Sunday 30 August 2009

France’s Toxic Beaches


Horse dies, France faces reality of toxic beaches

It should have been a perfect day for Vincent Petit, finishing up an afternoon gallop on a wide expanse of beach along a pastel-colored bay. Instead, he and his mount were sucked into a hole of noxious black sludge.

The horse died within seconds, the rider lost consciousness and a dirty secret on the Brittany coast reverberated across France — decaying green algae was fouling some of its best beaches.

A report ordered by the government after the accident found concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted by the rotting algae were as high as 1,000 parts per million on the beach where the horse died — an amount that "can be fatal in several minutes."

There had been signs of a crisis for years in this idyllic corner of Brittany. But scaring away tourists was in no one's interest, including the farming industry — the region's economic backbone — whose nitrate-packed fertilizers power algae blooms.

In Brittany's Cote d'Armor region, conditions are perfect for its spread — sunlight, shallow waters and flat beaches. Chemical and natural fertilizers like pig excrement, loaded with nitrates and phosphorous, have saturated the land, spilling into rivers and the ocean, feeding the algae that then proliferate.

Harmless while in water, the algae form dangerous gases — notably hydrogen sulfide, with its characteristic rotten-egg smell — when they wash up on land and decay. A white crust forms and traps the gases, which are released when stepped on or otherwise disturbed. Over time, putrefied algae turns sand into a black silt muck, sometimes containing pockets of poison gas.

On July 28, Petit, a 28-year-old researcher in a state-run virology lab, had just finished riding his thoroughbred Sir Glitter, a retired racehorse, on the Saint-Michel-en-Greves beach, when the two were suddenly mired in muck as he led the horse on foot in search of a place to cross a stream running through the sand.

"The horse and I slid in," said Petit, who is also trained in veterinary studies. "A horse in that situation is in an enormous panic, but he didn't have time to struggle."

Petit said he watched horrified as his horse stopped breathing and died within about 30 seconds, then he himself passed out. Petit was pulled from the mire by a bulldozer shovel after a man who witnessed the accident gave the alert.

There have been local efforts to clear the blight. Mayor Rene Ropartz said Saint-Michel-en-Greve, a village of 480 people, collected 10,000 tons of algae from the mile-long beach by the end of July; several years ago they cleaned up 21,000 tons.

Saturday 29 August 2009

Sell those DVD’s Now!

Selling illegal DVDs not illegal because of blunder

People who sell DVDs and videos illegally, including pornography to children, cannot be prosecuted because of a legislative blunder dating back 25 years!

In a major embarrassment crossing several governments, officials have discovered the 1984 act that allows prosecutions for selling illegal videos and DVDs or breaches of age classifications is unenforceable.

It means an effective free-for-all for anyone breaching video sales laws, including supplying “knock-off” or illegal copies, porn and other 18-only films to minors or hard-core pornographic films outside of licensed sex shops.

The blunder centres on the 1984 Video Recordings Act which the then British Tory Government should have notified with the European Commission but failed to do so.

The error also went unnoticed when the laws were amended in 1993 and 1994.

The technicality means the act is unenforceable and urgent action is now under way to notify Europe and re-enact the legislation.

However, the process will take at least three months and is unlikely to be rectified before the New Year.

In the meantime no one can be prosecuted under the laws and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has written to relevant bodies telling them not to pursue any further prosecutions because of the “serious issue”.

The blunder was discovered as the DCMS was preparing to establish a new video games classification system.

However, Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association which represents 90 per cent of the industry, said: "All our members will be continuing to do their business as though the Act was still in force.

“They will not be taking advantage of this legal loophole. It would not be a responsible way to trade.”

………and her spaceship is just ready for departure at gate 51

Friday 28 August 2009

Everyone’s A Critic

Actor Jason Biggs attacked by monkey

'American Pie' star Jason Biggs has reportedly been attacked by a monkey while on holiday.

Evidently the actor was in Gibraltar with his 'American Pie' co-star Eddie Kaye Thomas when the incident occurred.

A source said: "They were hiking in the woods when this monkey suddenly leapt on Jason from a tree and tried to bite his face off."

"Jason's travelling companions managed to fend the beast off and Jason thankfully wasn't seriously hurt, just shaken up."

Thomas' spokesperson reportedly said: "The monkey tried to attack Jason and steal food out of his bag but Eddie fended him off and saved the day."

…….but this was enough to send the actor scurrying back to the “safety” of the U.S.A.

Unfortunately the monkey refused an interview and so we can only assume that the Barbery Ape, to give it it’s full title, was an avid movie buff and wasn’t too keen on the actors talents!

Thursday 27 August 2009

At Least He Get’s This Right!


The French banks back bonus reforms

French banks have agreed to bring in a new system of
performance-related pay, following controversy over
the high levels of bonuses paid to traders.
France's banking federation said there would be penalties for those who lost money as well as
rewards for success.

The statement came after bank officials held talks in Paris with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

President Sarkozy asked the banks to report to him on their bonus policies amid pressure to curb excesses.

In April, G20 leaders pledged to apply tough new policies on compensation. Mr Sarkozy said after the meeting that he would continue to press for tougher controls on bankers' bonuses at the next G20 summit in the US city of Pittsburgh in September.

Will the other members follow suit……Will they hell as like!!!!

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Another Cock Tale

Another rooster sets feathers flying

Deep in the tranquil Dorset countryside, the calm of what Thomas Hardy called the Vale of the Little Dairies has been shattered by a bitter feud pitting neighbour against rural neighbour.

The source of the conflict? A five-year-old Black Rock cockerel whose dawn crowing has led to complaints to the local council and an investigation into allegations of noise disturbance.

On one side stands its owner Brian Martin and his supporters in the market town of Sturminster Newton, for whom the cock's early morning alarm call is part of the natural order of things. On the other are those who say they have been driven to distraction by his shrill cry.

"It's a blinking nuisance," said Stephen Chubb, who claims his sleep is regularly disturbed by James, as the bird has come to be known. "Something needs to be done about it. There are plenty of people round here who feel the same way."

The complaints have led to North Dorset District Council installing £5,000 worth of noise measuring equipment in the home of one resident to assess the impact of the cockerel's crowing on their sleep.

Whether the decibels is judged to be enough to be causing a disturbance to residents is now the subject of the council's investigation. If so, Mr Martin, 55, will receive a noise abatement order instructing him to get rid of the cause of the sound. James could be destined for the pot.

Mr Martin, a market trader, said: "Round here we're a farming community, so why on earth would someone want to complain about the noise a cockerel makes?"

Kerry Pitt-Kerby, from North Dorset District Council, said: "It may sound bureaucratic, but we have a duty to investigate any complaint of this kind." …..and of course it finds work for them to do!!!!

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Don’t Larf!!!!

Humour is an act of aggression and making others laugh means you see yourself as higher up
the social ladder than your audience, according to a German academic.

The ability to make others laugh confers a degree of control which dominant people exploit to show they are in charge, claims Helga Kotthoff of the Frieburg University if Education.

"Those 'on top' are freer to make others laugh. They are also freer to be more aggressive and a lot of what is funny is making jokes at someone else's expense," she said.

"Displaying humour means taking control of the situation from those higher up the hierarchy and this is risky for people of lower status, which before the 1960s meant women rarely made other people laugh -- they couldn't afford to.

"Comedy and satire are based on aggressiveness and not being nice," she said. "Until the 1960s it was seen as unladylike to be funny. But even now women tend to prefer telling jokes at their own expense and men tend to prefer telling jokes at other people's expense."

The differences between men's and women's ability to become comedians starts very young, she said. Boys as young as four or five tell more jokes, frolic and clown about while girls tend to be the ones doing the laughing.

But in later age women tend to become funnier because they feel freer to not be seen as ladylike.
She said humour, including teasing, was a mix of 'bonding and biting' and women often use humour to form social bonds with their friends while men often use humour to vent frustration. But both sexes use comedy as a means of controlling

She said: "For example, doctors sometimes use humour to comfort patients but also to silence them if, for example, the patient displays too much knowledge of a medical condition.

"Nurses and midwives tend to tell jokes about patients but not when the doctor is present. And when someone initiates a joke they tend to be ignored if they are in the presence of someone of a higher status."

Until the sexual revolution of the 1960s women rarely became comediennes in public or private because most humour is an act of aggression, she said. "A study in the late 1980s showed that men use sexual jokes as a way of verbally undressing a woman who rebuts his advances; his humour was aggressive in essence."
…………….and who dares say the Germans don’t have a sense of humour…….YEH RIGHT!!!!!!!!

Monday 24 August 2009

Believe It!!!!!

Tesco uses microphones to monitor cattle burping

Tesco has fitted microphones to a herd of cattle to monitor their belching and flatulence in a bid to reduce methane emissions…….Bloody crazy EH?????

The supermarket giant is undertaking tests on livestock at its Dairy Centre of Excellence in Liverpool as part of a project to help reduce its carbon footprint.

Each cow is fitted with a microphone, attached to a special collar, which picks up sounds from their stomachs.

Research suggests that methane emissions from cattle accounts for three quarters of the entire carbon footprint produced by milk production.

A spokesman said that the collars do not cause the cattle any discomfort.

News of the scheme comes as Tesco announced that it is to display carbon footprint ratings on all its full fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk ranges.

This is taking this bloody stupid concept of “Carbon Footprints” to the extreme but of course is finding work for the underworked and overcrowded universities of Britain

Sunday 23 August 2009

Confucius Say!!

"Man who run in front of car get tired, Man who run behind car get exhausted."
"Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day."
"Passionate kiss like spiders web - soon lead to undoing of fly."
"Women virginity like bubble. One prick - all gone!"
"Foolish man give wife grand piano. Wise man give wife upright organ."

"Man who walk thru airport turnstile sideways going to Bangcock"
"Man with one chopstick go hungry."
"Man who scratches ass should not bite fingernails."
"Man who eat many prunes get good run for money."
"Baseball is wrong. Man with four balls cannot walk!"
"Panties not best thing on earth, but next to it."
"War doesn't determine who's right. War determines who's left."
"Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house."
"Man who sleep in cathouse by day, sleep in doghouse by night."
"Man who fight with wife all day, get no piece at night!"
"Man who tell one too many light bulb jokes soon burn out!"
"It takes many nails to build house, but one screw to fill it."
"Man who drive like hell, bound to get there!"

"Man who sit on tack get point!"
"Man who stand on toilet high on pot!"
"Man who lives in glass house should change in basement"
"He who fishes in other man's well often catches crabs."
"Man who farts in church sits in own pew."

Saturday 22 August 2009

Little Green Men

Evidently, according to newly released files in the UK, a former head of the armed forces, Lord Hill-Norton wanted a Government inquiry into a “sighting” at Rendlesham Forest!!!

The incident, in the early morning of December 27, 1980, has become known as “Britain’s own Roswell”, and has never been fully explained.

The late Lord Hill-Norton, a member of what he described as the “rather ineffective” House of Lords UFO Group, wrote to Mr Heseltine in May 1985 to express his concern over the “puzzling and disquieting features” of the case.

He referred to the USAF report submitted by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt in which the deputy base commander details the account of three patrolmen.

Lt Col Halt wrote: “The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three metres across the base and approximately two metres high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light.

“The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object, it manoeuvred through the trees and disappeared.”

The commander himself described witnessing three depressions in the ground the next day where the object had been sighted.

And later that night he was among several men who saw a “red sun-like light” through the trees which “moved about and pulsed”.

Lord Hill-Norton also wrote: “Your officials should be ready to demonstrate a more serious concern with its implications than they have so far manifested. There seems to be a head of steam building up on this matter, and I can see a potential ‘banana-skin’ looming.”

An MoD briefing was handed to the Defence Secretary following Lord Hill-Norton’s letter for use in a House of Lords Defence debate.

The note states the MoD’s final position on the incident, saying the USAF report was “carefully examined” and the conclusion was that there was “no Defence interest” and “no evidence of anything having intruded into British airspace”.

It noted: “Indeed the high visibility of the phenomenon reported – multicoloured bright lights – is totally inconsistent with a covert entry into the UK.”

The briefing note said UFO sightings were “not a matter the MoD take lightly” and continued: “I can accept that people do from time to time see things in the sky which they find difficult to explain.

"I am sure your Lordships will agree that in many cases normal explanations come to light, such as falling meteorites or satellite debris, unusual cloud formations or aircraft lights... What the true explanation is, I do not know.”

The incident is just one of countless mysterious reports released as part of a three-year project between the Ministry of Defence and The National Archives, aimed at opening up the records to a worldwide audience.

Other “sightings” in the files include

  • Two “sober” revellers saw a flying saucer hover over the Glastonbury music festival but claimed others failed to “tune into” it because they were too interested in the music. The pair said they were “standing soberly” in a field when the craft appeared from nowhere over the Jazz field and seemed to “communicate” with them in 1994. One, a metaphysics student, said: “It appeared to be coming towards us and quite suddenly it changed colours. “It went from red and orange to yellow and green. This really had an amazing impact on me because I was wearing yellow and green.”
  • Dozens of people across London reported the sighting of a brilliant white flying saucer with flashing lights floating across the night sky during 1993 and 1994. But an investigation by the MOD concluded that the craft responsible for the phenomenon was much more mundane – a Virgin Airship advertising the Ford Mondeo, a new car. Despite everyone from students revising in Tottenham to dog walkers in Richmond insisting it was real – even producing detailed sketches – the sightings were dismissed as mistaken by the authorities.
  • Two youths on their way home just before midnight claimed they were accosted by a lemon-shaped headed alien who said “We want you, come with us”. One of the boys said they were drawn to a field in Chasetown, Staffordshire on May 4 1955 by an intense heat. There was a flash of light then some sort of spaceship allegedly appeared that sent his friend’s face “the colour of beetroot”. The officer’s report reads the boys, who insisted they were “not drunk or on drugs”, arrived “agitated and distressed” after gazing at the UFO which emitted an intense heat before zigzagging off east to west.
  • Between November 1989 and April 1990 the Belgian Air Force scrambled fighter jets to investigate potential UFOs in its airspace. Despite reports from police, radar contact and other eyewitness accounts, the authorities never solved what was repeatedly hovering unannounced in their skies. The first wave of observations began on November 29 and three days later on the evening of December 2, two F-16s were sent to the Liege area to investigate a sighting, although they found nothing. But according to an air force ground controller, the “echo” on the radar vanished when the planes arrived but returned when the F-16s left. The mystery resulted in correspondence between the Belgians and Britain’s Ministry of Defence, who were told none of Belgium’s neighbours were informed of the air breach.

So be careful out there as we are being watched!!!…YEH RIGHT

Friday 21 August 2009

Asian Hornets On The Rampage In France

Tourists warned as Asian hornets terrorise French

Tourists are being warned to steer clear of Asian hornets that are colonising France, after swarms of the aggressive predators attacked seven people.

The bee-eating hornets, instantly recognisable by their yellow feet, are rapidly spreading round France and entomologists fear that they will eventually cross the Channel and arrive in Britain.

Hundreds of the insects attacked a mother on a stroll with her five-month-old baby in the Lot-et-Garonne department, southwestern France, at the weekend before turning on a neighbour who ran over to help. The baby was unharmed.

They then pursued two passers by and two Dutch tourists on bikes. The victims were treated in hospital for multiple stings, which are said to be as painful as a hot nail piercing the skin.

In the same week, a cleaner in local primary school came under attack after disturbing a hornet nest hidden in the ground.

The Vespa velutina, which grow up to an inch in length, is thought to have arrived in France from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004.

They first settled in the forests of Aquitaine, but quickly fanned out to surrounding areas, thriving on rising temperatures linked to global warming and the lack of indigenous predators.

Denis Thiery, an Asian hornet specialist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, said there was nothing to halt their spread.

"From one nest discovered in 2004, there were 2,000 in the Bordeaux area in 2007. Today there are probably several thousand in surrounding departments," he said.

"According to our studies, they are able to settle in 50 per cent of the country. The European hornet is no match for them, with only a few hundred individuals per nest compared to several thousand for the yellow-footed hornets. They do sometimes fight, but it's a losing battle," he told the newspaper Le Parisien.

Local authorities in the tourist region of Lot-et-Garonne have issued a statement urging people with bee allergies to be "extremely cautious".

"Never attempt to destroy an Asian hornet nest yourself but call on specialist organisations, as this species charges in a group as soon as it feels its nest is threatened."

Anyone stung should dial 15 for the emergency services in case of an allergic reaction.

Besides the risk to humans, the hornets have decimated France's already dwindling bee population.

Squadrons of the insects hover over hives and pick off hapless honeybees in mid-air. A handful can destroy a nest of 30,000 bees in just a couple of hours.

In Asia, honeybees form a ball of workers around the intruder and kill it by heatstroke. But in France, the technique appears to have no effect.

Beekeepers suspect that the creatures are also massacring other indigenous insect species. "Nobody can say what damage the Asian hornet has done outside of our hives. What is certain is that last autumn there were less insects than before," said Richard Legrand, a keeper in Bergerac.

Even bloody insects think France is a good place to set up a second home!!!!

Thursday 20 August 2009

Bloggers Be Careful

Google forced to hand over blogger's identity

A court in New York has ruled that Google must hand over the details of a blogger who called a model a skank so that she can sue for defamation.

The blog, entitled 'Skanks in NYC', was hosted by Google subsidiary, and made comments about model Liskula Cohen. Justice Joan Madden ruled today that bloggers cannot remain anonymous and in a strongly worded judgment said that bloggers could not hide behind anonymity

"The thrust of the blog is that [Cohen] is a sexually promiscuous woman," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden wrote in her decision according to the New York Post.

Lawyers for the blogger argued that the comments were "non-actionable opinion and/or hyperbole" but the court rejected this in a ruling which could have huge ramifications for bloggers around the world.

"The floodgates would be opened if you tried to regulate these very broad, common insults and invective on the Internet," said Anne Salisbury, who represented the blogger.

"You can be really, really mean to people -- you just can't lie about a set of facts that are provable as lies, and that you knew or recklessly disregarded the truth of."

Cohen has said that she will now sue the person involved.

"I really hope it's not somebody I know," said Cohen.

"I'm a human being. I bleed. I have feelings. When I saw that blog, it was awful. All I can say for this person is, I really truly hope that they have more in their life than this."

The blog has now been removed. Google said that it would only hand over a user's details if a court ordered it to.

So………All you Bloggers beware….There evidently is no such thing as “free speech” anymore even in the “Blogsphere”!!!

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Farmer Has To Curtail His Cocks!

What a crazy society…..A farmer has been warned to keep his cockerels quiet or pay a £5,000 fine because a new neighbour complained about their crowing.

Paul Haworth, of Battlers Green Farm, has been warned that one  neighbour had made "a number of
complaints" about the four prize bantam cockerels disturbing his household's sleep.

After using microphones to monitor the
noise, Hertsmere Borough Council issued Mr Haworth with a noise abatement notice and told him to
silence the birds by August 20 or face a £5,000 fine.

Efforts to put up a new hedge to muffle the crowing and find the three-year-old birds a new home have failed.

Mr Haworth said: "It's impossible to stop them from making noise. I don't know what more I can do. If they cannot be re-homed I fear they will have to be put down.

"I find it surprising that someone who does not like animal noises buys a house next to a farm.

"If you didn't like the sound of church bells you would not buy a house next to a church, and if you didn't like the sound of trains you would not live by a railway.

"I think this person must be a recent arrival to the village, probably from a town or city.

"If they don't like it, they should go away. Maybe they prefer the noise of traffic?"

Battlers Green Farm is a working farm which raises beef cattle and arable crops on the outskirts of rural village of Radlett, Herts.

Mr Haworth said this was the first complaint he had ever received in 20 years of keeping roosters and chickens, who were a huge hit with dozens of visitors.

"It seems a bit of a kill-joy thing to complain, especially as they didn't approach me about it first.

"Dozens of neighbours have come to me and said that the roosters are a nice reminder of living in the country.

"I am very disappointed that one person can wield so much power over the council."

Hertsmere Borough Council confirmed it received a complaint in February, saying the cockerels crowed in the middle of the night, seriously affecting quality of life.

Councillor Jean Heywood, the Hertsmere cabinet member for the environment, said they had sympathy for both sides of the case.

"It is reasonable for a cockerel to be crowing on a farm. I think if it was just as the dawn rose for a short time then it wouldn't be an issue," she said.

"But in this case the problem is continuous crowing for hours at a time throughout the night and this isn't reasonable.

"Noise nuisance can be a real blight and affect those who are suffering from it."

Hertsmere Borough Council denied they had ordered Paul to get rid of his roosters or destroy them.

A similar thing happened in Normandy, France a few years ago…..because of the influx of Parisians buying second homes there and the money they spent….The mayor wrote to all the farmers asking them to clean up their farms, stop working through the night and put their “muck heaps” out of sight…..Needless to say it was ignored…..Well it is France…and he wasn’t elected again!!!!

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Heinz To Redesign Squeezy

HEAVENS ABOVE…Heinz is redesigning its new tomato ketchup bottle after complaints that it is not squeezy enough.

The lightweight bottle, launched in
April, was designed to save 340 tonnes of plastic.

However, consumers complained that
the new design made it hard to squeeze out the last of their ketchup so a replacement is being designed.

A Heinz spokeswoman said: ''Very occasionally, over a period of time, if the bottle has been dropped, the various layers of plastic can take on a slight pearlescent appearance and the bottle may not be quite so squeezy.

''There is no loss of protective barrier and the quality of the ketchup is unaffected.

''A further bottle enhancement being introduced will eliminate the occurrence.''

A new bottle should be on the shelves within weeks, the spokeswoman said…….


Monday 17 August 2009

Strange Bike Seen In Paris

Parisians and tourists, relax. That goofy looking tricycle equipped with loads of high-tech equipment roaming the streets is NOT some mad scientist's invention on the rampage.

The three-wheeler is a sight with its long pole holding nine cameras, a GPS, a computer and a generator. But the contraption tooling around
the French capital needs all that gear to do its job — adding threedimensional images to Google's Street View Maps.

The U.S. company has hired two young cyclists to ride through gardens, historical sites and other pedestrian-only areas on the device to take thousands of digital photos.

"The idea is to be able to offer 360-degree images of places that were inaccessible before," Google
spokesperson Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce said in an interview.

The riders, wearing Google tee-shirts and white helmets, are visiting well-known sites such as the Chateau de Versailles, west of Paris, the Jardin du Luxembourg on the city's Left Bank or Les Halles, in the busy center of the French capital.

Google is to map Paris until Aug. 20, then head to the north of the country. In the fall, the tricycle goes
south, said Dauba-Pantanacce.

The company plans to add new photos to their Street View option in all French cities with touristic areas that may be of interest to visitors.

Similar tricycles have already combed the streets of Britain and Italy in June and July, said Dauba-
Pantanacce. Google plans to make 3-D maps of streets in other European countries, but the schedule has not yet been set, she said.

Spotted at La Defense, the tricycle looked decidedly out of place at the modern high-rise business center on Paris' western edge.

A white pole in the back holds an octagonal platform with eight cameras on the sides and one on top.
Each minute, the cameras take bursts of high-definition photos to allow online users to get a virtual tour of the area.

To respect people's privacy, Google has installed software that recognizes license plates and people's faces and automatically blurs them, Dauba-Pantanacce said. Google will then choose the best photos among the thousands taken.

The blurring comes to meet privacy concerns.
Google recently acceded to German demands to erase the raw footage of faces, house numbers, license plates and individuals who have told authorities they do not want their information used in the service.

Greek officials rejected a bid to photograph the nation's streets until more privacy safeguards are provided.

Residents of one English village formed a human chain to stop a camera van, and in Japan the company agreed to reshoot views taken by a camera high enough to peer over fences.

The photos of Paris and other major French cities to follow were expected to be available online by the end of the year.

Sunday 16 August 2009

Pirate Party UK

Sunday Shopping in France

France gears up — slowly — for more Sunday opening

France is taking a leisurely August attitude to a new law that shakes up the country's traditional devotion to Sunday rest.

Starting Sunday, more stores have the legal right to open, a step taken by the government in hopes of boosting employment and soaking up added tourist dollars.

But it's a complicated measure, full of unresolved details that need to be worked out by employers and workers, many of whom are gone for France's sacrosanct, month long August holiday break. And in
reality, many shops that wanted to get around century-old rules and sell their wares on Sunday have already found ways to do so!

The law will allow all non-food stores in 494 towns and 29 zones designated special tourist areas to legally open this Sunday. It gives businesses more legal certainty, but those that weren't already open still have to negotiate new arrangements with workers who will want something in return for giving up their Sunday.

An Ifop survey in June said 59 percent of French were for the reform.

Saturday 15 August 2009


I thought a few reminders about the importance of passwords wouldn’t be amiss!!!!!

Do use a password manager like “Roboform”

DO change passwords frequently. I change mine every six months or whenever I sign in to a site I haven't visited in long time. Don't reuse old passwords. Password managers can assign expiration dates to your passwords and remind you when the passwords are about to expire.

DO keep your passwords secret. Putting them into a file on your computer, e-mailing them to others, or writing them on a piece of paper in your desk is tantamount to giving them away. If you must allow someone else access to an account, create a temporary password just for them and then change it back immediately afterward.
No matter how much you may trust your friends or colleagues, you can't trust their computers. If they need ongoing access, consider creating a separate account with limited privileges for them to use.

DON'T use passwords comprised of dictionary words, birthdays, family and pet names, addresses, or any other personal information. Don't use repeat characters such as 111 or sequences like abc, qwerty, or 123 in any part of your password.

DON'T use the same password for different sites. Otherwise, someone who culls your Facebook or Twitter password in a phishing exploit could, for example, access your bank account.

DON'T allow your computer to automatically sign in on boot-up and thus use any automatic e-mail, chat, or browser signins. Avoid using the same Windows signin password on two different computers.

DON'T use the "remember me" or automatic signin option available on many Web sites. Keep signins under the control of your password manager instead.

DON'T enter passwords on a computer you don't control — such as a friend's computer — because you don't know what spyware or keyloggers might be on that machine.

DON'T access password-protected accounts over open Wi-Fi networks — or any other network you don't trust — unless the site is secured via https. Use a VPN if you travel a lot. (See Ian "Gizmo" Richards' Dec. 11, 2008, Best Software column, "Connect safely over open Wi-Fi networks," for Wi-Fi security tips.)

DON'T enter a password or even your account name in any Web page you access via an e-mail link. These are most likely phishing scams. Instead, enter the normal URL for that site directly into your browser, and proceed to the page in question from there.

Following these tips will help you keep your personal data safe online.

Friday 14 August 2009

The “Burquini”!!!!!

French pool bars Muslim woman for 'burquini' suit….Well you must admit that if it had been a pool in the UK….All hell would have broken out…..

A Muslim woman garbed in a head-to-toe swimsuit —
dubbed a "burquini" — may have opened a new chapter in France's tussle between religious practices and its stern secular code.
Officials insisted Wednesday they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly suit at a local pool because of France's pool hygiene standards — not out of hostility to overtly Muslim garb.
Under the policy, swimmers are not allowed in pools with baggy clothing, including surfer-style shorts. Only figure-hugging suits are permitted.
Nonetheless the woman, a 35-year-old convert to Islam identified only as Carole, complained of religious discrimination after trying to go
swimming in a "burquini," a full-body swimsuit, in the town of Emerainville, southeast of Paris.
She was quoted as telling the daily Le Parisien newspaper that she had bought the burquini after deciding "it would allow me the pleasure of bathing without showing too much of myself, as Islam


"For me this is nothing but segregation," she said.

The issue of religious attire is a hot topic in France, where head-to-toe burqas or other full-body coverings worn by some Muslim fundamentalists are in official disfavor.

France is home to western Europe's largest Muslim population, estimated at 5 million, and Islam is the nation's second religion after Roman Catholicism.

A 2004 law banning the wearing of Muslim head scarves at public schools sparked fierce debate. That legislation also banned Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in public classrooms.

French lawmakers recently revived the issue of Muslim dress with a proposal that the burqa and other voluminous Muslim attire be banned.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative, backs the move, saying such garb makes women prisoners.

The "burquini" covers the arms to the wrists and the legs to the ankle and has a hood to cover neck and hair.

An official in charge of swimming pools for the Emerainville region, Daniel Guillaume, said the refusal to allow the local woman to swim in her "burquini" had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with public health standards.

"These clothes are used in public, so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers," Guillaume said in a telephone interview.

"We reminded this woman that one should not bathe all dressed, just as we would tell someone who is a nudist not to bathe all naked," he said.

Guillaume said France's public health standards require all pool-goers to don swimsuits for women and tight, swimming briefs for men — and caps to cover their hair. Bathers also must shower before entering the water.

Guillaume said Carole had tried to file a complaint at a local police station, but her request was turned down as groundless.

Carole told the daily Le Parisien she would protest with the help of anti-discrimination groups.

Emerainville Mayor Alan Kelyor said he could not understand why the woman would want to swim in head-to-toe clothes.

"We are going back in civilization," he said by telephone. Women have fought for decades for equal rights with men, he said. "Now we are putting them back in burqas and veils."

The attitude of the French of “we have rules and customs…..If you don’t abide or agree with them….BUGGER-OFF”….Is the right one.

Thursday 13 August 2009

The “Do-Gooders” Again!

A motorist, Raymond Smith, who has had a brass model of his dead pet dog on his car bonnet
for 50 years has had to get rid of it due to the “do-gooders” at Health and Safety.

Since 1960 Mr Smith, from Gillingham, Dorset, has mounted the small model of his boxer dog Colonel on the front of every car he has owned.The 86 year-old has driven all over Britain and Europe but has now been forced to remove the two-inch chromeplated
dog from his Fiat Panda after the police told him it was a danger to pedestrians and was illegal.

He was told he faced a £50 fine and five penalty points if he ignored them!!!!!!

Mr Smith, a former amateur rally driver, said: "Nobody has taken any notice of it for 50 years, it was harmless.

Mr Smith fixed the item onto about 50 cars he has owned over the years, including Sunbeam Rapiers, Ford Cortinas, a Lotus and a Jaguar.

"Someone who I must have crossed swords with over parking or something has reported me to the police. They told them I had a dangerous dog on my car.

"I got a call from the police and I thought somebody was having me on.

"A traffic officer told me it was illegal as it was a potential danger to pedestrians and I had to get rid of it. It seems quite ridiculous."

Mr Smith, who served with the RAF in World War Two, added: "I feel rather sad about it. Whenever I drive I am used to seeing him sat out on the front of the bonnet leading the way."

PC Terry Swain, of Dorchester traffic police, said: "Objects on the bonnets of Mercedes and Rolls-Royces are designed to bend or come off in crashes.

"Fixed, solid objects on bonnets are a safety issue because they can cause increased injury to pedestrians if they were in a collision and rolled over the bonnet."

Mr Smith, who has been driving since 1938, has now positioned Colonel on the parcel shelf on the back of his car………

Another fine example of the “Nanny State”…….COME THE REVOLUTION!!!!!!!! 

Wednesday 12 August 2009

The “Secret” France

The France the Francophiles don’t want to see or here about!!!! 

There exists in France a “dark underbelly” of malcontent the tourists and Francophiles don’t want to accept is part of everyday life in France…..A lot of them seem to think that France is the modern day “Garden of Eden” and everything that is French, clothes and food, is the best in the world……Well….Sorry to “rock the boat” but here is a prime example of what the “real” France is like……..

Police battled with petrol-bomb-wielding rioters in a Paris suburb after a teenager died while fleeing police on his motorbike.

One person fired at police with a handgun in the rioting in a housing project in Bagnolet, on Paris' eastern edge, and 29 cars were torched, the interior ministry said.

The latest bout of suburban violence erupted after an 18-year-old pizza deliverer lost control of his motorbike while fleeing a police identity check. He died en route to the hospital.

A group of around 40 local youths hurled Molotov cocktails, stones and other objects at police and emergency workers on the scene. They also smashed windows of a secondary school and shop. One person was arrested and order restored.

Brice Hortefeux, the interior minister, called for calm and insisted that "all light will be shed" on the cause of the young man's death. An autopsy was scheduled yesterday (Monday).

The internal police watchdog agency is also investigating the incident. A police official said there was no contact between the police car and the motorcycle.

Tensions have remained rife in France's deprived, high-immigrant suburbs since riots swept through the country in 2005.

So WAKE UP you braindead Francophiles and smell the roses or in this case burning cars…..Not everything in your rose tinted view of this country is ideal!!!!!

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Kangaroo Does a Runner

Kangaroo ends romp through French countryside

Wildlife authorities have finally caught up with a kangaroo that has spent the past 10 days hopping around the French countryside.

The four-foot tall marsupial had been spotted bouncing around a children's park and bounding through corn fields.

Wildlife authorities cornered the Kangaroo, named Will, in the village of Juillac-le-Coq late on Wednesday, using a tranquilliser dart gun to subdue the animal in order to capture it, the owner said.

It remains unclear how the kangaroo managed to escape its pen in the first place.

Will's owner, who lives in the nearby village of Gente, was on holiday when the kangaroo went off on his adventure.

This is not the first time kangaroos have been on the loose in the south-west of France.

In March, vandals set loose 15 kangaroos from an Australian theme park in Carcassonne, sparking a major search operation.

Firefighters, police and gendarmes were mobilised to track down the animals as they bounded through the woods.

It’s a wonder that they managed to catch them…As the French will eat anything with a bum!!!!!

Monday 10 August 2009

Stag Parties

Stag parties…..Another British “fine” export!!!!!!!

Ever since the budget airlines opened up eastern Europe for weekend breaks, places like Riga, Prague and Tallinn have benefited enormously from a boost in trade………But…… It’s a double-edged sword.

So why do these areas in particular attract stag parties? The answer is cheap beer.

Prague in the mid 90s boasted 25p pints and lots of bars to chose from and that trend has spread throughout that region and although beer is no longer under £1, it is still considerabley cheaper than Britain.

Latvia's capital Riga is the latest area to become a target of the stag culture.

It is interesting to note that when Ryanair first began marketing their new flights it was not as a romantic break or a family getaway, it was as a party trip for stags and hens, a getaway, and Riga et al have embraced that.

It is a booming industry in a climate where there a few alternatives to turn to.

Who else will fill empty hotel rooms in mid winter, for example?

But it is hard to hide a stag party in a sleepy square in Riga and that is the problem.

They are often in fancy dress and can be heard before they are seen.

They just do not look as nice as an elderly couple taking an evening stroll before dinner.

……But…..the Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs has said enough is enough.

Why? Because the main national monument, the statue of freedom, is being regularly used by drunken Brits as a toilet.

"If we also had other tourists, then British visitors who piss about all the time would not be as noticeable. Lets not be politically correct. Unfortunately this is their speciality," said mayor Usakovs.

Unfortunately in these economic times can Riga and others afford to be choosy?

Sunday 9 August 2009

We Didn't Start The Flame War!!!!!

Gardeners & “The Good Life”

An increasing number of people in the UK are emulating Tom and Barbara in the television series  The Good Life — and garden centres are rubbing their hands in glee. The recession, concern about healthy eating and food miles have encouraged thousands to grow their own fruit and vegetables.

The Garden Centre Group, previously Wyevale Garden Centres, has seen its grow-your-own lines rise by 54 per cent in the six months to June 30.

“Grow-your-own has been a phenomenon this year — partly because of the recession,” said Nicholas Marshall, chief executive of the Garden Centre Group.

“For the price of a packet of tomatoes, you can buy a plant that will give you ten times that. And you have the fun of growing it and getting the children interested in gardening.”

Other retailers are also reaping the benefits. Dobbies, the Tesco-owned No 2 in the market, is to open 30 allotments in a pilot scheme at a store in Southport, Lancashire. Sales of greenhouses more than doubled in the first quarter, B&Q said, while William Sinclair, a compost supplier, noted a six-fold increase in sales of some grow-bags. In June, Homebase said its grow-your-own range was 50 per cent up on last year.

Even the Queen and the Prime Minister have jumped on the band wagon. Buckingham Palace has started a vegetable patch for the first time since the Second World War, while guests at Downing Street are now served food grown in the gardens. The latter was the brainchild of Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister’s wife and former public relations executive, who is often his most effective publicist.

So….pull on your wellies and plant your vegetables….YEH RIGHT

Saturday 8 August 2009

All Of a Twitter!!!

Bird watchers in Lincolnshire are getting all “worked up” because of naughty goings-on in some of their hides.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust asked visitors to remember that there are rules to be observed while birdwatching, that noise can disturb the animals, and that the hides are for "quiet enjoyment only".

The misuse of the structures, which remain unlocked all night, came to light after a bird spotter heard loud sexual sounds coming from a nearby hide in the south of the county…..The poor pathetic Twitter!!

Lincoln Police said they were not aware of an increase of reports regarding public sex acts.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust spokesman Rachel Shaw said: "Someone complained that they thought they had heard someone having sex in the bird hides in south Lincolnshire.

"There's certain things that happen at nature reserves that really shouldn't.

"It's not a huge, huge problem, I hope this is just a one-off incident…….Well…..It makes a change for them from catching speeding motorists or ganging up on protesters….

PC Nick Willey, a local wildlife crime officer, said: "Up and down the country, hides are used for all sorts of things like drinking dens, and places for teens to hang out.

"The best thing to do is report this kind of behaviour to the police, the wildlife trust or any warden monitoring the wildlife hide.

"That way if these instances become regular occurrences, local officers can pay more attention." ….I bet they can!!!!!

Friday 7 August 2009

French Toxic Seaweed

British holidaymakers are being warned to stay away from beaches in northern France because of toxic fumes from rotting seaweed.

The problem has already led to one stretch of beach at Saint-Michel-en-Greve in Brittany being shut after a horse rider lost consciousness and his horse died.
Gilles Youenou, of the French Institute for Sea Research and Exploitation, said: "We would advise people to avoid the beaches in this area as the seaweed can give off hydrogen sulphide fumes.

"This is all a result of a problem with agriculture. Nitrates have got into the water and polluted it.

"A crust forms over stacks of rotting seaweed and when this crust is broken, fumes get out. It can be particularly lethal to dogs and other animals."

Jean-Francois Piquot, a spokesman for the French environmental group Eau et Rivieres, said that toxic seaweed has been present on beaches in Brittany for decades and is spreading.

He said: "There are about five beaches that are unusable. The problem is getting worse."

Up to 70,000 cubic metres of seaweed is cleared off about 70 beaches every summer in Brittany, according to Eau et Rivieres.

Pierre Philippe, of the Lannion hospital in Brittany, said hydrogen sulphide was as dangerous as cyanide.
He said he had treated several cases of poisoning caused by the seaweed among local residents, including a council worker paid to clear beaches of the algae who was taken to hospital in a coma.

Could this be a subtle rouse by the French to keep the British at bay??????

Thursday 6 August 2009

French Tourist Rescues

France has a re-think on tourist rescue costs……..

French citizens rescued from foreign trouble spots could be forced to cover the cost, under
proposals drawn up by France’s foreign ministry.

Legislation would target tourists who ignore official warnings and travel “irresponsibly” to regions considered hazardous by the foreign ministry, such as war zones or areas of serious political instability.

The French foreign ministry currently advises against any travel in a number of regions including
Afghanistan, Iraq and some parts of Pakistan.

The law could also be applied to travel agencies and insurance companies.

Bernard Kouchner, foreign minister, submitted the proposals to the cabinet last month. The law
could be voted on in the French parliament before the end of the year, according to the foreign ministry.

The proposals come after a number of high-profile hostage-taking incidents involving French
nationals. In May, a French tourist was kidnapped in an area of Pakistan that embassies had warned against visiting; one month earlier, a French family was taken hostage by pirates off the coast of Somalia, in spite of repeated warnings from the French navy.

The foreign ministry said: “If tourists decide to ignore official warnings, and then fall into
difficulties, the new law would allow the French state to ask them to pay the price.”

A similar law exists in Germany. Last year, a Berlin court ordered a 35-year- old woman and former hostage to pay the German foreign ministry part of the costs for her liberation. The ministry was demanding €12,640 ($17,870, £10,691) to pay for a helicopter flight she was given after 10 weeks of captivity in the Colombian jungle.

The French foreign ministry said certain groups would be exempt from the law, including
reporters. But the ministry refused to confirm whether aid workers would also be exempt,
saying discussions were still at an early stage…..

It’s about time a Government had the guts to implement such a law….If you are so braindead to get yourself into such positions that require a state funded rescue and after not paying attention to warnings or have a modicum of common sense…..Why the hell should you not pay?????

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Hair Raising

Believe it or not a barber is being prosecuted by an overzealous council for leaving “toxic” hair clippings outside his shop.

Council officials photographed the sacks on the doorstep of Lee Haynes's salon and charged him with three offences under the Environmental Protection Act after finding that he did not have a waste disposal licence.

The 46-year-old has now been accused of breaching the law by failing to ensure the transfer of waste was to an authorised person and not giving an accurate description of the waste and could face a £15,000 fine.

Mr Haynes told magistrates in Bury St Edmunds that his two bags a week contained hair and wrappers from lunchtime sandwiches eaten by his staff.

He told the court that he had been invited by a council refuse worker to cut his hair in return for disposal of the two sacks a week.
"I was approached by a council worker who offered to get rid of the waste and I wanted to ensure that it wasn't fly-tipped - he said he would put it in the skip used by the council on market days." he said.
"It is not a huge factory and I am not sure it counts as controlled waste - it's just hair but the council insist it may have traces of bleach or dye in it."

Caroline Watling, a solicitor for Babergh District Council who brought the case, said that Mr Haynes had been reported because the waste was defined as "toxic or dangerous." and he had "benefitted financially by not employing a registered waste contractor."

Mr Haynes, who represented himself in court, pleaded not guilty to all the charges and the case was adjourned so the council can call two of its environmental protection officers as witnesses.

"Even if I win I won't be able to claim any costs and if I lose I will have to pay the council's costs on top of paying rates on my shop." he added. "So I am actually paying to take myself to court."

Have all the councils gone “stark-raving-mad” in Britain or is it a case of too many employees and not enough work?…..I tend to think the latter!!!!!

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Shine A Light!

Evidently the latest crime-fighting gadget, a cigar-sized camera attached to a police helmet, has gone up in smoke after problems with its batteries setting on fire.

The £1,700 devices, which are strapped on to helmets or under caps, record video and sound as evidence to present in court and were introduced nationwide in a £3 million Home Office scheme two years ago. However, frontline officers now want reassurances that they are not in danger of a hair raising experience because of faulty wiring in the devices' chargers.

The battery packs to at least two of the cameras being used by Metropolitan Police officers started smoking while being charged.

The chargers concerned had been withdrawn, and Scotland Yard is now in discussion with the manufacturer about replacements.

Half of the borough police units of Greater London have purchased between one and ten mini cameras.
They are used by patrolling police officers to film rowdy late-night scenes, underage drinkers, controversial stop and search confrontations and domestic violence incidents.

The cameras can store up to 400 hours of footage with soundtrack on their hard drive, with a battery life of eight to 12 hours.

A spokesman for the Met said: "There have been a very small number of incidents involving battery chargers that have emitted smoke - as explained above, these chargers are office-based and not carried on the officer's person."

So that was the reason for the “hot-headed police” action against protesters earlier this year……Any old excuse!!!!!

Monday 3 August 2009

France’s Deadly Road Month

FRENCH police have announced a crackdown on foreign drivers flouting traffic rules after government figures revealed the country had suffered its deadliest June for some years on the country's roads.

June, which is not officially even a holiday month in France, was disastrous in terms of deaths and injuries, with 408 people killed, an increase of 33 per cent on June last year.

The jump has alarmed the French government, which issued a statement announcing that it
would be distributing French rules of the road in English, Spanish, Italian and German in addition to a
nationwide campaign to get French drivers to cut down on fast driving.

Although foreign drivers, which make up 10 per cent of highway traffic, are implicated in only 1.7 per cent of car accidents with bodily injuries, they account for 9 per cent of fatal collisions.

"Foreign tourists who visit our country, but also our citizens who travel outside of France, must adopt a
serene manner of driving and respect the rules in force in the countries they visit," said environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo.

Foreigners account for 20 per cent of all speeding violations during non-holiday periods, but that figure
jumps to 30 per cent of the total during holidays. Germans pocketed 364,943 violations for speeding on
French territory in 2008, Spanish drivers accounted for 305,456 followed by Dutch drivers with 110,954

Drivers in France who are caught speeding without cash in their pockets will need to watch out.
Speeders unprepared to pay their fine on the spot risk immediate confiscation of their vehicle under French law…….You have been warned!!!!!

Sunday 2 August 2009


THEY are supposed to be the apex of casual entertaining, but barbecues are deceptively hard work. There’s the worrying about the weather, the quandary over who to invite, the panic about your guests leaving with a severe case of salmonella – and then the terrible etiquette of who gets to eat what.

Last summer, I witnessed a near fist fight between blokes at a barbie who were convinced they both had rights to the best piece of steak on the hot plate. Fair enough, too – if you have turned up to a barbecue with a packet of “may contain meat” sausages and then hungrily hover over someone else’s prime beef fillet or chicken kebab, you may receive a sharp slap with a wooden spoon or a good pounding with a chicken drumstick.

Isn’t the summertime wonderful!!!!!!

Saturday 1 August 2009

Attack of The Thong!!!

A village suffered a power cut after a black thong became tangled in overhead cables……….

The power cut happened in the Lincolnshire village of Leadenham on Wednesday afternoon after the thong was found wrapped in power lines above a croquet lawn.

The errant underwear was apparently attached to a helium balloon which had gone astray……Well…What ever turns you on!!

Heavy rain had caused the thong to short circuit the cables, cutting power to 17 homes and businesses in the village.

Andrew Barrow, a spokesman for electricity distribution company Central Networks, said: "Our engineers are used to dealing with the unexpected but I think this might be a first for us."

He added: "Flying objects do occasionally cause us problems but in this case it was more risque than risky.

"What we think happened in this case was the errant article was on the line for some time but it was the heavy rain on Tuesday – wet things conduct electricity – which led to the short circuit.

"The main thing to say here is that if people do see something on the lines, don't try and get them down yourselves, that is when it becomes dangerous."

Engineers have now restored power to the homes…..That’s a relief…..But there is still no idea on the whereabouts of the thong owner…..inquiries have so far “bottomed out”!!!!