So where did they come from?
Amnesty International has published a damning report on Hamas’s conduct during last summer’s Gaza war, accusing it and other Palestinian armed groups of committing “war crimes” by firing rockets and mortars into Israel.
The report, released today, is the first by the human rights group to target Hamas after a series of publications accusing Israel of waging attacks that constituted war crimes.
Six civilians were killed in Israel by rocket and mortar attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza during the 50-day conflict in which 66 Israeli soldiers also died. Some 2,250 Palestinians were killed, at least 1,585 of them civilians, according to the United Nations.
Both sides must be held accountable, Amnesty says. “The violations by Palestinian groups, some of which are war crimes, do not in any way justify violations by Israeli forces; nor do Israeli violations justify those of Palestinian armed groups,” the report says
The report argues that, because of their inaccuracy, the very use of mortars constitutes a war crime. “Even in the hands of a highly experienced operator, a mortar round can never be accurate enough to hit a specific target,” it says. Even if aimed at military targets within civilian concentrations, mortar launches amount to “indiscriminate attacks” and when these kill civilians they are “war crimes”, Amnesty says. Rockets used by Palestinian armed groups were similarly unguided. “They are inherently indiscriminate and using them is likely to injure and kill civilians,” the report said. According to UN statistics, armed groups fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars at Israel during the war.
Amnesty noted that Hamas’s armed wing had said it was deliberately targeting civilians in statements specifying details of each attack.
Amnesty said the practices of Palestinian armed groups endangered Palestinians in Gaza as well. In one case it said 13 Palstinian civilians were killed in al-Shati refugee camp on 28 July by a rocket fired from within the Gaza Strip. Amnesty called on Palestinian authorities to ensure the cases documented in the report are investigated and that suspected perpetrators be brought to justice.
It would now appear that Amnesty International have taken their heads out of the sand and that the unending criticism of Israel will stop. It has long been known that Hamas are quite prepared to sacrifice their own people for “propaganda purposes”, hence the firing of rockets from schools and hospitals inviting the inevitable Israeli response.
See my previous blog https://kindadukish.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/hamas-admits-it-did-use-schools-and-hospitals-in-gaza-strip-as-human-shields-to-launch-rocket-attacks-on-israel/
Organisers at the National Union of Students Women’s Conference made the request after some delegates reported feeling anxious during audience applause.
The NUS Women’s Campaign tweeted from its official account: “Some delegates are requesting that we move to jazz hands rather than clapping, as it’s triggering anxiety. Please be mindful!” The original request was made by students from Oxford University.
Another delegate wrote online: “Can we not clap? Pretty anxious and its putting me on edge also distracting.” But clapping was not the only behaviour that caused problems for attendees at the Solihull event. One claimed that MURMURING was “making things inaccessible”, leading the NUS to issue an edict banning “chat” and “whooping”.
Twitter users reacted with hilarity, with one posting: “You should just ban any outward expression of approval.”
SE Students’ Union women’s officer Gee Linford-Grayson said: “Loud clapping and whooping can be intimidating and distracting when you’re speaking on stage.” An NUS spokesperson said: “The request was made by some delegates attending the conference. “We strive to make NUS events accessible and enjoyable for all, so each request is considered.”
And these are the women who will argue that they are tomorrows leaders of industry and commerce……………..I think some of them need to go and read a little about “resilience” what it is, and how it impacts on coping strategies for those in leadership roles. The above would suggest that if they are made anxious by a little applause it does not bode well for their future careers.
I am sure the women who worked in noisy factories, engineering works, bomb making factories and piloted aeroplanes (everything from small fighter planes to large bombers) to RAF bases during WW2 would not have been put off by the noise from a “little applause”……………………..
A second woman has been appointed a bishop by the Church of England.
The new Bishop of Hull will be the Reverend Canon Alison White, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has announced. Reverend White is currently priest-in-charge of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle. Dr Sentamu said: “This is a joyous day. I am delighted to be welcoming Alison as the next Bishop of Hull.”
The Rev Canon White said: “In 2010, I was privileged to be invited to take part in the York Diocesan Clergy Conference where I got a profound sense of a Diocese with faith and hope.
“I know that there is a real vision to be generous churches making and nurturing disciples and can’t wait to be part of loving God and growing the Church in this great part of Yorkshire.”
The Church of England’s first woman bishop was The Rt Rev Libby Lane, who consecrated as the eighth Bishop of Stockport at York Minster in January. The Rev Canon White replaces the Right Rev Richard Frith, who became Bishop of Hereford in November 2014.
She will be consecrated at York Minster on 3 July.
The 58-year-old became a priest in 1994 and has served in Durham, Sheffield, Peterborough and Newcastle. She is married to Bishop Frank White, Assistant Bishop of Newcastle. The couple have family in England and South Africa.
The Church’s General Synod formally approved plans in November to ordain women bishops after years of division and in the face of stiff opposition.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to see the Catholic Church and Islam embracing such an idea of equality and recognition of women in religion and spirituality rather than displaying the usual discriminatory and many would argue misogynistic attitudes towards them.
Lord Davies, the former trade minister, said women now accounted for 23.5% of FTSE 100 board members, up from 12.5% in 2011. The increase means that companies are on track to meet his 25% target for 2015. “The voluntary approach is working – boards are getting fixed,” he said.
The government report found that there were now 263 female directors in FTSE 100 companies, meaning a further 17 women need to be appointed this year to meet the 25% target. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “FTSE 100 boards have made enormous progress in the last four years … we must celebrate this outstanding achievement and the change in culture that is taking hold at the heart of British business.”
However, the latest statistics showed that smaller companies were less diverse at the top, with women accounting for just 18% of directors on the boards of FTSE 250 firms – although that was a sharp rise from 7.8% in 2011.
Mr Cable said both government and businesses had to focus on ensuring women were rising fast enough through the pipeline and taking up senior positions.
An annual benchmarking report by the Cranfield University School of Management, published alongside the government report, said 41 firms in the FTSE 100 and 65 in the FTSE 250 had now met the 25% target. Drinks firm Diageo and Intercontinental Hotels Group jointly topped the Cranfield ranking, with 45% female representation on their boards.
But Dr Elena Doldor, co-author of the report, said she expected women’s representation on boards to stagnate at about 28%. “There are still not enough women on executive committees or in the executive pipeline. Introducing aspirational and measurable targets for women at all levels is the only way to achieve real progress,” she added.
Women’s progress at the top:
FTSE 100 companies have 263 female board members – 23.5% of the total
FTSE 250 companies have 365 female board members – 18% of the total
There are no all-male boards in the FTSE 100
There remain 23 all-male boards in the FTSE 250
The Cranfield report also compared the UK’s progress to the rest of the world over the past decade, saying Britain’s progress meant it ranked fifth globally. CBI deputy-director general Katja Hall said the statistics showed the voluntary approach to increasing diversity in business was working. “To keep up momentum businesses must now continue to work on building the talent pipeline by supporting more women to take on management roles and helping mothers return to work,” she added.
Similarly, Lisa Buckingham, senior adviser on diversity at the Institute of Directors, said more needed to be done. “Company boards, senior executives, employees, the wider public, appointment committees and recruiters, especially, all have a role to play. They have made an impressive start but there is still work to do.”
Interesting articles about the Norwegian approach and the “Golden Skirts” –
Back in the 1960s a TV series started that created a sensation, nothing of the like had been seen before and it quickly became a “cult programme” particularly amongst the young.
It was on once a week on Friday nights and for those of us who became “fans” all life stopped so that we could watch it. All social engagement were put on hold as we sat transfixed by this weird programme called “The Prisoner”
“The Prisoner” tells the story of an unnamed spy who resigns his position and is then gassed in his apartment as he packs his bags. He wakes up in the Village, a resortlike community that is actually a high-tech prison. In each episode, No. 6 struggles with the camp authority figure, No. 2, who pressures him to say why he resigned. No. 2 is played by a different actor each time. In the first episode “Arrival” he tells us that he will not be “pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered! My life is my own.” Fourteen episodes open with his proclaiming, “I am not a number! I am a free man!”
“The Prisoner” remains “one of the most enigmatic and fascinating series ever produced for television” the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago said on its Web site, adding that some critics believe it to be “television’s first masterpiece.”
“The Prisoner” is a unique piece of television. It addresses issues such as personal identity and freedom, democracy, education, scientific progress, art and technology, while still remaining an entertaining drama series. Over seventeen episodes we witness a war of attrition between the faceless forces behind ‘The Village’ (a Kafkaesque community somewhere between Butlins and Alcatraz) and its most strong willed inmate, No. 6. who struggles ceaselessly to assert his individuality while plotting to escape from his captors.
Fans sat transfixed week after week to see how No.2 would attempt to get No.6 to explain why he “resigned” as a secret agent but without any success. However, if you are expecting a “nice closed ending” forget it.
To this day, “Fall Out” is considered the most controversial and outright bizarre series finale of a television show ever produced. The episode literally broke ITC’s phone system after it was overwhelmed with calls from confused viewers. The Prisoner creator and star Patrick McGoohan had to go into hiding for several weeks after the episode’s airing because people kept coming to his house to demand that he explain it to them.
So if you want to spend some time being challenged, infuriated, amazed, amused and at times totally bemused, then watch the full series of The Prisoner and prepare to be “blown away” by the final episode which will keep you awake at nights trying to figure out what it is all about.
I remember coming out of the cinema after seeing Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey and a friend saying, “what the hell was that ending about? and I simply responded, “who cares?” as we had just witnessed cinematic history, magnificent storytelling, challenging ending and stunning cinematography by Douglas Trumbull.
I feel the same about The Prisoner.
More reasons to shop at Morrisons. That’s exactly what shoppers need if the supermarket chain is going to keep its place in the game of “supermarket sweep” – because at the moment the big four grocery chains aren’t having it all their own way.
The chairman of troubled supermarket chain Morrisons says the major supermarkets have lost their way on pricing – and that customers have voted with their feet. Andrew Higginson was speaking as the Bradford-based company begins to implement a new strategy to reverse a large fall in profits.
All of the UK’s grocery giants are finding it tough, but Morrisons has been hit particularly hard. Last year its profits halved – taking it to the lowest level for eight years. If you also include all of the things it had to write off last year, like a fall in the value of its property, then it made a loss of nearly £800m.
In an Mr Higginson was candid about the problems Morrisons and the other major supermarkets are facing after several years of recession and increased competition from the discounters. “I think the supermarkets collectively have believed they didn’t have to be any cheaper on price, that they could charge a little bit more – and that was a collective mistake, if you like, and Morrisons was no different to any of the others in losing its way on that. The supermarkets got seduced into this idea of widening margins during a recession and that meant putting up prices and customers twigged that and voted with their feet.”
Morrisons built its brand on a reputation for providing fresh produce in a market-like atmosphere It is Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain. From humble roots more than a century ago as a stall on Bradford market it now employs almost 125,000 people, with 11 million shoppers crossing its threshold every week. The Morrisons brand was built in Yorkshire with value at its core – but the company had big ambitions.
A decade ago it bought the Safeway group of stores, which brought Morrisons into the Premier League of grocery chains. However, it also stretched the company and when chairman Sir Ken Morrison retired in 2008, new management brought in new ideas. Loyalty cards, online shopping and convenience stores were all part of the plan but many felt it was too late to the party.
Former insiders at the company have been critical of its performance in recent years. Roger Owen was the company’s property director, and close to Sir Ken Morrison.
He told me: “Morrisons doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s tried to be all things to all people – one minute it’s trying to be Waitrose, the next minute a discounter. You’ve got to stick with your core principles, it’s all about that.”
In January it was announced that chief executive Dalton Phillips was leaving. The company says it intends to get back to basics with £1bn worth of price cuts to woo customers back. The problem for Morrisons and the other big chains is that shopping habits are changing. Customers are becoming more promiscuous, buying less in-store and shopping around for deals.
The German discount chains Aldi and Lidl have taken customers from all the major supermarket chains. In the north of England, which is Morrisons’ heartland, the Danish discounter Netto has recently returned to the fray, backed by Sainsburys. Supermarkets, it seems, are springing up like buy one, get one free offers
But it’s not all bad news for Morrisons – there’s still a lot of affection for the brand, and the new management are hoping to tap into that. Mr Higginson, who is a former Tesco executive said: “All the supermarkets have had a difficult few years and perhaps they’ve slightly lost sight of the things they’ve always been very good at which is looking after customers and giving them great prices. They are all slightly guilty of looking at each other, you see that in a lot of their advertising, they’ve been talking to each other rather than talking to customers. The harsh truth is that our destiny is in our own hands, we have the ability to make this business a winning business for customers and it’s really down to the management now to make sure that happens.”
A new chief executive, David Potts, another former Tesco chief, has now started running Morrisons’ operations. According to his chairman he has one main target. “The number one priority is to get the stores humming, really get customers to come back in and trade our stores and offer them great Morrisons products at great prices.”
Asked what it will take to get those shoppers back through the door, Mr Higginson said “We’ve got to re-establish trust back in the prices and that’ll take some time and it’s a gradual thing because trust takes a long time to build up and can be wiped out in an instant.”
As a regular user of Morrisons (primarily because they are a Yorkshire company) I have a few suggestions for the new CEO on how to turn things round:-