Friday, 30 March 2012

George Galloway wins Bradford West by-election - Telegraph

George Galloway wins Bradford West by-election - Telegraph: "George Galloway scored a dramatic victory in the Bradford West by-election, securing a 10,000-plus majority in what he called a "massive rejection" of mainstream parties."
With the budget of the Conservative government getting such a bollocking I did not think it possible for Labour not to win this by-election. Thank goodness I did not put my money where my thoughts were.

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Friday, 23 March 2012

French presidential race getting closer

Have lost some of my confidence about Nicolas Sarkozy getting beaten after this story in the Daily Telegraph":
Sarkozy enjoys election poll bounce after terror killings - Telegraph
Even as political sniping between candidates in France's presidential elections resumed yesterday a CSA poll out put Mr Sarkozy two points ahead of his Socialist rival Francois Hollande on 30 per cent in round one. ... Jerome Sainte-Marie from the CSA pollster warned his poll bounce could prove short-lived if the Left manages to return the debate back to issues like the economy, jobs and education. "However it is also possible, since this shift had already begun, that Nicolas Sarkozy manages to turn the whole campaign around to his own agenda, which is about order, values, immigration, integration, security and national identity.

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Saturday, 17 March 2012

Red meat: What is a 13% increase in the risk of death?

Eating an extra portion of red meat every day will increase your risk of death by 13% annually, according to a new study. It sounds scary - but is it?
... according to David Spiegelhalter, a Cambridge University biostatistician, and the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk ... [for] two friends are men aged 40, who are the same weight, do the same amount of exercise and do the same job:
"The person who eats more meat is expected to live one year less than the person who doesn't eat so much meat. You'd expect the 40-year-old who does eat the extra meat to live, on average, another 39 years, up to age 79, and the person who doesn't eat so much meat, you'd expect him to live until age 80."
So all those headlines, and it turns out we are talking about whether you might live to age 79 or 80.

BBC News - 'Sobriety Orders' to be piloted by government

BBC News - 'Sobriety Orders' to be piloted by government: "Offenders who commit crimes fuelled by alcohol are to be monitored and breath-tested to ensure they stop drinking, under government plans. Police will have powers to impose "sobriety orders" on drinkers cautioned for minor offences, such as criminal damage or public disorder. They will be regularly breath-tested, with those known for weekend binges tested at those times. The orders will be piloted in England and Wales from next month. For serious and violent criminals with drink problems, ministers want to introduce new laws enabling the courts to impose sobriety orders as part of a suspended or community sentence. Offenders would have to wear ankle tags that continuously monitor alcohol levels, for up to four months."

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The political speculator's diary: A little more Santorum

The political speculator's diary: A little more Santorum: Candidate Rick Santorum continues to surprise. Wins, albeit narrow ones, in Alabama and Mississippi today keep the Republican race alive. Yet the market does not seem to really believe it and he's still only given a 6.8% chance on Intrade with Mitt Romney assessed at 85%. The whole market comes in at less than 100% which presents a rare opportunity
That looks value enough to risk another $6.80 on Santorum to go with my earlier investment of $10 at a bookies price of $27 (3.7%).
I already have $50 on Romney at $2 (50%) so my biggest risk on this event is probably someone completely new emerging from a hung convention. Hence the decision to have $1.50 on Jeb Bush at 1.5% as my outsider insurance policy.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Politicians and journalists form 'a giant club' says Indy editor Blackhurst | Media |

He could have been talking about Australia.
Politicians and journalists form 'a giant club' says Indy editor Blackhurst | Media | "Politicians and journalists have had an unhealthily close relationship to one another, according to Chris Blackhurst, editor of The Independent He told a Bath literature festival audience that MPs and reporters formed "a giant club" at Westminster. Successive governments had courted newspaper proprietors, said Blackhurst, and told of his time at the Daily Express where he was deputy editor to Rosie Boycott. They were appointed by Lord Hollick, a Labour peer, and the paper was moved away from its traditional Conservative support. Blackhurst said: "We were trying to turn the paper into a more liberal and upmarket paper but management lost its nerve. They sold the paper to Richard Desmond... "Within a fortnight, the heavy bulk of the Labour cabinet was fawning over Desmond. We were really shocked by it." For a time, the Express continued to support Tony Blair but subsequently reverted (after Blackhurst and Boycott had departed) to its old right-wing agenda."

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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Peru cyclists stage naked protest in Lima about safety

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore could learn from this as she tries to win re-election in the face of the Daily Tele's anti-cycling campaign:
BBC News - Peru cyclists stage naked protest in Lima about safety: "Hundreds of scantily clad and nude cyclists took to the streets of Peru's capital, Lima, to call attention to safety conditions on the city's roads. Campaigners say that thousands have been killed on the roads because of reckless driving. Many of the cyclists painted slogans and signs on their bare skin."

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Ag-Gag Law Blows Animal Activists' Cover

I wonder when this will become National Party policy in Australia?
Ag-Gag Law Blows Animal Activists' Cover : NPR:
After a series of videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral, Iowa has made it a crime for people to misrepresent themselves to gain access to a farm. The so-called "Ag-Gag" law targets undercover animal rights activists who secretly take videos. Farmers say they need the legal protection to block those trying to take down agriculture, but critics ask what the industry may be hiding. .. The new law makes it harder for animal rights groups to get the video in the first place. It's now a misdemeanor to lie on an application for a farm job with the intent of harming the business. It's punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,500.


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Our big mistake was to assume we had won, says British ambassador to Afghanistan - Telegraph

Our big mistake was to assume we had won, says British ambassador to Afghanistan - Telegraph: "Sir William Patey, the British ambassador to Afghanistan, has spoken frankly about what he sees as the errors and failings in the country over the past decade."

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A measure of success in Iraq

Our troops have come home. The mission was accomplished. Democracy replaced dictatorship. And this morning Reuters reports:

At least 14 youths have been stoned to death in Baghdad in the past three weeks in what appears to be a campaign by Shi'ite militants against youths wearing Western-style "emo" clothes and haircuts, security and hospital sources say.
Militants in Shi'ite neighborhoods where the stonings have taken place circulated lists on Saturday naming more youths targeted to be killed if they do not change the way they dress.
The killings have taken place since Iraq's interior ministry drew attention to the "emo" subculture last month, labeling it "Satanism" and ordering a community police force to stamp it out.
"Emo" is a form of punk music developed in the United States. Fans are known for their distinctive dress, often including tight jeans, T-shirts with logos and distinctive long or spiky haircuts.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Queensland election tipping competition

Here's a chance to test your psephological skills in the Queensland state election contest.
The winner will be the entrant who gets closest to the actual result. In the absence of a completely correct entry the sole judge (me) will first consider entries that get closest to the number of seats won by the major party and then those closest to the figure for others - independents and minor parties. In the event of a tie the entry received first will be the winner
Full details, including prizes, will be on the Crikey website on Monday.
Fill in the entry form here.