30 March 2006

Coming up in April

Not many elections in April, but all interesting nonetheless.

We start off with Thailand on the 2nd. With many parties boycotting this, expect a clear Thais Love Thais victory.

On the 5th we have the Solomon Islands, which I know nothing about.

The 9th sees three big elections- Peru, Italy and Hungary.

Peru has Presidential and Parliamentary. There's no clear favourite for President or Parliament- it's too close to call in my opinion.

Berlusconi should get thrown out in Italy and replaced by Prodi, but it'll be close.

Hungary looks too close to call as well.

Israel and Ukraine

Kadima's victory in Israel was to be expected. What I didn't expect was Likud coming fifth (although these are not official results yet). Clearly Ariel Sharon was their main attraction.

Can't find a regional breakdown, but if I do I'll post a link.

Low turnout though somewhat mars things.

With regards to Ukraine, Yuschenko's lot did best in Ivano-Frankivisk (near the Romanian border) and worst in Dontesk (near Russia coming 6th there). Party of Regions did best in Luhansk- getting 74% of the vote.

I'm not sure about this, but it appears that Yuschenko did better in the West (as he did in 2004).

Here's a map to help you find the regions:

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/europe/ukraine_adm93.jpg

28 March 2006

Israel Exit Polls...

Kadima win, but not by as much as expected, Labour second (better than expected)... Likud... third! Worst result for the mainstream Right since the '50's!
Pensioners Party (another Socialist party) did very well (to everyone's shock) as did the (very) rightwing Russian party (who seem to have come third).

Real results will come through soon.

27 March 2006

The End of the World

1. CE is continuing to be excellent as the Doctor. He cracked a number of good lines (not as many as Rose in this episode) and bluffed his way in all over the place. The Doctor can walk through a rotating blade now. Interesting power. I'll leave the debate about the morality of his actions regarding Cassandra to another thread. I'll comment on the pump-action TARDIS elsewhere.
2. Rose had some of the funniest lines of the episode. Good argument with Lady Cassandra She then proceeded to get knocked out by the droids and almost fried by solar radiation (twice!). At least she hasn't screamed yet.
3. I did not expect the Moxx to sound like Sil, or to have such a small part.
4. Jade the Tree Lady was a very good character, nobly sacrifing herself to try and save the station.
5. The old show never had this many pop-culture references. But Rose hasn't mentioned Eastenders...
6. I know an action scene is starting to drag when I start thinking "Get on with it". It was good that Rose wasn't released straight away though.
7. Lady Cassandra was somewhat annoying. Did anyone feel reminded of Lynda Bellingham (who, if you remember, was in Trial of a Time Lord)?
8. They certainly didn't skimp on the special effects did they? This was somewhat restricted by being entirely studio-based.
9. Faction Paradox (or something similar) is now canon. I don't believe it. That probably confused a few of those who watched the old series.

Overall, this was a reasonable episode. Some very good lines, but lacked a certain something. Not quite as good as Rose, in my opinion. There were some good twists (Rose wasn't let out of the room and Jade couldn't stop the blades).

Nine Thoughts on Who: Rose

Here they are:
1. Christopher Eccleston is one brilliant Doctor. Mad, sure, but in the right way. CE looked like he was enjoying every second of it. Clever, but also a bit daft (taking several attempts to spot the London Eye).
2. Rose isn't an Adric, that's for sure. She did demonstrate some Kim-like stupidity in the restaurant with Mickey. But she'll grow on me, I suppose. She must rank as one of the better companions if she keeps it up.
3. The climax with the Nestene Consciousness dragged a little, in my opinion. Nice to hear it say 'Time Lord' though. The Doctor's revelation that he'd fought in a war on the same side as the Nestene is an idea for a novel in itself. Rose's announcement about Under-7 gymnastics was a bit weird, she is supposed to be 19.
4. Mickey, with respect, was a bit annoying. The CGI with the bin looked too much like CGI
5. Mark Benton did an excellent turn as Clive the conspiracy theorist. Seems to have missed the other eight incarnations though. Had Mickey been on the site (the link was labelled '2 cached')?
6. The new TARDIS console room looks better when zoomed out rather than up close. Nice use of the plastic head though. Oh and the Doctor can control his TARDIS.
7. No, I did not hide behind the sofa. It was more funny and enjoyable than actually scary.
8. The opening time tunnel sequence was great, bounding along at a very fast speed. Pity it didn't go to CE's face rather than his name.
9. Some really, really great dialogue. The compensation line and Rose’s "students" comment stand out.

Overall, that was one of the best things I have seen on TV in ages. It wasn't perfect, but good to the point of excellence.

Roll on Episode 2 and ultimately Series 2!

Sao Tome and Principe + Israel

No results for Sao Tome and Principe yet.

Likely Kadima victory, with Labour second. Coalition likely.

Ukraine

Only 38% counted. I don't make full comments until 90% counted.

Here's the link to keep you updated:

http://www.cvk.gov.ua/vnd2006/w6p001e.html

25 March 2006

Battlefield 2142

Well, I didn't see that coming.

Trailer is on Gamespy. Post man's downfall gaming in the BF format? Could be interesting... I've got 1942 and 2. I'll decide when I read the reviews.

What do you think?

22 March 2006

The Budget

Nothing particularly spectacular in the Budget so far, but if something important happens, I'll add it tomorrow.

20 March 2006

Aussie State Elections

Tasmania and South Australia have recently held elections... and the ALP won another solid win in Tasmania and a suprising landslide in South Australia. This means that the ALP will continue to run every single Australian state, while the Coalition will continue to rule federally.
One of the most interesting results in SA has been Stuart (a huge rural district in the north of the state) where counting has yet to finish; right now the incumbent Liberal (who's been a member of the SA Parliament since 1970) trails the ALP candidate by just 84 votes.
And the most interesting result in Tasmania is in Bass, where the ALP have taken a seat off the Greens (meaning they hold three seats there to the Liberals two). Bass voted Liberal in the last federal election due to the logging row. The Greens may also have lost their only Lyons seat to the Liberals, although they *probably* haven't.

19 March 2006

Benin run-off

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4821844.stm

Things seem to be going more smoothly than in the first round.

If the new president wins fairly, I wish him all the best.

Iraq- Three Years On

I do not intend to revisit the arguments over the wisdom or otherwise of the invasion of Iraq. Entering the world Iraq returns 764,000,000 hits. I am of the firm opinion that more words have been written about this conflict than there are people on this planet.

Three years on, Iraq is still in serious difficulties. I'm not going to deny that. However, I think it is wise that we attribute the blame to those who are really responsible for it.

The insurgents.

Two thirds of the civilian casualities have been caused by them. They are the ones who are responsible for the fact that Baghdad does not have power 24 hours a day. They are responsible for the unjustified attacks on Shia mosques.

I just wish that for once the Stoppers would protest against them.

13 March 2006

Yet Another Sequel Announced

Cate Blanchett is going to star in a sequel to Elizabeth, this time about the Virgin Queen's relationship with the Queen of Scots.

Has Hollywood really run completely out of new ideas?

10 March 2006

Harry Potter gets defeated

Well only in local elections anyway. The Dutch left gained over 500 seats (I think they did, my connection's playing up).

Of course, they are only municipal elections and not too much should be read into that.

Finders Keepers

I was flicking through the channels just and found myself recognising a show on CITV. It was called "Finders Keepers" and it involves children rapidly searching 'rooms' for a clue.

I rememberered seeing something like that many years. I had a quick look on UK Gameshows and:

http://www.ukgameshows.com/index.php/Finders_Keepers_2

They've revived the show. Wow! I never even heard they were doing it- but then again, I don't follow children's television that much.

Does anyone here remember "Through The Dragon's Eye"? Great series.

09 March 2006

Britain forward not back

I was waiting for my dinner to cook yesterday and decided to have a read of the Labour manifesto, which I picked up while campaigning at the last General Election.

I found this interesting little bit on Page 48:

"Where a defendant fails to turn up for court without good cause, the presumption
should be that the trial and sentencing should go ahead anyway."

Obviously the government hasn't attempted to put this into law yet, but the civil liberties groups would probably complain when and if they did.

Obviously, the government is trying to save the money wasted on court appearances by non-appearers.

If you're summoned to court, it's your duty to appear. But should you be tried in abstentia? I'm assuming that the trial would still proceed without any defendant, but surely the defendant should be able to see the evidence against him/her. Although, if the defendant doesn't turn up, they probably don't need to see it anyway.

In my opinion, if you want to have your day in court, make sure you turn up.

I support this proposal. What do you think?

07 March 2006

The Oscars

Haven't seen any of the films that were nominated for Best Film, so I can't say whether the Academy made the right decision (they've made some wrong 'uns in the past).

However, since Wallace and Gromit won Best Animated Feature and I did like that, I'm satisfied.

Also no-one swept everything, which is a good thing too.

Doctor Who on Television Without Pity

http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?act=SF&s=&f=824

Woo hoo! Let's hope the show's as big over in the US as it is over here.

One old argument that refuses to die...

Is the one about the West arming Saddam, which gets raised at every opportunity by Stoppers.

Let's nail this thing once and for all.
  1. Ultimately, whatever the Thatcher and Reagan governments did or did not do is irrelevant since neither of them are in power anymore. The only continuity between now and then is Donald Rumsfeld- who most of us can agree probably ought to go from the Defense Department. The actions of Anthony Charles Lynton Blair and George Walker Bush should not be limited by what their predecessors did.
  2. It is not an argument for opposing the Iraq war. It is a statement of fact. Even then, it would only have increased our duty to act on the 'break it, you bought it principle'.
  3. The biggest supplier of weapons to arms to Saddam Hussein's was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Fact and a plainly observable one at that (what do Iraqi soldiers carry? the AK-47). If you don't believe me look here:http://www.sipri.org/contents/armstrad/atirq_data.html

Yes, the USA did supply Iraq with weapons. So did all of the Five Nukes. No, it shouldn't have happened. Ultimately, however, some of that anger should be reflected at the regime that used these weapons against its own people, because they are mostly to blame.

06 March 2006

Benin

Results aren't out until Wednesday, so we'll just have to sit and speculate...

05 March 2006

Benin and SA

Benin goes to the polls today. 26 candidates are running to replace the term-limited incumbent.

In fact the ANC got 66% in South Africa's municipals. I was looking at early results.

04 March 2006

SA Results

As I thought might happen (well I had my doubts), the ANC did stupidly well in the SA municipals (70.3% of the vote). Only thing of real interest was Cape Town, where there might be a coalition government.

Costa Rica and Haiti

Arias is back in power in Costa Rica after his opponent conceded.

Oh, and Haiti's parliamentary elections have been delayed again...

Man prays to God before taking difficult decisions

It seems that Al and I think alike. I don't see why the fact that Blair prayed about the Iraq war should even be news. I'd be more surprised if he hadn't.

I'm a practicing Christian and I pray before difficult decisions. So is Blair.

This isn't even news.

LibDems swing to the right?

BBC is reporting that the LibDems have agreed with Ming the Merciless and have voted to support part-privatising the Royal Mail. Coming but a few days after the crushing of Simon Hughes in the leadership election (and with two people clearly on the right of the party coming first and second) I think it's fair to say that this has *not* been a good week for the LibDem left... or the "new look" Tories for that matter. But the LibDems swinging rightwards is probably good news for Labour, especially in seats where the anti-Tory vote is divided (look at much of East Anglia for that).

02 March 2006

It's Ming...

Sir Menzies Campbell has won the Lib Dem leadership contest by 8,069 votes.

The Silent Hunter wishes to issue the warmest congratulations to the new Lib Dem leader and wishes all the best in his new role (but only in Con-Lib marginals).

01 March 2006

British TV coming up

This is the start of an irregular feature here where I provide you with information on TV coming up in the United Kingdom.

Things to watch out for or avoid


  • Hustle Series 3- starting Friday 10 March. The gang have lost their money and are living in cheap accomodation. You'll know they'll be back on the gravy train eventually...
  • Doctor Who Series 2- No airdate for this yet (but it's probably going to be April). David Tennant does his first full series as the Doctor. Rose is back for the whole lot and Mickey will become a full companion.
  • Mayo- Alastair McGowan as a detective. Yes, you heard me correctly...
  • Torchwood- The Doctor Who spinoff series starring John Barrowman (who was excellent as Captain Jack).
  • The Unit- Not yet confirmed as coming to the UK, but I expect it will. Dennis Haysbert (President Palmer from 24) leads a Special Forces Unit.
  • Press Ganged: Reality TV show set on a sailing ship. People who get evicted walk the plank...

Ash Wednesday

Today's Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. I wish everyone trying to give things up success.

Let's not forget the reason for the season though- Jesus' fasting for 40 days.