Saturday, 5 December 2009

Cruise blues; Tallahassee talk; Erfut Choo choo; Dulles dimwit; and Around Pompeii;

Saturday Snippets

Things are back to normal; it’s dark, cold and damp, the cat is behaving like a demented banshee and Dave C is trying to win over the armed forces with a bribe before the next ballot farce.

“Conservative leader David Cameron plans to double the allowance paid to soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

He told the BBC that the Tories would immediately double the £2,400 payment for a six month Afghan tour if elected.

He also vowed to appoint a national security adviser, set up a war cabinet, and make Ministry of Defence service personnel wear uniforms not suits.

Mr Cameron is due to meet President Karzai in Kabul on the second day of his visit to Afghanistan.”

promises, promises.

And: Up to 4.6 million households in England could be in fuel poverty in 2009, new figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change show.

The government has vowed to end fuel poverty in England by 2016.

Fuel poverty is defined as those who spend more than 10% of their household income on heating their homes.

The projection comes within data that reveals the number fuel-poor households in the UK rose from 3.5 million in 2006 to four million in 2007.

The data, based on the latest figures for England and Scotland along with extrapolated estimates for Wales and Northern Ireland, suggest that 16% of all UK households were in fuel poverty in 2007.

"The overall effect of price rises since 2004 has far outweighed the impact of increasing incomes and energy efficiency," the report said.

Thanks Gord.

First up:

A couple who complained that they were “treated like gypsies” on a cruise where they were given a penthouse suite with their own butler received £22,000 compensation

Terence and Cynthia Milner, of Leeds, sued after their £59,000 “once in a lifetime” holiday on the maiden cruise of the Queen Victoria was disrupted by sleepless nights, stormy conditions and mouth ulcers.

When they complained about their noisy cabin they were upgraded to the penthouse suite and offered a series of other rooms but they said that they felt “trapped”.

Mrs Milner spent £4,300 on ball gowns ahead of the 15-week round-the-world sailing but the couple abandoned the “stressful” cruise after only six weeks, leaving the dresses unworn and an "unwelcome reminder" of the experience.

They opted to stay in a luxury resort in Honolulu and sail back on the QE2 rather than continue on the £270 million liner to Southampton and Singapore.

Despite receiving a £48,240 refund, they sued for “loss of enjoyment” and received £22,000 damages at Skipton County Court. Cunard is challenging the award at London's Civil Appeal Court.

Barmy or what?

From West a fair bit and down a little:

In an embarrassing blunder, Tallahassee Gov. Charlie Crist mistakenly directed parents of uninsured children to call a toll-free sex line.

People calling the governor’s office heard an on-hold recording of Crist promoting the toll-free Florida KidCare line. Except two numbers were transposed.

Anyone calling the number Crist gave out was told to call another number. The recording on that second phone number begins, “Hey there sexy guys” and says the caller can have a more graphic conversation with a woman for $2.99 a minute.

The Palm Beach Post discovered the mistake. Crist quickly fixed it

And the number is 1 850............

From east a bit this time: Train buffs are facing jail after building their own ramshackle locomotive and taking it on the public rail network.

The six-seater train - made out of garden furniture and salvaged train parts - was powered by an electric motor and even had its own refreshments car in the shape of a crate of beer.

Police in Erfut, Germany, were alerted after residents of properties adjoining the railway spotted the unorthodox vehicle - and were aware that there should have been no traffic running.

Police however had to call in a helicopter to find and follow the makeshift train as the police cars could not follow it along the tracks.

The helicopter pilot was able to radio ahead to other officers who set up a makeshift barrier at a station to stop it.

Railway bosses had been asked to suspend all services to avoid a collision although the train buffs had chosen to have their drive when there had been no trains scheduled.

"It seems to be one of those mad pub ideas that actually happened. They didn't seem to realise they could have caused a serious accident if they'd got anywhere near a real train," said one officer.

Six men who were arrested on the unauthorised vehicle are currently facing public safety charges.

The good news is that it was on time.

Customs inspectors at Dulles International Airport say a man from Guatemala was detained after he tried to carry a cooked chicken stuffed with more than $4,000 worth of cocaine.

Customs and Border Protection spokesman Steve Sapp says agents decided the fully cooked chicken that 32-year-old Wagner Mauricio Linares Aragon brought with him on a flight Saturday from El Salvador warranted closer inspection.

Inside the chicken’s cavity they say they found two small, clear bags that contained about 60 grams — about 2.3 ounces — of powder cocaine.

Linares Aragon is being held awaiting trial on felony drug charges in Loudoun County.

What a Charlie!

And finally:
Users of Google Street View can now walk the streets of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, it has been announced.

The feature will allow internet users to visit the Roman city without dusting up their shoes with the volcanic ash that buried it nearly 2,000 ago.

Italy's Culture Ministry said it had worked with Google to add to the Street View application images of the avenues, villas, temples and theaters of the ancient town.
The application allows Internet users to view panoramic street-level pictures of more than 100 cities around the world.

Pompeii was destroyed in A.D. 79 by a cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius that killed thousands of people and buried the city in 20 feet (six meters) of volcanic ash.

But the ash also helped preserve Pompeii's treasures, providing precious information about what life was like in the ancient world.

Today the World Heritage Site attracts more than 2.5million visitors a year, but the online interest is expected to dwarf those figures.

Mario Resca, from Pompeii's excavation trust, said: "The possibility of to walk virtually between the wonders of Pompeii represents an extraordinary promotional vehicle for the Italian tourism.

"I think that far from putting off potential tourists to come in person to visit it will actually encourage more to visit two archaeological centres."

Carlo d' Blond Asaro, deputy president of Google Italy, said the opening up of the streets of Pompeii gave the chance for billions to experience a world treasure.

He said: "The artistic and cultural property Italian is so important it must be appreciated by the whole world.

"This is a resource that today can reach and enrich billions of people across Internet.

"We are happy that they decided to support us in this project."

And so am I, much better than Bolton.




Angus Dei politico


CherryPie said...

It is amazing no one was killed with that makeshift train!

angus said...

They should enter for "scrapheap challenge":)