Wednesday, October 12, 2011

European Union Regulators Ban Children’s Toys, Blowing Up Balloons

EU regulators have a new target; children’s games. The Telegraph reports that the “EU toy safety directive” recently put in place, bans balloon blowing by unsupervised children, whistles, magnetic fishing games and other party favorites popular during the holidays. EU regulators have been banned children from blowing balloons and playing with certain toys to protect them against the threat of choking and chemicals.
“Despite having been popular favourites for generations of children, party games including whistles and magnetic fishing games are to be banned because their small parts or chemicals used in making them are decreed to be too risky.

Apparently harmless toys that children have enjoyed for decades are now regarded by EU regulators as posing an unacceptable safety risk.”

It is unclear how the EU directive will be enforced. In addition to restrictions on party games, the new laws will also impose restrictions on how loud noisy toys “including rattles or musical instruments, are allowed to be.”

One European Parliament consumer safety committee member said of the EU regulations, “I would say that this is crackers but I sure children are banned from using them too. EU party poopers should not be telling families how to blow up balloons.”

The European Commision insists that the new safety legislations will prevent “horror stories.”


Damning investigation into British rapist who re-offended is suppressed… to protect HIS privacy

Details of how a rapist was able to commit a second sickening attack only months after being freed from prison will not be made public – after officials said it would breach his privacy.

Fabian Thomas, known as the ‘Barefoot Rapist’, was supposedly monitored by probation staff, but four months after his release he was able to arm himself with a hunting knife to attack a teenager.

Now officials are refusing to release the internal report into what went wrong, claiming it contains ‘personal and sensitive data’. The decision has caused outrage, with critics arguing the public has a right to know. Rape campaigners say women must be informed so they can stay safe.

Oliver Colvile, Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said he would be writing to ministers to clarify the rules. ‘Who is protecting who, here?’ he said. ‘If someone has committed such a serious offence while being monitored in the community, then the public have every right to know how it was allowed to happen. They need to have confidence in the system.’

Thomas, 23, was called the ‘Barefoot Rapist’ after he took off his shoes and socks to sneak up on his first victim. He threatened to kill the 17-year-old in an alley in Taunton, Somerset, on New Year’s Day 2006, before raping her twice.

Jailed for eight years, he served four and was released last October. Four months later he assembled a ‘rape kit’ with a knife, balaclava and a top layer of large clothes which he later disposed of to cover his tracks. On February 20, he attacked a 19-year-old in a supermarket car park in Plymouth. Hours earlier, he described his plans on a rape fantasy website.

Sickeningly, he also invited another user to give him instructions during the attack and listen down the line. His victim managed to fight him off, after biting him on the ear. He confessed to the attempted rape at Plymouth Crown Court last month.

The sentencing judge jailed him indefinitely to protect the public, saying it would be at least five years before he could apply for release. "Quite undoubtedly you are a dangerous, violent, sadistic, sexual predator and this court has a duty to protect the public from you for as long as it takes until you are no longer a threat to the community."

Few offences frighten the public more than planned offences of sexual violence.

A local newspaper asked for details of the Serious Further Offence review, carried out if a convict commits a high level crime on probation.

But Devon and Cornwall Probation Trust refused, saying it would breach Thomas’s privacy. Assistant chief officer Mark Benden refused even to confirm that the report exists. Such a review would contain ‘sensitive personal data relating to the offender’ and publication would breach ‘one of the principles of the Data Protection Act’.

Astonishingly, Mr Benden said not releasing the details meant staff would be ‘completely frank and open’ with the investigation.

Maggie Parks, of the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Cornwall, said: ‘Serious sex offenders need regular and careful supervision. We need to have sufficient information to keep women safe in our community.’

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘There are a number of good reasons SFO reviews are not routinely published, chiefly because they contain operational detail about the way serious offenders are managed and routinely publishing such details may jeopardise the way in which we carry out procedures to protect the public.’


Life of Brian 'couldn't be made today' because of political correctness and religious extremism

Monty Python’s classic comedy Life of Brian could not be made today because of a toxic mixture of political correctness and religious extremism, according to its director. Terry Jones said he was surprised by the controversy surrounding the 1979 film and that he would fear for his life if he directed a similar one nowadays.

The 69-year-old told the Radio Times: ‘At the time religion seemed to be on the back burner and it felt like kicking a dead donkey. It's come back with a vengeance and we’d think twice about making it now. A similarly satirical film about Muslims? Probably not – looking at Salman Rushdie.’

Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses, was issued with death threats by Iran over his 1988 book.

Life of Brian opened to widespread protests but went on to become the highest-grossing British film in the U.S. that year.

Jones said he was surprised by the controversy surrounding the 1979 film, which chronicles the life of hapless Brian Cohen who is born in a Bethlehem stable next door to Jesus.

He gets mistaken for the Messiah by the Three Wise Men, in spite of his mother’s insistence that ‘he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy’.

Jones declared: ‘I never thought it would be as controversial as it turned out, although I remember saying when we were writing it that some religious nut case may take pot shots at us, and everyone replied, “no”.

‘I took the view it wasn’t blasphemous. It was heretical because it criticised the structure of the church and the way it interpreted the Gospels.’

The film opened to widespread protests as 39 local authorities refused to allow the film to be screened on grounds it could break censorship laws on blasphemy.

Where the film was shown, it was picketed by religious groups and the Pythons – John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam – received death threats.

The six-man troupe played up to the controversy billing is as ‘a movie destined to offend two thirds of the civilised world… and severely irritate the rest.’

Perhaps the most spectacular reaction to the film’s portrayal of the story of Jesus came in a television debate between the then Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood, and Roman Catholic producer Malcolm Muggeridge, against John Cleese and Michal Palin.

Mr Jones recalled: ‘It was quite a cheek because they’d had a good lunch, arrived late at the viewing theatre and missed some of the film.’

In Aberystwyth, it was screened for the first time in 2009 after the mayor, Sue Jones-Davies, who played Brian’s onscreen girlfriend, agreed to screen it, even though she appears naked in it.

In recent years, Danish cartoonists were threatened after poking fun at Mohammed, and writers for U.S. comedy South Park received death threats at their New York office after an episode about the prophet.


Australia: Insane killer OK to drive a cab??

How can ANYBODY be certain that he won't have another bad turn for some reason?

A REFUGEE who butchered his wife in a fit of insanity could be back driving a cab in as little as three weeks. The Court of Appeal yesterday cleared the way for him to hit the road in a ruling that sparked outrage.

His passengers will never know his past because his identity has been kept secret during his four-year fight.

Last night angry Department of Transport officials were considering a High Court appeal, in a last bid to keep the killer out of Victoria's cabs. Others called for immediate changes to the law to prevent the man ever getting behind the wheel of a cab.

A taxi directorate spokesman said factors such as how quickly he registered for driver training, whether he passed and if he had a driver's licence, would determine how quickly he was back on the road.

In a unanimous decision, three Court of Appeal judges dismissed an appeal by the Director of Public Transport against a VCAT ruling that allowed the man - known as XFJ - to be accredited as a cabbie.

XFJ repeatedly stabbed his wife in 1990 after being granted refugee status. A jury found him not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

The man sought work as a cab driver to earn money while caring for a sick son.

His application for accreditation in November 2007 was refused by a Director of Public Transport. On review, another delegate decided that, while he was "technically competent" and "sufficiently fit and healthy" to drive a cab, his application should be rejected because he was still not suitable.

XFJ then took his fight to VCAT. Two psychiatrists wrote that he was of sound character and unlikely to re-offend and VCAT judged he was suitable for a taxi licence for 18 months. An appeal to the Supreme Court was unsuccessful.

In their Court of Appeal judgment yesterday, justices Chris Maxwell, David Harper and Philip Mandie dismissed a further appeal.

"What counts decisively against the director's argument ... is the sheer implausibility of the proposition that a decision to accredit one driver could have any material effect on public confidence in the taxi industry," Justice Maxwell said.

"As both the director and the tribunal found, (XFJ) is technically competent and in good health and capable of meeting reasonable community expectations." XFJ's lawyer, Barbara Shalit, said the case highlighted the importance of considering all the circumstances before drawing prejudicial conclusions about risk to the public.

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said the the decision was being reviewed before considering any possible next steps.

RMIT transport academic Dr Paul Mees said: "The (court) decision seems to be based on an idea there is some sort of inherent right to hold a taxi licence, but this is not like the right to vote," he said. "The burden of proof ought to be on why you are a fit and proper person to hold a licence."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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