One up on Eton

Sure, the place might have produced Prime Ministers but how many Presidents?

Rodrigo Duterte, the abrasive president of the Philippines, returned last week to one of his favorite laments — his poor health — and declared he was suffering from a chronic immune-system disorder.

The timing does not seem accidental. The Supreme Court, its benches now packed with his appointees, is set to issue a crucial ruling about who should be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

If the 74-year-old Duterte — who is prone to long, unexplained public absences — gets his way, his current vice- president would be replaced by Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son of the late dictator who ruled for 21 years.

Assuming it comes to pass, Worth 1, Eton 0.

Another way to look at the Oxfam tea workers story

As earlier, Oxfam tells us that the workers only get 3 p put of the 79p paid in the shops for the tea.

OK, 4% say.

Right, now, what is the value of that plate of beans the starving kid gets. And how much does it cost Oxfam to get it there? If that kid’s eating 4% of what Oxfam’s taking in I’d be surprised. As much as 4% that is.

And wouldn’t it be fun to turn this on them in a radio interview…..

I don’t believe it for a moment

Five years ago it looked as though the country’s great Serengeti plains would be bled dry. From 2009 to 2014 Tanzania lost more than 65,000 of its 110,000 elephants to poachers, while there were only 15 rhinos left in 2014, leading experts to warn that both species would disappear within a decade.

However, over the past five years the big game population has increased. There are now 60,000 elephants and 167 rhinos, according to the Tanzanian presidency.

Simply because I don’t believe a word Magufuli says. Harsh perhaps but there it is.

How doth the story change

Why Sri Lanka attackers’ wealthy backgrounds shouldn’t surprise us

Lots of terrorists with lots of causes have come from educated/wealthy backgrounds. Therefore:

Taken together, this teaches us that neither education nor economics can help explain any one individual’s violent activism.

But back when we didn’t know that they came from educated and wealthy backgrounds it was said that economics explained it all. The righteous anger of the proletariat at the capitalist and bourgeois classes.

Is it that we iz learnin’? Or we’ve changed the story when it became inconvenient?

So why you paying out £800,000?

It is understood the striker has now agreed to settle the matter out of court and will receive a payment in the region of £800,000.

A spokesman for Brabners said: “We are glad that Ched Evans has agreed not to pursue this case, which we believe was entirely without merit. Brabners put forward a strong defence of Mr Evans claim following a thorough process and we were prepared to vigorously defend our handling of the case.”

Presumably your insurers thought you were bang to rights and 800 large was cheap to get out of it.

Yeah, I know, cheap headlines and all that but still

A woman who broke her wrist in a car crash involving the Duke of Edinburgh has said she feels “safer” now he has given up his driving licence.

Emma Fairweather, 46, who was a passenger in a Kia Carens that collided with the Duke’s Land Rover last month, said: “He’s making the most sensible decision he can. It’s a shame he didn’t make it a bit sooner but it’s the right thing to do.”

Sure, victims should have a voice and all that. But that’s enough, eh?

Calling BiS

Lucia Palacios, 22, was consistently top of her class at home in Maracay, Venezuela. Her grades were so good she gained a place at one of the country’s then coveted medical schools, training to become a specialist nurse.

But today Ms Palacios – not her real name – is working as a prostitute, selling sexual favours to British and German holidaymakers on the Costa del Sol.

She is one of 208,333 Venezuelans that the Spanish authorities record as having fled the failed central american state for Spain over the last few years.

The true figure is thought to be much higher and many educated women, like Ms Palacios, have been forced into prostitution to make ends meet.

Is there an observable increase in Venezuelanas?

Quite why?

Twinning nurseries with care homes for the elderly would boost children’s literacy skills, according to a thinktank that is calling for every childcare provider and school to build links with older people.

Children who regularly mix with older people see improvements to their language development, reading and social skills, something that is most easily achieved at “intergenerational care” centres highlighted in the Channel 4 series Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, says a report by United for All Ages.

Well, yes, but quite why it has to be the State that takes care of this is uncertain.

Why not just send the kids around to granny for the occasional afternoon? After all, isn’t this simply an agreement that the human family has some value to it?

It’s not about being homeless

The number of homeless people dying in England and Wales increased by a quarter over the last five years, with 597 deaths recorded in 2017.

Campaigners said figures published by the Office for National Statistics were a “source of national shame” with 115 more deaths last year than in 2013.

The data also showed the average age of the homeless men who died was 44 and for women it was just 42 while more than half of all deaths were because of drug poisoning, liver disease or suicide.

Those rough sleeping regularly have one or more of metal health, drug or booze problems. These aren’t things solved by having more houses.

Business rates on pagan burial grounds

We both know and like Tim Daw around here.

A farmer who built the first new long barrow tomb in the UK in more than 5,000 years has been told that he must pay thousands of pounds in business rates on it.

Tim Daw, the owner of the burial ground used by Pagans, has been told by the Valuation Office Agency that he must pay between £4,500 to £5,000 a year in business rates for his burial mound where people pay to inter the ashes of their loved ones.

Long barrows were in widespread use in the early Neolithic period and examples still exist today, but the burial method fell out of use.

Usually, church graveyards and burial grounds are exempt from the tax as they are seen as places of worship. But Mr Daw has been told that his long barrow is a commercial storage facility that must pay the tax, as it falls above the rateable value on a business property of £12,000.

Mr Daw, from Devizes, Wiltshire, said the decision means mourners visiting his tomb will have to “pay to pray” and that the move discriminates against non-Christian forms of worship.

The interesting part is, well, how have they defined that value? Given that it’s the only one what comparator have they used to work it out?

Someone really should test this assertion

So Serrato started digging, looking for information on every Chemnitz-related video published on YouTube this year. What he found, according to a New York Times report, is that the platform’s recommendation system consistently directed people toward extremist videos on the riots — then on to far-right videos on other subjects. “Users searching for news on Chemnitz would be sent down a rabbit hole of misinformation and hate. And as interest in Chemnitz grew, it appears, YouTube funnelled many Germans to extremist pages, whose view-counts skyrocketed.”

Nobody who knows anything about YouTube will be surprised. Time and again, researchers have discovered that when videos with political or ideological content are uploaded to the platform, YouTube’s “recommender” algorithm will direct viewers to more extremist content after they have watched the first one. Given that most people probably have the autoplay feature left on by default, that means that watching YouTube videos often leads people to extremist sites.

So, how many iterations of the recommendation engine gets you from a Jezza speech to an insistence that we’ve got to starve 8 million Ukrainian kulaks? Is it more or less via Seumas Milne or Andrew Murray?

Well, we could always ask London for advice

Britain’s first unmanned trains have sparked a safety row as politicians and union officials voiced concerns about football crowds on match days.

The new Glasgow Subway trains were announced to much fanfare this week, designed to be driverless and completely unstaffed by 2021. As well as having no drivers, they will also have no door staff.

While some lauded this as the future of transport, others worried that passenger safety was not being prioritised.

Pat McIlvogue, a regional officer for the Unite union, said there were worries about overcrowding and rowdy passenger behaviour on match days.

He told The Telegraph: “Match days are a well-used situation and how they’re going to manage the influx of traffic and people piling into doors when the doors are shut, what happens then?

Well, Mr Union Officer. Have you gone and asked those nice people at the Docklands Light Railway how they do it?