Daily Archives: March 1, 2009

Britain unveils memorial statue of Queen Mother in Order of the Garter regalia

BRITAIN-QUEENMOTHER/

A memorial to Elizabeth, The Queen Mother stands on The Mall, in front of a statue of her husband King George VI, London February 24, 2009. The bronze statue, created by sculptor Philip Jackson, shows the Queen Mother dressed in opulent velvet robes, signifying her place in the Order of the Garter, Britain’s oldest and highest chivalric order. Photo Reuters

Reuters | Feb 24, 2009

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A national memorial in honor of Britain’s late Queen Mother was unveiled near Buckingham Palace on Tuesday near a statue of her husband King George VI.

Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, performed the unveiling. Heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry were among senior members of the Royal Family who attended the ceremony on the Mall in London. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was also present.

“All of us gathered here today will, I know, miss my darling grandmother’s vitality, her interest in the lives of others, her unbounded courage and determination that allowed her incredibly to continue her official life until the age of nearly 102,” said Prince Charles.

The bronze statue, created by sculptor Philip Jackson, shows the Queen Mother dressed in opulent velvet robes, signifying her place in the Order of the Garter, Britain’s oldest and highest chivalric order.

The statues show the former king and his queen at the same age and are mounted on plinths simply inscribed with their names and the years they lived.

A special five pound coin produced by the Royal Mint to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday helped to fund the project.

The Queen Mother died in March 2002, aged 101. More than 200,000 people queued to pay their respects while her coffin lay in state in Westminster.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls for global banking governance

Brown says tougher regulation needed on global scale

UK may create state-run bank for scientific innovation

Reuters | Feb 28, 2009

UK’s Brown urges global supervision of banks

By Christina Fincher

POLITICS BROWN 131820LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for more rigorous global supervision of the banking system on Saturday, saying no hedge fund or tax haven should be allowed to fall through the cracks.

Speaking at Labour’s National Policy Forum in Bristol, he also spelled out a new vision for Britain’s domestic banking industry with nationalised and partly state-owned banks providing specialist services to better serve the country’s needs.

Brown said the financial crisis was an international problem that required an international solution.

Related

Baron David de Rothschild sees a New World Order in global banking governance

“I want us to do what was advocated by our country years ago,” Brown said. “To have global supervision of what is a shadow global system. I want there to be no hiding place for special investment vehicles, for hedge funds or tax havens.”

Brown said the mandate of international institutions should be beefed up to deliver growth and jobs, especially for the world’s poorest countries.

Britain will host a meeting of G20 leaders on April 2 with pressure growing on policymakers to act on pledges to make the financial system more transparent.

“Because this is a worldwide problem of banking failures we are now looking with our other colleagues internationally at how across all parts of the world we can bring under supervision what is an international shadow banking system,” Brown said.

SPECIALIST LENDERS

Brown said British banks that had taken billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money would be forced to tailor their services to better meet the needs of families and businesses.

He said Northern Rock, the failed lender that was nationalised a year ago, would focus on homebuyers while RBS (RBS.L), which may soon be 95 percent owned by the state, would concentrate on providing loans to small businesses.

Offering a radical new vision of the state’s role in the financial sector, he said the government was considering setting up a bank to boost investment in the sciences, as well as one to cater specifically for savers.

“We’re looking at how we can create an industrial bank – an investment bank that can fund the inventions and innovations of our scientists and technologists,” Brown said. “And we’re looking too at whether through the post office network or other means we can have a publicly owned savings bank.”

Brown had tough words for the bankers whose high-risk lending practices and bonus culture brought the international financial system to the brink of collapse.

“Some practices are indefensible and they have got to be cleaned up now,” he said. “It’s time to set new rules for the banks of all countries.”

Brown said the government was exploring legal avenues to recover some of the payouts given to bank executives who quit their jobs when their institutions were bailed out with state funds last year.

The government has come under heavy criticism after it emerged that Fred Goodwin, the former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) is drawing an annual pension of almost 700,000 pounds a year.

RBS reported a loss of more than 24 billion pounds for 2008, the biggest loss in British corporate history.

“We are exploring all legal action necessary to recover the pension payments from those who received too much,” Brown said.

(Reporting by Christina Fincher; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

Brown seeks ‘Global New Deal’ with Obama

BBC | Mar 1, 2009

Obama and Brown last met in July before Barack Obama was elected US president

Obama and Brown last met in July before Barack Obama was elected US president

Gordon Brown has vowed to forge a “global new deal” with Barack Obama when he meets the new US president for talks in Washington this week.

Writing in the Sunday Times, the prime minister said any challenge could be “overcome by America, Britain and the world working together”.

Mr Brown will become the first European leader to meet President Obama since he took office.

He is also set to address both houses of Congress during his visit.

Before his US trip, the prime minister is due to join other European Union leaders at an extraordinary meeting in Brussels on Sunday.

Atlanticist

In the Sunday Times, Mr Brown said the historic “partnership of purpose” between Britain and the US should be directed at fighting the economic downturn as well as terrorism, poverty and disease.

He said the impact of the new deal “can stretch from the villages of Africa to reforming the financial institutions of London and New York – and giving security to the hard-working families in every country”.

It would require all continents to make cash injections to boost economies, all countries to adopt green policies, universal banking reforms and changes to international bodies, he suggested.

Mr Brown stressed his fondness for America ahead of the visit.

“I have always been an Atlanticist and a great admirer of the American spirit of enterprise and national purpose,” he said.

“I have visited America many times and have many friends there, and as prime minister I want to do more to strengthen even further our relationship with America.”

Mr Brown will follow in the footsteps of Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair in addressing both the Senate and House of Representatives.

“Winston Churchill described the joint inheritance of Britain and America as not just a shared history but a shared belief in the great principles of freedom and the rights of man,” he said.

“Britain and America may be separated by the thousands of miles of the Atlantic, but we are united by shared values that can never be broken.

“And as America stands at its own dawn of hope, I want that hope to be fulfilled through us all coming together to shape the 21st century as the first century of a truly global society.”

Rihanna, Justin Timberlake to Sing Anti-Terrorism Anthems

rihanna-and-justin-timberlake

Rihanna and Justin Timberlake will work with Bollywood composer Aadesh Shrivastava for an anti-terrorism album.

Ace Showbiz | Feb 28, 2009

Rihanna and Justin Timberlake have been signed up by Bollywood composer Aadesh Shrivastava to contribute in an anti-terrorism album following Mumbai attack in November 2008. Beside the two R&B singers, Indian violinist Kala Ramanathan has also been recruited by the composer.

Related

Tees with an anti-terror twist

“I’ve already invited these singers and they will participate,” Aadesh said. “I’ve recorded with that extraordinarily-talented violinist Kala Ramanathan and with Ustad Rashid Khan. Justin and Rihanna have also given their nod.”

“Mumbai has witnessed the worst ever massacre and I’m not interested in token gestures,” Aadesh revealed further. “That’s why I didn’t attend the peace rally at the Gateway Of India. All those thousands hopeful Mumbaikars who attended were in danger. Hardly any security was provided to them. What if there was an attack at the rally?”

Tees with an anti-terror twist

taj_motel

Smoke rises from the Taj Motel in Mumbai on 26/11

Times of India | Feb 23, 2009

Bangalore : Sandeep Dadlani is a funky looking 23-year-old with an unlikely message and even unlikelier business model. He has launched a range of t-shirts with the message `Citizens Against Terror 26/11′, emblazoned in the front. On the back of the tee is a provocative picture: the Taj enveloped in smoke.

“I want these t-shirts to work as reminders for all of us,” Dadlani says. “When 26/11 happened we were all shaken. We carried those feelings around for a few days and then we got back to our lives, our jobs and our routines. We cannot afford to forget it. Maybe someone will write a blog on this t-shirt, then maybe it’ll lead to a website and there can be a forum for concerned citizens to come together. Maybe we can all get together and build better roads or feed the poor, make this a better, safer world. We cannot let it slip into the recesses of our memory.”

Dadlani’s t-shirt was launched earlier this week at the two stores he runs along with his mother Anju on Lavelle Road and Churchstreet. The tees come in colours black, white and blue (navy) and are available in various sizes for men and women. A good portion of Dadlani’s earnings from this venture will go to charity.

“The images of those three days stayed with me. I’m sure it did with a lot of people too,” Dadlani said. “I was thinking of how I could to make a difference. I started working on this idea about mid-December and it took me six weeks to arrive at a slogan, look and layout I was happy with. I wanted to keep it simple and basic, something anyone could wear anytime.”

T-shirts became a form of personal expression in the early eighties. At the turn of the millennium catchy slogans replaced movie posters and happy messages. Sported by celebrities, the chic and the cool, they swept the market. Post 9/11 tees served as blackboards in the classroom of life. They carried messages and mourning monuments, as both a reminder of what was and what is.

Necrophilia charges mount for former morgue worker already serving sentence for sex with corpse

ASSOCIATED PRESS | Feb 28, 2009

CINCINNATI  — A former morgue worker already in prison for having sex with a body awaiting autopsy was indicted Thursday on two more charges of sexually abusing corpses.

The latest charges against 55-year-old Kenneth Douglas of Cincinnati accuse him of assaulting two women’s bodies at the Hamilton County morgue in 1991.

Douglas, an attendant at the morgue from 1976 to 1992, was convicted last year of having sex with the body of a teenage murder victim in 1982. He is serving a three-year prison sentence, which includes 18 months for corpse abuse and 18 months for a parole violation on an unrelated drug conviction.

Prosecutor Joe Deters said Thursday the case is “just beyond belief” and that the new charges are based on DNA testing. He said there is not enough evidence left to determine whether more corpses may have been abused because DNA evidence wasn’t saved in many cases.

Deters said he suspects Douglas had more victims during the 16 years he worked at the county morgue. The numbers Douglas gave investigators in interviews ranged from one to possibly more than 100, Deters said.

“I’m sure there are more,” he said. “I’m certain of it, but we’ll never be able to prove it.”

Douglas’ attorney, Norman Aubin, said he hadn’t seen the new evidence and would confer with his client after he studies the charges.

A grand jury indicted Douglas on two counts of gross abuse of a corpse for allegedly sexually assaulting the bodies of Charlene Edwards, 23, and Angel Hicks, 24, both of Cincinnati.

Edwards was strangled in October 1991. Mark Chambers, convicted of voluntary manslaughter in her death, was released on parole in 2000.

Hicks died of a blunt impact to the head. Her death was ruled a homicide, but the defendant in that case was acquitted at trial.

The first corpse abuse case against Douglas involved 19-year-old Karen Range, who was murdered in her Cincinnati home. David Steffen, a door-to-door salesman, was convicted in 1983 of rape and aggravated murder.

Steffen acknowledged stabbing Range but denied that he raped her, saying he attempted to but was physically unable. A DNA test — not available at the time he was tried — confirmed in 2007 that he had not raped her.

Meanwhile, Douglas was convicted of a drug trafficking offense last year and was ordered to provide a DNA sample, as required by Ohio law. That sample matched the 1982 sample from Range, prosecutors said.

Steffen has been on death row for the 1982 killing. Earlier this month, though, a judge ordered a new sentencing hearing, agreeing with the defense that his death sentence should be reconsidered now that he has been exonerated of rape. The state has appealed that ruling.

The maximum sentence Douglas could receive if convicted of the new charges is 18 months on each count.

Bismarck ND to set new snow record

Associated Press | Feb 27 2009

Bismarck, N.D. (AP) Bismarck is on pace to break its snow record set during the winter of 1996-97.

The National Weather Service says the city has 70.5 inches of snow so far this winter, including 5 inches from the latest storm this week. It’s only the seventh time in history that the capitol city has surpassed the 70-inch mark.

Meteorologist Patrick Ayd (EYED) says the 1996-97 record is 101.6 inches of snow. He says the next couple of weeks appear to be “pretty active snow-wise,” and March usually is a snowy month, so Bismarck has a good chance of a record.

Three Die In Serbia As Severe Winter Weather Hits Balkans

belgrade_snow

Vehicles are covered in the heavy snow on the highway linking Belgrade and the southern city of Nis

In the eastern Serbian town of Pozarevac an elderly couple froze to death in their home, and a man died in the mountainous Sjenica region.

Javno | Feb 21, 2009

Three people died and dozens were stranded on a Serbian highway on Friday as heavy snow and severe frost hit large parts of the Balkans, causing travel chaos and power cuts across the region.

In the eastern Serbian town of Pozarevac an elderly couple froze to death in their home, and a man died in the mountainous Sjenica region in the southwest, police said. Temperatures fell as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit).

Sections of highway linking Belgrade and the southern city of Nis were closed, and remote central Serbia villages remained cut off for a third day. Roads linking Belgrade with Romania’s border were also shut, Serbia’s Drivers’ Association said. -.-Reuters-.-Truck stranded on the highway linking Belgrade and the southern city of Nis

In Bulgaria, heavy snowfall and storms cut electricity to 56 villages and towns across the country, blocked roads and shut the Black Sea port of Varna, authorities said.

Dozens of trucks and cars, some carrying children and pregnant women, were stranded by snowdrifts while avalanches blocked the busy mountain passage of Petrohan.

One municipality in the north-east declared a state of emergency due to difficulties with food supplies.

In Montenegro, dozens of local roads remained closed while repair crews continued work after nearly 48 hours to restore power supplies to the Adriatic port of Bar and the town of Ulcinj near the Albanian border.

Montenegro’s largest airport in the capital, Podgorica, was reopened for traffic for the first time in two days.

Croatian media said some roads in mountainous areas were closed, and severe gales halted ferry traffic between the mainland and some Adriatic islands.

In northern Albania, an avalanche blocked 13 cars on Thursday, while the government used helicopters to evacuate the sick from remote areas.

Authorities in Kosovo blamed snow and low temperatures for about 100 traffic accidents in the past 24 hours, in which 16 resulted in injuries.