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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A number of points of interest..
Some harsh comments from Vlad today about Britain.. perhaps the closest we've ever seen the Russian leader approach humour..
He's dismissed a UK request for Andrei Lugovoi's extradition as the remnant of a 'colonial mindset'...
"They have long forgotten that it is a long time since Britain was a colonial power," he told Russian TV.
This is a continuation of the exchange of words, following the expulsion of four Russian 'diplomats' from Britain..
Vlad being filmed meeting pro-Kremlin youth groups at the presidential residence at Zavidovo when he was asked about the diplomatic row..
He said 30 people sought by Russian law enforcement agencies "for serious and very serious crimes" were taking refuge in London and Britain did not "bat an eyelid and did not even think about extraditing them".
"They (that's us..) had the same problem, though to a lesser extent, with the USA, strange as it may sound, and with France and other countries," he said..
"They do not extradite to any country people who are hiding on their territory, including people who are suspected of and charged with terrorist activities."
And as though that wasn't enough.. he added that to other countries, Britain made "exaggerated claims", including "insulting advice" to "change our constitution"...
"They should get their heads examined rather than tell us to change our constitution," he said.
Yes. The Civil Servants behind the politicians and diplomats, call this 'bumf'..

And while farmers are bemoaning the loss of the European migrant workers they used to get on an annual basis.. those allowed into the country on temporary work visas..
figures seem to indicate those from the new EU are coming into the country, and are filling jobs slightly more lucrative..
Two and a half million foreigners have moved to the UK to work since 2002, National Insurance figures appear to suggest...
Now..these numbers, which include those who may only have been in the UK for a short time, have been getting larger each year, reaching 713,000 last year..
The Home Office stressed these were people coming to the UK to work, and said it now monitored social impact...
And the clear message to the British man on the street is..'there are jobs out there, if you're willing to work'..
While the Conservatives have moved quickly to suggest this trend is unacceptable, and the numbers must be drastically reduced.. it must be remembered that these workers pay taxes.. These are not 'political refugees'.. but people who will do what we ourself distain..
Hard to hold a moral high ground.. when one collects Government Benefits..
This is the breakdown, for last year:
Poland: 222,000.. India: 49,000.. Slovak Repub: 28,000.. Pakistan: 25,000.. Australia: 24,000.. Lithuania: 24,000.. France: 20,000.. S.Africa: 16,000
Germany 15,000.. China: 13,000..
'Source: DWP figures on NI numbers allocated in year to April 2007'
Realistically, we can only expect these figures to rise..
More on this, as the situation develops..

There have been reports in al Jazeera on the possibility of Tony having any success in the Middle East, and surprisingly, they're somewhat cautiously optimistic..
The Quartet, comprising the US, EU, UN and Russia, has asked Tony for an initial plan for building ruling institutions needed to establish a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel, by September..
Good luck on meeting that deadline..
Tony's mission.. as expounded upon earlier here.. is complicated by the split between Hamas, who currently control Gaza, and Abbas' Fatah faction, who are in charge of the West Bank.
Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Ramallah, says Hamas officials insist Tony has to talk to them in some way else he is guilty of double-standards.
The difficulty, as also mentioned before, is getting Hamas to stop it's terrorist activities, and recognize..
And, as if Tony hadn't enough to contend with.. there comes the announcement today from Syria, that they have missiles capable of hitting any target within Israel..
A good way to start peace talks, that..
And lets complicate matters even further..
The US has accused Iran of increasing its alleged support of armed groups in Iraq in the two months since the two parties began talks aimed at finding a way to quell the fighting..
The comments by Ryan Crocker, the US envoy in Iraq, came after the second direct meeting in Baghdad between Tehran and Washington in 27 years..
Crocker said that since the last meeting in May "we have actually seen militia-related activity with Iranian support go up and not down"...
Ahh.. the delicate art of diplomacy..
In reply.. Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the Iranian ambassador, countered Crocker's remarks by saying that Tehran was helping Iraq deal with the 'security situation', but Iraqis were "victimised by terror and the presence of foreign forces" on their territory..
One does not think Qomi was talking of the Afghan.. Syrian.. or Iranian terrorists working against the Coalition Forces..
After the meeting Iraqi officials announced that the three sides had agreed to form a tripartite security committee to fight al Q'aeda in Iraq, support the Iraqi government and increase security along the Iran-Iraq border.
Yes. Bumf..

And one more issue here..
Another study on the human impact on climate change indicates that we have affected global rainfall over this past century..
The people in the South and Midlands of this island will take some comfort, one is sure, in hearing that..
Researchers said changes to the climate had led to an increase in annual average rainfall in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere..
But while Canada, Russia and northern Europe had become wetter, India and parts of Africa had become drier..
The findings will be published in the scientific journal Nature on Thursday, and we'll have a closer look at them then..

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