Archive | March, 2008

“separate continents..”

A reminder that BBC NI’s natural history series Blueprint starts tonight, BBC 1 9pm, and it’ll be available on iPlayer too [Has anyone told Edwin? – Ed]. And, perhaps as a result of the pressure from the young-Earthers, TalkBack today discussed their opposition to a scientific approach to natural history [the audio file is available more…

Beware strange animals.. again..

Just in case you didn’t know, tomorrow is the first of April [it is? – Ed] aka April Fool’s Day. So, by way of a public information announcement, and in particular if you were fooled by Panorama’s Swiss spaghetti harvest [ahem – Ed] or the more recent Google Lunar Base, Slate have helpfully produced an more…

Speaking truth unto power gets awkward…

A free press is not exactly a prerequisite for a free society, but it’s absence is (or should be) extremely worrying. In all of the comment in the MSN last week, this aspect of the climbdown of the Andersonstown News after pressure was applied over an article the paper published from its erstwhile columnist/humourist, Squinter more…

The chairman blows the Centre’s trumpet (a little)

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin] Some 35 years ago I went to work in Dublin for a large British company and over the next two decades witnessed the remarkable changes which more…

Jules Verne ATV

“designed to operate independent of human control..”

Some science news [as we don’t get enough.. – Ed]. With the Space Shuttle Endeavour safely on the ground at Kennedy Space Centre – video here – the European Space Agency’s Jules Verne ATV is finally approaching the International Space Station – the dot below the edge of the Earth in the image is the more…

Zimbabwe waits

The general elections have now been held in Zimbabwe. I have previously predicted Mr. Mugabe’s re election, though I hoped to be wrong. Now maybe just maybe I will be (and I will be delighted). The MDC are claiming victory but the results have still not been released and there is concern regarding electoral fraud. more…

“about to embark on what amounts to a lap of honour..”

Interesting to note that, according to this RTÉ report, Northern Ireland First Minister, the DUP’s Ian Paisley, will be otherwise engaged when some, but not all, of those involved at the time memorialise the 1998 Agreement. The report doesn’t mention whether any other NI Executive ministers will be accompanying the “businessman of God..” From the more…

“a small price to pay..”

Via Newshound. Interesting view-point from Kevin Myers on The Process™ and the ‘price of peace’. Room too for some archival links – on Gerry Adams, “armed struggle” was “necessary”, MI5 and the back-channel, and the US government’s role in the latter part of that Process™. Read the whole thing. For the peace process was solely more…

Just a note…

Sunday Sequence should have an interview I did with them recently on the effects of new media on politics in the context of the US election. That’s an hour earlier than you may have thought since the clocks go forward tonight – so it is really a quarter to one, and not a quarter to more…

“only thing the prime minister has to concern himself with..”

Mick has pointed to the actual debate to be had around Gordon Brown’s defence of the Union. But, rather than looking for complicated reasons and strategies behind Brown’s apparent playing down of Northern Ireland’s role in the United Kingdom, sometimes, as Henry McDonald suggests here, there’s a simpler reason for these things. In his promotion more…

Bill of Rights proposals leaked to Newsletter

The Human Rights Forum tends to provoke significant reactions from many. The Newsletter is reporting a leak of the draft document outlining current ideas for the Bill of Rights. According to the Newsletter the following may be being proposed: -Raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 – meaning that rapists, murderers and other criminals more…

Belfast Monopoly

The Belfast Telegraph and BBC are reporting that representatives of the Winning Moves (the makers of Monopoly) were in Belfast yesterday to launch the Belfast edition and indeed to canvass opinion as to which places should be included. There is of course already a Northern Ireland edition of Monopoly. I wonder if they could make more…

“We need to make an example of this particular incident..”

Interesting interjection by DUP MLA Jim Wells, and one I entirely agree with, on the felling of a number of protected trees in a private estate on the outskirts of Newcastle, County Down. One for the Northern Ireland Minister for the Environment, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, to ponder.. As the Woodland Trust spokesman says, Patrick more…

Flag wars in Kilrea

I was brought up quite near Kilrea which contrary to some people’s views is not actually noted for particularly good community relations. The latest problem has been the “tit for tat” flying of flags. Apparently this episode began when the Irish tricolour was raised over the St Patrick’s Church of Ireland church on Easter Sunday. more…

DUP to support mandatory coalition in councils?

Jim Allister has made a speech tonight at a meeting in Portrush. He is claiming that part of the deal between the DUP and SF over the 11 councils will include a D’Hondt style mandatory coalition in the councils. This is odd considering that the DUP claim to be aiming to end the mandatory coalition more…

O’Rawe’s account confirmed: Hunger Strikers Allowed To Die

Eamon McCann verifies Richard O’Rawe’s account of the 1981 hunger strike in which he alleges that six of the hunger strikers need not have died as the prisoners had agreed to accept an offer from the Mountainclimber, only to be over-ruled by Gerry Adams. Evidence which has now become available helps clarify a dispute sparked more…

Weekend work-in on a Bill of Rights

Before heading over to Mark Devenport’s blog to see the draft Bill of Rights, delivered by Chris Sidoti for discussion at the Bill of Rights Forum, it is worth reminding people what the remit given the Forum was in the first place: “To advise on the scope for defining, in Westminster legislation, rights supplementary to more…

Police act on bebo fights

Bebo has become the source of much difficulty in interface areas with the site being used to organise peace-line confrontations between young people. However, this phenomenon is not unique to Northern Ireland and in Derby police have acted on information from the site to tackle gang fights. One for the PSNI to watch.

Waggling the registration stick

The electoral office is planning to make an example of 50 people for not registering to vote. Vote registration is now a legal requirement and failure to do so is punishable by a £1000 fine.