Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Updates 13/10.

Newly Added Blogs

Anti-Pornography Activist
Daily Dose of Imagery
Javajive - Photography from Indonesia
3 a.m. from Kyoto
Spice of Life
Newly Added Sites

The Feminist E-Zine
Free Sewing Book

Of Interest

In June, I wrote about my city flooding - not something that ever happens here, and a shock to everyone. According to Environmental Defense in America, global warming will cause more and more flooding. The Spicy Cauldron eloquently discusses the same issue. Will we ever listen??

Trying to reduce your plastic carrier bag usage? Well, don't shop at Primark! Refusing a carrier bag just isn't allowed for security reasons. Ridiculous! Complain, quick!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Women and Pensions (UK)

Because women often need to take breaks from our careers, to have children or because of caring responsibilities, it's quite common for us to lose out on a state pension due to lack of National Insurance contributions.

So, as a service to the women of Britain aged over 60, I'm sharing this article from the fab Money Saving Expert site.

Are you a woman over 60 who doesn't get a state pension?
Are you a woman over 60 who doesn’t get a state pension? Get £1000s back
What's this about?

A parliamentary question by a Lib Dem MP has shown that many women in their 60s are unnecessarily missing out on the state pension. To get a pension you need to have paid national insurance for 10 years of your working life; around 750,000 women are believed to be very near, but just under, this threshold.

By offering to pay a few £100, if you're near the threshold you can start to get the basic pension of £87 a week, and get a backdated payout from your 60th birthday, which is likely to be £1000s.

The reason I write 'offering' is actually you won't need to pay them money - it can just be taken from your payout. E.g you need to pay £340 of National Insurance to get your entitlement; and then you're owed £2000 back pay. The £340 then just comes out of the back pay.

Who's affected?

Women most likely to be affected are those that have paid some national insurance contributions but may have taken a break to have children, and not quite met the 10 year contribution quota to get a pension. But if you're a woman over 60 and aren't withdrawing a state pension, check now.

How to check

The quickest way to check is to call the National Insurance Deficiency Helpline on 0845 915 5996.

Explain your situation and ask how far off the required national insurance contributions you are to get a pension. You won't actually need to part with any money; the top-up contributions will simply be deducted from the backdated pension you are owed.

What you need to find out is

A. How much more national insurance must I pay to get a pension?
B. How much will the pension be each week?
C. How much will I get backdated?

Assuming the benefit of B and C outweigh A.... go for it!

Will I lose benefits elsewhere if I draw a pension?

Drawing a pension may affect other means-tested benefits, but this differs case by case. The best thing to do is follow the steps above to check whether you may be eligible and if it's worth it.

Also if you are married, have a husband more than 5 years older than you and are drawing a pension on his contributions you're unlikely to benefit.

More information

This was first reported on BBC Radio 4 by the Moneybox team... if you're looking at this it's well worth reading the article and listening to the audio.

Read the BBC article: Pension Boost For Older Women
Listen to Radio 4: MoneyBox Item on this pension boost

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Great news, via the Indie and the f-word, Major airline refuses to help with forcible removal of immigrants.
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Published: 08 October 2007

An important part of the Government's immigration policy has suffered a serious blow after a leading airline announced it would no longer carry failed asylum-seekers who were being forcibly removed from the United Kingdom.

XL Airways, which has a fleet of 24 aircraft, said it was opposed to the policy because it had "sympathy for all dispossessed people in the world".

Last week, The Independent revealed that hundreds of failed asylum-seekers have claimed they have suffered physical and racial abuse during the removal process at the hands of private security guards.

The Government relies on airlines using chartered and scheduled aircraft to deport asylum-seekers who have failed to win a right to remain in the UK.

In an email to a campaign group which supports failed asylum seekers, XL said its chief executive had told the Government it had not "fully understood" the political dimensions of these flights. In February, one of its aircraft was used to deport 40 failed asylum-seekers to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the Government's "operation castor".

Now it has emerged that the airline has written to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns confirming its decision to pull out of any further flights. The XL email, sent on 12 September, said: "We had a contract with the Government along with other carriers, for a range of flying. Under this contract we operated one flight in February to DR Congo as part of this contract, without full understanding of the political dimensions involved.

"Our chief executive [Phillip Wyatt] had made it quite clear to all concerned that we will not be operating any further flights of this nature ... We are not neutral on the issue and have sympathy for all dispossessed persons in the world, hence our stance."

A spokesman for the airline told The Independent the Government had been informed of its decision. Other airlines are now expected to make their own objections public.

It is not known how many airlines have contracted to carry failed asylum-seekers but it is estimated that the Government pays out several million pounds each year. Emma Ginn, of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, said last night: "It's time airlines rethink what they are doing. Shareholders and customers will be horrified by the reality of what happens to deportees taken for these flights."

The Borders and Immigration Agency, the government body that has responsibility for forced removals, has refused to disclose details, requested under the Freedom of Information Act, about deportation flights. The agency said: "If we were to disclose the information you have requested, this would prejudice the number of airlines willing to contract with the agency on charter operations and could drive up the cost of such operations. In addition, the release of information could damage commercially those airlines who offer this service."

British Airways and Virgin, who were contacted by The Independent, said their aircraft had been used for the purposes of escorted deportations as they were under a legal obligation to return failed asylum-seekers. A Virgin spokesperson said: "That is a matter for the Home Office, who makes immigration policy. We are simply not qualified to make those decisions."

British Airways refused to say how many removals it carried out each year, but said it adopted a policy of permitting one escorted or two unescorted removals per flight : "It is UK law and we comply with it – it's like asking whether we are happy paying income tax."

But a Home Office spokesman said the Borders and Immigration Agency only contracted with airlines willing to operate removal flights. He added: "The agency uses agents/brokers to arrange both charter and scheduled removals. Airline captains have the right to refuse carriage of a passenger

Helen Mirren is Impossibly Beautiful. But she looks so much better without!

Be proud to make a difference - Subvert an Army Ad

Market Forces, Many men consider buying sex as just another form of shopping, but their attitude is fuelling the trafficking of women to work in the trade
from The Guardian.

Let the Brailleway take the strain - very funny article about Braille signs in train toilets from BBC Ouch.

Coolest search results on the hippie blog referrer list:
average penis size - ringsurf

self inflicted supermarket injuries

old hairy women smokers

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dreams and What They Mean.

A few nights ago I dreamt that I bought a pack of 3 rolls of sellotape. I needed to sellotape up an envelope so I got one roll out and cut off a long piece. It was only when I stuck it to the envelope that I realised that the tape was made up of a long row of photos of Tony Blair.

I looked at the second roll, to find that that was made up of photos of Cherie Booth. I decided this was preferable and so cut some off to cover up the Bliar pics, which I would be too embarrassed to put anywhere!

I didn't look at the third roll.

My questions to you:
1) Whose photos were covering the third roll of sellotape?
2) What the hell was the whole thing about anyway?