The Diary Of John
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy? - Gandhi
Saturday, December 11, 2004

Exams..

Well im already tired of correcting exams and cant wait to get on the bus and get home later this afternoon. So far, all of my students have passed in the exams apart from three which isnt too bad out of nine groups. This afternoon i have OM3 finals and that should hopefully go quickly so i can get on the bus early. I wanna try to get home before it pisses it down.

Also i wanna get out of here early as tomorrow Roberta and I will have been dating one year and i wanna get a present or soething for her to surprise her with. I always dread buying anything for Roberta just incase its the wrong size or she doesnt like it hehehe. Till now though she has loved everything that i have given her which is good :-) I have no idea what to buy for her yet, hmm maybe some sexy undies this time :-)

I have given up trying to check out Msn spaces. I didnt really wanna use it, was just curious to see what they had on the site but even though i have emailed their help section twice and followed their advice nothing works apart from a crappy error message saying that i have to try signing up again or wait. what a sack of shite!! I wont be recommending it to anyone in the future. Most people i know use Blogger anyway. I usually like Microsoft stuff but i have to say that Spaces is a disappointment :-(

Well better go and get something done here so i can get outta here early..

posted at 10:26 AM by john |  

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Literature..

I came across this interesting story online, my students in MEC2 read This book as part of their semester and really enjoy this book alot. Nice to see President Chavez does too hehehe!

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has told a group of schoolgirls in one of Latin America's poorer countries they should read Victor Hugo's classic novel "Les Miserables" to understand poverty.

"Only education will lift all of Latin America out of poverty," Chavez told 1,700 students on Thursday at the Educandes state school in the southern city of Cuzco, where he attended a summit to set up a new bloc modelled on European unity.

"Have you read 'Les Miserables?'" asked Chavez, adding he was rereading it at the moment. Oil-rich Venezuela is a classic example of the great divide across Latin America between ultra-rich elites and dirt-poor masses.

"It impresses me because it describes human misery. I urge you to read it so we can get rid of poverty in America," Chavez said.

The firebrand leftist leader says he is leading a "Bolivarian revolution" in his oil-rich nation inspired by South American independence hero Simon Bolivar, who founded the Estandes school in 1825, and dreamed of continent-wide unity.

Chavez said the South American Community of Nations created on Wednesday to boost political and economic integration among 12 countries should also step up the fight against poverty.

"This must not be just one more summit, but a forum to ... beat poverty, misery," he said.

posted at 4:18 PM by john |  

Finally..

Unions: BBC Staff Have Been Savaged
The BBC has "savaged" its staff by axing nearly 3,000 jobs, according to unions. Union leaders said the biggest job cuts in BBC history threaten to destroy the heart of the corporation.But Director-General Mark Thompson insisted the losses are "the right price to pay" if the BBC is to remain "the greatest force for cultural good on the face of the earth".

The BBC is hoping to save 320m per year, which will be put back into programme-making.

An initial 2,900 job losses have been announced, with further cuts expected in the New Year.

The vast majority - some 2,500 posts - will go from administrative departments including human resources, finance, marketing, training and legal services.

A further 400 jobs will go in the corporation's factual and learning department.

More redundancies are expected in March in news, radio, music, new media, regional and TV departments.

Staff sat in newsrooms and offices across the country as Mr Thompson made his announcement via a special internet broadcast.

In addition to the losses, 1,800 jobs - including BBC Sport, Radio 5 Live and all children's programming - are to be moved from London to Manchester.

A number of the BBC's commercial ventures are also to be sold off, with the prospect of further job cuts.

In a joint statement, the National Union of Journalists, Amicus and Bectu said: "We are committed to working together to oppose at all levels the effects of the director-general's savaging of staff in the biggest cuts in BBC history.

"His announcements showed high-handed disregard for the future of thousands of staff, and threatened the very heart of the BBC."


Its about time something was done at the BBC. People pay millions of pounds to this company in a compulsary tax and apart from their BBC Worldservice website everything they do is basically crap. They have a license to make money and do nothing with it apart from churn out boring programs that no one wants to watch anymore. Its no wonder that SKY TV has the monopoly, is it? If getting rid of some people and trying to correct years worth of problems gives us better services for our hard earned money then its gotta be good. After all, years of Eastenders hasnt improved the BBC and i think they need to take a good look at the sort of programming that SKY offers its paying customers to they can see how its really done. Of course the real reason behind this we all know, the BBC is due in 2007 to go begging to the government to have its broadcasting license renewed and its scared of whats going to happen. Maybe they shouldnt get their license completely renewed until they have a huge shakeup of the system so the public gets their moneys worth and also they should freeze the increase in the license too (They are planning to raise it to 126.50). A few more quotes here:

Cost-cutting is deemed to be crucial in order to reduce excess spending before the BBC goes cap-in-hand to the government to have its licence renewed in 2007. The BBC is funded by a unique formula - the licence fee, which in April will climb to 126.50 for a colour TV licence.

He accused the BBC of "basking in a Jacuzzi of spare public cash". Yesterday, he took on the onerous task of pulling out the Jacuzzi's plug, while insisting the end result would be a stronger BBC which "spent less on process and more on content". - Mr. Thompson, new BBC head.


I'm going to be waiting to see if anything improves, maybe the British people should all resign on mass from paying their license or just switch to other viewing alternatives until the BBC finally gets its act together. It remain to be seen what will really happen, to be honest though i dont think much will change..

posted at 8:12 AM by john |  

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Debt..

Brown vows to write off third world debt

Britain wants the world to write off the debts of the poorest countries, sponsor research for new malaria and AIDS vaccines and complete global trade talks during its presidency of the G8 rich nations club next year.

With London also set to chair European Union meetings in the second half of 2005, finance minister Gordon Brown said in a speech that next year would be a "make or break year for development" as he set out Britain's three main targets for the two presidencies.

"We must, for the sake of the world's poorest not squander, but must seize, an opportunity to make a breakthrough on debt relief and development, on tackling disease and completing the Doha development round," Brown said, according to the text of his speech.

Brown said he would press Washington next week to support both multilateral debt relief and his plan to double aid to the poorest countries, in the hope of building an international consensus by February when ministers meet in London.

He also called on all developed nations to declare a timetable for raising aid spending to 0.7 percent of gross domestic product, as Britain has pledged to do by 2013.

Aid agencies welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer's promise to put development issues at the forefront next year but said words needed to be backed by action.

"He must keep up the pressure on finance ministers globally, particularly in the U.S., to put global poverty at the top of their agenda," said Charles Bain, director of CAFOD.

Humanitarian agency Oxfam said on Monday that rich countries' failure to meet promises first made five years ago will result in 45 million children dying in the next decade.

DOUBLING AID

Brown says his plan for an International Finance Facility (IFF) would raise an extra $50 billion a year by issuing bonds using donors' long-term funding commitments as collateral -- effectively securitising national aid budgets.

Washington has yet to endorse it but Italy became the second G8 country last week to back the plan which Brown says is needed if Millennium Development Goals of halving world poverty and reducing infant mortality by two-thirds are to met by 2015.

Britain also wants to eliminate the outstanding debt of the poorest nations to both individual countries and supranational organisations like the International Monetary Fund.

Hopes of such a deal were dashed in October when the Group of Seven rich nations club failed to reach agreement at a meeting in October as the U.S., while favouring the idea, did not want to find new money for the proposal.

Brown also wants to agree on an Advance Purchase Scheme for potential future malaria and AIDS vaccines in order to provide funding for research and development

posted at 10:46 AM by john |  

Nativity..



"Beckham nativity" tableau outrages churches

Church leaders have united to condemn a Christmas nativity tableau depicting soccer star David Beckham as Joseph and his pop singer wife Victoria as the Virgin Mary.

Anglicans, Catholics and Presbyterians said on Wednesday that the exhibit at Madame Tussaud's waxwork museum in London was a new low in the cult of celebrity worship.

In the tableau, Australian pop star Kylie Minogue hovers above the crib as an angel while "Posh Spice" Victoria lays her shawled head tenderly on Beckham's shoulder.

Tony Blair, George W. Bush and the Duke of Edinburgh star as The Three Wise Men. The shepherds are played by Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson, British actor Hugh Grant and camp Irish comedian Graham Norton.

The Vatican was not amused.

"This is worse than bad taste. It is cheap," an official Vatican source told Reuters in Rome.

"You cannot use contemporary personalities as the central figures of the nativity ... And it becomes worse, if that were possible, if the people may be of questionable moral standing," he added.

He said it was sometimes acceptable to use modern figures in the supporting roles because it can help make Christmas contemporary -- but not the central characters.

In Naples, for example, famous figures like Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona have been depicted as shepherds in creche scenes.

A spokesman for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of 70 million Anglicans worldwide, reacted with weary resignation to the "Posh and Becks" tableau.

"There is a tradition of each generation trying to re-interpret the nativity but, Oh Dear..," he said.

Paul Handley, editor of the Anglican Church Times, thought the tableau was "just pathetic."

"It is yet another sign that people feel they can play around with sacred things," he told Reuters. "God is not going to worry. He is going to cope -- but it is a bit depressing."

The Reverend Rod Thomas, spokesman for the conservative evangelical grouping Reform, told Reuters: "This is just an additional indication of the way people exploit the Christian message without any real understanding of its significance."

"Would they do the same thing for a depiction of a major event in the Muslim faith?" he asked.

A spokesman for the Presbyterian Church was equally forthright: "The waxwork will cause offence to many and it should be pulled down straight away."

The Beckhams were not aware of the museum's plans to depict them in the nativity scene, a spokesman for the couple told Reuters. "We have nothing to say on this" he added.

As the row rumbles over his unsuspecting head, the England captain may have trouble counting on divine inspiration: he is in Italy preparing for Real Madrid's European Champions League clash with AS Roma -- just a stone's throw from the Vatican.


Well i can understand people wanting to try to bring more attention to the meaning of Xmas but i fail to see why the churches are complaining so much. Maybe its because it draws attention away from their money grabbing at Xmas time? People like the Archbishop of Canterbury talk from their arses, they are out of touch withthe real world and only really care about how much cash rolls into their bank accounts and how many new converts can be brainwashed into their religious beliefs, maybe they should try living in the real world for once. Although im not religious and i cant stand the Beckhams i can understand the need to try to bring some much needed publicity to the Xmas period. After all Xmas is very commercialized and i think now a days children expect more and more expensive things without remembering that Xmas is a time for family and not just X-boxes etc. Funny thing though, people complained about Mel Gibsons film "Passion of Christ" but it did well in the cinemas, maybe this new nativity display will do just as well too..



posted at 9:14 AM by john |  

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Exams..

Well the exams have started, up until now all of my students have passed which is good. All day today are exams too, up until 9.30pm tonite. going to need alot of coffee and some good books to read to get through today hehehe. Luckily though all of my exams are this week so i can get them all out of the way real fast and then just sit back and wait for the oral tests which will also be easy too with me having so many MEC groups. Then i can just relax and enjoy the vacation time, well until my VIP class starts in Jan. Im waiting to see when its going to commence so we can organize some sort of holiday to i dont know where in Brasil. I'm sure Roberta will think of somewhere for us to go :-)

I got told yesterday thatm there are some students wanting to study VIP next semester with me, i will think about whether to take their group though as they will need alot of work and there will only be a small amount of time. They had some problems this semester with their teacher and methodology and maybe it would be better for them to study with someone who isnt a native speaker. I am going to talk with all of them before i decide so that i can see exactly where the extra help will be needed so i can try to create some specific activities for them to do next semester. I have lots of stuff for advanced groups and got some good books the other week with lower intermediate stuff so maybe itll be easier than i think to get them all up and running. I'll see what happenes when i talk with them later on.

Its really quiet here at the school now, no students until later and then it will be like a madhouse with students running around complaining that their late exercises arent corrected and stuff. All of my students are all up to date so for me this isnt really a problem, i can just sit back and laugh as i see the chaos unfolding around me hahaha! My biggest problem today will be staying awake during the exams, its just so boring!! I have Harry Potter, i guess i could read it again :-)

Time for me to visit the SBS website, i wanna see if they have the rest of a series of books i read about in a magazine the other day..

posted at 9:15 AM by john |  

Monday, December 06, 2004

Truth..

Net File-Sharing Doesn't Hurt Most Artists - Survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most musicians and artists say the Internet has helped them make more money from their work despite online file-trading services that allow users to copy songs and other material for free, according to a study released on Sunday.

Recording labels and movie studios have hired phalanxes of lawyers to pursue "peer to peer" networks like Kazaa, and have sued thousands of individuals who distribute copyrighted material through such networks.

But most of the artists surveyed by the nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Project said online file sharing did not concern them much.

Artists were split on the merits of peer-to-peer networks, with 47 percent saying that they prevent artists from earning royalties for their work and another 43 percent saying they helped promote and distribute their material.

But two-thirds of those surveyed said file sharing posed little threat to them, and less than one-third of those surveyed said file sharing was a major threat to creative industries.

Only 3 percent said the Internet hurt their ability to protect their creative works.

"What we hear from a wide spectrum of artists is that, despite the real challenges of protecting work online, the Internet has opened new ways for them to exercise their imaginations and sell their creations," said report author Mary Madden, a research specialist at the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

The nonprofit group based its report on a survey of 809 self-identified artists in December 2003. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.


So now we read the real truth, all those lies printed by the RIAA to abuse the legal system to persue kids for downloading a few songs. These guys should be flogged and stripped of all their cash and goodies they got from exploiting the legal system with lies and yet more lies. First a couple of presidents, then some CEO's who thought they had too much money for people to take them down and now we see yet again more greedy money grabbing people finally being exposed for the bullshitters they really are!!





posted at 11:37 AM by john |  

Heatwave..

Man the last few days have been blistering hot here in Brasil. Its usually hot but recently its been baking, most of yesterdy was spent in the shower with it cranked dow to freezing cold hehehe! I need to get in front of an air conditioner pronto before i melt away.

Im sat here on the computer while my students are taking their test. I am right across from the door so i can hear and see anything they get up to hahaha! I am sitting here so that i dont fall asleep from the heat in the classroom. We need to get some sort of air conditioner system installed for the school before we all get cooked to death ;-) I found some nice stuff to do with my students from a site online, i think though they will just really be good for next semester now as we are fast approaching the end of the year now. It will be good anyway to have some new stuff with which to kick off the next new semester. Some of the other activities work well as they are tried and tested but its always nice to have something new to pull out of the bag once in a while :-) I dont always find time in the schedule though to give as many new activities as i would like to, lower groups especially as i have so many things to do in the methodology. Still we will see what will happen i guess :-)

According to what i am reading online at the moment, there is going to be a release of ROTR - The Return Of The King with all the bits they had to cut out before. That might show the original ending of the film with Christopher Lee which if its the same as the book will be a lot darker and more of a shock. Lets just say that the Shire will have a whole new look ;-) I'll definately wanna rent or buy it to see Peter Jacksons original story ending, hopefully they will finally get all the red tape out of the way so that he can make The Hobbit too. After all it would be great to get the original story of Bilbo and the ring on the big screen to replace that terrible cartoon from years ago. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed..

We had Harry Potter finally on the TV here last night. Roberta and i watched it and even though it was in portugues i guess the translation was okay-ish hehehe. It'll be nice to see the next film to see how close to the book it is going to be. I wonder if the stars of the films will be ther right up until the end? I think itd be strange to see other actors and actresses playing Harry, Ron & Hermione.

I had better go check on my charges and see how they are doing, they are all quiet so maybe they've fell asleep hahaha!! Cant hear any snoring though..


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