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G20 protests: Inside a labour march
August 30, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

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News briefs:July 27, 2010
August 30, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
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New Zealand broadband subscribers increase
August 28, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The amount of subscribers to broadband in New Zealand have increased 30%, which also results in New Zealand jumping from 22 place to 19 in the OECD rankings, and having a total of 1.4 million Internet subscribers.

In a six-monthly survey by Statistics New Zealand, Internet Service Provider Survey, covering the six months prior to September 30, 2006, the amount of non-analog broadband subscribers reached 28.6%, more than the previous survey conducted the previous year, reaching a total of 611,600. There are currently 14.7 broadband subscribers per 100 people in New Zealand, previously nine.

… we have a long way to go before New Zealanders are able to experience the full potential of broadband.

Because of the increase in broadband subscribers, dial-up subscribers have dropped 5.1% since the start of April, 2006. Chief executive of ihug, an Internet service provider, Mark Rushworth said that dial-up will always have its place.

Out of all the broadband subscribers, 97.6% have a data cap, which limits the amount of monthly downloading that can occur, usually measured in multiples of gigabytes. 66.6% of all those who do have a data cap, have a limit of up to 5 gigabytes. Which the Internet Society of New Zealand’s (InternetNZ) executive director, Keith Davidson, said was disappointing.

The increase in broadband subscribers rose the position of New Zealand from 22 to 19 on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rankings for broadband uptake, dated June, 2006.

InternetNZ, has said that they welcome the survey saying that it is a good improvement, but “…with 60 percent of DSL subscribers having download speeds of less than 256Kbps and 90 percent having upload speeds of less than 256Kbps, we have a long way to go before New Zealanders are able to experience the full potential of broadband.” InternetNZ also says that it will be hard for New Zealand to reach the targets set out by the Government’s “Digital Strategy”.

Mr Davidson said that the main reason for the uptake in broadband is the better plans and pricing for the plans.

In the 18-months leading up to the end of September, 2006, 34% of ISP’s had reported that the regulatory environment had been restricting their growth.

Finding The Best Accommodation Ilfracombe}

August 26, 2018 · Boutique Hotels · (No comments)

Finding the Best Accommodation Ilfracombe

by

Brian MillerWhen you are sick and tired of your daily routine, your first thought is to pack your bags, get in the car and drive wherever the wind takes you. However, you should know that if you really want to relax and have a nice trip, you will need to look for Accommodation Ilfracombe that will offer you all of these advantages and many others. In fact, you should be looking for a popular Bed and Breakfast Ilfracombe where you can stay for as long as you desire.Despite the fact that you might find hotels more accessible, you should know that this is not entirely true. In fact, you would be able to benefit from far better conditions if you choose to stay at a Bed and Breakfast Ilfracombe. First of all, this type of establishment is not extremely large and the rooms don’t all look the same. You can choose from a few single and double rooms, depending on how many people are travelling with you and your personal preferences.Every single one of these rooms has its own charm. Before you make any decisions regarding Accommodation Ilfracombe, it would be a good idea to talk to friends and relatives that have visited this area before. All the relevant information that you manage to collect, will help you make a proper decision that you will not regret. Pick a Bed and Breakfast that has a great reputation, that can offer you the opportunity to stay in a regular or premium room and that is located in the countryside. Truth being told, there is a lot that you can learn from their personal experience. Even though you are different and have different expectations from such an establishment, you should still ask them about the cleanliness of the rooms, about the reliability of the internet connection and the taste of the food that you can enjoy while being there.Obviously, you want to stay at a Bed and Breakfast Ilfracombe that is not only welcoming, but that will also offer you the chance to relax in a room that matches your particular requirements. People that have already visited a few similar establishments in the area will be able to tell you everything you need to know about the conditions that each of them has to offer. Most probably, you will also learn about certain Accommodation Ilfracombe options that are not worth your while.Nevertheless, before you rule any B &Bs out, you should do some online research and see what you can find out about them. As long as you will visit a few different websites, you will be able to read some comprehensive descriptions of the local establishments. All the relevant information that you manage to collect, will help you make a proper decision that you will not regret. Pick a Bed and Breakfast that has a great reputation, that can offer you the opportunity to stay in a regular or premium room and that is located in the countryside.

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Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France

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Sarkozy appoints François Fillon as Prime Minister of France
August 26, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Thursday, May 17, 2007File:Francois fillon1.jpg

The new President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy has appointed François Fillon to head the new French government. Fillon’s predecessor Dominique de Villepin stepped down yesterday, and formally handed over the post during a ceremony today.

The nomination did not come as a surprise after the British newspaper the Financial Times had reported on May 8 that Sarkozy had introduced Fillon to Tony Blair in a telephone conversation.

François Fillon (53) has been the political advisor of Sarkozy in the UMP for the past 2 years, and he was Sarko’s campaign leader during the recent presidential elections. Fillon has experience in negotiating with the trade unions, having undertaken controversial reforms of the 35-hour workweek and the pension system. Sarkozy in his inauguration speech on Wednesday reiterated his plans to reform the French labour and social system, and Fillon will have to oversee these reforms as the new Prime Minister. Sarkozy said he wants to make the economy more flexible and lessen social tensions.

I expect I’ll end up being the first French premier with a Welsh wife.

The Guardian reported that Fillon is an Anglophile; his wife Penelope Clarke, with whom he has 5 children, was born in Wales. Ideologically, Fillon is being described as a moderate left-leaning member of the conservative UMP party.

Fillon had his first experience as a minister in 1993 when he became Minister for the Higher education and Research under PM Édouard Balladur. He later became Minister for the Post office, Telecommunications and Space, then Minister for the social Affairs, Work and Solidarity, and finally Minister for national Education, the Higher education and Research. At the university, he studied public law and political sciences.

Sarkozy might announce his cabinet of 15 ministers as early as Friday, half of which are going to be women, he said. Fillon will lead the UMP in the parliamentary elections next month. A poll on Wednesday predicted a 1.5% increase in votes for the UMP, up to 40%, compared to 28% status-quo for the allied socialists.

Reports say that Sarkozy has offered the foreign minister post to Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, who is seen as being on the left in French politics.

An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer

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An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer
August 26, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

As families fled their homes in the early morning hours on Thursday October 26, there was no warning. The Esperanza Fire southeast of Los Angeles and West of Palm Springs, California, had ballooned under the influence of Santa Ana winds to more than 19,000 acres as of the morning of October 27. No time to get the animals, no time for crates or even a leash. Sadly, owners left behind not only their horses, lamas, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, but also their dogs and cats.

Many of the families who did manage to evacuate their pets found themselves in the parking lot at the Fellowship in the Pass Church Red Cross Shelter where a MuttShack Animal Rescue team caught up with them.

Pam Anderson, Director of the emergency Red Cross shelter said that many people with animals had come and left.

The air was thick with smoke, and ash was raining down on the parking lot where dog owners, not able to take their dogs into the shelter were camping out in pup tents andin their cars.

Those who could afford it checked themselves into pet friendly hotels in nearby towns.

Some were prepared. Jane Garner, a small dog breeder was able to get all her animals out, and had set up her puppy runs alongside her RV in the parking lot. Others were not doing too well, having left home without as much as a leash.

The same scenario played out at the Red Cross shelter at Hemet High School. Animals were being boarded in vans, trailers and cars and small travel crates.

When MuttShack Animal Rescue arrived, a small fracas had sent several dogs off in different directions, running out of the school parking lot down busy streets necessitating an instant rescue response.

The Incident Command for the Esperanza Animals, Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto welcomed MuttShack‘s offer to help at the shelters.

Ramona Humane Society had recently published a notice in their Newsletter about the newly passed “PETS Act”and warned owners not wait until a major disaster such as an earthquake or fireto prepare. “Be proactive to ensure that your pet will be taken care of.”

MuttShack and PetSmart Charities set up ad hoc facilities for the animals at both shelters.

The Red Cross shelter, run by Madison Burtchaell of the Orange County Red Cross was very accommodating about allowing a small emergency pet shelter adjacent to the School.

Barbara A. Fought of PetSmart Charities, an organization that works with animal welfare organizations and provide assistance in disasters, provided crates and emergency supplies.

MuttShack and Red Cross volunteers, Martin St. John, Tom Hamilton, and Steve Meissner helped assemble the crates to secure a safe environment for evacuated pets.

It was a great relief for evacuees who had camped out in the parking lot to finally leave their vehicles and relax at the shelter, setting up their cots to grab some sorely needed rest.

Firefighters and residents reported loss of wildlife and animals. The Esperanza fire burned 34 homes, consumed 40,000 acres and cost five Firefighters their lives before it was contained four days later on October 30. Firefighting operations cost nearly $10 million.

MuttShack Animal Rescue is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization active in disasters and dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of lost or discarded dogs, cats and other animals.

Wikipedia plans to introduce new editing restrictions on articles

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Wikipedia plans to introduce new editing restrictions on articles
August 25, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The English version of Wikipedia, the self-described free, online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, has planned to install new restrictions on its editing system on articles regarding biographies of living people.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Has Wikipedia done the right thing? What is your opinion on this new editorial process?
Add or view comments

Under the new plan, anyone can edit the affected articles, but the changes would have to be approved by a more experienced user before they could be registered. The move is part of an effort to prevent vandalism and unconstructive edits being made to high-profile pages and increase content quality. The system is called “flagged revisions”.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said that there would be a “very, very low threshold to entry” for those who desired editorial rights. “We’re looking at anybody who has been around a very short period of time and hasn’t been blocked [banned],” he said.

Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate
August 25, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

Blue Security anti-spam community target of large-scale spam attack

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Blue Security anti-spam community target of large-scale spam attack
August 25, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Beginning Monday morning, many BlueFrog and Blue Security users began receiving an email warning them that if they did not remove their email addresses from the Blue Security registry, they would begin to receive huge amounts of unsolicited email. As quickly as four hours after the initial warning message, some users began to receive an unprecedented amount of spam. Most of the messages were simply useless text. Users reported that Blue Security’s website was unavailable or extremely slow in responding.

Blue Security is an online community dedicated to fighting spam. As they became more popular, their member list increased substantially. The members’ email address is encrypted and added to a list of e-mail addresses that wish to stop receiving spam. Blue Security maintains the encrypted list, which uses an encrypted hash function. Spammers are encouraged to remove all addressed from their email list that are also in Blue Security’s Do Not Intrude Registry by using free compliance tools available at Blue Security’s web site.

According to Blue Security’s web site, “A major spammer had started spamming our members with discouraging messages in an attempt to demoralize our community. This spammer is using mailing lists he already owns that may contain addresses of some community members.” Reportedly, Blue Security has received complaints from users about spam allegedly sent from Blue Security promoting their anti-spam solution and web site.

Blue Security states they are “an anti-spam company determined to fight spam and as such never has and never will send unsolicited email.” There are also reports of non-users of BlueSecurity/BlueFrog receiving the warning emails, which now seems is also being sent to email addresses of people who have never added their email address to Blue Security’s Do Not Intrude Registry.

Exclusive interview with prominent blogger, David Farrar

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Exclusive interview with prominent blogger, David Farrar
August 25, 2018 · Uncategorized · (No comments)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Freelance journalist writing for Wikinews, Gabriel Pollard, with help from Brian Anderton, has interviewed New Zealand-based blogger, David Farrar on blogging, web 2.0, and the Internet in general.

David Farrar is most known for his “fairly popular” blog, Kiwiblog, where he posts on various topics, including politics and technology. He is the vice-president of the Internet Society of New Zealand, and has been involved in helping to split Telecom New Zealand up and in anti-spam legislation.

David Farrar first started using the “best invention ever,” Internet, in February 1996 after having owned a BBC Micro microcomputer since 1982. On the Internet he debated various issues using Usenet newsgroups. Kiwiblog now serves for this purpose. He then got his own personal Internet account with ihug in August of that year.

Farrar also has political ties, which can be seen in some of his blog posts. For eight years, Farrar worked for various Prime Ministers (PM) and Opposition leaders for the National Party, working with the likes of former PM Jim Bolger and former PM Jenny Shipley in the Media Services Unit of Ministerial Services.

Until Farrar landed himself a job in parliament, he had been using mainly Apple computers, “[I] finally converted to Microsoft in 1997 after being the only person in Parliament to have a Mac!”

Farrar was involved with introducing public e-mail for ministers, and the first Prime Minister website.

In 2004, after leaving politics, Farrar set up his polling and research company.

Kiwiblog, sparked by now defunct blog NZ Pundit by Gordon King, currently receives over 300,000 visitors a month. He suspects that Russell Brown, and the Spareroom blogs get well over 100,000 visitors. “There’s then probably a dozen or so other bloggers who get into the tens of thousands.”

“Gordon [King] would post wonderful polemics challenging the conventional thinking and reporting, and after a few months of reading him I realized that I also had views and could try sharing them with the world. So in July 2003 I made my first post, and enjoyed it ever since.”

Farrar admits to not having a deliberate strategy for promoting himself and his blog, he just found that doing more posts in a day and posting what he was interested in got the visitors that were interested in the same things. “Oh and most important of all is to have a sense of humour and enjoy doing it.”

If Farrar wasn’t blogging, he says he would be “Earning money! I spend far too long blogging when I should be working on more business. However it is doing well enough that I can divide my time up between my business, InternetNZ and blogging and not starve.”

Farrar has a few tips for those politicians who have started a blog, or are looking at starting one up, “Very few are successful because [they] treat it as a one way communication tool where they just post press releases or travel diaries. Rodney Hide is the best example of doing it the right way. John Key is video blogging and responding to comments through future videos, which is a different way to interact.” But still warns that most readers of blog prefer “honest opinion” instead of reading what the politicians want them to read.

Farrar is a huge supporter of Wikipedia and says that he uses it multiples times a day. He says that he was “very proud” when the Wikipedia community regarded him as notable enough to have his own entry.

“I wish I had more time to edit Wikipedia. There’s lots more NZ content to get onto there.”

Sites like YouTube, which Farrar uses daily, show that they can leave big brand names like Google Video for dead if they show strong innovation, Farrar says.

Farrar says the success to websites such as Wikipedia and YouTube is because of multiple user generated content, “…rather than tightly controlled content from one source.” The focus on the community at large is also a major factor of their success.

When asked where he sees the Internet in decades from now, his simple response was, “I wish I knew.” But he does predict every house in New Zealand will be connected to the Internet via fibre optics.

One scenario Farrar drew was, “…being able to see a map of your local area on your phone, and not just get told where the nearest toilets or bookstore is, but also if any of your friends are nearby.”

David Farrar would just like to say thanks for the opportunity of being interviewed on Wikinews.