Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nice News; The ASBO Answer?; Rajoy Repression; Bailout Bombast; Titanic Tribulations; Santorum Suspension; and Leeds Lamentations.

One of the news items which brightened my morning was that President Mugabe is close to death in a hospital in Singapore, some way away from the billions stolen from his countrymen and stashed away in Switzerland.

Another was that the UK might soon be able to get shot of the Islamic rabble-rouser Abu Hamza. AH has spent the last decade successfully avoiding extradition on the basis that European human rights law meant he couldn't be separated from his family. They do things differently in France and the simple reason is that, there, the courts are subordinate to the executive. Which can therefore do what it likes, in flagrant disregard of European law. Especially when there's a presidential election imminent. And the incumbent is behind in the polls.

Talking of criminals - An 87 year old Englishwoman has been served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, or ASBO. This is because she was irritating her neighbours with excess noise. Given that we learnt a couple of weeks ago that noise was the major problem for flat-dwelling Spaniards, maybe this is something to be introduced there. Called, perhaps, un Orden de Conducta Anti-Social. Or OCAS.

Which reminds me - An unwelcome bit of news today is that the Spanish government is going to make 'passive protest' a crime. More specifically "A crime against authority." Likewise, the calling of a peaceful protest should this ultimately turn violent. It all smells of the government getting its ducks in a row before civil unrest breaks out in response to the harsh austerity program it's committed to.

As for the economy . . . The Prime Minister, Sr Rajoy, is denying vehemently that Spain will follow Ireland, Portugal and Greece and seek an EU bailout. And insisting that Spain will continue along his 'reformist path'. Not everybody believes him. And, meanwhile, the euro crisis, as predicted a month ago, has well and truly returned. Except, no doubt, in the mind of M Sarkozy.

I see the Titanic memorial cruise got off to a bad start when it was delayed because of bad weather. How many people know that the real ship was prevented from calling at Liverpool en route to Southampton in 1912 for the same reason? I guess everyone who's been to one of the ten thousand exhibitions around the country.

So, Rick Santorum - in one of the world's longest speeches - has 'suspended' his campaign to become the Republican presidential candidate. Until when? Next week? Next year? The year 2016? Or the end of time? He didn't say. By the way, his real name is John.

You really know you are out of the loop when Facebook pays a billion dollars to buy a company you've never heard of. Why did it do it? Because it was there, it seems. And they didn't want Google to get it. And they had four billion dollars in cash in the bank, doing nothing.

Finally . . . Some really sad news. The University of Leeds has studied the lap-dancing clubs of the region and concluded that "Performance ability is in sharp decline" and that "Standards have dropped markedly." I wonder how they did their measuring.

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