After Sir Jimmy Saville, Sir Cliff Richard?


United States preacher Billy Graham and Cliff Richard in 1967

From Rolling Stone in the USA:

Cliff Richard Sex Assault Investigation Expands

“I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail,” singer says

By Kory Grow

February 25, 2015

An investigation into sexual assault allegations against 74-year-old musician Sir Cliff Richard has “increased significantly in size,” U.K. police recently disclosed. The singer, who is best known for a string of U.K. hits with the group the Shadows, previously faced only one claim against him, but now authorities say he faces multiple allegations. He has not been arrested or charged, but The Telegraph reports police have previously raided his home in Berkshire, U.K., in association with the claims last August.

“I have no idea where these absurd and untrue allegations come from,” Richard wrote on his Facebook page in response. “The police have not disclosed details to me. I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail. I have cooperated fully with the police, and will, of course, continue to do so.”

The singer went on to say that he would not comment on the matter further until the investigation was done, “which I hope will be very soon,” he added. But that might not be the case, though. In a letter that South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton sent to a member of parliament, the BBC reports, he wrote, “It would be premature and potentially misleading to predict a likely date when it will be concluded.”

The alleged victim who made the first allegation was under the age of 16 at the time of the reported assault, according to The Telegraph, which is said to have occurred at a speaking event held by American Christian evangelist Billy Graham in June 1985. No details on the other complaint or complaints are currently public.

Although the police did not offer any further comment on the investigation, other than it was ongoing, The Associated Press reports they said that Richard has been cooperative.

Richard rose to prominence in the late Fifties with songs like his Drifters single “Living Doll,” a U.K. Number One that reached Number 30 in the U.S., and many U.K. hits with the Shadows like “Travellin’ Light.” He achieved his greatest chart success in the U.S. with “Devil Woman,” a tune that appeared on his 1976 album I’m Nearly Famous. He was knighted in 1995.

Football and racism in Britain


This 2010 video is called Kick It Out of Football – Racism.

By Kadeem Simmonds in Britain:

SIMMONDS SPEAKS: Did people really think racism disappeared?

Wednesday 25th February 2015

Football still has a problem and it never went away, says KADEEM SIMMONDS

As fans filled in to Stamford Bridge last Saturday for the match against Burnley, a video was played on the big screen. It was an anti-racism clip that had to be shown as a reminder that racism will not be tolerated at the club.

It followed the racist attack on French-Mauritian Souleymane S in Paris a fortnight ago.

As Souleymane attempted to board a Paris Metro train on his way home from work, a group of Chelsea supporters — in France for that night’s Champions League tie against Paris St Germain — shoved him off and chanted: “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.”

A nation-wide hunt for the supporters began the following morning and by the weekend a few of them had been named and shamed, including Richard Barklie, an ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary and Police Service of Northern Ireland officer and currently a director at human organisation the World Human Rights Forum.

The World Human Rights Forum should be careful that Mr Barklie’s behaviour will not make them look as fake as the Qatari dictorial government-founded Qatari National Human Rights Committee, or the Afghan (so called) Independent Human Rights Commission.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho used his Friday press conference to say he was “ashamed,” while owner Roman Abramovich was “disgusted” and offered Souleymane a ticket to the second leg of the match at Stamford Bridge.

Souleymane turned down the offer and who could blame him? He isn’t a fan of the sport and after what happened to him, why would he want to spend an evening with Chelsea supporters?

The whole incident has brought racism back to the forefront of the game but it has always been there.

If the public thought racism had left football before the attack in Paris a fortnight ago they are wrong.

You only have to look at the comments Stan Collymore gets when he tweets or what other black players are called on social media.

If what happened to Souleymane wasn’t caught on video no-one would have known about it. It may be cynical of me but there is probably evidence of racism up and down the country at football grounds every weekend.

Following Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Tottenham and West Ham a video was uploaded of alleged West Ham fans chanting vile anti-semitic chants and called Spurs fans “fucking Jews.”

The fact that an organisation like Kick It Out is still around shows that the problem is one that needs to be addressed.

I don’t want everyone working there to be out of a job but it would be great if football didn’t need a group to stamp racism out of the game.

But it does because the Football Association, Fifa and Uefa are not taking the problem seriously enough and when they say they do it’s a bold face lie.

The next World Cup is being held in Russia, where the fans are notorously racist and there have been cases this season of fans of Russian teams competing in the season’s Champions League acting in a racist manner, forcing the teams to play their matches behind closed doors.

But has Fifa stripped them of the World Cup? Of course not.

Were they to be kicked out of the tournament until they cleaned up their racism problem, it would send a clear message that it will no longer be tolerated.

But let’s not ignore the fact that Britain needs to stop pointing the finger at other countries’ racist supporters and attempt to sort out its own fans.

Black players are not hounded and villified as badly as they were a few decades ago but there has been more than one occasion over the past few seasons where black players have scored in the Premier League and fans have made monkey gestures.

For too long the FA has acted like it sorted out the racism on the terraces but it hasn’t. Small pockets of fans continue to behave in a racist manner, proving it is still well and truly alive.

Alyson Rudd from The Times and the FA have patted themselves on the back over the past few days and tried to act like this “incident” shows how far football has come. But it is has not come far enough in my opinion.

And as for Chelsea. While they can act disgusted and condemn the racist attackers, that wasn’t the club’s stance in 2012 when captain John Terry was banned for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Twitter was awash with jokes after the incident, most along the lines of Chelsea had banned three suporters for racist language and handed a fourth a new contract and made him captain.

While this is no laughing matter, the London side are made to look like a joke considering the way they have handled issues of racism in the past.

I find it difficult to watch Chelsea continue to be applauded for the way they are handling this case when they dealt with the Terry one so appallingly.

They allowed the former England defender to continue playing which basically sent out the message: “Racism is wrong unless you’re a good player and we need you, in which case we will sweep it under the carpet and hope it never gets brought up again.”

Queens Park Rangers’ caretaker boss Chris Ramsey put it best yesterday when he said:“Racism in football has been parked, not eliminated.”

THE British Transport Police (BTP) yesterday released pictures of seven men in relation to racist chanting a day after Souleymane S was shoved off the Paris Metro in France. The men, believed to be Chelsea fans, were allegedly chanting racist songs at St Pancras International station in London: here.

Chelsea were pleading with their fans yesterday to keep the atmosphere at Wembley “positive” with worries that there could be anti-semitic chanting at the League Cup final. With Tottenham’s links to London’s Jewish community and Blues fans in the past chanting anti-semitic songs — something the club have admitted — the Blues are reminding fans of the responsibility they have to the club: here.

Save British seagrass meadows


This video from the Red Sea in Egypt is called Green seahorse in sea grass.

From Wildlife Extra:

Government urged to consider important UK seagrass areas

A newly formed NGO has responded in the consultation process to establish the next tranche of Marina Conservation Zones (MCZs).

Project Seagrass is comprised of internationally recognised experts in seagrass ecology and management.

There is an expanding body of literature illustrating how UK seagrass meadows play a significant role in supporting coastal biodiversity and fisheries productivity.

Seagrass meadows cycle nutrients, provide nursery habitat for young fish, are key foraging grounds for adult fish, prevent beach erosion, support human wellbeing, and harbour culturally significant species, such as seahorses.

Fish growing up in a seagrass meadow will have higher chances of reaching maturity and spawning a new generation than those in an alternative low quality nursery habitat such as bare sand.

However, the group says that UK seagrass meadows are under extreme pressure.

As primary producers living in sheltered coastal waters they are subjected to the problems associated with poor water quality and limited catchment management.

Anything that reduces light availability within the water column will result in stress to these plants.

This is compounded by other physical stressors such as anchor and mooring damage, destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling, raking and bait digging, and coastal development eroding the long-term resilience of the seagrass systems.

Project Seagrass maintains that providing appropriate and widespread protection for these habitats has never been more urgent.

In a 2013 Swansea University survey throughout the British Isles only two important seagrass sites were found not to have been impacted by poor water quality.

Additional studies utilising GoogleEarth and site visits have revealed the extent of the threats imposed by the impact of inappropriate mooring damage on seagrass meadows throughout the UK.

Examples of the degradation that current mooring practice causes can be seen at Studland Bay, Poole Harbour, Salcombe and around the Isle of Wight.

In the new round of proposed MCZs, the seagrass meadows at Nettle and Mount Bay are included but, the group says, neither is extensive nor particularly threatened.

Adding protection to both of these sites may help in the long-term but is unlikely to have any immediate effect on their management or conservation; effectively these sites are ‘easy wins’ for MCZ creation as neither spots have particular value for alternative uses.

By contrast, seagrass meadows surrounding the North and East of the Isle of Wight and throughout the Solent are under extreme pressure, says the Project, and these have not been included.

The pressure is due to the cumulative impacts of poor water quality, boat use (anchor and mooring damage) and destructive fishing practices (bottom trawling, raking, bait digging).

In addition, seagrass meadows in many other areas of the south English coast, for example Studland Bay, are also under pressure from boat use (moorings and anchors) and, again, not included in the current MCZ proposals.

Project Seagrass says there exists sufficient scientific evidence for the long term protection of all seagrass meadows in the UK.

It has requested as part of its submission that DEFRA reconsider its exclusion of Bembridge, Norris to Ryde, Studland, and Yarmouth to Cowes from the 2nd tranche of MCZs.

Meadows in need of immediate action such as Bembridge, Norris to Ryde, Studland, and Yarmouth to Cowes must be included as MCZs, it says.

For more information visit www.projectseagrass.org.