Friday, May 26, 2006

Pension age to rise

25/5/2006 3:51:09 PM

By Adrian Croft and Tom Burroughes

LONDON (Reuters) - The government unveiled ambitious plans on Thursday to make people work until they are 68 and encourage them to save in an effort to defuse a pensions time bomb.

In the biggest shakeup of the pensions system in 60 years, the government endorsed an experts' plan to automatically enrol workers into a national pension savings scheme to help close an estimated 57 billion pound ($107 billion) savings gap.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the plan "gives us a chance of having a really strong, sustainable, workable, affordable way of people saving for their retirement.

Like many other European countries, Britain faces a huge pensions challenge with an estimated 7 million people not saving enough for their old age. Rising lifespans and low birthrates have worsened the problem.

Opposition parties broadly supported the Labour government's plans, which are based on the recommendations of a pensions commission chaired by Adair Turner, who has combined careers in business, public policy and academia.

Excuse me but...........successive governments have totally mis-managed this country's pension system. Those people who have been paying for their pension through the government system, are now being asked to fix the problem by paying more and working longer to get a better pension with little if any real cost to the government.

The 'new plan' to automatically enroll workers in a pension saving scheme is not new at all. It was first designed in post war Britian. It was called the Social Welfare System. All Tony the Fuqwit is doing is re-selling the package we already have at a greater cost.

How about the new scheme is introduced with the government giving back all we have paid in and start afresh.

In reality Tony doesn't give a rats arse because his pension, and the pensions of his brothers in office, is index linked through a system that the rest of us are told is no longer sustainable. Way to go Fuqwit!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Africa holds rich world to account

22/5/2006 5:14:31 PM

By Tom Ashby

ABUJA (Reuters) - Rock star Bono met Chancellor Gordon Brown at a run-down Nigerian primary school on Monday, as Africa moved to hold the rich world to account over promises to fund a "Marshall Plan" for the continent.

Some ceilings at Ido Sarki School, on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital, had collapsed and about 150 children crowded onto benches in one classroom, illustrating the scale of the task required for the poorest continent to deliver basic education to all within nine years.

"Education for every child is the most cost-effective investment the world could ever make," Brown said, adding that every extra year of schooling also had measurable impact on a country's health and prosperity.

African finance ministers invited Brown and Bono to a conference in Abuja where they followed up on last year's meeting of the Group of Eight rich nations which promised to double aid to Africa by 2010.

Development campaigners say the rich world is already falling behind on promises to fund a development plan on the scale of the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe after the Second World War.

Excuse me but......If I recall correctly a number of African nations have OIL. What are they doing to improve their lot. Precious bloody little it seems. They should not blame the western countries for the greed of their own government.

More oil dollars/aid dollars end up in private bank accounts than where it belongs, invested in the infrastructure and the people.

It is easier to blame someone else for your own short comings, than own up to the truth.

This story just takes the F****** biscuit.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bono urges Africa to tackle corruption

22/5/2006 12:46:19 AM

By Lesley Wroughton

ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) - The recent goodwill of wealthy industrialised countries towards Africa could dissipate unless the continent tackles corruption, rock star and activist Bono told African finance ministers on Sunday.

"There is a window of opportunity but it could close if things like the corruption issue are not tackled or the peer review mechanisms are not felt to be real," the U2 frontman said in the Nigerian capital Abuja in one of his first speeches that emphasised malfeasance on the continent.

"The single biggest obstacle to business and the renewal of the economies in the south is corruption and the single biggest obstacle to getting start-up money for those businesses, if you want to look at aid as investment, is corruption.

Rich nations pledged last year to double aid to Africa by 2010 and cancel debts of some poorest countries, but Bono said those promises could be withdrawn if recipient governments weren't clean.

"The small 'c' in corruption is a plague as deadly as the HIV virus and it is not just the businessman, the ones that are hurt the most are always the ones that have nothing," he said.

Excuse me but....................... A very valiant attempt, Bono, but it could take 50 years or more to sort this problem. Corruption is rife from the top down. In order to stop it the government has to really want it and the government are the most corrupt of all. As long as countries like Angola and Nigeria are rich in oil there will be corruption. Certainly my many Nigerian friends are saying that the oil has made no difference to their lives. Greedy men in power with 'tribal mentality' will always see their position as supreme and above the Law, the People, and more important poverty.

President Jo Bloggs doesn't give a toss about the starving millions as long as he can filter away his pension millions. In fact if Western countries give aid he doesn't have to worry about them, just take his 'cut'.

If he had to live on a couple of kilos of maize for weeks in the most appalling conditions then, and only then, he may see the error of his ways.
I live in a very oil rich country. The poverty here is often appaling. The oil belongs to the country, the people. It is the moral responsibility of the countries leaders to ensure that poverty in their country is eradicated using the resources at hand.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Asia typhoon kills 104

20/5/2006 3:09:50 AM

HANOI (Reuters) - A typhoon that raked the South China Sea has killed at least 104 people, and Vietnamese officials said on Saturday that more than 160 fishermen were still missing and feared dead.

Typhoon Chanchu, the strongest on record to enter the South China Sea in May, the start of the storm season, left a trail of destruction through China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Excuse me but..... I can't help thinking more death more destruction, where was God. Please don't tell me that he is testing these people, I just don't believe it.

Crowds, protests expected as "Da Vinci Code" opens

20/5/2006 12:54:01 AM
By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Moviegoers, shrugging off a burst of negative reviews, were expected to flock to Friday's opening of the religious thriller "The Da Vinci Code".

"The Da Vinci Code" as some Catholics vowed coast-to-coast protests against the film.
Moreover, the film, directed by Ron Howard, has generated a level of publicity and media hype unseen since Mel Gibson 'The Passion' of the Christ" arrived in theatres two years ago.

Industry experts predicted that, like the controversy Gibson stirred with his graphic depiction of Christ's crucifixion in "The Passion," the debate over "The Da Vinci Code" has only heightened interest in Howard's film.

"There's just so much awareness and interest in this film," Regal spokesman Dick told Reuters. "I think people want to go see it and make up their own minds what they think of the movie.

The Vatican has labelled the story blasphemous and launched its own public relations offensive against the film. A Catholic lay organisation, the American Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property, took out full-page ads in USA Today calling for worshipers to stage prayer vigils outside at least 1,000 theatres nationwide on Friday.

"In all 50 states, we have organisers," said Francis Slobodnik, who is coordinating the campaign for the Pennsylvania-based group and called the film "an insult directed towards God.

Excuse me but ........ If the catholics don't want to see the film then they should not go to see it. To prevent a perfectly legitimate art form from being shown only goes to show what I have believed for a long time. Religion is not about God, but about keeping the masses under control.

The Vatican has had it's day, what it thinks is no longer going to be foisted on the majority.

At the end of the day this film is not being portrayed as a totally factual work, rather a film based on a thin tissue of facts that may or may not be proveable. As with all films the truth is rarely interesting and has to be spiced up to sell to the mass audience.

I have serious doubts about "The American Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property. Probably defending their dubious control over those who have no where else to go.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

U.S. House pushes Britain to probe Finucane murder

18/5/2006 5:04:46 PM
( Source: Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives called on Britain on Thursday to comply with an agreement with Ireland and start a full investigation of the 1989 murder of Northern Ireland attorney Pat Finucane.

The House voted 390-31 for a resolution urging Britain to establish a full "independent public judicial" inquiry into the murder of Finucane, a human rights attorney gunned down in his home in Belfast in front of his wife and three children.

Some human rights groups have connected loyalist paramilitaries and British security forces with the murder.

In 2001, the British and Irish governments jointly appointed Peter Cory, a retired justice of Canada's Supreme Court, to determine whether independent commissions should investigate possible state-sponsored collusion in six murders, including Finucane's.

Cory made his recommendation for an inquiry commission, but the British government instead said it would conduct a more limited probe of Finucane's slaying.

New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith, who sponsored the measure, said he hoped "our combined efforts here and in the Republic of Ireland will move the British government to finally live up to their agreement ... and help secure public and international confidence in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Excuse me, a very sad event, but............... WTF has this got to do with America. IIRC at the time this happened Americans were still funding 'Terrorist' activities in Northern Ireland via NOR-AID, and would probably stilll be doing that now if it wasn't for 9/11.

Mr America you ain't so squeeeky clean. Keep your nose out.


Blair asks Musharraf to stop Briton being hanged

18/5/2006 4:21:15 PM

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Britain asked Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday to stop the hanging of a British man convicted of shooting dead a taxi driver 18 years ago.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, from Leeds, is due to face the gallows on June 3, two days after his 36th birthday, having spent half his life in jail.

"The British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, on her behalf and on behalf of Prime Minister Tony Blair, has written a letter to President Musharraf requesting him to commute the death sentence of Hussain to an appropriate term of imprisonment," a British diplomat in Islamabad told Reuters.

Hussain, who is of Pakistani descent and according to Pakistani officials holds dual nationality, was arrested in Rawalpindi in 1988.

He was charged with murdering and robbing a taxi driver who he says had tried to physically and sexually assault him. Hussain maintained that the man had pulled a gun on him and it went off during a struggle.

Hussain was acquitted by the country's High Court but an Islamic Court -- the Federal Shariat Court -- sentenced him to death by hanging in 1998. The sentence was later upheld by the country's Supreme Court in 2003, and a review petition was rejected a year later.

Several British parliamentarians have pleaded for Pakistan to exercise mercy, while the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission said there had been a "miscarriage of justice".

Excuse me but.......... I can believe this story. I have been in some taxis with some very dubios characters in this neck of the woods.

What I do not understand is what has it got to do with Tony Blair? If you take the nationality of another country this should be conditional on that being your country and your only country. This young man took British citizenship but retained his old passport and citizenship. Why?

Did he not really like UK? Did he just want the protection of a British passport? What?

He was tried under Pakistani Law as a Pakistani, he was tried under Sharia Law as a Moslem. What has this got to do with Britian. If Mirza wanted the protection of his British passport he should have given up his Pakistani Passport.

The British Passport is not a toy. It should not be used as a 'GET OUT OF JAIL FREE' card as and when one choses.

If you want a passport from my country then by all means, if you qualify, take it. Please don't use it as your 'ace in the hole'. You only belittle the status it has for others.