The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Adopt a red phone box

Posted by allie1985 on November 5, 2008

November 2 2008 was the cut off date to ‘adopt a red phone box’.pb060105

BT has decided to scrap more than a third of our countries iconic red phone boxes because they are no longer financially profitable. However they agreed to sell off 500 of them to local authorities in an effort to preserve a part of our countries heritage.

For the small fee of £1 a community can buy a phone box and it is theirs forever.

Chet Patel, director of BT Payphones, said “Local people have spoken and BT has listened to their views by coming up with the adopt a payphone schemes”

The first place to ‘adopt’ a phone box was Lighthorne, a small hamlet 90mile north west of London.

“Our red telephone box is a focal point for our village and is part of its overall identity and heritage. We’re pleased that BT devised this scheme allowing communities to preserve their much loved red kiosks” said Josette Tait, chairman of Lighthorne Parish Council.

 Why is BT getting rid of the phone booths?

According to BT, not enough people are using phone booths and over half were no longer turning a profit.

Gemma Thomas a BT spokeswoman said “Payphone usage has declined dramatically since the advent of the mobile phone”

According to the Telegraph newspaper, the red kiosks were said to be among the booths that were losing money. They say it costs around £1000 annually to maintain a red box and people are just not using them. Josette Tait admitted that to her recollection the Lighthorne box had not been used for about a year.

Adopt or sponsor?

As well as adopting a phone booth, BT has also introduced a sponsoring scheme. To sponsor a phone booth cost £500 per annum, but this keeps the phone booth as a phone booth. When the booths are adopted BT remove all the equipment inside, just leaving the red shell.

What will become of the empty phone booths?

Many town councils are planning to turn the booths into notice boards where residents can pin up town information, although others are considering using them as green houses and miniature art galleries.

 In Kingston upon Thames red phone booths have been turned into a piece or art by having them leaning up against each other in a domino effect.

So far around 400 of the Phone booths have been either sponsored or adopted. BT has said it want to errantly get rid of another 400, and are in negotiations as to what to do with another 4,000.

 Backup piece-What makes Britain British?


Alexandra Murphy



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Background: Proposition 8 Information

Posted by 19sevenseven on November 4, 2008

Proposition 8 is defined as the California State ballot proposition that, if successful, would change the California State constitution. The changes would mean that marriage would and could only ever be for heterosexual couples. If this Proposition 8 passes, it would cancel out a California Supreme Court decision that stated the gay marriage was a basic human right.

$74 Million Dollar Question

The for and against campaigns for Proposition 8 raised a total of over $74 million USD combined. The For Prop 8 side raised $35.8 million dollars, where as the gay activists side raised $37.6 million. This campaign has raised the most cash ever for a political campaign, has been the most expensive proposition campaign outside of the campaigns associated with the run for the White House.

Being Discriminatory has been the spearhead behind the yes vote on Prop 8. They also fought for the protection of education and church tax breaks. Organisations like relied heavily on religious groups, and ethnic minorities to have vote Prop 8 through. It is well documented that Barack Obama had a large black Christian following, that same group is also well known for being discriminatory towards gay’s rights, and liberal views.

Equality for All

HRC ( the Human Rights Campaign) was the main organisation that was against Prop 8. Their argument against Prop 8 was that “eliminating the rights of any Californian and mandating that one group be treated differently from everyone else was unfair and wrong”.

Californian Ideology in Question

The current results of the ballot, and amount of money raised by has been why this story is so newsworthy. California has always been marketed as a bohemian, free thinking, and liberal society. A society that is accommodating and accepting of alternative lifestyles, which are not overly religious, and a society that is very concerned with environmental issues. And the outcome of this election process has given everyday Californians, across the state the opportunity to reexamine whether this self belief that Californians are enlightened free spirits is true or not.

For more information, click here (Main article)

by Quinn Gormley

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Hamilton’s rise to stardom

Posted by jenz30 on November 4, 2008

Lewis Hamilton has just become the World Formula One Champion but he has been racing for years.


At the age of eight, Hamilton began karting and soon won races and championships.

In the period ranging from 1993-1997 he quickly rose through the Cadet ranks, progressing through Junior Yamaha and Junior intercontinental divisions.

Hamilton continued to succeed and rose through the ranks, eventually reaching the Formula Super A division with the

It quickly became clear that the British driver was very skilled when he became European Champion in 2000 with maximum points.

The British Racing Drivers’ Club picked up on this and made him a ‘Rising Star’ Member in the same year.

Former champion Michael Schumacher also realised his potential when he raced against him in 2001.

He’s a quality driver, very strong and only 16. If he keeps this up I’m sure he will reach F1. It’s something special to see a kid of his age out on the circuit. He’s clearly got the right racing mentality.”

Formula Renault and Formula Three

Hamilton began his car racing career in the 2001 British Formula Renault Winter Series.

He enjoyed success almost immediately, finishing third overall with three wins and three pole positions.

However, his spell at Formula three was less fruitful and at one point he was admitted to hospital after a collision with his team mate Tor Graves.


After only one season he won the championship. Consequently, British magazine Autosport featured Hamilton as one of their ‘Top 50 Drivers of 2005’.

In 2006, a vacancy arose in McLaren in Formula One as Juan Pablo Montoya went to NASCAR and Kimi Räikkönen went to Ferrari.

After some speculation, Hamilton was confirmed as the team’s second driver with Fernando Alonso.

2007 Formula One Season

The Briton got off to a great start by finishing second behind Massa in the Spanish Grand Prix to take the lead in the drivers’ championship.

He then finished third at Magny-Cours behind Ferrari drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa and extended his lead in the Driver’s Championship to 14 points.

But during the European Grand Prix, heavy rain hit and Hamilton spun off but managed to keep his engine running. He rejoined the race but finished ninth, meaning Alonso and Massa reduced Hamilton’s lead.

In Turkey, his lead was further cut and Alonso beat him in both the Italian and Belgian Grand Prix.

It all came to a head, much like this year, in Sao Paulo where Räikkönen narrowly won the Championship from Hamilton and Alonso.

The Briton was said to be extremely disappointed at the time, but this year surely has made up for it all.

Hamilton could not have looked happier.

Jennifer Willis-Jones (

For the main article, please click here

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Radcliffe looks to London 2012

Posted by elinord on November 4, 2008

Paula Radcliffe has defended her title as this years New York Marathon winner.

Courtesy of the
Courtesy of the

She led the race from the start, ahead of Russian runner, Ludmilla Petrova and American Kara Goucher.

The thirty-four year old athlete ran the tough climbs of the marathon in two hours 23 minutes and 56 seconds and said “In its own right, to win New York is special to me, but given the year I’ve had, it makes it that bit more special to come, run well and feel good again.”

Plagued by Injury

Radcliffe’s success came after a year marred by injury, which prevented her from preparing properly for the Beijing Olympics.

She spoke to the BBC about her history of failure to complete races because of hindering injuries;

“It does make it frustrating because you think, ‘Why can I get it right all the time in New York and I can’t get it right there?’ But sometimes you have to take what life gives you.”

Big Plans for London

Radcliffe hinted to the Guardian about her plans to lower her marathon world record, “I definitely want to run faster” and commented on the perfect conditions “London is a fast course.”

Mother of one, Radcliffe has been forced to miss the London Marathon twice since 2005, including this year’s, so she hopes she can prepare for the race in the next six months.

According to David Bedford, the London Marathon race director, Radcliffe could have the potential to break another world record “I am always enthusiastic about having Paula run…I would be amazed if she could produce that type of performance again.”

There are still talks that she may be invited to the London Marathon in April, 2009, but no deal has been struck yet.


Her recent victory has renewed the runner’s hope of winning an Olympic gold medal in the Marathon event.

“I would just love the chance to be at an Olympics and to run as well as I’m capable of doing in a marathon. That’s all I ask – to go there in shape and do myself justice. Perhaps I’ll get the chance in 2012.”

History of Success

Having only ever run 10 marathons, eight of which she has won, Radcliffe has made a good comeback.

Her only failures have come in the last two Olympics.

Elinor D. Davies (

Background Article

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Lucky Hamilton wins at last

Posted by jenz30 on November 3, 2008

Lewis Hamilton has become the youngest ever Formula One world champion.

The 23 year old won the championship in Sao Paulo by just one point from Felipe Massa at the very end of the race.

Hamilton told BBC Radio 5 live, “It’s an amazing achievement and it was by far the toughest championship of my life.”

The Race

In what was a nail-biting race, it looked like Massa would indeed become world champion after winning in Brazil. A late rain shower looked to have cost Hamilton the title when he dropped to sixth after a stop for wet tyres.

However, he managed to overtake Toyota’s Timo Glock as he entered the home straight to claim victory.

Meanwhile a jubilant Massa thought he had won the championship as did his Ferrari garage but soon realised that the title had slipped from his grasp.

The Brazilian remained dignified however and thanked his home crowd for all their support.

He told BBC Sport, “It was an emotional day for me. You get here and you’ve almost done everything perfect but we saw Lewis passing Glock again and that mixed emotion.

“Unfortunately we missed [out] by one point but that’s racing.

“We need to be proud of our race and our championship. It’s one more day of our life when I will learn a lot but for sure I’m very emotional.”

Hamilton, who was overwhelmed by winning the championship, celebrated with his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger, singer with the Pussycat Dolls.

“It’s difficult to really put it in to words. It keeps popping into my head – how crazy I’m world champion” he told BBC Sport.

Jennifer Willis-Jones (

For background information on this aricle, click here

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Congo Refugees Promised Help

Posted by sarahnics on November 2, 2008

Congolese refugees who have fled the fighting in eastern Congo have been promised help from the West, however the idea of the European Union sending troops in to protect civilians have not been mentioned.

Desperate people rushed from their homes to mob the French Foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and the British Foreign minister David Miliband at a camp in North Kivu Province, where a recent rebel offensive triggered a humanitarian crisis.

The ministers were on a trip to assess what kind of help the EU could give to Congo’s government, the UN peacekeepers and aid workers in order to cope with the thousands of starving people.

Humanitarian Assistance

France proposed the idea of the bloc, sending 1,500 troops to Congo to help the existing 17,000 UN peacekeepers in their mission to deliver humanitarian assistance.

However while both Mr Kouchner and Mr Miliaband said a humanitarian operation was in process, they indicated the option of and EU deployment, which has previously encountered resistance from other EU members, was only under review.

Mr Miliband told ITN news, “I don’ think we’re here to discuss and EU force. We’re here to discuss the humanitarian situation.”

The ministers who earlier met with the Congolese President Joseph Kabila travelled on to neighbouring Rwanda to lobby with President Paul Kagame’s government to support a lasting peace deal in North Kiva.

Congo and Rwanda have had problems in the past, each accusing the other of backing rival rebel groups.

“Catastrophic Situation”

The recent offensive attacks by Tustsi rebel forces loyal to renegade General Laurent Nkunda, and killings and looting by Congolese army troops have created what aid workers describe as a “catastrophic situation” in North Kivu.

However a ceasefire by Nkunda seems to be holding.

While Mr Miliband and Mr Kouchner said pledged more European aid, refugees say that what is really needed is more security.

“We really want to return home. Food is not the problem,” said refugee Emilie Manigera in Kibati to ITN news.


Sarah Nicholas (

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Mystery of the Giant Lego Man

Posted by lsjlaura on November 1, 2008

Last Friday, life guards would have been surprised to find a giant Lego man swept in by the tide onto a Brighton beach. It was in fact children, playing in the area, who first spotted the 6 ft red, green and yellow plastic figure. A phrase, “No Real Than You Are”, is painted on its front.

With its head turned at an angle and a large beaming smile across its face, the cheerful character gives little away as to where it’s from.

Some believe that the giant item fell off a ship. Others have said that it may have floated in all the way from Holland, as there is a large Lego park there.

Mr. McNiven who works for a digital marketing company took the surprise as a photo opportunity and told the BBC:

“I just happened to stumble across it …There’s a lot of talk about him coming over from Holland to here, but there’s no tide marks on him.”

Not Lego

However, a Lego spokesperson on the night it appeared said: “We’re bemused. He has nothing to do with us.”

A similar occurrence in August last year happened at Zandvoort beach in the Netherlands.

Then, a giant lego man with a blue rather than green top, but with the same slogan across it’s front was washed up onto the beach. It was welcomed by many Dutch holiday-makers as it brightened up people’s visits to the sea.

The smiley faced figures have brought interest and speculation as to who the man behind it all is.

…But Ego

Ego Leonard” was the name written on it’s back in the Netherlands. The man of this name appears to be a Dutch artist, who has created a “relation” of his first large beach toy.

Following the Lego spokeswoman’s previous statement of initial surprise about the 2 metre figure in Brighton, it has been updated with:

“We understand the person behind this is a Dutch artist called Ego Leonard who will be exhibiting in London in the coming weeks.”

His art show is actually taking place at current on Brick Lane amongst 20 other street artists. It is called “Outside in” and runs up until the 6th November.

By Laura James-

Click here for background piece.

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Brick Lane: Brick art

Posted by lsjlaura on November 1, 2008

Brick Lane is not just famous for its numerous curry houses and Indian cuisine, but it has also become a student hot spot for music, fashion and art.

Street and contemporary art is exhibited inside and out, along and around the Lane. Indoor places include:

  • The Brick Lane Gallery: includes British and international artists. They have many exhibitions including “Art in Mind”. This particular exhibit allows for emerging artists of all artistic backgrounds to display their works. The next one is 13-24th November.
  • Trolley Gallery: has a gallery of innovative and daring photography as well as having a collection of art books. The current exhibition is “Bull in a china shop” by Stephanie Quayle displaying expressive clay animal sculptures. This includes a sculpture of a life size Indian bull elephant.
  • F-art: is full of photography, sculpture, drawings, paintings and furniture. All with a quirky and original look and items can be bought online. At current they are showing the works of sculptors, Robert Race, who sculpts toys out of driftwood and Oliver Chavatte who uses rescued pieces of metal and materials.


As for outside, street art can be seen all around you as you walk along Brick Lane. It is constantly changing as wall faces are re-sprayed. Sometimes it’s for the better, with vibrant, skilful and coulourful art. But sometimes for the worse, with the average white letter scribbling.

The spray can contents of Banksy and D*Face are amongst famous artists whose works have appeared and has been a reason for the lance to become a popular place for bands to film their music videos.


Often there will be psychedelic and crazy scenes pictured on walls. One included an image of a monkey jumping from clouds of lightening wearing what looks like a “Burberry” hat and the other chopping down a huge flower wrapped in barbed wire.

Another is of two back to back crocodile heads trapped inside a pair of dentures.

Criminal Damage

Mesmorisingly colourful, they do add character to the place. However, graffiti is illegal in the UK and anyone caught in the act can be arrested under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 and offenders can be charged up to £5000. Therefore many of these street artists will stay hidden in the shadows.

By Laura James –

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Sharia Law-Background

Posted by sarahnics on October 31, 2008

The case of Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow stoning is not an unusual one. There have been many other cases which have caught international recognition, where women have appealed to the Western world for help.

More and more muslim states in Africa are beginning to adopt Islamic law, prompting international pressure to amend these laws.

Sharia Law

Sharia law derives from the teachings of the Koran and from Sunna, which is the practice of the prophet Mohammed.

It is practised in varying degrees in different Islamic countries, ranging from beheadings in Suadi Arabia to the more relaxed practises in Malaysia.

Sharia means “the path to the watering hole,” illustrating that the Islamic way of life is more than just a criminal justice system.

Sharia is a religious code of living, and is adopted by muslims in various degrees as a a matter of personal conscience, it is also used as a law in certain states and is enforced by the courts.

Some of the modes of conduct of living under Sharia law decrees many things from prayers to giving to the poor, also that men and women should dress modestly.

Within Sharia law there is a set of offences know as Hadd offences. These offences carry specific penalties set by the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed.

These include unlawful sexual intercourse, false accusation of umlawful intercourse, drinking alcohol and theft.

Unlawful sexual intercourse carries a penalty of stoning or flogging, while theft is punished with cutting off a hand.

Death by stoning

Other women have had media attention for similar offences, Safiya Huseini was one such person who was sentanced to death by stoning, she was accused of having a child with her married neighbour.

She had her child after her divorce but mantained that the child was her ex husbands, she won her appeal in October 2002, on the grounds that she had sex out of wedlock before Sharia law took effect in her state of Nigeria.

This case was soon followed by another, Amina Lawal was sentanced to death by stoning after she gave birth to a daugther out of wedlock, proof that she did indulge in unlawful sex.

The man who was said to be the father of her daughter did admit to having a relationship with her but denied having sex with her.

All charges against him was dropped as no witnesses came forward.

She tried to appeal her case on the same grounds as that of Safiya Huseini, but it was denied by the courts.


Sarah Nicholas (

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Somali woman stoned to death

Posted by sarahnics on October 30, 2008

A woman in the African state of Somalia has been stoned to death after an Islamic sharia law court found her guilty for committing adultery.

The 23 year old woman was said to be bound hand and foot before being buried up to her neck, then was pelted to death, in front of thousands of people in the town of Kismayo.

While the execution took place, witnesses said that guards opened fire, killing a child when relatives started to run forward.

A local Islamist leader said that the woman had pleaded guilty to the crime of adultery.

Sheihk Hayakalla told the BBC, “She was asked several times to review her confession, but she stressed tha she wanted Sharia law, and the deserved punishment to apply.”

Unfair Treatment

Relatives of the condemned woman, later named as Asha Ibrahim Dhuhulow, say that she was unfairly treated.

Her sister told The Metro Newspaper, “The stoning was totally irreligious and illogical, Islam does not execute a woman for adultery unless four witness and the man with whom she committed sex are brought forward publicly.” 

One witness Abdullah Aden said, “We were told she submitted herself to be punished, yet we could see her screaming as she was forcefully bound, legs and hands.”

The last execution performed in public happened when the Islamists ruled Mogadishu and most of south Somalia for half of 2006.  

Islamist leaders said the woman breached Islamic laws and had to be punished, but promised that the guard who shot the child would be severely punished.

Sarah Nicholas (

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