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Archive for July 2009

BBC Conductor Sir Edward Downes Dies in Switzerland With His Wife

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BBC conductor dies in Swiss Suicide/euthanasia/right-to-die – centre/clinic.


There has been controversy over the sad death of Conductor – Sir Edward Downes, 85, and his wife Lady Joan Downes, 74. The Telegraph reported on this story as did The Guardian and The BBC.



There has been a lot of controversy about them taking the decision to end their own lives with assistance – as there has been in the past with other cases, such as The Telegraph reports: “Aiding and abetting a suicide is a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison; Last year, the parents of Daniel James, 23, who committed suicide at ‘Dignitas’ after he was paralysed in a rugby training accident, were investigated by police.  The Telegraph goes on to report that “the Director of Public Prosecutions decided it was “not in the public interest” to charge Mr James’s parents, in effect ruling out prosecutions in other cases in the future.”



The focus has been on the clinic in Switzerland – ‘Dignitas’ which has 800 British members and has assisted the conductor and his wife in dying along with “at least 115 Britons who have travelled abroad to die” as The Telegraph reported.



 The Telegraph, The Guardian and The BBC have reported on the story as a tragedy and an editor of The Telegraph has criticised The BBC for referring to the centre as a right-to-die clinic.



Mr Thompson who is blogs editor of the Telegraph Media Group titled his piece “The BBC’s creepy coverage of Sir Edward and Lady Downes’s joint suicide.” He goes on to say “Sir Edward Downes, that fine British conductor, has committed suicide along with his wife in the vile ‘Dignitas’ clinic in Switzerland. But the word “suicide” appears nowhere in the BBC website’s report of this tragedy.” The BBC spends more time in reporting on Sir Downes career giving details as to how it began and mentioning that he began to play violin at the age of five. It seems that the BBC later in a recent report used the word suicide three times whereas The Telegraph did many reports on the story and used the word suicide 13 times in one article and 5 times in another article – as did The Guardian.



The latest in Britain over assisted suicide is; as The Telegraph reported “British group Dignity in Dying wants the government to “urgently” consider overturning the laws that make it illegal in this country.” The Royal College of Nursing also have concerns as the UK Government has, although the RCN have dropped a stance of being harshly opposed to the concept of helping patients to die/commit suicide. The latest move has left the RCN in a neutral position neither opposing nor supporting the concept of assisted dying/suicide. 



The Government do not want a situation where the number of assisted suicides increase as if legalised it may put pressure on certain individuals – for example people with disabilities, as The Telegraph reported “many people claimed that disabled people would be placed under pressure to end their lives in order to relieve the burden they place on families and the health care system.”



The Guardian reports on the controversy and debate by mentioning that “Prosecutors have not pushed forward cases against families and friends of the growing number of Britons who have travelled to ‘Dignitas’ to die, however, and there is fierce debate about whether the law should be changed to protect people from prosecution.”



The Guardian reported as did the BBC and The Telegraph on a statement from the couple’s children on Friday July 10th who said “they died peacefully, and under circumstances of their own choosing. – After 54 happy years together, they decided to end their own lives rather than continue to struggle with serious health problems. Our father, who was 85 years old, almost blind and increasingly deaf, had a long, vigorous and distinguished career as a conductor. Our mother, who was 74, started her career as a ballet dancer and subsequently worked as a choreographer and TV producer before dedicating the last years of her life to working as our father’s personal assistant. They both lived life to the full and considered themselves to be extremely lucky to have lived such rewarding lives, both professionally and personally.” The Guardian also refers to Dignitas as a “Swiss organisation that operates a specialist euthanasia service.”



The Police have been investigating and The Guardian reported “A Metropolitan police spokesman said Greenwich CID had launched an investigation.” The Teleraph reported that the family members “could now be questioned by the officers investigating the death.” 



The Telegraph ended their report by saying that Sir Downes was “noted for championing British music, he has enjoyed a particularly long relationship with the BBC Philharmonic, serving as its chief guest conductor, then principal conductor, and finally as conductor emeritus. He was appointed CBE in 1986 and knighted in 1991. There will be no funeral.”



10 – 18 July 2009

Record Breakers – Biggest Air Guitar Ensemble

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Official Announcements in The Telegraph, AP, The Chicago Tribune, and The Charleston Daily Mail – about New Guinness World Record Broken – twice in one summer!

It’s the biggest air guitar ensemble and the record was broken recently in New York as The Telegraph reported.

In sync, rhythm, tune, and rocking with guitars! The world record for the biggest air guitar ensemble was broken with 810 people!

The piece that was played was not ordinary; it was a two minute and 34 second long epic that the air guitarists chose for their world record broken in New York! They air rocked to Journey’s “Don’t stop believing” as the Telegraph reported. The air guitarists set the record at the Brook Atkinson Theatre off Broadway after a performance – this was a memorable event for the audience and fans, which was on a Monday (6th July).

The previous record set in the UK included 440 air guitarists and the new record included 370 more air guitarists, some of whom were from the cast of “Rock of Ages” a new musical at the Brook Atkinson Theatre; and ‘US Air Guitar’ -the official air guitar association of the United States of America!”

As the Telegraph reported “A representative from Guinness World Records counted 810 air guitarists after Wednesday’s matinee performance at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.”

The record was broken with the help of the audience and fans – who were given a lesson by Andrew ‘William Ocean’ Litz, the 2007 National Air Guitar Champion, in how to air rock! As The Chicago Tribune reported there was an open invitation “People who don’t have tickets to the show are invited to show up at 4:20 p.m. and enter once the curtain closes.”

The cast of the Rock of Ages were then presented with an official Guinness World Records’ plaque. In other related news the Telegraph also reported of ‘Drummers who broke the record for largest number of people playing the same beat with 582 drummers at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena they reported that “the previous world record of 533 drummers was set in the United States” and this happened on Monday 13 July 2009.”

The Guinness World Records official website has revised their data to give the record to another group for the biggest air guitar ensemble they’re website quotes “Some of the 1,261 participants at “Be Your Best UK Rock Challenge”, Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, UK, on 11 July 2009.”

An informative website quotes “With 1,261 screaming participants rocking it out for 1 min 50 sec, to “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters, the atmosphere was electric. Overseen by the former World Champion and Founder of Air Guitar UK, Zac Monro, all of the participants were able to get the first-hand experience of being taught by one of the world’s best air guitarists.”

There is also an announcement for the biggest flute ensemble and the Guinness World Record website quotes “1,975 participants from schools in Fushun city, Liaoning province, China, beat the previous record of 1,701.”

6 July 2009

Written by Raj

July 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

The Prancing Horse – The Ferrari Scuderia430

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The Scuderia’s predecessor is the Ferrari F430 and the Scuderia 430 is an Italian speciality and has a rarity factor putting the price at £172,500 – this car will have tears in your eyes as it does 0-60mph in 3.1 – 3.5seconds!

The lights on the front of this prancing horse car gives it personality, they are slim and built into the body to ensure there’s not much drag and the car remains aerodynamic – as the Scuderia is about racing! The name means ‘team’ and this car is inspired from the Formula 1 Scuderia team; it’s available in the standard Ferrari colours.

The Scuderia is made by Ferrari who are known as one of the finest road car makers and with this car they have added to their collection of one of the finest race track cars! You may be interested to know it is partly designed by Michael Schumacher and a computer which helped to enhance speed and performance and it does exactly that!

You’ll be turning heads in this car (obviously it’s a Ferrari!) although the Scuderia is different from other models; it’s more for the racer and the driver looking for an exhilarating racing experience – rather than an executive who wants the fancy computer system – and the Scuderia does not have one of those.

This car has many features there’s the double stripes on the front face with air intakes on the front grills and along the side of the car with a special feature at the back of the car which helps with further aerodynamicity – keeping the car firmly grounded the faster you go and giving you unusually more grip called a rear diffuser or undertray. The Scuderia also has silicon brakes and an electronic differential setting with the option to switch off stability control – and you can choose how you want the suspension – soft or firm – fancy enough!

Ferrari have cut back on style – with tacky welding to add to the speed and lack of weight for the car, yet have tried to make up for it with a fancy dashboard which has a yellow central interior clock for one of the speedometers. This car also lacks carpets, sat-nav, and a stereo – just the basics in this speed-machine which challenges Porsche and the Lamborghini Gallardo.

 2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Gauges

The fly-by 430 Scuderia and the F430 its predecessor differ not only in price, the Scuderia also has modified side-skirts, twin exhaust tips, with carbon-fibre wing mirrors, and a carbon-fibre challenge grill, it has also been taken up to 510bhp from the F430 – it weighs in at 2750 pounds which helps it to be a racing car.

It has an astonishing shift rate (60milliseconds)! The Engine is precisely placed where the boot should be and is within a transparent casing so it’s visible to others and good for cooling – the engine is referred to as a Ferrari type 056 which is an engine they use in their race cars and on the race track.

2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Engine

The Scuderia will be able to perform handling on the race track like no other car, it has a special function switch on it’s steering wheel called ‘Manettino’ with 5 functions – which can allow the car to stylishly skid its rear end everywhere whilst still driving in a racing manner – nicely put you can turn off the traction control and stability control for more of a race style drive, there’s also an engine start button. So this car will not only be fast in a straight line but also around corners and will look good whilst lurking in parking spaces!

The gear speeds are 6speed manual and 6speed F1 electrohydraulic shift, the gears are also linked to the racing terms superfast and superfast2 whilst you also have options such as the Sport function to help you reach those superfast speeds. The Formula One style gear paddles are placed on the steering wheel allowing for those millisecond shifts! The car produces good noise and is comfortable to drive and sit in; the brakes on the Scuderia are made from ceramic and stand out as much as the rest of the car, the Scuderia has its own badge adding further to the value of this car which costs more than its predecessor by £43,000.

 2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Rear Closeup

The race engine is fine tuned and will ensure that the car reaches a maximum of 200mph. The alloy wheels are rocking, being 19 inches in size and suit the car’s worth. The tyres are thicker, and this car has more power and is lower and lighter than your standard car. Although it’s a Ferrari and you’re not getting a standard car – this car is race-track tested!

2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Front View

You could have a look at the Ferrari website which allows you to race a Ferrari Scuderia in a virtual race.

 2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Wheel Closeup

2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Interior

2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia Badge

Written by Raj

July 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Tribute for Michael Jackson at the BET Awards

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Michael Jackson the award winning artist has passed away and although there is  controversy about his death – it has been reported that MJ as his fans called him, has died from cardiac arrest.

There was a tribute held for the life-time achievement award winner at the BET awards and his sister Janet Jackson who collaborated with Michael in his long and successful career spoke of all the love shown by fans; she said at the awards tribute “On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all your love” Janet Jackson was the family spokesperson and was emotional whilst talking about her brother who she was fond of; Janet went on to say “’To you, Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is family. He will forever live in all of our hearts.”

Michael Jackson was a true world artist as he helped third world countries like Africa where he highlighted their plight through his video Earth Song – and there was also the famous Heal the World song highlighting the importance of looking after the World and its people in every aspect.

Michael Jackson also opened many doors for black artists as Jamie Foxx said “No need to be sad. We want to celebrate this black man. We gonna go through all of Michael Jackson.” Jamie Foxx wore some versions of MJ’s famous artists and the actor/singer performed to some of MJ’s songs – you may remember that Michael Jackson also had a few films in which he starred as himself – thus helping black people not only in the music industry yet also in the film industry.

P.diddy spoke of Michael Jackson in a positive way and said MJ “knocked down barriers’ for black artists. He is one of our heroes. As African-Americans, we are not going to let everybody beat him up.Love you Mike.” Diddy has since gone on to post a message on his twitter writitng that “Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!”

Michael Jackson also helped to launch artists and showcase entertainers such as Naomi Campbell, McCully Culkin, 3T and Neo who said “He’s the man who made it possible for me to be on the stage. I love you and I miss you.”

The Game, Chris Brown, Usher and Diddy have collaborated to make a song in tribute to MJ – you can find it on youtube its called “Better on the Other Side” and is the official MJ tribute song.

Joe Jackson MJ’s dad said at the BET awards “I think if Michael was here, he would enjoy the celebrations. He couldn’t be here but it’s like he is larger than he was before. Michael gives his love to everybody and we hope that his record will never be broken.” The record his Dad talks of is the unbroken record of selling more than 750 million albums worldwide.

Other tributes happened worldwide and the UK artist Dizzee rascal said about MJ at the Glastonbury festival that Michael Jacksons music has made a huge impact on the world and Dizzee then went on to perform some of MJ’s tracks such as ‘Thriller’ and he said it was to acknowledge the great music he left behind.” He also said to MJ’s fans at the Glastonbury festival “We lost a legend this week” before performing his MJ medley “So I think we should do something to remember him.”

The latest news is that MJ’s body will not be going on show at his neverland ranch – although his fans will always remember Michael Jackson’s famous looks and outfits.   

Written by Raj

July 7, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Paraglider or Party Balloons

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Paraglider or Party Balloons

A Holiday Story Tale for the future – Is it a bird is it a plane is it a paraglider – no it’s a bunch of party balloons!

Twelve guests at Catacol Bay Hotel were clowning around when they phoned the police over a bunch of balloons falling into the sea – they weren’t clowning around as the balloons were seen as a paraglider who was plunging into the sea and a man reported the event as a paraglider crashing into the sea. This event happened on the 25th of June around 1:30pm whilst the guests were having a buffet. Rescue boats and a ferry rushed to the scene along with five other vessels – and then found a bunch of party balloons instead of a reported paraglider.   

The Clyde Coastguard spokesman said “The Isle of Arran coastguard (UK) was first on the scene and discovered the balloons. Guests at the hotel had all seen what they thought was a paraglider fall into the water and were very concerned.”

The concern was real and the waters were not shallow when the report of balloons as a paraglider falling into the deep waters of the sea was made.

Written by Raj

July 7, 2009 at 7:33 pm

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