Archive for ‘Breaking World News’

May 23, 2011

UK media and MP John Hemmings defy UK judges on privacy injunctions

[Gillian Bilks, Privacy Law Contributor]

Following the prolific tweeting and publication of the details of a privacy injunction granted to a UK celebrity, footballer Ryan Giggs, by a Scottish newspaper, British MP John Hemmings has added fuel to the fire of the intense controversy surrounding the granting of such injunctions by UK courts.

It appears that the MP, John Hemmings, abused his ‘parliamentary privilege’ to deliberately raise the matter in the UK’s parliament in contravention of the injunction in such a manner that the name of the celebrity, the footballer was able to be published in the proceedings of parliament which in turn can be published by the media.

The MPs argument for so doing is that privacy law in the UK is unsustainable and anything deemed to be ‘private’ by a UK court, if Tweeted, or prolifically published on social media sites, or on the Internet, lose their court protection and can be freely published by British newspapers in contravention of the court’s order.

Referring to the recent tweeting of the footballer’s privacy injunction he had commented (according to the Guardian): “You can’t imprison 75  thousand twitterers for breaking the law”.  Presumably, this menace of a parliamentarian is using the same logic that applies to speeding offences in the UK – that as thousands of UK motorists break speeding laws each day, the law making them offences should be discontinued.

It seems that Mr. Hemmings has an agenda – which is one for the UK media who thrive on controversy and invasion of people’s privacy to support sales in these troubled times for print media. In that regard, the more of a celebrity you are, the more of a prime target you are to get special treatment by the media for your every indiscretions, or presumed ones.

Of course, the response to all this from ‘ironcast’ David Cameron, the UK prime minister who had reneged on his party’s election manifesto that once in power there would be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty,  is that it seems that that the law seems ‘unsustainable’ and needs review. What about burglaries, speeding offences? Will he ‘legalise’ them too as there are certainly many of them taking place each day in the UK which makes them kind of ‘unsustainable’ too?

My feeling is that the media and MPs in its pocket should not be allowed to run roughshod over the integrity of the British legal system.  Laws are made to be obeyed and it is deeply embedded into the structure of the British legal system that it is nothing less than a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment, to flout a court order, such as an injunction. If the media get away with it, then where will it all stop – likely when there is a total breakdown of law and order in the UK.

Furthermore, when MPs try to break court orders by abusing parliamentary privilege, if their intention is to flout the injunction, then, by law, they are in contempt of court and lose the protection of their parliamentary privilege. Mr. Hemmings was warned of this by the British Speaker and it is likely that the judges will go for his head on this one.

In the wider scheme of things, it would be an idea for the judges to make privacy injunctions more amenable to all. At the moment, at a cost of some 100,000 pounds, only the rich can afford them. If they became considerably less expensive and were more, or less available to all, then the British public who see them currently as the ruling class’ way of silencing the masses, would be more tolerant of them and embrace their value.

The UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve, has been instructed by the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, to have a joint committee review the recent controversy surrounding the use of the superinjunctions. He told MPs that his committee would would look to see how the current system was working.

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May 22, 2011

The world did not end as predicted, but Fukushima rocks with M5.8 earthquake today 22nd May 2011

[Paola Estrada, Japan News Contributor]

USGS: Japan’s Fukushima district was one of the areas affected by today’s M5.8 earthquake that struck Japan’s Honshu region. The Honshu region is a notoriously geologically unstable part of the world, with M5 earthquakes striking the area on a more, or less daily basis.

No damage, or tsunami report has yet been made. In the meantime, the situation at the plant is much worse than when disaster struck some weeks ago as a result of a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The plant operators currently have no plan to curtail the melting down of one, or more of the plant’s reactors and currently, deadly amount of radioactive substances continue to spew into the sea and environment with serious pollution being experienced in parts of the country as far away as Tokyo where drinking water and milk have been found to be heavily contaminated with radioactive particles.

In addition, much of the world now and the Pacific ocean is experiencing  worrying radioactive contamination from the damaged reactors.

May 22, 2011

Osama bin Laden ‘died’ in 2006 and also in 2011 according to former CIA agent – RT.COM

[Jekatarina Putovska, War on Terror Contributor]

RT.COM: According a former CIA agent, Berkan Yashar, an ethnic Chechen now living in Turkey, Osama Bin Laden is in love with dying. That is because, he not only died in 2011, but also in 2006.

Berkan Yashar told Russia‘s Channel One TV station: “I knew Bin Laden’s Chechen guards very well…Samy, Ayub and Mahmud were with him right to the end. I remember well this date as there were three sixes in it – June 26, 2006. Those three men, as well as two Muslims from London and two from the US saw Bin Laden dead.He was seriously ill before his death. He faded away to skin and bone. The three Chechens washed his body before burying it.”

Yashar confirms that on May 2 2011, when President Obama pronounced that Bin Laden had been shot in the eye in Pakistan and dumped into the sea, US officials had found Bin Laden’s grave in the area of the Afghan-Pakistani border and then play-acted his killing in 2011.

Yashar said that he had only disclosed the news to the Russian media, because he had been concerned for his safety had he released the news outside Russia.

May 22, 2011

Breaking news: UK judge moves to jail Twitter writer for tweeting details of a UK superinjunction

[Dana Banona, Privacy Law Contributor]

MailOnline: Last week, in what will turn out to be a test case for the enforceability of  UK superinjunctions when they have been deliberately breached on social networking sites such as Twitter, an England footballer who had obtained a superinjuction, has asked the court granting it to prosecute the writer who deliberately flounted it on Twitter.  Mr. Justice Tugendhat, a UK privacy judge, has referred the case to the UK Attorney General for consideration of prosecution.

A UK privacy order, or superinjunction, is an order of a UK court and those who breach it commit a ‘contempt of court‘ which is punishable by imprisonment.  As the privacy injunction appears to be been deliberately breached on Twitter, it is more than likely that the violator, a well-known writer, will face criminal prosecution quite shortly.

May 20, 2011

Facebook goes viral on child sex photos

[Tanya Korosova, Social Networks News Contributor]

Guardian.co.uk: Facebook, the popular social networking site with over 500 milliion users, is taking child sex abuse very seriously now.

So much so that it is introducing powerful technology called PhotoDNA which has been built by Microsoft that will automatically scan for child abuse, millions of photos posted by users in a massive drive to rid the site of paedophiles who are incresingly viewing Facebook as a haven for getting to kids.

In the past Facebook has been heavily criticised for its hitherto lax attitude to child protection on its site which has over 8 million users who are children.

The new system will be operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which is based in Virginia.  According to Microsoft, the system can detect child pornography with zero false positives.

May 20, 2011

A resounding ‘no’ for Gordon Brown, but Mandelson is up for the IMF’s top job

[Joe Pretovsky, IMF News Contributor]

International Business Times: Following the lukewarm response to Gordon Brown’s animated overtures for the IMF’s top job following the resignation of its former chief, Dominique Strauss Kahn, on sex charges, it seems that British peer and ‘dark lord’ politician, Peter Mandelson, may be up for the job.

According to news reports on the Guardian’s Martin Kettle‘s blog, he has been recommended robustly by China and:  “Mandelson is definitely interested. The coalition might be open to it too. Germany and France are another matter. Mandelson nevertheless ticks a lot of boxes.”

China apparently likes Mr Mandelson very much, in fact, almost too much. That is because he wowed Chinese politicians when during China’s recent problems with milk contaminated with melamine, at the height of the scandal he had drank a whole glass of Chinese yoghurt even after it had come to pass that the melamine added to the Chinese milk menu had given kidney stones to thousands of Chinese babies, had also disposed of four and as a result had been banned worldwide.

Mr Mandelson was admitted to hospital the week after the event for kidney stones trouble amidst widespread appreciation of the Chinese.

Wen Jiabao, Chinese Premier, said after the event: “I was deeply moved to see Mr. Mandelson drink the yoghurt”. It seems that so was Mr. Mandelson.

May 20, 2011

UK superinjunction judges declare war on Twitter and Internet bloggers

[Tamsin Ledbetter, Privacy Law Contributor]

Guardian.co.uk:  Britain’s Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge‘s opinion is that your Tweets, social media and Internet postings can get on the wrong side of the law if they are meant to defy privacy injunctions and to ‘peddle lies’.  He is angry that it seems that modern technology is totally out of control and is advocating a strict crackdown on the social media bandits who are using the Internet and social media sites, such as Twitter, to make people’s lives miserable and to defy the due process of law.

However, the learned judge agreed with a recent Judicial committee report on privacy orders which said that they should be used only in ‘very limited circumstances’ and for short periods of time only (hmmmnnn…do we smell a climb-down here??).  But he was most critical of the practice whereby many blogs, Twitter and similar sites are being used to bypass restrictions placed on traditional newspapers and TV stations for breaking the terms of the court orders.

In respect to recent attempts to circumvent the privacy orders by raising them in parliament under the protection of ‘parliamentary privilege’, Lord Judge said that if the matters were raised in parliament with the intention to contravene the injunctions, then they would be likely to be in contempt of court as they would lose the protection of ‘good faith and absence of malice’ which are required for the protections to kick in.
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Analysts are saying that if  British judges do ‘climb down’ on privacy orders and make them less accessible to those who want them, then they will have unwittingly given birth to the concept and practice of ‘privacy injunctions shopping’ whereby other countries, like Dominica, Grenada and some of the Baltic states may grant such orders to bring in much needed income into the coffers of their cash-starved economies.

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May 20, 2011

Dominique Strauss Kahn indicted by Grand Jury and out on six million dollar bailout, but could he have been set up?

[Samantha Templeton-Brewster, Celebrities Contributor]

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International Business Times leads today with a proposal that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief accused of forced anal and oral sex with a black chambermaid at New York‘s posh Sofitel Hotel, is probably the victim  of a ‘set up’  by rivals.

Now released on bail, but with stringent conditions attached, Strauss Kahn will spend time up to his trial at an upmarket Manhattan apartment rented by his wife who raised the $1M cash and $5M insurance bond that secured his release on bail.

Dominique Strauss Kahn – easy to ‘set up’ because of his notoriously voracious sexual appetite

The ‘set-up’ theory is pursued vigourously by International Business Times which claims that even before Strauss Kahn had been arrested, a political science student, Jonathan Pinet, had tweeted the arrest.

Pinet claimed he received the information of Strauss-Kahn’s arrest from a “friend” who happened to work at the Times Square hotel in New York where the alleged sexual assault took place. Coincidentally, Pinet is a supporter of Sarkozy‘s UMP Party. As soon as the Tweet was circulated it seemed to have been hurriedly retweeted by AdvertisementArnaud Dassier, a French journalist specialising in articles hostile to Strauss Kahn and in particular his jet-setting lifestyle.

And again, by sheer coincidence, the first website to break the alleged rape news was 24heuresactu, a notorious right-wing blog that does not support Strauss Kahn’s leftist leanings.

It is certainly easily conceivable that the setting up of Strauss-Kahn would benefit a lot of people – Sarkozy (who would have toppled a major barrier to his re-election), rivals and enemies at the IMF as well as other French president hopefuls.

Michelle Sabban, a Paris councillor and Strauss Kahn supporter is reported to have said to the press:  “I am convinced it is an international conspiracy. It’s the IMF they wanted to decapitate, not so much the Socialist primary candidate. It’s not like him. Everyone knows that his weakness is seduction, women. That’s how they got him.”  

May 19, 2011

Death of an icon – Strauss Kann falls on his sword, announces resignation today

[John Sempertoller, Politics Contributor]

Telegraph.co.uk: A huge sigh of relief was the expected outcome from the IMF and the supporters of Straus-Kahn’s France presidential bid, when the entrenched bureaucrat announced his resignation as IMF head today.

The reasons for his decision, he says, is to enable him to have more time to fight to prove his innocence.  However, the case against Strauss Kahn seems very strong and with others coming forward to claim that he too abused them as well as to reveal lurid details of his sexual past which has included using high-class prostitutes and the services of  the high-class pimp, Kristin Davis (pictured above). Therefore,  it seems that ‘plea bargaining‘ and ‘I ask the court to take all other offences into consideration’ can only be the main strategies for his lawyers at this stage.

In the meantime, an anonymous source at the IMF reports that British ex-Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who is widely tipped to replace Strauss Kahn, is reported to be making preparations to take up this new post in a matter of days.

May 19, 2011

Today, LinkedIn’s IPO is tipped to set off at a staggering $4.3 billion!

[Jos Petriweather, IPO Markets Contributor]

LinkedIn HQ  in Mountain View, California will be aflow with champagne as the social networking starts off its IPO at a whopping $4.3 billion.

Former, PayPal founder and CEO of the company, Reid Hoffman, with his 21.7% voting stake in the company will get at least $858 million from the sale and will be the envy of the town.

Can I be your new friend Reid?

Congrats LinkedIn!! From 0 to $4.3 billion in 8 years is a remarkable achievement!