Saturday, December 31, 2005

Stuart and Aileen wish you a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Congratulations to Wal-Mart workers who've been awarded more than $170 million in compensation after being illegally denied lunch breaks.

Instead of courting free publicity by reminding shoppers of the sacrifices made by US troops overseas, perhaps Wal-Mart should focus more on the sacrifices made by its own workforce.

Average hourly wages at Wal-Mart are $9.68 -- $2.60 below the average for American retail workers.

In 2004, Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott earned $17.5 million in total compensation -- double the average for leading American CEOs (source Wal-Mart Watch)
If, like me, you're stuck in the office today, counting down the hours until the start of the Christmas break, why not cheer yourself up by browsing the Furry World Gallery.

It's guaranteed to bring a large dollop of Christmas cheer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

As 2005 draws to a close the State Department is celebrating its work in the field of humanitarian mine action.

The United States remains the largest single donor country to humanitarian mine action worldwide.

But, as I keep repeating, the US has failed to show leadership by its continued refusal to sign up to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty -- and has abstained from voting on every annual pro-Mine Ban Treaty UN General Assembly resolution since 1997.

The United States has little cause for celebration.

Friday, December 16, 2005

An important decision for journalists from the Central London Employment Tribunal.

The tribunal has ruled that ABC News unfairly dismissed one of its correspondents, London-based Richard Gizbert, because he refused to go to Iraq.

"This ruling amounts to a vindication for an individual, it amounts to an indictment for one particular company, ABC News/Disney, and it's a warning to other news organisations that your voluntary war zone policy has to mean what it says," Mr Gizbert said.

I'm glad to say that in my organisation we have a voluntary war zone policy that means exactly that.

Staff aren't exactly lining up to be sent on assignment to places like the Baghdad bureau and this can, at times, be problematic for those responsible for organising the deployments.

But crucially it means that every person sent off to work in a dangerous place is there of their own accord -- and not because a shiny-arsed manager has ordered them to go.
One of the joys of podcasting is the way it occasionally throws up some unexpected diamonds amid the rough.

Bike Talk Radio is one such jewel which I recently discovered while browsing idly through the podcasts on iTunes.

The show is broadcast on community micro-station KDRT out of Davis, California -- the so-called "Bicycle Capital of the US."

To be blunt, it's not the world's greatest radio programme.

It's clear from the production values that the show is made by passionate volunteers, not seasoned broadcasting pros.

It's a squeaky but lovable old bone-shaker of a programme rather than a sleek carbon-fibre 2006 racing model -- but isn't that exactly what community radio is supposed to be about?

In an ever-more homogenous media landscape, Bike Talk Radio is a beacon of diversity aimed squarely at the community it serves.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

During my absence the 2005 edition of Landmine Monitor was launched.

This year's publication reports that global use of antipersonnel mines and the number of mine casualties have fallen (good news) but over 200,000 square kilometers of the world are thought to be contaminated by mines and an estimated 15,000-20,000 people are maimed or killed by mines and UXO each year (bad news).

LM is essential reading for anyone interested in the landmine issue.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Things are settling down on the home front -- which means the blog can reopen for business!