Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Annals of Papal gift-giving, UPDATED

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Obama’s gift to the Pope: a seed sampler

Queen Elizabeth’s gift to the Pope: a huge picnic hamper

The hamper contained 18 items from Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral including two types of honey, a bottle of whiskey, ‘Coronation Best Bitter, ‘Grandad’s chutney’ and ‘Sandringham handmade aromatherapy soaps’.

Purists want to know, Irish whiskey, or Scotch (whisky)?

Look at the size of the thing:

In exchange, Obama received a copy of Evangelii Gaudium, and the Queen was presented with a lapis lazuli orb for Prince George, inscribed with ‘Pope Francis, to His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge’

with a silver cross of Edward the Confessor, the 11th Century English King who was made a saint,

The royal couple were also presented with a reproduction of a decree by Pope Innocent XI issued in 1679 which elevated Edward the Confessor into a saint for the Catholic Church.

The Vatican chief of protocol was spot-on in both counts.

Read about what it all means at POTUS and the Pope
The Vatican’s symbolic messaging v. the White House spin
, by George Weigel.

Note to self: Have the Queen over.

Prior papal gifts here.

Monica Showalter adds,

A nice exchange of gifts. The article doesn’t mention it, but lapis lazuli is found only in Argentina, Chile, Afghanistan and maybe one or two other places on earth. It was an Argentine gift the Pope gave to the Queen. Lapis Lazuli is the basis for the artists’ pigment Ultramarine Blue.

Vatican chief of protocol rocks!

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Covered by The Telegraph and Sky News.

And a comment,
The security for the funeral must have been very rigorous, but we forget that the UK held Lord Mountbatten’s funeral through the streets of London in 1979 after he was murdered by an IRA bomb (I was in London on the day of his funeral).

An ordinary woman“?

Margaret Thatcher, R.I.P.

Monday, April 8th, 2013

At The Economist:
Margaret Thatcher
A cut above the rest
As prime minister from 1979 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain and left an ideological legacy to rival that of Marx, Mao, Gandhi or Reagan

Live coverage at the BBC (audio starts right away).

Associated Press: Praise Chavez, Grouse About Thatcher




‘Force of nature’…

Memeorandum thread:


Margaret Thatcher dies  —  Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died “peacefully” at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, her family has announced.  —  David Cameron called her a “great Briton” and the Queen spoke of her sadness at the death.  —  Lady Thatcher was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

 Daily Mail:

‘Tramp the dirt down’: George Galloway’s extraordinarily crass tweet leads the Left’s sickening ‘celebration’ just minutes after Baroness Thatcher’s death  —  George Galloway has provoked criticism after writing a ‘distasteful’ comment following the death of former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

 Andrew Sparrow / Guardian:

Margaret Thatcher dies: live reaction and updates  —  Sort by:  —  5.17pm BST  —  Reaction from India  —  My colleague Jason Burke has sent me this on the reaction from India. … 5.14pm BST  —  Earlier I quoted a spokesman from the UN Environment Programme saying that Lady Thatcher …


Margaret Thatcher dies of stroke aged 87  —  Baroness Thatcher, Britain’s greatest post-war prime minister, has died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, her family has announced.  —  Her son, Sir Mark, and daughter Carol confirmed that she died this morning.

 William Kristol / Weekly Standard:

Three Who Saved the West  —  And now the last of them is gone.  Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Pope John Paul II—three who won the Cold War and, it isn’t too much to say, saved the West (at least for a while!)—are no longer with us.  Their examples remain.
Discussion: Power Line

 Joseph R. Gregory / New York Times:

Margaret Thatcher, Who Remade Britain, Dies at 87  —  Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” of British politics who pulled her country back from 35 years of socialism, led it to victory in the Falklands war and helped guide the United States and the Soviet Union through the cold war’s difficult last years, died Monday.

 David Weigel / Slate:
Margaret Thatcher vs. Pop Culture

Discussion: and Hullabaloo

Cyprus: Steve Hanke follows the money

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Read his post, and check out the graph:

(click on graph for large version)

No wonder Putin’s unhappy.

This is not going to make you happy: The Government Generously Offers To Help You “Manage” Your Retirement Account. But I digress.



This morning’s no-surprise news: Corzine and Assange UPDATE

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Assange first:
As expected, Ecuador Grants Asylum to Assange, Defying Britain

Ecuador announced Thursday that it was granting political asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who has been holed up for two months in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London awaiting the decision.

The move leaves Mr. Assange with protection from arrest only on Ecuadorean territory, meaning he could only leave the embassy for Ecuador with British cooperation.

Huffing and puffing,

Just before the announcement by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño at a news conference in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, President Rafael Correa said on his Twitter account: “No one is going to terrorize us!” The night before, Mr. Patiño said that the British authorities had threatened to force their way into the embassy, to which he responded: “We are not a British colony.”

Reading from a government communiqué, Mr. Patiño said: “The government of Ecuador, faithful to its tradition of protecting those who seek refuge in its territory or in its diplomatic missions, has decided to grant diplomatic asylum to Julian Assange.”

He added, “There are indications to presume that there could be political persecution,” and that Mr. Assange would not get a fair trial in the United States and could face the death penalty there.

The article points out that “Mr. Assange arrived at the embassy on June 19, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden“, but never mind,

Mr. Patiño said he hoped Britain would permit Mr. Assange to leave the embassy in London for Ecuador — a request Britain has rejected, saying it has a binding, legal obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over accusations that he sexually assaulted two women.

The British Foreign Office said it was disappointed by the Ecuadorean announcement but remained committed to a negotiated outcome to the standoff. Sweden called the decision “unacceptable” and summoned Ecuador’s ambassador, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Patiño’s news conference was broadcast live on British television and Mr. Assange watched the announcement as it happened, British news reports said. He told embassy staff members: “It is a significant victory for myself and my people. Things will probably get more stressful now.”

Particularly if it serves a propaganda purpose. The Mex Files is expecting the masses to rise,

While war is the extension of diplomacy by other means, that doesn’t mean a shootin’ war, by any means, but the British are likely to pay a very high price for these intemperate claims: I would expect at a minimum that British Embassies throughout Latin America are going to be besieged and quite a few windows broken, and various Latin American (and probably other) states enacting policies and procedures designed to make life difficult for British passport holders (amazing what Immigration and Customs service types can come up with when they want) and I fully expect British-owned businesses (some of which — like HSBC — are already seen as “dodgy” to use Brit-speak ) might be in a zealous application of existing regulatory and oversight functions.

I’m too cynical to get a rise over Assange. Perhaps that’s why The Mex Files refers to my blog as “The far right-wing Latin American website.”

Speaking of cynicism, No Criminal Case Is Likely in Loss at MF Global, surprise, surprise!

In the most telling indication yet that the MF Global investigation is winding down, federal authorities are seeking to interview the former chief of the firm, Jon S. Corzine, next month, according to the people involved in the case. Authorities hope that Mr. Corzine, who is expected to accept the invitation, will shed light on the actions of other employees at MF Global.

Those developments indicate that federal prosecutors do not expect to file criminal charges against the former New Jersey governor. Mr. Corzine has not yet received assurances that he is free from scrutiny, but two rounds of interviews with former employees and a review of thousands of documents have left prosecutors without a case against him, say the people involved in the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Imagine that: Prosecutors can’t build a case against a guy who simply doesn’t know where $1.2 billion of his clients money is, but who also managed to raise $500,000 for Obama.

Ed Morrisey‘s asking,

Ahem. What kind of “porous risk controls” allowed MF Global to bet money that wasn’t theirs on Euro-zone debt?

Good question.

But, fret not,

Mr. Corzine, in a bid to rebuild his image and engage his passion for trading, is weighing whether to start a hedge fund, according to people with knowledge of his plans.

Can’t wait to see what he calls it!

Cross-posted in The Green Room.

WARNING: Language not suitable for work
Here’s why Julian Assange is the most annoying and arrogant person in the whole world

Assange comfy…at the Ecuadorian embassy

Monday, July 9th, 2012

For Assange, home comforts inside Ecuador embassy

Assange is living and working pretty much as normal inside a small office that also serves as his bedroom. Supporters say he could continue to reside in the embassy, close to the world famous Harrods store in upscale Knightsbridge, for months. Gavin MacFadyen, a supporter and director of the Center for Investigative Journalism at London’s City University, has visited Assange inside the building and says that while “it’s not quite the Hilton,” embassy staffers are “jolly” and getting along well with the activist. The embassy has about five or six rooms and previously was used as a single apartment. Assange has a bed, access to a phone and a connection to the Internet. He can also receive guests, though the space is cramped. The crowded embassy is in sharp contrast to Assange’s last permanent address — Ellingham Hall, a supporter’s elegant country house on vast grounds in eastern England.

Hey, he’s in Knightsbridge, rent-free, and can send out for take-out from Harrods. With that, who needs an “elegant country house on vast grounds”?

Jazz Shaw appraises the situation,

If Ecuador either liked us or feared us enough, we could probably jump in and help the Brits with this Assange extradition situation, but they seem to be neither. That’s not to say that the UK may not still pry Assange out, particularly if helping him doesn’t seem to provide any real benefit to Ecuador, but it looks like the US will be sitting this one out on the sidelines.

Jazz is an optimist: I fully expect the current administration to wait until the foil goes on the windows and then send the American ambassador to call on Julian.

London riots: the shopkeepers fight back

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

The people who actually work for a living are fighting back the mob,
London riots: Neighbours mount anti-gang patrols amid fears of far-right agitation
Homeowners and shopkeepers took to the streets last night to protect their neighbourhoods from the gangs amid concerns far-right groups are attempting to take advantage of community tensions.

In Eltham, south east London, a crowd of 200 men gathered in the streets, promising to protect their neighbourhood from looters and arsonists following rioting in nearby Lewisham and Woolwich.
“We won’t stand for it. If anyone wants to come down here and start looting tonight, let them try – we’ll be ready for them,” said one.


The Royal T-Mobile wedding

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

All fun and circumstance, via Maria,


“Snowfalls a thing of the past”? UPDATED

Monday, December 20th, 2010

This weekend I was talking to a friend whose guests coming from England had to cancel because of the weather:
UK snow: Christmas cancelled for travellers as Heathrow warns of days of delays

John Hinderaker reminds us that ten years ago globalwarmers thought “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” As Barcepundit put it,

Had it been a skeptic blowing it this bad, he’d be already on trial at the Climatic Inquisition. But you can be a ecochondriac, miss if by a thousand miles, and keep on pontificating as if nothing happened.

Even when the blizzard punches you in the nose,

Traffic queues in the snow on the A3 near Guildford, in southern England December 18, 2010

Via Maggie,
The climate bugaboo is the strangest intellectual aberration of our age
Christopher Monckton says that perspective was sorely missing at the Cancun climate conference.


Assange to be questioned by police

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Julian Assange to be questioned by British police
• New extradition warrant issued over alleged sexual assaults
• Assange appeals for supporters to put up surety and bail

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, is expected to appear in a UK court tomorrow after his lawyers said he would meet police to discuss a European extradition warrant from Sweden relating to alleged sexual assaults.

As the legal net continued to close around the whistleblowers’ website and US attorney general, Eric Holder, said he had authorised “a number of things to be done” to combat the group, Assange appeared to be reconciling himself to a lengthy personal court battle to avoid extradition.

Meanwhile WikiLeaks has been forced to move to a Swiss host after being dumped by US internet companies as it comes under siege from cyber attacks.

PostFinance, the financial arm of the Swiss post office, said it had closed Assange’s account after he provided “false information”. “PostFinance has ended its business relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Paul Assange,” the bank said in a statement. “The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process.”

Speaking of the Wikileaks,
List of facilities ‘vital to US security’ leaked

The list includes pipelines, communication and transport hubs.

Several UK sites are listed, including cable locations, satellite sites and BAE Systems plants.

Can anyone possibly justify the release of a list of targets? Ron Paul, maybe?

Cross-posted at The Green Room.