Not good, not good

At least nineteen concert-goers were killed last night and 50 injured in what was being treated as a terror attack when an explosion hit the Manchester Arena at the end of a pop show.

Witnesses described hearing a huge bang shortly after 10.30pm at the entrance to the Arena as thousands of people made their way out of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande.

Police were last night reportedly looking into the possibility a suicide bomber had carried out deadly attack, but there was no official confirmation.

Wonder who will pop up to claim this?

Tariq Ali is a one, isn’t he?

That all changed with the ensuing civil war, in which the nascent Soviet state’s enemies were backed by the czar’s former Western allies. Amid the resulting chaos and millions of casualties, the Bolsheviks finally prevailed — but at a terrible political and moral cost, including the virtual extinction of the working class that had originally made the revolution.

Terrible political and moral cost. Not to say tens of millions of deaths but, you know, hey, the Bolshies won, right?

This is an essay in the series Red Century, about the legacy and history of communism 100 years after the Russian Revolution.

I’m waiting for the NYT to run some from the series on the other aberration of 20th century politics, fascism.

That’s the way to do it!

It is an ancient craft that dates back to the Iron Age, and characterises across vast swathes of rural Britain from the Cornish countryside to the Scottish Highlands.

Now dry stone walls will be built by ex-prisoners as part of a £10 million drive to stop traditional skills dying out.

Teach the recidivists the skills of tomorrow!


One of Britain’s most senior female judges warned drunken women that they will be a target for rapists as she retired from the bench today.
Lindsey Kushner QC said all women were entitled to ‘drink themselves into the ground’ but she warned their ‘disinhibited behaviour’ put them in danger of being raped by men who ‘gravitate’ to drunken females.

There really are vile monsters out there and yes, they will gravitate towards those less likely to resist.

That there will be those who argue about this shows quite how far wrong we’ve gone.

That shocking rise in hate crimes

A Muslim student appeared in a New York court on Thursday to admit to inventing a story that she was harassed by Donald Trump supporters on the subway.

Yasmin Seweid, 18, told police that a group of drunken white men yelled “Donald Trump!” at her, and called her a terrorist. She wrote an emotional Facebook post, saying it had been “dehumanizing”, and provided police with a description of the suspects.

Inconsistencies in the tale were put down to trauma.

But then, last week, her strict Muslim parents reported that she had disappeared from her home – only to reappear the following day. Questioned by the police, she broke down and admitted that she had made the story up to cover for being out late with her friends.

I never did bother to find out what Amanduh thought about this but no doubt we’ll be told that there’s a real fundamental truth in the original tale. You know, like the gang rape on campus in Virginia and so on….

Clever scam

Every Monday, Tuesday and Friday for the past decade, a pink building in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, flew an American flag from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Inside, a portrait of President Barack Obama hung on the wall, and people claiming to be consulate workers speaking English sold visas to the U.S., India and other countries to rural Ghanaians for $6,000 apiece.

The real Consulate across town sold the real visas for $160. But they were a little harder to qualify for…..

Has anyone actually seen this report?

A quarter of all Europeans think there are certain situations where rape can be ‘more acceptable’ – for example if the victim is drunk, scantily dressed or has invited a man to her home.

Because I’d really rather worry about translation there.

The shocking figures, which include wild variations between different countries, are included in a report on gender-based violence, commissioned by the European Union.

Are they really saying “more acceptable” or “more likely”, “more understandable” ?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Perhaps a touch of rape sensitivity training might be a good idea here

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A woman in Kerala who was allegedly gang-raped by her husband’s friends wept as she went public with her story today and said she was forced to withdraw her complaint because of humiliation by the police. “Which one of them gave you the greatest pleasure?” she was allegedly asked by a police officer.

Just a tad of training you understand.

Err, no, just really, no, no, no!

The Attorney General has suggested the law could be changed to give greater protection to alleged rape victims following the Ched Evans case.
The Welsh footballer was found not guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman at a retrial following a five-year battle to clear his name.

Other sexual activity is only allowed if it’s really important to the evidence.

Without it first time around he was convicted. With it, second time around, found not guilty.

I’d say that’s pretty important, wouldn’t you?

The Guardian’s still remarkable on Ched Evans

The verdict of a jury last Friday that found Ched Evans not guilty of rape appears to be a devastating setback for justice for rape victims. The footballer admits that he had sex with a woman he barely knew, who was drunk, and to whom he addressed not a word. He was convicted by the first jury to try him in 2011. But at his retrial, the jury decided they could not be certain that the woman had not consented, a verdict they reached after they had heard evidence that she had behaved in a similar manner with two other men at around the same time. Everything about this case stinks. A rich young man who on his own admission behaved in a way that most people would find unacceptable is found not guilty, while his victim, a young woman who was only 19 at the time, has had to move house five times, change her identity twice after Twitter trolls outed her on social media, and now has her alleged sexual history spread over the tabloids.

You what?

“A rich young man who on his own admission behaved in a way that most people would find unacceptable is found not guilty”

He was charged with rape not unacceptable behaviour. And what in buggery does his financial situation have to do with it?

It is true that not all the evidence that Mr Evans’ legal team finally won on was available at the first trial. A subsequent appeal against conviction was dismissed. Only after a new legal team was employed was the original evidence reconsidered and the witnesses re-interviewed. A new defence was presented to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. The court of appeal considered the new evidence and decided that it met the condition of “similar fact”: that meant there could be a retrial, and the new evidence of sexual behaviour could be introduced. Explaining her reasons, Lady Justice Hallett admitted she did so with “a considerable degree of hesitation”.

Missed the bit where the conviction was quashed, didn’t they?


A spokeswoman for the campaign group Women Against Rape added: “This sets a dangerous precedent to allow irrelevant sexual history evidence, which the law was supposed to prevent, opening the floodgates to trashing the woman’s character in any rape trial once again.

“This trial is a throwback to the last century when women who reported rape were assumed to be lying and their sex life was on trial – just a piece of meat, to be done sex to by any man under any circumstance.”

I’ve not seen it clearly stated but the impression I’m getting is that the question before the court was along these lines:

“Is this the sort of bird who will get boozed up and then have a threesome with a couple of blokes she’s just met?”

If not then the presumption is going to be rape, if so, then not.

Seems that it’s really pretty relevant to that question as to whether she’s the sort of bird who gets boozed up and …..

This is just absolutely fascinating

The number of rapes recorded by police has doubled in the past five years while the percentage of allegations resulting in conviction has fallen, official figures indicate.

For it’s an indication that the earlier system just wasn’t as bad as was made out.

No one at all thinks that the number of rapes is rising. but we’re seeing a rise in the number reported. And that falling conviction rate means that the “quality” (to mean here, likelihood of successful prosecution) or those extra cases being reported is lower than those reported previously.

No, it doesn’t mean at all that the previous system was absolutely correct at the margin. That all cases which could be prosecuted were both reported and then brought to a successful conclusion. But it does mean that the system was closer to that position than many used to claim. The falling conviction rate as against the greater reporting really does mean that the newer cases are more marginal.

That’s a lot of jam on tarts

A City banker and a group of businessmen pulled off an elaborate £245million scam, with proceeds being spent on high class prostitutes and luxury holidays, a court has heard.

Isn’t there a point at which it’s cheaper to buy than rent?

Sadly for the toms of the nation it’s the total losses that were that sum, not the amount ripped off.

“He had embarked on a deliberate, systematic and sustained campaign of unauthorised lending of bank money to those business customers within his portfolio which were effectively forced through his influence to engage in the services of QCS.”

Quickly put, manager of loans to companies in trouble insisted that said companies hired a mate to consult on how to get out of trouble.

Mr Bancroft, who was described as Mr Mills’ “man on the ground” allegedly received around £1million in direct payments.

He and Scourfield allegedly went to Barbados to celebrate Mrs Mills’ 40th birthday and also enjoyed trips to Bancroft’s villa o the Algarve.

Mr Cartwright was said to have received £200,000 for his alleged role, while Mr Dobson, who was a colleague of Scourfield allegedly received £30,000 in corrupt payments from one of Mills’ companies as well as benefitting from “inappropriate hospitality”.

Much less interesting.

Gun etiquette

A Florida woman has been accidentally shot to death in front of 34 people by an officer during a citizens academy exercise, according to Punta Gorda police.
Punta Gorda Police Chief Tom Lewis says Mary Knowlton, 73, was taking part in a role-playing scenario Tuesday when she was ‘mistakenly struck with a live round’.
Lewis says Knowlton was chosen randomly from about 35 people in the class for a ‘shoot/don’t shoot’ simulation during the Citizen Police Academy at the station headquarters.
Sue Paquin, a photographer covering the event for the Charlotte Sun, witnessed the accident and told the Fort Myers News-Press the officer fired at Knowlton, who was playing the ‘bad guy’ during the scenario, several times.
The officer was supposed to fire blanks at Knowlton, but live rounds were loaded in the gun, according to WINK News.

That’s, err, bad gun etiquette

Isn’t this just great?

The US justice department has moved to seize more than $1bn of assets allegedly acquired using funds misappropriated from the Malaysian economic development fund 1MDB, according to court papers filed on Wednesday.

The news follows a months-long international FBI probe, as well as five separate investigations around the world, and mark a step up in the investigation into up to $6bn that was allegedly skimmed from the sovereign fund and allegedly used to support the lavish lifestyles of several men connected to the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak.

The US attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said the funds defrauded from the Malaysian people were used to pay for luxury real estate in the US and Europe, gambling expenses in Las Vegas casinos, a London interior designer, more than $200m in artwork by artists including Van Gogh and Monet, and the production of films including the Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street.

A movie about boiler rooms and stock scams was backed by cash lifted in a scam?

Still, even with Hollywood accounting that’s one that should have made a profit for investors, no?