Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Justice for rape victims

Justice for rape victims

Please add your signature to the open letter at the link above, addressed to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

Every 34 minutes a rape is reported to the police in the United Kingdom. Thousands more victims do not come forward.

Yet women are being failed by the criminal justice system, and left with nowhere to turn for support. We need your help to make a difference.

Please add your signature, and we will present the letter to her after the end of the campaign on 8th March, International Women's Day.

If you have any problems signing online, please email your name and organisation (if appropriate) to or call us on 020 7253 2598 and we will add your name to the letter.

Dear Home Secretary

Every 34 minutes a rape is reported to the police in the United Kingdom. Thousands more victims do not come forward.

Yet despite the scale of the problem, the Government has failed to provide the support that women want and need. The few remaining rape crisis centres are at risk of closing due to inadequate and insecure funding, and the vast majority of women in the UK have nowhere to turn to for support in their local area.

Not only are women who have been raped denied access to support, they are also denied access to justice. Only one out of every twenty rapes reported to the police results in a conviction, with less than one in five rapes even leading to a prosecution. This failure to bring rapists to justice amounts to a near ‘licence to rape’.

Money must be invested in support services without delay, so that every area has a fully-funded rape crisis centre, while the Government must take immediate steps to ensure that real improvements are made in criminal justice practice, so that every case is properly investigated.

The Government must do more for victims of rape. We call on you to give this issue the political priority that it deserves.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some Astrologists They Are!

'We regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the publication of The Astrological Magazine will cease with the December 2007 issue.'

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


A terminally ill Ghanaian woman has been removed from hospital in Wales to be deported, because her Visa had run out. I'm so disgusted with my country's lack of care, humanity and basic respect.

Cancer Patient Loses Visa Battle
A Ghanaian woman who came to the UK five years ago and became a student is being flown back to the African country, despite being terminally ill.

Ama Sumani was taken by immigration officers from a Cardiff hospital where she has been receiving dialysis for a year after cancer damaged her kidneys.

Ms Sumani, 39, whose visa has expired, said she cannot afford care in Ghana.

Her solicitor said they had pleaded compassionate grounds. The Home Office said it examined each case "with care".

Before leaving, she had been comforted by a nurse in a day-room at the University Hospital of Wales.

The immigration service arrived at 0800 GMT.

Ms Sumani was tearful but calm when she left hospital in a wheelchair with five immigration officials, one carrying her suitcase, and she was driven away.

She left on a flight from Heathrow to Ghana at 1435 GMT.

The cancer she is suffering from - malignant myeloma - would ordinarily be treated with a bone marrow transplant, but she was not entitled to the treatment.

The dialysis treatment she has been receiving is helping to prolong her life and her last treatment was on Tuesday evening.

Legal status

But it needs to be repeated regularly and there are concerns she would not be able to access dialysis treatment centres in Ghana.

Health care there is also private but Ms Sumani said she could not afford it.

A spokesman for Ghana's high commission in London said the country had two fully-equipped hospitals in Accra and further north in Kumasi.

He did concede that access to treatment was costly but said that if Ms Sumani was a member of the Ghana national health insurance scheme she would still receive treatment.

A friend Janet Simmons said Ms Sumani was a widow and a mother of two children, who were currently being looked after by members of her church in Ghana.

She first came to the UK as a visitor in 2003, but then changed her status to student and attempted to enrol on a banking course at a city college, her solicitor explained.

Ms Sumani's lack of English prevented her from pursuing the course and she went to find work which contravened her student visa.

In 2005 she returned to Ghana to attend a memorial service for her dead husband.

But when she came back to the UK her student visa was revoked and she was only given temporary admission which effectively meant she was given notice she would be removed, her solicitor said.

She did not keep in touch with immigration officials and was first taken ill in January 2006. Without the dialysis doctors fear she only has weeks to live.

Her solicitor said she accepted her removal was fair but said they had made representations on her behalf on compassionate grounds.

Ms Sumani is being removed from the country rather than deported because of her expired visa which means she has no legal status in the UK.

A removal means that in theory she could apply to return to the UK in the future.

A spokesman for the Border and Immigration agency said said it would not remove from the UK anyone who they believe is at risk on their return.

"Part of our consideration when a person is removed is their fitness to travel and whether the necessary medical treatment is available in the country to which we are returning," he added.

"Removals are always carried out in the most sensitive way possible, treating those being removed with courtesy and dignity." (my emphasis. Bastards)

Saturday, January 05, 2008


This word featured in a piece by Ian Urbina in the New York Times
on Christmas Eve. It's a curious process that the writer succinctly
described as reverse shoplifting.

Its beginnings lie in a US west-coast guerrilla-art movement that
wants to take over part of the public spaces of stores for artistic
and political purposes. One aim is to subvert commercialism as a
form of culture jamming (see As one
example, an artist might replace a product label with another that
features a political or consumerist message.

To judge by the New York Times article, the term has since spread
beyond its artistic origins to refer to any unauthorised placing of
materials in stores. Some is still political or consumer activism,
but the technique is now used for religious proselytising and for
straightforward advertising and promotion. Independent bands, for
instance, put copies of their albums in stores to promote them.

Early appearances of the term were linked to the California artist
Packard Jennings. The first example I've so far found was as the
title of an exhibition in San Francisco in March 2005 that included
some of Jennings' work.

Another term, which specifically refers to putting copies of CDs in
record shops, is "droplifting", which was coined by Richard Holland
of Turntable Trainwreck and The Institute for Sonic Ponderance in

* Ryan Watkins-Hughes, on, 26 Dec. 2007: Similar
to the way street art stakes a claim to public space for self
expression, my shopdropping project subverts commercial space for
artistic use in an attempt to disrupt the mundane commercial
process with a purely artistic moment.

* New York Times, 24 Dec. 2007: At Mac's Backs Paperbacks, a used
bookstore in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, employees are dealing with
the influx of shopdropped works by local poets and playwrights by
putting a price tag on them and leaving them on the shelves.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008


First photo of 2008: to be uploaded later

First rant of 2008: How did this bastard get aggregated in google news?? It's fucking outrageous.

First drink of 2008: pepsi max, am on too many painkillers to have had a real drink :-(

First wish of 2008: may these period pains please ease quickly

First voice heard in 2008: woman across the road shouting Happy New Year

First crisis of 2008: hopefully dealt with

First wish to blog readers for 2008: Have a great one!

First resolution for 2008: Don't give up anything, especially cigarettes or chocolate.