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Timely Tuesdays: Latrines, Poppies and Rough Sleeping in the News

November 24, 2009

This is Art: Urinal, by Marcel Duchamp

A weekly AngloFiles round-up of U.K. news – sober, stylish, sentimental, sporty, or outright silly.

  • London Making Inroads Against Homelessness? “It is completely unacceptable for anyone to end up with only the street for a home in 21st century London,” Mayor Boris Johnson declared in a progress report on the city’s efforts to end “rough sleeping.”  2012 is the self-imposed deadline for a city program that began in February by focusing on a few hundred of the toughest cases. Still, London’s homeless count rose to 5,000 this year. In the U.S., where 650,000 are counted homeless, many cities run anti-homelessness initiatives. Some, like Seattle, address the hardest cases. In New York, Mayor Bloomberg’s pledges stop far short of housing all his city’s homeless, who number more than 40,000 on a given night.
  • Women Can Be Soooo Touchy! Suspended ITV WestCountry News presenter Lisa Aziz, one of the first South Asian Muslims to anchor a major U.K. broadcast, has sued ITV for discrimination on racial, age and gender grounds. Aziz, 47, says the network used trumped-up charges that she abused her dry-cleaning expense account to replace her with younger, blonder talent, including Ellie Barker (below). With roots in Dartmouth and Karachi, Aziz also alleges that a colleague suggested she “use her terrror contacts” to report a story, the Daily Mail reported. Of course, there are those in the blogosphere who know that media sexism is a myth and this gal just needs a sense of humor. (Any who question that view might like a look at Steve’s Regional News Caps, a friendly but still creepy-obsessive “lady-newscaster” blog.)

    ITV's Ellie Barker: Blonde enough?


    ITV's Lisa Aziz: Too old?

  • “Crappier Crappers” in Hyde Park Speaking of living rough, if you thought public toilets couldn’t get worse, you were wrong. To publicize World Toilet Day, recognizing the inadequate sanitation available to 2.5 billion fellow humans, Water Aid on Thursday temporarily turned a men’s room near Albert and Queen Elizabeth gates into a replica of a Third World latrine, complete with “sensurround” odor. A major goal is to make sanitation a foreign aid priority. The stunt inspired sensitive headlines like “Squatters Unite.” (Those more worried about their own access to sanitation might want to download the water charity’s “Toiletfinder UK” app for iPhone.)
  • Electric Cars Lose Out to “Beamers” in Olympics Bidding BMW and not the more fuel-abstaining Nissan will serve as “Official Automotive Partner” to the 2012 Olympics in London. It’s a loss for Boris Johnson, who wanted electric cars, says London-politics blogger Dave Hill. Still, says LOCOG, the Olympic organizing committee, BMW will provide low-emissions cars, showcase electric vehicles and — this must be a new one in the annals of automotive marketing — will “provide bicycles to help athletes and LOCOG staff get around at Games time.”
  • Poppy Appeal Networking a “Lesson in Failure” £31 million is nothing to sniff at. That’s how much the Royal British Legion took in during the recently concluded annual Remembrance Day drive. When it comes to social networking, however, the poppy people got a failing grade in this analysis by the chair of Citizens Online, a charity promoting online technology for non-profits.
Urinal photo from Wikimedia commons by Gtanguy.
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