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Welcome - The International Writers Magazine - DECEMBER Editorial 2009

New writing from across the globe.

Best Wishes to all our readers. Be safe, be happy and be warm.

December 24th- Christmas Eve
The snow has gone, in its place rain. The kids wanted a white christmas but the adults are probably happy to see the warmer rain here in the UK. Investigations should begin as to why the local authorities didn't salt the sidewalks. A disgrace.

At Christmas the UK Government always puts out the bad news - so it is no surprise that University funding is to be drastically reduced. Job cuts will face staff when they return from the holidays. I am probably alone in being in synch with the Government that courses should be shorter and more practice based. My colleagues wouldn't agree - as many don't have experience of working outside of education. I'd like to see a lot more people from 'industry' whatever it is, media, engineering, print or health for example coming into higher education and re-writing and teaching on the courses, making them more relevant and practical. It would serve students well and make it easier for them to get jobs. So bring it on.

Meanwhile Iran seethes, our soldiers perish in Afghanistan, bankers buy Bentleys. Little change there. If 2010 brings us anything, I'd like it to be clarity and culpability. I'd like a better reason for why we are in Afghanistan and a date when we will leave. I'd like to believe the economy will get better, but since I know so many will lose their jobs in the public sector, (including myself) I suspect it might get worse. Meanwhile here's to President Obama getting his health care plan approved. A very worthwhile achievement if he can.

Dec 17th:
Half of November here was sun and mild weather then we got hit for six with floods and gales. Immediately everyone gets excited about global warming and seeing ‘2012’ at the movies doesn’t help (fun though that was to see most of the world population perish). I don’t want to spoil the Climate Change party, but we have had weather before y’know. The Bible, as I recall has one rather large flood in it. Denmark made the headlines all this week and no doubt they will come up with 'solutions' that will cost us all plenty. Meanwhile billionaires swap carbon emission trading permits and make billions and it does absolutely nothing for the planet. Marianne de Nazareth, one of our regular correspondents was at the Climate Change shindig in Denmark and you will find her reports on the main page. One thing stands out from her remarks though 'Where are all the scientists? All we meet are politicians'. It didn't bode well for conference success.

I find it amusing as the Climate Conference closed in bitter acrimony last weekend in Copenhagen that the weather was freezing cold - just like it is supposed to be in December. In fact, it is freezing in Vancouver, Toronto, even Bayonne in South-West France and of course in Moscow... Everyone must be thinking, well - what exactly happened to the global warming and mild winters Al Gore goes on about. If it is this cold here, surely the Artic can't be melting? Still less completely disappear in five years. Prince Charles claims 'the door of opportunity is closing. We have just seven years left'. And then? He's alright, he owns mountain property. The floodwaters can rise all they like but he won't drown.

Yes it may seem as if things are bad and getting worse, but what has definitely accelerated is the speed of information and the numbers of people affected. A hundred years ago a city like York could be flooded and it would be bad for York and people elsewhere would feel sorry for them (and wonder why people built houses right by the river) but they wouldn’t have thought the planet is taking revenge. I read of floods in Vancouver Island last month and in Cumbria in the UK. It is totally devastating for those who live there and who have lost everything. One town is cut in two in Cumbria and a police officer lost his life trying to stop motorists using a bridge that collapsed whilst he was on it. But look at that from the persepctive of Bangladesh where thousands drown every years in the floods and it gets worse each year too. Is this global warming or just too many people in the wrong place?

Because the whole world knows of each second of every rainfall or gale absolutely anywhere in the world and we can trade rain stats on twitter in an instant, it just seems like the process of weather change is speeding up. Sure a huge iceberg cruised past Tasmania last month and there's a whole family of them chugging past New Zealand as I write this and that’s unusual, but between 1421 and 1550 there is some evidence to say that there was far less ice in the Artic and Antarctica due to a cyclical global warming. Trouble is there were fewer people around to observe it. There are records to be obtained from the ice cores however from the two poles. According to Ian Pilmer, Professor of Geology At the Univesity of Adelaide, human activity produces just three-percent of the world's carbon-dioxide emissions each year. Climate is cyclical and we should not get hysterical about this or swallow all these carbon taxes which will not help the planet but certainly make us all poorer.

Cry foul, you say. There’s now 6.5 Billion people on earth all consuming and needing food and power and it must be sucking the life out of planet earth and changing the weather. I think that has to be right. The climate must be influenced because of so many people and pollution, but can we ignore past weather records and anecdotal records of weather changes? I don’t think so. Should we be getting so worried? Should we have to give up our cars? Or kill all the cows as was suggested by one environmental group. To say anything against 'climate change' now you are pilloried for even questioning it. But what if it is just a scam by governments to grab more tax from us? As some people suggest. What are they doing with the money anyway? It's just a question. Ask King Canute I say. *Apparently according The Times 28.11.09 fully 41% of the British public don't believe in climate change and can't work out the science behind it.

It is worth viewing the documentary film: 'The Age of Stupid' however to get a good grip of the changes we face. We do have to take responsibility for what we do to the planet and it certainly can't hurt to think of ways to make energy that is less polluting. Better yet, find ways to consume less, use less, throw less away. It's waste that is the real modern curse. But the hysteria? Do we really have just seven years? Sounds more like a bad novel. Does that mean we shouldn't invest in property? Perhaps not bother with higher education or getting a career?
If you are young it all sounds bleak, if you are old, like me, you will remember all the scare stories of nuclear winters and end of the worlds from the 60's and yet here we all are.
*Just to spoil that party, Iran tested another missile yesterday and is developing a nuclear bomb trigger... according to The Times.

Former British Chancellor Lord Lawson states the following: "If you look at the IPCC's (UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) detailed predictions, on such issues as food and water shortages, sea-level rise and health, they paint nothing like the catastrophe we are made familiar with by the media. A maximum sea-level rise of 23in over 100 years hardly compares with the 20ft predicted by Mr Gore's film. - We have entered a new age of unreason,”
Read Lord Lawson’s book:  An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming (Duckworth, £9.99)

You can also check out Prof Ian Pilmer's book 'Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science' - Quartet Books

I’m betting that things won’t be as bad as everyone says, but I am not convinced making everyone drive electric cars is such a great idea either, as we will have to build all these nuclear power stations to recharge them and whose going to keep them all the power stations safe from terrorists for the next 26,000 years. You dear reader?
Economically things are bad, the weather’s bad, Dubai's gone down the toilet and yet you are all going out Christmas shopping. Go figure.
I'm voting for a plastic tax.
Happy December and Happy Holidays to all our readers. Remember its 'Leave your Visa Card at home month'

Sam North December 2009

Editor of

I hope you remembered those who don’t have money or food in our troubled times. I am giving to the Red Cross this year. I met someone yesterday who worked there and said they were desperate with so many more people needing help – not in far off lands, but right here in our own county. So my guess is it’s the same where you are.
Just an idea, if you can spare something – do it. You can give on-line. It’s easy. In the UK: or in the USA

Sunday December 6th:
Had a doss of hubris this weekend. Never mind Another Place to Die the book, felt like that all weekend. Food poisoning? 24 hour Flu? Mini-Me Swine Flu? Who knows? but so many of these quickie viruses out there now, all you can do is worship the porcelain and hope it will stop. But thanks to all those out there in Amazon world buying the book. I was lying there thinking about how much easier it is to read about a flu pandemic than actually live through it. Made me realise just how helpless we would all be in that situation, me included. Christmas is a time of danger, you are going out more, swap more germs, see more people. Not a happy thought. Sorry. Just remember to wash your hands - a lot.

Woke up the other morning feeling chilly. Had the heating failed? Came down and discovered the front door was wide open. The newspaper on the hallway carpet as normal, the post beside it, the coats hanging unmolested on the hooks. The car keys exactly where I had left them. No disaster, no thefts to report. Just closed the door and waited for it to warm up again. Sometimes one is grateful for the little things - living in a friendly, relatively crime free market town, for example. Not everything has to be bad news.

You probably need cheering up now, especially as headlines say that 2 Million people in the UK have probably had Swine Flu and two billion will have it by next year in the world. To date 27.11.09 - 7826 have died from it so far worldwide, (WHO figures) but what if it gets worse or mutates? What of those returning from Mecca this early December where so many have mingled. I have said before but say again, download my book Another Place to Die if you want to be ready for when the flu pandemic goes critical and mutates. They have announced that this variant of Swine Flu is resistant to Tamiflu, who is to say this vaccine they are now giving us will work on the next variant? Latest figures from the World Health Organization show the virus has now spread to more than 199 countries. There is plenty of milage in this virus yet. For most it is mild, for some it is a very painful assault on the respiritory system indeed and hospital beds are getting blocked with very sick patients.
December '09 *Many thanks to those who have ordered my book recently. It is selling well now. Thanks too to those who spread the word on it. I really appreciate that. Often being a writer, especially for one whose books are only mostly available on-line it is very isolating, but now I know it is selling every month it really feels as though the two years writing it were worth it.

If you want to help Hackwriters keep going, buy my children's novel Mean Tide. A young adult ghost story set in Greenwhich, London.
All receipts go into the magazine.
Mean Tide by Sam North
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic awakening'

Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'

Sent to live with his spooky Grandma by the river in Greenwich, Oliver (12) discovers a whole world of disturbed people who are probably even crazier than the ones he left behind. When he finds a dog with its throat cut on the beach, everything changes.
Age range 12-16 and adult

The Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
by Sam North

ISBN: 13: 978-1-4116-3748-1
302 pages - Lulu Press USA

'Chocolate will never be the same again' - Sunday Express
Buy from your favourite on-line retailer

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Barnes and Noble
& Waterstones
Book also available from The Nineveh Gallery, 11 The Pallant Havant, PO9 1BE. UK

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