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

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

There's been a series of underhanded tactics by the British media of late.. celebrities and politicians having their emails hacked or their phones tapped.. But perhaps the one case which brings this all into focus, is the Milly Dowler case..
Claims that the murdered teenager's mobile phone was hacked by a private investigator working for the News of the World are "truly dreadful", says David Cameron..
And equally as despicable.. The parents of murdered Soham girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman have been visited by police investigating phone-hacking by journalists.. those two young girls were murdered by Ian Huntley.. back in 2002..
This is not 'investigative journalism'.. but a shame shared by all those who make their living providing the public with information.
In journalism, it is indeed a case of being 'as pure as Caesars wife..' Of being the providers of the truth, acquired through ethical means.
Of course, there is a place for singular opinion.. this being an example.. but when it comes to reporting 'the news', there can be one story only, subject to topical revision..
One would hope that the parents of those children take, specifically The News of The World, to the cleaners.
While no amount of money can ever compensate the loss, it can certainly hurt those who obtained their information through vile and despicable means..
Now a development in this story.. Police have seized some 11 thousand documents from the offices of 'The News Of The World'.. in an effort to establish just how many policemen.. court reporters.. are actually on the payroll of that tabloid.. Loose lips in pubs and clubs frequented by both journalists and policemen, have led to the release of many a detail which perhaps should have been kept confidential..
But this must be kept in perspective.. not turn into a witch hunt.. While it is true many a case is discussed over a pint.. this often clarifies a situation, and gives journalists a different perspective on a case, or an issue..
But the prime responsibility of any journalist, is to take an honest approach to investigative reporting.. To have gathered their facts in an ethical and systematic manner..
This country loves a scandal.. Tabloids compete with a vengeance for their readership and in more case than one, if the absolute facts don't match what they toss across a banner headline.. the headline takes precedence..
And again if a lawsuit follows, that makes for even more headlines..
Yellow journalism must be taken as just that.. As the National Enquirer is in North America, so are the Sun, The News of the World, and their ilk to be taken with a rather large spich of salt..
It is indeed, a case of 'consider the source'.. and consider the ethics of the publication..
Rupert Murdoch, who owns News International which owns The News of the Word, has defended his Editor in Chief..Rebeckah Brooks.. but has condemned the phone hacking allegations as 'deplorable'
More headlines..
Mind you, News International stock fell a couple of points in late trading.. Perhaps a small price for the publicity..

One of the UN's African humanitarian leaders.. Antonio Guterres.. says the levels of malnutrition among children fleeing Somalia's drought could lead to a "human tragedy of unimaginable proportions.."
Estimates are that a quarter of Somalis are either displaced within their own country, or living outside as refugees..
The drought which has destroyed effectively all the crops in the south of the country is compounded by the violence in south and central areas.. In north-east Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, some 1,400 refugees are arriving every day.. and the tide has yet to turn..
The extreme weather in the Horn of Africa has been, and will continue to be, a problem unimaginable to the Western mind.. Prolonged drought in that area is the immediate cause of the severe food crisis already affecting around 10 million people in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Rains have failed over two seasons, with a strong La NiƱa event having a dramatic impact across the east coast of Africa..
Now this year's wet season has officially ended, there is little prospect of rain or relief before September..
Put's one's own problems in a somewhat different perspective..
Especially considering the bumper crops of soya and corn in the American mid-west this year..

Barack's going to be fielding question on.. of all things.. Twitter this evening.. that's 2pm EST.. 7pm GST..
The event is supposed to be devoted to jobs and the economy, through tweets to the hashtag #AskObama cover issues ranging from Afghanistan and education to the quality of school lunches and whether to legalize marijuana..
The goal is "to try and find new opportunities to connect with Americans throughout the country," according to Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House.
"The focus is to bring in a lot of new perspectives.."
How quickly this world is changing.. The next logical step, is voting online..

This is an important week for Barack.. and for the entire US for that matter..
The joint Houses must come to some agreement, on how the national debt will be reduced.. If an agreement is delayed, the US risks being downgraded in the Bond Market..
Not a good thing..
Barack prodded members of both the Senate and the House.. to get on with finding an equitable agreement.. which likely will include tax hikes on the wealthy.. a move strongly opposed by the Republicans.. Obama said he was summoning leaders of both parties to the White House tomorrow to try to break the Congressional impasse and beat an Aug. 2 deadline to avert a first-ever federal default that could shake economic markets worldwide..
A massive understatement there..
"We need to come together over the next two weeks to reach a deal that reduces the deficit and upholds the full faith and credit of the United States government and the credit of the American people," Obama said at the White House..
Yet another massive understatement..
The two sides have identified roughly $2 trillion in spending cuts, which would enable lawmakers to say they are taking steps to get the national debt under control while they sign off on further borrowing... and could hold off any reduction in their Credit Ratings.. But the main stumbling block appears to the Republic intragecies is rainf some £200 billion through tax hiles for the very wealthy, and in corporate loopholes..
Somehow, it's broght the Beatle's 'Taxman' to mind.. Those American billionaires don't appreciate their situation..
$200 billion.. a drop in the bucket..

And we complain about the state of the NHS.. we don't know how lucky we are..
To curb rising Medicaid costs, about a dozen American States are starting a new budget year by reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other health care providers that treat the poor..
Besides South Carolina.. other states reducing Medicaid payments to physicians this month are Colorado.. Nebraska.. Oregon.. and South Dakota.
Arizona, which cut rates in April, will impose another cut in October..
States reducing payments to hospitals include Colorado.. Connecticut.. Florida.. Nebraska.. New Hampshire.. North Carolina.. Oregon.. Pennsylvania.. South Carolina.. Texas.. Virginia.. and Washington.
New York cut hospital payment rates in April..
The numbers of those needing treatment which will feel this cut most deeply, are those who simply have nothing but a social safety net to keep them alive..
But then, compare the deaths caused by this cut, to the numbers being tallied daily in Somalia..

Portugal may need to join Greece in seeking a second bailout because it will struggle to hit its deficit-reduction targets, Moody’s said as it slashed the country’s credit rating to junk..
That relegation's not one to be taken lightly.. it means confidence in Greek government bonds, is non-existent.. Their paper is worth nothing..
It's a new setback in efforts to quell the Euro crisis.. the credit ratings agency downgraded Portugal’s rating to Ba2 from Baa1, and assigned a negative outlook to the nation..
That makes Moody’s the first of the top three credit ratings agencies to assign Lisbon junk status during the Eurozone crisis. It puts Portugal’s rating at the same level as El Salvador and Armenia. The euro slid against the dollar, trading at $1.4426 and dropped to 89.76p against Sterling..
This is not looking good, at all..

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