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From the time the Roman Empire collapsed in the fifth century, until the Norman Conquest of 1066, civilization fell apart in Britain, and the country endured an era of chaos and warfare known as the Dark Ages. Few written records have survived from this time; consequently, the fifth century, when Arthur and Merlin are said to have lived, is an historical period steeped in mystery. The records that do survive only provide a rough outline of events, and most contemporary figures went completely unrecorded. Although, like Arthur, Merlin is mentioned in a few surviving Dark Age manuscripts, he is only referenced in passing. The first author to provide any actual detail concerning Merlin’s life was the Welsh cleric Geoffrey of Monmouth who wrote in the 1130s. In his History of the British Kings Geoffrey introduces Merlin by saying that he first proved himself as a youth when a British king named Vortigern chose him as a sacrifice. According to Geoffrey, Vortigern was building a fort on a mountain in North Wales to protect his kingdom from the invading Anglo-Saxons, but each time the fort was close to completion the foundations mysteriously collapsed. Vortigern’s advisors suggest that to put things right a boy must be sacrificed, and victim they pick is the young Merlin. However, just as Merlin is about to die, he tells the king that the problems are being caused by two dragons that dwell in a pool, in a cave below the fort’s foundations. When the pool is discovered and the dragons released, Vortigern is so impressed by Merlin’s mystic knowledge that he makes him his chief advisor and offers him the new fort as his own. Although this story is obviously an imaginative legend, a Dark Age manuscript records a similar story which reveals an historical figure behind the Merlin myth.
Tag Archives | Britain
via The Guardian
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Britain has won the right to export pig semen to China in a deal worth £45m a year.
Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, who is accompanying David Cameron on his trip to China, has also embarked on negotiations to export pigs’ trotters – a local delicacy – to China.
Under the deal with China, the “porcine semen” can be flown to the country in frozen and fresh form. Pigs will not be flyingbut their seed will take to the air.
A No 10 spokesperson said: “We’re doing all we can to ensure that businesses up and down the country reap the rewards from our relationship with China. And that includes our pig farmers. This new deal to export pig semen will be worth £45m to UK firms and means Britain’s best pigs will help sustain the largest pig population in the world.
Organizers of the largest protest in history to this point, the 2003 march against the invasion of Iraq, are among those hopping to orchestrate a watershed moment for the global movement against austerity, writes the Independent:
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The new “People’s Assembly Against Austerity” will march through London on 22 June, and, with the help of the Stop The War Coalition, intends to break that group’s record for the largest public rally in the nation’s history. The group claims it will be “an alternative democratic forum to a Parliament that has failed the people it is supposed to represent.” It will be, they hope “the launch-pad for mass resistance to austerity”.
Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Katy Clark, Director of Executive Policy at the Unite trade union Steve Turner, head of the National Union of Teachers Kevin Courtney, comedian and disabled activist Francesca Martinez, as well as Independent columnists Owen Jones and Mark Steel, are the figureheads of a group they hope will appeal to anyone against austerity, regardless of background.
Are the picturesque towns of rural Wales a hotbed of the occult? The Telegraph on a scenario recalling the late nineties Sandra Bullock classic Practical Magic:
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Witchcraft is thriving in the Welsh countryside, a church minister has said, as he described stumbling upon an increasing number of effigies, users of the evil eye and exorcisms. Rev. Felix Aubel claims occult practices in rural Wales have been increasing during the two decades he has been working in the area.
The minister spoke out after latest figures in the 2011 census has revealed 83 witches and 93 satanists are living in Wales. He said there was an “unusual connection” between Christianity and witchcraft in some chapel circles in Wales.
Rev. Aubel, who is the minister of five Congregational chapels in rural Carmarthenshire, said he has called out an exorcist after a witch placed a curse on one of his parishioners. He said: “This is not a joke and I would warn people not to get involved in the occult…I have been told that a coven of witches still meet locally.
The inevitable rise of a European army to rival those of other world super-powers appears on our collective horizon. The Telegraph reports:
Under a deal reached in Brussels yesterday, leaders of all 27 EU countries promised to “strengthen” Europe’s ability to deploy troops “rapidly and effectively” in any future crisis.
They committed to “systematically considering cooperation” across Europe whenever EU member states begin drawing up their national defence plans.
Downing Street sources said the Prime Minister was “entirely happy” with the new arrangements. Britain already has a formal treaty with France for sharing defence capabilities, such aircraft carrier capacity.
Government sources said the new agreement would pave the way for Britain to extend this collaboration beyond France to other countries.
It’s worth remembering that less than 70 years ago millitary “collaboration” between the European powers had terrible consequences. The last time a command and control centre was established in Europe it took the combined might of the American and Soviet millitary to eventually thwart its aim of world domination.… Read the rest
Red Pepper explains the United Kingdom’s new “studio schools,” under which teenagers spend half their day performing menial jobs for corporate sponsors for little or no pay, with the (accurate) purpose being to prepare them for the real world:
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Launched quietly in 2010, studio schools allow private businesses to run state education for 14 to 19-year-olds with learning ‘on the job’ and not in the classroom.
Almost any business can set up a studio school by paying a voluntary subscription of just £8,000 to the government. In return, the government builds and maintains a school, but the power to run the school remains firmly in the hands of private sponsors. National Express, GlaxoSmithKline, Sony, Ikea, Disney, Michelin, Virgin Media and Hilton Hotels are just some of the corporate players who have bought into the scheme.
Predictably, these sponsor firms only pay the minimum wage – and that’s only for their over-16 students.
David Icke’s theory that the British royals stay youthful by feeding on the blood of children gains a shred of supporting evidence, via Digital Journal:
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Links have been discovered between the British Royal Family and Vlad the Impaler. Romania is now exploiting this in an attempt to lure tourists to Transylvania — the Romanian National Tourist Office has released brochures and a promotional video, claiming the fame of the link between Count Dracula and British Royalty.
In the tourism video, Prince Charles “traces his ancestry back to Romania’s dark and distant past,” speaking of his kinship with the historical Dracula – Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler. The Prince also said that in a book published in 1982 by Sir Iain Moncreiffe he is listed as a great grandson 16 times removed to Vlad Tepes.
Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula from his novel is based on Vlad Tepes, who was a 15th century ruler of the Wallachian Kingdom notorious for his blood thirsty campaigns against the Ottomans, and his own people, with victims estimated in the tens of thousands.
Imagine seeing the world through the eyes of taser-happy cops. Via the BBC:
Colin Farmer, 61, was [tasered] by police following reports of a man walking through Chorley with a samurai sword. One of the officers who arrived in Chorley believed he had located the offender.
Mr Farmer, who has suffered two strokes, said he thought he was being attacked by thugs. He was walking to a pub to meet friends on Friday when the officer fired the Taser. It forced him to drop his stick and he fell to the ground, he said. He said the experience had left him “shaking like a leaf” and scared to go outside.
A Lancashire Police spokesman said the incident was being investigated and the officer’s Taser had been withdrawn.
The Investment Banking Awards are the Oscars of the financial world. Dished out for so-called 'innovation', some of the world's richest bankers gather together to congratulate each other on devising ever more creative ways to make obscene sums of money. One of 2012's most profitable scams was the bankers' 'innovative' approach to a key interest rate called LIBOR. Virtually every bank at the event was involved in illegally colluding to rig LIBOR, ensuring that they would always be the winners in the multi-million pound bets they were making on the markets. When we noticed that this money-spinner had been overlooked in the ceremony, we decided to show up and make sure the LIBOR-riggers got the recognition they deserve.