Archive for the ‘News Stories’ Category

It has come across as a rather quirky and interesting news story, but most news organisations have been surprised by the substance behind the space industry on the Isle of Man.

A report from space and aerospace market analysts ASCEND has ranked the Isle of Man behind the United States, Russia, China and India as one of the nations expected to lead the race in a return to the moon.

There are two projects securing the Isle of Man’s 5th position in ASCEND’s prediction. One of those is Excalibur Almaz, a fully orbital space tourism company based on the Island.

The Island also boasts Odyssey Moon, a company taking part in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize. This is a quest for challengers to manufacture the first privately built rover to be landed on the surface of the moon. The rover must travel for 50 metres and send back a data package remaining active for 24 hours.

Tim Craine, Director of the Business Development Agency and the Department for Economic Development, responsible for Space-commerce said, “Well, having an independent endorsement of the Isle of Man is important, and when an an external body actually ranks the Isle for Man highly, it is a really strong selling message.”

Excalibur Almaz will potentially be offering trips around the moon and back. They are hoping to have their first test launch of one of their unmanned capsules in 2013.

Art Dula, Chief Executive Officer of Excalibur Almaz Limited said, “The Isle of Man is a principle venue for the world’s growing commercial space industry.  The regulatory and insurance support from the Isle of Man government for orbital space tourism has been invaluable in aiding our business and drawing in the talent.”

It is a wonder that the island of around 80,000 inhabitants living within 221 square miles, is expected to win the space race ahead of Europe. Isle of Man born man Chris Stott left the Isle of Man to work in the USA for Lock Heed Martin, then Boeing, before realizing that the Isle of Man could become a jurisdiction with which you could apply for orbital filing slots.

After this discovery Mr Stott entered into an agreement with the Isle of Man government to provide his services, creating a profile for the island in the space industry.

On this topic, Mr Tim Craine added, “A lot has happened in quite a cluster now, to give us that international profile and endorsement. The companies in the pipeline who are also looking to relocate to the Isle of Man gives us great confidence, the growth that we have experienced to date will continue into the future.”

4th October 2008, saw the attendance of international representatives of the space community such as George Abbey, former director of the NASA Johnson Space Centers and Flight Crew Operations Directorate and Senior Fellow for Space Studies from the Baker Institute at Rice University, Texas, and Soyeon Yi, the first citizen of South Korea and second Asian woman ever to go into space.

The occasion was a ceremony to celebrate The International Space University’s selection of a location in extending the International Institute of Space Commerce (IISC) outside of Strasbourg, won by the Isle of Man.

The Island is the ideal location for the establishment of the IISC, given the clustering of established space companies (SES, Inmarsat, Telesat, ManSat and Sea Launch), low taxes, friendly legislation and the government’s affability toward space commerce development.

The Isle of Man has been a sponsor of the ISU now for 4 years, there is a room at the ISU named the IOM room in reverence to the Island. Caines Lawyers on the Isle of Man fund the annual best student prize at ISU, this association has raised their profile and brought with it a lot of international recognition for the Island.

So, the Isle of Man has become quite the headline grabber today. It is to be expected that the Island’s space industry will now be rejoicing in their new prestigious achievement.

Keeping the Press Peace

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Blogs, News Stories

What some might consider the ridiculous, others may believe to be a perfectly legitimate way of ‘keeping the peace’.

While Ireland and the UK have, and still make efforts to unscramble what the relatively new blasphemy laws might entail in a wider context, organisations like the National Union of Journalists UK (NUJ UK) both tirelessly, and expertly are ploughing on with their work to ensure relative press freedom.

BBC Scotland News Producer, Peter Murray is President of the NUJ UK. The Mother-ship, the NUJ, have a great and admirable interest in the rights of journalists worldwide. Mr Murray’s opinion on Ireland’s great matter is largely influenced by roles that the NUJ UK have taken in legally aiding troubled and alienated UK writers.

Mr Murray said; “The NUJ is a broad organisation, I mean we’ve got people of all religions who are members of the union and we are very strongly for diverse opinion. Sometimes we have to defend people and sometimes some people are beyond being defensible, but this is a blanket clampdown, on opinion in Ireland. It doesn’t belong to the 21st century, it belongs to the Spanish Inquisition.”

On a heightened stage, the issue of defamation is observed by unions following the implementation of this Irish law. Chair of the Writers Committee of the International Pen, Marianne Boxford-Frasier explains more fully; “We are not immune from freedom of expression issues and conflicts that arise. The business of defamation has become a major issue worldwide. A lot of countries are having to look at their own rules and instincts in terms of what defamation is or is not, and I think there is a very large issue going on in many societies.”

Here is a paradox: the Great British press are renowned throughout the world for their ability to remain free in expression – and yet all are still prone to some serious limitations at home.

There have lately been issues outside of religion, such as a ‘tightening-up” of both photographer and camera crew allowance into certain areas, such as Scotland Yard, and the cruel harassment of journalists by authority figures. The UK government seem to have taken a very heavy handed approach concerning security issues, Mr Murray here describes with anger a recent experience of his close female friend;

She had her equipment taken off her and she was put in a cell for a while, because she was photographing a wedding in the east end of London at the docklands. They said that she might be doing some terrorist surveillance. That’s not legitimate police activity, that’s just harassment. We challenge that sort of stuff all of the time, we challenge it in the courts and write to the police, trying to get them to keep their junior staff in order.”

The gravity of this situation could have escalated to her carrying a sentence of up to 10 years under under section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. She was lucky to be safely home within the week.

George Brock, Professor and Head of the Department of Journalism at City University of London, has shared concerns with the NUJ concerning organisations using libel laws to silence debate amongst commentators, scientists and doctors in the UK:

Particularly in those fields, what that problem illustrates is that there are a number of things surrounding libel law which are unsatisfactory. One of those is the length of time that it takes to finish a case.”

The extent to which a libel suit could either restrict or completely shut down free discussion on a particular topic, appears to also cause what lawyers call a “chilling effect”, whereby it is, disturbingly, made difficult for people to comment on certain subject matter.

A ‘chilling effect‘ could be used to describe Average Joe’s feelings toward conversing about the BNP party. It has been clocked that journalists have recently become concerned about their freedoms in covering the BNP due to a website, by the name of Redwatch, where members upload journalists names, addresses and telephone numbers.

Mr Murray said: “It is part of our public service as journalists, to explore these parties policies, purposes and their backgrounds, it is our right to report that stuff as freely and as openly as we possible can.”

Murray claims that websites like Redwatch, and a lot of the people associated with the BNP are attacking NUJ UK members at work, progressing to some acts of physical violence.

This type of abuse experienced by journalists because of Redwatch’s audience caught NUJ UK and International Pen’s attention. Mr Murray and other unions are currently having talks with the government to ban the website. Some members of the NUJ have started a website by the name of www.reportingthebnp.org, which attempts to provide legally correct background information for journalists.

Professor Brock outlines the need for journalists to use ‘legally correct’ information, he stresses the need to balance an argument and allow for viewers to experience differing opinions:

“They should be challenged, it is perfectly right that a journalist should have these people on the air but challenge them right. They should be well informed, well briefed, and be courageous enough to ask them difficult questions at the time, that is certainly my opinion. That is what people expect journalists to do, not to gag.”

There are other major issues affecting journalist rights in the UK. The last 18 months has coincided with the recession, there is a concentration on media ownership, a lot of newspapers closing down, with the added pains of newspapers reacting to the recession by sacking journalists.

If you like, the style of stories, the number of stories, and the way that a journalist can cover them is having a very detrimental effect on the diversity and breadth of opinion that people can read in the newspapers, see on television or read online. It is very concerning that there are links between restrictions on access, diversity of opinion and freedom of speech with the ability of journalists to be able to report news.

Mr Murray says that journalists are frequently: “tied to a desk, they can’t get out and report, they can’t speak to a diversity of people because of a lack of staff in the newsrooms.”

With all of these problems at hand, Marianne Boxford-Frazier suggests that we observe “the bright side of life” and remember that Britain is a multi-cultural society.

Issues concerning freedoms of the British press will always be apparent. When people within NGO’s such as the International Pen and unions alike the NUJ are fighting, and campaigning for this purpose, we might feel a little more at ease.

With regards to Ireland, Mrs Boxford-Frazier insists that debate is the way forward in coming to a fair conclusion.

“I think we have to have open debate about it, I don’t think it is appropriate for there to be legislation to shut down that debate. It is a responsibility of the responsible media to take up those challenges, but to keep debate healthy. If they are suppressed that is a far more unhealthy condition.”

British Fright Night

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Blogs, News Stories

As all hallows eve dawns, so do we all look to be entertained again by the terrorizing nocturnal paranormal of both witches and wicked ghouls.

The British Music Experience at The O2 Arena in London, on the 30th October, has refashioned this frightful night into a ‘Thriller’ style British metal music horror.

This year is the 40th anniversary of Black Sabbath’s self-titled first metal album, a work that, arguably, did a significant amount to cement this revolutionary new approach to sound.

The unusual event, tied into the October half-term week, is dedicated to the metal and thrash culture that isn’t often touched upon in museums. A chance to recognise the significance of a genre of music, engaging people everywhere with Great British artists.

British Music Experience curator, Paul Liley said: “We have ‘Bleed from Within’ and ‘As She Sleeps’ coming over on the 30th October ‘Fright Night’. We put the public events and programs on to not only complement the museum, but to enhance and explore other genres that we haven’t explored in the museum so far.”

Mr Liley added: “I think it is important, we should be very proud and we should celebrate Britain’s heritage. Perhaps if people appreciate it they will become better listeners and support the industry, helping fly the British music flag.”

It can be said that the term ‘pop music’ lends itself widely from such sectors as typography, sleeve and LP design to recording techniques and playback techniques, all of which being sectors in the music industry covered within the exhibition.

The itinerary in an average week for the exhibition encompasses masterclasses with professionals such as producers, artists and rock photographers. Seemingly quite unique events that clearly aid the museum in their music education push.

The British Music Experience, occupying many visitors in it’s educational teaching of British popular music, also takes a cross-curricular approach to education at the exhibition. People seem to be engaged in viewing music in relation to citizenship, the effects of immigration and cultural fusion.

“This doesn’t happen often, I have been into my heavy metal since my college days. The music is perfect for halloween, I remember my darkly dressed days. I might get to relive them now, no-one will give me a second look.” said Fright Night ticket holder, Freja Andersson, (25), from Stockholm in Sweden.

If you should dare to visit London on ‘Fright Night’, other topic relative activities comprise of The London Ghost Festival, PhoboPhobia at London Bridge and Halloween super gig Linx Halloween All Nighter, those amongst many more. A celebration of true musical mayhem.

Dec. 1, 2009

In the North West of England lie our connections with a quaint town by the name of Preston now celebrating black history month.

This town’s violent past in striking for both the freedom of slaves in New Orleans cotton plantations, and for the recognition of their own workers rights has shone as a dimly lit star throughout history.

In 1853 the world watched as the people of Preston rose up to fight for better pay throughout the cotton manufacturing industry.  This began as a result of a 10% cut in individual pay due to the northern American blockade of the international cotton trade.

Karl Marx himself had strengthening interest in what he described as “my St Petersburg” in the New York Tribune. The famed Frederic Engels briefed Marx on the story that he supposed was to be the beginning of a communist revolution.

Dr Alan Rice, author of ‘Radical Narratives in the Black Atlantic” (2003) and Leader in American Cultural studies at the University of Central Lancashire has spent 30 years dedicated to the teachings of Black history, heritage and culture, he said: “Preston grew in the industrial revolution and its growth was due to slave produced cotton.  Without slavery, the growth of Preston, in common with most north west (English) towns, could not have been so world renowned.”

During this trying time in the region of Lancashire, suffering from the blockade of cotton, the cotton weavers began an uprising, campaigning for the end of slavery in America.  They felt as though they were being exploited and so had sympathy for slave workers and their plight.

The knowledge of slavery in the north west of England came from lecturers that were African and American Men and Women who crossed the Atlantic to inform the British of south American slavery.

Dr Alan Rice explains: “Fredrick Douglas was one of the most prominent of lecturers that came over to this country to inform on the subject of slavery.

“Frederick said it was to build an anti-slavery wall, and that was key to his idea that we needed to work against slavery by going outside of America to try and build this coalition of peoples across the world.”

Preston Historian, Emma Heslewood of The Harris Museum in Preston is keen to point out the passion of the cotton weavers for this worldly cause: “They wanted to know why the manufacturers were buying cotton from Plantations in south America where slavery of the peoples of Africa were rife.

“Thomas Miller Jr was the owner of the largest worldwide cotton manufacturer Horrocks, based in Preston.  Horrocks still imported American cotton from New Orleans and we know that they did, it was recorded that they bought it from merchants in Liverpool.  At that time slavery had already been abolished in the British Empire.”

If ever an interested party should visit Preston, it is advisable that they should join the thousands that have made the pilgrimage to Sambo’s grave to leave a stone.  The grave belongs to a black slave boy brought to England to work, he lived just 2 days and was buried at Sunderland Point just outside Preston.

The industrial architecture around the town was built in the 19th century for the manufacture of cotton, the wonderful Harris Museum and Art Gallery caters for a more full explanation of the town’s connections with slavery.

Within Preston there are plenty of stunning 18th century parks to unwind within and the Guild Hall provides adequate entertainment.

Today, Preston attempts to bring together both it’s past and future, integrating a revolutionary background with the new and the modern.

11, Dec. 2009

It could be said that the story of a 17 year boy from Sydney attaining a youth scholarship at British Championship football club Preston North End wouldn’t rate too highly as a most-read football story within the sports pages this week.

However, the stories of Cameron Parrish and friend, potential Aston Villa youth player, Reece Caira flags up a serious dispute between prospective Australian footballers, their families and the Football Federation of Australia.

Director of Youth Football at PNE, Dean Ramsdale describes the general feeling toward the struggle: “It’s has been time consuming, not just from our (at PNE) point of view, but it has been a costly one for Cameron’s parents, they’ve come across from Australia.  It’s a big thing when you’re worrying about getting international clearance for your son to play.”

There are wider consequences of this story for Australian footballers of the future, the FFA have made clear their aim to tighten up on transfers of young talent.

The FFA is, clearly, acting under guidelines handed to them by FIFA, one of those rights involves them withholding player’s registration and international transfer certificate, which is integral to any international football transfer.

The premise of this retainment, under FIFA law, concerns players under the age of 18 being disallowed from moving abroad specifically for football purposes.

Cameron Parish’s father, Mick Parrish, undertook his own research when awaiting the outcome of Cameron’s application: “We found out that the ruling to stop players training internationally (by FIFA) is really designed to stop young African’s being taken by agents into Belgium.  Once their training, or whatever agreement they had was finished they were left and the agents wiped their hands off them.  Now, the FFA has made use of that ruling to stop youth players coming over to England.”

Like Cameron and his family, some young football starlets have managed to find a loophole, allowing parents to move with their children so long as they’re primary reason is not involved with the sport.

The FFA has begun its attack on this practice, but has failed to take into account that the best footballing countries in the world are training their starlets younger than our country has so far.

It can also be said that our current national players, such as Rhys Williams and Harry Kewell, would not have developed so well if it weren’t for English academies and full-time training under some of the best youth coaches in the world.

Dean Ramsdale explains: “Obviously, you will have youths in Spain that want to play at Real Madrid and Barcelona, in Turkey they seem to like the idea of playing at Galatasaray, I think a lot of Australian boys want to come and play in England.”

Mick Parrish encourages Cameron’s interest in playing for an English team as he believes that Australian elite youth training isn’t up to scratch.

Many parents of youth players dealing with situations such as this no longer bare good feeling toward the FFA, Mick adds: “They want to keep as as many players in Australia as they can, regardless of whether they had positions for them or opportunities for them or not, they don’t care.  They are blocking the best players like my friend’s son Reece Caira who has been trying to get his clearance since January to play at Aston Villa.”

The FFA were contacted for comment on this article and released the following background information: “The processing the ITC’s of minors is now through the FIFA Transfer Matching System (TMS). This was introduced on 1 October 2009. The effect of this is that National Associations are still responsible for Accepting or Rejecting the request but FIFA still act the intermediary, who can view all the information and have the final say in the matter.”

It can be said that holding back budding stars such as Caira will not help Australia’s future prospects in the world of football.

Dean Ramsdale explains: The pathways aren’t as easy over in Australia as they, perhaps, are over here.  I am just so happy for both boys that they’ve got their international clearance through, I mean you feel sorry for boys currently that are in the system with Premier League clubs and the championship clubs who haven’t yet got their clearance, I hope that will happen for them soon.”

With luck, Cameron may now have the chance to follow in the footsteps of our Joe Marston who ran out near 200 times for PNE in the ‘50’s.

Cameron, who’s standard of football for a short time had declined while waiting so long for clearance spoke to PNE online this week of his frustrations as follows:  “I’ve been here for five months now and it’s been frustrating training every day and not having anything to look forward to at the end of the week, but it’s good to have my first game against Burnley this weekend which should be good, I can’t wait.”