Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Note to Reader: New Developments To Come On The Carnage Report

It has been a good year for the carnage report this year as we have continued to grow in readership and reach and look to continue the good work and supply top content for you, the reader. As part of our goal to continue our current trend of growth, we are going to introduce new segments such as TV and Crime as soon as next week and provide even richer content to the site for you to consume.

There has been a clear demand for a TV segment on this site for sometime and we plan to meet as this site is dedicated to those who read it and support us.

We have been planning to add an Crime segment to the site for some time and now we will as it is a rich subject which has so many links into society as a whole. With that in mind, it almost impossible a site like ours and not have a segment dedicated this subject.

So watch out for our new developments that will be introduced real soon and we all hope that you enjoy reading our new content as much as we enjoy creating it.

Thank you for reading

Alex Clarke
The Carnage Report

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Monday, April 29, 2013

(Politics) UKIP: A Party increasing in popularity and enemies in equal measure

It may concern some and perplex others as to why UKIP is experiencing a rise in the polls of late but what is clear is that UKIP scare the hell out the Conservatives. The Conservatives have been tearing into UKIP with current Minister without portfolio Ken Clarke publicly branding UKIP a “collection of clowns”[1] .Prime minster David Cameron went even further and branded UKIP as group of "fruitcakes and closet racists”[2].

You may rightly ask why such hastily for what is effectively a two issue party and the answer is dead simple, UKIP represent a serious threat to the Tories in 2015. UKIP have growing in the polls thanks to their effective two track strategy of  exploiting the  British public’s almost inbred euroscepticism and long term anxiety about immigration to the hilt and should they maintain or continue their growth in the polls, they may split the conservative vote in 2015.

David Cameron has a personal stake in quashing the UKIP surge as there has been a number of hints that should UKIP perform well in Thursdays upcoming local elections, Cameron’s party leadership could face a challenge. So with this in mind, he couldn’t have been too pleased scanning for the latest polls last Friday evening and finding out that UKIP party leader Nigel Farage, according to a YouGov poll, was found the “best leaders out of the four parties”[3]

His mood hardly would have improved upon the news of an article where London mayor Boris Johnson, the favourite to succeed Cameron should 2015 bring electoral disaster, described Farage as a “rather engaging geezer”[4].While other prominent party members have sought to cut the Ukip to pieces in the press, Johnson broke the party’s line of attack established by Clarke and Cameron and chose to stress the similarities between the parties pointing out that Farage “is essentially no different from the conservatives”[5].

However if there is one major threat to continued growth of Ukip it is clearly the party itself. Ukip has long been accused as being a party full of fascists, racists and right wingers who wouldn’t look out of place at a mental hospital by its enemies and the party has gone some way to deal with this perception but with the supercritical eye of the media glaring at them, the cracks at the seams of the party are laid bare.  

With the fall of the BNP, former members of the troubled extreme  right party have turned to Ukip to continue their political careers such as Susan Bowen, who was  chucked out of Ukip was found out forcing Farage to admit that some BNP members “may have already slipped through the  net” and reveal a weakness in his party’s organisation by revealing that “we don’t have the party apparatus in a very short space of time to fully vet 1,700 people [6].

UKip’s perceived reputation as being a party full of racists were not helped by one of it council candidates suggesting on her social media page that “Second World War had been "engineered by the Zionist jews", adding: "Only the Zionists could sacrifice their own in the gas chambers"[7]. Reprehensible and incredibly stupid comments like these is hat could ruin or at least put a dent in Ukip’s rise in the polls  and could put paid to their larger ambitions ensuring that they share the same fate as the Nick Griffin led BNP.

In sum, only time will tell what is to become of UKip in the very near future but what is for sure is that the Conservatives and the media will be watching carefully every step of the way.

[2] Ibid
[3] W.Dahlgreen, 2013, Farage Tops Leader Poll,
[4] Huffing Post Uk, 2013, Boris Johnson Claims Ukip Leader Nigel Farage ‘Essentially A Conservative’, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/29/ukip-nigel-farage-boris-johnson-tory-_n_3176408.html
[5] Ibid
[6] M. Brown, 2013, BNP members ‘slipped into Ukip’,
[7] T. Moseley, 2013, Anna-Marie Crampton, Ukip Candidate, Suspended From Party But Denies Anti-Semitism, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/25/anna-marie-crampton-ukip-candidate-suspended_n_3154709.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

Sunday, April 28, 2013

(News) US Navy Women: The Type You Cross At The Your Peril

There are a lot of stupid things you can and will do in your life but attacking a female off-duty US Navy officer is a very stupid and painful mistake. If you are going to be a violent asshole rapist, one of the most crucial skills pick up is knowing who to target but unfortunately for a unnamed Pakistani bus driver in Dubai,  he learned this lesson the hard way indeed.

On her way back from back from the city to her ship, the unnamed Naval officer got on a bus hoping for a routine trip but that was out of the question once the bus driver  veered off the regular bus route into an area that was “dark and quiet”, a perfect type of setting for  the worst to happen[1]. The bus driver then proceeded to where she was seated to make a sexual advance and threatened to end her life when rebuffed with a knife[2].

Not long after, the officer and the bus driver got into a scrap which needless to say, the bus driver came off worse as the officer “wrestled the weapon from the attacker even as he was biting her hand, and broke the knife in two, the...She got a stranglehold on the man’s neck with her legs, forcing him into submission, and fled shortly after”[3].

While this is a great story because of its very bad ass UFC ending, this story could have easily gone the other way and ended with the officer losing her life and bus driver having to go on the run causing a real diplomatic pickle for the Pakistani government when he got caught Because let’s face it, if you going to break the second golden rule of crime of picking your target carefully, you are definitely going to break it’s first, don’t get caught.

The bus driver did get caught after the officer had told her ranking officers who informed the Dubai police and looks set to be charged however, it’s not exactly clear for what.

In sum this could have been a tragedy but not all asshole rapists pick their victims as badly as this bus driver did and paid as much in pain and embarrassment.

[1] Russia Today, 2013, US Sailor in UAE subdues Knife-wielding attempted rapist,  
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid

Friday, April 26, 2013

Luis Suarez and Liverpool Have No-one to Blame But Themselves

It's hard to imagine what Luis Suarez was thinking when he bit the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. Despite his past history and his well-known wild temperament, more than a couple of replays were required to make the eyes believe what they clearly saw. The Football Association's punishment was swift and forceful hitting the striker with a 10-game ban for violent conduct. For Liverpool and Suarez, they really don't have anyone to blame but themselves.

This isn't the first time that Liverpool and Luis Suarez have come under the microscope for Suarez's inappropriate and frankly offensive actions on the field but unrelated to football. In the 2011-12 season then manager Kenny Dalglish vehemently defended his prize striker over claims of Suarez racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Suarez was eventually found guilty hit with a hefty fine and eight match ban. Dalglish and the club looked bad.

It looked like lessons had been learned from that incident in the wake of Sunday's action. Suarez swiftly apologised and the club appeared to be taking a firm stance on the issue. Both appeared ready to accept the charge of violent conduct from the FA (and automatic three match ban that comes with it). However, the moment an investigation panel recommended upping the suspension to 10 games; Suarez appealed and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers jumped to the defence of the 26-year old, even criticising the panel.

The reality is that this is a story of two tragedies. The tragedy of a football club with a tremendous a history that has utterly failed to show the necessary level of respect for the game. Even after a period where success has been harder to come by, Liverpool remains one of the nation's top football clubs. A club with a history of being tough and playing football 'the right way'. Perhaps standards have been lowered in terms of what is and what is not tolerated from representatives playing at Anfield in the wake of a period where success has been harder to come by. It is sad to see the day where a fantastic football club continues to defend actions that are completely unacceptable to the game.

The second tragedy is of a man who has been gifted with some of the most remarkable talent in the game today. Suarez has scored 30 goals for Liverpool in the 12/13 season, 22 in the Premier League, and has arguably been the top player in the EPL all season long. Why is Luis Suarez unable to just let his football do the talking? How is it possible that he has now been involved in two high profile biting incident in his career?

This wasn't just any bite either. This was a somewhat calculated, aggressive and violent 'attack' against an opponent. 

The FA have not been consistent with their bans over the last couple of years. The investigation was not conducted perfectly and there's little doubt that Suarez and this case have been an example of, but there can be no finger pointing from anyone at Anfield.

How is it that a club like Liverpool has tolerated such out of control behaviour from its top player for more than a year? The abuse saga with Evra, the failure to shake his hand, various other border-line incidents and now this. These are unacceptable standards for a club with as much history and pride as Liverpool.

Suarez can suggest that a 10-match ban was too much as much as he wants. The media and FA may have painted him as a 'demon', but he has made it extremely easy for him. Equally, how can he possible defend his actions? Biting opponents in football is completely unacceptable. Doing so two times in three years is even more worrying. This is a young man that clearly needs to learn some serious lessons. It is disappointing that a seven-game ban in 2010 was not enough.

Luis Suarez, Rodgers and Liverpool can act dismayed as much as they want, but a 10-match ban is clearly an appropriate punishment for an indefensible offence. They've really only got themselves to blame.

Article written by Sebastian Egerton-Read - follow Seb on twitter @SebEread

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

(Politics) CISPA: Passed Through House; Stagnant in Senate


The United States’ population has been abuzz the past couple weeks with extraordinary anomalies that have taken place across the country. The Texas fertilizer accident and the Boston bombings are but two of these incidents that have so captivated the national spotlight. Even still, Washington D.C. has been busy on their own front, as the controversial cyber security bill known as CISPA (The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) passed through the House of Representatives, last Thursday, with general ease, garnering a 288-127 vote count from the floor.

Nevertheless, increased opposition has been accruing since the bills proposal: resistance from privacy advocates, civil liberty groups, and even the White House –as President Obama has threatened an executive veto –has taken a mighty stand against the cyber security bill through various mean of communication. But what exactly is CISPA, and why should anyone care?

It seems that the bill has much support, despite the aforementioned opponents, from businesses that are struggling to fend off foreign hackers across Europe and Asia. The reason being is that many of these rogue hackers are able to cripple business infrastructure in the United States, notwithstanding being thousands of miles away from the actual corporations. Such attacks have lead to a demand for more protection for businesses and more repercussions for security breeches from international hackers.

Those opposed to the bill, however, are not buying it. Many object on the grounds that it would give entirely too much power into the hands of the Federal Government, namely, the NSA (National Security Agency). Essentially, it would be a free pass into whatever information needs analyzing from any business in the United States, even if the data is stored on private computers.

Michelle Richardson, an ACLU legislative councilwoman, argues: “"Cybersecurity can be done without sacrificing Americans' privacy online.” In fact, grassroot campaigns have been gathering widespread support from the laymen throughout America as well; for instance, many rallied behind CISPA Blackout Day (4/23) in protest to the Bill. Despite the apparent infringements of the fourth Amendment, lobbyists are fueling away in support of CISPA, as nearly eighty-four million dollars have been spent in favor of getting the bill through Congress. All the same, the bill, since being passed through the House last week, has been floundering in the Senate by their apparent disinterest on the account of being too busy.

It seems, to conclude, that it is the citizens right to their own privacy as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, namely, the Fourth Amendment. Albeit support has pushed CISPA through one leg of Congress already, it seems such support is only maintained by lots of bribes, lobbyists, and backdoor deals. Its future cannot be stated for sure; however, if it does proceed forthwith through the Senate, President Obama still has a chance to veto the bill, which he has already hinted he would do if upon occasion the bill made it successfully to his desk.

The full version of CISPA as passed through the House can be read here:

Brent McCulley on Twitter // http://twitter.com/brentthewalrus

(Sports) Bayern Munich V Barcelona: Why Bayern's 4-0 mauling of Barcelona should shock no one

There is much in the sporting world that has, does and will shock you but Barcelona's heavy  defeat at the hands of German champions Bayern Munich should not even surprise you.

Barcelona have always been poor without the ball even at the apex of the Guardiola era when Barcelona looked nearly impossible to beat. They have always been susceptible to a side who could somehow rein in the threat of Lionel Messi (a player Barcelona rely on way too much for a side full of world class players) and break quickly with pace down the sides of the park, a feat Bayern Munich executed ruthlessly.

Bayern Munich did a great job at keep the constant threat of a classic piece of Messi magic however,the Barcelona forward looked out of sorts for much of the match and looks notably  below normal match fitness. Bayern Munich followed the same blueprint Real Madrid have been using to beat the Catalan giants involving a combination of swift counter attacks and dogged defending . This game plan will always work against Barcelona as their strengths lie on being on the ball and when their rhythm on it is disturbed slightly or fails to get going outright , things can go awry very quickly for a team many were calling one of the greatest teams in football history. 

Barcelona used to be able to stop teams on the counter by pressing the man on ball further up the field in packs in order to win it back then use their superior passing ability to cut the opposing side defense to pieces but since maybe the last year or so, Barca have stopped pressing the man on the ball when they lost the ball leaving them vulnerable to sides like Bayern and Real Madrid who can counter and capitalize quickly on the gulfs of space provided by Barcelona over-adventurous full backs.

While their difficulties off the ball are clear for all to see, what has been clear to more careful observers of the Catalans is the absence of the trademark zip and invention in their passing , particularly against stiff domestic or European opposition.  Often this season Barcelona have been pedestrian in pace and labored in execution of their normally fantastic buildup play and have resorted to playing in front of sides frustrating Barca fans and neutrals (still in awe of the Barcelona of old) alike.  

In sum, despite Barcelona's 4-0 mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich,  they are still a great side and any prediction of their decline in light of this result would be made in haste rather than cool judgement. However, such a result has been on the books for at least a year as Barcelona have failed miserably to solve their long standing problem of defending off the ball and notably, struggling to produce the awe inducing zip and invention on the ball that the Catalans have made their own.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Alex Ferguson Masterminds Another Manchester United Title

The English Premier League was formed ahead of the 1992-93 season. In the final year of the first division Alex Ferguson's Manchester United finished in second place. Since the change of name, branding, legal status and sponsorship, that combination has dominated English football's top league.

The 2012-13 season is the 21st season in the history of the Premier League. During that period Man Utd have never failed to finish in the top three. Ferguson won his first league title in that 1992-93 season and United have secured 13 titles during his tenure in total.

Recent seasons have seen new clubs emerge as serious league title contenders back by money from wealthy investors. Chelsea and Manchester City have both been boosted by healthy investment. Man Utd's in-city rivals benefited from that financial backing last season when they won the 2011-12 title. It was obvious to all involved right then and there that Ferguson and his team would be back and back with a vengeance.

It's very dangerous to bet against one of the finest managers English football has ever seen and it was a mistake for whoever did so on this occasion. The now 71-year old quickly re-tooled his squad adding one of the world's biggest targets last summer in Robin Van Persie.

Van Persie cost a healthy £24 million and a more than healthy sum in wages as well. It seems like he was worth every penny as his energy, game breaking ability and clinical finishing proved absolutely vital as United kept finding ways to win football games. Van Persie scored a fantastic hat-trick in the title sealing victory against Aston Villa stretching his league leading total to 30 goals.

There's more to Man Utd's success than Van Persie though. This was a team that frequently looked fragile defensively, especially early in the season. They were inferior defensively compared with their biggest rivals Manchester City. However, time and time again they found the ruthless edge. They found a way to outscore their opponents and produced their best defensive efforts against stronger opposition.

Ferguson's will and determination was clearly behind this team. It was clear from the moment of heartbreak on the final day of the 11/12 that the Scot wanted this year's title almost as much as he wanted his first one. He wasn't interested in allowing a new Manchester dynasty to emerge down the road from Old Trafford. He wasn't interested in his club's 20th top flight title being delayed one season longer.

Ferguson was only interested in one thing. This may not have been the most balanced or best United side during his historic reign, but just like 12 others during Ferguson's tenure, it will enjoy the taste of summer as English Premier League champions. That's nothing to be sniffed at.

(Interview) Carnage Report Interviews: Paul Owen

Carnage Report editor Alex Clarke recently caught up with Paul Owen, blogger,  broadcaster and prolific writer of his provocative self titled blog sounding off on issues in Britain  from  an original, no holds barred perspective. So sit back and take peek into the rhyme and reason of one of the better political bloggers around. 

Check out Paul  Owen here and connect with Paul on twitter @mrpaulowen. 

What inspires you to write?

There’s a complex question. I have always loved words and reading and writing. That is a given for anyone who writes. What inspires me to write is different though. I write because I have things I want to say that I feel others are not saying, or at least not saying well or often enough. So I write about the things that make me laugh, make me cry, make me angry, make me passionate. Those things tend to be politics, religion, economics, television, radio. Well, take a look at my blog, at the range there. Sometimes you can feel my fury. Sometimes you feel my passion. Hopefully anyway.

Why did you choose to write about politics?

I write about politics because it interests, fascinates, and frequently infuriates me. This government does that. By and large I support much of what they are doing, or at least trying to do. But is their pusillanimous approach to things, their modern PR driven wishy washyness that frustrates. I think that is why so many felt the need to write in praise of Margaret Thatcher. She was never any of those things. She always said what she thought. Wouldn’t that be nice.

 How do you think the conservative led coalition government is doing?

Well, as I mentioned above, in general I agree with much of the agenda they are pursuing. But their deficit reduction is nothing of the sort. I don’t understand why they talked tough on austerity, took the brickbats for it, without actually pursuing it. Look at the figures and there have hardly been any cuts, made worse by the ring fences. This is a government with the right instincts but without the guts to go the whole hog. It’s very frustrating. And then of course there is the Lib Dems. But that would take all day.

 In the latest Yougov poll, Labour currently leads the conservatives by 10 points, what do you think the conservative party has to do to cut down Labour’s lead?

I think that process has already started. Labour’s poll lead is very fragile, and they know it. Tories need to do what I have been trying to do. They need to point out the policy vacuum, or the lacuna as James Landale so elegantly put it. Despite our economic difficulties Labour are still not trusted on the economy, and are even, it is reported, toying with the idea of promising to spend more after 2015. They are drifting to the left, entertaining the fantasy that the electorate are with them. They are wrong. It is up to Tories to keep hectoring them on their deficiencies on spending, welfare, debt and economics. They are very vulnerable.

Throughout the Welfare debate, Labour dithered in producing an effective counter argument, why do you think that is?

Because they don’t have one. Labour created the problem we currently face with their hand outs and immigration policy. Their line is that we reduced the welfare bill by reducing unemployment. But they increased it during their years of plenty. They doubled it. We simply cannot afford such largesse, we are subsidising employers and private landlords with borrowed public money. Labour cannot answer that because they are still stuck in a redistributive mindset that has done and is doing enormous damage to our economy.

 With the recent death of Margaret Thatcher, there is definitely going to be a heated debate about her legacy, what is your position on her legacy or achievements?

My position is that we should thank god or whatever deity you believe in that she came along at the right time. This country was in terminal decline in 1979, she reversed that. The welfare debate of her day was the subsidy of the various nationalised industries, of the miners and so on. She took that on and reformed industry. It was a very necessary reform. We couldn’t go on propping up old inefficient industries. They had to be made to sink or swim. She forced people to confront reality. We need the same dose of common sense in welfare today.

Much of the press has railed against George Osborne’s implied link between the welfare system and the tragic events of the Mick Philpott case, what do you think about his statement?

He was just saying what many people think, and indeed can see with their own eyes. If you offer people perverse incentives you will get perverse results. Philpott was a monster and an extreme. But there are plenty of people who have never worked who live very well off benefits. Look at the 850,000 people who suddenly stopped claiming incapacity benefit when challenged. They may not have been monsters but they were still claiming what they shouldn’t have been. Our entitlement culture is out of control.

Do you agree with the prime minster when he said, in light of recent developments in the Korean Peninsula, that trident proves must be replaced “on a like for like basis”?

No I don’t. It was a silly thing to say. North Korea is trying its standard blackmail form of diplomacy. They have a siege mentality. So we should let them besiege themselves until they are forced to the table with a reasonable attitude. They must never again be allowed to offer concessions in return for aid only to renege a year or two later and start the process again. I think we need to remain a nuclear power, but not because of North Korea. We need it for the reason we have always needed them. You cannot uninvent nuclear weapons sadly. We need them because madmen will always want them. But we should examine if there is a better or cheaper option than Trident. If there isn’t we will have to stump up.

What I don’t like about modern politics is that it and its main practitioners lack vision or any real ideas to solve problems that seem to endure no matter who’s in power. What do you dislike about modern politics or the political class?

I dislike the very existence of a political class, people like Cameron, Miliband et al who have never had proper jobs outside politics. How can they claim to be able to lead, to legislate for the rest of us when they have no outside experience to speak of. They go from university, to policy wonk jobs, to MP. That’s wrong.

If you were prime minster, what changes would you make to change Britain for the better?

The first thing I would do is radically cut the size of Whitehall, starting with the number of Cabinet ministers. Some departments could be abolished and nobody would notice the difference. There would be a proper purge of quangos. I would start a scheme to give jobs to anyone unemployed for longer than 12 months on jobs on the minimum wages, jobs they would not be entitled to turn down. I would offer an immediate referendum on our membership of the EU with the recommendation that we get out. I would legislate to turn the NHS into an insurance scheme  with hospitals and other providers competing for our insurance money rather than the present unwieldy centrally driven Kafkaesque nightmare. That would do for the first 100 days!

I know there are many of them but are there any blogs you would recommend to read?

Dan Hodges in The Telegraph is a must read. His analysis is usually spot on. I always enjoy Rod Liddle’s provocative thoughts, along with James Delingpole. And Watts Up With That has been superb at exposing the lies and hypocrisies of the global warming industry.

What do you think of the recent decision to make the Bank Of England one of the strongest central banks in the world?

It’s a welcome reversal of the mess created by Brown and Balls. But it does depend on who is in charge. Time will tell.

 Do you have any political heroes?

Margaret Thatcher, Churchill, Keith Joseph, Gladstone.

 Much has been made about class in recent weeks in light of the welfare debate; do you think class is still important in modern Britain?

No. The only class problem we have is with the aforementioned political class. I don’t think Britain’s problems are a class problem, they are born of politicians who don’t understand the people they govern, and the problems the last 50 years of ‘progressive’ policies has created. Our education system is letting people down, and our welfare  system is trapping in poverty those who cannot or will not work their way out. We need another Thatcher type figure to address these problems, someone who comes from and understands our working class

Final Question,  How do you see Britain’s future?

I am an optimist. I think this government is doing many of the right things. The worry is that they will be only half done before they lose an election. But Labour are retreating into their comfort zone which should give us hope. Even if they were to win in 2015 the chances are that they would make as big or bigger mess as they did last time. Then would be the opportunity to really change Britain before it is too late. But as a patriot, I would rather they never get the opportunity. We don’t want to go down the same road that France is currently on.

(News) Google: planning for digital future when inevitable happens

(News) CISPA: Internet privacy takes another stiff jab to the gut

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Loss To Djokovic Suggests Nadal's Clay Dominance Under Threat?

When Rafael Nadal stormed to victory at the Indian Wells tournament in his March comeback from an extended knee injury that had seen him miss close to a year's worth of action. His knees had survived the high profile hard court competition and he played the sort of tennis that made success during clay court season seem ominous.

Nadal has won seven of the past eight French Open titles. He didn't win in 2009 when injury prevented him from putting together a serious defence of his title.

However, a loss to Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters Final, a tournament where Nadal has dominated almost without challenge in recent history, suggests just maybe that the Spaniard is a little more vulnerable in 2013.

Nadal's unbeaten run in Monte Carlo was of historic proportions. The 26-year won 47 straight matches. He hadn't lost a game in the competition since 2004.

On Sunday, not only did Nadal lose, but he was looked like he had no answer to the dominant play of his Serbian opponent, world no.1 Djokovic. The 25-year old stormed to a 5-0 lead in the first eventually taking a 1-0 lead in the match with a 6-2 decision in only 45 minutes.

The second set was a tougher affair with Nadal breaking Djokovic early, but his opponent weathered the storm and once again appeared to be dictating the pace by the time the set reached a tie breaker. Djokovic would win that decider 7-1 to take a straight sets win.

Significantly there was no real suggestion of injury from Nadal. In fact, Djokovic entered the game with more fitness question marks having struggled with an ankle ailment earlier in the competition.

It's important not to read too much into one result, but this match does clearly carry some significance. Djokovic has been the top player in world tennis over the past couple of seasons, but ultimately hasn't been able to win a French Open title yet.

The other top players in men's tennis, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, would generally consider clay to be their weakest surface and it's hard to imagine either mounting a serious challenge to Nadal at this year's French, especially considering some of their spring injury troubles.

The Monte Carlo Masters Final was the first time that Djokovic looked capable of moving Nadal around a clay court and seriously stretching him out. The clay court champion looked like he was unable to control the game or pace of the game and frequently was forced into long periods of defensive tennis hanging in the rallies.

The French Open is the final string that Djokovic needs to add to his bow. It is possible that he won't have a better chance than this May with Nadal lacking in recent match practice. Djokovic is in mid-season form and his victory on Sunday should have only wet his appetite for more successes on clay this spring.

You can follow Sebastian Egerton-Read on twitter @SebEread

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vital Relegation Saturday In English Premier League

The final couple of weeks are usually the time where the relegation focus comes into full view in the English Premier League, but the importance of the weeks leading up to the season climax is often over-looked. The fact is that now is the time where teams can really cement their EPL status. Nobody wants to leave it until the  last weekend. Every weekend from here until the end is equally important for teams battling to stay in England's top flight.

With that in mind, the Carnage Report previews this weekend's Premier League action from the perspective of the relegation battlers.

Norwich v Reading

Reading have a maximum of 15 points left on the table. It's not impossible that Nigel Adkins' side could secure their EPL survival, but it is now looking highly improbable.

Norwich have enjoyed a pretty decent 2012-13 season. A win in this game would put relegation fears pretty much to bed and it is an excellent opportunity at home against bottom of the league. A win would put them on 38 points with four games to play and needing to be overtaken by at least four teams.

A loss would make life just that little harder for Chris Hughton's team. That's not a scenario that the manager will be entertaining heading into Saturday.

QPR v Stoke

Harry Redknapp has been defiant in public over the past couple of weeks. He will know that QPR are in all likelihood heading towards Championship football. If they are going to pull off a miraculous escape then a home win against fellow strugglers Stoke is pretty much a must.

In 16 away games this season Stoke have managed just one win and only nine goals. There could hardly be a better time for a second away win, but at the very least Tony Pulis will be looking for a point from this fixture.

Sunderland v Everton

Paolo Di Canio's side set the EPL alight with a 3-0 road victory against Newcastle in their last game. What can the divisive figure produce against Everton this weekend? There should be no lack of motivation from David Moyes' group as they are very much in the running for a Europa league place and even still in contention for the Champions League.

Strong play at home in the last few weeks is critical to success. How Sunderland compete and battle in this contest might be as important as the result.

West Brom v Newcastle

Nobody really expects Newcastle to get relegated, but they have to be in the discussion after a weak display against Sunderland at home in their last outing. It's pretty clear that the focus of St James Park has been elsewhere and the Premier League is just being willed to a close.

West Brom haven't won a premier league game since March 9, but they are still a challenging opponent especially at home.

West Ham v Wigan

Roberto Martinez engineered a great escape last season and this year he has managed an underdog team all the way to an FA Cup Final appearance. The problem is that Wigan now face a tightly-packed schedule to close out the season, they have a tough set of fixtures left and are currently in the bottom three.

In that context Saturday's game at West Ham could hardly be more important for this group. West Ham are the lowest team in the standings that Wigan will face until their last game and a win here would really put some pressure on the teams above them. The only problem is that Sam Allardyce's team play competitive football. They are extremely tough to score against at home.

Man Utd v Aston Villa (Monday)

Aston Villa will benefit from seeing Saturday's action before taking on Man Utd at Old Trafford. April has been a pretty good month for this young side and their two games after this contest are against teams immediately around them.

It will be interesting to see the approach that Paul Lambert adopts in this game. Man Utd might be a little de-motivated as they cruise to the EPL title. It might be possible to snatch a valuable point.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

(Politics) Maduro Claims Victory as Political Pressures Increase in Venezuela

The situation in Venezuela the past few months has been interesting to say the least. Notwithstanding the inner turmoil and domestic anxiety felt by the passing of their longstanding former president, Hugo Chavez, the struggle for power has led to much uncertainty. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan presidential race can finally claim resolution as Nicolas Maduro –Chavez’s “next-in-line” guy –secured a victory yesterday by a rather slim margin. This, however, is causing quite a stir.

Henrique Capriles, Maduro’s presidential opponent, is speaking out against the newfound president. The presidential race, which was more of a mudslinging competition than an equally balanced political match, resulted in competitors trying to convince the people how they would reclaim the reigns of the Chavez legacy in order to lead their country into its great destiny. Capriles, on the other hand, was skeptical. Campaigning in opposition to the Chavez regime, and the years of bad politics which he claimed destroyed their oil rich nation, Capriles was not impressed with the statistics that declared Maduro the victor. “It is the government that has been defeated”, he poignantly proclaimed, “[this is] a result that is different from the results announced today.”

Regardless of popular belief, the struggle truly lies in the honest public opinion of who the Venezuelan people want as their president. Although Maduro had been acting as Chavez’s surrogate since his illness and subsequent March 5 death, the actual numbers were not so overwhelmingly in favor of the acclaimed successor. Official electoral votes put Maduro’s number at 50.7 percent of the popular vote, in comparison to Capriles’ 49.1 percent. The rising discontent of the country’s increasingly dismal situation is being coupled with power outages, crime and violence –making the Bush v. Gore drama back in 2000 look like smooth sailing.

In the same way, Capriles is demanding a recount: a fair and unbiased look at the gross numbers. As he calmed his supporters, he said that their campaign would push for a just reexamination, and although the electoral officials may not even permit it, Maduro said he was open to the idea. On this Capriles remarked: "We are not going to recognize a result until each vote of Venezuelans is counted…This struggle has not ended." Contrariwise, the Maduro headquarters is not showing any signs of backing down: "Let 100 percent of the ballot boxes be opened,” Maduro commented back, “We're going to do it; we have no fear."

So what’s next? Although many have been throwing around the terms “conspiracy” and “sabotage,” the consensus is becoming more orthodox among the people. It is easy to look for the “savior” of Venezuela: a one man redeemer to cure all their woes. “This country has learned a lot and today,” commented Jose Romero, a middle-aged layman, “we know that one person can't fix everything." Nevertheless, with the increasing $30 billion dollar financial debt, declining industry, and increasing bankruptcy, the Venezuelans are ready to move towards more practical solutions.

The Carnage Report // http://thecarnagereport.blogspot.com // 2013
Brent McCulley on Twitter // http://twitter.com/brentthewalrus

Monday, April 15, 2013

(News) Raw Footage: Live footage of the explosion at Boston Marathon finishing line

(News) Boston Marathon Bombing: explosion during Boston Marathon rocks US

Golf Masters 2013: Never A Dull Moment At Augusta

A good-sized proportion of golf's fans only turn out when Tiger Woods is involved. A huge proportion of golf's doesn't particularly care to hear names like Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera. However, after another four days of drama and excitement at the Augusta Masters, there should be no doubt that there is a lot more to golf than 'Tiger'.

The 2013 Masters was severely threatened by controversy. For much of the tournament it looked like it would be remembered for a two-shot penalty handed to Woods and whether he should have been disqualified, or for a slow shot penalty handed down to 14-year old Tianlang Guan.

In the end seemingly like every other Masters, the 2013 edition made history. Adam Scott chased down long-time leader Cabrera on the final day. The tournament would finally be decided on the second hole of the playoff with Scott sinking a fantastic 12-foot clutch put to secure victory.

Scott's victory made him the first Australian winner at the Masters in its 77-year history. It ended the torment for Australian golf at this competition and gave Scott his first major championship. Scott had endured agony last year at the Open Championship. He led entering the final four holes, but he struck a bogey on all four of those holes being caught and overtaken by Ernie Els.

The dramatic finish in the near dark on a damp and rainy Sunday wiped away all the memories of a difficult and at times uninspiring golf tournament. Scott's emotional speech showed clearly just how much the tournament meant to him as an Australian winner and also as a first time major championship winner.

So much discussion in golf today centres around Woods and whether he can move up from his current 14 major titles to overtake Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 majors. That discussion sometimes clouds the tremendous difficulty that there is in winning just one major title.

There are a lot of very good golfers on the circuit every single year and yet only 44 have won more than one major championship. It isn't easy to win a major championship and it was pretty clear that Scott understood that as he put on his first green jacket.

Augusta is a course that consistently inspires the most exciting golf for television even if many of the participants find it frustrating. The greens are deceptively uneven and treacherous and frequently prove too much to handle for golfers in clutch situations. It's extremely unsurprising that it is a course that seems to have inspired more final day collapses than any other. The victim this year was Brandt Snedeker who struck a three-over-par on the final day. Snedeker started the day firmly in contention and is generally considered to be one of the stronger putters on the PGA tour, but he offered the perfect example of a golfer befuddled by Augusta's greens and rattled by the stature of the competition.

Just about every golfer who competed at the 2013 Masters has their story-line. Just about every day threw up some of the most remarkable golf that will be displayed this season. The focus on Tiger Woods isn't going anywhere for golf. However, the past weekend's 2013 Masters showed that the sport doesn't need one of its legends to be successful.

(News) Venezuela Elections: Maduro wins, challenger calls for recount

(News) Venezuela Elections: Venezuelans wait on results

(Business) Tesco: dark moons in the west, silver linings in the east?

It hasn’t been the best of times for Tesco in recent months as its US venture Fresh & Easy has fallen flat to the point that the Retail giant is considering cutting their losses by either selling up to its immediate competitors or effectively “break-up…the business”[1]. The sell-off has already started with Tesco selling “Fresh & Easy refrigeration units” and looking for buyers for “220 East Coast stores and a distribution centre (which) could be attractive to property developers”[2].

However Tesco’s woes in the US bear no comparison to their fate of late in their bread and butter domestic market. The horsemeat scandal which Gripped Britain last month outraged consumer and the public in general with Tesco taking front and centre for most of the flak.  
The PR nightmare began when Tesco, to their embarrassment, had to pull a number of their own brand meat products as they were found to have traces of horsemeat[3]. Tesco took the biggest hit in the aftermath of the scandal as it saw its market share take a tumble as it fell “below 30%-a level it fell below eight year ago…”[4]. Its rivals saw a boost in sales with Sainsbury’s, unblemished by the horsemeat debacle, were the chief beneficiaries of Tesco’s misfortune reporting a notable increase in sales[5].

However Tesco’s domestic troubles have been in the making long before the horsemeat scandal stole headlines as Tesco profits in the UK, while substantial, experienced a drop and have been outperformed by other markets, notably by the retail giants’ Asia and banking operations[6].  

Seeing that Tesco may have reached its highest rate of profit in the UK, its leadership looks to continue its impressive growth in Asia by expanding its already impressive online operation to cover its rapidly growing Asian demand with the company being able to “launch in 50 cities across China” however, the retailer remains cautious[7]. Subject to an successful dry run in Shanghai, Tesco may expand its operation in China as it tries to negotiate the niggling act that China is still largely a cash economy[8].

In sum, Tesco have not had the best of times in the last few months but with plans to expand their operations in Asia in the near future, it could make for a fruitful future.     

[2] Ibid
[3] S.Neville, 2013, Tesco withdraws own-brand value meatloaf after finding horse DNA, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/12/tesco-horse-dna-meatloaf-withdrawn
[4] Tesco Market Share sticks below 30% after horsemeat revelations, http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/mar/26/tesco-market-share-horsemeat-revelations
[5] Ibid
[6] Tesco PLC, 2012, Annual Report and Financial Statements 2012,   http://www.tescoplc.com/files/pdf/reports/tesco_annual_report_2012.pdf
[8] Ibid


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