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Traces of radiation on British Airways jets

Investigation into Litvinenko's death finds traces of radiation on British Airways jetsTwo British Airways jets have been grounded, as the investigation into Alexander Litvinenko’s death spreads yet further. 33,000 passengers over 221 flights are being contacted ‘as a precaution’.

But pilots and cabin crew wear badges that measure their dose of radiation, since they are naturally exposed to more due to being high up in the atmosphere for long periods of time. Why didn’t their badges show a greater than usual exposure, and hence detect this problem before now?

The only explanation I can think of is that the radiation is very short-range, and the cabin crew were never close enough to be affected. The radiation on Polonium-210 is very short range. Have we discovered how the murder weapon entered the country?

And guess the top destination where those planes have been been flying? Yep, Moscow. It’s looking like Mr Putin can’t ignore this investigation any longer – if the Polonium is shown to have likely come from Moscow, he’s going to have to co-operate, rather than just issue denials. But hours before this story hit the media, Mr Putin announced he’s now decided to cancel his meeting with Mr Blair.

Co-incidence?

This 1,006th post was filed under: News and Comment.

Fraser Brown diagnosed with cystic fibrosis

Gordon Brown’s four-month-old son Fraser has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. My thoughts are with the family at this time – clearly, this is devastating news for them, and it’s hard to know what to post in these situations.

Nick Robinson tells an interesting anecdote on his blog:

My thoughts instantly turned to an event a couple of years ago which I attended at 11 Downing Street. It was, ironically, to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The star of the evening was Emily Thackray, pictured on the right with the Chancellor.

Emily is beautiful and charismatic and looks a picture of health. However, she is very ill with cystic fibrosis. When she told the assembled company that she was being considered for a transplant as “time is running out” I well recall the impact she made. Several people in the room fainted. The chancellor was visibly moved. So much so that I asked my camera crew to give him some privacy.

The good news is that two years later Emily is still with us. She was told in March 2005 that without a lung transplant she only had a year left to live but she is – I’m told – still fighting on.

Despite the personal difficulty for a reportedly forward-looking Chancellor, perhaps its not too terrible to suggest that having both leaders of the major political parties having children with chronic medical conditions may do something to benefit the thousands of children throughout the land who live with ongoing medical complaints. Since Ivan Cameron has cerebral palsy and Fraser Brown has cystic fibrosis, it seems that for the next while we’re going to have Prime Ministers with intimate personal experience of the NHS and caring for a chronically unwell child – and whilst undoubtedly terrible for the individuals, perhaps that will be good for the country, and good for the care of children throughout the land.

Surely there is nobody better to plan services for children like Ivan and Fraser than the people that use the services day-in, day-out, and understand the hardships and difficulties that the bad times bring – as well, of course, as the joy and laughter of the good times. And this certainly provides a platform for public awareness of the diseases to be increased. Let’s hope that some great good can come of some bad news.

This 1,005th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

The Blairs’ Christmas card

Blairs' Christmas CardI don’t mean to be flippant, but I think I’m glad I’m not on the Blairs’ Christmas card list if it meant I had to display this… err… monstrosity in my home. I wonder if anyone who receives one will send one back with a picture of themselves on the stairs? It’s really quite bizarre.

Well, not quite so bizarre as the new ‘cuddly’ Mr Brown’s Christmas card of cartoon children – quite wisely called ‘interesting’ by Mr Blair. I would say that Mr Brown should stop trying to rebrand himself, but watching him make a prat of himself is too much fun.

Mr Cameron has yet to release his Christmas card. This is an interesting moment. How will he marry sending chunks of dead tree through an antiquated postal system with his pledges to be ‘green’ and ‘modern’? I’m assuming the cards will be made of recycled paper or something, but perhaps he’ll go a step further and send e-cards instead. It’d certainly grab a few headlines, and wouldn’t harm the financial situation either. But there’s always a chance it could swing the wrong way, and he could be called ‘miserly’.

I expect we shall soon find out.

This 1,004th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

Denmark’s innovative solution to speeding

I don’t know if Stephen Ladyman reads this blog – I suspect not – but you do, Dr Ladyman, here’s the Danish solution you’re missing on the path to road safety:

[flashvideo filename=”http://sjhoward.co.uk/video/speeding.flv” /]

Video credit alfabettezoupe via Iain Dale

Anyone sniggering at Dr Ladyman’s name should be ashamed. 😆

This 1,003rd post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics, Video.


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