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An independent weekly paper for City students 22 November 2006

Who’s watching you, and why?
• Secret camera in halls of residence smoke alarm • Mystery cameras appearing in lecture theatres
The university has come under fire for hiding a camera in a smoke alarm in Walter Sickert Hall, and for installing cameras in the Centenary building’s lecture theatres.
The management at Walter Sickert have installed a hidden camera in a smoke alarm on the second floor of the building – if you look carefully, you can see the lens. The university confirmed that the hidden camera had been installed. However, they said it was only “to monitor some incidents that had been occurring”, and so after the incidents stopped the camera was disconnected. It is not known whether this camera is the only hidden camera in the building. We have learned from some sources that the university is considering installing normal CCTV cameras in the kitchens and communal areas of the halls of residence in the near future. The university has also installed small cameras in all the Centenary building’s lecture theatres, pointing towards the students, despite the lack of the legally-required CCTV signs. When a lecturer was asked about the cameras in the Centenary building, she was not aware they even had been installed. Security staff

City denies that its hidden cameras in lecture theatres and halls are recording
were aware of the cameras, but denied having access to the footage. University vice-chancellor David Rhind does not call the cameras CCTV. He said: “We haven’t installed CCTV in lecture theatres. I assume you might be talking about the webcams which are up in some of our lecture theatres that seat more than 100 people.” “None of the webcams record images and just provide live data, accessed only by my colleagues in timetabling. The webcams are used solely to identify numbers in lecture theatres.” “We have a lot of demand on space and we need to make sure that we’re providing the right rooms for the right class sizes and don’t have rooms that are booked and then not used - the webcams give us an effective solution by which to do this.” When we pointed out that it might be simpler to just ask lecturers to count attendance, Prof Rhind responded: “We don’t want to put added pressure on our lecturers whose main focus is, and should be, on the lecture - ensuring it starts on time and is devoted to the subject matter.” The university has a system of fining lecturers who book rooms and then do not use them – it has been reported that lecturers have previously been threatened with fines as high as £1,000. This may provide one explanation for the cameras’ appearance. TB&TW

‘Smoke alarm’ style cameras are readily available over the Internet

Editors Dimi Reider Emily Clarke Stephane Reissfelder Tom Walker Contributors Cecilia Anesi, Gilad Halpern, Rene Butler, Jesper Lofgren, Ketil Stensrud, Tom Burden, Dianne le Douaron Write for us The Inquirer needs you! We’re independent and can publish anything we like. Send us your views, reviews and especially your news and pictures! Email And now we have a blog at

Who wants Litvinenko dead?

A very fishy poisoning
The saga of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning is full of mysterious characters - not least among them Mario Scaramella, the man he met in the sushi restaurant.
British newspapers call Scaramella an “Italian citizen”, as if he is nothing more, but digging deeper into the Italian press reveals his connections with the ex-Soviet Union. Mario Scaramella sits on the Italian parliament’s “commissione d’Inchiesta” - the investigation commission. He is linked to Litvinenko through Paolo Guzzanti, a senator with Berlusconi’s party Forza Italia. The senator and Scaramella had been working for years at the Mitrokhin commission, which revealed the presence of 20 nuclear weapons under the gulf of Naples, possibly deposited there by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Even worse is the evidence of a radar antenna placed on Mt Vesuvius, which according to Mitrokhin, could activate those weapons. Mysteriously, Ukrainian and Russian families are living close to the radar antenna, which is itself very close to a big Mafia villa. According to Litvinenko, current Italian prime minister Romano Prodi is deeply entwined with the KGB and Soviet authorities from 1978. According to Guzzanti, Scaramella had documents showing that the next victims would be them and Litvinenko. After army corps general Anatoly Trofimov and Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko seems to be the last drop of blood required to finish the job. It’s clear that the footprints of the KGB’s successor, the FSB, are all over this - it is confirmed by the typical use of poison. The KGB had a biological program called ‘Fleyta’, whose main lab in Yasenov is known as Lab12. Fleyta was created in 1920 by Genrich Yagoda, a chemist who became the chief of Stalin’s secret police. Since that moment, the list of the victims in this death-roll is long and dreadful - not least among them Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, and Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, who was poisoned with an umbrella at a London bus stop. At the end, the main question to ask about Litvinenko’s poisoning is why people like them are being allowed to be persecuted by this machine of death and corruption. CA


Down with Big Brother
How does it feel to be caught on camera without knowing it? You might be used to it on the streets of London – but how about outside your room in halls and during your lectures?

‘Centrepoint’ tower at halls
Construction noise near Walter Sickert Hall could get even worse unless local residents succeed in stopping proposed tower blocks on the City Road basin.
British Waterways looks set to go ahead with plans to build two large tower blocks on the canal, minutes from the halls. The chairman of Ken Livingstone’s canals committee, Del Brenner, has spoken out against the 35-storey, “Centrepoint-size” towers in the Islington Tribune. He said: “We’ve never been against development on this site. What we don’t want are two looming tower blocks dominating our basin.” However, the developers have already paid £9.3 million just to buy the site, and there is speculation that they may be in financial trouble. Mr Brenner said: “This might be the time for the developers, which include British Waterways, to cut their losses and reduce the overall height of the scheme.” Architect Harley Sherlock agreed, saying: “It won’t be just an Islington disgrace if we lose this quiet enclave, it will be a national disgrace.” Labour councillor James Murray is against the “luxury flats” scheme, saying that there should be more affordable housing. However, the planning decision has already been taken by the Lib Dems, who control Islington council by one vote. British Waterways issued a statement in response:“This fantastic new waterside destination, and unlock huge social, economic and environmental benefits. There is no basis to Mr Brenner’s claims.” TW

We have no way of knowing how many cameras the university has, whether they might decide to record with the ones they say aren’t recording, or when they might add more. Hiding cameras in smoke alarms just isn’t the sort of thing you expect from a university, is it? And yet they admit it openly, without shame. Where is the need for all this? We would have thought that the university would do far better spending its time and money on real improvements to the university – we can provide a list, if they’d like. The thought of sitting through a lecture and having it recorded by camera is extremely disconcerting, as is the thought of eating your dinner in halls while the security staff keep an eye on you. Will there soon be not even a minute of our days when we can escape the mechanical, unflinching gaze of CCTV? There are plenty of alternatives to cameras that don’t bring to mind Big Brother, but apparently the university isn’t interested. So, next time you’re in your lecture, you’ll just have to take a look at the camera, give it a smile – maybe even a wave – and wonder who it is that’s watching you.

We get lots and lots of letters
Well, a few emails, actually, but you know what we mean.
Emily Thomson, third year aeronautical engineering student, writes to say: “It’s nice to have a proper paper on campus, well done!” Faina Smith, second year sociology, asks: “Has there been any more comment from the university regarding your story about the school? Why is the university not considering the opinions of teachers and parents?” Imid Borovski, first year computer science, has words for our controversial columnist: “Does Jesper have a girlfriend? Thought so.”

Ali Johnson, second year nursing, has an altogether burning issue, however: “How can I make my cat eat more cucumbers?”

The undercover economist comes to City
The newly-formed economics society welcomed the economist, author and TV presenter Tim Harford to City on Wednesday.
Harford is a regular columnist for the Financial Times, where he responds humorously to readers’ financial questions. He also presents a weekly BBC programme, Trust Me, I’m an Economist, investigating the economic side of supermarket queues or London’s property market. The event was met with ample enthusiasm. The room was teeming with economics students eager to widen their grasp of this exact yet often elusive subject, often referred to as the ‘dismal science’. Harford charmed the audience within seconds as he dived in with gusto to explore “how economics can change our lives”. In what followed, the affable speaker initiated the spectators into the odd way economists see the world. But, despite what you might think, his worldview proved to be most fascinating. We were guided through everything from the mysterious presence of an unadvertised short cappuccino at Starbucks stores to the pattern of racial discrimination in suburban neighbourhoods and people’s behaviour at speed-dating events. I even found myself taking notes. ing of A Beautiful Mind (which tells the story of Nobel Prize-winning economist John Nash) are also planned for the second term. However, if you only expect dry, geeky economics-related events, this is the wrong society; numerous nights out are also on the schedule such as pub nights and shisha bar trips. Goldberg says: “We are a social society which aims to have events to increase general economic knowledge on campus while enjoying ourselves at the same time.” The new economics society kicked off with its first event last Tuesday: a pub night at the Queen Boadicea. More than sixty-five people attended the celebration, which is a success considering the society hardly existed at the start of the year. Under the supervision of Bobby Previti, a former City economics student currently doing a master’s at LSE, elections were held to set the society’s governance. The president of the society is South African second-year economics student Simon Goldberg, and he has a small team around him that includes a secretary, treasurer and events manager. DD&SR If you’re interested in joining the society or coming to the events, e-mail econsoc@city.

TV economist Tim Harford spoke to the new economics society
Harford fleshes out these topics and many more in his book, The Undercover Economist. If any of you heretics still need converting to the gospels of St Keynes or the late, soon-tobe-canonised Milton Friedman, there’s plenty more preaching to come. On 31 January, economist John Sloman will come to explain what employers expect from economics graduates. A trip to the Bank of England and a show-

Corporate killing? Not in police and army
with Tom Burden
deceased” [section 1(1)]. There are, however, some organisations which do not have this “duty of care”: the Ministry of Defence is given a broad exemption from it. For example, where the armed forces are carrying out operations involving hazardous preparation or training which is considered to be necessary for the improvement of the armed services, it does not qualify as a “relevant duty of care”. The exemptions apply to “operations”, a term which includes peacekeeping, dealing with terrorism, civil unrest, or public disorder where members of the armed forces come under or are threatened with attack. The police force also enjoys this loophole in the Bill. One does have to question why the employees of the police and the armed forces are not set to receive the same protection as others. Are they dispensable, or is it assumed that their employers have a higher degree of professionalism and therefore accidents will not happen? I must admit that I am somewhat skeptical of this, and more inclined to take the view that the government wishes to protect itself from a stream of costly prosecutions over these high-risk jobs. All in all, this Bill seems satisfactory for the vast majority of employees in the UK, yet there are those few whose employers will frequently fall outside the “relevant duty of care”, and they will be those families and victims who will not receive justice in the truest sense. What kind of political policy is that?

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill is currently undergoing its second reading in the House of Commons.
Given that this was a pledge in the 2001 Labour manifesto, one does wonder why it has taken quite so long to get this far, and how much longer it is going to take before it finds its way onto the statute book. This Act would make an organisation (defined as a corporation, or one of numerous governmental departments listed in the schedule or under certain circumstances the police force) guilty of corporate manslaughter where the activities managed or organised by senior management cause a person’s death, and “amount to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the

“Are the police and the army dispensable?”

Bobby on the beat: not protected under corporate manslaughter laws

Taking on the misery line
Rene Butler

Thanks to the inept muppets who run the Northern Line, I’ve missed out on a good part of my mid-twenties.

My time in underground custody should be spent sat back unwinding with a skinny latte and a broadsheet. When I’m standing, the nearest I come to news is a quick glance at a paper belonging to a seat-depriver – and they twig your eyes on their print in seconds. When they do, they flick straight to the obitu-

seat regardless. I’d have that broadsheet and skinny latte – no bastard was going to get in my way. And if Goofy got on, I’d order him to turn his iPod off. As a treat to myself before Underground Judgment Day, I asked the girl in Costa’s to add some vanilla syrup in my latte. What a

I could have written War and Peace with a blunt pencil during all the time I’ve spent wedged between other commuters. For some, this might be acceptable, but my luck always seems to put me between a bearded accountant from Edgware (I think her name is Sally), and some goofy iPod-gangster from Burnt Oak. Because Goofy and Ms I-need-Immac insist on taking every available inch of space, I have no chance of swinging a stray leg or digging an elbow to avenge the deafening iPod.

“I’d have that skinny latte... no bastard would get in my way”
aries, making sure all headlines and pictures are out of your gaze. Why can’t they be nice? Why can’t they say “Let’s read the asylum seekers story together, I’ll just re-angle the paper and we can both enjoy it”? Last Tuesday I decided I was going to get a mistake – she was about as quick as a tortoise putting on a dinner jacket. On most days I’d offer one of my lectures in prompt customer service, but my insult-lines were needed for the tube. So I got to Hendon Central, ready for battle. The fucker was closed for engineering works.

How to kiss a girl... maybe
Jesper Lofgren

I was in high spirits in the cab to the Sketch bar on Conduit Street.
“Do you think I could have kissed her?” I asked my mate Dan. “If you think you could have, then you could have,” he said. “As soon as you ask yourself whether you should or shouldn’t, that means you should. And what you do is, you phase-shift.” “Imagine a giant gear thudding down in your head, and then go for it. Start hitting on her. Tell her you just noticed she has beautiful

back, that’s an IOI.” “As soon as I get three IOIs, I phase shift. I don’t even think about it. It’s like a computer program.” “But how do you kiss her?” I asked. “I just say, ‘Would you like to kiss me?’” “And then what happens?” I wondered. “One of three things,” Dan said. “If she says, ‘Yes,’ which is very rare, you kiss her. If she says, ‘Maybe,’ or hesitates, then you say, ‘let’s find out’, and kiss her. And if she says, ‘No,’ you just say, ‘I didn’t say you could. It just looked liked you had something on your mind.’” “You see,” Dan grinned triumphantly. “You have nothing to lose. Every contingency is planned for. It’s waterproof. It’s the secret kiss-close.”

“We walked in the door - we were confident, smiling... alpha”
skin, and start massaging her shoulders.” “But how do you know it’s OK?” I asked. “What I do,” he told me, “is I look for IOIs (indicator of interest). If she asks what your name is, that’s an IOI. If she asks you if you’re single, that is an IOI. If you take her hands and squeeze them, and she squeezes I furiously scribbled every word of the kissclose in my notebook. No-one had ever told me how to kiss a girl before. It was just one of those things men were supposed to know on their own, like shaving and car repair. We walked in the door of Sketch – we were confident, smiling... alpha. We strutted to

the VIP bit, and as we pushed the door open, a woman appeared. Time to put all I had learned to the test. “Hey,” I said. “Let me get your opinion on something.” She was about four foot ten, with short, frizzy hair and a marshmallow body, but she had a nice smile – she would be good practice. I decided to use my Radio 1 opener. “My friend Dan there just got a call today from a Radio 1 show,” I began. “They’re doing a segment on secret admirers. Evidently, someone has a little crush on him. Do you think he should take part in the show or not?” “Sure” she answered. “Why not?” “But what if this secret admirer is a man?” I asked. “These shows always need to put an unexpected twist on everything. Or what if it’s a relative?” It’s not lying – it’s flirting. She laughed. Perfect. “Would you do the show?” I asked? “Probably not,” she answered. Suddenly, Dan stepped in. “So you would make me go on the show, but you wouldn’t do it yourself,” he teased her. “You’re not adventurous at all, are you?” It was great to watch him work. Where I would have let the conversation wane into small talk, he was already leading her somewhere sexual. After counting up to three IOIs and a somewhat hesitant response from her, Dan was ramming his tongue down her throat quicker than I could say snogging.

The views expressed in this newspaper in no way represent the views of City University, the journalism department or the student union. The Inquirer is an independent publication run by City students, and encourages all students to send in their views.

the arts and culture bit film
joins the forces as Costello’s whistleblower, being oblivious of his superior’s (Martin Sheen) counter-attack. Fear not: I haven’t revealed anything that I shouldn’t have, as Scorsese’s storytelling is straightforward. He does not attempt to impress his audience with a deliberately enigmatic myriad of clues (a penchant of debutant directors) – he is mature and venerable enough to avoid cheap tricks. Scorsese deserves much of the eye-rolling his films get for their extensive length, however. Here too, two-and-a-half hours into this action-drenched film, the tangle has still not been resolved in a satisfactory manner. And the way out in the finale is the easy one, which is displeasing. Overall, though, this is one of Scorsese’s most enjoyable recent films – much better than the boring Gangs of New York or the pretentious The Aviator. It’s not cinema at its cleverest, but, save minor pitfalls, certainly at its most beguiling. GH

The Departed
A new Martin Scorsese film is like a delivery from your favourite pizza place: it’s hot, tasty, and immediately enjoyable. But, on the other hand, you know exactly what you’re going to get.

It’s a complete mystery that he has never won an Oscar, despite having been nominated five times, because Scorsese is a competent filmmaker, even though his recent work has been disappointingly conventional. The gap between this and his opinionated, anarchic auteur films of the ‘70s, especially Alice

Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Taxi Driver, is so huge that it’s barely conceivable they were made by the same director. Above all, he should be commended for making such a

“The gap between this and Taxi Driver is huge”

perplexing plot user-friendly. Lower-class Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) has his application to join the Boston police force refused as a ploy to allow him to infiltrate the Irish mafia, which is led by the invincible Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson). At the same time, golden boy Police Academy graduate Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon)

New Super Mario Bros
Nintendo DS I’d been putting off playing New Super Mario Bros. I thought I was bound to be disappointed. Was I? Well…
There’s a good reason for the game’s somewhat odd title. The original Mario games have been re-released so often and under so many different titles that a new game really is something to write home about. There hasn’t been a proper new Mario game for over a decade. He’s been like a film star with a misguided fear of being typecast: he’ll do Mario Tennis, Mario Golf and the like over and over,

but steers clear of the platformers that made him famous. So this game is quite an event. It plays just like the Mario of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, albeit with much prettier graphics. The game isn’t shy about raiding the back catalogue and re-doing it with style. It’s an unashamed ‘greatest hits’ retread, but then again, the Mario universe is big enough each level can still be completely different. The game can casually drop in brilliant ideas like the big fish that tries to eat you, or the giant bullets with eyes, or the blocks that come to life and try to stomp you, or hundreds of others.There’s so much material on hand that the game never has to repeat itself. However, things can still sometimes become formulaic. Each level takes a classic Mario idea, takes it to its limit, adds a little

twist, and then ends. You start to see the twist coming after a while. A lot of the game’s appeal is just nostalgia – for someone who hadn’t played the other Mario games, this would be a competent platformer, but hardly Earth-shattering. There’s also the issue of length. If you know what you’re doing (and people who do are surely the target audience here), you can be at Bowser’s final castle within a few days. The game goes a long way to try to remedy this, with three hidden star coins to collect in every level, and a few hidden levels in each world (and worlds 4 and 7 are both entirely hidden down secret passageways). Still, for replayability it’s not a patch on the classics – you’re unlikely to be coming back to it in one year, never mind ten. TW


Thérèse Raquin
Emile Zola’s mid 19th century novel, Thérèse Raquin, has been adapted with a grace that should persuade the most finicky of bibliomaniacs.
Most importantly, the lives of his petit-bourgeois Parisians are shown in relative gloom. The idea that illicit passion can completely raze its victims, be they adulterers or innocent third parties, was firm in Zola’s mind. One such bystander, bumbling mummy’s darling Camile, assumes that his life’s work is done by marrying the beautiful Thérèse. He is a man well satisfied – though this is an ignorant bliss, because it is the brutal physique of the peasant Laurent that gratifies his wife. An unexceptional plot maybe – but there’s a clinical intensity that Marianne Elliott has directed her cast to observe. Every single moment Thérèse and Laurent are alone is one of exasperated desire. Were it not for the lovable Camile (Patrick Kennedy), you’d want

Thérèse Raquin at the National Theatre: a tale of adultery in 19th century Paris
the adulterers to succeed. “You don’t have to sleep with my wife just to get out of helping with the chairs,” he tells Laurent in jest. It’s a shame Camile is murdered, as Patrick Kennedy’s comic excellence is missed after the interval. The intensity remains in the second half, but the show becomes a bit too Macbeth-like when anxiety overrules the former passion between Thérèse and Laurent. The adulterers’ guilt is further compounded when Madame Raquin (Judy Parfitt) suffers a stroke on hearing the details of her beloved son’s fate. Parfitt’s sturdy realism is only to be found in outstanding performers. You have to remind yourself that her agony and loneliness are just part of the script. Among the shining cast, Parfitt stands tallest. Typical of the National, the staging is precise and well structured. Hildegard Bechtler’s dull apartment evokes the melancholy that Zola intended. And the colour schemes suggest an era that was rather dire in Paris. RB


Hong Kong for pennies? Yes please
Ever since the emergence of low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet, there has been an unstoppable wave of overweight, sunburnt Britons jetting up and down Europe to showcase their cellulite-infested redSpeedoed bums.

Hong Kong is now just £141 away
to New Delhi for an incredible £126 plus taxes, while Tim Clark, the president of Emirates airline, has revealed that he is considering launching flights from London to Sydney for £280 return including taxes and £140 return to New York. Whoever said the world wasn’t flat? Scottish airline Flyglobespan has also ascended into the latest trend of long-haul air-travel, providing routes between the UK and Canada. How does a weekend in Toronto sound for £200? Lufthansa, the biggest airline in Europe, offers the same flight for £540. ISSTA Direct operates flights to Israel for pocket change. Tel Aviv is now only a £20 note away. It is definitely not kosher business, but it does at least get you there without going bankrupt. As environmentalists and former American presidential candidates engage in the raging debate over carbon emissions, the budget-travel boom has generated great worry for worldwide efforts in dealing with climate change, as the already well-established airlines are forced to reduce their prices accordingly. It is a new era of international travel, and its implications are crash-landing upon us. The loser? Mother Earth. Temporary winners: us. KS

So far, though, travelling for the price of an Indian take-away has been restricted to destinations within reasonable distance, but last month saw airline Oasis set up a direct route between Hong Kong and Gatwick. The price? A mere £141 including taxes for a return ticket, compared to British Airways’ cheapest option at £520. Similarly, Air Sahara has begun chartering flights from Heathrow

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