All 5 entries tagged BBC

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July 04, 2007

Alan Johnston finally freed!

Writing about web page,,2118035,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=11

johnston20b.jpgI think we can all say alhamdulilah and celebrate the release of Alan Johnston. Hamas delivered on its promise and it'd be nice if the British Prime Minister or at least the FO would deliver a thank-you to Hamas. I don't think Fatah could have reached the same conclusion.

The Guardian: Speaking to BBC News 24 after his release, Mr Johnston said: "It's the most fantastic thing to be free."

He described his 16 weeks of captivity as "appalling".

"It became almost hard to imagine normal life again," he said. "Now it really is over and it is indescribably good to be out."

If you remember Alan Johnston from previous photos/videos, he was never what you'd call fat but he had a well-built appearence. If you look at his release photos he's clearly lost a lot of weight. It will be interesting to hear about what he went through.

"We have been able to close this chapter which has harmed the image of our people greatly. The efforts by Hamas have produced the freedom of Alan Johnston," Mr Meshaal told the Reuters agency by telephone from Syria.

Hamas is rightly claiming this event a diplomatic/security victory for itself. And I'm absolutely delighted that Mr. Johnston is still alive. I'd love to hear how he feels about Hamas' role in the affair.

June 15, 2007

You think the English have drinking troubles?

Writing about web page

UK researchers estimated that half of all deaths in working age men in the country are due to hazardous drinking.


June 11, 2007

Manchester alienates Game Developers

Writing about web page

Resistance Fall of ManIt's rare to see English settings in computer games. It's even rarer to see them in flagship games for new consoles. When the PS3 was launched, the only game really worth buying was Resistance: Fall of Man. Its setting? England. War is raging against alien foes and Americans are trying to aid their British comrades. It features some beautiful scenery (nothing quite matching Gears of War unfortunately), including Manchester Cathedral.

Manchester has been trying for years to enhance its image. I remember when I was in Manchester (picking up a Chinese Visa) that a taxi driver spent ten minutes speaking with pride about how his city was now really being put on the map. Old Trafford was no longer the main reason to head to Manchester. The city centre has been renewed. The station is beautiful. New stadia  have been built. The city is eager to shed its reputation for gang-violence and entice national and international visitors.

So how does Manchester respond to a game featuring Manchester Cathedral? Like this:

(The Church of England) said the letter would make four demands:

    • An apology for using the cathedral

    • Withdrawal of the game, or modification of the section of the game to remove the cathedral interior

    • Sony to make a substantial donation from the games' profits allowing the cathedral's education department to target more effectively those aged 18 to 30

    • Sony to support other groups in Manchester fighting against gun crime.

    Community groups and MPs have expressed support for the Church's stance against the game, which has sold more than one million copies so far.

    Sony said it would contact the cathedral authorities on Monday "to understand their concerns in more detail"

    I've emphasised the part which state games sales. The vast majority of those who've purchased the game are Americans or other non-British folk and I'd hazard a guess that for many of them this will be the first they've heard of Manchester. Given that average American geographical knowledge is severely lacking, most Americans will take American Football over "Soccer" any day of the week and that Americans make up a sizeable portion of our yearly tourist numbers, I would have imagined that Manchester would jump at the chance to have a beautiful (albeit half-destroyed) view of the city propagated. But no. Apparently Sony might be under threat of legal action from the Church of England. And if that happens, good luck finding game developers willing to use England as a backdrop. 

    A Church of England "Source" in another article, offered this opinion:

    One Church source told me: "If this computer game had been set in a mosque, you can be sure there would have been more of a public outcry.

    This man has clearly never played the majority of recent US War games. In the Backstab Battlefield 2 (X-box 360) Map, I can use a helicopter to launch missiles directed at Arabs/Americans holding the flag at a Mosque. I can kill those people inside a mosque. In CSS Dust I can hide in mosque-like buildings and then pounce on "Terrorists" with a shotgun. And yet there are plenty of other games that use Church imagery and mythos that do not incur the Church's wrath.

    This is not a game that criticises the Church. It uses the beautiful imagery as the backdrop of a fictional conflict. The Church should be proud of its rendered Cathedral instead of threatening Sony. It should also be encouraging interest in Manchester city instead of scaring companies away. 

    April 01, 2007

    Bush and Blair, the hypocritical pair.

    Writing about web page

    President George W Bush has condemned Iran's "inexcusable behaviour" after its capture of 15 Royal Navy personnel.

    Mr Bush told reporters at Camp David: "The British hostages issue is a serious issue because the Iranians took these people out of Iraqi water.

    "And it is inexcusable behaviour.

    "And I support the prime minister when he made it clear there were no quid pro quos. The Iranians must give back the hostages."

    (I have edited out irrelevent portions and all parts in bold are my emphasis)

    I've been watching BBC news this morning and, without even a trace of amusement (or bemusement), the newsreaders skip from Bush announcing that Iran must free the "British Hostages" to a story of a British "Detainee" realeased from captivity in Guantanamo Bay after five years. This is all amid a deeply sickening fiasco where the US is explicitly refusing to extradite CIA Agents accused of kidnapping (part of the illegal "extraordinary rendition") EU nationals from Germany and Italy. The US is even threatening to withold intelligence from the nations if they persue the extradition requests. 


    January 10, 2007


    Just downloaded a BBC documentary called Building the Great Pyramid and settled down to watch it. Started off like any other documentary. Just  as the introduction got underway we are suddenly treated to the main theme of The Pirates of the Caribbean with some minor alterations in key.

     I wasn't sure whether this was the BBC just being lazy and blatently stealing music from films or they'd paid the fee to use the theme (I understand that the BBC has a library of music it's paid for either on the basis of individual pieces or with deals with various corporations to use their library). Anyone know for sure whether the Beeb's being dirty-handed or legitimately using a resource?


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