Capital capital

Fundamental criticism of next year’s Olympic Games in London is regarded in some quarters as a near-treasonable offence, such is the control over the message wielded by that Bond-villainesque body known as LOCOG. Picture millionaire villain-in-chief (Lord) Sebastian Coe, with white cat in lap, and the UK’s senior politicians in pocket. It was heartening to […]

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Far right and far wrong

I see that English-language media have begun to litter their reports of yesterday’s mass killings in Oslo and Utøya with reference to the blond, blue-eyed Norwegian alleged perpetrator being a “neo-Nazi”. The soaraway Sun‘s first edition front page described it as an “al-Qaeda massacre”. Going by Norwegian-language news reports, what we know with some degree […]

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For Norge

Oslo is a drab city inhabited by a wonderful if slightly odd people. Englanders should think of Slough, only on a slightly grander scale. Utøya is an islet set in a large lake northwest of the capital. Once owned by Oslo’s trade union confederation, Utøya is now administered by a company under the control of […]

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Iranian physicist on trial for espionage

Here is some more bad news buried under an avalanche of phone hacking fallout and a spectacularly imploding British ruling class… Iranian physicist Omid Kokabee has just gone on trial, charged with “communicating with a hostile government” (i.e., working for the CIA). Only Kokabee is not some senior and distinguished nuclear expert, but rather a […]

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A perfect day for burying dodgy news

Along with others of a seditious bent, I derive a considerable degree of schadenfreudliche pleasure from the severe discomfort currently felt within Britain’s ruling class. On the other hand, this is no excuse for losing sight of the bigger picture. Troublesome times such as this are perfect for burying other bad news stories, and no […]

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Libyan revolution – languid but not liquid

Remember Libya? You could be forgiven for having forgotten about the revolution taking place in Libya, what with our current voyeuristic obsession with a scandal involving amoral media, pwned politicians and corrupt police officers. I realise that one is supposed to prefix such charges with the word “alleged”, but for the sake of narrative flow […]

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Nuclear news from Japan

Worth noting is a news story in this week’s edition of Nature which looks at radioactive contamination of the local environment following a series of equipment failures, partial nuclear fuel meltdowns and reactor explosions which occurred earlier this year at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The nuclear emergency was a result of the Tōhoku earthquake […]

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BSkyB – it ain’t over until the thin man sings

Media hyperbole surrounding the various and escalating News International scandals is subject to innumerable superlatives and generally over-exaggerated adjectives. Take, for example, the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston… “It’s a huge humiliation. This was [News Corp’s] biggest investment plan of the moment. It was one of the biggest investments they’ve ever wanted to make. "It […]

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Sky watchers – over 10 million and rising

The News International scandal continues apace, with powerful individuals and interest groups fearful that they are next in the firing line. Yesterday, in a humiliating cave-in, the government bowed to demands that the Murdoch empire’s bid to buy the bit of BSkyB it doesn’t already own be referred to the regulators. Today, former prime minister […]

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A cultural void at the heart of government

One thing that was confirmed for me yesterday is that being a government minister responsible for “Culture, Communications and Creative Industries” does not necessarily mean that the individual concerned knows anything about the creative arts. My Sunday was spent in the company of cycling friends on a ride from Greenwich Pier to the Whitechapel Gallery […]

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