Monthly Archives: August 2016

  • Spot the hypocrisy

    The right-wing Daily Mail national newspaper group – consisting of the Daily Mail and its sister publication, the Mail on Sunday – is not known for its love of foreigners.

    The Mail group has been a consistent campaigner against Britain’s membership of the European Union, whilst in recent years it has consistently whipped up hysteria against migrants coming to Britain and/or the EU and foreigners in general.

    As regards migrants, the Daily Mail was heavily criticised at the end of last year when a carton by Stanley McMurtry (“Mac”) linked the European migrant crisis (with a focus on Syria in particular) to terrorist attacks and criticised EU immigration laws for allowing Islamist radicals to gain easy access into the United Kingdom.

    The New York Times compared the offending – and offensive – cartoon to Nazi propaganda, whilst Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International stated the following to The Independent:

    The Daily Mail’s cartoon is precisely the sort of reckless xenophobia that fuels the self-same fear and hate loved by those responsible for atrocities in Paris, Beirut, Ankara and elsewhere. Now more than ever is the time to stand together in defiance of the perpetrators of violence with all of their victims and reject this disturbing lack of compassion.

    Another frequent target for the Mail group’s bile has been Britain’s overseas development aid programme, currently accounting for £12.2 bn. of the government’s budget, about which it has been moaning (although the Mail would call it campaigning. Ed.) for nearly as long as Europe.

    According to figures from the government, the UK’s overseas development aid budget accounted for under 0.7% of gross national income in 2015. Today’s Independent reveals that foreign aid accounts for just 1.1% of the UK government’s expenditure.

    However, such largesse is anathema to the Mail and Mail on Sunday and the latter has put its latest outpouring of bile against foreign aid on today’s front page, as shown below.

    today's Mail on Sunday front page
    The Mail on Sunday – free xenophobic bigotry for every reader

    Was the editor asleep when the front page was put together? Or is editor Georgie Greig blind to the irony of splashing a banner announcing the giving away of a “Free Giant Glossy Wall Map” above an attack on foreign aid. The map giveaway also proudly announces the reverse of the map shows “every flag”. This is presumably so Mail on Sunday readers will be able to identify both the countries and their flags to which foreign aid will no longer be going if it gets its narrow-minded, isolationist way.

  • Post exclusive! Soccer slump leads to bank branch closures

    A strange phenomenon is occurring in Bristol: people not playing football is resulting in the closure of bank branches in the city.

    The source of this curious news is the ever (un)reliable Bristol Post, which yesterday carried a story headlined: “Two HSBC banks to shut in Bristol following slump in customers“.

    The relevant section is shown in the following screenshot*.

    relevant sentence reads There has been a 40 per cent reduction in football in just five years across all of HSBC's branches

    Either football is vital to the survival of HSBC bank branches or there’s a typographical error in the third sentence.

    To help readers decide which of the two above alternatives is correct, your correspondent has not noticed that the floors of HSBC bank branches are marked out with white lines to resemble football pitches.

    As a final thought and a bit of idle speculation, are more errors creeping in to news reports appearing online due to modern “journalists” working with predictive text options switched on?

    * = The article’s copy has since been amended with “footfall” replacing “football” in the third paragraph.

  • TDF & FSFE strengthen ties

    TDF logoIt’s been announced today that the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is joining the Advisory Board of The Document Foundation, the body behind the very successful free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite. At the same time, The Document Foundation is becoming an associate of the FSFE.

    FSFE logoThe FSFE’s aim is to help people control technology instead technology controlling them. However, this is a goal which no single organisation can achieve on its own. FSFE associated organisations are bodies that share the FSFE’s vision and support the foundation and free software in general by:

    • encouraging people to use and develop free software;
    • helping organisations understand how free software contributes to freedom, transparency and self-determination; and
    • removing barriers to free software adoption.

    With this mutual expression of support, both organisations mutually strengthen each other in their efforts to keep the general public in the technological driver seat. While the FSFE embodies the principles of the community movement working for the adoption of free software by companies, public sectors organisations and individuals, The Document Foundation turns principles and ethics into actual products, putting a first class, fully-featured, but completely free productivity suite in the hands of users.

    “We are happy to welcome the Free Software Foundation Europe as a member of our Advisory Board. Together, we will be able to further develop the adoption of Free Software in Europe, amongst public administrations and enterprises”, said Eike Rathke, a Director of The Document Foundation.

    “We believe it is important to join forces with all the organisations active in Free Software around Europe,” said Matthias Kirschner, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe, “and work together to reach our common goals. With our associated organisations we want to show that we are a strong and cohesive movement, and we work to achieve common objectives. To do this, we exchange ideas, coordinate efforts, motivate each other, and find opportunities to work together on specific projects. This is the case with The Document Foundation, steward of one of the most successful Free Software projects: LibreOffice”.

    Several members of The Document Foundation will be attending the FSFE Summit 2016 in Berlin from 2nd to 4th September to celebrate the FSFE’s 15th anniversary (posts passim).

  • Translation error causes product recall

    A translation error wrongly mentioning “alcohol” in the Arabic list of ingredients resulted in Dubai Municipality recalling Milka Oreo chocolate bars last Thursday, Gulf News reports.

    Milka & Oreo bars

    Dubai’s Food Safety Department said the recall followed rumours in social media that these chocolate bars contain alcohol.

    A spokesman told Gulf News the following:

    We received the rumour for clarification through our WhatsApp service and we checked the product. Samples were tested and we found that there is no alcohol in the product. But the problem was a wrong translation of the product label.

    The wrongly translated ingredient was chocolate liquor, i.e. semi-solid cocoa paste, the second element of which – liquor- the translator had wrongly translated “alcoholic beverages”.

    The Food Safety Department also contacted the manufacturer to correct the error and gave reassurances that the bar were halal and therefore safe for consumption by Muslims.