Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stranger danger - media invention?

Children are in more danger from adults in the home than from any one outside - according to figures cited in eSkeptic: 13/02/2008 The article examines 'when news isn't news but scaremongering is' and how journalists are stoking public fears, by making all those "one in a million" occurrences sound as if they could be happening "in your street any time soon". Admittedly, the American media tend to hype these things more than Britain but, in the era of 24 hour TV, we are gradually heading that way.

The article title: Journalist-Bites-Reality! How broadcast journalism is flawed in such a fundamental way that its utility as a tool for informing viewers is almost nil.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'Black Gold' movie for Fairtrade Fortnight

I saw the film Black Gold last night, about the coffee trade, the exploitation of the third world farmers and how many of them turn to growing narcotics, because they make more money that way than growing coffee. The film was shown last night to launch Fairtrade Fortnight in Chelmsford and is on More4 tonight.

The film was a fascinating and disturbing insight into the coffee trade. The fairtrade arrangement delivers about 10% of the price we pay for coffee to the farmers; coffee that is not fairly traded usually sees the farmers only receiving around 2% of what we pay in our shops. Tellingly, none of the four largest coffee retailers in the world were willing to be interviewed for the film.

23 years after Live Aid, Ethiopia is still suffering badly. Africa is the only continent to have become poorer in that time. But the farmers interviewed were clear that they would much prefer trade not aid. Africa's share of world trade is only1%. If that was boosted to just 2%, that extra ($70 billion) would be FIVE times what Africa receives in aid. But they felt that the EU and the USA were more interested in protecting their markets.

The Chelmsford Star co-op has 20% off all their Fairtrade products during Fairtrade Fortnight (ends 9th March).

The film follows a leader of a farmer's co-operative as he tours the world seeking new buyers for their coffee. The film's website
The Fairtrade Foundation
Chelmsford Fairtrade Campaign

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No to Tony Blair as President of the European Union Council

Tony Blair led Britain into an illegal war in Iraq, against the wishes of millions in Britain and most of the countries in the world. For this reason, not to mention many others, he is unsuitable to be President of the EU Council. There is a website petition No to Tony Blair as President of the European Union Council and there is also a Facebook group

Friday, February 08, 2008

123-reg - size isn't everything

The website host and domain name seller 123-reg tells us today that they are "the biggest web host in the UK". But are they the most reliable? In my experience, they are certainly not good at actually answering questions to their support website, when you have queries about email delays. (That is to say, they reply but they don't answer the question!) Interestingly, they are part of Pipex, which has repeated email delays through their ownership of CIX Internet and cannot sort out queries about their broadband services.

Would be delighted to hear from anyone who shares the same frustration.