>Keane goes to town

>Roy Keane has blamed overblown egos rather than any lack of technique or innate talent for England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 and believes Jose Mourinho would be the ideal successor to Steve McClaren.

“Technically England are as good as Germany and France and people shouldn’t panic because they are nearly a good team but there are too many egos (in the England squad), way too many,” insisted Sunderland’s manager yesterday. “I mean big heads who are side-tracked by stuff away from football. We all know which players we’re talking about, we all know their lifestyles.

More here

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>BTW, dont worry about me and the lack of posting right now. I am very busy trying to get everything in life functioning smoothly. Oz looks a go-go as does Malaysia. My trip up north to Manchester and Sheffield is set, Joe is over in December to see Newcastle play Fulham in London; Barcelona for New Year is looking real. Work is winding down, my health, weight and strength are fine and I am even playing the old guitar again.

I see Oz as a new dawn. the last nights were excellent but its time to move on, get involved more with people and settle the mind. its happy dan.

>Old but still make you giggle

>

Below are a series of signs/notices which have been translated into English but somewhere lost their original meaning!

1. In a Tokyo Hotel: It is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notice.

2. In another Japanese hotel room: Please to bathe inside the tub.

3. In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.

4. In a hotel in Athens: Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

5. In a Yugoslavian hotel: The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

6. In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

7. In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

8. On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

9. In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courageous, efficient self-service.

10. Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop: Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

11. In a Bangkok dry cleaner’s: Drop your trousers here for best results.

12. Outside a Paris dress shop: Dresses for street walking.

13. In a Rhodes tailor shop: Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

14. In an East African newspaper: A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

15. In a Vienna hotel: In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

16. In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

17. In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist: Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

18. In a Rome laundry: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

19. In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency: Take one of our horse-driven city tours — we guarantee no miscarriages.

20. In a Bangkok temple: It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

21. In a Tokyo bar: Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

22. In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.

23. On the door of a Moscow hotel room: If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

24. In a Norwegian cocktail lounge: Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

25. At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

>When we have ‘friends’ like this, what does it say about us?

>An appeal court in Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of lashes and added a jail sentence as punishment for a woman who was gang-raped.

The victim was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes – she was in an unrelated man’s car at the time of the attack.

When she appealed, the judges said she had been attempting to use the media to influence them.

The attackers’ sentences – originally of up to five years – were doubled.

According to the Arab News newspaper, the 19-year-old woman, who is from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, was gang-raped 14 times in an attack in the eastern province a year-and-a-half ago.

Seven men from the majority Sunni community were found guilty of the rape and sentenced to prison terms ranging from just under a year to five years.

But the victim was also punished for violating Saudi Arabia’s laws on segregation that forbid unrelated men and women from associating with each other. She was initially sentenced to 90 lashes for being in the car of a strange man.

On appeal, the Arab News reported that the punishment was not reduced but increased to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence.

The rapists also had their prison terms doubled. But the sentences are still low considering they could have faced the death penalty.

The Arab News quoted an official as saying the judges had decided to punish the girl for trying to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.

The victim’s lawyer was suspended from the case, has had his licence to work confiscated, and faces a disciplinary session.

Yet we say nothing because they are a democracy? they believe in freedom? equality? Dawkins was right that we shouldnt tolerate religion intolerance in the name of some freedom to worship. This is akin to North Korea. a disgrace on our humanity. but they have oil and the authoritarian regime agrees with us so lets keep all those pretty, grandiose speeches about loving freedom, believing in democracy and human dignity to one side and make some money.

>The Final Five

>I find this quite incredible. There are only 5 British World War 1 survivors left alive, the youngest aged 106, the eldest 111 years old. Only five men who can remember what it was like to serve in the Great War which cost so many lives in such wasteful fashion. While men were called up to serve, an involuntary act, the fact that they did serve, saw their friends and comrades, the men they lived, fought and tried to survive with, battle, live or die is quite incredible.

These aren’t the battles of today with their armaments, aerial bombardments and helicopter evacuation. These are the Battle of the Somme, Gallipoli, Yves and Jutland. Battles fought in a mechanical age of tanks and machine guns but with imperial commanders who concerned themselves with the fate of man over the fate of their men.

The images of the war, grainy and solemn, were censored to us as kids. The horrors were considered too much for us and so they fade in importance in our soundbite era. They may not have been a concerted Holocaust but with figures like 60,000 lost on the first day of the Somme, these battles were devastating. All the more so as regiments were made up of towns and villages. A bad day on the field meant the loss of scores of men from family lives. And there were too many awful days.

So I salute these guys. I am ashamed to say I had wondered aloud if any of these men were still alive. Well there are 5 on the British side and maybe the same amount each amongst the other nations. As a Phillip K Dick character lamented “I have seen things others cannot imagine. Now they will be lost like tears in the rain.”

Thankfully we have learnt from history. Moved on but to what degree. As Boxer pointed out by in Orwell’s Animal Farm the faces may change but what else does. We are still faced with the same fundamental challenges. Enough to make a man sigh.

A profile of the Final Five is here