Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Judge ordered off divorce case after “flying carpet” racist jokes
A high court judge has been ordered to step down from a case after allegedly making mocking remarks to a sheikh involved in a multimillion-pound divorce. CPD Webinars

Woman 'too young' for job wins landmark ruling
A membership secretary of an exclusive London club has become the first person to win a discrimination claim for being told she was too young for her job. Independent

Fantasist jailed for nailgun attack claims
A fantasist who shot himself with a nailgun on two occasions before claiming that he had been attacked by thugs in an attempt to win compensation has been jailed for two and a half years. Guardian

Yahoo to pay damages in Chinese dissident case after 'moral pygmy' attack in Congress
The internet company Yahoo has settled a lawsuit with a Chinese journalist and dissident who were both sent to prison after the company passed on their details to the government. Times

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules age discrimination claim against mandatory retirement at 65 can wait for Heyday judgment
A surge in age discrimination claims from workers forced to retire at 65 has become more likely after an appeal tribunal decision. Personnel Today

Rent a home in Scotland and get cancer drugs free, QC tells English patients
English cancer patients should rent a second home in Scotland to gain access to drugs not available in England, an expert on NHS law suggested yesterday. Times

Best of the Blogs

Heard the one about the vicar?
The High Court is asked whether the laws of blasphemy are compatible with free speech. By Frances Gibb. Times

BlushTest
BabyB puts the "blush test" to the test, with the help of his instructing solicitor and Chelsea tickets. Baby Barista at the Times

Blogger warned to delete Avis logo
A US blogger who reported on a court ruling has been ordered by car rental firm Avis to remove an image of its logo from his blog posting to avoid charges of trademark abuse. But is using a picture of a logo trademark infringement? The Register

Court considers the right to a private life for anonymous Owls
The High Court ruled in Sheffield Wednesday FC v Neil Hargreaves that the identity of anonymous makers of comments on a website could stay hidden where those comments were "trivial" in nature, even if they were defamatory. However, the identities of makers of more serious defamatory comments were to be revealed. Impact

Unsolved/Unsolvable... same difference
PC Bloggs explains which crimes are "screened out". PC Bloggs

And Finally...

Bone Rangers
Introducing London's most fashionable dog walking company. Bone Rangers

Cat nap
Funny if you've got a cat. Quite funny if you haven't. You Tube

Tattoo artist causes a lifetime of embarrassment
A Thai tattooist has taken one Australian's instructions a touch too literally after branding the words LEFT ARM and RIGHT ARM on his limbs. Madasafish

Jimmy Saville jumped by spec thief
Veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile has told how he was "jumped" by a young woman who ran off with his trademark glasses. Sky

Man arrested over hallucinogenic toad
A Missouri man has been arrested for the possession of a hallucinogenic toad. Ananova

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekly Review

Legal News

Compensation from Pentagon for British troops
Three British soldiers and their interpreter will receive collective compensation of £320,000 from the US authorities after they were injured by the US military. CPD Webinars

Judges back two British boys who refuse to live in France
Two boys who hated living in France so much they asserted their Britishness and refused to return to live there with their mother have been granted their wish by senior judges. Times

Mother's court fight to keep baby secret from father
A mother's decision to put a child conceived during a one-night stand up for adoption has turned into a legal dilemma over parental rights and responsibilities. Guardian

Farmer who toiled for no pay wins £2.3m will
A farmer who toiled on his cousin's land unpaid for more than two decades has won a two-year legal battle to inherit the £2.3 million estate. Telegraph

City high-flyer sues firm over 'Guantanamo detainee' jibes
A City high-flyer who worked on an innovative Islamic policy for a leading British insurer has brought a claim for racism against the company after he was welcomed to the office as "Guantanamo detainee 948". Independent

School funds raided to finance local authority equal pay claims
Children's education is set to become the next victim of the equal pay crisis as local authorities resort to desperate measures to fund multi-million pound bills. Personnel Today

Best of the Blogs

SoulDestroying
BabyB gets philosophical quoting some poetry. Sort of. Baby Barista at the Times

Podcast: Simon Myerson QC on Pupillage and how to get it
Charon QC talks to Simon Myerson QC. Charon QC

Legal Opinion: Is the training of barristers fit for purpose?
Learning the law is only part of what it takes to qualify as a barrister. Robert Verkaik, The Independent's Law Editor, considers a forthcoming review of the system for training the modern advocate. Independent

A Barrister's Diary
This week: a floating trial. We wait around all morning and then by agreement "float out" of the list until Wednesday. Shereener Browne on the Bar Council Blog

Privacy and social networks: bees to the honeypot
The papers are currently full of stories about social networks - igoogle, 'MySpace', Facebook et al - opening themselves up to third party applications and sharing user data with them. It's not surprising. Laurence Kaye on Digital Media Law

How the traditional role of lawyers will change
Richard Susskind suggests that after years of talking with a wide variety of lawyers, he has found that many practitioners have one thing in common: they seem to want to deny that they are, well, lawyers. They downplay the legal content of their jobs. Times

And Finally...


Don't die in parliament, it's the law
A ban on people dying in the Houses of Parliament has been named the most absurd legislation in Britain. Telegraph

World's most gullible supermarket chain falls victim to online scam
Red-faced accountants from one of the biggest supermarket chains in the US are frantically trying to regain control of more than $10m lost after falling victim to online fraudsters. The Register

Man cold
Are you a man with a cold or a woman with a man with a cold? Worth watching ....You Tube

Dentist's disco dancing drill danger
A woman is suing her dentist, claiming that he accidentally drilled into her eye because he was disco dancing while carrying out a tooth extraction. Metro

Man killed wife - then shot divorce judge
A millionaire murdered his wife, then shot the divorce judge who had ordered him to pay $10,000 a month alimony, a court was told. Mirror

Hotels, houses, paintings and gems . . . the price of settling up with a sultan
The world’s most expensive and exotic family squabble came to an end yesterday when five English judges finally settled a $1 billion row between the Sultan of Brunei and his little brother. Times

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Weekly News

Legal News

Record damages for disability discrimination
A London park worker who was made redundant has been awarded compensation of £550,000 after an employment tribunal ruled that he was the victim of disability discrimination. CPD Webinars

Butcher fined for mincer accident
A butcher's shop and its manager have been fined for an accident in which a 15-year-old boy lost part of his arm in a mincing machine. BBC

Paedophile 'being a danger isn't an offence'
A judge has been accused of putting children at risk for refusing to jail a predatory paedophile because "being a danger isn't an offence". Telegraph

Gay couple adoption appeal lost
An ex-magistrate who says he was forced to resign because he would not place children for adoption with gay couples has lost his appeal. BBC

Engineer jailed in Ulster wins damages for race bias
An African engineer who travelled to Northern Ireland for a holiday only to be wrongly imprisoned on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant has won an apology and compensation from the Border and Immigration Agency. Independent

Cartoon protesters' jail term cut
Three men jailed for their part in protests against cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad have won an appeal to reduce their sentences. BBC

Best of the Blogs

JudgeJewellery
Baby Barista confesses to a mild infatuation with a certain jewellery-stealing judge. Baby Barista at the Times

The end of lawyers? or The cartel’s last stand?
A report on Richard Susskind OBE, author, who has said a lot of things lawyers really don’t want to hear about the impact of information technology and the increased commoditisation of legal services on the future of the profession. f/k/a

Lawyers simply too dull to be on TV shock!
Charon QC reports on a story about Legal TV ditching programmes about and with real lawyers because they are too dull. Charon QC

The law explored: motive
Gary Slapper suggests that nothing you can do legally becomes unlawful just because you do it for the wrong reasons. Times

Endless new criminal laws that lead to injustice
More than 50 new criminal justice bills have been introduced in the last decade. Such a welter of complex legislation is taking its toll, says Robert Verkaik. Independent

And Finally...

Syphilis for Christmas?
Manufacturers are hoping their range of cuddly toy versions of microbes including gonorrhea and syphilis will be a hit for Christmas. Ananova

Halloween zombie mistaken for corpse
A drunken Halloween reveller in Germany found his costume was a little too realistic when he fell asleep on a train and was mistaken for a corpse. Sky

Mobile phone firms plan to find out what you’re talking about . . . and tell advertisers
Mobile phone companies have drawn up plans to monitor text messages and voice calls and pass the information to advertisers. Times

83-year-old finally quits McDonalds
The oldest McDonald's worker in the country has retired at the age of 83. Metro

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Surf the world

The following appeared in Real Travel Magazine in July 2007

SURF THE WORLD

Ever dreamt of riding the waves in a far-off destination but been unsure where to start? Here Tim Kevan guides you through six top surf spots around the world.

Bali
Subject to the risks presented by terrorism, Bali is the perfect place both to learn to surf and also for perfect waves for the best surfers in the world. For beginners the best place to learn in Kuta beach which is just near Legian where you will find much of the cheaper and best value accommodation. For the experienced surfer, one of the most consistent spots is Uluwatu which also lies near Padang Padang and its famous tubes. However, it tends to be crowded and extremely dangerous with the reef not far below the surface. If you’re thinking of staying for a longer time, one bit of advice once given by a fellow surfer was to invest in some fishing net and to offer it as a gift to one of the locals. He’d followed this same advice which had led him being introduced to the locals and eventually being given accommodation within one of their homes. As for getting there, flights are to Denpasar Airport (Kuta) which is an international terminal. For much of the time the best way to get around is by hiring a motorbike and getting shoulder straps for your surfboard. Bemo (taxi) drivers are everywhere if you want the surfing adrenalin rush on the land instead. Boat trips can be taken to spots such as G-Land. As for equipment, there are about 20 major well-stocked surf shops and again it is best to enquire with them as to lessons. Try to avoid January and February with its heavy afternoon rains and heavy humidity.

Gold Coast, Australia
Australia’s Gold Coast is one of the most famous surfing areas in the world, sitting as it does at the south of Queensland. Coolangetta is the best place to stay with youth hostels, budget hotels and motels all providing excellent value. To get there, international flights go to Brisbane and then you can get internal flights to Coolangetta or just drive an hour and a half. Buses from Sydney tend to take about 20 hours. Getting around can be by the Surf Side Buses or bikes although hire cars also tend to be reasonably priced. Beginners might try the beachbreaks north of Burleigh Heads with Broadbeach and Miami being two of the best spots. Ironically, ‘Surfer’s Paradise’ tends to be more dedicated to swmmers and so watch out for the flags. For the best surfers, a jewell in the crown is Kirra, the longest small wave barrel in the world. In the town of Coolangetta itself the best waves are at Greenmount Point and then Snapper Rocks just around the corner. Try to avoid September to November when the winds often interfere with the surf. There are more than 50 surf shops which are again the best place to start both for the equipment and also for asking about lessons. When there’s no surf, consider checking out Sea World, Sanctuary and Fleays among many attractions. Make sure that you respect the locals who can sometimes get aggressive in the sea if you’re not careful and get the highest sunblock you can find.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has surfing on both its east and west coasts from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans respectively. However, it is the west coast which provides a perfect destination for anyone learning to surf with consistent year round waves, lots of beach breaks to play in and tons of point breaks to improve further. Tamarindo’s Playa Grande is a good place to start with its excellent beach break and even the odd tutle in the line-up. The coast to the south is littered with good breaks from Langosta to Nosara. Just to the south of this at Punta Guiones, the reefs pick up any swell and can get big. For the really committed, two famous breaks which are a boat ride and four-wheel drive away are Potero Grande (also known as ‘Ollie’s point’ after Colonel Oliver North’s landing of weapons nearby) and Playa Naranjo in the north. To get there, San Jose is the main airport. There are also flights from Miami which land straight in Liberia (Guanacaste). There are daily flights to Tamarindo. May to November is the rainy season when most spots can only be reached by four wheel drive. Otherwise, the roads are much improved than in the past and a normal hire car will do although avoid driving at night. The bus system is also cheap and efficient. As for accommodation, there are numerous hotels in Tamarindo and also cheaper cabinas. Avellanes, Junquilla and Nosara are also good places to stay.

San Diego, California, USA
For many people, when they think of surfing, they think of the Beach Boys and surfing the Californian coast. A particularly concentrated area of good surfing Californian spots is around San Diego. To get there, you can fly to LA and then either get a connecting flight, drive down in about two hours or train it in about three. Once there, public transport isn’t much good and so you can either hire a car or alternatively stay in La Jolla where there is good access to the most number of spots. If the surf isn’t working, visit Sea World and the wave House Flowrider in Mission Beach. There is also baseball and football played at the dome. There are numerous beaches both to the north and the south. Easy waves can be found from Carlsbad to Encinatas. For the intermediate surfer, try Cardiff Reef which is particularly popular with longboarders. For the more adventurous, there is Blacks beach which is accessible via a fifteen minute cliff climb after which you may well find hollow waves. Big Blacks is for the really experienced surfers. If there’s a south swell and you want to get its full force then you can head to the south side of san Diego bay for spots such as Coronado and Silver Strand State beach. You’ll find numerous surf shops at Ocean Beach which tends to be a popular spot for San Diego based surfers.

St.Francis Bay, South Africa
Ever since the release of Bruce Brown’s surf movie Endless Summer about some surfers travelling the world in search of the perfect wave, surfers the world over have been aware of St.Francis Bay and the seemingly perfect wave of Cape St.Francis that just went on and on. This has now been over-shadowed by the discovery of Jeffrey’s Bay just nearby which is considered the best right hand break in the world. So much so that as Tom Anderson famously describes in Riding the Magic Carpet (Summersdale Publishing), he made it his life’s mission to ride that particular wave. However, the area, positioned between Cape Town and Durban, has far more to offer than just two famous breaks with some of the most consistent surf in the whole of South Africa. As for getting around, car rentals tend to be cheap and there are numerous hostels catering for surfers. Better quality options are the Cape St.Francis Holiday resort and the J-Bay Beach Hotel. They will direct you to the best person from whom to get surf lessons that season. The best time to go is between April and October when the winds tend to be better for surfing. However, if you want the best of the weather then it’s the other half of the year. Whilst it is certainly possible to learn on some of these beaches, this area is really best-suited to the experienced surfer. Take advice from the locals and beware of the sharks!

Cote Basque, France
One of the first places to take up surfing in Europe was the French resort of Biarritz situated in the South West and the whole of the surrounding area remains an excellent place to surf for those of all level of experience. It has the particular advantage of cheap direct flights which have opened up the area in recent years. The disadvantage of this is that at times some of the more popular beaches can become over-crowded. The main beach in Biarritz is the Grand Plage which tends to deliver heavy waves for the better surfers. However, just to the south and still within walking distance of the town centre is the Cote des Basques which is a great place for longboarders and therefore particularly suitable for beginners. The waves are gentle here and the beach is sheltered from afternoon breezes from the north west. If the swell gets a bit big then the waves tend to be smaller further down the coast at Hendaye Plage. Further afield, Spain is just a drive through the Pyrenees and you might even consider a trip to Pamplona and running with the bulls in the summer. As for getting around, you could stay in Biarritz and simply walk to the nearby beaches. Otherwise a car is essential. There are lots of campsites available from May to September and numerous hotels throughout the area from budget up to 4-star. Boards can be hired from the surf shop on the sea front at the Grand Plage.

Further information
Two particular British companies which provide surf holidays are: GSD (www.gowersurfing.com) and Surf South West (www.surfsouthwest.com). For further reading, see The World Stormrider Guide (Low Pressure), Surfing: A Beginner’s Manual by Wayne Alderson (Fernhurst Books, 1996), Surfer's Start-up: Beginner's Guide to Surfing by Doug Werner (Tracks Publishing, 1999) and www.magicseaweed.com.