Friday, August 12, 2011

Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine!

A combination of a massive police presence on the streets, persistent rain and another fine Magic Jane Espenson episode of Torchwood on BBC1 conspired to keep the revolting masses indoors on Thursday for the second night runner. Which was jolly welcome for all concerned.
David Cameron yesterday told Parliament that the government is exploring whether to ban people from using social networks or texting services if they are thought to be plotting criminal activity. Quite how this would be done or who would be responsible for policing such a ban, he didn't speculate. The Prime Minister said that 'intelligence services' and the police were exploring whether it was 'right and possible' to stop those who were found to be planning violence during times of unrest. One would, perhaps, have thought that the intelligence services (by which, I presume he means MI5) would've had slightly more import things to occupy themselves with than trawling around Twitter in search of sixteen year old socially inadequate misfits posting 'anybody fancy a riot tonight?') But, maybe not. Perhaps inevitably, rights groups have 'hit out' at any possibility of a ban, arguing that such an approach would be open to abuse and 'hurt the civil liberties' of people who have done nothing wrong. And, as easy as it is to take the piss out of such people who often do seem to be more interested in the human rights of those who don't deserve human rights, in this particular case, they're absolutely right. When you start with nonsense like that, you're only a few very short steps away from thought-crime. Texting and Blackberry Messenger are believed to have been the conduit for at least some of the 'rallying' in London, with the latter service allowing those intent on rioting to send messages to their network of contacts that could not be directly traced by the authorities. Blackberry owner, Research In Motion, has responded by saying that it would assist the police investigation 'in any way we can,' but Tottenham MP David Lammy said on Tuesday that RIM should temporarily shut down BlackBerry Messenger in an attempt to stop further rioting. Now, I like Lammy, I think he's a good bloke and a terrific constituency MP and he's been the model of dignity and grace over the last few days, but this appears, quite literally, to be a case of 'shoot the messenger' rather than tackling the root cause of the problem. Speaking during an emergency recall of Parliament, Cameron told MPs that anyone observing the riots would be 'struck by how they were organised via social media.' He said that the government would work with the police, intelligence service and industry to explore whether there should, or even could, be limits on social media in times of growing public disorder. The 'could' of course is the key point here. How are such measure to be achieved without affecting people who have no connection with rioting or thuggery at all. It's noticeable, actually, that most MPs didn't go down the route they probably would have twenty years ago, of completely demonising all new technology and trying to lay the blame for the riots themselves upon such things. For the simple reason that the vast majority of MPs these days are on Twitter themselves and they'd be lost without their mouthpiece to spout ad hoc, off-the-cuff comments on all manner of things that can be then picked up on by the press and quoted. Look at the papers on Monday of this week, for example, the first day that the riots were properly reported and you'll see reams of quotes from MPs about what a shocking discombobulation all of this effrontery is and, by and large, they've all been taken directly from Twitter. Cameron said that social media includes Facebook, Twitter and messaging technologies, including Blackberry Messenger. The home secretary Theresa May is understood to have been meeting with representatives of Facebook, Twitter and RIM to discuss their obligations during times of disturbance. In the statement, Cameron said: 'Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality. I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers.' MPs within the coalition are understood to doubt the technical feasibility and civil liberty implications of cutting off social networks, with many sceptical of the plan. The Open Rights Group has also criticised the approach, expressing concern about the prospect of suspending services and user accounts, as well as the threat to personal privacy and security. The group is also concerned that the move would set a 'bad example' around the world about Britain's stance on Internet freedom. After all, don't we criticise China and Iran for blocking access to Internet sites that their despotic governments consider to be not ideologically sound. The Daily Torygraph is reporting that newspaper Chinese People's Daily have already seized on the story, saying: 'The West have been talking about supporting Internet freedom, and oppose other countries' government to control this kind of websites, now we can say they are tasting the bitter fruit [of their complacency] and they can't complain about it.' And, do you know what? They're right. I'm loathed to agree with knobcheese oppressors like they are but if we go down that route, we're hypocrites, pure and simple. ORG director Jim Killock said: 'New measure to remove web freedoms of any sort will quickly be seized upon by oppressive governments to justify their own actions. The UK should not be using the same methods as governments in China, Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. Making laws in haste, with limited analysis and information, to deal with an exceptional problem is likely to create unbalanced laws and abuses of our rights.' John Bassett, a former official at GCHQ and now a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told Reuters that the government would be well advised to avoid a ban. 'The use of social media in the unrest looks like a game-changer,' said Bassett. 'But any attempt to exert state control over social media looks likely to fail.'

A man has been arrested over the sickening robbery from a Malaysian student who was mugged by apparent Good Samaritans after rioters attacked him in east London. Police said the suspect, believed to be in his twenties, was being held on suspicion of robbery in connection with the incident in Barking on Monday night. The attack on Asyraf Haziq, twenty, made headlines after it appeared on YouTube. Haziq had been on his bicycle on his way to a friend's house when he was targeted by rioters. A short while later, footage showed Haziq sitting on the floor bleeding when he was approached by a group of youths. They were seen seeming to help him before rifling through his rucksack, stealing his wallet and mobile phone. The student, from Kuala Lumpur, has been allowed home from hospital after undergoing surgery on his jaw, which was broken in the attack. Speaking at a press conference after the operation, Haziq said he had no ill-feeling about what had happened and wanted to stay in Britain to complete his studies. He said: 'My family are worried about me and my mother would like me to go home. But I am determined to stay. Britain is great. Before I came here I was very eager and I haven't got any ill-feeling about what happened. I feel very sorry for the people who did this. It was really sad because among them were children.' He also thanked those who had set up a website to raise money for him. A message on the Let's Do Something Nice For Asyraf Haziq site said just less than four thousand pounds had been donated by Wednesday night. On Wednesday, footage of the student recalling his ordeal from his hospital bed was posted online by a friend. In it, he said his attackers 'threatened to stab me, they told me they had knives.' He added: 'Some of them were quite young, maybe still in primary school. They had their hoods on and demanded my bicycle.' Haziq said two girls and a woman who lived nearby had helped him following the incident. Cameron said the attack had left him 'disgusted.' More than nine hundred people have been arrested over violence, disorder and looting in London, with over four hundred and fifty charged. Those arrested include two boys of seventeen and a man of eighteen held over an arson attack which destroyed a Sony warehouse in Enfield on Monday. The Met also began raids in Pimlico and Brixton as one hundred warrants were issued targeting those that looted shops. And the prime minister said the reinforced police presence of sixteen thousand officers will remain over the weekend. Wednesday was a comparatively calm night, with the exception of an incident in Eltham where officers were pelted with missiles by a group of people. Officers rounded up about one hundred and fifty men. The Met said the group had been dispersed by 22:00 BST. Officers made a total of one hundred and twenty seven arrests on Wednesday night. Some local residents were out on the streets claiming to be defending the area from rioters. Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin appealed to people not to resort to vigilantism. He said: 'There's ways to get involved and volunteer to put things back to communities through local authorities, through the police service, there's lots of things we can ask you to do which will make our city even safer. If you want to protect communities, come and join us, we've got plenty of space for special constables and volunteers but otherwise join local authorities - but don't become a gang.' Talking about the police raids, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh said: 'In the early hours of this morning we started knocking on doors to arrest people. We have got more than one hundred warrants which we will be working our way through over the coming hours and days.' The Met has also issued CCTV images of a man suspected of being involved in an attack on a sixty eight-year-old Richard Mannington Bowes in Spring Bridge Road in Ealing on Monday night. The victim, sadly, died in the early hours of Friday morning after spending four days in a coma. Mr Bowes, of Haven Green, Ealing, is believed to have been attacked after remonstrating with some teenagers who were setting fire to two industrial bins on Spring Bridge Road. Police officers were then pelted with missiles as they came to his aid. Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane asked the suspect to 'do the decent thing and give yourself up.' London mayor Boris Johnson has announced a fifty million quid fund to help town centres repair the damage caused by the disturbances. He said City Hall would work with councils and local communities to help prioritise the repair work. The announcement came as it was revealed a twenty six-year-old man who died after being found with bullet wounds in a car in Croydon on Monday night, was shot in the head. Police believe that Trevor Ellis, of Brixton Hill, and his friends were involved in an altercation with another group of nine people, resulting in a chase involving three cars. Ellis was shot during the chase. On Wednesday night the Met made a number of arrests in connection with the attack on the Sony DADC warehouse in Enfield, looting in central London and an arson attack on a furniture shop in Croydon. The Sony warehouse, which stored CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and games, was gutted in the blaze which was tackled by forty firefighters on Monday. Two of three teenagers arrested in connection with the fire - one seventeen-year-old and a man of eighteen - remain in police custody. The other boy of seventeen was released on bail. The two boys arrested on suspicion of burglary over the incidents in central London, seventeen-year-olds from Notting Hill and Belgravia, remain in custody. A Hugo Boss store and a bureau de change on Sloane Square were attacked between Monday night and the early hours of Tuesday before the looters targeted shops in Pimlico Road, police said. Two further arrests were made over the fire in The House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon. A fifteen-year-old boy questioned on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life has been released on bail, while a twenty five-year-old man was released without charge. A twenty one-year-old man arrested on Tuesday over the attack has been bailed until September. A fifteen-year-old boy who was pictured trying to prise open shutters of a shop in Salford has been arrested after his mother handed him in to police. The boy was filmed at Salford Shopping City as it was being looted in riots on Tuesday evening. Police said that his mother dragged him to the local police station and he is being questioned on suspicion of burglary. Thirty-one more people were arrested and charged overnight after disorder in Manchester and Salford. Greater Manchester Police have so far made one hundred and seventy six arrests in connection with the riots and more than seventy people had already gone through the courts. Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: 'The parent saw the picture of her son and was absolutely appalled, horrified and angry. What she did is extremely admirable and I thank her for handing him into local officers as it must have been a hard thing to do. I would urge members of the community who were left angered by the events of Tuesday night and believe they know of those involved to contact police as soon as possible. I would like to remind anyone caught and arrested will be dealt with robustly and will be brought to justice.' Police confirmed there were no incidents of disorder in Manchester or Salford on Thursday night. Thirteen of those most recently charged are teenagers, the youngest being a fourteen-year-old girl charged for burglary and a fourteen-year-old boy for going equipped. Police have also been given more time to question an eighteen-year-old man arrested on suspicion of arson following a fire at the Miss Selfridge store on Market Street. A teenager who has volunteered to be an Olympic Games ambassador has denied offences linked to rioting in London. Chelsea Ives, eighteen, was arrested after her mother spotted her on television and called police. She was filmed by the BBC throwing bricks at a sixty grand police car during the violence in Enfield on Sunday night. She was also charged with breaking into the mobile phone shops Fones 4 U and Vodafone and stealing equipment. 'She was first to pick up masonry and hurl it at the window,' said Becky Owens, for the prosecution. Westminster magistrates' court heard that Ives said after the alleged rampage that she had 'the best day ever.' Ives denied two counts of burglary, violent disorder and attacking a police car. She was described by her solicitor as a 'talented sportswoman.' She was remanded in custody until a date in August. Her mother, Adrienne, later described how she 'had to do what was right' after she said she saw footage of her daughter among the rioters and shopped her to The Law. She said, 'We were watching people lose their homes and businesses. She won't thank us ... but what else were we supposed to do?' An eleven-year-old girl smirked and refused to apologise as she was hauled before a court for her violent role in the riots. The girl, a primary school pupil until three weeks ago, was accompanied by her father. He shouted abuse at photographers as they left Nottingham Magistrates' Court. The court heard the defendant, who cannot be named because of her age, travelled sixteen miles to join the mayhem on Tuesday night and said the evening’s chaos had made her 'happy.' She told police she knew she was taking part in a serious disturbance but 'wasn't bothered' because 'none of us thought we were going to get caught.' The court heard she received a caution for criminal damage in 2010. When she was ten. During the proceedings she laughed and casually chatted with male security guards, prompting the judge to ask her solicitor, Lauren Manuel: 'Does she have any indication how serious this is?' Manuel replied: 'She now realises it was more than just messing about. Her understanding of what happened is limited because of her age.' In court the girl's father said: 'She knows what she has done and wants to say sorry.' But, when prompted to apologise to the judge she said nothing, smirked and looked away. She admitted criminal damage and attempted criminal damage and was given a nine-month referral order to work with a Youth Offending Team.

Well-known ex-royal layabout, horrorshow (and drag) Sarah Ferguson has flounced out of an Australian television interview in high dudgeon because she didn't like some of the questions she was being asked. The grand old Duchess of York (she had ten thousand quid) stormed off the Sixty Minutes set after reporter Michael Usher asked her to watch old News of the World footage of her offering to sell access to her ex-husband. Ferguson's manager John Scott said that he called the show's producer Hamish Thomson earlier this week, demanding that the walk-out was not shown on TV. 'He hasn't had the decency to get back to me,' he told the Daily Torygraph. 'Nor has [Channel Nine boss] David Gyngell, despite showing the Duchess in the worst possible light. We had gone through all the questions and subject matter beforehand and filmed all the walking in the park footage before we sat down. She did walk out when she was ambushed - no, it was entrapment - but after cooling down she said to me, "Fuck them, let's do this," and she did, but it was a banal interview and her demeanour reflected that.' Thomson yesterday responded: 'She agreed to talk about the issue, as she has already extensively done, so it certainly wasn't entrapment.' Ferguson, who was not invited to the royal wedding earlier this year, has previously said that the News of the World scandal 'saved' her, adding: 'Before I was just on auto-drive. Now I feel as if I've got my life back.'

American public broadcaster PBS has confirmed plans to launch a UK channel on Sky later in the year, while carriage talks with Virgin Media are also 'ongoing.' PBS UK, launching on 1 November to Sky's ten million-plus TV subscribers, will aim to make the broadcaster's 'rich offering of award-winning science, history and current affairs programming available to British viewers.' The channel will launch with a British TV premiere of Prohibition, the Ken Burns-directed three-part documentary series about the prohibition era in America. Reflecting the output of its US counterpart, PBS UK will also broadcast shows such as NOVA, American Experience and Frontline. It will sit within the Entertainment section of Sky's electronic programme guide, but PBS is still awaiting confirmation of its exact channel number. After recently securing a UK broadcast licence from Ofcom, PBS UK general manager Richard Kingsbury is 'in the process of securing a highly visible Sky EPG slot for PBS.' Carriage negotiations are said to be 'ongoing' with Virgin Media. 'It is a tremendous honour to be tasked with introducing one of America's most trusted brands to the British public,' said Kingsbury. 'Many will have watched PBS shows acquired by other channels without realising it, but with the vast majority of PBS's back catalogue still to premiere in the UK, there is a tremendous wealth of epic true stories available to craft a highly valued channel here.' The PBS UK channel is a joint venture between PBS Distribution and Canadian-born entrepreneur and philanthropist David Lyons. PBS will hold the international rights to the majority of the channel's output and will license its brand for the project.

Amanda Byram has signed up to present Sky1's new game show Don't Stop Me Now. The programme features an audience full of would-be singers, stand-up comics and variety acts who are invited on to the stage to perform in an attempt to win twenty five thousand smackers. However, every member of the audience also has a voting keypad and when over half have had enough of the performance the contestants will be ejected from the stage. Trapdoors, bungees and exploding stages are all possible means of getting rid of the hopefuls, but if they survive the one hundred-second performance they could be in with a chance of winning the money. Each week, a celebrity guest will join Byram to talk about the acts. 'I'm so thrilled to be a part of such a fun, exciting new talent show,' Byram said. 'We're hoping to find some serious talent along the way, but contestants be warned! One bum note or bad joke and your hopes and dreams of success will be literally swept away from you, with a dramatic departure from the show.' Meanwhile, Sky1's head of entertainment Duncan Grey said: 'Don't Stop Me Now is loud and funny and a little bit naughty.' Which, presumably, means it'll be neither but will be a load of old horseshit. 'We think it'll be high impact, don't blink or you'll miss it viewing for our customers.' Byram has previously worked on shows including Total Wipeout, The Swan and The Big Breakfast.

The actress and social rights campaigner Joanna Lumley has unveiled a statue of Peter Pan to recognise the part Dumfries played as birthplace of the children's classic story. Author JM Barrie credited the gardens of the town's Moat Brae house as his inspiration for the work. Lumley unveiled a wood-carving of his most famous creation at the entrance to the town. She is already a patron of the appeal launched last week to turn Moat Brae into a children's literature centre. The Peter Pan statue was provided by the action group, the People's Project, which is working to improve the appearance and reputation of Dumfries. Lumley said she was amazed at the work which had gone into the wood-carving. 'I absolutely love it - I am so impressed that it is all made out of one enormous spruce tree trunk,' she said. 'It is absolutely enchanting and it is standing outside the garden centre so everybody who is driving past on the road can see it.'

NBC is reportedly considering a remake of The Munsters. The project, which comes from Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, was first in development last year, but NBC decided not to pursue the show. Executives at the network have now asked Fuller to rework the script, TV Guide says. The new adaptation of The Munsters is expected to include all of the original characters from the 1960s sitcom and will keep the series' humour. However, it will now be an hour-long show and is thought to be 'edgier' and 'slightly darker' with more focus on the origins of the characters. When the potential remake of The Munsters was first announced last year, original cast member Butch Patrick criticised the idea. 'Honestly, it should be left alone,' he said. 'I think it shows they are desperate for content.'

Star Trek: Enterprise actor Connor Trinneer has claimed that the show was not responsible for the disappearance of the SF franchise from television. Enterprise was axed in 2005, while later attempts to revive Star Trek for television were rejected by CBS and Paramount. However, Trinneer, who played Trip Tucker on the show, told the official Star Trek website that his series was not responsible for the 'demise' of the TV franchise. 'I haven't heard anybody who blamed our show for doing that,' he argued. 'I think that [idea] was nonsense.' Trinneer added that he feels 'nothing but pride' for the work performed on Enterprise. 'I think our show, in a sense, got kind of burned,' he said. 'We happened to be the show [where], for whatever reason, they said, "Stop."' Because it was crap and nobody was watching it, mate. That's why TV shows usually get cancelled. Although, for all that, it was still miles better than Voyager.

Channel Four has ordered a second series of 24 Hours in A&E. The network has commissioned a second fourteen-part run of the popular fly-on-the-wall documentary format from The Garden Productions for transmission in 2012. The first series, also comprising fourteen hour-long episodes, was filmed in the A&E department of King's College Hospital, London. Both critically-acclaimed and a significant ratings hit - its audiences have so far averaged 3.2 million. 'Week after week this series, made by some of Britain's top documentary production talent, has proven it is possible to reveal, in intimate detail, the amazing and moving stories of frontline NHS staff and the patients whose lives often hang in the balance' said Channel Four's amusingly-named Hamish Mykura. Each programme in the series focused on the dramatic stories of patients treated within the same twenty four-hour period. From life-threatening brain injuries to splinters and from gun and knife wounds to strokes, 24 Hours in A&E got up close and personal to patients and medical staff, using seventy fixed cameras.

Pete Tong has been granted a restraining order against former Massive Attack singer Shara Nelson, who claims that she is 'his wife.' Surely there should be some sort of documentary evidence for such a claim, if true? Nelson, who sang on the trip-hop duo's breakthrough 1991 hit 'Unfinished Sympathy', also said that the Radio 1 DJ is her manager. Tong made the counter-claim that the singer often harasses him with nuisance phone calls, a court heard. The singer gave her surname to the court as Tong and insisted that the couple have a child together. Tong, who recently celebrated twenty years at Radio 1, said that her claims are untrue and have caused 'distress and embarrassment.' Nelson was banned indefinitely from contacting the fifty one-year-old and was given a twelve-month community order and eighty hours' community service. Following her guest spot with Massive Attack, Nelson went on to have five Top Forty singles herself, while her CD What Silence Knows was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 1994.

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond is to become the first corporate figure to give a business lecture for BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Diamond will deliver the inaugural BBC Today Business Lecture in November in front of two hundred guests, with an introduction from Today host John Humphreys, who will also interview him for the following day's programme. The lecture, due to be held at BBC Broadcasting House on 3 November, will also be covered by the BBC News channel and streamed in full on the Today website. Born in Massachusetts, Diamond sprung to fame after guiding the Barclays Capital investment banking division to huge success and massive profits. Last year, he placed thirty seventh in New Statesman's annual survey of the world's fifty most influential figures. After succeeding John Varley as group chief executive of Barclays on 1 January this year, Diamond has already received a bonus of six and a half million smackers. And, therefore, some may see him as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Don't come to yer actual Keith Telly Topping looking for a quick answer on that one. Ceri Thomas, the editor of Today, said: 'Business is a key part of Today's agenda and this annual event will not only see prominent figures exploring challenges facing the business world, but will also give our audiences a unique opportunity to hear about them. I am delighted that Bob Diamond has agreed to give the inaugural BBC Today Business Lecture. The BBC already has a proud tradition of hosting the Reith and Dimbleby Lectures, and I hope that this too will become an important fixture not just in the BBC calendar but for the business world as well.' Diamond said: 'I am honoured and delighted to have been invited to deliver the inaugural BBC Today Business Lecture. I think this is an important initiative from the BBC which demonstrates a bold commitment to providing a forum for business leaders to address the issues of the day, and should in turn improve the dialogue between the business world and wider society.' This year's Radio 4 Reith Lectures are to be delivered by Burmese pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi and former MI5 director-general Baroness Manningham-Buller. In June, the BBC published an archive covering sixty years' worth of Reith Lectures, including speeches by philosopher Bertrand Russell and 'father of the atomic bomb' Robert Oppenheimer.

The Monkees have abruptly cancelled the remaining dates on their reunion tour. Three of the original band members - Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork - went back on the road earlier this year, after a decade apart. But they announced on Tuesday that all further dates were cancelled, citing 'business issues.' 'I am disappointed but the situation was unavoidable and I want to apologise to all the fans,' wrote Dolenz. In a statement on his Facebook page, Dolenz wrote: 'The Monkee Tour has, indeed, been cancelled but for reasons that I cannot discuss at this time. I can say that the reasons pertain to business and are internal matters.' His words were echoed by fellow band member Peter Tork: 'I can only say that it has to do with business matters,' he wrote in a statement, also on Facebook. 'I sincerely regret that it is not possible to continue this wonderful tour. I especially regret the inconvenience to those of you whose plans have been disrupted. Thank you for all your love and support. I hope to see you on the road sometime.' Reports have attributed the cancellation to a scheduling dispute. Drummer and vocalist Dolenz has vowed to continue with his solo tour, with his spokesman firmly rejecting rumours that the musician had checked himself into rehab. 'It has nothing to do with any sort of substance abuse whatsoever.' The tour, which included dates in the UK and US, marked the group's forty fifth anniversary. The foursome, including Mike Nesmith - were propelled to stardom by The Monkees TV show, which first appeared on NBC in 1966. The band split after four years and some effing great records. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is a particular fan of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones Ltd and Head. And reckons that their version of Carole King's 'As We Go Along' from the latter is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful records ever made by anyone. So there. The original quartet got together in 1996 to record a new CD and a TV special - but  Nesmith dropped out a year later. The remaining trio reunited for a hugely successful tour a thirty fifth anniversary tour in 2001.

PCs are going the way of typewriters, vinyl records and vacuum tubes, one of the engineers who worked on the original machine has said. The claim was made in a blog post commemorating thirty years since the launch of the first IBM personal computer. No longer, said Mark Dean, are PCs the 'leading edge of computing.' No single device has taken the PC's place, he said, instead it has been replaced by the socially-mediated innovation it has fostered. While IBM was not the first to produce a personal computer, the launch of the 5150 on 12 August 1981 established standards and a design around which many desktop machines have since been built. 'When I helped design the PC, I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline,' wrote Dean, an IBM engineer who worked on the development of the 5150 and owns three of the nine patents for it. He revealed that he had already moved into the post-PC era as his primary computer was now a tablet. Dean does not deny that PCs will still be 'much used' in the future - and given that this blog is being written on one, I should bloody well hope so! - but are no longer 'the force for innovation' they once were. Instead, he said, it was the interaction they enable that was driving efficiencies in the workplace and changes in society. 'It's becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact,' he wrote. He added: 'It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people's lives.' Microsoft also marked the anniversary of the unveiling of the 5150 with a blog considering the changes it had brought about. Instead of talking about a post-PC era, Microsoft's Frank Shaw said the near future should be regarded as a PC-plus era given that more than four hundred million personal computers are set to be sold in 2011. Personal use of computers had spread beyond a desktop machine to game consoles, mobiles and on screens all around us, said Shaw. The future will see billions more going online and reaping the benefits of closer contact with computers, he said. The changes initiated by the PC was 'just getting started,' he added.

A woman from Egypt has filed for divorce from her husband over his cooking ability. The wife, who usually cooks for her family, was surprised one night when her husband, Mohammed Said, made dinner instead. Their sons were impressed with the meal and asked that their father cook for them from then on, according to daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm. Said works at a Cairo hotel as a chef. The court has refused to allow the divorce until the end of Ramadan to give time for the wife to reconsider her decision.

A man arrested for looting Liam Gallagher's Manchester clothing store Pretty Green has been sentenced to eight months in prison. The Beady Eye frontman's store, located on King's Street in central Manchester, was looted on Tuesday night during the riots across the UK. Its windows were smashed, leading to the shop having its stock stolen. Owen Flanagan, twenty eight, from Levenshulme, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary. He admitted to stealing clothing worth up to one hundred and seventy quid and two electrical items. It is currently not known if others will also be prosecuted for theft at the store.

FIFA has asked its ethics committee to investigate sixteen Caribbean football leaders in connection with the bribery scandal involving ex-presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam. The Caribbean officials are suspected of taking cash bribes to back Bin Hammam in FIFA's presidential election. They are also accused of denying the corruption attempt to investigators. Bin Hammam was found guilty of trying to buy votes last month, but is waiting to appeal. Football's governing body says the suspects include provisionally suspended Colin Klass of Guyana, a long-standing ally of former Caribbean football official the odious Jack Warner. The sixteen officials will be interviewed by former FBI director Louis Freeh's team and Fifa says more cases could follow.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is for all those currently banged up on remand, or at home wearing an electronic tag and awaiting sentencing.