Taken by surprise
4 hours ago
I am not a sheep, I have my own mind
I have had enough of being told what and how to think
Whilst we are still allowed the remnants of free speech,
I will speak out.
I also reserve the right to discuss music, geekery, sport and Doctor Who
" FRANCE HAS reacted with shock and outrage to a decision by the high court in Lille to annul a marriage because the bride was not a virgin.
The case involving a Muslim couple has revived fears that France's second religion is eroding the country's secular tradition.
Two years ago, a 30-year-old French engineer, a convert to Islam, married a 20-year-old Muslim nursing student in the northern town of Roubaix. She had assured her fiance that she was a virgin.
The last of 500 wedding guests were still drinking mint tea in the hotel reception when the bridegroom returned, distraught because there were no bloodstains on the sheets of the marital bed. He contacted his lawyer the following morning to file for annulment. His bride later admitted she had had sexual intercourse before marriage.
"He felt tricked," the groom's lawyer, Xavier Labbée, a specialist in family law, told Le Parisien. "He couldn't imagine building a lasting union based on a lie. The court understood."
The tribunal based its decision on article 180 of the French civil code, which says: "If there was an error about the person, or about the essential qualities of the person, the other spouse may demand the annulment of the marriage.""
"Three meals a day, chosen by Huntley from an extensive menu, are delivered to the 12ft x 10ft room where the pressures of serving a life sentence are alleviated by his personal freeview TV, a Sony CD player, stereo and Nintendo games console."
"If it was really true that you could hire a woman for three quarters of what you could hire a man with exactly the same qualifications, then employers would be crazy not to hire all women. It would be insane to hire men. Not only would it be insane, it would probably put them out of the business because the ones that were smart enough to hire women would have such a cost advantage that it would be really hard for the others to compete."
"Melbourne University social researcher Mark Wooden said men were earning on average 15 per cent more than women because they put in more time at the workplace.
“All high achievers in all walks of life … put in long hours into their activity,” Professor Wooden said.
“It’s (the pay equity gap) got a lot to do with the fact that women are not prepared to work longer hours.”"
"Daniel Rozen ... designed a wooden mirror from 830 small wooden panels controlled by a computer and connected to a small camera communicating with hundreds of tiny motors. To display dark parts the mirror uses dark brown sides of the panels and for light parts light sides of the panels are used."
"Police are targeting the law-abiding middle classes over minor misdemeanours so they can meet government targets, a report claims.
Officers are having to put Home Office targets before serving the public and are becoming increasingly alienated from ordinary people as a result.
The public find officers to be "rude" and accuse them of neglecting their duties and failing to respond to reports of crime.
The report, by the think-tank Civitas, said political interference meant incidents that might previously have been regarded as innocuous were now treated as crimes. "
"Former prime minister Tony Blair has promised to "spend the rest of my life" uniting the world's religions
He said faith could be a "civilising force in globalisation", bringing people together to solve problems such as malaria and extreme poverty.
Mr Blair, who is now a peace envoy to the Middle East, told Time magazine that religious belief had given him "strength" while in power."
"He is launching a "faith foundation" in New York on Friday."
"I had an uncle who was one of the, um, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family is that when he came home he just went up in the attic and he didn't leave the house for six months."
"He launched into a tirade. His face reddened, his finger jabbed...
“Right then,” he shouted. “I want you to justify every single word you wrote.”
“Are you quite sure?” I checked. This was going to be embarrassing. So I took a deep breath and began. “Well, you punched a voter and you stuck two fingers up in Downing Street. That shows that you lose your rag too easily - as evidenced today, in fact.”
“AS EVIDENCED TODAY?” he bellowed, his face by now beetroot, his fists clenched.
“Yes, I've been talking perfectly calmly while you've been shouting and jabbing your finger at me. I don't think that's appropriate behaviour in a Deputy Prime Minister.”
The final straw was his inability to string a sentence together. “I've not had the fine education you had,” was his justification. “You're just a snob.”
“I'm not,” I retorted. “I have no problem with Alan Johnson or John Reid or David Blunkett. They all come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they didn't go to private schools and they still manage to articulate what they want to say. It's nothing to do with snobbery and nothing to do with your education.” If a man couldn't speak clearly, I said, it was a sign that he couldn't think clearly either.
That was when he finally lost it. “So what you're saying is I'm too thick to be Deputy Prime Minister?” he yelled at me.
His two apparatchiks stiffened. “Well, yes, I guess I am,” I said in a small voice.
He, meanwhile, raced off to No 10 to see Blair. I later heard that he said, “I've just had that Mary Ann Sieghart in”, to which Blair replied, “That's nice”. “No it wasn't,” said Prescott, still furious. “She told me I was too thick to be Deputy Prime Minister.” Blair did the worst possible thing and laughed. “Well, she's not the only one who thinks that,” he chuckled."
"...our MPs seem to forget that they already receive more than £60,000 a year for just 34 weeks’ work and enjoy the most generous pension scheme in Britain. An ordinary person would have to put an incredible £50,000 each year into their pension savings to receive the same pension benefits as an MP.
In the last five years alone, the amount of money our MPs have taken in salaries and expenses has gone up by a satisfying (for them) 64 per cent, from less than £100m in 2001–02 to over £155m in 2006–07, while the number of expense claims submitted by MPs has almost doubled from just over 30,000 a year to close to 60,000. At the same time, the number of staff employed to help our MPs do less and less work has gone up from around 1,800 to over 2,500."
"Scientists question climate change consensus - The UN’s view that man-made CO2 is causing warming is under attack"
" Ten days ago Dr Arthur Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) announced to a packed National Press Club in Washington DC that more than 31,000 scientists have now signed the so-called Oregon Petition rejecting the IPCC line on climate change.
Acutely aware that claims of a 'phoney list' would immediately be levelled at him, Dr Robinson pointed out that the list had been carefully vetted to confirm that over 9,000 of those who signed held PhDs....
This wasn't the first crack in the 'consensus' dam. In March, more than 500 people, including leading climate scientists, economists, policymakers, engineers and other professionals, endorsed the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change.
Sponsored by climate scientists of the International Coalition on Climate (ICSC), it stated: "There is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity have in the past, are now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change." The Declaration calls for governments and others to "reject the views expressed by the UN IPCC, as well as popular but misguided works such as Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth"....
It is not only scientists outside the IPCC who question the 'consensus': scientists whose names were included in the IPCC's list of 2,500 'consensual' scientists have also raised objections.
On December 12, 2007, the US Senate released a report from more than 400 scientists, many of whose names were attached to the IPCC report without - they claim - their permission. In the Senate report, scientists expressed a range of views from scepticism to outright rejection of the theory of anthropogenic global warming.
Professor Patrick J Michaels, research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and a member of the original UN-IPCC panel, was so appalled by what he perceived as the misuse of the review procedure - with groups of IPCC reviewers, many who were not scientists, only reviewing one or two chapters of the IPCC reports - he demanded his name be removed from the IPCC's list of reviewers.
Eventually, the UN administration complied, but only after Dr Michaels threatened legal action to force the removal of his name. All of which, yet again, went unreported in the UK news media....
Whatever we may personally believe about global warming, serious science-based pressure is building on the IPCC to admit its objectives are political not scientific. Sir John Houghton, first co-chair of the IPCC, acknowledged as much when he stated: "Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen."
As the trickle of 'dissident' scientists becomes a stream, however, leading anti-alarmists, like S. Fred Singer, author of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years, are describing 2008 as the 'tipping point', the year when the real science argument swings their way.
If they are right, the UN and much of the Western news media will, alarmingly, be shown to have colluded in closing down an important debate, often by marginalising world-renowned scientists as 'cranks' and 'mavericks'.
Both the UN and the media may soon be forced to jettison entirely the myth of a climate science 'consensus'. If nothing else, the fast rising number of 'mavericks' demands it."
"the government must have had a windfall income of many hundreds of millions of pounds since oil prices started to rise, (can anyone work out how much?)"
"Here is the theory of Maurice Fitzpatrick, senior tax manager at Grant Thornton, the accountants:
Tax revenues from North Sea oil would jump from an estimated £10bn - struck when oil was only $84 a barrel - to £16bn at the current price of about $128 a barrel.
Since the Budget in March, the Treasury has already taken an estimated £820m more than its forecasts in North Sea oil tax.
The £6bn of surplus revenue would easily cover the cost of U-turns on both fuel duty and vehicle excise duty, where ministers are introducing new bands which could cost an extra £200 for drivers of inefficient cars.
Deferring the 2p increase in fuel duty by six months would cost £550m. Scrapping the revamped vehicle excise duty altogether would mean the loss of an estimated £465m next year and £735m next year - although ministers may only remove the retrospective element of this tax."
"But Number 10 has disputed this, saying this afternoon: “The Treasury has always made clear that the impact of high oil prices on public finances tends to be revenue-neutral over the long-term.”
Here is their argument:
The increased revenues from oil when prices are high are offset by a number of factors including:
* an increase in pump prices leads to an increase in inflation. This knocks through to the inflation-linked payments that the government has to make, including benefits, pensions, tax allowances, and government bonds.
* reduced demand for fuel from filling stations, which reduces revenue from fuel duties - as this is fixed at 50.35p per litre if people buy less fuel, revenue from this falls.
* receipts from profits made by North Sea oil companies have in recent years been to some extent offset by capital costs, and the costs that have been rising for plant and machinery and labour costs too.
So there is a net offsetting effect."
"Senior officials in the Labour party, including Gordon Brown, could become personally liable for millions of pounds in debt unless new donors can be found within weeks, the Guardian has learned.
The party has five weeks to find £7.45m to pay off loans to banks and wealthy donors recruited by Lord Levy, Tony Blair's former chief fundraiser, or become insolvent. A further £6.2m will have to be repaid by Christmas - making £13.65m in all. The sum amounts to two-thirds of the party's annual income from donations.
The figures are a conservative estimate as they do not include interest that will also have to be paid. A Labour source said that although the total debt was listed as £17.8m on the Electoral Commission website, the true level, with interest, was nearer to £24m.
The possibility that party officials and members of its national executive committee could become liable is being taken seriously by union leaders, and has been underlined by the decision of equity fund chairman David Pitt-Watson not to accept the post as Labour's general secretary.
Though he was Brown's candidate for the post, he declined the offer after receiving independent legal advice that he would be personally liable for repaying the loans and could be bankrupted if Labour's finances collapsed.
The advice from City solicitors Slaughter and May said unequivocally that leading party officials and members of the NEC would be " jointly and severally" responsible for the party's debt.
The reason is that the Labour party constitution is framed like a local club or society, and has no provision for limiting the liability of its officials or managers.
A Labour source said: "The party's constitution is like a five-a-side football club, or the local cricket club. The big difference is that the most club officials and managers could expect to have to fork out is an unpaid bill for hiring the pitch. In Labour's case, it's tens of millions of pounds."
The advice was the sole reason why Pitt-Watson, a committed Labour supporter and former Westminster City councillor, turned down the job this month.
But the reverberations inside the party have been enormous. Earlier this month the GMB union's executive decided to indemnify its two members on the NEC - Debbie Coulter, the union's deputy general secretary and a former Labour party conference chairwoman, and Mary Turner, GMB's president - to protect their homes and savings. A GMB spokesman told the Guardian: "They told the executive they would not continue to sit on the NEC unless they were indemnified. It's too much a risk for them."
As leader of the party and a member of the NEC, Brown is also potentially vulnerable. Other prominent members of the committee are Harriet Harman, the deputy leader; her husband, Jack Dromey, the party treasurer; Pat McFadden, minister of state at the department for business; Angela Eagle, exchequer secretary at the Treasury; Dawn Primarolo, public health minister; and former ministers Keith Vaz and Janet Anderson.
Anderson said last night: "I am very concerned and we should look into the situation immediately. If this is the case, I can't see how anyone, unless they are very wealthy or are indemnified, like in the case of the GMB, can serve on the NEC. I can't see who would want to be general secretary following this advice."
The party's financial plight can be shown by the current negotiations taking place with banks and donors.
The Co-operative bank, whose £2.61m loan is due to be repaid on June 30, has told the party it wants its money back, even though it is getting 7% interest. The bank has asked the unions to offer loans to Labour so the party can pay its debt, but some are refusing to do this. Paul Kenny, the GMB's general secretary, has told the Co-operative bank it will refuse to help unless the bank withdraws its de-recognition of the union, which represents staff at Co-operative Funeral Services.
Three other loans are due to be repaid on June 30 and July 1. They are a £1.54m loan from Unity Trust bank, also at 7%; a £1m loan at 6.75% from Nigel Morris, founder of the Capital One financial group, and £2.3m from Sir David Garrard, a property developer. He had already extended the loan by 15 months from April 2007.
Labour is hoping that the donors can be persuaded to extend the loan period. Sir Richard Caring, owner of the Ivy and Caprice restaurants, has agreed an indefinite extension of his £2m loan, due to be repaid last March. He has agreed to give 180 days notice if he wants it repaid.
The party's financial crisis could be compounded this autumn. Three of the biggest unions, Unison, the Communications Workers Union and the GMB have tabled motions at their annual conferences next month calling for members to disaffiliate from Labour. If this goes ahead, Labour would lose £4m of its £19m a year in donations.
The Labour party is said to be investigating whether it can change its status to a limited liability company to protect its officials and NEC members - but such a move could be open to legal challenge until it clears its debts."
"POWER plants could be sabotaged by a simple internet attack that shuts down their control systems.
Core Security in Boston, Massachusetts, has discovered a serious vulnerability in a software package called Suitelink that is widely used to automate the operation of power stations, oil refineries and production lines. This could allow attackers to crash Suitelink by sending an outsize data packet to a certain port on the computer running the program. Suitelink's maker, Wonderware, has since issued a software patch to plug the security gap.
Core had only just begun examining this kind of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) program when it found the problem. This may mean that more vulnerabilities are still hidden in software of this type."
""I will tell (you) how to break into a nuclear reactor," Ira Winkler, president of security firm ISAG said as he launched into his presentation on "How to Take Down the Power Grid" at RSA 2008 on Tuesday night.
"Frankly, it's really easy to break into the power grid," he said. "It happens all the time."
First, you set up a Web server that downloads spyware onto the computers that visit.
Second, you send an e-mail to people who work inside a power station that entices them to click on a hyperlink to the Web server with the spyware. Warning them that their human resources benefits are going to be cut and sending them to a Web site with "hr.com" in the domain would work, according to Winkler, who said he has done this several times in company-approved penetration tests.
Third, you wait as the recipients--and everyone else they forwarded the e-mail to--visit the server and get infected.
"Then we had full system control," he said. "Once the malware was downloaded onto their systems...we could see the screens and manipulate the cursors."
It took about a day to set up the attack and was effective within minutes, according to Winkler.
"It had to be shut down after a couple of hours because it was working too well," he said.
This is akin to social engineering attacks that happen all the time, but this attack has more far-reaching consequences than most such attacks.
Power stations running special SCADA control software have the perception that they are more secure than other networked systems. However, they are just as vulnerable because they are connected to the Internet and run on computers that also run Windows NT, he said.
"Things are really this bad," Winkler said. "I'm not exaggerating.""
"MI5 has drawn up a secret list of more than 350 key British institutions considered potential terrorist targets in the wake of the threat posed by al-Qaeda forces.
Key government buildings and installations vital to the economy are on the "critical national infrastructure" list.
The list is thought to include the country's 15 nuclear power stations, the main National Grid sites, oil installations and petrochemical facilities."
"The long-running Freedom of Information battle over the Balen Report, an internal review of the BBC's reporting of the Middle East, is to go to the House of Lords.
The Judicial Committee of the House of Lords decided last week to allow solicitor Stephen Sugar to appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling that the BBC did not have to disclose the Balen report on its Middle East reporting under the Freedom of Information Act.
The decision, noted in the Judicial Business section of the Minutes for 22 May, gave leave for Sugar's appeal and said that the petition of appeal should be lodged by June 5.
Sugar, a commercial solicitor from Putney, south-west London, has been campaigning for the BBC to release the Balen report - written by senior editorial adviser Malcolm Balen - to be published as part of the on-going public debate about alleged BBC bias against Israel.
In January, the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal, upholding a decision by the High Court that the BBC was not obliged to release the report as it was exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.
When Sugar first made his request for release of the report under the Act, the Information Commissioner agreed with the BBC that, although it was listed as a "public authority" in the Act, it was exempted from having to disclose material held for the purposes of "journalism, art or literature" and the Act therefore did not apply.
Sugar appealed to the Information Tribunal, which backed him and said the report should be released.
The case then went to the High Court, where Mr Justice Davis accepted the BBC's argument that the Information Tribunal had no jurisdiction to uphold an appeal because the case fell outside the scope of the Act and there had been no decision against which Sugar could appeal.
That ruling was upheld in January in the Court of Appeal by Lord Justice Buxton, Lord Justice Lloyd and Sir Paul Kennedy.
Sugar contends that the Freedom of Information Act has been badly drafted and is preventing disclosure of material which should be publicly available.
The BBC says the Balen report was always intended as an internal review of programme content, to inform future output, and was never intended for publication.
The corporation argues that it is vital for independent journalism that debates among its staff about how it covers stories should not be opened up to the public gaze."
"Gordon Brown has urged oil industry leaders to come up with ideas for improving supplies as fuel costs soar."
"The government has announced moves to increase North Sea oil production, but Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said they would have no impact on fuel prices. "
"The European Union assembly’s political establishment is pushing through changes that will silence dissidents by changing the rules allowing Euro-MPs to form political groupings.
Richard Corbett, a British Labour MEP, is leading the charge to cut the number of party political tendencies in the Parliament next year, a move that would dissolve UKIP’s pan-European Eurosceptic “Independence and Democracy” grouping.
Under the rule change, the largest and msot pro-EU groups would tighten their grip on the Parliament’s political agenda and keep control of lavish funding.
”It would prevent single issue politicians from being given undue support from the public purse,” said Mr Corbett.
”We want to avoid the formation of a fragmented Parliament, deeply divided into many small groups and unable to work effectively.”
Mr Corbett’s proposals will also give the President of the Parliament sweeping powers to approve or reject parliamentary questions.
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, claimed that the move goes hand in hand with the denial of popular votes on the new EU Treaty.
”Welcome to your future. This shows an EU mindset that is arrogant, anti-democratic and frankly scary,” he said.
”These people are so scared of public opinion they are willing to set in stone the right to ignore it. Freedom requires the governing elite to be held to account. They must be getting very worried if they are enacting such dictatorial powers for themselves.”
Current rules allow 20 MEPs from a fifth of the EU’s member states to form groupings, giving them a say in the Parliament’s administration and power structure.
Under the changes, the threshold would become 30 MEPs from one quarter of the EU’s member states. "
"were Simon Letterman and Kath Melandri having a discussion about something or other. ... Maybe he has always admired Kylie's musical ability and shapely bottom. ..."
"For nearly a quarter of a century, Lourdes Maxwell has celebrated the arrival of summer by putting a paddling pool in the garden.
This year, however, her two grandchildren and the children of her neighbours may have to find another way to cool off in the heat.
Miss Maxwell's local council has decided that the pool - which is only 2ft deep - needs a lifeguard.
The 47-year-old divorced mother of three has also been told she must have insurance before she can inflate the toy outside her house in Portsmouth."
"Iran withheld nuclear secrets from UN inspectors
Iran withheld information needed to establish whether it had tried to make nuclear arms and continued to enrich uranium in defiance of United Nations sanctions, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a new report."
"SEX And The City...
Journalists sometimes ask which of them would do it for me.
The honest answer is all four of them, but it's too dangerous to admit that.
There's the sweet one - great marriage material.
The lawyerly red-head - sexy and motherly. Or the voracious man-eating vamp, ankles behind her ears.
But if I had to choose just one, it would have to be the eponymous Carrie Bradshaw.
She's not the prettiest, the sexiest or the cleverest. But she would be, quite simply, the most fun."
"There have been reports that politicised voting from different regions of the country have skewed the votes."
"As part of a controversial A-level in popular culture, pupils will learn about the tradition of kissing in cinemas and ponder such questions as "is skateboarding better than polo?".
The qualification, being offered by the country's biggest exam board from September, also entails a study of celebrity body images and allows pupils to write about clothes and hairstyles.
One assignment requires them to "explore the relationships between cinema-going and dating" with the aid of source material like The Drifters hit Kissin' in the Back Row of the Movies.
Another asks students to describe the cultural significance of their bedrooms and friends.
The A-level in "communication and culture" is billed by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance as "excellent preparation" for higher study.
Coursework topics for study in 2008/09 include "retail therapy".
Students can opt to compile a project titled "explore the meanings of shopping', where they will have "clear opportunities to engage with primary sources" - like "shopping mall food halls".
Meanwhile pupils opting for "popular music as cultural communication" can investigate sources such as "CD recordings".
Further areas of study include the cult of celebrity, body modification, forms of communicating including texting, computer games, graffiti and street art.
Students will be encouraged to explain the difference between "high" and "popular" culture while tackling the poser "Is skateboarding better than polo?"
And they will also be invited to discuss why their mobiles or iPods are "important" to them.
Critics condemned many of the topics covered as unsuitable for A-level study.
Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: "Many parents and employers will consider this a waste of school time and expect an A-level covering 'culture' to concentrate on great literature, art or music."
The A-level replaces AQA's A-level in communication studies, which features on lists held by some universities of subjects considered poor preparation for degree courses.
An AQA spokesman said the syllabus had been approved by the exams watchdog Ofqual.
"Communication and culture is a dynamic area of study with a strong contemporary orientation," she said.
'"A central theme of the specification is an exploration of the meanings and practices of everyday life.""
"But I got a 'A' level, C grade and I cant get a job 'cept in McDonalds"
"The Liberal Democrats have said they can win the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, insisting the race is "much tighter" than polls suggest.
A spokesman for Lib Dem candidate Elizabeth Shenton predicted a number of "hardcore" Labour voters would defect to the party on Thursday.
Leader Nick Clegg is visiting the constituency on Wednesday to campaign.
Recent opinion polls have put the Conservatives in the lead, with Labour in second place and the Lib Dems third.
But Ms Shenton's spokesman said the party's own "on-the-ground" data suggested it was "within a few percentage points" of winning.
He added: "The Labour Party is no longer in the race... we have used traditional campaigning techniques - going out and meeting people.
"Elizabeth is very personable and we are trying to run a positive campaign."
Ms Shenton's spokesman said: "What I think will happen is that a considerable hardcore Labour vote that hasn't already gone across to us will do, when they realise that to do otherwise could give Crewe and Nantwich a Tory MP for the first time in the seat's history.""
All MP staff are centrally funded. Each MP has an office in Portcullis House and only the one office - a second one in the constituency simply serves to allow family to "work" for them while staying at home. Each office is capable of doing everything the MP requires and will be upgraded/downgraded as their governmental responsibilities are changed.
MPs are to be accommodated in a block of flats in Central London. Bedsit type and identical with only Downing Street residents getting separate accommodation. Each party has its own floors and wireless connection - each MP is issued a £300 Dell laptop from stock with Word and email. Each flat contains a TV that will only get Freeview and a telephone that will only do national calls. It will be en-suite and have a double bed, a cooker & hob combo, a small fridgefreezer and a safe. Laundry and housekeeping will be centrally provided.
The flats will have a communal eating facility and each MP will have messing charges deducted at source each month. Every morning that the commons sits there will be a shuttle bus to take the fatter ones to the chamber or to their office in PH. They will be expected to be in their offices for 9am Mon-Fri and not leave until 4pm with the exceptions being where they have booked time to go to constituency or official business, a diary manager would co-ordinate this and an officer of the Speaker would take attendance with figures being published quarterly.
At the beginning and end of each parliament the residents will be marched out and an audit taken with missing items being paid for. A march in at the start of the next parliament will also be carried out.
Why would this be so hard to implement? ;)"
"1(i) Give one way a mole, pictured on the right, is suited for digging through soil.
(ii) Where does the energy come from for a solar-powered mole-scarer?
2 Sharon, pictured on the left, is riding her horse. She is wearing a riding hat. Give the name of one organ the riding hat protects.
3 In very cold weather a mixture of salt and sand is spread on roads. Why are salt and sand used? (Tick two correct answers)
(a) salt makes the road white
(b) salt makes the water freeze
(c) salt makes the ice melt
(d) sand dissolves in water
(e) sand increases the friction between car tyres and the road
(f) sand makes the water freeze "
"Why are electric wires made from copper?
copper is brown
copper is not magnetic
copper conducted electricity
copper conducted heat
Pupils were shown a star-shaped fossil and asked whether the animal it related to could have been a snail, a starfish, a ladybird or a slug"
"A spokesman for the QCA's National Assessment Agency, which has responsibility for the SATs, claimed the paper was challenging. "Each test paper takes two years to develop and goes through a rigorous pre‑testing process," he said.
"This ensures that questions effectively assess a broad range of content from across the science curriculum and are challenging and engaging for pupils." "
"An unwitting passenger arriving at Japan's Narita airport has received 142g of cannabis after a customs test went awry, officials say.
A customs officer hid a package of the banned narcotic in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase in order to test airport security.
Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which bag he had put it in.
Anyone finding the package has been asked to contact customs officials.
The cannabis is estimated at having a street value of nearly $10,000 (£5,000)."
"For more than a century, the inhabitants of Hatfield Broad Oak have marked their special occasions with strings of bunting.
In recent decades, the colourful flags have become an integral part of the annual village festival.
But from this year, they will flutter no more.
The bunting has become tangled up with health and safety red tape, and has become too costly - and complicated - for festival organisers to erect.
The annual event in the Essex village, which includes a craft fair, a dance and a dog show and ends today with a ten kilometre run, raises about £10,000 a year for local groups and charities.
Parish councillor Leigh Trevitt, 40, who has lived in Hatfield Broad Oak for 15 years, said the whole village is furious that it could no longer be marked with bunting.
Mr Trevitt, director of a paper company, said an unknown person had complained about the flags to authorities.
When organisers asked permission from Essex County Council’s highways department to put up the bunting this year, they were handed six A4 sheets of paper with conditions.
The string would have to be attached to fixed points on buildings using stainless steel bolts, which would need rigorous testing.
Mr Trevitt said: ‘The conditions are impractical and impossible. Many of the houses are listed so we couldn’t get planning permission to put stainless steel bolts on them.
‘And we could not afford professional installation. I was in the pub and a lot of people were saying we should go ahead anyway and let Highways take us all to court but a lot of the people who organise the festival are elderly and are scared of the bullies.’
He said the bunting had been used in the festival for many years without mishap. A photograph from 1907 shows flags hanging between two buildings.
‘Our village is a little piece of old England and if we are not careful we will lose all our rights,’ he added. Mr Trevitt said he was told that bunting comes under the same category as Christmas lights and that there had been two recent incidents where lights fell down.
An Essex Highways spokesman said: ‘While we sympathise with the organisers of community events these guidelines have been set down after real events where people have been injured.’"
"Iran has secretly paid Iraqi insurgents hundreds of thousands of American dollars to kill British soldiers, according to a leaked government document obtained by The Telegraph.
A senior British officer who has recently returned from southern Iraq said that the existence of "Iranian finance teams" in Basra was widely known by the British military and Foreign Office, although always officially denied.
He said: "It suited Iran to arm JAM in order to allow them to have the means to hit us."
Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP and a former infantry commander said: "This report makes it quite clear that Iran is directly involved in funding the insurgency.""
"New laws to crack down on knife crime could cause increased hostility among young people, the Children's Commissioner for England has said.
Sir Al Aynsley-Green called for more research into the effects of increased police powers."
"Figures from 37 police forces, published by the Mail on Sunday, showed there were 5,500 serious crimes involving knives in just three months this year.
The statistic equates to one every 24 minutes, around the clock, and includes 55 knife-related murders, more than 2,000 stabbings and almost 2,500 muggings at knifepoint."
"SUNRISE, Fla. -- At first, it seemed as if Barack Obama might just be speaking figuratively, as is his wont sometimes. "How's it going, Sunshine? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you everybody. It's good to be in Sunshine!" Obama declared on taking the stage this afternoon for a rally at the BankAtlantic Arena in Broward County, Fla., just west of Ft. Lauderdale.
Obama, who often comments admiringly on the climate and regional aura of his various destinations, may simply have been evoking the warmth of the Sunshine State, which he campaigned in for the first time this week after staying away for months to observe the Democratic Party's primary ban against the state. Or perhaps it was a term of endearment, similar to his recent (and later regretted) use of "sweetie" in speaking to a woman reporter.
But then he said it again, and again -- "When we are unified sunshine, nobody can stop us!" -- and it became clear: Obama thought he was in Sunshine, Fla. But he was not. He was in Sunrise, the name given to this particular swath of South Florida palm trees, bungalows and outlet stores.
If the 16,000 in attendance noticed, they didn't make it known. There was no dropoff in applause as Obama experienced recently when he opened a speech in Sioux Falls, S.D. by declaring, "Thank you, Sioux City!" before realizing that he had named the Iowa city by mistake. Perhaps the crowd here also thought the "Sunshine" might be a figurative reference, or perhaps there is simply less local possessiveness when it comes to a Sun Belt exurb with vaguely defined borders and an even more vaguely defined identity, especially given that many of those in attendance came from elsewhere in the county.
Perhaps Obama was thinking of one of the many songs that involve sunshine, or perhaps he was just hot and tired. It's been a busy week for him in Florida, and it's very warm and humid. More than 90 degrees. Too much sunshine."
"When George Bush was elected, he held out the promise that this would change. He raised the hopes of the region that our engagement would be sustained instead of piecemeal. He called Mexico our most important bilateral relationship, and pledged to make Latin America a “fundamental commitment” of his presidency. It seemed that a new 21st century era had dawned.
Almost eight years later, those high hopes have been dashed.
Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples’ lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region.
No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum."
"The couple bought the flat in May 2002 after spending six months in a London hotel.
In a letter to the Commons’ Fees Office informing officials of their changed circumstances, the Keens wrote: ‘Despite some advantages of hotel accommodation, overall we found it unsatisfactory and have borrowed…to purchase a flat within walking distance of Westminster.’
In an unusual arrangement, they used two mortgages. One loan was for £350,000 from HSBC. The other £170,000 was raised by re-mortgaging their property in Brentford, also through HSBC.
The couple argued that because the second home loan was used to raise equity for the central London flat it should be permissible on expenses.
This was apparently nodded through by officials. The property would almost certainly now be worth at £800,000, according to experts.
As well as the interest payments on their mortgage, the couple claimed £867.57 a month for ‘compulsory’ life insurance premiums attached to the home loans - a practice which has since been banned.
According to the documents, they never submitted a single receipt. Instead, they
sent two sheets of A4 to the expenses department every month, claiming £1,643.50 each month throughout 2002-03 and £1,699 each throughout 2003-04 - almost the maximum payable.
In the five years since they bought the apartment, Mrs Keen has claimed £87,325 under the second homes allowance and Mr Keen has received £87,803 - a total of £175,128.
In the last year for which figures are available, the pair claimed a total of £38,515 under the ACA, which covers mortgage interest, service charges, utility and food.
If they had each separately taken the £38 taxi ride from Westminster to Brentford on every Commons ‘sitting day’ that year, the bill would have only come to £11,000 - £27,000 less.
There is no suggestion the couple broke the rules. However, their case will intensify pressure for reforms of the way MPs pay themselves expenses.
Critics claim they lived so near to the Commons they should only be able to claim the London supplement of £2,700.
The housing allowances system is now under review.
A Department of Health spokesman stressed the Keens’ claims were within the rules.
But Matthew Elliott, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign group, said they were ‘unacceptable’.
‘The allowance should help MPs represent their constituencies, not pay the costs of life insurance or enable them to build up a lucrative property portfolio.’"
"It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
"Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
"Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone!
"So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!"
"Hullo, this is the pilot speaking. We have been informed that our arrival in New York has been delayed. This nothing to do with us, this kind of delay is happening around the world and I'm afraid it's out of my hands. Now, normally this is the point where I would say that there's no need for concern.... but, you see, ah - now how shall I put this? You know that we normally carry enough fuel in reserve for occasions like this? Well erm, we haven't today. Not my fault, you see - we've run out of money. Those fancy new seats you're sitting on cost an absolute fortune and I'm still paying for them. Yes I know they are uncomfortable and the recline function doesn't work, but hey, you've got to admit they look good - at least you'll die in style.
Now here's the rub: we haven't enough fuel to make for another airport, so there is a choice to be made. Do we crash on land or into the sea? I can't decide, I've never been very good at making important decisions. I know that is not an ideal quality when you're looking for a pilot, but I've been pushing to be one for ages and no one else turned up for the interview. So this is what we are going to do. We're going to hold a review. The co-pilot will hand out a questionnaire and we will all vote whether we want to die on the land or in the sea. I can't guarantee we will follow the review's advice, as I believe that on most occasions, I know better. And please note, this is not a referendum - I don't do them.
Please believe me when I say that even though this all my fault, I believe I'm the best qualified person on this plane to crash it. If you do by some wild chance survive this flight, please understand that I have been listening and learning and I hope you will fly with us again.
"We're just a gleam in lover's eyes, steam on sweaty bodies in the night One of us might make it through, the rest will disappear like dew Pressure building, gettin' hot, give it, give it, give it all you got When that love explosion comes, my, oh my, we want to be someone
Tryouts for the human race, from Burlington to Bonn Ah, we are a quarter billion strong Tryouts for the human race, from twilight time 'til dawn
We just want to be someone
We're the future and the past, we're the only way you're gonna last We're just pawns in a funny game, tiny actors in the oldest play It's an angry sea we face, just to get the chance to join the race Gotta make it, gotta try, gotta get the chance to live and die
We must, we must, we must leave from here We must, we must, we must, we must leave from here Gotta make our play, gotta get away Gotta make our play, gotta get away Gotta make our play, gotta get away Gotta make our play
Let us out of here, let us out of here, let us out of here
We just want to feel the sun and be your little daughter or your son We're just words that lovers use, words that light that automatic fuse When that love explosion comes, my, oh my, we want to be someone
"I was born a little premature
Mom just couldn't take no more
Had no time to learn to cry
Goodbye, Mama, got to fly
Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye
Entered school when I was two
PhD'd that afternoon
Never entered any sports
Didn't look too good in shorts
Got divorced when I was four
I've seen everything there is
I've done everything there is
I've met everyone but Liz
Now I've even met ol' Liz
No time for relationship
Skip the foreplay, let 'er rip
You gotta beat the clock, beat the clock, Beat the clock, beat the clock
I did lots of travelling
Parts of me unraveling
The Army then rejected me
Said I had two flat feet
Wore them out when I was three
Too bad there ain't ten of you
Then I'd show you what I'd do
I could cheat on five of you
And be faithful to you too
But there's only one of you
"This is the number one song in heaven Written, of course, by the mightiest hand It's number one, all over heaven
It's number one, all over heaven
It's number one, all over heaven
The number one song all over heaven
If you should die before you wake
If you should die while crossing the street The song that you'll hear, I guarantee
It's number one, all over heaven
It's number one, all over heaven
It's number one, all over heaven
The number one song all over heaven
The one that's the rage up here in the clouds Loud as a crowd or soft as a doubt Lyrically weak, but the music's the thing
Gabriel plays it,
God how he plays it
Gabriel plays it,
God how he plays it
Gabriel plays it,
God how he plays it
Gabriel plays it, let's hear him play it
The song filters down, down through the clouds It reaches the earth and winds all around And then it breaks up in millions of ways
It goes la, la, la......
In cars it becomes a hit
In your homes it becomes advertisements And in the streets it becomes the children