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Found 79 results

  1. A sad milestone for Queen Elizabeth was passed this weekend. Her last corgi, Willow, was put to sleep after a long battle with canine cancer. The 15-year-old dog famously starred in the 2012 James Bond skit that opened the London Olympic Games. A producer who worked on the sketch with the monarch and the dogs told the Daily Beast at the time that Willow behaved “impeccably” during the shoot. The dog was put down at Windsor Castle on the orders of the queen, after a long struggle with cancer, the Daily Mail reports. The Daily Beast has previously reported that the queen privately told close friends and family that she will not be breeding any more corgis, as she was concerned about who will look after them when she is gone. Prince William has previously expressed his dislike for the dogs, which are prone to yapping—“They’re barking all the time... I don’t know how she copes with it,” William once said—and Prince Charles is said to not be a fan of the distinctive animals. Willow was descended from a long line of royal corgis, and her death marks the end of an era for Her Majesty, who has been breeding and pampering corgis since she was given Susan, her first corgi, by her father when she was a teenager. Willow, the Daily Mail reports, was the 14th generation descended from Susan. A source told the Mail: “She has mourned every one of her corgis over the years, but she has been more upset about Willow’s death than any of them. “It is probably because Willow was the last link to her parents and a pastime that goes back to her own childhood. It really does feel like the end of an era. “Willow represents a significant thread running through the queen’s life from her teenage years to her nineties. For many, many years she bred and raised corgis and to think that the last one has now gone is something of a milestone.” The queen still has two dorgis—corgi-dachshund cross breeds—named Cider and Vulcan. The dorgi line results from an unplanned liaison between a corgi and Princess Margaret’s dachshund, Pipkin. They will continue to travel with her, sleep in raised wicker baskets in a special boot room near the royal apartments, and have license to wander freely around the palace. The queen was given her first dog, a Cairn terrier, at the age of 3 by her uncle, the Prince of Wales. Should the queen feel in need of further canine company, there are still a number kept in the royal kennels at Sandringham. The kennels were established by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1879 to house 100 dogs, and are now home to some 20 gundogs, including Labradors and cocker spaniels.
  2. Fantasy miniatures bring roaring success to UK's Games Workshop From The Hobbit to Warhammer, world of elves, orcs and ogres have made model-maker a stock market hit It is usually forbidden for quoted companies to cash in on bloodthirsty conflicts fought by armed mercenaries in distant lands. But for Kevin Rountree it’s just another day at the office. The low-profile accountant, who never gives interviews, runs fantasy figure seller Games Workshop which this week emerged as the sleeper success story of the UK’s bombed-out retail industry, thanks to the enduring success of its tabletop game franchise Warhammer. The Nottingham retailer and model manufacturer was catapulted into the FTSE 250 after pulling off a battle plan that Raboute Gulliman (Sic. It's not my fault the guardian can't hire an editor). – the avenging son of the Emperor of Mankind in sci-fi spinoff Warhammer 40,000 – would be proud of. The shares have risen more than 160% in the past year, giving the company a market value of £770m, more than breakdown specialist AA – one of the companies booted outed of the 250 index in the reshuffle – and the retailers Card Factory and Jacamo owner N Brown. Its current share price of £22.95 compares with £5 two years ago. “Games Workshop fans act very much like those of Lego, as almost a cult following,” says GlobalRetail analyst Zoe Mills. “It is not cheap however, with great craftsmanship in its range, this is a hobby consumers are willing to invest in. It appeals to an older demographic than Lego, with detailed painting involved in the process. This is not for young children.” Games Workshop shuns the press but on its website 47-year-old Rountree, who has been with the company for 20 years, sets out a simple stall: “We make the best fantasy miniatures in the world and sell them globally at a profit and we intend to do this forever.” Although it has more than 460 stores around the world, Games Workshop insists it is a manufacturer first with its factory in Lenton, Nottingham, producing more than 30m toy solders (sic. see above) a year. One of its financial strengths is ownership of the Warhammer franchise and it defends this intellectual property vigorously. The Lenton complex is also home to Warhammer World, an events centre that pulls in visitors from all over the world. Rather than just being places to buy model kits or pick up the latest copy of White Dwarf magazine, Games Worksop views its stores as recruiting grounds for people it describes as having “our particular hobby gene”. Someone with that trait is Dimitri, who has just bought a £95 kit to build an imperial knight. With more than 220 parts to glue together, the model will take hours of work to complete but the prison officer is no stranger to the task as he owns a shed filled with thousands of miniatures. Players collect forces of miniature plastic models, all with different stats and abilities, and use them to play out clashes on a tabletop battlefield. “It’s very strategic,” says Dimitri of Warhammer “10K”, which is his game of choice. “It’s 10-fold more complicated than chess.” He adds: “I got into gaming as a kid but as an adult I enjoy reading the lore. If you think of Lord of the Rings and the universe created by three books imagine what you can do with 50.” In January Games Workshop announced record sales and profits for the first six months of a financial year that runs until the end of May. Sales were up more than 50% at £108.9m while profits more than doubled to £38.8m as its UK manufacturing base protected it from currency depreciation. Most of the growth is coming from outside the UK with international sales accounting for nearly 70% of turnover thanks to expansion into markets like Asia. Games Workshop was founded more than 40 years ago by three school friends: John Peake, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. The gaming fanatics shared a flat in west London where they started out selling handmade, classic wooden games before going on to open stores. Following a management buyout in the 90s the company listed on the stock exchange in 1994. Games Workshop is better run now than in previous years, says Dimitri who spends £100 a month in its stores. “Before you could spend £200 and have an army but then it would stagnate for two years. Now there are new releases all the time and they have tapped into the love of lore.” In the Warhammer shop on Tottenham Court Road, shoppers are greeted by a dramatic snowy battle scene featuring two model armies, dragons and all, advancing on either side of an imposing fortress. A display cabinet in the corner groups figurines by army with the shelves labelled destruction, chaos and death. Other shelves are replete with battlefield scenery props with esoteric names like ferratonic incinerator and promethium relay pipes. Although the central London store has several employees, more than 360 of them have just one person to do everything. The company monitors the success of its shops carefully and if those with several staff dip into the red they are replaced with one man stores. The shops have playtables where staff give lessons on strategy and painting techniques like shading so enthusiasts can create give their models the perfect finish. Staff are expected to be immersed in games lore as customers quiz them about the nuances of orcs, ogres and obliterators. In a world where so much free time is spent online, tabletop gaming is refreshingly analogue although the company encourages fans to share pictures of their finished figures on Facebook and Instagram. Games are played between people in the same room in venues ranging from schools to the former Olympic stadium in Stratford, where in May hundreds will gather for a Warhammer 40,000 convention. “If someone said I was sad for playing with toys I’d say ‘what do you do’?” says Dimitri, who now in his early 30s has dedicated two decades to marshalling his fantastical troops. “Go down the pub?” Link: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/03/fantasy-miniatures-bring-roaring-success-to-uks-games-workshop Personal Comment: Wow, you start engaging customer friendly practices, start pricing some things people can afford, publish things people want and make your game not a nightmare to play and suddenly you start growing. Also linked because the Guardian hires journalists who can't spell.
  3. LONDON (Reuters) - Hackers who stole around $530 million worth of cryptocurrency from the Coincheck exchange last week -- one of the biggest such heists ever -- are trying to move the stolen “XEM” coins, the foundation behind the digital currency said on Tuesday. NEM Foundation, creators of the XEM cryptocurrency, have traced the stolen coins to an unidentified account, and the account owner had begun trying to move the coins onto six exchanges where they could then be sold, Jeff McDonald said. Hackers made off with roughly 58 billion Japanese yen ($533 million) worth of the cryptocurrency from Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck Inc late last week, raising fresh questions about security and regulatory protection in the booming market. The location of the hackers’ account was not known. “[The hackers are] trying to spend them on multiple exchanges. We are contacting those exchanges,” Singapore-based McDonald told Reuters. NEM Foundation spokeswoman Alexandra Tinsman said the hacker had started sending out “XEM” coins to random accounts in 100 XEM batches, worth about $83 each. “When people look to launder these types of funds, they sometimes spread it into smaller transactions because it’s less likely to trigger (exchanges’) anti-money laundering (mechanisms),” said Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, a cryptocurrency security firm in London. Robinson said such hopping among different cryptocurrencies was becoming more prevalent among cybercriminals trying to cover their tracks. The coins that the hackers had taken made up around 5 percent of the total supply of XEM, the world’s 10th biggest cryptocurrency, according to trade website Coinmarketcap. McDonald said the hackers were unlikely to try to spend anything close to all of the stolen cryptocurrency at once, because the “market simply couldn’t absorb that much”. If the hackers successfully moved the coins to an exchange, they were likely to try to swap them into another cryptocurrency before transferring the coins back into a conventional currency, he said. That would make the funds difficult or near impossible to trace. “I would assume that they are going to get away with some of the money,” McDonald said. CRYPTO-HOPPING At least three dozen heists on cryptocurrency exchanges since 2011 are known; many of the hacked exchanges later shut down. More than 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen, and few have ever been recovered. In 2014, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, which once handled 80 percent of the world’s bitcoin trades, filed for bankruptcy after losing bitcoins worth around half a billion dollars -- then the biggest ever such heist, which triggered a huge sell-off in bitcoin. “It shows how far the industry has come that a hack of this scale isn’t really an issue,” said Robinson at Elliptic. “This is just kind of a blip.” As of 1744 GMT, XEM was trading at around $0.83 per coin, with a total market value of around $7.5 billion. That was around 20 percent lower than trading levels on Friday, when the hack was announced, but XEM is still up almost 300 percent over the past two months. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) on Monday ordered improvements to operations at Coincheck, which on Friday suspended trading in all cryptocurrencies except bitcoin. Reporting by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Sujata Rao, Catherine Evans, Larry King Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-cryptocurrency-cybercrime/exclusive-coincheck-hackers-trying-to-move-stolen-cryptocurrency-executive-idUSKBN1FJ28Y Personal Comment From Bors: Most boring heist movie ever.
  4. Click to follow Indy Politics The announcement of no progress in breaking the Stormont impasse brings direct rule from London ever closer AFP Power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland have collapsed after Sinn Fein and the DUP failed to reach agreement, following a 10-month impasse at Stormont. Sinn Fein said the difficulties in reaching a deal had been “compounded” by the DUP’s confidence-and-supply pact to prop up Theresa May’s Government. James Brokenshire, the Northern Ireland Secretary, had set a deadline of Monday for a deal between the parties to be reached to reinstate the Stormont executive in the region. READ MORE Northern Ireland power sharing deadline extended for DUP and Sinn Fein But the DUP and Sinn Fein failed to secure an agreement, resulting in the latter’s declaration that talks had collapsed. The announcement brings direct rule from London ever closer. Mr Brokenshire said earlier on Wednesday he was preparing to impose a budget after warning that Northern Ireland would begin to run out of money by the end of November. Stormont has been hamstrung since January after more than a decade of joint-rule between unionist and nationalist politicians came to an end. The political crisis was triggered by allegations of a financial scandal in which the DUP leader, Arlene Foster, was implicated. In a statement, Sinn Fein’s leader, Michelle O’Neill, said issues around the introduction of an Irish language act and the reluctance of the DUP to agree to legislate for same-sex marriage had stalled progress. READ MORE Power-sharing collapses in Northern Ireland She said: “The only reason they are denied is because of DUP resistance to the rights agenda and the British Government’s acquiescence in this. “That has been compounded by the Tory-DUP pact. “The British Secretary of State is wrong when he says that it only the parties themselves who can reach agreement, he and the Irish government also have obligations.” Ms O’Neill added that “endless talks without conclusion” were “not sustainable” and insisted her party would only re-enter government once marriage equality, language rights, the Bill of Rights and the right to coroners’ inquests had been achieved. However, Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the DUP, accused Sinn Fein of “blocking” talks and said it was time for Mr Brokenshire “to get on with” setting a new budget for the region. The DUP’s East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said Sinn Fein had “produced a shopping list of preconditions” and accused his opponents of “rank hypocrisy” for “complaining about the speed of progress” while blocking “key decisions”. READ MORE Release of £1bn for DUP-Tory deal must be approved by Commons vote The failure to reach a deal followed a full day of negotiations on Tuesday, with both parties leaving Stormont after 9pm without any sign of a breakthrough. On Wednesday morning, Mr Brokenshire said he was “taking forward the necessary steps that would enable a Budget Bill to be introduced at Westminster at the appropriate moment in order to protect the delivery of public services in Northern Ireland”. He added: “It remains firmly in the interests of Northern Ireland to see devolved government restored, to see locally elected politicians making decisions for the people of Northern Ireland. “With goodwill and compromise on all sides the parties can still achieve this and it is what needs to happen.” Mr Brokenshire is expected to speak in Westminster on the issue on Thursday. The DUP promised to back the Tories on key votes in a deal worth £1bn for Northern Ireland after Ms May lost her Commons majority in the June general election. Personal Comment From Bors: Old-ish article but the issue is still ongoing and there has not been an adequate agreement for power sharing in Northern Ireland...the peace deal has lasted for 20 years and it looks as if it might expire.
  5. LONDON (Reuters) - A British ship escorted a Russian vessel as it passed near UK territorial waters over Christmas, Britain’s defense ministry said on Tuesday, adding that Russian naval activity near Britain had increased in the holiday period. The frigate HMS St Albans departed on Dec. 23 to track the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it moved through the North Sea. The Royal Navy vessel monitored the Russian ship over Christmas and will return to dock in Portsmouth later on Tuesday. UK defense minister Gavin Williamson said in a statement after the incident that he would “not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression”. Relations between Britain and Russia are strained, and UK foreign minister Boris Johnson said there was “abundant evidence” of Moscow meddling in foreign elections during a trip to Russia last week. His counterpart Sergei Lavrov said there was no proof for Johnson’s claim. While Johnson said he wants to normalize relations with Russia, Moscow blames London for the poor state of relations between the countries. Britain’s defense ministry said another ship, HMS Tyne, was called to escort a Russian intelligence-gathering ship through the North Sea and the English Channel on Christmas Eve. A helicopter was subsequently dispatched to monitor two other Russian vessels. Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Ed Osmond Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle © 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved. Personal Comment From Bors: It's never Russia's fault for souring relations.
  6. Twenty-two people, including an eight-year-old girl, have been killed and 59 were injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, at the end of a concert by US singer Ariana Grande. A man set off a homemade bomb in the foyer at 22:33 BST on Monday, in what Theresa May called a "sickening" act. Armed police have arrested a 23-year-old man in Chorlton, south Manchester, in connection with the attack. Saffie Rose Roussos was a pupil at Tarleton Primary School, in Lancashire. Her head teacher, Chris Upton, said she had been "simply a beautiful little girl in every aspect of the word" and was "loved by everyone". Student Georgina Callander, believed to have been 18, has also been named as among the dead. She had been studying health and social care at Runshaw College in Leyland, Lancashire. Manchester attack: Latest updats Special report on the bombing What we know so far Teenagers among the missing Sixty ambulances went to Manchester Arena after the attack and the wounded are being treated at eight hospitals around the city. Among them are 12 children under the age of 16. In a statement in Downing Street on Tuesday, the prime minister said it had been a "callous terrorist attack" that targeted "defenceless young people". She said the security services believe they know the attacker's identity but are not yet able to confirm it. It is the worst terrorist attack in the UK since the 7 July bombings in 2005, in which 52 people were killed by four suicide bombers. So-called Islamic State has said - via IS channels on the messaging app Telegram - it was behind the Manchester attack. The BBC understands the perpetrator was British or from UK. Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it was "the most horrific incident" the city had ever faced, and the "fast-moving investigation" was now working to establish whether the attacker "was acting alone or as part of a network". Officers have carried out raids at two properties, one in Whalley Range and one in Fallowfield, where a controlled explosion was carried out. In other developments: Relatives are using social media to hunt for missing loved ones, and an emergency number - 0800 096 0095 - has been set up. Flags are flying at half mast outside Number 10 and political parties have suspended general election campaigning. Theresa May chaired a meeting of the government's emergency Cobra committee and is now visiting Manchester Sporting events and venues in England are conducting major security reviews and London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the police presence on the capital's streets would be stepped up World leaders have expressed solidarity with the UK, including US President Donald Trump, who called those behind the attack "evil losers" Exam boards are telling schools directly affected by the attack that they can re-arrange GCSE and A-level exams in the wake of the attack. Police have established a help centre at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, access Gate 11, for anyone who needs assistance in tracing loved ones. The Queen has extended her "deepest sympathy" to all those affected, while Pope Francis offered "heartfelt solidarity" with the victims and their families Take That have cancelled a concert in Liverpool on Tuesday night "out of respect" Witnesses at the arena described seeing metal nuts and bolts among the debris of Monday's bomb, and spoke about the fear and confusion that gripped concert-goers. Andy Holey, who had gone to pick up his wife and daughter, said: "An explosion went off and it threw me about 30ft from one set of doors to the other set of doors." Emma Johnson, who went to pick up her children, aged 15 and 17, said: "The whole building shook. There was a blast and then a flash of fire afterwards. There were bodies everywhere." Teenager Abigail Walker, who was at the concert, told the BBC: "I had to make sure I had my sister. I grabbed hold of her and pulled hard. Everyone was running and crying. "It was absolutely terrifying." The explosion happened shortly after Ariana Grande had left the stage and the 23-year-old actress-turned-singer, tweeted: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words". The UK threat level has been judged to be severe for nearly three years - which means an attack is considered highly likely. But in recent months the tempo of counter terrorist activity has been increasing with - on average - an arrest every day. After the attack in Westminster by Khalid Masood in March, police and security officials have been warning that further attacks were almost inevitable. But they also believed that those were more likely to be low-tech involving knives or vehicles. The fact that the Manchester attack involved explosives will worry them. It may not have been at the level of complexity seen in Paris in 2015, when multiple attackers sent from Syria used guns and suicide belts, but it will still have required planning. The blast happened close to the entrance to Victoria railway and tram station. The station has been closed and all trains cancelled. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the city would "pull together", adding: "That's what we are. That's what we do. They won't win." The Manchester Arena is the city's largest indoor venue with a concert capacity of about 21,000. A spokesman for the arena called the event "a senseless tragedy", but praised the emergency services for their response. Personal Comment: [MEDIA=twitter]867009733810675713[/MEDIA]
  7. I can't find an article to post but I've just been told that Theresa May is holding a general election in 6 weeks. My personal understanding of this is that it's an incredible tactical move on her part and on the part of the conservative party because if they win, they'll have absolute control of the country which makes it harder for Scotland to leave, but should they lose, they can blame another party for Brexit going tits up if it does.
  8. The total value of the objects at stake is around £17m (NZ$30m). Photo / Getty Images A wealthy family is locked in a bitter legal feud over a hoard of exquisite jewellery, paintings and objects d'art worth more than £17 million ($30m). The wrangle over the gems between Brigitta and Maxine Davidson is part of an intense, wider feud that has torn apart the Davidson family, who are thought to be worth around £600m ($1070m). Their wealth was established by property magnate Manny Davison, 85, who alongside his 80-year-old wife, Brigitta, is now at war with their two children, Maxine and Gerald, over a collection of jewels, silver, antiques and other objects. Manny and Brigitta are suing their offspring "for the return of a large number of valuable chattels located in a country home owned by their children, Lyegrove House", explained the couple's QC, Stephen Rubin. They used to live at Lyegrove until they moved to Monaco in 2011, London's High Court heard. But they say they left behind an outstanding collection of artefacts, including rare silver snuff boxes, Elizabethan tankards and old master paintings. There are over 300 items claimed by Manny and Brigitta, including part of an "exceptional" £13m ($23m) silver collection which Manny began building up in the 1980s. The couple want the valuables returned to them - while Maxine, 57, and Gerald, 55, are "counter-suing" for a further 180 items, including £3m ($5.3m) worth of jewellery. The total value of the objects at stake is around £17m ($30m). Lyegrove House, a sprawling Jacobean mansion set in 18 acres of lush Gloucestershire country, was bought by Maxine and Gerald in 1993 - although their parents say the cash came from "income distributed to them from trusts settled by their parents". The house neighbours Prince Charles' estate at Highgrove. Manny and Brigitta say that all the family viewed Lyegrove as the older generation's country home, and that they "ran the house". But their children insist it was bought as a weekend retreat for all of them. In 2011 the couple relocated to Monaco on the "clear understanding" that they could return to Lyegrove whenever they came back to England, they claim. That remained their belief until they were "excluded from the house by their children in 2015", said Rubin. The family rift has its origins in two trusts settled by the parents in 1967 - with their children named as the "principal beneficiaries". The basis of this claim is either that the children paid for the jewellery, or that Brigitta gave it to Maxine under an alleged deed of gift, or by orally expressed gifts. Stephen Rubin Most of the family's £600m ($1070m) fortune is contained in the trusts, and Maxine and Gerald's children are "the next generation of likely beneficiaries". Giles Richardson QC, for the siblings, explained that family relations "broke down" in 2011, prompting two earlier legal disputes about the trusts which were ultimately settled in favour of Maxine and Gerald. But the family are now at loggerheads again over nearly 600 items, with the dispute set for a full blown trial at the High Court from April 25 onwards. The "most significant aspect" of the siblings' case is Maxine's claim for "delivery up" of the jewellery collection, said Rubin. "Worn by Brigitta for many years", the jewels are valued at £3m ($5.3m), and include an exquisite sapphire ring. "The basis of this claim is either that the children paid for the jewellery, or that Brigitta gave it to Maxine under an alleged deed of gift, or by orally expressed gifts," explained Rubin. However, Brigitta is disputing her daughter's claim to the jewels, added the QC, and "denies that she made any lifetime gifts at all". Maxine and Gerald also allege their parents removed art and antiques from their home in the south of France after the "breakdown in relations"- moving them to their apartments in Paris or Monaco. On top of that, they are demanding that their parents account "for the use of (their children's) funds in various bank accounts over the last 40 years". Manny is a self-made millionaire who set up Asda Property Holdings in the 1960's, having left school aged 14. He has spoken in the past of his regret at setting up the trust funds for his children when he was worried about inheritance tax. Maxine is a freelance art consultant and mother-of-two, while Gerald is a successful businessman who once worked alongside his father. He lives in a large house near Hampstead and has a passion for flying helicopters and collecting Aston Martins. - Daily Telegraph UK Personal Comment From Bors: When a family is so wealthy they get into spats like this it's just fucking rude.
  9. A policeman was stabbed, an assailant shot and several people injured on Wednesday close to Britain's Houses of Parliament in what police said they were treating as a terrorist incident. Reuters reporters inside the building heard loud bangs and shortly afterwards a Reuters photographer said he saw at least a dozen people injured on Westminster Bridge, next to parliament. His photographs showed people lying on the ground, some of them bleeding heavily and one apparently under a bus. The number of casualties was unclear. "Officers - including firearms officers - remain on the scene and we are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The House of Commons, which was in session at the time, was immediately suspended and lawmakers were asked to stay inside. Prime Minister Theresa May was safe after the incident, a spokesman for her office said. He declined to say where May was when the attack took place. The leader of the House, David Lidington, said in the chamber that an assailant who stabbed a policeman had been shot by police. An ambulance helicopter landed on Parliament Square, just outside the building. The BBC said police believed there was a suspect vehicle outside parliament but police did not immediately confirm that report. A woman assists an injured person after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017.REUTERS/Toby Melville Amid confusing scenes, it appeared the incident may have unfolded in several locations, including on the busy Westminster bridge where tourists take pictures of Big Ben and other attractions. Reuters reporters inside parliament said a large number of armed police, some carrying shields, were pouring into the building. U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House he had been briefed on events in London but gave no details. The incident took place on the first anniversary of attacks on Brussels in Belgium. Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe" meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely. In May 2013, two British Islamists stabbed to death soldier Lee Rigby on a street in southeast London. In July 2005, four British Islamists killed 52 commuters and themselves in suicide bombings on the British capital's transport system in what was London's worst peacetime attack. (Additional reporting by William James, Kylie Maclellan, Elizabeth Piper and UK bureau, writing by Estelle Shirbon, editing by Stephen Addison) Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-security-photographer-idUSKBN16T1Y5 -------------------- A year after the attacks in Brussel we get a friendly reminder that we still have a death cult problem in Europe.
  10. Wikileaks says that Ecuador has shut down internet access for its founder Julian Assange. The transparency activist has been claiming asylum at London's Ecuadorean embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition over sex assault allegations. There was no way to immediately verify if he had been knocked offline, and if so, what was Ecuador's motivation. Wikileaks has recently been releasing emails from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Eleven revelations from Clinton emails The anti-secrecy organisation did not return calls and emails on Monday, though it said in a tweet: "We have activated the appropriate contingency plans." A woman who picked up the phone at the Ecuadorean embassy said: "I cannot disclose any information." Subtext: This comes likely in response to wikileaks release of Secretary Clinton's Goldman Sachs speeches. The ambassador has not yet responded to emails, and London's Metropolitan Police declined to comment. The Wikileaks claim follows the latest emails it disclosed from a hack of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta's emails. It released three transcripts on Saturday of Mrs Clinton's paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, which her campaign had long refused to release. The scripts reveal her bantering relationship with the investment bank's executives, which is unlikely to allay fears among liberal Democrats that she is too cosy with Wall Street. The Democratic White House candidate's camp has claimed the cyber-breach was orchestrated by Russian hackers with the aim of undermining the US democratic process. While Mrs Clinton's team has neither confirmed nor denied the leaked emails are authentic, there have been no indications they are fake. 'Covert' Syrian action According to the latest leaked emails, Mrs Clinton told a Goldman Sachs conference she would like to intervene secretly in Syria. She made the remark in answer to a question from Lloyd Blankfein, the bank's chief executive, in 2013 - months after she left office as secretary of state. "My view was you intervene as covertly as is possible for Americans to intervene," she told employees of the bank in South Carolina, which had paid her about $225,000 (£185,000) to give a speech. Mrs Clinton - who is accused of being hawkish by liberal critics - added: "We used to be much better at this than we are now. Now, you know, everybody can't help themselves. "They have to go out and tell their friendly reporters and somebody else: Look what we're doing and I want credit for it." Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37680411 Personal Comment(s): Wikileaks being distant to regular reporters, Assange getting fucked and of course, a country somewhat afraid of American influence. What else is new? I'm going to laugh if this turns out to just be the circuit breakers turned over or something, but this is likely a concerted effort to curry favour.
  11. Skeleton find could rewrite Roman history 23 September 2016 Last updated at 15:32 BST Two skeletons have been discovered in a London graveyard which could change our view of the history of Europe and Asia. Analysis of the bones, found in a Roman burial place in Southwark, discovered that they dated to between the 2nd and 4th Century AD and were probably ethnically Chinese. Dr Rebecca Redfern, curator of human osteology at the Museum of London, told BBC Radio 4's The World at One the find was "the first time in Roman Britain we've identified people with Asian ancestry" and it was "absolutely phenomenal". Personal Comment: The beebs Iplayer doesn't like linking to diplo which is where the majority of the article is, but this is something of a big deal. This implies there was more Han-Roman pollination than we had any idea about. Source:http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37452287
  12. Lynsey Hipgrave has been subjected to a barrage of sexist abuse online. Photo / Twitter A female sports presenter has hit back at sexist trolls who deluged her with online abuse. BT Sport and BBC Radio Five Live broadcaster Lynsey Hipgrave went on Twitter this week to criticise a penalty taken by Barcelona player Lionel Messi in the team's match against Celta Vigo at the weekend. Instead of shooting straight at the goalkeeper, Messi kicked the ball to his teammate Luis Suarez who then scored - in a move that was widely labelled as arrogant. On Monday, Hipgrave joined the debate, tweeting: "Think that Messi pen is so disrespectful more I see it. Just let Suárez take the pen if you want to be such a good team-mate." Within minutes, the 36-year-old presenter had been subjected to a barrage of sexist abuse. One Twitter user wrote: "We need sandwiches not opinions you slag". Another posted: "Honestly no one cares what you think cos you have a pair of t**s". "And ladies and gentlemen, this is why we don't hire any females unless we need our d***s sucked or our food cooked," read one vile message. Twitter members also questioned 'why they let women watch football'. Hipgrave, who joined BT Sport In 2013, said the abuse summed-up how hard it is for women to express their opinion publically. She tweeted: "Just a very small taster of what we have to put up with. The crime was being a woman and expressing an opinion." The presenter also shared the worst comments with her 27,000 followers. She hasn't been on Twitter since the abuse began on Monday this week. This is the latest incident in a series of rows about sexism in football. Last year, then Chelsea FC manager Jose Mourinho was criticised after axing team doctor Eva Carneiro after she ran on to the pitch to treat an injured player without his approval. Mourinho said: "I wasn't happy with my medical staff because even if you are a medical doctor or secretary on the bench, you have to understand the game." While in 2011, Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray left the station after accusing assistant referee Sian Massey of not understanding football off-air. Grey said: "Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don't know the offside rule". In 2014, it emerged that Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore had joked about "female irrationality" in a series of email exchanges with colleagues, prompting his former PA to label him "institutionally sexist". Scudamore was later cleared of breaching the FA's anti-discrimination rules. - Daily Telegraph UK
  13. A British Union Jack flag is seen flying near a face of the clocktower at the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, February 1, 2016. REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE Panic rather than love may keep Britain in the European Union when voters cast their ballots in a referendum, probably in June, on whether to stay in the 28-nation bloc under Prime Minister David Cameron's "new settlement". While few may be swayed by the lightly amended membership terms, a plunging currency, tumbling share prices and fears for property values could drive enough Britons to opt at the last minute for the status quo rather than a leap into the unknown. That was how the British political establishment managed by the skin of its teeth to hold the United Kingdom together in 2014, when Scottish voters tempted by the centuries-old dream of regaining independence from England ultimately chose safety. It is also a plausible scenario for the EU vote, especially since a decision to leave would reopen the Scottish question. Ordinary Brits tempted to give the unloved "Europe" a kicking may plump for stability to avoid economic uncertainty rather than risk financial and political turmoil. In Scotland, the communications director of the "Better Together" campaign, Rob Shorthouse, got into trouble for joking that his strategy was "Project Fear". The idea that unionist campaigners were setting out to frighten voters stirred outrage in the nationalist camp, but it proved effective. Eurosceptics accuse Cameron of planning a similar scare campaign now, but events may produce the same impact even without political orchestration. Two weeks before the Scottish vote in September 2014, a single opinion poll showed independence supporters had taken a slender lead for the first time. That jolted financial markets and prompted banks and insurers to announce contingency plans to move their headquarters south of the border amid uncertainty over what currency an independent Scotland would use. Economic anxiety trumped political adventure in the final days of campaigning, with British leaders rushing to Scotland to tell Scots how much the rest of the United Kingdom valued them, and how they were "better off together". With a record high turnout of 84.6 percent, Scots voted by 55.3 to 44.7 percent against breaking up the union. RELATED COVERAGE › Scarred by election flop, British pollsters diverge over Brexit It's an understatement to say Britons are less emotionally attached to the EU than they are to national unity. Yet the potential economic damage from a "Brexit" could be greater than if Scotland had left, and the former might trigger the latter. Economic forecasters say the British economy would suffer a significant setback if the country decided to leave the EU, with its 500-million-strong single market, common external trade policy and free movement of capital, goods, services and people. An exit vote would not take effect immediately but there would be several years of uncertainty and acrimony while Britain negotiated a new, more distant relationship with the bloc. The City of London financial center, which has thrived as an offshore capital for euro trading, would almost certainly lose some ground. How much is a matter of fierce dispute. Eurosceptics say that EU supporters made the same case in the early 2000s that if Britain did not join the euro, the City would wither. On the contrary, it has flourished. Yet leaving the EU would present a different challenge. Big foreign banks use London as their European gateway due partly to the EU's "passporting" principle that an institution regulated in one member state can trade all over Europe. Some are now making contingency plans to move certain activities and staff to Dublin or Frankfurt in case of "Brexit", bankers say. Fewer bankers and less investment would hit property values over time. Uncertainty over the status of some 2.1 million EU workers in Britain could also dampen the housing market. Since markets tend to anticipate and hedge for political risk, it is reasonable to assume that if opinion polls are showing the "Leave" campaign in the lead in late May or early June, some of that damage would start to occur before the vote. U.S. investment banks Goldman Sachs and Citi have both estimated the pound could lose between 15 and 20 percent of its value against major trading currencies if the "Out" camp wins. A run on sterling could start in the final phase of the campaign, just as the middle classes are packing their beachwear for continental summer holidays in the euro zone. While many British companies have kept quiet about support for EU membership to avoid upsetting shareholders or customers who favor a "Brexit", currency instability, stock market losses and an incipient investment freeze could make them more vocal. Even strong EU supporters such as Charles Grant, director of the London-based thinktank Center for European Reform, acknowledge that the "In" campaign will struggle to convince voters of the positive case for staying in the bloc. "There are many reasons to be pessimistic about the campaign," he told a Brussels audience. "The 'Out' campaign have jolly good arguments superficially... Big business is pathetic and cowardly." Opponents argue that under EU rules, Britain cannot control its national borders to shut out migrant workers; that the UK net contribution to the EU budget would be better spent on the National Health Service; and that foreign judges in the European Court of Justice should not be able to overrule British courts. By contrast, many of the benefits of EU membership in global trade, international political influence and shared norms and values are hard to quantify and explain simply, Grant said. Hence the temptation for pro-EU campaigners to focus more on what Britain stands to lose in case of a "No" vote - foreign investment, jobs and security. "Project Panic" may not be the official strategy, but it looks likely to play a big role in shaping the British vote. (Writing by Paul Taylor; editing by Adrian Croft) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-panic-analysis-idUSKCN0VN0AB Personal Comment From Bors: Political establishment actively campaigns for status quo. More at 11.
  14. Michael Cheika, Head Coach of Australia ® talks with Nathan Grey, Defence Coach of Australia during the Australia Captain's Run ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final. Photo / Getty Images. Given the lengths to which all teams and the organisers have gone to retain a veil of secrecy around training and preparation at this World Cup, it was scarcely believable that a day before the final, the Wallabies had much of their pre-match thinking exposed. At the captain's run 24 hours before kickoff, both coach Michael Cheika and his assistant Mario Ledesma were photographed on the field carrying a page of notes. It was either an extraordinarily careless lapse by a relatively inexperienced - at international level anyway- coaching duo or an incredible bluff designed to fool the All Blacks. Read more: Wallabies accidentally reveal strategy notes - Kieran Read targeted In all probability, it had to be the former. Both men were out on the field, knowing the media had 15 minutes to picture the Wallabies going through non-revealing warm ups and drills. The mood was relaxed and jovial and being out in the middle of the field, neither coach obviously thought there was any risk of of holding such sensitive material. But there was - because the reach of a wide lens these days is such that it was possible to clearly read much of what was on the paper. There was some insightful points on there, none more intriguing than the Wallabies undoubted desire to try to upset and "rattle" Kieran Read from the kickoff. Cheika obviously felt Read could be put off his game if he was attacked in the air at kickoffs. It was also apparent that the Wallabies felt both Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder were vulnerable under the high ball and could be exposed in defence. There was also mention of Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu, and analysis on how they liked to attack and what traits they had when asked certain questions by the defence. It was fascinating in the context of the build up to the game and also in the wider context that this was entirely at odds with the general culture of endless security and coaching paranoia that had gripped the tournament. Every training venue at the 2015 World Cup was shrouded in secrecy: each was entirely fenced and heavily guarded. There was no chance of rogue spies and to tighten the loop further, few, if any teams, let media in for more than the minimum 10 minutes. It felt overly guarded and certainly as the tournament progressed, players and coaches started to provide the most astonishing bland answers to the most astonishingly bland questions. By the week of the final there was a determination from both remaining teams to say absolutely nothing that could fire up the opposition. The real contest it seemed in the days leading into the final was to see who could give the least away and yet not make it so obvious. Having spent all week - all tournament really - in a state of heightened agitation, it really was odd that the Wallabies could get caught out like that on the eve of kickoff. It will have provided a salient lesson for Cheika and Ledesma and also every other international coach. It's not possible to be too careful. The culture of paranoia around training is, absolutely, how things have to be. - By Gregor Paul in London - Herald on Sunday http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11537980 Personal Comment From Bors: I can't tell...I get the impression it was in fact a careless blunder from Cheika...but to say it's because is inexperienced as an international coach seems a bit thing - the media scrutiny on most games is strong these days thanks to the prevalence of sports betting.
  15. iRights: The solution to protecting children's future from online mistakes? Photo: Getty Whilst documenting things online is considered the norm in today's society, children and young people are not always aware of how their actions may impact on them longer term. Posts and online activities of the young often reflect attitudes and errors of judgment that are immature. Yet, these leave a public record that may prove difficult to escape. Similarly, children often don't understand how their actions and information may be recorded and shared online, and so willingly tick boxes giving permission to do so. However, a new UK campaign launched this week hopes to put an end to all of that. The campaign, called 'iRights', proposes that young children should be able to edit or remove content that they have previously created online. It also promotes the need for children to be made aware of how their data may be used. According to the iRights website, 'We believe children and young people should have the unqualified right, on every internet platform or service, to fully remove data and content they have created.' In terms of children's rights to be aware of how data is used, the website states; 'It must be right that children and young people are only asked to hand over personal data when they have the capacity to understand they are doing so and what their decision means. It must also be right that terms and conditions aimed at young people are written so that typical minors can easily understand them.' Additionally, the website outlines young peoples' rights relating to safety and support, informed and conscious choices and digital literacy. The campaign, which hopes to inspire businesses to collaborate with Government to better protect the young, has already received support from major UK names. Companies and charities, such as Barclays Bank and the NSPCC, have signed up to the campaign, and the UK's Minister for Internet Safety and Security, Baroness Shields, is also a big advocate. In an interview with the BBC, Shields said, ""iRights gives a unique insight into how government can join with technology companies, civil society and business to make a better digital world for young people. "We are using iRights in education, business and in our own services and digital communications." The Children's Commissioner for England is currently examining the rights and a report will be published by the end of the year. So is this the kind of thing that we should be looking at adopting in Australia? Parenting expert and psychotherapist, Dr Karen Phillip, thinks so. "Children have no concept of something staying in cyberspace for eternity, and what seemed like a good idea when 15 years old, may have dreadful consequences at 25 years old relating to partners, family and career," she says. Phillip believes that, as adults, we provide children with access to online resources and tools, yet we don't always educate them on how it should be used correctly and appropriately. She believes that something such as iRights could help alleviate that problem. "Teaching children what can happen to their posted data is a valuable lesson that must be given," she says. "Out of sight / out of mind is the belief and this is so inaccurate, and better they learn this as young as possible." Phillip also likes the fact that children would have the ability to change their mind, right a wrong or have a new or different opinion. However, she does express concern that this could detract from children learning certain valuable lessons about the harm that social media can cause. "The negative I see is in allowing children to post something harmful or mean up on social media, while then having an 'out clause' to remove it after the damage has been done," she says. "What must be learnt is that posting something damaging about another person will hurt them, but if they are permitted to remove a posting without consequence, this is unhelpful." http://www.essentialkids.com.au/entertaining-kids/games-and-technology/campaign-to-give-children-right-to-remove-personal-online-information-20150809-giu9hj.html Personal Comment From Bors: There's a few iffy things there...just to use an example from diplo, suppose we had a map maker who was technically a minor, like 15 - 16, whatever...and for whatever reason they kick up a stink or get the shits with the site...they then vindictively use this piece of regulation to delete everything they've ever made...if the map was particularly popular, thus denuding the site of a sizeable portion of legitimate content accumulated over a prolonged period of time.
  16. Britain has pulled out agents from live operations in "hostile countries" after Russia and China cracked top-secret information contained in files leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the Sunday Times reported. Security service MI6, which operates overseas and is tasked with defending British interests, has removed agents from certain countries, the newspaper said, citing unnamed officials at the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Home Office (interior ministry) and security services. The United States wants Snowden to stand trial after he leaked classified documents, fled the country and was eventually granted asylum in Moscow in 2013. Russia and China have both managed to crack encrypted documents which contain details of secret intelligence techniques that could allow British and American spies to be identified, the newspaper said citing officials. However an official at Cameron's office was quoted as saying that there was "no evidence of anyone being harmed." A spokeswoman at Cameron's office declined to comment when contacted by Reuters and representatives from the British intelligence services did not respond to requests for comment. (Reporting By Costas Pitas; additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Chizu Nomiyama) http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/14/us-britain-security-idUSKBN0OT0XF20150614 Personal Comment From Bors: I actually have to say I think Snowden is doing more harm than good with all this now. It's actually more polarising and sowing an air of mistrust and deceipt than it is illuminating and enlightening international dialogue.
  17. Today, there is no news. Instead, I offer you some chill piano music. SOURCE: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/04/18/april-18-1930-a-day-with-no-news/ (85th Year anniversary!)
  18. February 22, 2015 Harry Potter star and UN ambassador Emma Watson. Photo: Getty Love-struck women all over the world might once again have their hopes dashed after rumours that Prince Harry might be dating former Harry Potter star Emma Watson surfaced. Twitter was awash with chatter about the possible union with some even saying this is the rumour which would "break the internet". The catchphrase "If Prince Harry and Emma Wason marry and have a son, their child would be a Half-Blood Prince" has been circling social media, referring to the title of JK Rowling's sixth book in the series. Prince Harry is reportedly 'smitten' with Watson. But the old tradition of "royals marrying royals", broken by his brother Prince William for marrying commoner Kate Middleton, might be reinstated after fans called Ms Watson "royalty". Her "royal" status stemmed from her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Watson, who gained fame and fortune for playing the Harry Potter series' child-witch Hermione Granger for 10 years, has been promoting girls' education visiting Bangladesh and Zambia as part of her humanitarian efforts. Nominated in July last year, the 24-year-old actress and graduate of Brown University has been advocating the UN Women's HeForShe campaign in promoting gender equality. US Weekly reported the actress broke up with her rugby player boyfriend Matthew Janney in December after a year of dating. She previously dated her Brown University sweetheart Will Adamowicz. Prince Harry in the meantime is single, although he has been linked on and off with British celebrity Cressida Bonas. Twitter fans support the two dating. Prince Harry, 30, reportedly asked the Harry Potter star out after hearing she had broken up with Mr Janney. According to Woman's Day magazine, Watson met the prince with a group of 12 friends and they have been meeting up in secret since. An "insider" said Prince Harry is smitten and "it's more than Emma's looks". http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/royal-rumour-prince-harry-and-emma-watson-reportedly-dating-20150221-13lbs9.html Personal Comment From Bors: Could you imagine the foreplay in that bedroom? Kiss the Prince? Find the Frog? Hocus POKE-HER?
  19. http://thecityfix.com/blog/naked-streets-without-traffic-lights-improve-flow-and-safety/ Portishead is a coastal town in England about 120 miles west of London. The town of 22,000 people experimented with turning its traffic lights off on a major road in September 2009. Despite the traffic chaos, the streets still seemed safe. The removal of the lights in Portishead, a city that has grown quickly in the last decade, was part of a four-week study “to solve long-standing congestion at the junction,” which was so debilitating and disruptive it sparked street protests and political campaigns from frustrated residents. But the intersections became permanent after travel times for vehicles fell with no loss of pedestrian safety despite increases in the number of people using the road (more than 2,000 vehicles and 300 pedestrians per hour.) An article in a local Bristol newspaper explaining the effort stated, “drivers will now be expected to use a combination of common sense and courtesy to negotiate the junction of the town’s High Street, Wyndam Way and The Cabstand.” The method is much in contrast to one British publication’s description of car drivers’ relationships with traffic signals: The thinking is based on the way drivers habitually race through lights before they turn red and who are lulled into a false sense of security by the confidence that they have right of way – making them less aware of potential hazards For the trial period, roads were monitored using cameras to see the impact of no traffic signals on congestion. (A 20 mile-per-hour speed limit was instituted over that same period.) In the video and in comments on articles about the initiative, residents said there have been big improvements—drivers pay more attention to the road and nearby pedestrians as opposed to traffic lights. Plus, there are savings, as each traffic lights usually costs 30,000 to 50,000 pounds to maintain. Self-Organizing Leads To Less Chaotic Streets These lightless traffic junctures are known as “naked streets.” Trial projects that challenge the importance of traffic lights have occurred in other areas of England and Europe. (The first traffic signal, according to , was erected in London in 1868.) The Portishead experiment is not alone in its redesign. Transport for London (TfL) worked to remove lights in the central downtown with hopes of getting rid of as many as 20 percent of existing traffic lights with support from Mayor Boris Johnson. Recently the city aimed to eliminate 145 lights it deemed useless. The original example is Drachten, a town in Holland of 50,000 people. It is home to exactly zero traffic lights. Even in areas of the town with a traffic volume of 22,000 cars per day, traffic lights have been replaced by roundabouts, extended cycle paths and improved pedestrian areas. The town saw accidents at one intersection fall from 36 over a four-year period to just two in the last two years since the lights were removed in 2006. The counter-intuitive finding is that streets without traffic signals mean that cars drive more slowly and carefully because the rules of the road are ambiguous—there’s no red, green or yellow to tell drivers precisely what to do. A Wired article from 2004 quotes Hans Monderman, the late architect of Holland’s minimalist roads, who explains his approach of affecting driver behavior: “A wide road with a lot of signs is telling a story,” Monderman says. “It’s saying, go ahead, don’t worry, go as fast as you want, there’s no need to pay attention to your surroundings. And that’s a very dangerous message.” A Hans Monderman-designed streetscape in Drachten, Holland without traffic lights, road signs and lane markers. Photo by Jerry Michalski. When a driver doesn’t know who exactly has right of way, he or she seeks eye contact and reduces speed. These “naked streets” without traffic lights, road signs, barriers and other traffic controls forge shared streetscapes where cluttered space is replaced with common sense. These approaches are part of efforts to create walkable streets and design road conditions for multiple uses, not simply car driving. At the end of the video, the producers state that removing lights is one step closer to a civilized sustainable culture. They could be right. A number of studies, experts, and urban residents say streets without traffic lights can be safer. However, traffic light removal must carefully take pedestrians into account. Residents, journalists and planners have voiced dissent of the approach and, in particular, question its viability to vulnerable and disabled pedestrians. But still the argument for change is persuasive. Says video producer : ”A new hierarchy emerges with vulnerable road users at the top. Pedestrians in the shared space scenario, when there are no lights to dictate behavior, are seen as fellow road users rather than obstacles in the way of the next light.” You can find another article on London’s plans to manage traffic through such efforts here. Personal comment: Interesting example of the unseen circumstances around policymaking. I am aware of speaking too soon of course, but this strikes me as another case where people realize that big daddy Government doesn't need to dictate every single move. They are just as capable of doing so without.
  20. £1m payday that has finally made the poisonous Pythons reunite: Torn apart by jealously, bled dry by ex-wives, the laughter ended years ago. But guess what's brought Monty Python back together John Cleese refers to Eric Idle as 'Yoko' in bitter feud over difference in pay Idle cashed in on success of Spamalot musical and gave other Pythons little Group forced to pay more than £1m to former producer for unpaid royalties History has proved that when it comes to even the most bitter of showbiz feuds, nothing dampens the flames of mutual hostility better than a liberal injection of cold hard cash. Just ask the warring Monty Python members who have announced — to the surprise and delight of their fans — that they are reforming after 30 years, with plans for a live show and talk of a film. After all, just a few short years ago when he was asked about the chances, one of the comedy troupe’s principal members, John Cleese, sniffed: ‘I thought we had flogged this horse to death — way past death, in fact.’ Scroll down for video Forgive and forget? Monty Python members (from left) Eric Idle, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin in New York for the premiere of Monty Python: Almost The Truth (The Lawyer's Cut) in 2009 Troublesome but timeless: The group have been forced back on the road for money. But their appeal lives on Meanwhile, his one-time collaborator and long-time rival Eric Idle has remarked that he would only ever perform Monty Python again if ‘none of the others are around’. Then there’s Terry Jones, another of the five surviving members, who said he never really found them very funny. So what’s changed their minds? In a word: money. Indeed, Terry Jones said yesterday of the reunion: ‘I’m quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage.’ There are rumours from within the Pythons that they stand to make up to £1 million each from the planned reunion, which will be formally announced to much fanfare at a specially-convened press conference in London tomorrow. One way or another, it would seem the Pythons — who are all in their 70s and have had to deal variously with expensive divorces, litigation and career slides — need the cash. 'I don't go on the road myself. I just sit at home watching the cheques come in, then I send them on to John Cleese in case he's getting married.' - Eric Idle on Spamalot Not least because they face having to pay out more than £1 million to their former producer Mark Forstater, who successfully sued them in a bitter row over unpaid royalties. Last night Mr Forstater told me: ‘It has cost them a lot of money to defend this case against me. I think they weren’t expecting to lose. ‘We are still waiting for the judge’s final decision on costs, but it is well in excess of £1 million. I suspect that’s why they are having to go out on the road again.’ Which is a good enough reason as any to accept the money on offer from West End promoters to revive Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which first appeared on the BBC in 1969 and ran for five years. The big question is this: given the unvarnished loathing between certain of the Pythons, how can they possibly work together again? Particularly as the source of much of the enmity between them revolves around the thorny issue of money. Nowhere has this bitterness been more evident than between their two unofficial leaders, Cleese and Idle. Cleese, 74 — whose post-Python career has seen him slip from one-time Hollywood A-lister to being forced to sell off some of his art collection and movie memorabilia — fell out with Idle over the spoils of the hugely successful stage show Spamalot, which was billed as being ‘lovingly ripped off’ from the 1975 movie Monty Python And The Holy Grail. Monty Python stars reform after 30 year break Icons: Together they wrote The Dead Parrot, Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink and The Ministry of Silly Walks Bright: Oxford alumni Jones and Palin, and Cambridge alumni Idle, Chapman and Cleese created a genius show The Holy Grail: Graham Chapman (far left) and the other Pythons in their 1975 hit film While Idle wrote the show, which has been a hit around the world and earned in excess of £8 million in royalties, the surviving Pythons, including Cleese — as well as the other members Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam — have had to make do with as little as £650,000 each. None of which seems to have gone down well. For his part, Terry Jones cattily described Spamalot as: ‘Utterly pointless, full of air and not much to it.’ And missing out on a big payday has also clearly riled Cleese, who has seen his once huge bank balance decimated by the £12 million divorce settlement he was forced to give to third wife, American psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger, when they split four years ago. To make matters worse, Idle — who now lives in Los Angeles — has in recent times barely missed an opportunity to rub it in about their differing fortunes, claiming that he keeps his former colleagues afloat. 'I see Yoko Idle's been moaning (again) about the royalties he had to pay the other Pythons for Spamalot. Apparently, he paid me "millions".' -John Cleese A couple of years ago while promoting Spamalot, which has grossed more than £110 million around the world, Idle sniped: ‘I don’t go on the road myself. I just sit at home watching the cheques come in, then I send them on to John Cleese in case he’s getting married.’ In 2011, Idle sacked Cleese from his role as the recorded voice of God in the show, saying pointedly: ‘I’ve surgically removed him. He’s had plenty of money already — he’s always in financial crisis.’ Cleese responded by comparing Idle, now 70, to Yoko Ono (a reference to the wife of John Lennon allegedly being behind the break-up of The Beatles). He went online to rant: ‘I see Yoko Idle’s been moaning (again) about the royalties he had to pay the other Pythons for Spamalot. Apparently, he paid me “millions”. Actual, rough figures last time we checked: Yoko Idle $13 million, Michael Palin $1.1 million, the others just under a million each.’ Nor has Cleese’s relationship with his other former collaborators been what you would call easy-going. Trailer for 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail Rivalry: According to sources within the Pythons, Gilliam and Jones feuded over who should direct the films Success: Centurion (Cleese), Pontius Pilate (Palin) and Biggus Dickus (Chapman) in daring The Life Of Brian
  21. British authorities have defended the decision to detain Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda. The newspaper earlier revealed UK agents had overseen the destruction of its hard drives. Britain's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said Tuesday that holding Miranda for nine hours without charge at London's Heathrow Airport over the weekend was "legally and procedurally sound." Miranda, whose partner Glenn Greenwald has written extensively for the Guardian newspaper about information on US and British spying provided by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, was detained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000. The law allows British police to stop and question people traveling through ports and airports and determine whether they are involved in planning terrorist acts. Miranda said they questioned him about his "entire life" and seized his laptop, phones and other devices. The decision to hold Miranda on Sunday prompted condemnation and calls for explanation as to why an anti-terror law was invoked. The Guardian said it was "dismayed" at Miranda's detention, and in a column on their website, Greenwald described the incident as "despotic" and said British authorities had "zero suspicion" his partner was involved in terrorism. "This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the [uS National Security Agency] and its British counterpart, the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters)," he said. "They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism." But the MPS in a statement called Miranda's detention "necessary and proportionate," adding that he'd had a lawyer present. Britain's Home Office also defended the incident, saying Tuesday authorities "have a duty to protect the public and our national security." "If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that," A Home Office spokesman said in a statment. The White House said that the US government had been informed ahead of time about Miranda's detention, but spokesman Josh Earnest said they had not requested he be held. UK had Guardian disks destroyed The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, revealed in the newspaper's Tuesday edition that two GCHQ agents had overseen the destruction of an unspecified number of the newspaper's hard drives, apparently to prevent further reporting on information provided by Snowden. In what Rusbridger called "one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history," the hard drives were destroyed in the basement of the newspaper's north London office "just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents." Rusbridger did not say exactly when the incident occurred, but did provide a vague timeline suggesting it took place approximately within the last month. The hard drives were destroyed after weeks of pressure from British authorities. Shortly after the Guardian began reporting on Snowden's leaks, Rusbridger said he was contacted by "a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister." The official demanded the newspaper either return or destroy the material. The authorities eventually threatened legal action, prompting the Guardian to allow British agents to oversee the material's destruction. dr/hc (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP) http://www.dw.de/british-authorities-defend-use-of-anti-terror-law-to-detain-miranda/a-17031211 Personal Comment From Bors: Wait...Greenwald is Gay? WELL SHIT...Way to fail at finding the most obvious solution to your snowden problem guys...you didn't have to go through all this shite to render the leaked information redundant! All you had to do was let everyone in America know that the guy who help leak it is gay ...you could also maybe throw pinko in there as well for added zest. Twould of obliterated the credibility in the states at least...not so much Britain but...Ahh B-cats.
  22. UK sells arms to repressive regimes- official MPs question British arms supplies to Middle East and North Africa Minister admits trade with undemocratic countries with poor human rights record How can Britain, one of the world's leading arms exporters, honour its stated commitment to promote human rights throughout the world? With difficulty. Vince Cable, the business secretary, has admitted as much. "We do trade with governments that are not democratic and have bad human rights records", he told a crossparty group of senior MPs. "We do business with repressive governments and there's no denying that". Cable's refreshing admission of what we all know anyway did not satisfy members of the Commons committee on arms export controls on Tuesday night, not least the chairman, the former Conservative defence minister, Sir John Stanley. He accused the government of adopting a "rosy tinted" and "over optimistic" view of "authoritarian regimes". The MPs were questioning Cable and William Hague, the foreign secretary, about Whitehall's approval of exports, including crowd control ammunition, guns and ammunition to Libya, Bahrain, and Egypt, in the period leading up to the Arab Spring last year. The MPs also raised questions about reports that Saudi Arabia sent troops in British trucks to Bahrain during the protests in the Gulf state last year. In a stinging report a year ago, the parliamentary committee noted that successive governments had allowed British arms supplied to north Africa and the Middle East to be used for internal repression in apparent breach of official guidelines. The MPs welcomed the revocations of 158 arms export licences to governments brutally cracking down on civil protests but added that this merely reflected the "degree of policy misjudgment" that had occurred. Under official UK guidelines, no arms exports would be allowed that would exacerbate regional conflict or be used for internal oppression. "We don't have perfect foresight", Cable told the MPs. Hague went further. "In the case of Libya noone predicted what was going to happen", he said as though Gaddafi had only turned into a dictator last year after Libyans in Benghazi began to rise up. As to Iraq, Hague added, that country had a right to self-defence. Moreover, it had a booming oil industry. "It was very important that BP and Shell are involved in a country like that", said the foreign secretary. As far as Saudi Arabia was concerned, he said the government had raised concerns about its treatment of women and foreign workers. But 99 percent of Britain's exports to the Kingdom consisted of Typhoon jets. "They are not relevant to our concerns about these rights", said Hague. And Saudi forces were sent into Bahrain last year "to guard installations but not to take part in dealing with unrest in Bahrain so they did not fall foul [of the export guidelines]". Cable told MPs that the government had reviewed its system of monitoring arms exports and that in future ministers would be able to "suspend" arms exports quickly in the event of political upheaval or a regional crisis. Britain is among the world's top five arms suppliers, selling more than £2bn in 2009, according to the latest figures from the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The most lucrative markets, notably in the Middle East, but also the Indian subcontinent, are those where the citizens are not in a position to object or where arms sales further destabilise an already unstable region. As Hague demonstrated, there are always ways of getting round mutually contradictory policy objectives - in this case, promoting both arms sales and human rights. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/defence-and-security-blog/2012/feb/08/arms-rights-exports Personal Comtment: Russian articles also mentioned exported licenses to the Syrians, making Britain the second NATO country after Italy to deliver military gear to Syria in the middle of their civil war.
  23. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23401076 Can't be fucked copy-pasting. Own comment: The "democratic" regimes of the West continue to implement censorship measures, citing protecting the children as their excuse. What a load of horse-shit. When did the government become a better caretaker than the parents? What right does the government have to (by force) remove the right of the people to view legal content online? What is perhaps more horrifying, is: Yet more internet legislation. The fourth is fine, they can do that all they like. However, the third is and should always be considered an absolute outrage. If a police squad broke into your house and started demanding you turned over all personal documentation of any kind, be it journal entries, private photographs, or anything else - would you be happy? I certainly wouldn't. This is no different from allowing a central power to access your private online storage - perhaps dropbox, or mega. It's a disturbing sign of the times we live in.
  24. A woman views floral tributes to Drummer Lee Rigby, of the British Army's 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, at the scene of his killing in Woolwich, southeast London May 24, 2013. Credit: Reuters/ Paul Hackett A woman sits close to the scene of the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, of the British Army's 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, in Woolwich, southeast London May 24, 2013. Credit: REUTERS/ Paul Hackett Floral tributes for Drummer Lee Rigby, of the British Army's 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, are lined at the scene of his killing in Woolwich, southeast London May 24, 2013. Credit: REUTERS/ Paul Hackett A worker adds flowers to other floral tributes to Drummer Lee Rigby, of the British Army's 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, at the scene of his killing in Woolwich, southeast London May More... Credit: REUTERS/ Paul Hackett By Peter Griffiths LONDON | Sat May 25, 2013 (Reuters) - British counter-terrorism police on Saturday arrested three people suspected of involvement in the killing of a soldier hacked to death in a London street by two men shouting Islamist slogans. The killing of the soldier in what the government said appeared to be a terrorist attack has led to angry protests against radical Islam and fears of a possible anti-Muslim backlash. Michael Adebolajo, 28 and Michael Adebowale, 22, are under armed guard in hospital after being shot and arrested by police on suspicion of murder on Wednesday. The three men arrested on Saturday are suspected of conspiracy to murder. London police said two of them were hit by electric Taser guns, but neither needed hospital treatment. Eight people have now been arrested in connection with the murder on Wednesday of 25-year-old Lee Rigby, who served in Afghanistan. No one has been charged. Witnesses said Adebolajo and Adebowale used a car to run down Rigby outside Woolwich Barracks in southeast London and then attacked him with a meat cleaver and knives, before being shot by police. The pair told bystanders they were acting in revenge for British wars in Muslim countries. French police were investigating whether the stabbing of a soldier patrolling a business district west of Paris on Saturday was a copycat crime. The soldier was injured and his attacker fled. French President Francois Hollande said the exact circumstances of the stabbing were still unclear, although police were "exploring all options". Police in the city of Newcastle, northeast England, said up to 2,000 people took part in a demonstration organised by the far-right English Defence League on Saturday. Demonstrators shouted "RIP Lee Rigby" and "Whose streets? Our streets?" Hundreds of people attended a rival protest by an anti-fascist group in the city. Police said both events passed off without major incident. SPIES IN SPOTLIGHT There have been questions over the role of the British security services in the months leading up to Rigby's killing after uncorroborated allegations intelligence officers tried to recruit one of the men suspected of killing the soldier. A man identified by the BBC as Abu Nusaybah told its flagship news programme "Newsnight" on Friday that Adebolajo was approached six months ago to see if he would work for them as an informant. He said Adebolajo had refused. Police said a 31-year-old man was held at 2030 GMT on Friday on "suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism". Police said the arrest was not linked to the soldier's murder. A source close to the investigation told Reuters earlier this week that both men suspected to have attacked the soldier were known to Britain's MI5 domestic security service. However, neither man was thought to pose a serious threat. Prime Minister David Cameron has said a parliamentary committee will investigate the security services' role. In his BBC interview, Nusaybah said Adebolajo had been arrested and questioned in Kenya last year. This assertion was dismissed by the Kenyan government as a "fairy tale". A British Home Office (interior ministry) spokesman said it never commented on security matters. A Kenyan government spokesman said it had no record of Adebolajo ever visiting the east African country and described Nusaybah as an "imposter and a charlatan". (Additional reporting by Drazen Jorgic in Nairobi and Nicolas Bertin in Paris; Editing by Pravin Char) http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/05/25/uk-britain-killing-idUKBRE94O04Y20130525 Personal Comment From Bors: Put em up against a wall and shoot em properly this time. This wasn't some brave defence of sacred Islam by selfless guardians of the faith, it was a few lowlife losers making an unprovoked attack on some poor bloke on his way home from work.
  25. Its voting day here in Britain and I am curious to see who you guys are voting for. Of course I am to young to vote but I want to see who you guys voted/ or are going to vote for. ( This is mostly for all the Brits')
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