Tag Archives | Britain

British Colonial Secrets Released

Colonial-documents-from-t-008Via the Guardian:

Today the Foreign Office has made public the first batch of thousands of “lost” colonial-era files believed to have been destroyed. The documents were secretly sent back to the UK when former colonies became independent. They shed new light on how British officials ran countries such as Kenya, Cyprus and present-day Malaysia.

Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments. Here’s what [journalists] have published from the files today:

• Monthly intelligence reports on the “elimination” of the colonial authority’s enemies in 1950s Malaya (now part of Malaysia).

• The name of Barack Obama, the father of the American president, is on the top of a list of names revealed in a hitherto secret British colonial file of Kenyans studying in the US.

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‘Branding Police’ Will Patrol 2012 Olympics

Olympics---Team-GB-Kit-Un-007Are we headed for a future in which people are jailed for “branding crimes”? A special set of laws passed by British Parliament, at the behest of the International Olympic Committee, criminalizes “brand violations” related to sponsors of the London Olympics. It will be illegal for local businesses to publicly display words such as ‘twenty-twelve’, ‘medals’, and ‘London Games’. Athletes are banned from publicly mentioning companies or products that are not sponsors. Crack teams will patrol Olympic Village bathrooms, taping over manufacturers’ logos on soap dispensers and toilets. The Guardian writes:

With just a little more than three months to go until the opening of the London 2012 Games, attention is increasingly turning to what many legal experts consider to be the most stringent restrictions ever put in place to protect sponsors’ brands and broadcasting rights, affecting every athlete, Olympics ticket holder and business in the UK.

It is certainly very tough legislation,” says Paul Jordan, a marketing specialist at law firm Bristows, which is advising both official sponsors and non-sponsoring businesses on the new laws.

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British Men Convicted For Nude Wiccan Fire Ritual

burninghellhouseThis is what can happen when you go too far trying to combat negative vibes. But as a believer in the power of burning sage, I’m sympathetic. The Telegraph reports:

Aftab Mughal went to see Terence Williams for advice and the pair decided to burn away the negativity using lit newspaper as part of a Wiccan ceremony.

A neighbour became concerned after seeing thick smoke coming from the flat. He climbed on a roof at the front of the house and, looking inside, could see Williams standing next to a fire completely naked and throwing things on to it, the court was told. He banged on the window to get Williams’ attention and shouted at him to get out. “The flames were licking around Mr Williams’ ankles at that stage. He was staring right through him.”

The pair had been burning white sage leaves and a candle as they meditated. But when Mughal said there was a “negative vibe in the air”, they decided to burn it away.

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Suburban Sprawl Highways As Historic Tourist Attractions

3739750449_86e3796b18Is this what will become of the highway? The Guardian dissects the bizarre spectacle of sold-out bus tours of outer London's very bland M25 motorway:
Long in tedium and inescapably circular, the M25 is not so much The Road to Hell, as Chris Rea once sang, but life itself. However, Britain's least loved motorway was almost beneficent on Monday when viewed from the seats of the first sell-out coach tour of the 117-mile London orbital. There were several coach tours of the M25 in the 1980s and perhaps it is no coincidence that the 2012 version has proved so popular. The M25 was opened by Margaret Thatcher in 1986 and will endure as a monument to her era far longer than wars or broken unions. A visible symbol of individualism and the triumph of the car, the motorway was widened by the Blair government, building on the Iron Lady's legacy in every way.
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British Woman Predicts The Future Via Throwing Asparagus

South West England's This Is Somerset profiles a local celebrity who hurls pieces of asparagus and gleans the future by interpreting how they land. Think of it as a terrible alternative to reading tea leaves:
A fortune teller who predicts the future using ASPARAGUS unveiled her top tips for 2012 - including two Royal pregnancies, the collapse of the Euro, and British glory at the Olympics. Mystic Jemima Packington, 56, claims to be the world's only Asparamancer. She has made dozens of accurate predictions in recent years, including the demise of Gordon Brown, the credit crunch, and Oscar glory for British film The King's Speech.
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Blue Goo Falls From Sky Into British Man’s Yard

gooThe mysterious spheres of jelly are “not meteorological” in nature. The whole thing smacks of a 90s Nickelodeon game show gone horribly awry. Via BBC:

A man in Dorset has been left mystified after tiny blue spheres fell from the sky into his garden. Steve Hornsby said [they] came raining down late on Thursday afternoon during a hail storm.

He found about a dozen of the balls in his garden. He said: “[They’re] difficult to pick up, I had to get a spoon and flick them into a jam jar.” The Met Office said the jelly-like substance was “not meteorological”.

Mr Hornsby, a former aircraft engineer, said: “The sky went a really dark yellow colour…As I walked outside to go to the garage there was an instant hail storm for a few seconds and I thought, ‘what’s that in the grass’?”

Walking around his garden he found many more blue spheres were scattered across the grass.

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UFOs Sighted In Southeastern England

ufosIs 2012 starting off as it should? Several people filmed video of strange objects in the sky in Essex earlier in January. Via Phenomenica:

Six suspected unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were reportedly captured on camera in two counties of Britain. The sightings were reported from Chatham in Kent and Loughton in Essex, around 50 km apart, The Sun reported.

Ernestas Griksas, 21, was clicking a cherry-picker outside his window at his home in Kent. When he looked at the photo, he spotted strange objects in the sky. “There are two white discs I can’t explain. I’m nowhere near a flightpath. One is slightly fainter as if it is further away or going at a different speed,” he said.

In the second incident, car salesman Josh Cummins spotted four bright objects hovering in pairs as he drove to work in Essex. “I nearly crashed. I stopped to take this picture with my mobile.

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News Of The World Phone Hacking May Have Had 5,800 Victims

SUS-phone-hack-007In America, you watch Fox News, in Britain, Fox News watches you…The tally of individuals whose phones may have been hacked on behalf of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid has been upgraded, first from “a handful” to “hundreds”, and the total stands at 5,795 and counting, the Telegraph reports:

Police have now found 5,795 names notes seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the News of the World private investigator who was jailed for phone hacking in 2007.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been hacked but we can confirm that as of 3 November 2011, the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material, and who may therefore be victims, where names are noted, is 5,795. “This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis.”

The first police investigation claimed there were only a handful of victims.

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British Man Kills Wife For Breaking His Star Wars Toys

starwarsI usually tune people out when they complain about how the population is becoming infantilized. However, case in point  — a 30-year-old British man murdered his wife after finding she had smashed his Darth Vader action figures and then “ran sobbing to his mother who lived nearby,” reports the Mirror:

A Star Wars fan was yesterday jailed for life after murdering his wife in an alleged revenge attack for smashing up his cherished toy collection.

Rickie La-Touche, 30, told a court that his Thai wife Pornpilai Srisroy, 28, had damaged his precious Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker memorabilia. He later suffocated her during a row and then ran sobbing to his mother who lived nearby.

La-Touche later told police his wife had smashed up his Star Wars collection as part of a campaign to “make his life hell”. He also claimed he “flipped” when she threatened to leave him to go back to Thailand.

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