Saturday 2nd of December 2023

lollipop music like turboprop toys for a worried transport magnate...

sir richard...

Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson narrates a new recording of The Environmental Symphony by Australian composer Allan Zavod, with words by Australia's Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel.

The programmatic work melds classical and jazz principles, with a story spanning the Earth's formation nearly five billion years ago to several hundred years into the future. Released on World Environment Day (5 June), the recording features the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Benjamin Northey.

The Environmental Symphony addresses themes around climate change and "...sounds a warning of what will happen if we don't act boldly and decisively to address our climate crisis, but ends with an optimistic vision of a greener, cleaner future."

In an interview with ABC Classic Mornings presenter Martin Buzacott, Dr Finkel shared that the final movement of the symphony, "…is mine and Allan's shared view of an optimistic future, where we do crack it. And the message there is really the vision that a hypothetical astronaut in the future would have in orbit around the Earth and looking down on our beautiful planet, still preserved."

During the interview, Buzacott joked that "…it's a work that's been four and a half billion years in the making," before more seriously asking Dr Finkel if he felt music has a role to play raising awareness of "scientific truths." Dr Finkel replied: "We felt that there had been a great awareness of the problems and almost a bit of an exhaustion…In general, people were perhaps a little bit jaded…It just adds a fresh way of addressing the problem."


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apparently I said this...


Gus Leonisky, who purports to speak for "Your Democracy", is not happy at my appearance on the ABC's "Q&A". The excitable chap writes:

So how come some-one controversial like Mark Steyn gets on Q & A when he has no scientific understanding of anything? And he is quick at pointing out a few quirkies in the climate change studies to show it's all wrong!

Ah I see the character is "controversial" and he has a big mouth which he uses at every street corners available on the Australian mediocre mass media de mierda including Q and A... Steyn hides his grand scientific mediocrity behind a wall of human right activism in defence of free speech in which anyone can talk shit — as long as it's louder than proper scientists can, because their medium is too complicated to shout — and be understood like a fuck! or a shit! or "a global warming is crap"!... Fantastic emotional ignorance! Magic..!

Actually, you're the one who seems to find it hard to write a sentence without "shit" or "fuck". Do you think a remedial writing course might help?

Mark Stein has the right to express his opinion but he can do it in the park on a soap box — NOT ON THE ABC, unless someone, really up to date with the latest on climate change, can shoot him down in flame for the length of the entire program non-stop with precise facts and figures and scientific observations which of course would show Steyn as a clever imbecile.

Actually I'm happy to debate any expert "climate scientist", yet oddly enough it's your guys who run and hide. Michael E Mann, David Suzuki and all the rest decline every opportunity to "shoot Steyn down in flames". All Mr Leonisky has to do to get his wish is persuade one of his shrinking-violet climate queens to take the unprecedented step of agreeing to debate someone who disagrees with them. Imagine that.



Gus: Yes! I fucking need a remedial shitty writing course from Mark Stein!!!... Where do I bloody start?...


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May be Sir Richard Branson should be honoured to discuss global warming with Mark Stein... all to the Sound of Music...

aznar y la estrategia del ‘gota a gota’...

Spain’s former Prime Minister José María Aznar has actively promoted the work of climate science deniers including former UK chancellor Lawson through a thinktank based just behind Madrid’s Ritz hotel, an investigation by La Marea’s Climatica, DeSmog’s Spanish-language partner, reveals.

Aznar has led the FAES Foundation (also known as the Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis) since he left office in 2004. The organisation’s aim is “to create, promote and disseminate ideas based on political, intellectual and economic freedom, as well as to reinforce the values of freedom, democracy, rule of law, free market economy and Western humanism,” according to its website.

It has done so partly through the promotion of climate science denial.

Promoting Deniers

In 2009, FAES’ publication house Gota a Gota released a version of Nigel Lawson’s climate science denial tome, ‘A Cool Look at Global Warming’. It was presented at an event by Elvira Rodríguez, Spain’s former Environment Minister under Aznar.

In the book, Lawson, who is the founder of the UK's principal climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, declares:

“The new religion of global warming, however comfortable it may be for politicians, is not as harmless as it may seem at first glance. Certainly, the more we analyse it, the more it resembles a da Vinci Code of ecologism. It's a great story and a formidable sales success. It contains a pinch of truth… and a mountain of nonsense. And that nonsense can be really very harmful.”


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climate scientists say no to flying...

In 2016, two seemingly unrelated events conspired to make Kim Cobb confront her personal carbon footprint. First, a massive El Niño event hit the coral reef researcher's 22-year study site, warming the ocean to record levels and killing 85% of the reefs. During her first scuba dive afterward, “I was crying in my mask,” says Cobb, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. It's one thing to read papers about coral bleaching, but when it happens to a place where “you know every dive like the back of your hand, it's something different.” Then, a few months later, her hope for government action to tackle climate change was extinguished when Donald Trump was elected as U.S. president.

So she started to do a rigorous accounting of the carbon she is responsible for emitting, finding that air travel accounted for 85% of her 2017 carbon footprint. She'd flown roughly 200,000 kilometers, mostly to conferences. She vowed that 2018 would be different. “Flying is a luxury and a privilege that must be reserved for a fraction of the events that we use it for right now,” she argues.

Cobb is one of a small but growing minority of academics who are cutting back on air travel because of climate change. Traveling to conferences, lectures, workshops, and the like—frequently by plane—is often viewed as crucial, allowing scientists to exchange information and build community. But Cobb and others are questioning that perspective—pushing conferences to provide more opportunities to participate remotely and changing their personal behavior to confront the climate change crisis. On a website called No Fly Climate Sci, for example, roughly 200 academics—many of them climate scientists—have pledged to fly as little as possible since the effort started in 2017.

Cobb started to ask those who invited her to speak whether she could do so remotely; about three-quarters of the time, they agreed. When the answer was no, she declined the invitation. That approach brought Cobb's 2018 air travel down by 75%, and she plans to continue the practice. “It has been incredibly rewarding,” she says—“a really positive change.”


Read more: SCIENCE magazine...


fire on a virgin atlantic flight...

A Virgin Atlantic flight from New York to London made an emergency landing in Boston on Thursday night because of a fire that was apparently sparked by a phone charger in first class, according to authorities.

All 217 passengers aboard Flight 138 were safely evacuated after the Airbus A330 landed at Boston’s Logan Airport about 9 p.m. Thursday, about 20 minutes after the fire broke out, according to Massachusetts state police.

Investigators believe the fire was sparked by a faulty battery pack in a phone charger, according to WHDH. The crew managed to extinguish the fire, police said.

One passenger declined treatment for a smoke-related complaint.


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Gus: The picture shown on the NYP article is that of a Boeing 747, not an A330.

As well, should you require "oxygen" or "treatment for something" on a plane, you will be booted out of the flight. You will have to get an independent doctor's certificate to say that you are fit to travel again. This can take a while and be costly. The passenger was well aware to decline treatment for smoke-related complaint...

Lithium batteries are a problem when they get hot. 

meanwhile in canada...

DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris reporting for The Real News Network from Montreal, Canada.

On June 17, Canada’s Parliament adopted a motion declaring a climate emergency. The motion was brought by Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Here is some of what she had to say in Parliament in support of her motion.

CATHERINE MCKENNA: Mr. Speaker, my point was that people around the world, including the Pope, understand that climate change is having an impact and that we need to act. In fact, that meeting was between the Pope and major energy companies. I know that the member opposite cares greatly about jobs, she cares greatly about getting our resources to market. Those companies were there meeting with the Pope to say, “We need to put a price on pollution.”

DIMITRI LASCARIS: The motion, approved by Parliament, describes climate change as a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity, that impacts the environment, biodiversity, Canadians’ health, and the Canadian economy.” It declares that “Canada is in a national climate emergency which requires, as a response, that Canada commit to meeting its national emission target under the Paris Agreement and to making deeper reductions in line with the agreement’s objective of holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.” The motion was adopted by a vote of 186 to 63, an overwhelming majority. It was supported by the governing Liberals and three of the four opposition parties, the NDP, the Green Party of Canada, and the Bloc Quebecois. It was opposed by the Conservative Caucus, led by Andrew Scheer.

The motion, however, was non-binding. And strictly speaking, it does not have the force of law. That may explain why on the following day, after supporting this motion, the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau considered himself at liberty to approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which the government bought for 4.5 billion dollars last year after regulatory and political uncertainty led Kinder Morgan to abandon the project. In announcing the approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, the Prime Minister stated that every dollar earned from the pipeline, as well as the future sale of it, will be invested in clean energy projects.

Now here to discuss the developments with us is Dr. David Suzuki. For years, Dr. Suzuki has been a leading advocate in Canada and internationally for strong action to resolve the climate crisis and for other environmentally related causes. He has authored over 55 books. He’s a scientist, he’s a broadcaster, and he is a recipient of the United Nations Environmental Program medal. Thank you for joining us again on The Real News, Dr. Suzuki.

DAVID SUZUKI: Good to be here.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: I’d like to start by getting your reaction, Dr. Suzuki, to the Liberal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. In your view, can that approval be reconciled with the motion that the Liberal government supported only 24 hours earlier?

DAVID SUZUKI: No, absolutely not. I mean, it just shows what a joke the whole declaration of a climate emergency is. I mean, if it’s a climate emergency, first of all, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, I don’t think the Republicans said, “Oh, that damn Democratic president wants to take us to war and is going to destroy the economy.” Everybody joins together in that emergency. It’s got one purpose, which is to win the battle. The battle here is in terms of the amount of carbon that’s accumulating in the atmosphere. We’re way beyond and heading to a total by the end of this century that really puts into question whether human beings, as a species, will be able to survive. It is a climate crisis, but we’ve been saying that for over 30 years. And all of the posturing that’s going on, from Mr. Trudeau being elected, and Mr. Harper, who was prime minister for 9 and a half years, who never once said climate is an issue that we’ve got to take seriously. He said reducing greenhouse gas emissions is “crazy economics.”

And when Mr. Trudeau was elected, he said “Canada’s back,” went to Paris, and not only signed the Paris agreement, but said we should aspire to keeping temperature rising above 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. That’s a tough ask. I emailed Mr. Trudeau after that and said, “That’s a hard target, are you serious?” And he emailed back and said, “Yes, I’m serious.” Well, if it’s a kind of [inaudible] to attack it by reducing our emissions, then everything changes. For example, he approved of a 40 billion dollar liquefied natural gas plant in British Columbia, it’s actually liquefied fracked gas. 40 billion dollars for a technology, for an energy that’s got to be phased out. That area that is being flooded by the Site C Dam is the fertile area that could feed the north. We’ve got a food system where food is grown four to six thousand miles from where it’s consumed. That can’t continue when we have a climate emergency. The area that will be flooded by the dam at Site C in the Peace River should be the breadbasket of the north so we shorten the food chain. But Mr. Trudeau supported the building of that pipeline, which by the way, we stopped 30 years ago.

So it’s the same old battle. It’s all about politics. It’s not a serious commitment to meet the climate challenge. And approving the pipeline is only–you know, what do we expect? When objections came to the pipeline, Mr. Trudeau said, “Yes, we’re going to rearrange the National Energy Board that approved this. We’ve got to change it, we’ve got to go to the Indigenous people who are objecting, and we’ll have to deal with their issues, then we’ll build a pipeline.” He told us right from the beginning that he was going to build the pipeline. So you can’t do that and then say, “Oh, we’ve got a climate emergency, we’ve got to deal with this” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October of last year said that we–if we’re going to meet this crisis and try to keep temperature rising above 1.5 degrees since pre-industrial times by the by the year 2100–in order to do that, we have to reduce our emissions, that is our use of fossil fuels, by 45 percent 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

In order to meet that target, Bill Reese, who is the scientist that coined the expression “the ecological footprint,” Bill Reese says we have to reduce energy use by 6 percent a year starting last year. Well, I don’t see any sign of reducing our emissions. And the idea that we’re going to allow expansion of the Alberta tar sands but then use the profit that we’re going to make on that venture to invest in clean technology strikes me as absolutely stupid. That would be like, “Look, we can’t do anything about preventing the spread of AIDS, but we’ll try to get money to commit to finding a cure for AIDS down in the future. That doesn’t make any sense. You’re not dealing with the crisis in a serious way. And that’s what Mr. Trudeau has done. It is all about politics.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: So on that same theme, politics in Canada; in the 2015 election, Dr. Suzuki, as I’m sure you know, star NDP candidate Linda McQuaig stirred up something of a hornet’s nest by stating on national television that “A lot of the oil sands oil may have to stay in the ground if we’re going to meet our climate change targets.” At times, it seems as though in Canadian mainstream politics, discussion about ending the tar sands industry altogether is virtually taboo.

DAVID SUZUKI: That’s true.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And as we approach the federal election, as you know, party leaders are talking more and more about their respective plans for addressing the climate crisis. In your view, is any party that is currently represented in Canada’s parliament squarely and sufficiently addressing the need to leave as much of the tar sands in the ground as possible, or do you think that they are all, to varying degrees, skirting this critically important issue?

DAVID SUZUKI: Well, the Greens are the only party that have really embraced this and come up with very strong statements about it. The NDP is flirting with the idea of the Green New Deal and the job creation part of turning away from fossil fuels, which we have to talk about. But actually embracing the notion that because we know there’s potential oil and revenue there we can’t just leave it in the ground is certainly anathema to not only the conservatives but the Liberal Party as well. And again, Mr. Trudeau said this before or after he approved the pipeline–I can’t remember when–but he said, “No country would leave that amount of oil in the ground.” And yet, if we take the science seriously and we say that we have to reduce energy use by 6 percent a year, we have to be off fossil fuels by 2050, it doesn’t make sense then that we’re still looking for more, that we’re still saying, “Oh, the Arctic ice is going away, we can look for oil up there.” We’ve got to shut it down. 80 to 85 percent of our known reserves have to be left in the ground. And I would think the first thing you do is leave the most carbon intensive source of oil in the ground first. That’s where we’ve got to start.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And finally, Dr. Suzuki, you travel around the country, you talk to Canadians all the time about environmental issues and the climate crisis in particular. Do you sense, in your personal conversations with people at the grassroots level, that there is a dramatic change in Canadians’ level of concern about this issue, and how do you think concerned Canadians should try to make a difference in the upcoming electoral campaign in terms of dealing effectively with climate change?

DAVID SUZUKI: Well, I’m asked this all the time, “What can I do?” There’s certainly no question Canadians, unlike their American neighbors, Canadians have been aware of climate and taken it very seriously. In British Columbia, we lost–I don’t know–tens of billions of dollars of pine trees because of the mountain pine beetle that is no longer controlled by cold temperatures in the winter. And they have exploded and destroyed a vast area, and now those beetles have been blown across the Rocky Mountains and are into the boreal forest in Alberta, and that will spread right across the country. We know in Canada, especially from the Inuit, who for over 30 years have been telling us that something is happening up in the Arctic. We’ve known, and Canadians know, that whether or not Canadians are ready to embrace the really hard decisions is the question, because it’s going to cost money. And indications are yes, people understand we’re going to have to make big cuts, and yes, we’re going to have to pay for that. But if it’s going to come to more than 100 bucks, no, not really willing to do that.

Even among environmentalists, many people seem to think, well, if you get an electric car, if you substitute the LED lights, we’re going to be able to live pretty well the same way. No, we will not. The economy is already the driving force of our destructiveness. It is way too big. We’re going to have to live much more lightly on the planet. And that means every year we’re not going to be able to find new editions of our iPhones or our iPads or our laptop computers. It means that we’re not going to be able to buy clothing that’s in fashion every month. The clothing industry and fashion is one of the most destructive activities. We’re simply–we’ve got too heavy a footprint on the planet, and that’s got to be met. When I say we can’t go on living the way we’re living now, people immediately say, “Oh, are we going to have to go back to living in caves? Are we going to have to grow all our own food and make our own clothes? And I say, “No, but how about 1945? When the war was over and we were going into a period of prosperity, I was a child in 1945 or 1950, how about that? We had telephones, we had cars, television was coming in.”

I mean, the idea that in order to reduce our impact we’re going to have to go back to living in caves is absurd. We’re way beyond the ability of the planet to sustain us. And you have to say if you go to a big box store like Wal-Mart–I was raised by parents who were married during the Great Depression. They always said “Live within your means. You have to work hard for money to buy the necessities in life, but you don’t run after money to buy more stuff.” Go to a big box store and ask yourself, “Wow, all the stuff we can choose,” how much is what you’d consider a necessity? Not just a necessity to keep you alive, but a necessity to give us a good quality of life. And my bet is the vast bulk of all that stuff, which is a product of an economy that is based on consumption, the vast majority of stuff would never be called a necessity. But we’ve got into this idea that “I just want to look good,” or “I want the latest thing.”

You know, I like to tell people, my family was impoverished after the Second World War. We lost everything because we were Canadians of Japanese origin. We lost all our stuff, shipped to a camp, and kicked out of British Columbia at the end of the war. And all my life, I’ve worn blue jeans. Why? Because denim wears like iron. And now I look at kids buying blue jeans costing hundreds of dollars that are already ripped. I don’t think it looks good, but I guess they think it’s fashionable and looks good. But what is the message in that purchase? It’s saying, “I don’t really care about the planet. I just want to look a certain way. I’m buying this stuff, but it doesn’t matter to me that it wears like iron, that it’s durable, because I’m going to toss it out when I’m done with it or when the fashions change.” That’s the kind of species we have become. And we’ve got to think very hard about that now as we look at the trinkets that are occupying us.

When the IPCC target came out in October last year, the next day in Canada, marijuana became legal and pushed everything out of the news. Like, that was it, where the IPCC report was one day wonder. Then in May of this year, the United Nations released a massive study by scientists that showed humans are causing a massive extinction crisis, that a million species of plants and animals are now in danger. The next day after it came out, Harry and Meghan had a baby. And guess what? It pushed everything out of the news, out of the media. What the heck kind of a species are we? We boast that we’re intelligent, but we’re totally preoccupied by these–I don’t know what it is–diversions. You know, sports, celebrity. If we could rally Canadians the way Canadians rallied around the Raptors when they won the NBA championship, to have a rally like that for a climate, think of the enormous potential of that. But no, we’re too distracted and we’re really not focused in the right way.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And certainly, if we defined intelligence as sustainability, our species would certainly rank very low in intelligence. But I thank you very much today for joining us, Dr. Suzuki. We’ve been talking with Dr. David Suzuki about the Canadian Parliament’s recent declaration of climate emergency and the subsequent approval of a Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the Trudeau government. And this is Dimitri Lascaris reporting for The Real News.


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sir richard sings in chinese...

This is the story the Murdoch press buried. Investigative reporter, Anthony Klan, defected from The Australian newspaper after News Corp bosses muzzled his investigations, including this expose into secret Chinese plans to establish a mega-pilot training facility on an Australian airforce training facility.

Virgin Australia may have misled all levels of Australian government and has made dubious public claims about the true identity of its shadowy Chinese partners in its secretive proposal to take control of the nation’s biggest military pilot school, at an RAAF training facility in Tamworth NSW.

It can be revealed that the nation’s second biggest airline failed to inform the NSW Government, the Federal Government, the English speaking media – and even Tamworth council – about any foreign involvement in its proposal whatsoever, despite that mega-project being “certified” by the Chinese Communist Party a year ago.

It can also be revealed that Virgin Australia has made dubious public claims, denying the involvement of one of its two key partners in the project, despite those claims being easily disproved by conducting relatively simple company searches.

National security experts, including Swinburne University of Technology Professor John Fitzgerald, have described Virgin Australia’s secretive push in Tamworth as extremely concerning.

They warn the proposal appears to be a re-run of the highly controversial 2015 deal whereby the Chinese Communist Party-linked Landbridge Group was granted a 99-year lease over the Port of Darwin, a move which drew an angry rebuke from then US President Barrack Obama.

Virgin Australia, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is overwhelmingly foreign-owned. Chinese entities owned at least 42 per cent of the airline at the end of last financial year.

Serious concerns about Virgin’s Tamworth mega-school proposal – including that it appeared to be secretly planning to take control of the facility with two highly questionable Chinese conglomerates – were first raised on the morning of March 22 this year, in an article which appeared on The Australian newspaper’s website (but not in print).


Virgin fiercely rejected those allegations and ran an aggressive and unethical – but until now, largely successful – campaign to prevent journalists from continuing to dig into the matter, and from publishing any further articles.

The Australian has not published a word on the matter since that initial March 22 online story. It can now be revealed the issues raised in that article were entirely accurate. There is much more.

Searches of company databases in Australia and Hong Kong reveal that Virgin Australia’s partners in its plans to gain control of the current Tamworth RAAF training facility are Chinese conglomerate HNA Group – which has close links to the Chinese Communist Party – and Winbright Overseas Investment Limited.


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strategic positioning at virgin...

Virgin Australia is approaching financial crisis point, with its latest $349 million loss capping years in the red.

Key points:
  • Analysts say second tier cities outside Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are most likely to lose flights
  • International is Virgin's heaviest loss-making area and cuts to New Zealand and Pacific Island flights are expected
  • Qantas is expected to take advantage of its "injured and wounded" competitor


The response is 750 back-office job cuts, and a full review of its air routes and capacity.

"We intend to further reduce flying across elements of our short-haul international and our domestic network to match our strategic positioning and the market conditions as well as to maximise route profitability," Virgin Australia chief executive Paul Scurrah said.

"This may involve potential withdrawals from certain markets which are uneconomical for us, however we will be reviewing all routes in detail."

The managing director of Air Intelligence, Tony Webber, takes the Virgin CEO's statement at face value.

"For domestic, you'll see chopping across the board, I think," he said.

Aviation analyst Geoffrey Thomas from told ABC News Channel that the review will certainly result in fewer flights and may result in some whole routes being cancelled by Virgin.

"They do need to trim the sails and do some trimming of frequencies," he said.


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One thing that could be a factor, though I don't know, is that Virgin has gone "bring your own device" to hook up via an "easy" (difficult) app with the entertainment channels on its planes. No screens on the back of seats saves some cash when you buy a new plane though. This has the effect of making the airline groovy for the smartPhone agile youth in need of glasses and VERY annoying for the oldies who can hardly control their fingers and can't see the buttons of an iPhone through their coke bottles. Even should you be successful to hook up, you also need to bring your own earphones, as not to disturb your travelling companions.

But as less youth travel compared to the number of cashed-up retired oldies in search of a holiday, this could eventually lower the number of travellers... On the other side, having less people fiddling with copyrighted movies or shows might save a bit of dosh to Virgin, should these copyright be charged by the number of views. 

But the entertainment experience stinks.

Overall, people might also become weary of travelling in a pre 777-max 8 sardine can. Or global warming is entering the psyche... Who knows. 


selling out to the bransonic deceit...

Motorboating enthusiast Richard Branson is playing a particularly idiosyncratic game of Monopoly. He would like to mortgage his private Caribbean island. In return, you, the taxpayer, have to buy him Mayfair and Park Lane, all the greens, all the yellows, all the reds, and stick a hotel on every one of them. Also, if Richard lands on Super Tax or Income Tax he doesn’t pay them. And if he gets the Community Chest saying “pay hospital fees”, he refuses and sues the hospital. The only bright side is that he no longer operates out of any of the stations.

But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. By way of a recap, the tycoon is seeking a reported £500m government bailout of his Virgin Atlantic airline, and has stated in a blogpost that he is willing to put Necker Island up as collateral to secure lending for his businesses.


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