27 June 2006

Veterans Day

Today in the UK is the first veterans day. A chance for the masses to celebrate and thank those who put their lives on the line defending the freedoms of the country during times of war.

Although, seeing the standard these freedoms have led to in the UK*, you would think these veterans may wonder what they fought for.

War is wrong, violence is never going to resolve an issue, but sometimes you need to defend yourself against an aggressor. And those people who went out and put their life on the line for all of us, deserve all the thanks and praise due to them.

To all members of the armed forces, who would give their life for people they don't even know, in name of Queen and Country, I give my thanks.

* See posts here:

and here:

Lads Mags

There is going to be a short debate in the houses of parliament over the standard of 'Lads Mags' today. An MP, Claire Curtis-Thomas is going to request a bill be approved that all 'Lads Mags' be moved to the top shelf, out of the reach and sight of children.

I applaud her efforts, but unfortunately it is most likely that her bill won't be acted on, most 10 minute bills are not. But anything that helps to try and raise the moral standards in the UK can only be a good thing. And it shouldn't apply to just lads mags either, there are magazines who target the 10 - 15 year old female market which also include non suitable sexually explicit material.

It comes down to common sense. Ask yourself a question. Should a magazine produced and targeted at 12 - 15 yr old girls include articles such as "Sexual position of the week"?

I don't advocate censorship, but a level and moral standard has to be applied. I fear the effort of Claire Curtis-Thomas may be too little and have little effect but something needs to be done and every good path needs a first step.

23 June 2006

Mobile phones and lightning

UK doctors are warning of the danger of using mobile phones during thunderstorms, after the tragic case of a teenager left with severe injuries after she was struck by lightning whilst talking on her phone.

The doctors say that the metal in the phone would direct any lightning strike into the body.

A 15 year old girl was struck by lightning whilst talking on her phone. She has no recollection of the incident but suffered a heart attack and had to be resuscitated. A year later she is in a wheelchair with severe physical handicap, as well as brain damage.

Normally when a person is hit by lightning the high resistance of the human skin causes the charge to flow over the body. This is known as an external flashover. But some of the charge can flow into the body. The higher the flow, the more damage that will be done.

Any conductive material in direct contact with the skin such as metal or liquid objects increase the risk that the current will flow through the body.

Carrying a mobile phone in your pocket during a storm can also increase your chance of being struck by lightning, in the same way that coins in your pocket or wearing a ring can.

The great divide

How Muslims & Westerners view each other.

A recent global survey carried out by the PEW center shows how deep mutual suspicion exists between Muslims and Westerners.

Many westerners see Muslims as fanatical, violent and intolerant. For their part Muslims see Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy. The researchers took opinion from 14,000 people in 13 countries.

The report, which was published on Thursday, talks of the great divide between Muslims ans Westerners and how each blames the other for the poor relations that exist.

Muslims blame western policy for their own lack of prosperiety, whilst Westerners blame corrupt government, lack of education and Islamic fundamentalism for holding Muslims back.

Another big divide in opinion is how each views the others treatment of women. Westerners do not regard Muslims as respectful of women, whilst Muslims hold similar views of Westerners.

You can view the full report here:


The names, the charges

The names of those under investigation in the Calciopoli scandal has been released. They are:


LUCIANO MOGGI - Former general manager of Juventus. Part of the so-called "Triad" - the others being former chief executive Antonio Giraudo and former vice-president Roberto Bettega - that ran Juventus for 12 years. He quit last month.

The scandal began when newspapers published intercepted telephone conversations between Moggi and senior football federation officials discussing refereeing appointments for games in the 2004/05 season.

ANTONIO GIRAUDO - Former chief executive of Juventus. Also features prominently in the phone taps. Also under investigation by magistrates in Turin on suspicion of "false accounting" in relation to Juventus's transfer activities.



ADRIANO GALLIANI - Vice-president of AC Milan and former president of the Italian Football League, the organization that looks after the interests of clubs in Italy's top two divisions. His dual role had led to accusations of a conflict of interests.

LEONARDO MEANI - A member of Milan's management. Newspapers published phone taps in which he spoke to the official assigning linesmen in April 2005, complaining about a linesman he selected after Milan lost to Siena.



DIEGO DELLA VALLE and ANDREA DELLA VALLE - Diego Della Valle is the owner of Fiorentina. His brother Andrea is the club's president. In the phone taps the brothers complain about refereeing decisions with Moggi and FIGC official Paolo Bergamo in the 2004-05 season when the club risked relegation.

SANDRO MENCUCCI - Director general of Fiorentina. In phone taps dating from the end of the 2004-05 season he tells Bergamo and Innocenzo Mazzini (see both below) that Diego Della Valle will not continue to promote the interests of Serie A's smaller clubs in return for favours from referees.



CLAUDIO LOTITO - President of Lazio and its biggest shareholder. In the phone taps he tells former FIGC vice-president Innocenzo Mazzini that Diego Della Valle has made him "a bandit's offer" in relation to their game against Fiorentina at the end of the 2004-05 season. Lotito is also under investigation by magistrates in Milan on suspicion of market-rigging involving Lazio shares.



FRANCO CARRARO - Former FIGC president. Carraro resigned on May 8. He was questioned by magistrates on suspicion of knowing about the manipulation of refereeing appointments but doing nothing to stop it.

INNOCENZO MAZZINI - Former vice-president of the FIGC. Resigned on May 11. In intercepted telephone conversations with Moggi he makes disparaging references to Carraro and discusses which Juventus delegate will be attending a meeting on refereeing appointments.

COSIMO MARIA FERRI - A member of the FIGC's commission for economic disputes. Charged with knowing about the manipulation of refereeing appointments in relation to Lazio matches but doing nothing to stop it.

PIERLUIGI PAIRETTO - The FIGC official in charge of assigning referees to Serie A games during the 2004-05 season and a former member of UEFA's refereeing commission. In the phone taps he tells Moggi the name of the referee for Juventus's Champions League match against Ajax Amsterdam in September 2004 two weeks before the game. UEFA rules state the name of a referee is to be communicated only 48 hours before the match.

PAOLO BERGAMO - A former FIGC official. Worked with Pairetto during the 2004-05 season, assigning referees for Serie A games.

TULLIO LANESE - Former president of the Italian Referees Association. Investigated by FIGC magistrates on suspicion of knowing about Moggi's manipulation of referees but doing nothing to stop it.

GENNARO MAZZEI - A former FIGC official in charge of assigning linesmen to Serie A matches.

PIETRO INGARGIOLA - Former observer for the Italian Referees Association. In phone taps he claimed to have been present when Moggi and Giraudo locked referee Gianluca Paparesta in his dressing room following Juventus's 2-1 defeat by Reggina in November 2004. Ingargiola did not report the incident.



MASSIMO DE SANTIS - Italian referee. De Santis was the FIGC's proposed referee for the World Cup, but was withdrawn, along with two linesmen, after he was drawn into the match-fixing investigation.

PAOLO BERTINI - Serie A referee

PAOLO DONDARINI - Serie A referee

DOMENICO MESSINA - Serie A referee

GIANLUCA PAPARESTA - Serie A referee (see above)

GIANLUCA ROCCHI - Serie A referee




FABRIZIO BABINI and CLAUDIO PUGLISI - Leonardo Meani asked Gennaro Mazzei for Babini and Puglisi to be assigned to Milan's match against Chievo Verona in April 2005. Puglisi was a noted Milan fan. Meani got his wish and his team beat Chievo 1-0.

Tribunal sits next week to decide the punishment to be dished out to the individuals and the four clubs involved.

21 June 2006


Indictments in Italy’s biggest soccer scandal are going to be issued tomorrow, after the Italian stock exchange closes. This will come shortly after Italy’s third world cup game against the Czech Republic finishes.

The Italian soccer federation administrator, Guido Rossi, stated the decision to hold back the indictments was taken in agreement with the body who oversees the stock exchange. Since the scandal started there have been large movements in the stock of the two clubs involved in the scandal that are listed, Juventus and Lazio.

Two other clubs are also implicated in the scandal, Milan and Fiorentina.

At the close of this season Juventus claimed their 29th Scudetto. They are expected to face the stiffest charges in the trial, which could lead to them losing their two most recent scudetti and them being relegated to the Italian 3rd division. The other three clubs could face relegation to the Italian 2nd division. If this happens then all four clubs will be eliminated from nest seasons European competition.

Rossi said holding back the announcement of the indictments would not affect the scheduling of the ‘Soccergate’ trial. Charges will be pressed against the clubs and individuals who are suspected of wrongdoing at an Italian FA tribunal which meets on June 26th-27th.

The tribunal should issue its sentences by July 9th

Appeals should be heard before July 20th, so the whole sporting disciplinary process can be wrapped up before UEFA conducts the draws for next season's European club competitions .

Four separate criminal probes into the scandal are expected to take much longer .

AC Milan fans immediately began sweating about the prospect of following their team in Serie B next year, after press reports suggested the club was more heavily implicated in ‘Soccergate' than previously thought .

Lazio and Fiorentina were thought to be in danger of relegation, on the basis of wiretapped conversations recorded during criminal probes and published in newspapers, while Milan's role was originally seen as marginal .

The press said Milan's situation is now considered to be more serious than that of Lazio and Fiorentina.

20 June 2006

Get a proper job....

So I'm on the way to a meeting this morning, in London. To pass time on the underground journey I picked up a copy of the free paper, the Metro.

One story caught my attention. The picture to the left is of Dustin Diamond, who played a nerdy character called Screech in a nineties TV program called Saved by the bell.

Apparently life hasn't been good to Dustin recently, and he has struggled to make a living. In fact things are so hard he is desperately trying to raise money to avoid being evicted from his home. His cash raising idea involves selling T-Shirts for $15 a go, with the slogan "I paid 15 dollars to save Screeech's house" (The extra 'e' is to avoid copyright issues)

It's always sad to hear people have fallen on hard times, and eviction is not a nice situation to be in. But reading further into the story it appears that Dustin has failed in his attempt to carve out a career as a stand up comedian. Now, whilst I don't want to come across as uncaring or un-sympathetic, why doesn't this man get a real job? Is there any reason why he can't get of his lazy ass and do a real days work? Or is he too delicate?

There are plent of deserving people in this world in need of real genuine help. Mr Screech should get a real job and earn a living, rather than expecting one.

06 June 2006

Unfair to football

A new advertising campaign from World Vision has been banned by the BACC (British Advertising Clearance Centre) because it is 'unfair to football.' The ad shows a child in Malawi making a football from plastic bags and string.

The advert contrasted the £49m cost to sponsor the England football team with the 60p a day it costs to sponsor Masidi - The young boy who appears in the advert.

The advert, which can be viewed on World Vision's website www.sponsor.org, was filmed by the young boy who stars in it. Communities were given broadcast-quality cameras and Masidi chose to film his favourite past time – football.

Footballs are not so easy to get hold of in Malawi, so Masidi makes his from maize, plastic bags and string before joining his friends for a kick-about – in bare feet. A thirty second ad compares the three years it took to develop the World Cup ball with the ten minutes it takes Masidi to make his match ball.

Pop along and view the ads.


And whilst there, make the small commitment of 60p a day to sponsor a child. It's little more than the cost of a daily newspaper.