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

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The government told us today, that it's wasted millions of Pounds chasing terrorist shadows in the Middle East.. while neglecting 'homeland security'..
But.. there's an initiative, called 'Prevent'.. that will work in prisons to rehabilitate those in there for terror related reasons.. and in the community with those released..
This, no doubt, will be funded through the reallocation of monies now spent abroad,on English classes for imams and courses to empower Muslim women..
Home Secretary Theresa May, will also concede that money from the £63 million per year anti-extremism budget has been given to groups that promote hardline beliefs. The budget is divided between the Home Office, the Foreign Office and the Communities Department..
Sometimes, you have to shake your head...
And indeed, Theresa did admit to all of the above in the Commons this afternoon.. saying "In trying to reach out to those at risk of radicalisation, funding sometimes even reached the very extremist organisations that 'Prevent' should have been confronting.. We will not make the same mistakes"..
We'll see..

Apparently Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh was more seriously injured in a rocket attack on his compound last week than thought.. Saleh suffered 40% burns and has bleeding inside his skull after Friday's attack, according to American sources..
The country's acting leader, Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has said Saleh intends to return within days.. however that seems highly unlikely..
Those keeping a close eye on the situation say that the severity of his injuries will have a direct impact on when .. and if.. he can come back to the strategically important country he has governed for 33 years.. and on who could take power if he can't..

Something for those on fixed incomes to worry about.. Scottish Power has become the first utility company to increase its prices, raising gas prices by almost 19% and electricity prices by 10%..
An average annual dual fuel bill for Scottish Power’s 2.4 million customers will rise by £171 to £1,382..
The company blamed rising wholesale energy costs over the last six months.. with the increases will taking effect from the first of August..
Other companies such as British Gas, the UK’s largest supplier, are expected to follow suit soon by also raising their prices..
Utility bills are expected to rise by at least 15 per cent across the board by the end of the year.. saddling consumers with record bills..
It begs the question, which will be more important come next winter.. eating, or heating..

Now this was mentioned yesterday.. but the government now admits that Ministers are in discussions to pass Legislation that would ensure that some sectors stay on the job.. maintaining essential services..
Unions would be forced to keep open schools, hospitals and fire stations and to keep public transport running..
Now it's a system that's been in place in many countries for quite a while.. Canada, for example, has legislation in place to guarantee 'essential services'.. Firefighters.. Police.. hospital personnel the likes of Doctors..Nurses.. cleaning staff.. must at least provide normal services.. But in Canada.. the unions can call on their membership to 'work to rule'.. which means they do their jobs at a basic level..refusing overtime.. sticking as close to the book as possible..
Things slow down, but never stop..
Here it's much the same.. But this legislation would effectively put demands on the unions themselves when it comes to calling a strike.. mandatory threshold for example
aimed at those unions who, in the past, have had a low turnout when a ballot's offered..
And..Ministers are resigned to strike action in the coming weeks by hundreds of thousands of civil servants.. probably teachers and lecturers as well.. over the Government’s reforms to public sector pensions and the ongoing pay freeze.
It may prove to be a hot Spring and Summer.. both in temperatures, and temperament..

As much as it might gall Alex Salmond.. Scotland does not have the right to hold a referendum on withdrawing from the Union.. Alex has a clear Majority in the Scottish Assembly, and plans to hold just that vote somewhere near the middle of his 5 year term..
But Westminster's Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore says there are two referendum necessary.. one, an 'advisory vote'.. the second to actually ask for independence..
But, as said above, this 'new state' would need to hold talks with the UK government at Westminster to work out an agreed position..
So we won't hold our collective breaths..

Yet another disturbing trend evolving.. It seems the number of people who're saving, or making other preparations for their retirement has gravitated to those above 50.. A poll conducted by Scottish Widows shows 59% of 'over 50's' are getting their affairs in order.. only 47% of those between 30 and 50 are doing the same..
And what's perhaps more disturbing.. one fifth of the 52 hundred people polled are making no preparations whatsoever..
on average people would like £24,300 a year to live comfortably at the age of 70..
Pensions experts say it would require a large pension pot to be saved by each individual to achieve this level of retirement income, and this report suggests that there are those falling some way short..

Beansprouts are relieved to hear they're not the cause of this E.coli outbreak.. Tests on the suspected sprouts have proven them innocent..
The finding, though not excluding the possibility that beansprouts might have carried the germs in the past, raises pressure on the German Government to track down urgently the source of the mutant bacteria.
Not a joking matter, actually..
A development on this story.. this afternoon the EU Commission suggested that at least 150 Euro's should be given to farmers who's crops rotted in the fields, while speculation on what's caused this outbreak.. Germany has been criticised for it's handling of the outbreak..
Producers of salad vegetables have seen sales plummet during the outbreak, which has killed 24 people and sickened nearly 2,400..
Germany's Health Minister Daniel Bahr said there was cause for optimism, saying there were "some arguments suggesting the worst is behind us"..
That's not much in the way of any consolation for the farmers, or the sick..

A brief mention on the floods in southern China.. tens of thousands have been left homeless.. as rains and swollen runoffs have inundated many towns and villages..
Drought in the north.. floods in the south.. China's going to be looking into increasing it's imports of foreign grains and soy..

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