Perhaps the most remarkable thing about â€˜Jihadi Johnâ€™, the worldâ€™s most wanted man, is just how ordinary he actually is.
â€˜Jihadi Johnâ€™ – the barbaric executioner of Western hostages held in Syria – has been unmasked as a computer studies graduate who grew up in a leafy and affluent suburb of west London.
His real name is Mohammed Emwazi, the eldest of six children, who took pride in his appearance, wore nice clothes, and appears – on the face of it at least – to have been a diligent student. He doesnâ€™t even have a criminal record.
Nevertheless over the course of six years following his graduation, Emwazi undertook a journey that transformed him from benign teenager to the most demonic of killers, a blood-thirsty murderer who beheaded hostages, including Britons David Haines and Alan Henning, broadcast to the world in propaganda videos for the Islamic State.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the council’s overseas postings are all about economic growth and jobs in the city, and despite criticism, there will be more.
It was revealed at the weekend that Auckland Council has sent one of its staff to London at a cost of $230,000 a year, after his English-born wife became homesick. Another of its staff was sent to San Francisco.
“It’s all about jobs for us â€“ investment in our city, visitors to our city and country, and economic jobs and benefits,” Mr Brown said on Firstline this morning.
Mr Brown did not know about the London posting before it happened, but with 8500 people employed by the council, he can’t be expected to know everything.
“The person directly responsible for this is our chief executive officer, and then the chief executive officers like Brett O’Riley for our council companies like ATEED [Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development]. So of course I would not know about everyone who’s employed and where they’re employed, but what I will say is I totally back Brett and his leadership.”
Asked if the position in London would have been created had the employee’s wife been from a country with fewer economic ties to New Zealand â€“ such as Latvia â€“ Mr Brown said he was “not going to get into the details of it”.
So he did know about the San Francisco “council ambassador”, but not about the London one? Â Yeah, right. Â That makes total sense. Â Read more »
Auckland Council is out of control.
Over the weekend it was revealed that one trougher from ATEED is living life on the large at ratepayers expense in London.
Len Brown professed no knowledge of the arrangements but backed it.
Now we know why…he probably did know, and also knew of another trougher living life on theÂ large, this time in San Francisco…and there are plans for another in China.
Aucklanders have their own woman in San Francisco to go with their own man in London.
Pam Ford, of Auckland Council’s economic development arm, has been based in San Francisco since March last year.
On Saturday, the Herald revealed that Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) had created a contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.
His English-born wife was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer. Â Read more »
This is hard to fathom. Â Auckland ratepayers are forking out $230,000 a year for one of Auckland Council’s employees and his family to live in London so he can work there.
Since when do councils effectively need ambassadors in other countries?
Aucklanders now have their very own man in London, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.
Auckland Council’s economic development arm has created a special contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, who has moved his family to England.
His English-born wife, Kate, was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer.
The Jenkins have set up home with their two children outside London in the village of Bourne End in Buckinghamshire.
As well as paying about $196,000 for a 12-month contract, ratepayers are picking up Mr Jenkins’ work expenses and office costs at New Zealand Tourism’s headquarters in New Zealand House near Trafalgar Square.
Ratepayers have paid an administration fee of about $15,000 for his contract and contributed $19,841 to the family’s relocation costs.
That’s very hard to justify when you’re talking about spending public money. Â Mind you, the council tried to save it by not giving any to the Helicopter Rescue Trust. Â At least their priorities are right… Â Read more »
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed a team to investigate today’s face of the day, cartoonist Mohammed Sabaaneh. Despite being censored by his own Editors and being imprisoned in the past by Israel for five months because ofÂ contact with a hostile organisationÂ in 2013 he still does not agree with freedom of expression. He argues that a cartoonist should not harm any religion.
He was against the re-publication by Western newspapers of Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of Mohammed. “Republishing them reactivates hatred and hostility. It’s provoking more hatred in the society, based on religion.”
Ironically however it was Sabaaneh’s cartoon of Mohammed that got him suspended from his job and under investigation.
He tells Ben Lynfield in Ramallah that he just wanted to make people think
It was meant to be a favourable image, designed to counter negative stereotypes of Islam in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings.
Tough as nails. This guy did an outstanding job against scumbags with sledgehammers intent on robbing a jewellery store in London.
A security guard described ‘a solid egg’ by a colleague appeared bloodied outside a London jewellers today after defending the shop against masked raiders with bats and sledgehammers.
The man, known only as Johnny, held the door of royal jewellerÂ William & Son in Mayfair against eight men as they smashed in the bullet-proof glass leaving him with blood running down his face.
According to witnessÂ Laurence Davis, who owns specialist tobacconist Sautter cigars across the street, the attack went on for five minutes before the raiders gave up and left empty-handed. Â Â Read more »
Yesterday was the anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death. He is a historical figure that I admire because he symbolises to me the determination and tenacity of the underdog. Britain was not winning the war when he became Prime Minister and he had to deal with defeat and failure but he never gave up. His speeches are still quoted today because of the way he used the spoken word to inspire and to energise the British people. One line from one of his speeches is as relevant today for the UK as it was back in 1940.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
The Chelsea Arts Ball, 1947
The Most Scandalous Party of New Yearâ€™s Eve
James Delingpole hate Smart Cars (Smug Cars) and the Toyota Prius (Pious).
All right. I admit it, Iâ€™m prejudiced. I hate Smart cars.
Iâ€™ve loathed them ever since I glimpsed the first ones, crawling along the streets of London â€” from 0 to 60 in about half an hour â€” some time in the mid Noughties.
The Smart car was the brainchild of Nicolas Hayek, the man who invented Swatch watches. His idea was for a small, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly car that would be easy to park in small, city spaces.
The Swatch company started working with car giants Daimler-Benz in 1995 and the first of the new cars was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997.
The carâ€™s makers boast that their vehicles â€” from exterior to seats, even the car battery â€” are 98 per cent recyclable, and each car is classified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).
They run on regular diesel or petrol, but are considered eco-friendly because they do around 70 miles to the gallon and their carbon emissions are low.
The truth, though, is that the Smart car â€” or Smug car, as it should really be known â€” masquerades as something modest, simple, practical and back-to-basics when, in fact, itâ€™s just a poseurâ€™s gimmick.
Driving a Smart car is the modern version of those horrid old back window stickers that used to say: â€˜My other car is a Porsche.â€™
Except the difference is that if you have a Smart car, your other car probably is a Porsche.
Have a look at the price list and youâ€™ll see what I mean.
These things arenâ€™t manufactured for peanuts by some charming little yogurt-weaving collective in Wales.
Theyâ€™re made in Germany by Daimler, with pricing to match.
Even the most basic, two-door model doesnâ€™t leave you with much change out of Â£11,000. Read more »