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Sunday 9 December 2007

MP Richard Ottaway Interview

Richard Ottaway, born in Bristol in 1945, was re-elected for the third time as Member of Parliament for Croydon South in 2005 representing the Conservative Party. Croydon has a population of 330,700 making it the largest Borough in London. The Croydon Constituency is divided into three sections. Croydon South covers Sanderstead, Purley, Kenley and Coulsdon.

His career in politics began when he was first elected to Parliament as the Member for Nottingham North in 1983, a position he held until 1987. He returned to parliament in 1992 as MP for Croydon South and was subsequently re-elected in 1997, 2001 and 2005. If he hadn’t become an MP he says; “I would have been a Marine Lawyer.”

Ottaway is a former Officer who served in the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserve for nine years. After reading Law at Bristol University, He qualified as a solicitor in 1977 specialising in maritime and commercial law with leading city firms.

Having been re-elected three times, Ottaway has proven to be popular with the residents in Croydon. When asked why he thinks he has been re-elected so often he believes that living in Croydon, he is able relate to the problems residents experience. He said, “As a local person I get to experience the problems people face at hand.”

Ottaway’s political agenda is to make Croydon South a “prosperous community” with the launch of his campaign to save post offices in the Croydon South area. He said, “It [the post] is well used and it plays an important role in attracting business to the local shops situated along there. It’s also a very valuable community asset and we are committed to doing all we can to keeping this branch open.”
Other than campaigning to save Sanderstead’s most popular post office, Richard also feels campaigns against the use of public funding to finance trade links with countries such as Iran. In August 2007 he wrote to Gordon Brown. On reasons why he wrote the letter he says, “Using public funds to promote links with Iran is an unacceptable regime. UK trade links with Iran strengthen the Iranian economy and this is supporting a Government which is producing nuclear weapons, exporting terrorism and producing weapons being used against British soldiers.”
When Richard isn’t campaigning against public funding to finance trade links and closure of post offices, he enjoys listening to Jazz and yachting

Friday 7 December 2007

Internet Dating - Is It Right For You?

Finding the perfect man can be tough. Dating can be even worse. Isn't dating meant to be fun? Cinema, dinner and, if you're lucky, a kiss to seal the end of a lovely evening? These days, a woman would be lucky to get a second date! From the amount of frogs I've had to kiss, I should know. This lady is speaking from experience.

But then the World Wide Web began and Internet dating was born. How many Internet dating web sites have you come across since the last time you logged onto the web?, Dating Friends, Dating Direct… The list is endless. If you're in a relationship, like most of my friends, then an Internet dating site is the last type on earth you would be logging on to. However, if you are a singleton like me, then Internet dating can seem quite appealing and, dare I say it, you could actually find your dream guy! Internet pop-up adverts have captions like ‘meet singles in your area’ and ‘we'll match you and your perfect partner.’ These slogans are memorable and appealing to thousands of single people and, if I'm being honest, I'm one of them. Unlike being set up on a blind date by a friend, sibling or colleague, you don't necessarily have to meet up with your Internet guy until you're ready. Instead, this time can be used to get to know each other through emailing and messaging. You get to find out their interests and their dislikes all at a click of a button. You can laugh at their on-screen jokes, knowing you share the same humour, cringe when they reveal their embarrassing stories and gasp when they let slip information they should have kept hidden, all from the comfort of your computer screen. So, the embarrassment, for both you and your potential date is replaced with fascination and excitement. You cannot help but feel enticed by his personality and perhaps even his picture. Yes, it doesn't sound as romantic as most couples’ ‘love at first sight’ encounters, but rather than base the beginning of a relationship on physical appearance, you are forced to dig deeper beneath the surface. So here are some tips on getting started on Internet dating… Choose Your Dating Website Carefully There are so many Internet dating sites promising to find your dream date but which is right for you? As the online dating market is so popular, there are web sites which try to cater for everyone. It is worth shopping around before deciding to set up a profile. Most dating web sites are free, at least for a trial period, so this is the perfect chance to have a look at the service the web site offers before parting with your cash. Stay Safe Always protect your identify on line. Sign up using a different e-mail than normal which isn't personal or work related. Be especially careful about giving information about yourself in on line conversation. This includes your phone number, home address, the town you live in, work place or any other personal information that could link you to where you are from. Use Your Common Sense If someone appears odd or suspicious then it is likely they are. If someone starts using inappropriate language or makes you feel uncomfortable then discontinue your conversation, block them, or change your e-mail address or nickname. The good thing about online dating is that you can report abusive behaviour to the website provider. If you experience it, report it - you could save another woman the indignity. And remember, while the Internet can be a safe place to get to know someone at a distance, some men may not be who they appear to be, so keep your wits about you. Be Honest Honesty is always the best policy. Although it isn't recommended to give out personal details, being honest is. If you want someone to be open and honest with you it is usually best to do the same. Sharing fake photos is not the best start to a relationship which would ultimately be built on lies. And what will you do if and when you finally decide to meet him? Meeting Up If you decide to develop your friendship and you wish to meet up with your virtual mate then arrange to meet in public. A coffee shop or any other busy place is guaranteed to make you feel comfortable as there will be people around, and, most importantly, this is the safer option. Be prepared to have a back-up plan in case you don't like the person or you feel uncomfortable. It is best to let someone know where you are at all times. You could ask a friend to ring you after an hour to see how you are. The most important thing is to be cautious at all times; your Internet date is a stranger after all.

Giant Spider Returns To The Tate Modern

Artist Louise Bourgeois’s giant spider has made a return to the Tate Modern Museum in London.

The exhibition, which begins on 10th October 2007, reveals the 30-foot-high bronze sculptural spider, entitled Maman. Visitors will be able to walk in and around the spider’s legs, to observe the white marble eggs it carries in its pouch, before entering the museum.

Bourgeois’s giant female spider first made an appearance at the opening of Tate Modern in London in 1999.

The Tate Modern, which is Britain's national museum of international modern art, will also showcase other work as part of Bourgeois’s exhibition that includes over 200 paintings, printmaking, and sculptures she has created in her career.

The exhibition end on 20th January 2008. To find out more information visit

Nine Pass Photography NCE

Seven press photographers and two photojournalists have successfully passed the November 2007 National Certificate Examination. The candidates sat the photography NCE at Sheffield College, Norton on Wednesday 7th November 2007. The ten candidates were: Press photographers Hannah Brackenbury - Derby Evening Telegraph Katherine Burnett - Derby Evening Telegraph Jerome Ellerby - Hull Daily Mail James Fitton - Halifax Evening Courier Adam Gerrard - Derby Evening Telegraph Paul Jackson - Journal and Admag Series Angela Ward - Mansfield Chad Photo-journalists Christopher Bull - Doncaster Free Press Dustin Michailovs - Nottingham Evening Post The examiners awarded distinctions to candidates Adam Gerrard for both his practical section and portfolio and to Dustin Michaliovs for his picture spread. Dustin Michailovs also received the South Wales Argus Award for the best advance project; the Fuji Award for the best portfolio went to Adam Gerrard, and Katherine Burnett was presented with the Nikon Award for the best single image. Chief examiner, Peter Dash, said: “The results from the November 2007 NCE for photographers were outstanding with a 90% pass rate. “In general the examinations board were satisfied that the rigorous assessments are working well and the candidates who pass have demonstrated they are ready and capable of making a first class contribution to the industry.”

Jason Robinson’s Farewell Game - Barbarian's vs South Africa

Jason Robinson made his rugby farewell at Twickenham for the Barbarians verses South Africa match on Saturday 1st December.

The match, which kicked off at 3:00pm, saw The Barbarians beat world-cup holders South Africa 22-5 and showed Robinson playing rugby at his best, despite having dislocating his shoulder in England’s World Cup final six weeks ago.

The 33 year-old, who earned 51 caps for England during his 16-year career which spanned both rugby union and rugby league, was met with a standing ovation by 58,000 fans when he left the pitch with 12 minutes left of the game.

The Barbarians started the stronger of the two teams with Matt Giteau scoring the first of the Barbarians three tries in the opening minutes. Despite Barend Pieterse diving over a ruck to score a try for South Africa towards the end of the first half, when heavy rain took its toll on the second half, it was clear that The Barbarians were determined to beat the world champions.

The South African loss didn’t dampen the spirits of all those who came to see the champions first match at Twickenham since winning in Paris, in what was a fitting farewell to an English legend.">

Fire at YMCA Hostel

South London YMCA have been commended by Norbury fire brigade for practising outstanding health and safety after a fire broke out at a Hostel in Croydon on Wednesday 19th October at 5:05pm. A spokesperson for the fire service said: “The YMCA staff did a good job of evacuating all the residents so quickly and leading everyone to safety.” 120 residents were evacuated within 15 minutes by members of staff from the smoky corridors of the 12 floor hostel building. The fire, which is believed to have been accidental, started on the second floor by a resident who had not put out a cigarette. The South London YMCA is one of the largest housing organisations in Croydon that provide hostel accommodation and other support services to young and homeless people. South London YMCA hostel manager Toyin Ojo said: “I am very proud of both YMCA staff and resident’s quick response to the fire. Part of our induction is for staff and residents to take part in health and safety. Situations like this proves how essential health and safety training is.” No one was treated for any injuries.

Abandoned Dog Finds New Home

An abandoned dog has found a new home, one week after Croydon Advertiser’s appeal for new owners. Croydon Animal Sanctuary received up to 30 calls from readers who saw the appeal for a new home for the Yorkshire Terrier in last week’s Croydon Advertiser. The dog nicknamed “Binnie” by Croydon Animal Sanctuary volunteers has been placed with a middle-aged couple from nearby town Sanderstead. Binnie was found last month in a wheelie bin in Southbridge Road in South Croydon by a passer-by. It was taken to Croydon Animal’s Samaritan, a charity based in Pampisford Road, South Croydon that re-homes and cares for abandoned animals. Croydon Animal Sanctuary volunteer Laura Farrow said: "Binnie is off to a home in a million, where he will live with a King Charles Spaniel and an old cat. He is such a lively little dog and after all the calls we received we decided this was the best home for him." Croydon Animal Sanctuary has sanctuaries all over South London in Lewisham, Bromley, Sutton and Redhill. Farrow said: "We have six dogs looking for new homes too, so anyone interested should call the centre." Contact Croydon Animal Sanctuary on 020 8644 8829.

Tuesday 9 October 2007

Who Is Gordon Brown?

Who Is Gordon Brown? Who is Gordon Brown? Is there really a difference between Brown and Blair? Various debates on the new PM and his leadership style are ubiquitous. Since 1997, Gordon Brown has been considered by some as the “PM in waiting”. So can Gordon Brown really change the face of British politics after Iraq war, terrorism, house price increases and other matters affecting Britain? And most importantly would he be the man you want to lead Britain? If we were to compare and contrast the leadership qualities (or flaws) in Gordon Brown and Tony Blair; Blair portrays a friendly image, even appearing on comedy sketches to appear like a “normal” member of the public, whilst Brown reveals a more serious side to his character. Somehow I couldn’t imagine him following in the footsteps of Tony Blair on Catherine Tate Show. Unfortunately for Gordon Brown, his first month in office was testing; the crisis of floods in England and terror alerts at airports, it is difficult to tell what type of leader Brown might eventually make. The ultimate question is would he make a better Prime Minister than Tony Blair? If Brown is to gain respect and authority as Prime Minister of Britain then he must offer something new; but he can do that only by distinguishing himself from the New Labour practices Blair introduced. After all, he wasn’t chosen as Prime Minister, or was elected by the British voting public or even the Labour Party. Which may be the reason why Brown wanted his new cabinet revamped, reflecting the new “change” within the Labour Party. Although Blair’s government can be commended with Britain’s rapid, yet steady economic growth allowing the tax revenue generated to be used in education and the National Health Service, this has come at a high price. Inequality amongst the population which sees incomes below the poverty line increased from 13% in 1997 to now 20% in 2007 reflecting the rapid increase of poverty within Britain.*
But can Brown show that he is really so different from Blair? Perhaps the most notable mistake of Blair’s rule as Prime Minister was the Iraq war going against the publics’ decision not to be involved. So far Gordon Brown’s decision to withdraw 500 troops from Basra is “not a defeat” (his own words). BBC correspondent stated that Brown’s decision was a "highly symbolic moment, marking the end of Britain's physical military presence in any Iraqi city".** Although some may feel that Gordon Brown’s pledge to end Tony Blair’s former approach for “war on terror” is too late, only time will tell if Brown is capable of undoing the last seven years of Blair’s govern in Britain.
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