Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stupid People ...

Pick a day. Any day. Like today, for example.

What's going on in the world and just how stupid can people be?

We start with some fall-out after the recent fighting in the Middle East. The Israeli bombing of an oil storage facility at Jiyyeh power station, south of Beirut, has since caused an oil slick stretching from the Lebanon to the neighbouring coastlines of Greece and Turkey. With possible clean-up costs of between $100-200m, the bill, say the Greeks, will be heading straight for Israel via the European Courts.

The French consulate in Moscow has sacked three employees following an investigation that they have been 'selling' visas to the locals. Another four resigned their posts. In 2005, the Consulate issued 272,000 visas, 10% more than '04 and double that of 2000. That fine bunch of 35-hour professionals, the French media, allege that officials at the Consulate were taking back-handers of up to 10 to 20 times higher than the standard fee of 35 euro (£23) in order to speed up the delivery process. You mean the Russians don't know a thing or two about bribery? Hell, they invented it!

Whilst driving around the city today, I have noticed that some tourists seem to think that a little red man standing upright with his legs together, means 'it's safe to cross'. I had thought that, universally, the little green man seen in full stride was the clue they were looking for (picture from the UK, where it all began in 1949). Apparently not. As traffic lights turn green and the mass of aluminium and rubber slips away in first gear, the shocked tourist seem incensed that their 'right to cross' has been removed. Scooter and motorbike riders get the best chance to dish out a verbal reprimand: "Red means 'Go' in your country, does it?". In defense of the pedestrian, cyclists regularly jump red lights, causing near-misses with the crossing hoards. One has a fiendish plan for a court case with a guaranteed cash outcome ...

The UK's Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, has denied saying that the Bush administration had been "crap" over the Middle East peace plan for the region (the Road Map). In a statement, 'Punchy' Prescott said that it was an inaccurate report of a private conversation "and it is not my view". It was also claimed that he went on to call Bush a "cowboy" ... Yup, thank you John, we know that.

Germany has now got the chance to act as Peacekeepers in the Middle East. However, they've started rowing as they don't want to come into contact with the Israelis. You can understand that one ...

Oh, and NASA have lost the original earth-recorded videotapes of their moon landing of July 21st 1969. Did Neil have a back-up handycam hanging around his neck like most American tourists? "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for the Japanese Home Electronics Market".

Stu

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