The amount of garbage that councils will collect has been greatly reduced to force people to recycle -- or something. I think you have to be a British Green/Leftist to make any sense of it
Experts claim councils which have stopped weekly bin collections are to blame, along with mild winters and last year's floods. The worst affected city is York, which has seen its rat population rise by 208 per cent in a year. Carlisle has seen a change of 142 per cent. Other areas to see a significant increase in infestation include Exeter (60 per cent) and Salford (40 per cent). Rentokil estimates there are 65 to 80 million rats in Britain compared to around 60m humans.
National Pest Technicians Association director Peter Crowden told The Daily Mirror: "In 30 years I've never known such a big rat population - and there will be an epidemic if people don't reduce food waste. "Fortnightly bin collections now mean it's vital we recycle. Just putting extra food scraps on compost heaps means fantastic breeding grounds for rats to spread disease."
Nationwide, call-outs by pest control units rose by 17 per cent. Out of 50 local authorities asked if they had seen an increase in call-outs, 39 admitted they had. Westminster was one of the few have seen a reduction in the problem, although it has only seen call-outs cut by 10 - from 804 in 2006-07 to 794 in 2007-08.
It took an oldster to set an example to a cowed British public
It reminds us of what Britain once was before the Leftist takeover of British law. If either of the robbers below were to complain, it would be the oldster who would be prosecuted -- for "assault
As he waited at the bus stop William Grove, 84, was anxious about his civic responsibilities. He was due to be opening a community hall for a lunchtime gathering of his fellow pensioners. But as he paced the pavement his attention was drawn to a commotion outside the nearby jeweller's. Along with dozens of shoppers, Mr Grove saw the two balaclava-clad men smashing sledgehammers against the toughened glass windows.
"At first I thought it was a prank and that there were hidden cameras," he said. "The sledgehammers were bright orange - but when I realised it was real I went over." As scores of more able-bodied passers-by looked on, Mr Grove, who served in the RAF and helped to train the Indian Air Force, made his way towards the Ernest Jones shop in Richmond, southwest London, as fast as his legs could carry him.
"My plan was to carry out a move I had been taught in the Forces and wait for others to help. I was going to grab his head and put my knee in the man's back before grabbing him round the chest, holding him until others intervened," he told The Times. "It's unarmed combat. You creep up behind somebody and grab them. One of them had his arm through the window and I knew then that he was partially disabled. There was no way he could swing the hammer and he had to be careful about getting a severe arterial wound. I was going for his head rather than his balaclava."
But the raider's balaclava came off in his hand and the would-be robber turned, preparing to attack his assailant, only to be shocked to find it was a grey-haired pensioner. The two men ran off, dropping their sledgehammers and leaving behind the balaclava. "As soon as this happened I think they were both so taken by surprise at what I did that they just ran off. I didn't have time to be scared, it was all over in about two minutes."
The hero of the hour then turned to the gathering crowd, smiled, ambled to the bus stop and stepped on board: his crime-fighting cameo on Thursday was over. Mr Grove, a former civil servant, said he had to rush off as he was late for a meeting and, as he had the only key, he did not want people to have to wait in the cold.
Nick Thompson, a 35-year-old IT technician who works opposite the store, watched the drama unfold. "It was a busy day on the high street and there were crowds of shoppers watching. But these days people don't want to have a go in case a robber has a weapon. Everyone was standing back when this old guy at the bus stop decided he was not just going to stand there and watch. He went over and started flapping at one of the robbers. "He grabbed him from behind around his shoulders and managed to pull his balaclava off his face. The robber turned around and saw the old guy and just could not believe his eyes. He could not believe that somebody that age had taken him on. If it had been somebody younger, he probably would have whacked him. "If he had hit the old man with the sledgehammer he could easily have killed him. The old man risked his life against someone much younger and bigger. He is a hero."
But Mr Grove insisted that he was no hero. "They were just incompetent," he said, before adding: "The bravery thing has been exaggerated, please play it down." And in what is probably the last straw for the robbers Mr Grove also walked away with a Rolex watch - courtesy of the jeweller. Mr Grove said: "Well, I will probably raffle it. I have a perfectly good clockwork watch I inherited from my father, and it keeps perfect time."
Police are looking for two black men aged between 18 and 20.
Mothers who drink moderately have smarter kids (?)
It's nice to see the official wisdom getting a kick in the pants but this analysis says that the report below is misleading. I noted particularly: "Compared with abstainers they also found that ‘light’ drinkers were more likely to be better educated, from higher income households and were less likely to have smoked during pregnancy". So if there were any real effects they were likely to be socio-economic rather than due to alcohol. I would likely to look more closely at the study but I could not find it online where it is said to be. The full citation of the study appears to be: Kelly Y, Sacker A, Gray R, Kelly J, Wolke D, Quigley MA. "Light drinking in pregnancy, a risk for behavioural problems and cognitive deficits at 3 years of age?"
Women who drink alcohol occasionally during pregnancy do not harm their unborn babies – in fact their children may even benefit, a large study suggests. Research involving more than 12,000 children showed that mothers who drank lightly during pregnancy – defined as one to two units, or a single drink a week – did not increase the risk of having babies with mental impairment or behavioural problems. Rather, children born to light drinkers were found to be less likely to have problems and peformed better in some tests compared with offspring of mothers who did not drink at all.
The findings run counter to government guidance, which advises pregnant women and those trying to conceive to cut out alcohol altogether. The latest study is the most comprehensive examination so far of the effects of light drinking by expectant mothers. However, doctors reiterated warnings last night of the risks of heavy drinking during pregnancy, and expressed concern that women should not be “lulled into a false sense of security”.
Researchers at University College London examined data on the behaviour and mental skills of 12,495 three-year-olds. The data, taken from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, showed that boys born to mothers who drank lightly were 40 per cent less likely to have conduct problems than those whose mothers abstained, and were 30 per cent less likely to be hyperactive. They also had higher scores on tests of vocabulary and whether they could identify colours, shapes, letters and numbers compared with those born to mothers who did not drink.
Girls born to light drinkers were 30 per cent less likely to have emotional symptoms and peer problems compared with those born to abstainers, although these differences could partially be explained by family and social backgrounds, the researchers said. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the medical watchdog, said last year that there was no consistent evidence to show whether a small amount of alcohol damaged unborn children. In guidance issued in March, however, NICE advised that women should not drink when trying to conceive or during the first three months of pregnancy.
The Department of Health, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Medical Association have emphasised that the safest option was not to drink alcohol at all while pregnant.
Doctors have long suspected an association between foetal abnormality and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Research showing a link with stillbirths first appeared in 1899. Foetal alcohol syndrome is diagnosed in about 6,000 children a year. The children, born to women who drink excessively, are short, hyperactive and have small eyes and no indentation between their nose and thin upper lip.
Yvonne Kelly, who led the UCL study, published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology, said that “very few studies have considered whether light drinking is a risk”. She said that the research highlighted “an inconsistency in policy around the issue”.
Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said that official advice was clear. “If they do choose to drink, to protect the baby they should not drink more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk,” he added. Siobhan Freegard, the co-founder of Netmums.com, a mothering advice forum, said: “While the advice and guidance on alcohol does seem to keep changing, none of it is conclusive. And so most of us seem to feel that the ‘occasional glass doesn’t hurt’ approach works for us.”
British "security" stupidity again
Schoolboy, 15, held as terror suspect after taking photos of railway station for school project. The British police are the ever-present terrorists
A schoolboy was held as a terrorist suspect by police support officers - for taking photographs of a railway station on a geography field trip. Fabian Sabbara, 15, was dressed in his school uniform when he was stopped by three police community support officers for taking photos of a station on his mobile phone. He explained he was taking pictures, as well as pedestrian counts and a traffic survey, as part of a GCSE project.
But PCSO Barry Reeve told Fabian, from Cheam in South London, to sign forms under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, which allows police to stop and search at random anyone they suspect of terrorism. The pupil from Rutlish High School, Merton, was forced to comply or face arrest after he was stopped at nearby Wimbledon railway station.
After the incident, his mother Clare and father Felix contacted police to remove any record of the incident against their son's name - but were told it had to remain in place for six years. Scotland Yard have since wiped the record from their database, but Mr Sabbara, 48, an audio-visual installer, said the incident could have affected Fabian's future employment chances. He said the matter had also sparked fear at Fabian's school, where trips had been banned over concerns that pupils could be stopped by police for taking pictures.
Mr Sabbara said: 'Fabian was just a 15-year-old boy trying to do his school work. He had done nothing wrong. 'The point is, if this incident had remained on file it could affect him in years to come when he applies for jobs such as the RAF. 'Also if there was a terrorist attack at Wimbledon station he would be a suspect. It's just ludicrous. 'There needs to be more common sense when applying this law.'
During the incident Fabian, among 55 pupils who had split into groups, had to sign a form titled 'Stop-and-Search Terrorism Act'. Metropolitan Police spokesman Beverley Kassem said officers did not search him and no further action was taken. She said: 'Police have met with the boy, his family and representatives from the school to discuss the incident and reassure them of any concerns they may have. 'As a result of this meeting, schools and police will work closely on future school trips in the area. 'The record of the stop on the stop-and-search database has been removed.'
Merton Council cabinet member for children's services Councillor Debbie Shears said: 'We understand this incident has been resolved directly between the police, the school and the pupil's family. 'School trips are an integral part of a student's life and we are working with both schools and police to see what sort of guidelines need to be developed and put in to place.'
The Church of England can safely be ignored
But Muslims are another matter
"Sony's decision this month to delay one of the most anticipated games in the history of PlayStation, LittleBigPlanet, to avoid offending Muslims, is the latest sign that videogame-makers are playing prudence when it comes to religion. LittleBigPlanet, which has received rave reviews, is finally being released next week after a fortnight-long delay because of concerns that a track in the background music might be found offensive.
In 2003, Microsoft cancelled the European release of its combat game Kakuto Chojin for its first Xbox for the same reasons - a music track containing quotes from the Koran. The game was also withdrawn from shelves in Japan and the United States and has since remained unavailable.
More recently, Japanese games editor Capcom modified the sound-track to adventure game Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure ahead of its 2008 release for Nintendo's Wii. This followed a complaint from the US Council on American-Islamic Relations over the use of a background sound featuring Islamic prayer "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") as tribal islanders in the game prayed around a totem.
And last year, the Anglican church kicked up a fuss over a building in a Sony game that it said looked like the Anglican cathedral in Manchester, northern England, even prompting then prime minister Tony Blair to kick in and comment. The church featured as the scene of a violent shootout in Resistance: Fall of Man. Sony apologised but refused to cave in to the church's demand to remove the game from store shelves.
Looks like you have to bomb and behead people to get taken seriously. A strange set of values we have these days.
Britain: Dumbing down outcry as one in five high school pupils thinks the Sun orbits the Earth
More evidence of the conspicuous failure of Leftist education ideas
One in five pupils who took the basic science GCSE this year believes the Sun orbits the Earth, it can be revealed today. And one in ten of those taking the same exam did not know that a rechargeable battery could be used more than once. The level of ignorance, despite the 'laughably easy' questions, was exposed in the 2008 Examiners' Report by exam board Edexcel, which has been seen by the Tories. It sheds new light on what MPs say are falling standards and led to a condemnation of the 'national scandal' of dumbing down in schools.
Conservative schools spokesman Michael Gove, who saw the Edexcel report, also released sample questions from the same board's new GCSE science tests, which were introduced this year. He said they were proof that exams are now much easier than 20 or 30 years ago. Among the questions proposed was one that asked if a nurse should stay clear of X-rays 'to avoid melting her mobile phone'.
Mr Gove said: 'It's not as though these questions are rigorous tests of scientific knowledge. One exam board asks if we look at the stars through telescopes or microscopes.' He added: 'There is a desperate need to assert the importance of rigour and excellence in education if we are to avert further decline, but almost every step the Government takes is in the opposite direction.'
Nick Seaton of the Campaign for Real Education said: 'It's a national scandal. When you get laughably easy questions like this which may help politicians to reach targets but mean businesses and employers can't rely on the standards then obviously the system is not fit for purpose.'
The Tories claim standards have been lowered to inflate the pass rate as part of the Government's drive to meet its targets. The system of single, double or triple science GCSEs, for which separate physics, chemistry and biology papers were set, was scrapped this year. Instead pupils chose science or, for the more competent, additional science. They could also choose the degree of difficulty. The lowest level available, the 'foundation tier', is so basic that even if candidates answer all questions correctly the highest grade they can hope for is a C.
Last summer 537,606 pupils sat the new science GCSE, with 59.3 per cent scoring grade C or higher. And 433,468 took additional science, with 63.2 achieving C or higher. The new GCSE was dismissed as 'fit for the pub', not the classroom, by scientist Baroness Warnock.
Earlier this year pupils who sat chemistry O-level questions from the 1960s achieved an average mark of 16 per cent. Last year in GCSE chemistry 90.9 per cent of candidates achieved at least a C.
Global cooling hits Britain again
Dozens of people, including a mother in labour, had to be rescued after a freak hailstorm left a Devon town cut off by floodwater. More than a foot of hail fell on Ottery St Mary, near Honiton, early yesterday morning. Mounds of ice clogged drains, buried cars and trapped a fire engine in a drift up to 6ft deep as floodwater inundated homes and blocked roads.
The storm struck as Juliet Hall, who was having contractions, was being driven to hospital by her husband, Philip. The couple needed to be rescued twice, as first their car and then an ambulance became trapped by rising floodwater. They eventually reached hospital after being transferred to another ambulance in a police Land Rover. Last night Mrs Hall and her newborn son, Nathan, were recovering in hospital none the worse for the ordeal.
The storm was described by the Met Office as a "freak event". An official said: "The weather system which caused chaos in and around the town had a radius of not much more than two miles. It probably is one of those occasions when we can call it a freak event." Residents described hearing a roar punctuated by thunder as the heavens opened and a torrent of hailstones struck their homes.
Sarah Galliford said: "I was woken up by the sound of hailstones thundering down on the roof. I thought it was the end of the world. I looked outside and there was a river of ice coming down the street. I saw a couple of people literally running for their lives. It was a total freak of nature. It wasn't even on the weather forecast. They said there would be rain, but nothing like this. It was absolutely crazy. The sound was amazing and the weather was so bad you just couldn't see anything."
David Garland, whose home was completely flooded, said: "It happened in a matter of minutes and all of a sudden the whole house was deluged. I didn't have time to save anything at all because it happened so quickly. Everything was ruined."
As the water rose the emergency services, including a coastguard helicopter, rescued dozens of people who were trapped in their cars and homes. Farmers fear that hundreds of sheep and cattle may have drowned.
A representative of Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Around one foot of hail fell in just two hours between 1am and 3am. Cars in the town were left tightly packed in ice and the drains were blocked, meaning the water had nowhere to go."
Mike Dunning, of the Environment Agency, said: "What we've seen is a very unusual combination of extreme weather and circumstances that were unforeseeable and freakish. The situation was made worse by two cars that were washed into a brook leading into Ottery St Mary. The blockage impeded the flow of water. It backed up and then everything spilt out over the roads and into the town."
Socialist Britain has plenty of money for an army of bureaucrats but little for its real army: "The head of Britain's special forces in Afghanistan has resigned, reportedly in disgust at equipment failures that he believes led to the death of four of his troops. Major Sebastian Morley, commander of SAS troops in Afghanistan, accused the Government of "chronic under-investment" in equipment in his resignation letter, The Daily Telegraph reported. He had repeatedly warned that people would be killed if military commanders and government officials continued to allow troops to be transported in the lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover vehicles, it said. Four of his soldiers died in June when their Snatch Land Rover hit a land mine in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. Maj Morley believes they died needlessly, the newspaper said."