I’m travelling east bound on the M4 towards London and another convoy of unmarked vehicles in coming in the opposite direction, so I switch on the radio and hear nothing, in fact I heard no news reports at all – odd.

At 19:45 this evening I ring my mother, the first thing she asks is ‘Are you at home or in Exeter today?’ to which I reply “no, I’m out on the road – why”.

Then she tells me the news –

So a guy walks into a family restaurant and tries to blow himself up…

 

While botched, it’s yet another terror attack and fairly local – odd I couldn’t find out what happened until many hours after the event!

Go figure!!!

Nicky Reilly
Published in: on 22 May, 2008 at 22:27  Comments (1)  
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Some people are just simply interesting

It’s 2am here in Devon and I just got home. Today I delivered to a couple of  small shops, one in Bath (a place favoured by my good friend ‘Big Dog’ over in Sioux Falls, SD) and the other in a little place called ‘Box’.

 

The thing about true quality of life is the vast array of people you meet, what you learn from them and sometimes (we hope) what you inspire in them.

At the first shop the young supervisor was telling me about his interest in getting into IT or more specifically Network Admin. I imparted a few things of knowledge and wisdom/stupidity of my experiences in this field and after unloading the delivery enjoyed a coffee and a further chat.

 

Moving on to Box, actually let me tell you about Box Hill which the village of Box sits at the foot of. Box hill is an extraordinary place, on top of the hill is the town of Corsham and directly beneath it is a massive bunker (which is up for sale). The place is known by several names, Box Hill, Corsham, Rudlow Manner and Burlington. This is where the seat of government and the royal family were to be accommodated if we had gone to war with the Warsaw Pact.

The typically sad thing about this site is that successive governments never truly invested in it. Once it was in a basically usable state, they left it. They left it for so long infact – most of the things in there are now classed as Antiques!

The main trainline from London to Bristol (built by Brunnel) runs straight through the Box Hill complex and is famous with rail enthusiasts, it also means there’s a hidden station under there!. 

 

Here is a link to the place. Box Hill

 

Anyway, At the second shop I met a really great bunch of people. The lady who is the Night Supervisor is studying to be a Gold Smith! Heck, I didn’t even know you could learn that anymore. Furthermore she’s passionate about it and to see intelligence and passion in someone is really quite uplifting.

I often drone on at people about the world being bigger than the horizon you can see and how much it needs exploring – well I think I met someone today who is going to travel and explore far beyond their own horizon and I think I almost envy her.

 

I have decided that at some point I’m going to post a separate page as a rough guide to contracting and working overseas from my own experiences in the Middle East and would like to hear about other peoples experiences from different areas of the world – so please email them.

 

Anyway, if you’re ever in Box – stop by the Co-Op shop if you need anything, you’ll get a fine warm welcome from a nice bunch or people (there is a pub opposite too)

Oh one other thing, Box is also the home of Peter Gabriel and his Real World Studios

Microsoft doing something for the good of others?……Way!!

 Not quite sure what to make of the article below (stolen from the bbc website). But if MS are serious, I’ll look forward to this in the next few months .

Microsoft is cutting the cost of putting Windows XP on low cost laptops.

The price cuts will only be available for ultra-portable laptops that meet a strict set of specifications.

The move is widely seen as an attempt by Microsoft to bolster its market share in one of the PC industry sectors showing growth.

Low-powered laptops, such as the Asus Eee PC, are proving hugely popular in developed nations and in projects trying to bridge the digital divide.

Life extension

News group IDG reports that Microsoft plans to charge PC makers selling to India and China $26 (£13.27) to put a copy of Windows XP Home on a low-cost laptop. For machines sold in developed markets, such as the UK or US, the price will be $32.

A retail copy of Windows XP Home sells in the UK for about £55 ($108. ) – though the prices PC makers pay for the software is likely to be lower.

The low prices apply only to machines that have no more than 1GB of RAM; a hard drive up to 80GB in size; a processor running no faster than 1GHz; a screen no larger than 10.2in (25cm) and no touch screen.

Market research firm IDC predicts that sales of machines with such specifications, which it dubs ultra low-cost notebooks, will grow from 500,000 units in 2007 to more than 9m in 2012.

It predicts such devices will capture a big slice of the education market as they are used in projects to improve the prospects of children in developing nations.

The devices are also catching on among those looking for a cheap computer they can use while out and about. Machines such as the Asus Eee retail for about £220.

Many of these machines use open source software such as Linux as an operating system.

Microsoft is offering XP on such devices because they are too low-powered to run Vista – the latest version of its Windows operating system. In April Microsoft announced that it was extended the life of XP on low cost laptops until 2010. The software will stop being sold on desktops and laptops on 30 June.

Under Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential scheme the company lets governments get copies of Windows XP Starter Edition, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 for only $3 (£1.50) if it provides PCs for schools.

Published in: on 15 May, 2008 at 01:30  Leave a Comment  
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Anyone seen this movie?

Brian Johnson of AC/DC has bank rolled and written songs for the comedy movie ‘Totally Baked’. Released a while ago, it’s supposed to be very funny.

If anyone has seen it – let me know if it’s worth getting

Published in: on 12 May, 2008 at 08:44  Comments (1)  
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Out and About this Friday

So this Friday I was out and about again, this time I went up to Stoke on Trent.

A nice easy journey up there, and not so much fun on the return with accidents, heavy traffic and oddly when there were no accidents – the police started pulling every Subaru they could find as you can see, funny how it’s not hard to miss a British Police Car.

This was the 3rd Subaru I saw stopped by police.

 

 

 

Published in: on 9 May, 2008 at 20:18  Comments (3)  

Zara Phillips shows off her swanky new horsebox

Princes Anne’s daughter, World and European three-day eventing champion Zara Phillips has a new toy – and she loves it! With a £250,000 ($492,319US)  Oakley Supremacy – she should.

This of course now makes her a lady trucker (seeing as she has the licence too) which is all good stuff.

However, just one little thing Zara, when you park it in your barn, reverse park it – it’s easier and less likely to get damaged.

twb-button

Published in: on 5 May, 2008 at 13:45  Comments (6)  
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The Hewlett’s are back

 

S40?!o the SGA series 5 start date is set for July 11 and the same wonderful bunch will be back doing the stuff they do – and, with a few newbies.

I was reading Dave Hewlett’s Blog over at dgeek and apparently we can look forward to his ‘work prolific’ sister Kate in the show again this season.

David is apparently suffering the effects of his 40th Birthday and as I know these effects well, some sympathy could have gone his way if we didn’t think he was actually older (lol sorry, I couldn’t resist).

 

Kate’s life seams to be a blur by all accounts and now has a spot on this years Toronto Fringe Festival in July. She also has a fascinating blog; Loft in Translation which makes for the very interesting reading for the life of a workaholic.

 

 Personally I don’t know how people can cope with these two siblings – it’s exhuating just to read about them lol

 

The Hewlett Wrecking Crew are coming over to Blighty in June to publically take chunks out of each in the normal way that only family can and answer questions / meet and greet with fans, so do check the respective websites for further informaton.

 

This video is quite old and is typical Amanda Tapping vs David Hewlett banter – but can anyone please explain how the hell he and can talk so quickly – from a guy who gets complaints of perpetual mumbling (that’s me by the way), this is horrific stuff.

 

 

 

twb-button

Published in: on 4 May, 2008 at 12:52  Comments (4)  
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Out and About

So I was working over the last 48hrs, this started with a trip to London, first to Hayes (next to Heathrow) then back onto (as Chris Rea puts it) the ‘Road to Hell’ all music inspiring M25 london orbital motorway.

The M25 is well known in the UK as being a total nightmare at best and boasts some horrific accidents. However, it was Friday, so just heavy traffic as can be seen in the video

 

 

It didn’t take long to get parked up at all – 3 ¾ hours to get around to the otherside of London for my next place ‘Thurrock’.

 

After some problems with Customs not releasing my return load I was told to return empty, so next to the Dartford Crossing or more correctly ‘The QE2 Bridge’ for a dash around the southern M25 

It only took an hour to get back around the other side of London this time and the day finally came to an end at Solstice Park. This name given to the proximity of Stonehenge a few hundred yards away.

A nice sunset and sleep ensued.

Published in: on 4 May, 2008 at 00:38  Comments (3)  
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This IS funny

I have to post this because it made me laugh so much. 

As you know, I don’t hold much for Fr**ch Technology (airbus), and this is a perfect example of Fr**ch technology in action – infact, it’s perfect to get your troops really fit from the running it makes them do.

 

twb-button

Published in: on 3 May, 2008 at 12:02  Leave a Comment  
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