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October 06, 2010

Gamu Nhengu to be deported?

Gamu Nhengu facing deportation after X-factor rejection

Gamu Nhengu - X-factorGamu Nhengu was last week famously rejected by everyone's favourite Newcastle charm, Cheryl Cole. It came as a big surprise for those with a secret guilty love for the reality show, because she was such an excellent singer. Cheryl's since faced accusations of racism (not sure I'd agree), but now Gamu's facing a bigger heartache than Cheryl's bad judgement: deportation.

The UKBO has refused Gamu's mother permission to remain in the UK and it looks like Gamu and her mother will soon be forced out of the UK. It's a sad situation but the problem isn't necessarily with the immigration officials - they're merely enforcing the law - the problem is with the law itself.

I doubt Gamu will be seeing a reprieve unless the X-factor judges renege on their decision and invite her back, presumably with accompanying visa benefits.


June 11, 2007

Manchester alienates Game Developers

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/6739575.stm

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 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6514567.stm

    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. 

    Disgusting. 


    January 03, 2007

    Fox News (Cavuto) on Muslims…

    A friend’s just sent me a copy of an interview between the Cavuto programme on FoxNews recently with Rabbi Weiss.

    Now to put some context on things, Rabbi Weiss is an Orthodox Rabbi who is also a member of Neturei Karta. For those who are unfamiliar with the group, Neturei Karta is a religious, anti-Zionist group of Jews who believe that, as stated within the Torah and as has been elaborated on by various Rabbis throughout Jewish history, Jews should not return to Palestine until, essentially, Judgement day. Ie until the Messiah returns (I think the Hebrew is Messiach, Arabic is Messih).

    The group, including the featured Rabbi attended the rcent Iranian conference on the Holocaust.

    Now I don’t wish to get into a debate on the Holocaust or the Holocaust conference. The conference was more-or-less pointless. The Holocaust has been substantially documented and the only empirical disagreements come over the numbers actually killed. What I do wish to get into is one of the presenter’s (many) throwaway comments:


    C*avuto: OK. Israel ceases to exist as a Jewish state. You really have trust that Muslims wouldn’t *butcher you?
    *R*abbi *W*eiss: Yes.
    C: In revenge for what’s happened in the last 60/70 years?
    RW: What happened in South Africa? The people were afraid that they would butcher all the white people [Cavuto interrupts]
    C: South African blacks are not Muslims.

    So not only would the Palestinians butcher all Jews should there be a binational state within Israel/Palestine, but they would do so purely because they are Muslims.

    Meanwhile the Iranians have apparently “butchered Christians in Iran for 20 years”.


    660 Palestinians killed in 2006

    Writing about web page http://www.btselem.org/english/Press_Releases/20061228.asp

    On 28/12/2006 B’tselem published a press release tallying the number of people killed in the I/P conflict during 2006. The total figure was 683 of whom 660 were Palestinians. Of the 660 Palestinians, 141 were minors. 23 Israelis, including one minor, were killed in the same period of time.

    I wonder how the Hasbarah-spouters will be spinning the fact that the Israelis killed 141 Palestinian minors, whereas one Israeli minor was killed. 141:1 doesn’t make for good propaganda.

    Some suggestions include:

    *Palestinians picked up their children and threw them underneath tank tracks.
    *Palestinians killed their own children, then pretended Israel did it.
    *Palestinians duct-taped children to themselves then charged checkpoints.


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