Friday, 7 August 2015

Friday Five - in the news this week.

Well I must admit I've been struggling to a) make time for blogging and b) find something interesting to say.

I definitely need challenges to keep me motivated.  The Wednesday Hodgepodge works nicely for me in the middle of the week and I do try and do a catchup at the weekend but in between there are some blank spaces.

Today I've decided to pick out news stories that have caught my attention either today or during this last week under 5 headings.


Flight MH370 debris discovered on Reunion Island?

This is the Malaysia flight that was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 when it vanished from radar. The Boeing 777 had 239 people on board.

There seems to be some confusion as to whether the debris discovered this week is actually from the plane or not but many of the families are not happy with the way the investigation has been carried out.  I cannot imagine how hard it must be for families who have lost loved ones in this way.  Of course it seems highly likely that the plane crashed into deep sea water and it may be the case that the remains etc are never found.  However, while conspiracy theories continue to be put forward it must be incredibly hard, without any concrete evidence, to accept that your loved ones have died.  It's always hard to accept the death of a loved one but without a body or details of how they died it must be difficult not to cling onto a tiny bit of hope that it's all a dreadful mistake.  I hope that they can establish without doubt that the wreckage is from the missing plane to at least give the families some explanation as to where their relatives and friends met their deaths.  It won't bring much comfort but surely it's better to know the truth and begin to start coping with it.

Another story which has only just been published is that a Bangladeshi blogger known for his secular views has been hacked to death by a gang armed with machetes in the capital Dhaka.

Niloy Neel was attacked at his home in the city's Goran area.
He is the fourth secularist blogger to have been killed this year by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh. 

Clearly in some places you need to be careful what you blog about but there is no excuse for this criminal behaviour and the Bangladeshi Government needs to be doing more to find the killers and deal with them.

Moving on to SPORTS NEWS

A headline caught my eye this morning claiming a first World Cup win for England.  I was puzzled, I wasn't aware of any major football game being played recently - these are usually over promoted on the TV and in the news so they are hard to ignore.  On clicking on the link I discovered it was actually about the Women's Netball World Cup which is taking place in Sydney.  Well done to our girls for beating Scotland.

I used to enjoy netball at school but wasn't particularly good at it.  My one outstanding memory of playing netball was as an adult at one of our family gatherings.  We played men V women and I managed to get my glassed knocked off and broken by an over-zealous male who didn't realise it's supposed to be a non-contact sport!

I also see that our cricket team are doing rather well in the Ashes series.  Apologies to any Australian friends out there!

In LOCAL NEWS  a man was arrested in North London last night for being in possession of a samurai sword.  The fact that he was part of a gang causing trouble armed with bricks and other weapons probably didn't help. But at least it wasn't a gun.

Under MISCELLANEOUS I picked out a breaking story about Lord Janner who must appear at court in person for a hearing over child sex abuse charges. The former Labour peer, 87, who has dementia, denies allegations of abuse in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  He did not attend court on Friday as lawyers said he was "unfit" to appear.  But the chief magistrate ruled that although Lord Janner did not have to play a part in the hearing, he was legally required to attend.

I'm not sure where I stand on this.  Clearly if it is alleged that a crime has been committed the allegations should be investigated and if necessary the offender brought to trial.  However, in this instance, if Lord Janner's dementia is so advanced that he cannot remember past events and could not be cross examined etc I'm not convinced that his presence in court, something which could be very distressing to him, is necessary.

Obviously there needs to be an independent assessment of his cognitive abilities to establish his level of dementia and whether he is actually fit to give evidence or take part in the trial.  If it is determined  that he cannot take part it doesn't follow that the trial shouldn't go ahead.  The accuser deserves to have their case heard and if the accused is found guilty then appropriate sentencing should be made.

It would obviously be difficult in this type of case though where it is possibly one person's version of event against another's and a decision by a jury could be based on who seems the most convincing or, as is probably often the case, if there is reasonable doubt, the accused will walk free.  If the accused is not in a position to defend themself how could you find them guilty?

Linked with this story was a similar case earlier this week where a former Tory Prime Minister, Edward Heath, has also been accused of  child sex-abuse in the 1990s.  This man isn't even alive to defend himself.

This caused me to consider whether there is a statute of limitations on this sort of crime and apparently in the UK there is not although in the European Union the average time limit is 12 years.  It seems a bit unfair that someone can make an accusation years after the events are alleged to have happened, especially if the accused is not even alive to defend themselves.  I appreciate that victims may not have felt able to deal with the events until they are older or stronger and I would accept that everyone who has been a victim has the right to be heard.  But carrying out in depth, expensive investigations against people who are deceased or not in a mental state to be able to defend themselves would not seem to be the best use of public funds.

Right, on a lighter note, in ENTERTAINMENT this story made me laugh:

Minions are taking over the world, well a street in Dublin anyway:  Minion Chaos
And I thought they were supposed to be little?

All stories taken from the BBC website with additional info courtesy of Google.

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