Ding Dong, The Witch Is Guilty (Again)

The-Statue-of-JusticeAlmost two and a half years ago, I wrote about my disgust at the travesty of what was the Italian judicial system. Femme fatale and media darling and murderer, Amanda Knox, was found innocent after an appeal of her previous guilty verdict. She was released from prison and flown back to America where she could work on making millions from selling her story to a publisher and doing the usual round of morning TV talk-shows about how horrible it was to be found guilty of a crime she maintains she never committed.

However as of yesterday, it appears that the Italian courts have redeemed themselves. This re-running of the appeal process was ordered by Italy’s highest court, whose judges had demolished the grounds for Knox and Sollecito’s acquittals back in 2011. Two judges and eight jurors took 12 hours to deliberate, before returning to a packed, silent courtroom to hear Judge Alessandro Nencini sentence Knox to 28 years and six months in jail – more than her original conviction – while her ex-boyfriend, Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

Now that it has secured a conviction, an eventual attempt to extradite Knox is a possibility. Sadly though, most people in Italy find it very difficult to imagine the US authorities putting Amanda Knox on a plane and sending her back to Italy to serve out her sentence. It seems the best we can hope for in the end is that Interpol serve an international arrest warrant, preventing the murderer-cum-media-darling from ever leaving American borders.

Knox, who is currently studying for a degree in creative writing at the University of Washington (which might come in handy for the next round of appeals!), followed the court proceedings from her home in Seattle. After the verdict, she issued a fiercely critical statement, attacking the Italian justice system and saying she had “expected better”.

She added: “Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system. The evidence and accusatory theory do not justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution.”

I would tend to agree with her….but only up to a point. Her aquittal should never have been granted in the first place! She was acquitted due to a technicality, (the Italian appeals required Knox’s team to simply the DNA evidence against her to undermine the whole edifice of the original trial), made all the more farcical by the fact that the appeals panel was made up of lay judges (i.e. “judges” are essentially normal people selected, in a similar fashion as jurors in Britain or the U.S.) who had no formal legal understanding or qualifications.

Thus this ping-pong between the courts has done more to perhaps damage and tarnish Italy’s judicial reputation (which is already a laughing stock as a result of the various cases against Berlusconi) that it has done to damage Knox’s reputation….at least that’s the case in America.

For now, Knox can continue to cash in on her book sales and probably earn more doing another round of morning TV talk-shows, safe in the knowledge that her seat is not quite booked on an Alitalia flight any time soon.

Amanda Knox - Guilty

Ze Germans Are Coming

Fashion for 2014 Winter Olympics German Olympic Team Uniform_2Watch out Vlad, Ze Germans are coming, and they’re wearing a most frightening ensemble that will surely impact children all across Russia….a rainbow coloured uniform.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the German Olympic Team’s new Winter Olympics uniform resembles that most feared flag of all….the LGBT Rainbow Flag. Vlad-The-Terrible must be quaking in his homophobic boots.

But according to the German Olympic Sports Confederation, there is no subversive fashion statement. Rather, they say, the colourful uniforms for its Sochi Winter Olympics team are simply a bold fashion choice and not a subtle rainbow-symbol protest against Russia’s anti-gay policies.

The uniform’s designer, Willy Bogner, says that the inspiration for the look was not political, but simply a nod to “the great atmosphere” of the 1972 Summer Games in Munich. The German Olympic Sports Confederation also stated that the uniforms are “not a protest,” but that isn’t how the design is being interpreted since the unveiling.

Whatever anyone else thinks, I think the German team look “fabulous” 🙂

Ukraine’s Idea Of Human Rights

Ukrainian Police

Right now, things have escalated in Ukraine. The peaceful protests that had begun two months ago have descended into full scale riots. Two protesters have been confirmed killed, shot dead by police. The police on the other hand are claiming that they are brandishing guns, without carrying any live ammunition. And if you believe that, then you also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny!

Meanwhile, the police have chosen to adopt different tactics completely, such as stripping captured protesters naked in minus temperatures and subjecting them to humiliation , and in some extreme cases, torture.

THIS is what the ruling kleptocracy of Ukraine’s government have signed off on. This is THEIR idea of how best to deal with protesters. This is their opinion of how much an ordinary Ukrainian citizen’s life is worth. And THIS is the reason they should be removed from office. The dictatorship of Yanukovich and his cronies need to be ousted, and perhaps it has reached a point of “by any means possible”.

Heli-Hockey

Heli Hockey

Canadians love their hockey. They’re fanatical about it. And they also have some amazing remote frozen lakes with stunning scenery on which to play on the ice. The only problem though is getting there….which is where Bradley Friesen and his motley crew of helicopter pilots come in.

Ferrying a bunch of hockey players up into the backwoods of Canada for an impromptu game of hockey, they were so impressed with the guys on the ice that they even wanted to have a go….with their helicopters!

Skating a helicopter across the ice cannot be an easy thing to do. What’s even better is that it’s all on video for us to enjoy too.

The video is stunning and the piloting skills even more so.

Science Saturday – The Future Is Here

BBC Future takes a look of what will likely happen in the far future, from 1,000 years to one hundred quintillion (100,000,000,000,000,000,000) years.

The following are some notable predictions that are frightening:-

  • 2,000 yrs – Greenland’s ice sheet will have melted (assuming aggressive global warming).
  • 13,000 yrs – The Earth will have rotated, with the Northern hemisphere facing the Sun. This will cause more extreme weather and devastation.
  • 20,000 yrs – Chernobyl will finally be deemed SAFE!
  • 5,000,000 yrs – MEN will become extinct due to the disappearance of the Y chromosome.
  • 1,000,000,000 – The Sun’s luminosity becomes SO strong that life cannot survive on Earth.

Better write some of this stuff into my diary 😉

Science Saturday - A Timeline Of The Far Future