Tuesday 30 April 2013


Robbers caught after leaving footprints in snow

Thieves were caught after police tracked footprints they left behind in the snow.

Two men held up a convenience store in Whitnash, Warwickshire Saturday morning (March 23), before they left with money and scratchcards, according to

Cops showed up to investigate the crime, taking advantage of the cold, snowy conditions to follow their footprints to a block of flats.

They obtained a second address through questioning and promptly made their way there to apprehend four suspects.

Six suspects in total were arrested that day, four of whom were eventually handed robbery charges.

Monday 29 April 2013


Mother buys 2-year-old daughter £4m New York apartment

A lucky toddler has been handed more than a silver spoon after her mother splashed out £4.25million for her on a luxury New York apartment.
The fortunate two-year-old may still be in diapers but it appears her future is already mapped out with the purchase of the luxury condo in the 90-storey Manhattan building.
Sotheby’s real estate Kevin Brown was showing a Chinese client around the property when she mentioned it would be for her daughter.
‘She said her daughter was going to go to Columbia, or NYU, or maybe Harvard,’ he told Chinese broadcaster CCTV.
‘She needed to be in the centre of the city and that was why she was picking this one particular apartment.
‘So I said, “Oh, how old is your daughter?” And she said, “Well, she’s 2″. And I was just shocked.’
The apartment, which is not yet finished, is situated in a glass skyscraper on 57th street overlooking Central Park.
It boasts facilities including an aquarium, swimming pool and a private concert hall.

Sunday 28 April 2013

Make Mine A large One!

Sea lion found relaxing in luxury Californian hotel

A sea lion pup decided life in the ocean wasn’t for her after pitching up inside a luxury Californian hotel.
Guests at the Pantai Inn in La Jolla were surprised to find the finned mammal propped up on chair at the patio bar.
Hotel employees said the female sea lion waddled its way across a street before deciding on relaxing in the comfort of the cushioned seat.
‘I got an email saying that we had a sea lion pup lounging on our patio,’ manager Shane Pappas told AFP. ‘The poor little girl was lost and malnourished.’
The 27.5lb creature is now ‘on the mend’ after experts from SeaWorld in San Diego came to her aid at the hotel.
She will be monitored for the next six weeks and nursed back to health before being released back into the wild.
A number of severely malnourished and dehydrated pups have been coming to shore along the Orange County coastline in recent weeks.
More sick sea lion pups have stranded themselves on southern California beaches so far in 2013 than in the previous five years combined, but scientists are still unsure what is afflicting the animals.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Who’s Justin Bieber??

Justin Bieber split from monkey at Munich airport

JUSTIN Bieber had to leave his pet monkey in quarantine after arriving in Germany last week without the necessary papers for the animal, an official said today.
The 19-year-old Canadian arrived at Munich Airport last Thursday.
Customs spokesman Thomas Meister said today that when the singer went through customs he did not have the documentation necessary to bring the capuchin monkey into the country - so the animal had to stay with authorities.
Bieber performed in Munich on Thursday night on the latest leg of his European tour. He is playing several concerts in Germany and Austria over the next week.
Bieber had a trying stay in London recently, first being booed by fans when he arrived late at a concert, then struggling with his breathing and fainting backstage at a show, and becoming involved in a fracas with a photographer outside his hotel.

Friday 26 April 2013

Young Afraid Of Cheese??

Stilton cheese under threat as young people 'afraid to eat the mould'

The future of Stilton cheese is under threat because young people are afraid to eat the mould, according to a new report.

Sales of Blue Stilton have plummeted among younger age groups with most people who buy the traditional delicacy approaching middle age, the latest research shows.
Industry experts say that the number of people under the age of 45 buying Blue Stilton has dropped by 18 per cent in the last two years alone.
Consumption by those under 30 years of age has slumped by 23 per cent and few people under the age of 25 would consider buying it regularly.
But cheese experts are warning that if the trend continues it could mean that Blue Stilton, which has been in production in the UK for almost 300 years, would only be available overseas.
Now British supermarket The Co-op has decided to step in to lend British Stilton producers a helping hand and has issued an emergency SOS – Save Our Stilton – to the people of Britain to protect Blue Stilton's unique flavours and taste for the future.
Cooperative cheese buyer Mark Cloudy said: "This cheese is part of Britain's heritage. We can't stand by and let it fade away – yet the people who like it are getting old.
"Millions of young people have been taught not to eat food with mould on it, and that view is having a catastrophic effect upon Blue Stilton. They take one look at the blue veins running through the cheese and then turn away.
"Ironically, while Blue Stilton is declining in popularity in Britain, overseas buyers can't get enough of it. The cheese is regarded as a supreme delicacy in Europe and across America, with buyers prepared to pay up to £30 a kilo – over three times the UK price.
The Cooperative, which actively supports British producers, is calling upon leading TV chefs to join their campaign to save the traditional cheese, as well as producing new customer recipes which using Stilton, it believes that the likes of Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and Nigel Slater have can play a vital role in making Stilton great again.
Mr Cloudy said: "Cookery programmes are watched by millions of people every week. Seeing British chefs using Blue Stilton would help a new generation of consumers to discover what a wonderful ingredient Blue Stilton is.
"We also want to make the cheese popular again to help British cheese producers. Local companies employing local people depend upon Stilton sales to make a living.
"We hope that our campaign will help Blue Stilton cheese makers of all sizes continue to thrive for decades to come" Industry expert say that the number of people under the age of 45 buying Blue Stilton has dropped by 18 per cent in the last two years alone."
Consumption by those under 30 years of age has dropped by 23 per cent. And few people under the age of 25 would consider buying it regularly.
Blue Stilton was first produced in Britain in 1730 and is named after the village of Stilton where the cheese was first made.
Blue mould is encouraged to grow on the cheese deliberately to create a distinctive acidic tang which blends perfectly with the cheese's rich, creamy texture – and it is perfectly safe to eat.
So highly regarded is the cheese that it is the only British variety to have been granted protected trademark status. Only Stilton made from pasteurised cows milk in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire can legally use the name.
Just five dairies currently make the cheese.
Traditionally Blue Stilton is eaten with port at Christmas, but is often used in classic recipes such as Stilton and Pear salad, and cream of celery or broccoli soup.
To enjoy the full flavours of Blue Stilton, it should be removed from the refrigerator approximately one hour before serving, to let the cheese reach room temperature.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Flat–Packed Cakes….Not!!

Ikea recalls cakes in 23 countries after sewage bacteria found

Ikea has recalled thousands of cakes from its stores in 23 countries after Chinese authorities identified high levels of bacteria normally found in human and animal waste.

The furniture giant admitted on Tuesday that coliform bacteria had been found in two batches of almond cake from a supplier in Sweden.
It comes after Chinese customs officials announced that they had destroyed a batch of 1,800 cakes after finding it contained high levels of coliforms which failed to meet hygiene standards.
Coliforms, common bacteria which are found in faeces as well as soil and water, do not normally cause serious illness but are a sign of contamination which can indicate the presence of more harmful bacteria such as E.coli.
It comes after Ikea recalled meatballs and sausages from 24 countries due to fears they could have been contaminated with horse meat.
Ikea said batches of the cakes sold in all countries had been tested, but no evidence of contamination was found in those sold in the UK and Ireland.
The affected batches of almond cake with chocolate and butterscotch all came from the same Swedish supplier which exports to stores across the world, the retailer said.
A spokesman said: "There is no health risk associated with consuming this product. The production batches have, as per safety and quality routines, been tested for bacteria that can cause health issues, such as E.coli, and none of these pathogen bacteria have been found.
"However, since the product does not comply with our strict food quality standards we have decided to withdraw the concerned production batches from sale in the 23 affected countries. The UK and Ireland are not affected."
The 23 countries in which almond cake was withdrawn were: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Veggies Be Warned!

Salad is more dangerous than beefburgers, leading food expert warns

Salad labelled as "ready-to-eat" is more dangerous than beefburgers, one of Britain`s top food experts has said, following a spate of Cryptosporidium infections linked to the product.

Certain types of bacteria found in the pre-cut salad bags can be almost impossible to kill, Professor Hugh Pennington said, unless the leaves are irradiated – a process the public would oppose.
His claim follows a Health Protection Agency investigation into an outbreak of salad-linked Cryptosporidium infections that affected around 300 people in England and Scotland in May.
In the analysis of the exposure to different salad vegetables a significant statistical association was found between infection and the consumption of pre-cut spinach.
When specific retailers were included in the analysis, the strongest association with infection was found to be with consumption of ready to eat pre-cut mixed salad leaves from a major supermarket chain.
"Together these findings suggest that one or more types of salad vegetables could have been contaminated," said the HPA.
Professor Pennington said the case also followed on from several in the USA where they are "very worried" about "washed and ready-to-eat" bagged salad.
Last year produce giant Dole issued a recall on its American Blend bagged salad in 10 states in those two regions, after the Tennessee Department of Health found listeria bacteria in one sample.
Demand for salad has boomed because of healthily eating campaigns. But salad is considered one of the products most likely to cause food-related illness – largely because greens are grown directly in the soil, and some pathogens can only be killed by heat or strong detergents, not just water.
Professor Pennington said: "It is generally safer to eat a burger than the salad that goes with it.
"Despite the recent horsemeat and other scandals, the meat can be traced and through a rigorous process that checks for its quality etc.
"That does not exist to the same rigour for salad. You can only make vegetables safe by cooking and you can`t obviously do that with salad.
"You could irradiate it – but that would be a `no, no` with the public. You just can`t be absolutely sure that the bagged salad you are buying – which has been put through a chemical wash to kill the bugs, is actually free of them.
"These bugs are very good at clinging on to salad and the risk from cryptosporidium, salmonella and listeria is very real.
"I would advise people to thoroughly wash salad even when it says it has been washed and is ready to eat."
Bagged salad on sale in supermarkets is often sourced from the same suppliers for most leaf types, often with common production lines packing product for several retailers at the same time.
Professor Pennington also pointed out that a bean sprout farm in northern Germany was identified as the most likely source of many of the infections in the E. coli outbreak that left 22 people dead in 2011.
The farm, located in Uelzen, south of Hamburg, was the epicentre of the outbreak that has also made more than 2,000 people ill.
Professor Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said the biggest E.coli outbreak happened in Japan in 1996 and involved radish sprouts.
"My understanding is that this farm in Germany was an organic one and there are more risks with organic food. For example organic chicken has more bugs than non-organic because they spend longer in the field and have wild bird droppings on them etc.
"Vegetables are fine and safe if they are cooked in the traditional British way of boiling them to death. The only danger comes when you eat them raw.
"Sometimes the spouts are contaminated to start with and they can get contaminated when spouting in the steaming process.
"At the end of the day the responsibility falls on the people who produce food. But much of our vegetables are now grown in countries who do not necessarily have the same hygiene standards.
"At the end of the day there has to be trust who is in supplying you with your food. The consumer has no way of knowing how the food has been produced. The consumer is not in a position to know all that has gone on."
Professor Pennington headed the investigation into the E.coli outbreak in Wishaw which claimed the lives of 20 elderly people in 1996.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

He Saves The Day!

Cold caller saves pensioner's life

A cold caller saved a pensioner's life when he rang her while she was having a stroke.

They are one of the biggest sources of irritation for people who find themselves at home during the day.
But for 84-year-old Jessica Robbins a cold caller attempting to sell her solar panels became an unlikely hero when he rang her while she was having a stroke.
Simon Shepherd, 25, who was in the second day of his job at an energy firm in Tamworth, Staffs., called an ambulance for Jessica Robbins when it became clear she was struggling to breathe.
When he rang the pensioner on March 12 Mr Shepherd initially asked how she was “doing today”.
To his shock, Mrs Robbins, who lives on her own, said she believed she had just had a stroke.
“She told me she was lying face down on her living room floor, unable to move,” Mr Shepherd, from Tamworth, said.
“She said she couldn’t breathe properly and I just felt sick. It sounds strange to say but it sounded like she was dying. A lot of people make bizarre things up to get us off the phone but I knew that this was something different.
“She couldn’t breathe properly and sounded panicked – terrified. She told me she couldn’t move and thought she’d had a stroke.
“An elderly woman living on her own is all alone and it’s terrifying circumstances to find yourself in. She’s someone’s mum, someone’s grandma, a neighbour and there was no one to help her.”
Mr Shepherd stayed on the phone to reassure Mrs Robbins before ending the call. He immediately told his manager, Craig Siviter, who dialled 999. He asked for an ambulance to be sent to Mrs Robbins’ house in Walsall, in the West Midlands – around 15 miles from the company’s offices.
Mr Shepherd then called Mrs Robbins again to tell her an ambulance was on its way.
Paramedics entered her flat with the help of a neighbour and found Mrs Robbins lying on the floor. She was taken to hospital - where she made a full recovery.
She said: "I am very grateful to the young man, he was very good with me on the phone, he went above and beyond for me.
"My father had a couple of strokes like this but I've got the feeling back and I've got the young lad to thank for that, and the ambulance service."

Monday 22 April 2013


Jailed Hacker Cracked Prison Network

Nicholas Webber, jailed for 5 years for creating a hacker’s forum website, was accidentally invited into an IT class in prison. As you might guess, the consequences of this move appeared difficult.

Now the prison authorities are arguing about who let it happen, but it actually doesn’t matter any more. For some reason, Nicholas Webber was allowed into an IT class in his prison, despite the fact that he was serving 5 years for launching a website called GhostMarket. The latter allowed people interested in writing computer viruses to partake of stolen IDs and enjoy private credit card data to congregate.

The hacker was caught using hacked personal data to purchase everything from smart devices to hotel stays. Although one might have thought that an IT class would have been dull for such expert, in fact inviting him to an IT class encouraged him to enjoy a little mischief. In result, the computer network at Her Majesty’s Prison Isis, South London, was hacked.

The mistake which led to the hacking back in 2011 has only come to light after the teacher at the IT class in jail, Michael Fox, launched a lawsuit against the college which employed him for unfair dismissal. The teacher claims he wasn’t aware that Webber had been a hacker. However, Prison Isis banned him and sent notes to other prisons that his talents were allegedly imperfect. As a result, Kensington and Chelsea College also laid him off.

According to the representatives of the prison, at the time of this incident the educational computer system at Isis was a closed network, without access to personal data or wider access to the worldwide web or other prison systems. However, the press reports announced that a “major panic” ensued. Michael Fox told an employment tribunal that the perceived problem was there was a tutor who had consequently been excluded by the jail and charged with allowing a hacker to crack the jail’s network.

Of course, someone must have known that Nicholas Webber was charged for hacking before he went to the IT class – the individual was sometimes referred to as a “notorious cyber-criminal”. It is unclear who might it have been if not Fox.

Her Majesty’s Prison Isis specializes in criminals under 25 and is located next to Her Majesty’s Prison, Belmarsh. It is also considered to be a maximum security facility. In the meantime, after the accident the BBC reported that the prison had been “bedeviled” with faulty technology.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Buzz Off!

Millions Of Bees Clog Oregon Highway

Oregon's newest bee farm was Highway 97.
Half a billion honey bees buzzed for days along the highway before they were rescued on Thursday, Portland's KGW-TV reported.
The bees had been stranded since Sunday evening, following the crash of a commercial truck carrying 200 hives.
Police said driver Martin Garcia swerved to miss an animal in the road and the truck rolled on its side, The Madras Pioneer reported.
The truck was removed that evening, but the trailer and the beehive load were left waiting for roadside assistance.
Four days later, apprentices from the Central Oregon Beekeepers Association worked for nearly 12 hours straight, picking up each the 200 spilled hives by hand.
The rescued honey-makers were examined at a nearby farm before being sent to their original destination.

Saturday 20 April 2013

God Save Us??

Naked gravestone-straddling escort told ‘there’s a time and place’

A vicar has suggested there is a ‘time and a place’ to celebrate the beauty of the human body after an escort posted naked pictures of herself clambering over a gravestone at a Kent village church.
The woman, known only as Gemma, 22, from Margate, posted nude photos of herself inside the Grade I 15th century listed Bartholomew Church, Goodnestone, Faversham, to a website in a bid to entice would-be clients.
As well as pictured on all-fours over a grave and crucifix, Gemma – who describes herself as ‘filthy’ and offering ‘domination and sensual fetish sessions’ – can be seen straddling the alter.
Reverend Andy Bawtree pointed out to the Dover Express: ‘Although God made the human body a beautiful thing, there is a time and a place for it.’

He added: ‘I think this is just sad that this young lady has decided to use the church, which is a big part of the community as it houses the post office, in this manner.
‘It’s a place of joy and worship. Surely there’s a better place to meet people.’
A spokesman for Churches Conservation Trust, which manages the building, said: ‘We’re very sorry to hear pictures of this nature have been taken at our church without our permission.
‘Our churches are open to all as heritage attractions and places of peace and calm.
‘We expect visitors to treat the buildings with the respect they deserve, as well as being respectful of the local community and their use of these buildings.’

Friday 19 April 2013

It’s In The Genes?

Half Brothers Arrested in Separate Armed Robberies

Half brothers and former football players from Kutztown University are charged in separate crimes

Two men in Pennsylvania who are former members of the Kutztown University football team have been arrested. Shahaid and Kali Smith, who are half brothers, are facing charges in separate armed robberies that happened on and off campus.
A spokesman for Kutztown University says Shahaid Smith, 19, was arrested Thursday in connection with an armed robbery of an on-campus dorm. Police say in the early morning hours of March 8, students were inside their room at Deatrick Hall when they heard a knock at the door.
When they opened it, police say they were met by three masked men dressed in black. Two of the men were armed, according to investigators. The intruders allegedly struck one of the students, searched the room and then left without taking anything.
Kali Smith was also arrested Thursday and charged in connection with an incident that happened off-campus, according to a Kutztown University spokesman.
The charges were linked to an armed robbery that happened at an off-campus house in March of 2012, according to the Reading Eagle.
Shahaid Smith is a special education major. His brother, Kali, is a business administration major.
Both have been placed on interim suspension from Kutztown University.

Thursday 18 April 2013

EU Porn…A Change Of Heart!

Europe Changed Its Mind over Online Porn

Just a few days ago it looked like the European Parliament was decided to ban online porn and tried to force ISPs to start doing so. However, the bill, which was to provide a blanket ban for porn, was itself censored before going before members.

The European Parliament took a decision to strike out the lively discussed extension of “media” into the worldwide web, effectively limiting the ban to advertising along with some undefined print media. They also removed a reference to the criminalization of any dissent against the report and the turning of broadband providers into thought cops from the bill.

With these amendments, all that is left for the Pirate Party to complain about was a decision to filter out its protests on the issue and to hide how the representatives voted on the report. According to the Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, the legislation was dangerous to free speech, and it was also so broad that it even prevented sending sexual media between couples. Moreover, it would have even resulted in the criminalization of sexting.

The legislation was actually designed to prevent the use of sexist advertising and the sexualization of children and women in the media, as well as to stop the advertising of sex tourism. However, the bill appeared so general that it could be used to cover all forms of communication. This is a good thing that everything, which expanded “the media” in the bill to the web, was deleted before the vote.

What has miffed the Pirate Party founder was that the European Parliament responded by shutting off constituents’ protests. It seems that some Members of European Parliament had complained to the Parliament’s IT staff about emails from citizens protesting against the bill. As a result, protests against this report were classified as spam while countless emails protesting agricultural subsidies were still coming in to the MEPs’ inboxes. The Pirate Party claims that someone had rewritten the spam filter in such way that any mail containing the words “gender stereotypes” was recognized as spam.

The Pirate Party complained that Parliament didn’t care to do a so-called “roll call vote”, which is a vote where it shows who voted how. This means that they just decided collectively to disable their constituents from holding them accountable. Anyway, in the end the vote wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Good Business Plan??

Computer Error Killed T-shirt Business

One of the popular online T-shirt selling companies that had offices in the United Kingdom has recently been knocked out of business. It reportedly was a computer error which resulted in it advertising the company’s wares on Amazon glorifying rape, murder and sex crimes.

Design company Solid Gold Bomb seems to have lived up to its name. Nobody expected that dozens of T-shirts with offensive slogans like “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot” or “Keep Calm and Kill Her” would appear on Amazon.

The T-shirts were sold on Amazon, but the retailer has now suspended the company’s account after an uproar that saw Solid Gold Bomb accused of making money from domestic violence. The company was set up in Melbourne by Michael Fowler. Its founder told in the interview that he was completely oblivious to the outcry until he saw the news on the company’s Facebook page.

Before the accident Michael Fowler was receiving 300 to 1,700 orders per day, but since the scandal broke, his sales plunged to as few as 3 the very next day. Fowler admitted he might have to shut down his venture in a few days. The founder has plastered Solid Gold Bomb's official site with an apology message, and explained that this happened due to a “computer error”.

Reportedly, the story was the following: Fowler created a range of parody “Keep Calm” T-shirts and wrote a “three-line script” which was supposed to harness electronic dictionaries and verb lists in order to automatically generate phrases for the T-shirts. As a result, he ended up with thousands of various options on Amazon with the help of what is claimed to be a “100% automated process”.

The problem is that Fowler didn’t realize that the process in question could create offensive T-shirts or that any of them were on sale until the scandal blew up. Once he knew about the situation, he cancelled orders he had got for the T-shirts since that day.

He issued an apology message to explain the situation and promised that as a father, husband, brother and son, he would have never promoted a product like that (which seems logic). Fowler claimed this was never his intention and he was extremely sorry for the trouble this carelessness caused.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Copyright Trolls!!


EFF Defends Critics from Copyright Trolls

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is currently trying to protect a couple of blogs that got caught up in a lawsuit launched by a copyright troll law firm. Paul Duffy and Prenda Law have filed a lawsuit against two watchdog blogs run by anonymous authors: FightCopyrightTrolls and DieTrollDie. The law firm insists that the blogs were defamed.

The company complained that the bloggers and their commenters defamed Duffy and his company, regardless of the free speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. Nevertheless, the EFF believes that the real intent of the legal moves was to silence the blogs and therefore represented an abuse of the legal process to punish critics.

According to EFF staff attorney Mitch Stoltz, the law firm served a subpoena on Automattic, the company which owns the WordPress blogging platform, and called for the IP addresses of all visitors to both websites.

Already Automattic has refused to the law firm, explaining that the move was “legally deficient and objectionable” and represented a violation of the First Amendment right to speak anonymously. According to the EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo, the subpoena was improper under the First Amendment and therefore failed to comply with the simple rules for pre-trial discovery.

In the meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out that the subpoenas create a chilling effect among people who have spoken out against the law firm. In fact, this isn’t the first time that copyright trolls have made attempts to bring down such blogs using legal threats. However, thus far they haven’t succeeded and the lawsuits have been dropped.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Those Canadians??

Canada Still Sues Canadian File-Sharers

Nine years ago Canada saw its first major lawsuit filed by BMG Canada Inc. and a number of other music labels against some Canadian file-sharers. The entertainment industry asked the ISPs to reveal the names and addresses of the suspected infringers. This case became a milestone for other copyright lawsuits which were filed afterwards and set the frivolous balance between privacy and copyright. BMG’s request was denied.
Since 2011, a number of similar cases emerged, and a couple of them were of great importance. Such behaviour could be explained by the affinity of the US for such cases, where a bunch of anonymous file-sharers are brought to justice. In case ISPs want to cooperate, the alleged infringers are forced to either settle for a certain amount or go to trial. Although the effectiveness of such approach has been debated in certain circles, the Canadian legal system seems to catch up to these methods and is ready to apply them.

Talking about the BMG case, despite the fact that BMG appealed the court decision not to force ISPs to reveal personal details about their subscribers, the Federal Court denied its appeal. This ruling resulted from the company’s failed attempts to provide with hard evidence of the violation. In addition, the court pointed to the fact that BMG couldn’t prove the necessity of involving ISPs, because details of the alleged infringers could have been obtained from iMesh or KaZaA.

Another similar case started a couple years ago, with Voltage Pictures LLC suing at least 34 alleged file-sharers. The company filed a motion where it requested the names and addresses of the defendants. In result, the motion was granted, because the Federal Court claimed that pirates shouldn’t hide behind IP addresses.

Late last year, NGN Prima Production Inc. also filed a lawsuit against a number of anonymous copyright infringers. The studio asked the court to force ISPs to release their subscribers’ names and addresses, and by the end of the year the motion was granted.

As you can see, it turned out that this method of dealing with copyright violators is slowly but surely becoming the easiest and most effective way of giving copyright owners what they want, regardless of privacy concerns and ethics. Not so good for the Canadians, though.

Saturday 13 April 2013

It’s Started!!

“Six-Strikes” Regime Now Active in America

Now American citizens will be “properly educated” about copyright: they will find out what unauthorized file-sharing means and what price they will have to pay if they break the rules. In other words, the so-called “six-strikes” regime is finally enforced and ready to take on piracy.
Jill Lesser, an executive director at the Center For Copyright Information, claimed these days are the beginning of a new era of file-sharers in the United States, namely the implementation phase of the Copyright Alert System (CAS). Lesser announced that implementation marks the culmination of long work on this “ground breaking and collaborative” attempt to fight Internet piracy and promote the legal use of digital music, films and TV shows. The Copyright Alert System offers a new way to reach users who may participate in P2P piracy.

In the meantime, industry observers point out that the good news is that the “six-strikes” system doesn’t include disconnection from the Internet. Nevertheless, users who get caught downloading copyrighted material may have to deal with throttling bandwidth, a downgrade to their online package, and a connection bypass. These measures may be applied to the infringers until they complete an Internet education program on copyright.

In short words, after you receive a warning letter as a first strike, you can file a request to challenge the accusation by paying a fee of $35. In case the accusation appears false, you’ll get your money back.

The CCI explained that public Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t to be tempered with, along with business networks. In a few days the participating Internet service providers are expected to start rolling out the system. In other words, the anti-piracy outfit’s content partners will start sending notices of alleged copyright infringement to broadband providers, who will start forwarding those notices as Copyright Alerts to their subscribers.

The next move seems to differ across Internet providers. For instance, AT&T admitted it may block its subscribers’ access to the most popular “notorious” websites until they complete a copyright course, while Verizon was going to temper with repeated infringers’ download and upload speeds. As for TWC, this one might even temporarily block access to the web.

Friday 12 April 2013

We Control Your Browser!!

US ISP Will Hijack Subscribers’ Browsers

Since nobody in the United States thought it was a good idea to reign in the entertainment industry, it is currently acceptable for an Internet service provider to hijack a suspect infringer’s browser.

One of the largest American providers, Comcast, has explained how it is going to deal with its subscribers under the new “six-strikes” legislation. After 4 notifications the broadband provider will hijack Internet browsers of suspected serial pirates with annoying pop-ups. As you can understand, this will effectively make it impossible to browse the web, and the pop-up will only go away after the subscriber resolves the problem with a Customer Security Assurance representative.

Like other Internet service providers, Comcast starts out with alerts to inform its users that their account has been used to infringe copyright, sending out emails containing details of the suspected infringement. However, after 4 warnings, the repeated infringers will enter the so-called “mitigation phase”, which means that their service will be interrupted by the ISP.

It is still unclear how the subscribers will manage to resolve the problem and what they will have to do. In the meantime, Comcast points out that the infringers won’t lose their account under the copyright alert program – in fact, they just won’t be able to use it. In addition, the ISP assures its subscribers that the browser hijack system has been tested for years, and it is supposed to work smoothly. It seems that the company believes its technology is unsinkable.

It turned out that this technology has been used to alert the users when their computer is infected by a malicious bot. However, it hasn’t been tested against a subscriber who fought against it. The ISP can be asked to hand over IP addresses of serial pirates if they fail to stop infringing. In fact, this move of Comcast will mean an end to the Open Wireless Movement, which has been allowing subscribers to share their access to the Internet with neighbors or complete strangers.

Industry experts admit that this measure is unlikely to be effective. What is more likely to happen is that people will switch to VPN providers and BitTorrent proxies – real infringers know how to avoid detection. Still, the move proves that the owners of automatic weapons have more freedoms in the United States than Internet users.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Microsoft + Tax = No!!

Microsoft Owes $1 billion in Europe's Taxes

It recently turned out that Steve Ballmer had skimped on paying Danish taxes called Danegeld. The latter is what civilized nations pay to the government in order to make sure that they don’t get invaded by Vikings. They say that the last person in England who avoided paying these taxes was Aethelred the unready, and it didn’t end well for him.

According to the local press, Microsoft owes the Danish Treasury about a billion dollars in what appeared to be its largest tax avoidance case. In the meantime, the country’s government is trying to work out a way of getting its paws on its money without having to pillage New York, like it did plain old York. If Denmark manages to squeeze the cash out of the software giant, it could finance a new super hospital, build the next Silkeborg Motorway or pay salary to 15,000 teachers.

Everything started when the software giant acquired the Danish IT outfit Navision. Microsoft set the price of the rights to the Navision program much lower than the market level and finally let its Irish subsidiary purchase the rights of its Danish subsidiary.

In other words, the value of the Danish company was made too small to be taxed. Indeed, if the software company had its way it would get a refund. The statistics say that Microsoft’s Danish subsidiary previously earned $11 billion, which means the taxes due should be almost $5 billion plus interest of $0.8 billion. But Ireland taxes are much lower than those of Denmark.

In response, Microsoft claims it has obeyed all the rules, but the company received a nasty surprise after it got its tax bill and a following Danish investigation. Apparently, the software giant has done a sterling job to hide its money from the tax authorities for years now and managed to exploit every loophole it could find. Nevertheless, with most European countries short of cash, and other tax payers bled dry, multinational corporations are supposed to finally be told to stop being bludgers. Let’s see if there’s any result.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Watch Out!

Movie Company to Sue 34 Internet Users

Voltage Pictures LLC is a movie studio whose name has become popular in the industry after it released a blockbuster “The Hurt Locker”. The outfit has filed a lawsuit against 34 users alleged of pirating its films.
Voltage Pictures LLC has won a few Academy Awards in the past, and now is making attempts to receive $180.000 in damages from each of the 34 Internet users, accusing them of copying and distributing a last year’s movie “Maximum Conviction” without their consent.

According to the company’s complaint, the defendants are from Medford, Talent, Central Point, Shady Cove, Klamath Falls and Brookings. The movie studio wants $30,000 for copyright infringement plus $150,000 in statutory damages from each of them. However, the names of the infringers are yet unknown, because the movie studio only had their IP addresses. This means that ISPs, including Charter Communications, Clearwire Corp., CenturyLink, Embarq Corp. and Frontier Corp., would be ordered to disclose the names behind those IP addresses to identify the defendants. The lawsuit claims that taking into account the readily available pirated copies of the films and the ease at which they can be illegally downloaded at an almost anonymous level, lots of Internet users feel justified in their theft of movies.

In the meantime, Voltage Pictures LLC wasn’t the only company that suffered from such act of online theft. Another victim is Charlie McHenry, a co-founder of the video-game company called Trilobyte Games Co, whose product also got pirated. McHenry said that the larger tension is between the rights owners and people who believe in universal access. While stressing the fact that distributing copyrighted material is no joke, McHenry also claimed that monetary penalties are usually way too often blown out of proportions.

In fact, most of the infringers are underage guys who don’t necessarily realize that what they are doing is illegal. Kids may be experimenting with the worldwide web and unintentionally be breaking the law. And they or their parents are demanded to pay up to $180,000 in damages.

While Trilobyte Games Co is sending notices of desist each time one of its games gets pirated and downloaded, the movie companies keep suing large groups of Internet users, asking for damages which, in most cases, are impossible to comply with.

It begs the question “Who would want to download & watch Maximum Conviction anyway”?

Monday 8 April 2013

Phone Unlocked….Go To Jail??

Phone Unlocking Petition Got Over 100,000 Signatures

It turned out that a White House online petition to lift the phone unlocking ban has already gathered over 110,000 signatures. Since the threshold for “We the People” petitions is 100,000, now the government will have to review or at least reply to the petition.
The controversial ban was introduced in the beginning of the year and under this new legislation anyone who dares to unlock their own phone in the United States could face up to five years of prison time along with a $500,000 fine. Industry observers were not happy to hear such news. For example, Forbes described the new law as a “clear example” of copyright legislation gone crazy (which is true). In the meantime, the lawmakers pointed out that the underlying law is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, better known as DCMA. However, applying the legislation to cell phone unlocking is, we would say, a stretch.

Actually, the ban is considered as an example of crony capitalism, which is nothing new in post-Citizens United America. For example, this ban allows corporations to control how their gear is used after it is sold – this obviously violates property rights. Although phone companies may claim that they are renting their devices on 2-year plans, they actually are not – at least not now.

Industry experts compared the situation to the one when a car company is telling its clients that they can’t install new alloys. In the meantime, buying a modular assault rifle is still legitimate in the United States, and the accessory market is growing rapidly. Indeed, in most states you can install everything from a bayonet to a high-powered scope and high capacity magazine on almost any rifle, and it is absolutely legal. Yet unlocking a cell phone can lead you to a courtroom, facing some serious jail time...

Sunday 7 April 2013

Correct Grammar?….Not in Mid-Devon!

Council bans apostrophes from all street signs to avoid 'confusion'

A council has sparked fury from residents after banning apostrophes from street signs to avoid potential confusion.

Mid-Devon District Council said its new streets had not contained apostrophes for many years but the policy was now being made official.
Residents and plain English campaigners criticised the move, but the council said apostrophes could only be found in three street names in the district.
It added that Beck's Square and Blundell's Avenue both in Tiverton and St George's Well in Cullompton were all named many years ago.
Andrew Lacey, of Mid-Devon District Council, said there was no national guidance that stops apostrophes being used.
But proofreader Mary de Vere Taylor from Ashburton said the thought of apostrophes being removed made her shudder.
"It's almost as though somebody with a giant eraser is literally trying to erase punctuation from our consciousness," she said.
"To me there's something terribly British and terribly reassuring about well-written and well-punctuated writing.
"Some may say I should get a life and get out more but if I got out more and saw place names with no apostrophes where there should be I shudder to think how I'd react."
Ms de Vere Taylor said while she accepted language had to evolve, she felt the council's decision was a backwards step.
Steve Jenner from the Plain English Campaign said punctuation including the apostrophe was one of the basic rules of language. The council's decision as "nonsensical", he said.
Mid-Devon Council declined to comment further and did not elaborate on who might be confused by the use of correct punctuation.

Saturday 6 April 2013

A Bed For The Night?

Sleepwalking woman found in hedge nine miles from home

A farmer's wife was found in a hedge nine miles from her home after she sleepwalked out of the kitchen window.

Joy Grigg sparked a major police search in Cornwall on Wednesday morning (March 13) after her husband Richard awoke to find her missing and the kitchen window open.

The 50-year-old mother-of-two was found in a hedge on Thursday evening by a member of the public, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Richard said: "It is so great that she has been found. She is currently in hospital, and we just want to get out lives back together and try and get things back to normal.

"We are all very relieved and are very much looking forward to her coming home."

Richard also revealed that this is not the first time his wife has sleepwalked away from home.

He said: "She has wandered off before, about six or seven weeks ago in January, that time she ended up around five miles away.

"We managed to bring her back after I kept calling her mobile and eventually the vibration in her pocket woke her up."

Friday 5 April 2013

You’re Banned!

Man Banned From "All Libraries on the Face of the Earth"

Wisconsin man accused of lewd behaviour and disorderly conduct.

The court really threw the book at this guy.
A 20-year-old Wisconsin man accused of engaging in lewd behavior in a library has been banned from "all the libraries on the face of the earth."
Tyree S. Carter, of Racine, is charged with misdemeanor counts of lewd behavior and disorderly conduct. He's due in court next month for a pre-trial conference.
A Journal Times of Racine report says Carter is accused of openly masturbating in the Racine Public Library last week. A witness told investigators Carter was out in the open, not trying to conceal his act.
The criminal complaint says he apologized to responding police officers.
His signature bond was set at $1,000. Court records say as a condition of his bond, he was told to "stay out of all the libraries on the face of the earth."

Thursday 4 April 2013


Rare Chinese Bottle Vase Sells For Almost £1m

The eight-inch vase was inherited by an academic in Oxford who had no idea it was worth anything.

A small Chinese vase that was valued at £10,000 to £15,000 has sold at auction - for almost £1m.
The extremely rare 18th-century ornament, made for a Chinese emperor, was brought to Britain by the seller's family more than a century ago.
Although it is only 20cm (8in) high, an anonymous telephone buyer in Hong Kong paid around 100 times its estimated value.
Tennants' auction rooms in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, said they were "very pleased" with the result.
Associate director Nigel Smith said the blue and white bottle vase, made for the Qianlong Emperor in around 1730, was put up for sale by an academic who lives in Oxford.
He said: "It really is a museum-quality piece and these things very rarely come on the market.
"It's come down through the family - one of their relatives was a diplomat in China in the 1880s and was given it as a gift."
He said the unnamed owner had contacted Tennants after learning that a similar item had sold for £2.6m last November.
Mr Smith said he was shocked at the £950,000 the tiny vase made at the Spring Fine Art Sale.
"Despite the low valuation, we expected it to fetch in excess of half a million, but we were very pleased with the result," he said.
He added: "I haven't spoken to the vendor but I expect he's rather happy, too."
The seller's grandmother, Lady Ethel Margaret Stronge, left the vase to his mother, Mrs Rose Ethel Richardson of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, who in turn gave it to her son.
Lady Ethel Margaret was married to Sir Francis Stronge who joined the diplomatic service in London in 1879 and went to Peking in the same year.
He went on to serve in the Supreme Court in Shanghai in 1885 before working in Central America from 1897 to 1907.
The vase had been kept in a house in North Yorkshire for 45 years and the owner had no idea it was valuable until he got in touch with Tennants.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Never To Young!!

9-Year-Old Among 4 Charged in Carjacking

The 9-year old was arrested in connection with an armed robbery at a McDonalds last month

A 9-year-old boy was reportedly one of four people arrested Thursday night in connection with a carjacking in Chicago's East Side neighborhood.
The boy was in the stolen car with two 15-year-olds and a 14-year-old Thursday night when they were arrested for allegedly pointing a pellet gun at the driver of a 2003 Pontiac Sunfire and driving away in the vehicle.
The charges were denied against the boy, who was released into the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, but the three older boys were charged with aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm and one of the 15-year-olds, the driver, was charged with aggravated possession of a stolen vehicle, police said, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The 9-year-old and the 14-year-old were both arrested in connection with an armed robbery at a McDonalds last month, according to the Tribune.

Monday 1 April 2013


Father writes heartwarming letter of acceptance to gay son

A father has written a letter of acceptance to his gay son Nate after he overheard his plans to come out.
Nate was on the phone to Mike the previous night when he said he was going to reveal the truth about his sexuality to his parents.
However, Nate's father responded by leaving a note with him, saying: "I've known you were gay since you were six. I've loved you since you were born.
"Your mom and I think you and Mike make a cute couple."
According to Gawker, Nate sent in a picture of the letter to FCKH8, who posted it on their Facebook. The photo has been widely shared on the internet since.
FCKH8 stated: "We hope it sets a good example for fathers to love their kids the way they were born.
"The fact that it has been shared by so many sadly means that this kind of acceptance is both too rare and deeply craved by LGBT people so used to being rejected by families."