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A Humorous Look At News Events And Life Around The World

Archive for August, 2009

France’s Toxic Beaches

Posted by Boghound on August 30, 2009


 

Horse dies, France faces reality of toxic beaches

It should have been a perfect day for Vincent Petit, finishing up an afternoon gallop on a wide expanse of beach along a pastel-colored bay. Instead, he and his mount were sucked into a hole of noxious black sludge.

The horse died within seconds, the rider lost consciousness and a dirty secret on the Brittany coast reverberated across France — decaying green algae was fouling some of its best beaches.

A report ordered by the government after the accident found concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted by the rotting algae were as high as 1,000 parts per million on the beach where the horse died — an amount that “can be fatal in several minutes.”

There had been signs of a crisis for years in this idyllic corner of Brittany. But scaring away tourists was in no one’s interest, including the farming industry — the region’s economic backbone — whose nitrate-packed fertilizers power algae blooms.

In Brittany’s Cote d’Armor region, conditions are perfect for its spread — sunlight, shallow waters and flat beaches. Chemical and natural fertilizers like pig excrement, loaded with nitrates and phosphorous, have saturated the land, spilling into rivers and the ocean, feeding the algae that then proliferate.

Harmless while in water, the algae form dangerous gases — notably hydrogen sulfide, with its characteristic rotten-egg smell — when they wash up on land and decay. A white crust forms and traps the gases, which are released when stepped on or otherwise disturbed. Over time, putrefied algae turns sand into a black silt muck, sometimes containing pockets of poison gas.

On July 28, Petit, a 28-year-old researcher in a state-run virology lab, had just finished riding his thoroughbred Sir Glitter, a retired racehorse, on the Saint-Michel-en-Greves beach, when the two were suddenly mired in muck as he led the horse on foot in search of a place to cross a stream running through the sand.

“The horse and I slid in,” said Petit, who is also trained in veterinary studies. “A horse in that situation is in an enormous panic, but he didn’t have time to struggle.”

Petit said he watched horrified as his horse stopped breathing and died within about 30 seconds, then he himself passed out. Petit was pulled from the mire by a bulldozer shovel after a man who witnessed the accident gave the alert.

There have been local efforts to clear the blight. Mayor Rene Ropartz said Saint-Michel-en-Greve, a village of 480 people, collected 10,000 tons of algae from the mile-long beach by the end of July; several years ago they cleaned up 21,000 tons.

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Sell those DVD’s Now!

Posted by Boghound on August 29, 2009


Selling illegal DVDs not illegal because of blunder

People who sell DVDs and videos illegally, including pornography to children, cannot be prosecuted because of a legislative blunder dating back 25 years!

In a major embarrassment crossing several governments, officials have discovered the 1984 act that allows prosecutions for selling illegal videos and DVDs or breaches of age classifications is unenforceable.

It means an effective free-for-all for anyone breaching video sales laws, including supplying “knock-off” or illegal copies, porn and other 18-only films to minors or hard-core pornographic films outside of licensed sex shops.

The blunder centres on the 1984 Video Recordings Act which the then British Tory Government should have notified with the European Commission but failed to do so.

The error also went unnoticed when the laws were amended in 1993 and 1994.

The technicality means the act is unenforceable and urgent action is now under way to notify Europe and re-enact the legislation.

However, the process will take at least three months and is unlikely to be rectified before the New Year.

In the meantime no one can be prosecuted under the laws and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has written to relevant bodies telling them not to pursue any further prosecutions because of the “serious issue”.

The blunder was discovered as the DCMS was preparing to establish a new video games classification system.

However, Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association which represents 90 per cent of the industry, said: “All our members will be continuing to do their business as though the Act was still in force.

“They will not be taking advantage of this legal loophole. It would not be a responsible way to trade.”

………and her spaceship is just ready for departure at gate 51

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Everyone’s A Critic

Posted by Boghound on August 28, 2009


Actor Jason Biggs attacked by monkey

‘American Pie’ star Jason Biggs has reportedly been attacked by a monkey while on holiday.

Evidently the actor was in Gibraltar with his ‘American Pie’ co-star Eddie Kaye Thomas when the incident occurred.

A source said: “They were hiking in the woods when this monkey suddenly leapt on Jason from a tree and tried to bite his face off.”

“Jason’s travelling companions managed to fend the beast off and Jason thankfully wasn’t seriously hurt, just shaken up.”

Thomas’ spokesperson reportedly said: “The monkey tried to attack Jason and steal food out of his bag but Eddie fended him off and saved the day.”

…….but this was enough to send the actor scurrying back to the “safety” of the U.S.A.

Unfortunately the monkey refused an interview and so we can only assume that the Barbery Ape, to give it it’s full title, was an avid movie buff and wasn’t too keen on the actors talents!

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At Least He Get’s This Right!

Posted by Boghound on August 27, 2009


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The French banks back bonus reforms

French banks have agreed to bring in a new system of
performance-related pay, following controversy over
the high levels of bonuses paid to traders.
France’s banking federation said there would be penalties for those who lost money as well as
rewards for success.

The statement came after bank officials held talks in Paris with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

President Sarkozy asked the banks to report to him on their bonus policies amid pressure to curb excesses.

In April, G20 leaders pledged to apply tough new policies on compensation. Mr Sarkozy said after the meeting that he would continue to press for tougher controls on bankers’ bonuses at the next G20 summit in the US city of Pittsburgh in September.

Will the other members follow suit……Will they hell as like!!!!

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Another Cock Tale

Posted by Boghound on August 26, 2009


Another rooster sets feathers flying

Deep in the tranquil Dorset countryside, the calm of what Thomas Hardy called the Vale of the Little Dairies has been shattered by a bitter feud pitting neighbour against rural neighbour.

The source of the conflict? A five-year-old Black Rock cockerel whose dawn crowing has led to complaints to the local council and an investigation into allegations of noise disturbance.

On one side stands its owner Brian Martin and his supporters in the market town of Sturminster Newton, for whom the cock’s early morning alarm call is part of the natural order of things. On the other are those who say they have been driven to distraction by his shrill cry.

“It’s a blinking nuisance,” said Stephen Chubb, who claims his sleep is regularly disturbed by James, as the bird has come to be known. “Something needs to be done about it. There are plenty of people round here who feel the same way.”

The complaints have led to North Dorset District Council installing £5,000 worth of noise measuring equipment in the home of one resident to assess the impact of the cockerel’s crowing on their sleep.

Whether the decibels is judged to be enough to be causing a disturbance to residents is now the subject of the council’s investigation. If so, Mr Martin, 55, will receive a noise abatement order instructing him to get rid of the cause of the sound. James could be destined for the pot.

Mr Martin, a market trader, said: “Round here we’re a farming community, so why on earth would someone want to complain about the noise a cockerel makes?”

Kerry Pitt-Kerby, from North Dorset District Council, said: “It may sound bureaucratic, but we have a duty to investigate any complaint of this kind.” …..and of course it finds work for them to do!!!!

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Don’t Larf!!!!

Posted by Boghound on August 25, 2009


Humour is an act of aggression and making others laugh means you see yourself as higher up
the social ladder than your audience, according to a German academic.

The ability to make others laugh confers a degree of control which dominant people exploit to show they are in charge, claims Helga Kotthoff of the Frieburg University if Education.

“Those ‘on top’ are freer to make others laugh. They are also freer to be more aggressive and a lot of what is funny is making jokes at someone else’s expense,” she said.

“Displaying humour means taking control of the situation from those higher up the hierarchy and this is risky for people of lower status, which before the 1960s meant women rarely made other people laugh — they couldn’t afford to.

“Comedy and satire are based on aggressiveness and not being nice,” she said. “Until the 1960s it was seen as unladylike to be funny. But even now women tend to prefer telling jokes at their own expense and men tend to prefer telling jokes at other people’s expense.”

The differences between men’s and women’s ability to become comedians starts very young, she said. Boys as young as four or five tell more jokes, frolic and clown about while girls tend to be the ones doing the laughing.

But in later age women tend to become funnier because they feel freer to not be seen as ladylike.
She said humour, including teasing, was a mix of ‘bonding and biting’ and women often use humour to form social bonds with their friends while men often use humour to vent frustration. But both sexes use comedy as a means of controlling
others.

She said: “For example, doctors sometimes use humour to comfort patients but also to silence them if, for example, the patient displays too much knowledge of a medical condition.

“Nurses and midwives tend to tell jokes about patients but not when the doctor is present. And when someone initiates a joke they tend to be ignored if they are in the presence of someone of a higher status.”

Until the sexual revolution of the 1960s women rarely became comediennes in public or private because most humour is an act of aggression, she said. “A study in the late 1980s showed that men use sexual jokes as a way of verbally undressing a woman who rebuts his advances; his humour was aggressive in essence.”
…………….and who dares say the Germans don’t have a sense of humour…….YEH RIGHT!!!!!!!!

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Believe It!!!!!

Posted by Boghound on August 24, 2009


Tesco uses microphones to monitor cattle burping

Tesco has fitted microphones to a herd of cattle to monitor their belching and flatulence in a bid to reduce methane emissions…….Bloody crazy EH?????

The supermarket giant is undertaking tests on livestock at its Dairy Centre of Excellence in Liverpool as part of a project to help reduce its carbon footprint.

Each cow is fitted with a microphone, attached to a special collar, which picks up sounds from their stomachs.

Research suggests that methane emissions from cattle accounts for three quarters of the entire carbon footprint produced by milk production.

A spokesman said that the collars do not cause the cattle any discomfort.

News of the scheme comes as Tesco announced that it is to display carbon footprint ratings on all its full fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk ranges.

This is taking this bloody stupid concept of “Carbon Footprints” to the extreme but of course is finding work for the underworked and overcrowded universities of Britain

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Confucius Say!!

Posted by Boghound on August 23, 2009


“Man who run in front of car get tired, Man who run behind car get exhausted.”
“Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day.”
“Passionate kiss like spiders web – soon lead to undoing of fly.”
“Women virginity like bubble. One prick – all gone!”
“Foolish man give wife grand piano. Wise man give wife upright organ.”

“Man who walk thru airport turnstile sideways going to Bangcock”
“Man with one chopstick go hungry.”
“Man who scratches ass should not bite fingernails.”
“Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.”
“Baseball is wrong. Man with four balls cannot walk!”
“Panties not best thing on earth, but next to it.”
“War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who’s left.”
“Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house.”
“Man who sleep in cathouse by day, sleep in doghouse by night.”
“Man who fight with wife all day, get no piece at night!”
“Man who tell one too many light bulb jokes soon burn out!”
“It takes many nails to build house, but one screw to fill it.”
“Man who drive like hell, bound to get there!”

“Man who sit on tack get point!”
“Man who stand on toilet high on pot!”
“Man who lives in glass house should change in basement”
“He who fishes in other man’s well often catches crabs.”
“Man who farts in church sits in own pew.”

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Little Green Men

Posted by Boghound on August 22, 2009


Evidently, according to newly released files in the UK, a former head of the armed forces, Lord Hill-Norton wanted a Government inquiry into a “sighting” at Rendlesham Forest!!!

The incident, in the early morning of December 27, 1980, has become known as “Britain’s own Roswell”, and has never been fully explained.

The late Lord Hill-Norton, a member of what he described as the “rather ineffective” House of Lords UFO Group, wrote to Mr Heseltine in May 1985 to express his concern over the “puzzling and disquieting features” of the case.

He referred to the USAF report submitted by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt in which the deputy base commander details the account of three patrolmen.

Lt Col Halt wrote: “The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three metres across the base and approximately two metres high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light.

“The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object, it manoeuvred through the trees and disappeared.”

The commander himself described witnessing three depressions in the ground the next day where the object had been sighted.

And later that night he was among several men who saw a “red sun-like light” through the trees which “moved about and pulsed”.

Lord Hill-Norton also wrote: “Your officials should be ready to demonstrate a more serious concern with its implications than they have so far manifested. There seems to be a head of steam building up on this matter, and I can see a potential ‘banana-skin’ looming.”

An MoD briefing was handed to the Defence Secretary following Lord Hill-Norton’s letter for use in a House of Lords Defence debate.

The note states the MoD’s final position on the incident, saying the USAF report was “carefully examined” and the conclusion was that there was “no Defence interest” and “no evidence of anything having intruded into British airspace”.

It noted: “Indeed the high visibility of the phenomenon reported – multicoloured bright lights – is totally inconsistent with a covert entry into the UK.”

The briefing note said UFO sightings were “not a matter the MoD take lightly” and continued: “I can accept that people do from time to time see things in the sky which they find difficult to explain.

“I am sure your Lordships will agree that in many cases normal explanations come to light, such as falling meteorites or satellite debris, unusual cloud formations or aircraft lights… What the true explanation is, I do not know.”

The incident is just one of countless mysterious reports released as part of a three-year project between the Ministry of Defence and The National Archives, aimed at opening up the records to a worldwide audience.

Other “sightings” in the files include

  • Two “sober” revellers saw a flying saucer hover over the Glastonbury music festival but claimed others failed to “tune into” it because they were too interested in the music. The pair said they were “standing soberly” in a field when the craft appeared from nowhere over the Jazz field and seemed to “communicate” with them in 1994. One, a metaphysics student, said: “It appeared to be coming towards us and quite suddenly it changed colours. “It went from red and orange to yellow and green. This really had an amazing impact on me because I was wearing yellow and green.”
  • Dozens of people across London reported the sighting of a brilliant white flying saucer with flashing lights floating across the night sky during 1993 and 1994. But an investigation by the MOD concluded that the craft responsible for the phenomenon was much more mundane – a Virgin Airship advertising the Ford Mondeo, a new car. Despite everyone from students revising in Tottenham to dog walkers in Richmond insisting it was real – even producing detailed sketches – the sightings were dismissed as mistaken by the authorities.
  • Two youths on their way home just before midnight claimed they were accosted by a lemon-shaped headed alien who said “We want you, come with us”. One of the boys said they were drawn to a field in Chasetown, Staffordshire on May 4 1955 by an intense heat. There was a flash of light then some sort of spaceship allegedly appeared that sent his friend’s face “the colour of beetroot”. The officer’s report reads the boys, who insisted they were “not drunk or on drugs”, arrived “agitated and distressed” after gazing at the UFO which emitted an intense heat before zigzagging off east to west.
  • Between November 1989 and April 1990 the Belgian Air Force scrambled fighter jets to investigate potential UFOs in its airspace. Despite reports from police, radar contact and other eyewitness accounts, the authorities never solved what was repeatedly hovering unannounced in their skies. The first wave of observations began on November 29 and three days later on the evening of December 2, two F-16s were sent to the Liege area to investigate a sighting, although they found nothing. But according to an air force ground controller, the “echo” on the radar vanished when the planes arrived but returned when the F-16s left. The mystery resulted in correspondence between the Belgians and Britain’s Ministry of Defence, who were told none of Belgium’s neighbours were informed of the air breach.

So be careful out there as we are being watched!!!…YEH RIGHT

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Asian Hornets On The Rampage In France

Posted by Boghound on August 21, 2009


Tourists warned as Asian hornets terrorise French

Tourists are being warned to steer clear of Asian hornets that are colonising France, after swarms of the aggressive predators attacked seven people.

The bee-eating hornets, instantly recognisable by their yellow feet, are rapidly spreading round France and entomologists fear that they will eventually cross the Channel and arrive in Britain.

Hundreds of the insects attacked a mother on a stroll with her five-month-old baby in the Lot-et-Garonne department, southwestern France, at the weekend before turning on a neighbour who ran over to help. The baby was unharmed.

They then pursued two passers by and two Dutch tourists on bikes. The victims were treated in hospital for multiple stings, which are said to be as painful as a hot nail piercing the skin.

In the same week, a cleaner in local primary school came under attack after disturbing a hornet nest hidden in the ground.

The Vespa velutina, which grow up to an inch in length, is thought to have arrived in France from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004.

They first settled in the forests of Aquitaine, but quickly fanned out to surrounding areas, thriving on rising temperatures linked to global warming and the lack of indigenous predators.

Denis Thiery, an Asian hornet specialist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, said there was nothing to halt their spread.

“From one nest discovered in 2004, there were 2,000 in the Bordeaux area in 2007. Today there are probably several thousand in surrounding departments,” he said.

“According to our studies, they are able to settle in 50 per cent of the country. The European hornet is no match for them, with only a few hundred individuals per nest compared to several thousand for the yellow-footed hornets. They do sometimes fight, but it’s a losing battle,” he told the newspaper Le Parisien.

Local authorities in the tourist region of Lot-et-Garonne have issued a statement urging people with bee allergies to be “extremely cautious”.

“Never attempt to destroy an Asian hornet nest yourself but call on specialist organisations, as this species charges in a group as soon as it feels its nest is threatened.”

Anyone stung should dial 15 for the emergency services in case of an allergic reaction.

Besides the risk to humans, the hornets have decimated France’s already dwindling bee population.

Squadrons of the insects hover over hives and pick off hapless honeybees in mid-air. A handful can destroy a nest of 30,000 bees in just a couple of hours.

In Asia, honeybees form a ball of workers around the intruder and kill it by heatstroke. But in France, the technique appears to have no effect.

Beekeepers suspect that the creatures are also massacring other indigenous insect species. “Nobody can say what damage the Asian hornet has done outside of our hives. What is certain is that last autumn there were less insects than before,” said Richard Legrand, a keeper in Bergerac.

Even bloody insects think France is a good place to set up a second home!!!!

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