Archive for May 6, 2008

But They’ve Given Murdoch Great Footage!

May 6, 2008

CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police

Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.

Well, duh:

Use of CCTV images for court evidence has so far been very poor, according to Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, the officer in charge of the Metropolitan police unit. “CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure,” Neville told the Security Document World Conference in London. “Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It’s been an utter fiasco: only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. There’s no fear of CCTV. Why don’t people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working.”

More training was needed for officers, he said. Often they do not want to find CCTV images “because it’s hard work”. Sometimes the police did not bother inquiring beyond local councils to find out whether CCTV cameras monitored a particular street incident.

Emphasis added by me.

So, in fact, it’s the police who are not working. Why bother to even have the damned cameras?

The only by-product of these cameras is that they provide raw footage for the sleazes at Fox TV who put together those pandering specials, “Caught on Tape.”

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #086

May 6, 2008

Hundreds turn out for 2nd day of food protests in Somalia

The food protests were sparked by shopkeepers’ refusal to accept some bank notes, apparently over fears of counterfeiters. The protests were not as widespread as on Monday, when tens of thousands took to the streets and two people died when troops fired into the crowds.

On Tuesday, the protests were confined to two neighborhoods, but shops across the city remained shuttered with traders fearing the riot could spread and prompt looting.

“Down with those printing the fake money!” the young men yelled. “Down with opportunists!”

One youthful protester, Abdinur Ileyke, said: “We will not allow them to trade while we are dying (of hunger) before their eyes.”

On Tuesday, shop owners met and agreed to begin accepting the notes again.

The U.N. food security unit warned last week that half Somalia’s 7 million people face famine. It blamed an enduring drought and soaring food prices.

You Decide: Greed Or Stupidity?

May 6, 2008

And if the latter, why wasn’t the person who gave the loan summarily fired?

NatWest lent a single mum on benefits £5,000 for a nose job. Why?

Could this be the craziest loan in credit-crunched Britain? In what a leading voluntary sector debt expert calls “one of the most irresponsible loans I have ever seen from a mainstream lender,” an 18-year-old single mother living on state benefits was handed £5,000 for cosmetic surgery by one of the biggest high street banks.

And when she had difficulty meeting repayments NatWest lent her yet more money instead of suggesting an advice agency such as National Debtline or Citizens Advice.

It. Just. Gets. Even. Worse.

“I told NatWest I wanted £4,000 for a nose job. I said I was on income support. The bank worker gave me £5,000 because monthly payments would be lower than on £4,000.”

Roma was offered a five-year £5,000 loan at 10.8% interest with monthly repayments around £33 a week. Had the bank lent her £4,000, the interest rate would have been more than 15%.

“I get around £110 a week for Paradis and me, plus I get help with my rent. It’s not a lot but with the baby still very small, I can’t get a job to earn any more. Most of what I could get would be at minimum wage, so I wouldn’t be much better off once my benefits were stopped,” says Roma, who left school at 16 with few qualifications.

She had the operation and was happy with her new nose. With the £1,400 left, she bought hair extensions and spent most of the rest on Christmas presents. “I paid NatWest for the first couple of months with some of the left-over money. But then I stopped as soon as I ran out of money. The bank started to write to me and phone me. I told them I was broke. I was expecting to be told off but it lent me another £1,000. I was really surprised because a friend, who’s also a single mum, didn’t get anything when she asked.”

She then owed £6,000 repayable at £172 a month over five years, which made a total of £10,320. She has never made a single payment towards this. “After my rent and TV licence, I have about £400 a month to live on. I can’t look after Paradis and pay the bank.”

Emphasis added by me.


How many other screwball loans like this are out there?

Japan’s New Trend: Death By Self-Gassing

May 6, 2008

Couple posts warning sign on window before gassing selves to death in car

ECHIZEN, Fukui — A man and a woman, both aged in their 20s, gassed themselves to death in a car here by mixing detergents to produce deadly hydrogen sulfide in an apparent suicide pact, police said.

At around 12:50 a.m. on Monday, a 27-year-old man from Kyoto Prefecture and a 21-year-old woman from Fukuoka Prefecture were found dead in a car parked near a beach in Echizen by a relative of his, local police said.

A piece of paper reading, “Caution! Toxic Gas,” had been posted on a window of the car, and detergent containers were found in the vehicle, leading investigators to suspect that the two had made a pact to kill themselves by producing deadly hydrogen sulfide gas inside the car.

Man performs final public service before gassing self to death in car

NAGANO — An unemployed man has gassed himself to death by producing deadly hydrogen sulfide in a car parked here, but not before leaving a sign to warn passersby of the poisonous gas inside the vehicle, police said Tuesday.

At around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, a newspaper sales agent noticed that a piece of paper saying, “Filled with Hydrogen Sulfide,” had been posted on a window of a car parked in a vacant lot in Nagano, and alerted police.

Residents evacuated as Osaka schoolboy fatally gasses self with hydrogen sulfide in plastic bag

TAKATSUKI, Osaka — A 17-year-old schoolboy fatally gassed himself here Tuesday by sticking his head in a plastic bag filled with lethal hydrogen sulfide, police said.

Someone has apparently developed a cheap, easy. and fast method of suicide. I expect the recipe has spread like wildfire on the Net over there. This has been going on for several weeks now.

Let me say two things about this:

1) This is a very dangerous method that could injure others!

2) Some bastard is bound to use this for murder or terrorism.

Previously here:

Video Vitamins For Our Souls

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #085

May 6, 2008

UBS reports 1Q net loss $11 billion

ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss bank UBS, hard hit by the U.S. subprime crisis, reported a first-quarter loss of $10.97 billion and said Tuesday it will slash almost 7 percent of its work force.

The 11.5 billion Swiss franc loss compares with a net profit of 3 billion francs in the same period last year. The company also said it would unload $15 billion in subprime and other mortgage-based securities from its portfolio.

Emphasis added by me.


UBS will trim another 2,900 jobs across the company, mostly through attrition, bringing the total number of posts cut by mid-2009 to 5,500 overall. UBS has more than 83,800 employees worldwide.

UBS has struggled to regain investor confidence since a string of heavy losses prompted shareholders to demand radical changes at the traditionally staid bank.

Shareholders last month voted in a new chairman and a capital increase of 15 billion francs ($14.9 billion) to distance UBS from historic losses. Earlier this year, UBS raised 13 billion francs after seeking help from a Singapore government fund and an unidentified Middle East investor.

Emphasis added by me.

Now that’s intriguing: an “unidentified Middle East investor.” Is UBS a public company? How can they not disclose that?

So, UBS has announced its layoffs.

When will CitiGroup announce its massive layoffs and branch closings?

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #084

May 6, 2008

Those of you who have been lulled into a false complacency because of my lack of Doom posts here are going to be in for one hell of a shock in the comings months.

As it is, the pulse of things is picking up.

This morning, this was the headline:

Oil hits record $120.93 a barrel on supply woes

By afternoon, it went to this:

Oil nears $123 on $200 oil prediction, supply concerns

What prediction was that?

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil futures blasted to a new record near $123 a barrel Tuesday, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks.

A new Goldman Sachs prediction that oil prices could rise to $150 to $200 within two years seemed to motivate much of Tuesday’s buying, although a falling dollar and increasing concerns about declining crude production in Mexico and Russia contributed, analysts say.

Emphasis added by me.

Those of you who have been reading here are already shaking your heads over the stupidity evidenced there.

Because it was waaaaaay back in Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #064 — published April 28, 2008 — that $200/barrel oil within two years was first mentioned here. The source was OPEC President Chakib Khelil!

Then, later that same day, in Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #067, it was mentioned again, this time as a two American predictions.

So, Goldman Sachs, just who the hell are you guys trying to impress? The ignoranti who don’t read this blog, probably!


May 6, 2008

Put those speakers up!

I distract all of you with the opening theme and visuals from a great 1970s Japanese anime series, Brave Raideen.

Yuusha Raideen Opening jap

Strangely, the series was never dubbed into English but the ginormous toy robot was sold here.

All this is my way of telling you I’m otherwise busy and will not be blogging for the next several hours.