‘Naked at Lunch review – the funny thing about nudism’.. 

Mark Haskell Smith’s undercover view of nudism is both thoughtful and hilarious.

This is a book about nudists enjoying themselves but it’s also about people finding nudists threatening. As we all know nudism is only an erection away from open-air group sex. One minute it’s volleyball the next it’s people heading for the sand dunes and the fall of western civilisation. And what about hygiene? Yes by all means factor in the benign setting of a consenting nudist-resort bakery and the reassuring porn-led trend – especially among nudists – for scrupulous pubic baldness – but frankly we all know the full range of what private parts are used for. And while we’re at it – really – have these people no dignity?

Doubtless all this is why nudism is so funny – even to those of us who have only dared walk naked up and down Oxford Street in the service of our nightmares. It’s telling that the author is scarcely three sentences into this highly entertaining work before he finds himself inescapably typing ‘scrotum’ long acknowledged as the most amusing word in the Oxford English Dictionary.

In order to take nudism seriously – first you have to make fun of it.

 But there’s rigour here too – a brief history of his subject – from ancient Greek javelin throwers to Victorian religious sects and radical socialists to 1920s Germans (inevitably) – whose wholesome love of bare-arsed wandering up mountainsides was bound so stirringly with the promise of a purebred blue-eyed master race. Practical philosophies are claimed in the name of nudism – as a proof against alienation – as an assertion of our common humanity – as a rejection of status-giving corporate brands and logos – as a route to inclusion and tolerance and social justice.

Nudism has been variously associated with vegetarianism – environmental issues and animal rights. Freedom is its watchword – not just in the sense of being unencumbered by clothing but in the spirit of a civil right.

(cont..)

Source: Naked at Lunch review – the funny thing about nudism | Books | The Guardian

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‘Never mind driverless cars – we need intelligent transport systems’.. 

Paul Mason: Rather than apply advanced technology to redesign the car – wouldn’t it be more revolutionary to fully realise the potential of automated road transport?

I can picture now every strange quirk of the cars I rode in as a kid. The Ford Popular had indicators that were levers – jerking out to signal at the pull of a wire. The Morris Minor had a hole in the floor, beneath the carpet so a child could pee without stopping on the overnight drive to Cornwall. The Ford Anglia was like a science-fiction vehicle made of chrome – rust and cream paint.

But in all of them there was one constant: the driver – wrestling the reluctant gear stick – calmly swerving around stray animals – always ready to respond to the inevitable red light on the dashboard by pulling over and fiddling with a wire until it went away. That was my dad and he was only in the second generation of car drivers in his family. I am the third and if I’d had kids they would have been the last. Because if the technology giants get their way the era of the driverless car is coming – and that reassuring male role thing of being master of a hurtling chunk of steel will soon be over.

There are advantages to this of course – the most obvious of which will be the end of TV programmes fronted by old racist car bores.

But there are also downsides.

(cont..)

Source: Never mind driverless cars – we need intelligent transport systems | Paul Mason | Comment is free | The Guardian

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‘Meet comedian Amy Schumer – the sneaky feminist honesty bomb’.. 

She’s been showered with awards-  has millions of views on YouTube and ‘blew away’ Trainwreck director Judd Apatow. Is Amy Schumer the funniest woman on the planet?

The night before our interview – now in London – Schumer gave a near-six-minute acceptance speech for winning the trailblazer of the year title at the 2015 Glamour Women of the Year awards. With Jennifer Saunders standing behind her – ‘It’s the funniest fucking stuff you will ever ever see’ Saunders had said in a rambling preamble – Schumer’s monologue covered the usual: having her first period- her relief at not having to pose with a plastic dick in the magazine’s photographs – before signing off with an empowering message of not apologising for who you are and loving the skin you’re in.

The footage has been watched more than 3m times on YouTube. (It’s not a competition, but – if you’re thinking ‘Well I’ve never heard of her’…)

(cont..)

Source: Meet comedian Amy Schumer, the sneaky feminist honesty bomb | Film | The Guardian

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‘Rich list: Bludging bastards with their protective layers of bought politicians’.. 

Our Inland Revenue Department has a ‘High Wealth Individuals Unit’ (HWI Unit) which collects information on the wealth of ‘people who have, or are in control of wealth over $50 million’.

For the 2014 year the HWI Unit has identified over 212 people who meet this criteria and furthermore these 212 HWI’s control or are closely associated with 7,009 “entities” – mainly companies and tax-haven trusts – with control in some cases shared with other HWI’s.

The most appalling – but not surprising – fact is that 87 of these HWI’s declare a personal income of less than $70,000 – the income above which the top tax rate kicks in.

This information is missing from the NBR’s rich list published last week which focuses solely on celebrating the ‘success’ of the wealthiest but failing to reveal that the average wage or salary earner pays much more personal tax than these money-sucking parasites.

How do these HWI’s get away with paying less tax than the rest of us? Why is it that the vast majority of us pay tax on every dollar we earn and every dollar we spend – while for the wealthy tax is essentially voluntary?

Why is income from shares – investments – dividends and capital gains exempt from the same tax levels paid by wage and salary earners?

These same rich listers enjoy all the benefits of living here: driving on our roads – visiting our museums and art galleries – subsidised doctor’s visits – ACC entitlements – national superannuation etc but pay pocket money to maintain them. They use our community facilities and enjoy the benefits of everything we pay for through taxes but won’t cough up themselves.

They are the ultimate bludgers – protected from taxation by successive Labour and National governments who need their donations to run election campaigns.

(cont..)

Source: Rich list: Bludging bastards with their protective layers of bought politicians « The Daily Blog

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‘North Korea orders house-to-house searches to confiscate banned music’.. 

Kim Jong-un has issued a decree demanding the destruction of tapes and CDs that could threaten the regime. Daily NK reports.

Always concerned about possible threats to his regime North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered music censorship to be extended – banning not only foreign songs but local tunes too – sources inside North Korea say.

Concerns that certain lyrics could motivate popular dissent appears to be the motivation behind the new restrictions.

‘The local propaganda departments are getting inminban [people’s unit] heads to collect cassettes and CDs from people’s homes and are combing through them’ a source speaking from inside the country claimed. ‘If even one song from the banned list is discovered they incinerate the whole thing’.

The soundtrack of a North Korean-produced movie, Im Kkeok Jeong, about a Robin Hood-like figure who lived in the 16th century is listed – including titles such as Take Action Blood Brothers and To Get Revenge. In addition a popular track – Nation of No Tears – from a made-for-TV feature has been forbidden.

Although many of the songs have been banned before the directive takes new measures by demanding that all material is physically destroyed too.

(cont..)

Source: North Korea orders house-to-house searches to confiscate banned music | World news | The Guardian

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‘Creative young Brits are quitting London for affordable Berlin’.. 

More and more burnt-out Londoners are embracing the laid-back cool – and much lower cost of living – of the German capital.

According to Numbeo – the online cost-of-living database – you can maintain the same standard of living in Berlin (£2,177) for half the price of London (£4,200) – assuming that you rent in both cities. The consumer prices in Berlin are 30% less – and the rental costs are almost 70% lower than in the UK’s capital.

A Berlin colleague of Van Looy – art director Jonathan Stuart – moved from Dalston to Hackney – Clapton and then Forest Gate in the space of 12 years. He concedes: ‘I don’t think I’m going to go back to London. It’s so cheap to live here.

It feels like the parents have gone away and left the kids to do what they want. It’s perfect for young creative people. London has a real buzz to it but when you live there that buzz can turn into pressure’.

(cont..)

Source: Creative young Brits are quitting London for affordable Berlin | World news | The Guardian

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‘Nothing prepares you for being the daughter of ageing parents’.. 

There are classes for the mothers of babies but there’s no helping with your mum and dad growing old.

It seems to me as if the plight of old people – while not as horrific as the plight of refugees – shares some of the horror. Just as we live in a society that hasn’t caught up with technology the kind of moral choices it gives people we also live in a world that hasn’t kept up with its ageing population. We have the advances in medical science and technology that have kept people alive longer but not the advances in how to treat our ageing population. Society is lagging behind the old – floundering and failing and falling.

There are certain small but piercing  similarities between the treatment of the old and the treatment of refugees. The old are often displaced from their homes – moved out against their will – decisions are often made for them that they have no say over. Often they are treated as imbeciles or halfwits – lumped together in one place – given clothes that don’t belong to them – treated as a fallen tribe or a beleaguered clan – incapable of any individuality.

(cont..)

Source: Nothing prepares you for being the daughter of ageing parents | Comment is free | The Guardian

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‘Is one minute of high-intensity exercise really enough to get fit?’.. 

Experts now believe that rather than spending hours on the treadmill the smart way to condition your body is to do shorter more intensive bursts of exercise.

Too busy to get fit? No longer an excuse. The world of workouts is moving to ever-shorter bursts of activity. The New York Times recently released a seven-minute workout app based on research showing the benefit of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) –  while the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse found that 20 minutes of an intense workout burned an average of 15 calories per minute – twice the amount used on a long run.

Typically HIIT involves 60 seconds of exercise near your peak ability followed by a recovery period of the same amount – repeated for 20 minutes – three times a week. Your peak ability is around 80 to 90% of your maximum heart rate. Roughly that involves subtracting your age from 220 but it’s more reliable to use your ‘rate of perceived exertion’. If six is sitting on a chair calmly and 20 is ‘I can’t do any more’ you should pitch yourself at no more than 18.

You can do HIIT on a bike – running-  swimming – on gym equipment like a cross trainer – or by sprinting up and down the stairs. So has HIIT really replaced a gentle jog around the block?

(cont..)

Source: Is one minute of high-intensity exercise really enough to get fit? | Life and style | The Guardian

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‘Donald Trump backlash intensifies within GOP ahead of first 2016 debate’.. 

Mogul leads NBC poll and hints again at possible third-party run as candidates fire broadsides and RNC chair defends debate participation limits.

Amid growing rancour among Republican presidential candidates ahead of their crowded first debate on Thursday current frontrunner Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to consider running as an independent if he was not ‘treated fairly’ by the party.
In remarks that underscored the risks of attacking the maverick real-estate mogul too aggressively Trump also warned that he would ‘counterpunch’ just as hard if his opponents chose to make the debate in Cleveland personal.Tensions have erupted in recent days after Kentucky senator Rand Paul attributed Trump’s surprise lead in recent opinion polls to a “temporary loss of sanity” among Republican primary voters and former Texas governor Rick Perry claimed his impact on the race represented a “cancer” on conservatism.

Paul doubled down in an interview on Sunday, telling CNN there needed to be a more serious debate rather than ’empty talk’. New Jersey governor Chris Christie also criticised ‘hyperbole’ from other rightwingers such as Ted Cruz who has accused the White House of sponsoring terrorism and Mike Huckabee who said the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran would lead Jewish people to the gas chamber.

Yet Christie – who has fallen behind in recent polling – also resorted to threatening metaphors when he added in the same CNN interview that the national teachers’ union deserved to be ‘punched in the face’.

(cont..)

Source: Donald Trump backlash intensifies within GOP ahead of first 2016 debate | US news | The Guardian

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‘How to wipe yourself off the internet’..

Could you wipe yourself from the web?

A New Zealand researcher has together with researchers from Germany developed software that could within seconds allow Google and service providers alike to remove someone’s personal information on the internet.

The technology could have a clear benefit for European citizens who thanks to a landmark court ruling are now free to ask Google to take down reputation-damaging material about them on the search engine’s European indexes.

Unfortunately for Kiwis who would rather they didn’t exist online the same right doesn’t apply here.

Google has evaluated more than one million links sent by Europeans since the European Court of Justice last year forced the internet giant to comply with EU privacy laws that held up the ‘right to be forgotten’.

(cont..)

Source: How to wipe yourself off the internet – Technology – NZ Herald News

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‘Report shows increase in West Auckland rough sleepers’.. 

A new report into homelessness in West Auckland has highlighted a need for more social housing in the area.

Harris suggest the issue is the availability and affordability of housing, an issue that is hitting Aucklanders hard at the moment with high and increasing rents and landlords being able to be more selective with more tenants.

‘The consequence of the restricted and expensive market means an increase in homeless people and rough sleeping in Auckland’.

The majority of participants in the survey spoke about difficulties within their home environment as a reason for living on the streets.

Some family environments were surrounded by addiction and domestic violence – one person left a structurally unsafe house that was damp and rotten – another moved because of rats. One responder was evicted.

Key reasons for staying on the street included rental costs – alcohol dependency – unstable conditions of boarding houses – a lack of money and choosing a partner over accommodation’.

Many spoke of WINZ being unhelpful despite advocacy work from agencies like the Salvation Army.

‘A food grant given from WINZ – where are they going to put it? And they’re only given 3 days to use it’.

One person said:  ‘Maybe having one-on-one support workers so they can get to know them individually and can tell the facts of their true situation’.

(cont..)

Source: Report shows increase in West Auckland rough sleepers | Stuff.co.nz

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‘Bernie Sanders’ Secret Sauce: The Vermont Socialist’s Improbable Rise To Prominence’.. 

The Vermont’s Senator’s unexpected journey.

(con’t..)

(ed:..a look back at the political history of bernie sanders..)

Source: Bernie Sanders’ Secret Sauce: The Vermont Socialist’s Improbable Rise To Prominence | Alternet

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‘How Donald Trump Is Feeding Off the Death of the American Dream’.. 

The fascinating and dangerous trick of Trump is that he offers an escape from responsibility.

(cont..)

Source: How Donald Trump Is Feeding Off the Death of the American Dream | Alternet

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‘The Marijuana Legalization Express: 10 States That Could Vote on It Next Year’.. 

After they count the ballots on election day next year – a whole lot of Americans could be living in legal marijuana states.

(cont..)

Source: The Marijuana Legalization Express: 10 States That Could Vote on It Next Year | Alternet

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‘The 15 social media trends that defined a generation’.. 

Remember the Cinnamon Challenge? What about Batmanning?

Over the past few years social media has given rise to a number of crazes that have quickly spread across the web; with the likes of Twitter and Facebook – a trend started in Devon can reach Delaware in a matter of minutes. In the past 5 years social media trends have got bigger and bigger and in some cases wackier and wackier.

From the more absurd trends like Batmanning and Cinnamon Challenge – to those with an underlying charitable cause like the Ice Bucket Challenge – social media trends spread like wildfire. Chances are you’ll have had at least a handful of trends pop up on your social media feeds over the years.
Take a look at our infographic below and discover just how many millions Thumbs Up for Stephen raised and how many times Gangnam Style was watched. Which trend has been your favourite? And be honest – how many crazes have you taken part in?
(cont..)

Source: The 15 social media trends that defined a generation – Salon.com

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‘Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill – How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?’.. 

‘Bloody hell’. We can assume from this tweet sent last Wednesday that Anna Smaill was shocked to find her novel The Chimes longlisted for 2015’s Man Booker Prize. Smaill was at home in Wellington New Zealand and checking her email before bed. ‘There was a message saying, “Confidential – for the next 10 minutes,’ I went, ‘Oh s***’, then ran to my husband and burbled something meaningless’.

Only two years earlier Smaill had watched fellow New Zealander Eleanor Catton win the Man Booker with The Luminaries. It suddenly dawned that she was following in those acclaimed footsteps. ‘I realised I should say something. Normally on Twitter I don’t say anything. What I typed was inane and expletive-laden. It was immediately quoted on news items in New Zealand and was seen as a quintessentially Kiwi reaction’.

(cont..)

Source: Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill – How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised? – Features – Books – The Independent

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‘Windows 10 spying: How to opt out of Microsoft’s intrusive terms of use’.. 


Windows 10 has been well received by users and tech writers alike, but parts of Microsoft’s new privacy policy are raising eyebrows due to concerns that they could be ‘spying’ on what users do.

The tech company’s service agreement stretches to 12,000 words but one part of it has worried users over the safety of their data.

One excerpt worryingly tells users that ‘we will access, disclose and preserve personal data’ including the contents of emails or files in private folders.

They add that they will do this when they need to comply with law enforcement, prevent spam, maintain the security of their networks, or protect their rights or property.

Microsoft also keeps tabs on your behaviour in order to target adverts to you – something you might be uncomfortable with or might just find annoying.

If you’re worried about your privacy then you might be put off by upgrading to Windows 10 – which is a shame, because early reviews all seem to agree that it’s a really good operating system.

Fortunately it’s possible to opt-out of these privacy policies and Rock Paper Shotgun have explained how to do it.

Go to Settings – Privacy and turn off everything that looks dodgy

  

There are 13 screens you need to get through to cover every aspect of your machine – including what apps and programs have access to your location – contacts – messaging details and camera – amongst other things.

Source: Windows 10 spying: How to opt out of Microsoft’s intrusive terms of use – News – Gadgets and Tech – The Independent

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‘Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win’..

Labour MPs are preparing for a Jeremy Corbyn victory by rallying round the leading Blairite in the deputy leadership contest to prevent a left-wing takeover at the top of the party.

A string of MPs – including two shadow ministers – have switched their support from other candidates to back Caroline Flint for deputy as a centrist counterweight to Mr Corbyn – who is on course to win the leadership on 12 September. With several members of the Shadow Cabinet vowing not to serve under Mr Corbyn the MPs argue that Ms Flint can hold the party together if the left-winger wins. Her main rival for deputy – Tom Watson – has widespread grassroots support but is to the left of Ms Flint – leading some MPs to call for a left-right balance at the top.

Constituency Labour Party nominations for leadership and deputy leadership candidates closed on Friday and the final tally confirmed that Mr Corbyn – the MP for Islington North – remains way out in front. Although the nominations do not carry any extra weighting they are likely to reflect support in the country – causing panic in the rival camps.

(cont..)

Source: Labour rallies behind Flint as deputy leader to offset a Corbyn win – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

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‘Critics and musicians take on 50 years of Dylan – album by album’.. 

For the contributors to Jon Bream’s ‘Dylan: Disc by Disc’ even the Christmas album is worth debating. Here’s why.

For much of the career of the man born Robert Zimmerman there’s been a kind of critical consensus. He started as a folky – singing acoustic protest songs that spoke to a generation. Then one day — at Newport in 1965 — he plugged in and musical history was electrified and his own career broadened. A few stunning years followed – including a motorcycle crash and a period of retreat – and then a powerful record about divorce called ‘Blood on the Tracks’. And then what? A series of false starts – dead ends and attempted comebacks? A descent into Christian music? A loss of direction? Self-absorption?

It’s around this time that things get blurry and observers start to disagree. The release of a tribute record last year — ‘Dylan in the 80s’ — and Elijah Wald’s recent book ‘Dylan Goes Electric!’ try to reorient the way we think about specific periods. But the new “Dylan: Disc by Disc” reckons with the entire career. Jon Bream – music critic at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune – brings together dozens of writers to look at the output – from ‘Bob Dylan’ to ‘Shadows in the Night’. They include rock critics Robert Christgau and Evelyn McDonnell and musicians Joe Henry – Questlove – Suzanne Vega and Jason Isbell.
(cont..)

 

Source: Critics and musicians take on 50 years of Dylan, album by album – Salon.com

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‘Church attacks David Cameron’s lack of compassion over asylum crisis’.. 

Bishop of Dover pleads for PM to ‘rediscover what it is to be human’ as No 10 unveils plans for Calais reinforcements.

The Church of England has made a dramatic intervention in the migrant crisis – delivering a stern rebuke to David Cameron for his ‘unhelpful’ rhetoric.

Speaking with the backing of the church the bishop of Dover accused senior political figures –  the prime minister – of forgetting their humanity and attacked elements of the media for propagating a “toxicity” designed to spread antipathy towards migrants.

After another tense day in Calais following a night in which fewer migrants tried to enter the Eurotunnel terminal in northern France the bishop – the Right Rev Trevor Willmott – urged Cameron to ameliorate his rhetoric.

‘We’ve become an increasingly harsh world and when we become harsh with each other and forget our humanity then we end up in these standoff positions’ he said. ‘We need to rediscover what it is to be a human and that every human being matters’.

On Thursday the prime minister drew international opprobrium when he described migrants trying to reach Britain as a ‘swarm’ and promised to introduce strong-arm tactics – including extra sniffer dogs and fencing – at Calais.

(cont..)

Source: Church attacks David Cameron’s lack of compassion over asylum crisis | World news | The Guardian

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‘It’s fast – global – engaged and influential – so why isn’t Twitter flying?’.. 

While Facebook and Snapchat soar – the most immediate social media channel in the world has many experts worried.

How many tech companies are saddled with the problem of enjoying global fame but struggling with lacklustre performance? Not Facebook, which revealed in its results that it has nearly 1.5 billion users logging in each month around the world. Twitter however is an example where participation is lagging behind reputation.

The company built around text-message-length ‘tweets’ announced in its own quarterly results last week that it has 304 million monthly active users (MAUs) – who logged in at least once a month in the past quarter. That figure was up only 0.7% from the previous quarter – while the figure for MAUs in the US stayed stubbornly at 65 million.

Yet it is Twitter that is so often cited in news stories – TV coverage and even TV adverts – as established media businesses scramble to generate engagement with a tech-savvy mass of viewers readers and listeners. Twitter is seen as the easy way to do that: anyone can join anyone can contact anyone else who’s on it and it’s free. You can ‘like’ a company on Facebook and write comments on its page – yet it’s Twitter that is generally treated as the immediate switched-on source.

So why is Twitter struggling financially?

(cont..)

Source: It’s fast, global, engaged and influential – so why isn’t Twitter flying? | Technology | The Guardian

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‘Not the retiring type: meet the people still working in their 70s – 80s and 90s’.. 

At 92 Jean Miller is still taking coats at Vidal Sassoon – while immunologist Ivan Roitt (87) is a department head: meet the workers with no plans to clock off.

(cont..)

(ed:..anecdotes confirming the benefits of staying mentally-fit/working into old age..)

Source: Not the retiring type: meet the people still working in their 70s, 80s and 90s | Life and style | The Guardian

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‘All eyes on Trump as Republican debate nears – but Fox will be the real winner’.. 

Republican candidates will take the stage on Thursday – with ratings expected to soar as Americans tune in to see what the frontrunner has to say.

All eyes are on The Donald as the boisterous real estate baron and former reality TV star takes his position as the de facto headliner in the first Republican presidential debate on Thursday. With an unparalleled 17 candidates in the field (just 10 of whom will be allowed to participate in the prime-time telecast) – it’s anyone’s game.

Trump – for all his many faults – is a draw. His presence in the room is a major win for the network during this crucial time of the year: Trump is now polling ahead of every other Republican running and his presence alongside a wide variety of conservatives means that there’s something for every viewer even if that something is a bit distasteful.

‘Trump expresses a lot of the angst the public has on wages and the economy’ said political strategist Greg Valliere of the Potomac Research Group – pointing out that wage stagnation was still seriously affecting voters. ‘Beyond that there have to be specific prescriptions – and when you come to prescriptions – Trump is totally clueless. He had a great quote on CNN the other day: somebody asked him how he’d replace Obamacare. He said: ‘I’d replace it with something terrific.’

That mix of populism and poppycock presented by the resounding Trump is causing tension even within Fox. Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexicans and Senator John McCain have angered Fox’s parent company executive co-chair Rupert Murdoch – a long-time critic of Trump.

(cont..)

Source: All eyes on Trump as Republican debate nears, but Fox will be the real winner | Media | The Guardian

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‘Hunt is on for 33 slave ships off coast of Papua New Guinea’.. 

Immigration officials seek trawler fleet crewed by 1,000 trafficked Burmese men that is thought likely to be supplying the UK with seafood.

A fleet of at least 30 fishing trawlers crewed by slaves is being hunted off the coast of Papua New Guinea as the true extent becomes apparent of the trafficking of Burmese men by a massive Thai-run criminal syndicate operating throughout the East Indies.

Immigration officials have so far intercepted one of the fishing vessels – called the Blissful Reefer – and rescued its trafficked crew. Another 33 Thai trawlers thought to be crewed by slaves are being tracked in fishing grounds off the south coast of Papua New Guinea – known locally as the Dog Leg.

The trawlers are thought to be linked to a huge trafficking operation that was disrupted on the isolated Indonesian island of Benjina in March, liberating hundreds of enslaved fishermen – although a large number of boats loaded with slaves managed to escape.

Analysis of the trafficking operation reveals that the fish – which were originally heading for Thailand’s huge export-oriented seafood trade – are entering global supply chains – with some almost certainly destined for Britain.

It has also emerged that another much larger fleet of fishing boats crewed by slaves has been identified on the Indonesian island of Ambon – 1,200 miles to the west and once an important destination in the region’s spice trade. Officials from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) believe that a further 240 Thai fishing vessels are moored there – along with a total of around 1,000 slaves.

To date the crews of around 70 fishing vessels have been interviewed by IOM officials on the island – resulting in the rescue of some 350 Burmese slaves who will be repatriated to Burma (Myanmar). Accounts from a handful of former Burmese slaves who have already arrived home say hundreds of men remain unaccounted for.

(cont..)

Source: Hunt is on for 33 slave ships off coast of Papua New Guinea | World news | The Guardian

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‘Can’t afford meds? Don’t get sick’.. 

So now you’re interested in the Trans Pacific Partnership. After years of warnings about the free trade agreement’s potentially disastrous effects on lapdog countries such as ours – which have been straining at the leash in our enthusiasm to see the deal signed off – the public has been given a hip-pocket reason to give a toss.

Hitherto objections have centred on far-fetched scenarios involving large corporations gaining control of nations’ intellectual property – suing foreign Governments for not doing their bidding – and other nightmares.

Then John Key in an uncharacteristically gauche move admitted the cost of some medicines would go up under the TPP. This is hardly surprising. When the aim of a deal is to end protection things tend to be left unprotected.

The PM has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the TPP that when he has no choice but to admit it has a tiny downside you know it’s serious and almost certainly not the worst of it. He might have thought no one would notice – after all health is almost proverbially something we take for granted.

But meddling doctors’ groups – not yet discredited in the way teachers – beneficiaries and unionists have been after decades of neoliberal governments – led the charge in deploring this possibility.

Our tough love Government must find this galling. Medicine – in its mind – is probably an extravagance indulged in by people who don’t have the mental fortitude to deal with illness and chronic conditions with positive thinking and a can-do attitude.

Can’t afford medicine? Don’t get sick – losers.

(cont..)

Source: Can’t afford meds? Don’t get sick – Business – NZ Herald News

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‘How you are killing your IQ every day’..

Modern life is eroding our minds – and these serial brain-sucking offenders may surprise you.

Most recently a study by the University of Montreal – published this month – found that eating large quantities of saturated fat can have a significant effect on brain function – damaging the neural circuits that govern motivation and even leading to a sort of addiction.

Since the 1930s IQs across the world have largely increased thanks to better living conditions – improved nutrition and education. But scientists are now raising concerns that for the last decade IQ scores have not just been levelling out but declining – and our collective intelligence has dropped by one IQ point in the last 50 years.

As well as learning new things you need to protect the home front it seems. So – if you want to salvage what damp tissue you have left – here are some of the surprising ways you could be ruining your brain.

1. Tucking into a full English

Consuming large amounts of soggy saturated fats (bacon – buttery toast and fried eggs) hamper the brain’s dopamine function – a vital neurotransmitter responsible for motivation. Studies show that fatty diets impair cognitive flexibility – slow reaction times-  damage memory – and bring on feelings of depression in rats and other animals.

(cont..)

Source: Chewing gum, reality TV and Google: How you are killing your IQ every day | Stuff.co.nz

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‘Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho shot dead by poachers in Zimbabwean park’.. (update:..ed:.no..he is still alive..that’s what i get for believing the daily bloody mail..eh..?..)

Johnny Rodrigues, Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said in a statement: ‘It is with great sadness and regret that we report that Jericho was shot dead at 4pm this afternoon.

Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho has been shot dead by poachers in a park in Zimbabwe.

The beloved animal was protecting Cecil’s lion cubs after he was shot dead by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer earlier this month – sparking outrage around the world.

Jericho is believed to have been gunned down during an illegal hunting operation in Hwange National Park on Saturday afternoon during.

Johnny Rodrigues – Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force – said in a statement: ‘It is with great sadness and regret that we report that Jericho was shot dead at 4pm this afternoon.

‘We are absolutely heartbroken. We have no further details but will advise as soon as we know more.’

Before his death there had been concerns Jericho would not be able to hold the territory of Cecil’s cubs alone and could be chased away by rival lions.

Unprotected, the lionesses and cubs are now under threat and also move away or be killed.

(cont..)

(update:..(from ‘the guardian’..) ‘Despite reports that Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho had been shot dead by a poacher, a field researcher at Hwange Lion Research said on Saturday: ‘He looks alive and well’. Another conservation worker said the lion had been seen with a female earlier in the day ‘probably mating’…)

Source: Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho shot dead by poachers in Zimbabwean park | Daily Mail Online

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‘Colin Craig could run for Auckland Mayor’.. (+ op-ed..)

Former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig has not ruled out running for Auckland mayor next year – despite another week where his personal life has been dragged through the media.

Craig said he had been asked on more than one occasion to run for mayor and said he sees a strong constituency for a conservative, particularly a fiscally conservative, candidate to run in Auckland.

‘I was born here and I love the city.  As a party we have always had some clear policies about sorting Auckland out, starting by reducing rates’ he said.

.’It is not something I have committed to – but as I say – I have been asked’.(cont..)

(ed:..now that is funny..!..w.t.f. is he smoking..?..is the man totally delusional..?..cobbling together a gaggle of rightwing religious-nutters/reactionaries is one thing – winning a mass popular vote to be mayor something quite else..

..it could be entertaining tho’ – craig could be our ‘donald trump’ character/sideshow for that mayoralty race..

..giving us all a bit of a laff…on an ongoing basis..

..craig has as much chance in that race – as he has of being elected pope..

 

Source: Colin Craig could run for Auckland Mayor | Stuff.co.nz

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‘Medicinal cannabis likely in New Zealand by 2016′.. 

An unlikely alliance is making cannabis treatments a reality for Kiwis.

Toni-Marie Matich’s eldest daughter suffers from intractable epilepsy – a seizure disorder that cannot be controlled with conventional medicine. It led the Hawkes Bay mother-of-five to found United in Compassion (UIC) – which advocates for New Zealand-based research into the therapeutic effects of cannabis-based medicines. The paediatrician caring for her daughter just happens to be the Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills.

And that’s led to the unlikely but powerful alliance of Wills and UIC –  teaming up with NZ Drug Foundation – to campaign for broader access to medicinal cannabis. It’s raised the prospect that it could soon become as readily available as morphine.

For Wills juggling both roles could be a political minefield but he says its not an issue: as a doctor he can see the daily impact of what these ‘devastating diseases do to children and their families’. He’s not short of stories of desperate and vulnerable families who have gone to ‘extraordinary lengths to obtain treatments at enormous cost and extreme risk that then aren’t effective’.

Unite In Compassion co-founder Toni-Marie Matich, who cares full time for her eldest daughter who suffers from intractable epilepsy.

 Unite In Compassion co-founder Toni-Marie Matich, who cares full time for her eldest daughter who suffers from intractable epilepsy.

‘I think doctors are desperate’ he says ‘to see patients have access to effective treatments’.

Research and random-control trials of cannabinoid products are underway in Israel and the United States and the results of those trials could be just months away – which could mean a New Zealand-approved product could be available by next year – once manufacturers have produced a product and passed MedSafe checks.

At that point Pharmac will negotiate a price with the manufacturers and Wills doesn’t see there being any delays because associate health minister Peter Dunne – the ministry – doctors and parents ‘are all on the same page’.

‘Pharmac will be persuaded by evidence of effect and cost’.

(cont..)

Source: Medicinal cannabis likely in New Zealand by 2016 | Stuff.co.nz

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‘John Key leaves girl in tears after calling Maori language month ‘boring’..

Prime Minister dismisses girl’s idea for Maori language month as boring.

A teenage girl was ‘upset and embarrassed’ when the Prime Minister said her suggestion of   a Maori language month would be boring.

The 16-year-old asked  John Key whether he would extend Maori language week – when he visited a school assembly at Waiuku College, on Friday.

Key said he preferred keeping it to a week of Maori language celebrations and that people would get ‘bored’ by a month.

Prime Minister John Key speaks to a Waiuku College assembly about Maori language week, saying people would be "bored" if it was extended to a month.

 Prime Minister John Key speaks to a Waiuku College assembly about Maori language week-  saying people would be ‘bored’ if it was extended to a month.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said Key’s meaning was that the celebrations may be diluted over a longer period.

She said she thought students may have misinterpeted his answer.

Classmate Trent Brown Marsh (16) said the girl was in tears after assembly and was considering taking time off school because she felt embarrassed.

He said his friend was ‘basically laughed at’.

‘She’s still upset. She doesn’t want to go back to school’ Brown Marsh said. ‘John Key made the whole school laugh in a rude way’.

Brown Marsh said he was angry that the year 12 girl was invited to talk to Key about Maori language week but then her question was ‘dismissed’.

(cont..)

Source: John Key leaves girl in tears after calling Maori language month ‘boring’ | Stuff.co.nz

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trans pacific partnership talks fail..

In welcome news for Kiwi dairy farmers – Trans Pacific Partnership talks in Hawaii have failed.

The result frustrated negotiators who had toiled through the night to cross off outstanding issues and made significant progress on many controversial issues.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the problem lay with the ‘big four’ economies of the United States – Canada – Japan and Mexico. ‘The sad thing is – 98 per cent is concluded’ he said.

Failure to seal the agreement is a setback for US President Barack Obama – given the trade pact’s stance as the economic arm of the administration’s pivot to Asia and an opportunity to balance out China’s influence in the region.

The talks which drew about 650 negotiators 150 journalists and hundreds of stakeholders had been billed as the last chance to get a deal in time to pass the US Congress this year – before 2016 presidential elections muddy the waters.

The TPP seeks to meld bilateral questions of market access for exports with one-size-fits-all standards on issues ranging from workers’ rights to environmental protection and dispute settlement between governments and foreign investors.

(cont..)

Source: TPPA: Trans Pacific Partnership talks fail in face of NZ, Canada dairy clash | Stuff.co.nz

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’10 of the best photographers documenting post-Soviet life – in pictures’.. 

The Calvert Journal select some of the most compelling artists across the new east – turning a lens on everything from lone arctic researchers to expectant parents.

(cont..)

Source: 10 of the best photographers documenting post-Soviet life – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

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‘Malcolm Evans – TPPA – today and tomorrow’.. 

(ed:..evans totally hits the mark..the tpp is not about free trade – it is signing up to economic-imperialism..to signing our sovereignty over/away to corporations..

..and obama has been quite clear that the deal is a u.s vs. china geo-political move/game..

..’free-trade’..my arse..!..)

(cont..)

Source: Malcolm Evans – TPPA – today and tomorrow « The Daily Blog

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‘Have you no decency, sir?': Vidal v Buckley and the art of killer comebacks’.. 

The lifelong feud between Gore Vidal and William F Buckley saw some of the best comebacks anyone has ever uttered. Now as Best of Enemies – the documentary about their falling out is released – we look at the best of the rest.

In celebration of those great days of envenomed intellectual debate we have assembled some of the meanest and funniest live TV confrontations of the last 60 years – in a variety of settings – from the US army-McCarthy hearings that laid the witch-hunting Wisconsin senator low for good to Jon Stewart eviscerating the hosts of Crossfire live on their own show.

(cont..)

Source: ‘Have you no decency, sir?': Vidal v Buckley and the art of killer comebacks | Film | The Guardian

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‘Hey Bono – the Beatles were not Irish – they were American to the core’.. 

When the robber baron of pop declared ‘let’s claim all the Beatles … as Irish’ he was absolutely wrong. Here’s why.

Following the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry in 1972 – in which 14 unarmed civil rights protesters were gunned down by British troops Lennon and McCartney separately became embroiled in Irish politics, McCartney finding his single Give Ireland Back to the Irish slapped with a BBC ban and Lennon beginning to identify himself as Irish.

Lennon’s take on the tragedy – Sunday Bloody Sunday (a title Bono would later crib for U2) – stared at the atrocity through unequivocally Irish eyes: ‘You Anglo pigs and Scotties sent to colonise the North/You wave your bloody Union Jack and you know what it’s worth/How dare you hold to ransom a people proud and free?/Keep Ireland for the Irish, put the English back to sea’.

But these and subsequent Gaelic touches were entirely post-Beatles; there was precious little Irish influence in their music as a band. And when Bono declares ‘let’s claim all the Beatles … as Irish’ however tongue-in-cheek – he’s not talking about their individual bloodlines but appropriating the entire cultural behemoth as crudely as a frat party drunkard whooping around in a Native American headdress.

If the career of James McCartney has proven anything – it’s that musical genius is definitely not genetic and those genealogists pointing at the Beatles’ Gaelic ancestry as informing their talents might also point at this writer’s French surname as explanation for him being an accomplished lover and never having finished a fight.

(cont..)

Source: Hey, Bono, the Beatles were not Irish – they were American to the core | Music | The Guardian

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‘Crowds gather for prison protest’.. 

A crowd of about 100 protesters have gathered outside Auckand’s Mt Eden Corrections Facility today against the privitisation of jails.

Passing motorists have started tooting their support as the crowds gather, chanting ‘Serco out’.

Among the protesters is Labour Party Corrections spokesman Kelvin Davis who is set to give a speech at the rally – which has been dubbed ‘no profit in prisons’.
Davis told the crowd prisoners are being traumatised by violence inside the privately-run prison and he wants to see Serco gone.

Organiser John Palethorpe is from the UK – where he says Serco has also had many failings. ‘Given what’s happened at Mt Eden in the last few weeks I thought time to do something’.

Prisons should not be for profit Mr Palethorpe said and the only dividend should a be a social one where prisoners leave prison less brutalised than when they went in – ready to contribute to society.

‘New Zealanders are right to ask why their taxpayer money is being used to fund a foreign company’s profit margin – and the public service they are supposed to be providing isn’t being provided properly’.

(cont..)

Source: Crowds gather for prison protest – National – NZ Herald News

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‘Interviews: Kim Dotcom Answers Your Questions’..

(ed:..this is a q& a dotcom did for slashdot..)


Mana party
by Anonymous Coward

You created the “internet party” as a fight against privacy laws being tramped in your adopted country, helped shape policy and pushed for “digital rights” not just for yourself but others.

Yet your “party” formed an alliance with the “mana party” who once claimed that broadband was stealing the soul of the country and sought compensation from the Govt, a party who has never gotten more the 1.30% of the popular vote, Nationalisation of monopolies and duopolies (which means they will never get any business votes, and which constricts their only policy of “for the people” (aren’t people allowed to make profit?)

I was absolutely with the “internet party” and digital rights, until they made a coalition with the “mana” party. Was this a choice that you had a part in for the betterment of the political party you bankrolled, or was this out of control?

Dotcom: We joined forces with Mana for 2 simple reasons:

1. Mana is the party of the poor and disadvantaged. They fight against inequality. They want a government that is helping those that are struggling. I think that’s honorable. And if you ever get into a situation where you need your government to help you out I think you would be glad that there is a party that cares about your urgent needs. Society has grown cold and selfish. We need to be more considerate for those who really need help. That’s why I support Mana. I do admit that they had some radical &unrealistic ideas. It was our job to explain that to them and work with them on better ideas. They were good listeners and had the wisdom to change.

2. We started the Internet Party only 6 months before the election. Mana was our most likely ticket into parliament. It was a strategic decision because we would not have reached the threshold of 5% on the first run. It is extremely difficult for a brand new political movement to achieve the minimum 5% required to get into parliament. It was a gamble. We all knew that it was risky but we had to try. It didn’t work out and I took full responsibility for that. In 2017 the Internet Party will run again, solo. We will have more time to prepare for the election and work hard to convince the electorate that we are worthy of making it into parliament.

(cont..)


Source: Interviews: Kim Dotcom Answers Your Questions – Slashdot

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‘Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests’.. 

‘For the good of media freedom’, Germany’s prosecutor general suspends investigation into reporters who said state planned to boost surveillance.

A treason investigation into two journalists who reported that the German state planned to boost online surveillance has been suspended by the country’s prosecutor general following protests by leading voices across politics and media.

Harald Range – Germany’s prosecutor general said on Friday he was halting the investigation ‘for the good of press and media freedom’. It was the first time in more than half a century that journalists in Germany had faced charges of treason.

Speaking to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Range said he would await the results of an internal investigation into whether the journalists from the news platform netzpolitik.org had quoted from a classified intelligence report before deciding how to proceed.

His announcement followed a deluge of criticism and accusations that Germany’s prosecutor had ‘misplaced priorities’ having failed to investigate with any conviction the NSA spying scandal revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden and targeting instead the two investigative journalists, Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister.

Künast told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger: ‘Nothing happened with that. If it wasn’t for investigative journalism we would know nothing’.

(cont..)

Source: Germany halts treason inquiry into journalists after protests | World news | The Guardian

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‘Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger team up for record label drama’.. 

Set in 1970s New York, Vinyl will explore the drug-fuelled music business at the dawn of punk and disco – starring Olivia Wilde and Jagger’s son James.

A new TV series about the music industry co-produced by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger will premiere on HBO in 2016 it has been announced. The ‘rock’n’roll drama’ Vinyl – will star Boardwalk Empire’s Bobby Cannavale, House’s Olivia Wilde and Jagger’s son James.

Set in New York in the 1970s it will tell the story of a fictional record label called American Century records – exploring the drug- and sex-fuelled music business when the punk and disco scenes were emerging.

 

Source: Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger team up for record label drama | Film | The Guardian

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‘What could possibly go wrong with the TPP?’.. 

New Zealand – New Zealand – New Zealand. Don’t you go worrying your pretty head about anything this Government is doing on your behalf. Remember to have an optimistic, aspirational look around you once in a while, and say ‘What a great country I live in’.

Don’t ever ever worry that we are about to be sold down the river in Hawaii – where 12 countries are in the middle of agreeing to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. You don’t need to know what’s in it. We ourselves barely know as we change our story by the day but all you need to remember is a) we are great economic managers, and b) America – which holds almost all of the bargaining power – wants us to succeed economically almost more than we do.

(cont..)

Source: What could possibly go wrong with the TPP? – Opinion – NZ Herald News

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