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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Archive for April 2009

Madaleine McCann, two years and no results

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Picture of missing Madeleine released as she may look now...This is one of two new posters being released by the Find Madeleine Campaign which show Madeleine McCann as she was aged three, and how she might look now, aged six. Madeleine was abducted in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday May 1, 2009.  The picture has been created by an expert forensic imaging artist based at the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, in the USA, who had access to photographs of both Kate and Gerry at around the same childhood age and used the latest computer technology to create the new image from their paternal and maternal lines.  See PA story POLICE Portugal.  Photo credit should read: Find Madeleine Campaign / PA Wire

Picture of missing Madeleine released as she may look now...This is one of two new posters being released by the Find Madeleine Campaign which show Madeleine McCann as she was aged three, and how she might look now, aged six. Madeleine was abducted in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday May 1, 2009. The picture has been created by an expert forensic imaging artist based at the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, in the USA, who had access to photographs of both Kate and Gerry at around the same childhood age and used the latest computer technology to create the new image from their paternal and maternal lines. See PA story POLICE Portugal. Photo credit should read: Find Madeleine Campaign / PA Wire

Almost two years to the day British toddler Madaleine McCann went missing.  No suspects have ever been charged, no real leads have been found and no credible witnesses have come forward.

No trace of her, alive or dead, has ever been found.  It seems she vanished off the face of the earth.

The Portuguese police have abandoned the case, reduced it to the lowest level even though they have a very effective abductor working their resorts.  If whoever took her sold her then he will certainly be encouraged to take another child.  And if Maddy was sold for a price you can guarantee it was a high one.

Kate and Gerry recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show on US television

Kate and Gerry recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show on US television

In the intervening two years Maddy’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann have suffered badly at the hands of the Fleet Street press.  But later a  full apology from the Daily Express and the Star was given.

poster-and-paint

Most recently there has been a huge backlash in the town of Praia Da Luz with posters being torn down and splashed with paint.  The economic downturn has hit the town hard, and the Ocean Club, where the abduction took place, has made 60% of it’s staff redundant.  It is clear that the hotel and the town are unhappy with the bad image the abduction has given them, and the McCanns are a convenient scapegoat.

A new documentary about Maddy’s abduction will be screened on 7th May on Channel 4.

PORTUGAL-BRITAIN/

So what do we do now?

Well we could petition the Foreign Secretary to put more pressure on Interpol to work the case.

We could write to the Portuguese Ambassador to Great Britain to express our ongoing concern over Maddy’s disappearance and the subsequent lack of leads.

Above all we need to renew a focus on finding Maddy again.  There is not the smallest shred of proof saying she has died, and if she is out there then she must be found.

Check out the following link:

http://www.findmadeleine.com/index.html

and never give up hope.

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 30, 2009 at 7:29 pm

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Lewis Hamilton: It’s a suspended three race ban.

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martin-and-lewis

The final decision from the FIA is to give McLaren a three race ban, which is suspended for twelve months.  They will not lose any drivers or constructors points.

It could have been a hell of a lot worse.  All the talk of over-zealous FIA  decisions proved false.  I think a lot of credit goes to Martin Whitmarsh, who worked hard to diffuse the situation, where I am sure Ron Dennis would have only exacerbated things further.  Lewis helped by admitting his culpability and making a full apology.

The three race ban has been suspended for twelve months.  Why was the ban suspended?  Well the FIA are aware of the changes Martin Whitmarsh has been making to cut out the cavalier attitude towards FIA regulations.  It sought to recognise his ongoing efforts, which has done much to impress Max Moseley.

There has been some grumblings among other teams that the decision has been too lenient.  But then what else would you expect?  Max Moseley has gone on the record to say that the decision is not too lenient.  In an interview today with Edd Straw he stated:

“We think it’s entirely fair. They’ve demonstrated there’s a complete culture change and under those circumstances it’s better to put the whole thing behind us.  Unless they do something similar, that’s the end of the matter.”

I personally feel they have just had a tap on the wrist.  Given into account McLaren’s recent history, such as the stolen Ferrari plans, it may have offered an opportunity to get their house in order.  It has rid them of less scrupulous elements, such as Mr Ryan, who have led the team into disrepute in the past.

So none of this decision will harm Lewis’s attempt to defend his title.  All he needs now is a more competitive car.  Over to you, Martin.

Anyway enough of me, what do you lot think?

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Mike Raises £1252 for Motor Neuron Disease Charity

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Is thar Jordan's arse I see ahead?

Is thar Jordan's arse I see ahead?

A big well done goes out to Mike Juett who ran the London Marathon in 6 hours and 37 minutes.  By 6 hours and 38 minutes he was on his second pint.

Mike, from Shepperton, near London, has been a supporter of Motor Neuron Disease Association for nearly over two years.  He described his race as a surreal experience.  He saw a giant blue pig, followed by two orange people, who turned out to be Peter Andre and Katie Price.  He even got his arse out on Tower Bridge (thats my boy!)

london-marathon

So I tracked the old boy down and asked him a few questions.

How long have you been involved with Motor Neuron Disease charities?-

I wanted to run for The Motor Neurone Disease Association in the memory of my aunt who died 18 months ago. There are two main ways for a applying for the run. Either through the marathon itself or through a charity. I applied through the marathon, although didnt get in. To be succesful through this method is pretty much down to luck as it’s highly oversubsribed. I think there are something in the region of 100,000 applicants for 30,000 places. After this rejection I wrote to MNDA directly, expressing my wish and potential to raise moneyy for them, and they kindly accepted and offered me a place. This is my first involvement with them.
marathon-logo1
How did you train for the marathon?

I’m a big lad as you know, so my main goal initally was to shed some weight to help my running easier. I didn’t get confirmation of my acceptance until early January giving me 4 motnhs to prepare. First step was to cut out alcohol, I haven’t drunk a drop since new years eve. I started to run 3 times a week, gradually increasing the distance. I shed around 18 pounds in that time, I didn’t however achieve as much in training as I would have liked, time just seemed to fly by. They recommend that you should be able to run 15 miles comfortably before attempting the marathon safely, admittedly I fell well short of that. This was to be my 4th marathon though, so I knew what to expect.

Did you see anybody famous?

I saw Peter Andre and Jordan. Jordan was struggling with her knee and I went past them with a mile or so to go. I didn’t see any other celebs tho, think they had all finished by the time I had got to the end, lol.

What was the atmosphere like?

The atmosphere is just sensational, you cant fault it. Everybody is just so supportive, the spectators and your fellow runners. It’s a very special day, I recommend anybody to do it.

Was there a moment when you hit ‘the wall’?

I knew from the off that I was unlikely to be able to run the whole way, how people do that god only knows. I think “the wall” hits them more. I knew my fitness was such that I had to adopt a different startegy, so generally walked for a bit, ran for a bit. The top half of my body felt fine, but my bototm half was killing. There was a point where it felt like bones where going to burst out the soles fo my feet, I guess that was my wall.

What did you do after the marathon?

Some friends from work kindly came up and supported me, meet them 2 or 3 times around the course and then at the end Sat in the park for a bit then cautiously made our way to the tube to go home. Go home about 7.30, went straight to bed after crawling on my hands and kness to get up the stairs 🙂

How much have you raised so far and how will the money be spent?

Hoping to raise about £2,500. Have £1,250 online, and have to colelct a further £1,250 from people have sponsored me on a form in the old fashoned way, if you like. I’m quite likely to work with about 200 people whom have been very generous.

The money goes towards further research into MND and helps the families of those suffering with MND

It is still not too late to make a donation, just click the lower link.

Mike’s efforts will ensure that sufferers of MND will continue to get round the clock care and the best treatment we can provide.
Visit –

http://www.mndassociation.org/

http://www.justgiving.com/michaelj

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Swine Flu: This is a bit worrying

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map

Well it was confirmed within the last hour that two suspected cases of Swine Flu in Scotland have proved positive.  The death toll in Mexico has risen to 150, yet it has yet to be confirmed that this is the cause of their deaths.

So far the Flu has not proved as virulent in Britain, Spain and America as it has in Mexico.  No lives have, as yet, been lost.

Swine Flu is a very new disease and it’s full potential as a killer has yet to be realised.  But it has spread through air travel like wildfire and could prove a global pandemic within a very short space of time.

Mexico has fought valiently to contain the Virus

Mexico has fought valiently to contain the Virus

According to Wikipedia it has very similar symptoms to human flu, fever, cough, body aches, and maybe vomiting and diarrhea.

Strangely it’s mutation makes it attack younger people with stronger immune systems, very similar to Spanish Flu of 1918.

How can we prevent infection?  The World Health Authority recommend  frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after being out in-public.  People should avoid touching their mouth, nose or eyes with their hands unless they’ve washed their hands.  If people do cough, they should either cough into a tissue and throw it in the garbage immediately, cough into their elbow, or, if they cough in their hand, they should wash their hands immediately.

How worried should we be?  Well don’t panic yet, just keep to basic hygiene discipline and follow the news broadcasts.  And we will be fine.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 27, 2009 at 7:17 pm

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BUTTON POWERS HIS WAY TO A THIRD WIN

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Jenson takes the hat trick

Jenson takes the hat trick

Jenson Button has taken his third win on the dusty track at Bahrain, with Sebastian Vettel and Jarno Trulli, second and third.  He feels his run of victories is not set to last so he is enjoying the scent of victory while he can.

And get this:  He even lapped a Ferrari.

Didn't I pass that Ferrari once already?

Didn't I pass that Ferrari once already?

It was a race that wrong-footed a lot of drivers who chose a harder compound tyre.  The BMWs seem to have done paticularly badly.

However it seems Jenson is resigned to the fact that the technological gap Brawn has over it’s competitors is narrowing rapidly.  Red Bull and Toyota are very much in the ascent.

But what of the old order?  Ferrari, McLaren and  Renault?  Well they had another weekend of frustration.  Only Lewis Hamilton came well in the points, in fourth.  He made good use of his KERS button to slingshot past Vettel at one point.  The first time anybody seems to have made any real use of the KERS system.

Vettel looks like he is ready to melt while Jenson does his Cheshire cat impression

Vettel looks like he is ready to melt while Jenson does his Cheshire cat impression

But the race settled down not long after the first few laps and very little real battling took place.  Unlike the last two races, this race has been as hot and dry as an oven.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 26, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Toyota to top the grid in Bahrain

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toyota

If you took the 2008 season, and at the last minute announced that the races would be ran in reverse, with every driver going backwards around the track, I think the results would look something like the 2009 season.

Thus far, this has been a year of raised eyebrows and compelling viewing.  Left for dead teams have driven to victory, middle ranking teams have had their maiden wins, and front running teams in continued dissarray.

bahrain-sat

The surprises just keep coming thick and fast with Toyota taking a maiden pole and second place on the grid.  This is just the tonic for a team that has worked so hard in the years since it arrived in 2002.

Actually it makes you wonder what would happen if Minardi were magically transported from the nineties to the present.  If they had a diffuser I am sure they would have gained a few points.

Hamilton is one of the most focused drivers on the grid

Hamilton is one of the most focused drivers on the grid

Lewis Hamilton starts fifth on the grid and is positive that he can make a podium finish.  No doubt this Wednesday’s hearing is at the back of his mind but he had incredible focus and a ruthless frame of mind.

Just ahead of him is this season’s leading racer, Jenson Button.  He feels that Brawn no longer has the technological advantage that it had for the first two races, still it was fun while it lasted.

Red Bull's rear diffuser, similar to the one on the Brawn F1 car

Red Bull's rear diffuser, similar to the one on the Brawn F1 car

But the grid for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix look like this:



 1. Trulli       Toyota
 2. Glock        Toyota
 3. Vettel       Red Bull-Renault
 4. Button       Brawn-Mercedes
 5. Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes
 6. Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes
 7. Alonso       Renault
 8. Massa        Ferrari
 9. Rosberg      Williams-Toyota
10. Raikkonen    Ferrari
11. Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes
12. Nakajima     Williams-Toyota
13. Kubica       BMW-Sauber
14. Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber
15. Piquet       Renault
16. Sutil        Force India-Mercedes
17. Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18. Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes
19. Webber       Red Bull-Renault
20. Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari


Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Motorsport

Aston Martin and Lola looking to return to F1

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*** Breaking F1 news***

And now the good news!

According to recent press releases from the chairman of Prodrive Engineering,  in the guise of it’s racing partner, Aston Martin, Prodrive are very keen to get back into Formula 1 racing.

To quote David Richards, Prodrive Chairman:

“They hold the promise to return F1 to its fundamental ethos, where success comes to those with the most ingenious engineering and best organisation, not simply those with the biggest budget.

“We are therefore very optimistic, but let’s wait and see what the final proposals look like when they are published next week.”

All they have to do now is get it past the accountants…

amf1

Aston Martin did construct cars for Formula 1 between the 1958-1960 period without any success.  This was back in the days when British made cars dominated the track with names like BRM, Lotus  Cooper.  Of course this was back in the days when they didn’t have Prodrive as their main resource.

amf2

But in this new age of budget capping Bernie has thrown open a whole new world of possibilities for smaller teams to pick up the F1 gauntlet.

lola-hq

The other team that has expressed an interest is Lola Cars, based in Huntingdon.  Now they may not sound familiar to many but in fact they supply the whole of the A1 racing paddock with their chassis.  A lucrative contract indeed.  Lola had a long history of supplying chassis for client teams in Formula 1 before finally fielding a team of their own in the 1997 Grand Prix.  But my word, was it a disaster!  They only entered two races, failing to qualify for the first, and withdrawing from the second.  Shortly afterwards, and six million in debt, Lola went into administration.

lolaf1

To read Lola’s press release, copy and paste this link.  http://www.lola-group.com/newsstory.asp?NewsId=37

So the two teams seem to have a lot in common, both are successful manufacturers for client teams but when it comes down to racing their own teams they fell flat on their face.  So why do they want to do it again?

There are eleven teams currently competing for three new team places on the F1 grid.  Who will the others be, we wonder….?

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 24, 2009 at 3:24 pm