Monday, July 28, 2008

Five movie gangs who aren't very hard

West Side Story: The Jets and the Sharks
You think life's violent now? Back in the ’50s you couldn't walk the streets of New York without being viciously subjected to complicated dance routines, group singing and the indiscriminate usage of combs.

The Warriors: The Warriors
Will they make it back to Coney Island? If they stick on some leather waistcoats, bad ethnic jewelery and fingerless gloves they might just make it. Can you diiiiiiggggg it?

Green St: The ICF
"OK, we're tooled up, we're dressed right and ready to give those Millwall bastards a kicking. And our main boy is Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings."

Grease: The T Birds
Knife fights. Gang war. And a big pink car.

ID: Shadwell Town
Home to Rooost's legendary nutter Reece Dinsdale is an undercover cop who infiltrates the mob of the Roy of the Rovers'-sounding Shadwell Town led by Warren Clarke. That's fat, slobbering Warren Clarke from Dalziel & Pascoe. Yeah him. That hard bastard.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

World's campest Olympic logos (A series of one)

Gold medal: Mishka, Moscow 1980

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One day soon every book in the world will look like the Da Vinci Code

Want to sell shit-loads of your piss-poor thriller about monks, the Bible and like, other stuff that's a bit scary? Just follow this formula:

i) Get picture of a doorway or arches, preferably from a church or temple
ii) Smother in fuzzy light
iii) Draw in a silhouette of bloke running about in front of said arch/doorway
iv) Add quote about mysteries/secrets/codes on the front
v) Count money

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The New Wave of Kidnapping

From the Arena blog

In countries like China, India and South Korea the number of ‘high net worth individuals’ is rising at a rate of around 20% a year. With liquid assets of at least $1m each, their wealth is also helping to fuel a global rise in kidnapping. Insured against this possibility by concerned employers, kidnappers are more sure than ever that they’ll be getting paid.

So are you at risk in the UK? According to the police there are around 60 kidnaps per year in London, with around 70% of these involving criminals targeting each other usually over debts, personal disputes or issues of ‘respect’. Rarer cases target the children or wealthy parents.

“Kidnapping isn’t a major issue in London,” says a spokesperson for the Met. “It’s mostly centred on those who are breaking the law already.” But if you are snatched, it won’t be pleasant. “Even though the grievances would seem quite minor to normal people, there is often a very high level of violence, including torture, employed by the kidnappers.”

But if you’re travelling the world, especially Asia, you’re much more at risk. Here Leslie Edwards from security specialists Clayton Consulting details who’s taking who hostage – and why.

Kidnappers: The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)
Targets: Foreign oil workers, western businessmen

Despite promises from both government and oil companies, very little of the vast amounts of cash generated by oil drilling in the Niger Delta ever comes back to the local community where people still live on $2 a day. Through the kidnapping of foreign workers (223 in 2007, including 26 Britons, one of whom was killed), MEND raise publicity to their cause and don’t ask for ransoms. But their notoriety has led to the rise of more militant groups and criminal gangs who use kidnapping as a way of making money with no qualms about murdering their hostages.

Average ransom: From nothing at all to thousands of dollars depending on victim.
Danger level to westerners: 4/5

Kidnappers: Highly organised criminal gangs
Target: Children, young women, businessmen

In 2004, 3,863 kidnaps were reported in the China, but unofficial estimates for the last year put the figure at around 70,000. There are two sorts of kidnap. The first targets young women and boys; the former for slave labour, the latter as ‘sons’ for couples desperate for male offspring. There’s no ransom here as the kidnappers are rewarded by their clients. Secondly, there’s the targeting of rich Taiwanese and Hong Kong businessmen who attract large amounts in ransom money. Westerners have yet to be targeted but it’s only matter of time.

Ransom: The average paid by companies for the return of their staff is around $100,000, but last year one company paid out $120m for the release of one man. In ‘express kidnaps’ victims are taken to various ATMs until their accounts are empty.
Danger level to westerners: 2/5

Kidnappers: Various political groups, gangsters, amateurs
Targets: Professionals, politicians

Groups like the United Liberation Front of Assam use kidnapping as a way to raise publicity and cash for their cause of independence while jihadists are involved in similar activities in Kashmir. The growth of India’s vast IT workforce means there are plenty of potential targets – often the groups will take a child, leaving the head of the family to sort out the finance. Some of these are carried out in the big cities by local crime gangs, and there are thousands every year.

Ransom: Political groups will demands very large sums of money ($1m+), lower for less high ranking individuals. They are not afraid to murder their hostages if a settlement is not reached.
Danger level to westerners: 2/5, but growing

Kidnappers: Mexico City criminal gangs
Targets: Businessmen, criminals, public figures

Acting purely in self interest the gangs of Mexico City are both methodical in their preparation and brutal in their execution. Gangs will put surveillance on several targets at a time, before deciding on the most suitable. Often dressing as policemen, the gangs will employ six or seven men and up to three cars in the operation to make sure it goes smoothly. With police corruption endemic, these operations are often successful. And if they’re not, brutal killing follows.

Ransom: From a few thousand dollars to $500,000
Danger level to westerners: 3/5, especially near US border

Clayton Consultants retain the largest team of experienced specialist kidnap consultants worldwide.
That's the holiday home sorted this year then

From the pages of Cool Hunter comes this, a fantastic house in the Canaries. Can you imagine just how many iPods the people who designed this place have? I reckon about 15, from the first version to the 3G iPhone. And they'd all be in their boxes and everything.