Boghound's World News

A Humorous Look At News Events And Life Around The World

Archive for March, 2012

A Scrounger’s Story?

Posted by Boghound on March 31, 2012


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Ask The Web Owner??

Posted by Boghound on March 30, 2012


MPAA Called Google “Internet Owner”

The Motion Picture Association of America admitted that it didn’t get the Internet and therefore needed to talk to its owner – Google! Indeed, representatives of the MPAA have had to admit that the idea of the web is too fly for them, so they had to negotiate with its owner (somehow, it turned out to be Google) or just close it down.

The second boss in the MPAA, Michael O’Leary, claimed in the interview that the worldwide web’s owner Google has both out-manned and out-gunned Hollywood. O’Leary explained that the Motion Picture Association of America has been undergoing a process of education about this new fangled web so it could get a greater presence in the Internet environment. The MPAA representative also said that the current fights with everyone about uploading content to the Internet were all about the insecurity that Hollywood has about the web.

Michael O’Leary admitted that it was a fight on a platform it wasn’t quite comfortable with, and that’s why he and his colleagues were gathering against, as they say, "an opponent controlling that platform". This means that rather than trying to understand the new platform and get experience of the many entertainers who do understand the web, the MPAA pushed to regulate that which they fear.

Michael O’Leary for some reason strongly believes that the opponent in question, who controls the platform, is Google. So, as he sees it, the search giant not just controls the web, but it also leads the defense of its product. This point of view may explain why the entertainment industry was putting so much effort into closing down the search engine.

All of this sounds stupid for any Internet user. Not only this indicates that despite having studied “Internet for Dummies”, Michael O’Leary still hasn’t realized that nobody controls the Internet, but he also refuses to notice that the search engine came in late to the recent protests again new copyright legislations SOPA and PIPA. Moreover, this can also explain why the movie industry wants to negotiate with the search giant – it simply believes that it is talking to the web’s doorkeeper.

Nevertheless, even if the movie industry managed to make an arrangement with Google, there’s no indication that the rest of the web will follow or won’t adapt.

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Property Tycoon….With Government Help!

Posted by Boghound on March 29, 2012


Latvian landlady jailed after claiming £33,000 benefits while owning six properties worth £1.1m

A benefits cheat has been jailed after claiming more than £33,000 in state handouts despite owning a £1.1 million property portfolio.

Latvian landlady Julija Freiberga, 38, fleeced the taxpayer by claiming she was unemployed and owned only one property, despite secretly earning up to £60,000 a year in rent from her six properties.

She was so adept at playing the system that since being caught out by investigators from the Department for Work & Pensions a further four properties, including two in her native country, have come to light.

Yesterday she began a 16-month jail sentence after a judge said she was guilty of “truly audacious dishonesty” in what was “a completely unique case”.

Freiberga, who came to the UK in 1999, claimed income support, jobseekers’ allowance, council tax credit and housing benefit, sometimes using her ex-husband’s surname of Tanusi to beat the system, Blackfriars Crown Court in London was told.

Stephen Hopper, prosecuting, said that when the fraud began in May 2005 she filled in benefits claims saying she had no job and no home, despite owning a house in Shoreditch, East London and having a £38,000-a-year job as a lifeguard.

Over the following four years she fraudulently claimed £33,324 in benefits while secretly expanding her property empire.

During that time she had bought a house in Peterborough, Cambs., for £299,100, another in Lincoln for £131,750, a flat in Ilford, Essex, for £245,895, a flat in Enfield, Middlesex, for £166,950 and two flats in north London for £310,000.

Mr Hopper said: “During that period, she was earning [rental] income in the order of £50,000 to £60,000 a year, and that is according to her own accounts.

“On each and every claim, it was stated that Ms Freiberga was not working.

“The Crown say this was fraudulent from the outset.”

He added that the use of her ex-husband’s surname was a “deliberate attempt to disguise the fact that there had been other claims in another name”.

In mitigation Tony Wyatt said Freiberga had become trapped in a “vicious circle” after buying the houses with mortgages that she could not afford to repay.

But Judge Aidan Marron QC said he rejected her defence “in its entirety” after Freiberga, of Holloway, north London, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of making a false statement to obtain benefits.

He told her she was guilty of “systematic dishonesty over a protracted period, during which time you were accumulating a significant property portfolio and generating a significant rental income.

“This is, in my experience, a completely unique case.

“Notwithstanding the very respectable income which you enjoyed, you persisted in your dishonesty, on occasions using an alias to get benefits to which you were not entitled.

“You were affluent compared to other people who engaged in this sort of offence, and this in my judgement is truly audacious dishonesty.”

The court was told that Freiberga was now claiming benefits legitimately, but a search of Land Registry records shows she still owns the six properties.

On July 11, 2010, she even signed an online petition protesting about cuts in benefit payments, saying: “I believe it’s ridiculous to reduce the housing benefit allowances when the rent is not going down.”

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Beer Is Not A Joking Matter!!

Posted by Boghound on March 28, 2012


Top Totty beer banned from House of Commons bar

A beer called Top Totty has been banned from the Strangers’ Bar in the House of Commons because its pump plate, featuring a half-naked woman, offended female MPs.

Shadow equalities minister Kate Green was left ”disturbed” after seeing the 4 per cent ale’s advertising in the popular parliamentary watering hole and demanded bar staff remove it from sale.

Within 90 minutes, House authorities ordered the beer to be withdrawn after Commons’ Leader Sir George Young told MPs: ”Action will be taken.”

A barman told the Press Association: ”I can confirm it was withdrawn from sale at 1.30pm.”

The bitter backlash developed after Ms Green told the Commons: ”I was disturbed last night to learn that the guest beer in the Strangers’ Bar is called Top Totty and there is a picture of a nearly naked woman on the tap.”

She called for a debate on ”dignity at work in Parliament” and asked Sir George to back her demands for Top Totty to be ”withdrawn immediately from the bar”.

Top Totty’s Stafford-based brewer Slater’s describes the ale as ”a stunning blonde beer, full-bodied with a voluptuous hop aroma”.

Its website adds: ”This award winning beer, brewed solely with Whitbread Goldings hops, produces an initial burst of bitterness with a citrus fruity finish.”

Speaking as MPs discussed future Commons business, Sir George said he was ”not aware of this particular picture” but pledged to raise the issue with House authorities.

He added: ”I am sure appropriate action will be taken.

”I would very much regret it if any offensive pictures were on display in any part of the House.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow’s wife Sally, who last year famously posed in just a bed sheet for a photo shoot, took to Twitter to vent her anger at the beer.

She wrote: ”Cannot *believe* that there’s a beer called Top Totty on sale in the Commons! Outrageous – does Mr B know?”

The beer’s withdrawal will come as a blow to Tory MP Jeremy Lefroy, who organised for Top Totty to be sold in Strangers’.

Announcing its introduction as the bar’s guest ale, the Stafford MP said: ”This is a great opportunity to showcase a fantastic and award winning beer.

”Slater’s Brewery produces many popular beers which have been brewed locally for more than 15 years and it is great to be able to share some of Staffordshire’s finest produce with colleagues in Parliament.”

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The Beginning Of The End??

Posted by Boghound on March 27, 2012


Australia Worried About ISP Censorship

One Australian technologist insists that the Internet will soon be cleaned up with the Internet service providers being forced to censor pirated content, kids porno and malware. And other experts admit this might be the case – it all depends on the position of the broadband providers.

The original financial backer of Skype, Kevin Bermeister, points at the broadband providers starting getting chummy with the entertainment industry in order to protect their own revenues. He believes that technology sold by such giants as Cisco, Juniper and Huawei had developed to the extent where it becomes possible for the ISPs to offer a sort of registry filter able to considerably reduce piracy. And not only illegal file-sharing of copyrighted content – child pornography and malware are on the list as well.

Kevin Bermeister reckons that broadband providers are ready to invest in the technology to censor the web if they could redirect customer requests for pirated material to legal sites and earn a cut of content sales. It might be so because the free web was never much for loyalty, and ISPs do not get a hell of a lot out of it. Along with the world’s biggest copyright owners and media partners, Internet service providers may just have sound reason to love the new world order where the wild days of the web’s early beginnings are reaching their end.

Geoff Lawrie, Cisco New Zealand managing director and ex-Microsoft New Zealand head said in the interview that Kevin Bermeister’s point of view was technically feasible. In our days you can easily find some firewall software able to recognize the nature of the web traffic. In addition, it is also possible to write a filter program capable of making decisions based on that.

Nevertheless, Geoff Lawrie believes that it is only a novel theory, because Internet service providers are “fervently hands-off” and entirely, passionately committed to avoiding putting themselves in a position of liability. In case they create the filters described above, they will soon find themselves in a situation where they can be sued if things go wrong. Undoubtedly, then there would be the small matter of Internet service providers who would make a killing by offering a free web which would make that filter look really bad.

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Google Gets A Grilling!

Posted by Boghound on March 26, 2012


 

Internet Giants Grilled on Privacy

Google, Facebook and Twitter have faced a grilling from British MPs on a joint committee over their own privacy concerns, with Google proving evasive over its powers to protect sensitive data.

Against a backdrop of growing worries about sensitive information on the Internet, representatives from three online giants squirmed under questioning. British MPs railed at the lack of clarity with using personal data, along with an inability to protect the privacy of public figures. The industry experts suspect that the MPs were more concerned with the latter.

The companies managed to largely fend off questions from the MPs about their business models that base on information from their users to provide data for advertisers. Nevertheless, despite insistence from all of them that they weren’t selling data directly to advertisers, the MPs expressed concerns over growing commercial pressures in the future. They pointed out that personal data being obtained with a commercial edge to it would only likely to increase over time, with personal protections eroding along with increasing commercial pressures.

It’s of no surprise that Google’s lawyers are well-briefed on the concerns of this type and reiterated that its adverts preferences feature was heavily promoted, and could easily be either adjusted or entirely turned off. Actually, all of the companies were sincere in response to questioning – for example, Facebook representative said that their business couldn’t function without trust.

In fact, the MPs gave the representatives a reason to discuss the positives they have brought with promotion of freedom of speech in different countries. Meanwhile, strong doubts still remained over the use of information, with Google being harangued for its intention to further step up its use of personal data with integrated features on its accounts.

Indeed, the company also faced a tough ride from the MPs over its lack of clarity about removing pictures of uniform-loving party boy Max Moseley. Google was repeatedly demanding a straight answer over the possibility that all of the pictures of Moseley’s infamous nocturnal activities could be removed automatically. In addition, the MPs questioned why Google couldn’t delete the data permanently. Google replied that even if it decided to remove something it would still exist on the web itself.

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People Will Buy Anything?

Posted by Boghound on March 25, 2012


Old Shreddies from the 1970s found in shop fetch £160 on eBay

Boxes of Shreddies dating back to the early 1970s have been discovered in a village shop – and are now selling for about £160 a time on eBay.

The packs were found by 59-year-old Norma Fears behind shelves at her post office in Whitwell, Hertfordshire, and were initially rejected as feed by a customer’s chickens.

The customer returned to the store to give back the Shreddies, but fellow shopper Dave King suggested to the woman and Ms Fears that she place the items on ebay.

Some packs still contain a free gift – stickers from the 1970 Disney film The AristoCats – making them popular bidding items online.

‘When we saw the first bid at £36, we thought "that’s quite good" but then they sold for £158.98,’ explained Ms Fears. ‘I couldn’t believe they went for that.

‘We’re not sure why they have gone for so much, but we think it’s one of three things – either the stickers, the packaging or that they aren’t opened.

‘It’s a weird little story that has definitely amused the shop.’

Norma Fears and Mr King aim to share the money gained from selling the items , between Keech Hospice Care and Mencap.

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Side-Lined?

Posted by Boghound on March 24, 2012


Man gets £70 fine after double yellow lines painted under his parked car

Frustrated driver Patrick McCrystal was given a £70 ticket after double yellow lines were painted underneath his parked Ford Fiesta.

Mr McCrystal, from Derby, was further angered when he spotted flecks of yellow paint on his front bumper.

The 49-year-old petrol station worker – who regularly parked between the gap in the lines – said yesterday: ‘I couldn’t believe my eyes. They had extended the existing set of lines underneath my car, then a warden had slapped a ticket on it.

‘When I parked there were double yellows in front of my car, double yellows behind my car, but nothing in between.

‘It has been my regular spot for two years and there was nothing to indicate I couldn’t park there.’

Although fine has since been rescinded, Derby City Council admitted the ticket was issued in error.

David Gartside, the council’s head of traffic and transport, said: ‘It appears that there was a communication breakdown between our contractors undertaking the lining work and our enforcement officers.

‘We apologise for any inconvenience.’

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Flash Dance At Antwerp

Posted by Boghound on March 23, 2012


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A Real Tree Hugger??

Posted by Boghound on March 22, 2012


Briton moves to Africa to be like a real-life Tarzan

A British supermarket worker has quit his job as a security guard and moved to Africa to live like a real-life Tarzan.

A British supermarket worker has moved to Africa to live like a real-life Tarzan.

DeWet Du Toit, 24, quit his job as a security guard at a Co-op store in Manchester and made the trip to South Africa to live like the film character after he became obsessed with him while living in Namibia as a youngster.

He said: "People might say I’m crazy, but I know this is what I was born to do. I’m like Tarzan in so many ways.

"My best friend is an elephant called Shaka, and I spend more time with monkeys, zebras and crocodiles than I do with people."

DeWet is now filming his daily life and hoping Hollywood scouts will hire him for a movie.

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