Prince Philip dies at 99. Queen Elizabeth II announces with "deep sorrow"
London, 9 April 2021 - Beloved by the British people, and not just by them all. World media announce today on their front pages the breaking news.
Never a shadow figure, he bared on his noble shoulders decades of serving duties: 22.000 solo engagements with over 5.000 speeches as Queen's husband, is the longest serving British consort.
The Duke of Edinburgh supported over 800 charities from 1952: he was patron of the Shakespeare's Globe for more than 40 years.
Born in the island of Corfu on 10 June 1921 as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, was exiled with his family from the country when he was only one and a half years old. He married Elizabeth II in 1947.
Despite the windy and cold weather today people are flocking to Buckingham palace and near Windsor Castle to lay flowers.
Photo credit @ajplus
London, 17 March 2021 - The trial of the police officer who brutally kidnapped and killed the 33 years old Sarah Everard will start next 25th October. A hearing to enter a plea is scheduled the 9th July.
Yesterday the murderer, an old British man who was in charge as parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer at the MET police, appeared at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London to confirm his name and date of birth: Wayne Couzens born in Dover, Kent, in 1972.
Investigations are still ongoing and though, the body has been found in woods near Ashford, searches are also ongoing in the little town of Sandwich, in Kent.
More charges, therefore, could be added to the ones of kidnap and murder as the investigations proceed.
His wife, is also accused of being involved in the murder as “assisting an offender”: Elena Sukhoreba, an Ukrainian origin scientist, has been released on bail after being arrested.
A second post-mortem examination is being carried out on Sarah Everard's body after the first proved inconclusive, police have said.
The second post-mortem comes ahead of an inquest which is expected to take place in Maidstone on Thursday 18 March. (BBC report)
Should MET officers be monitored 24/7?
The murder of Sarah raises questions on how police select and monitor cops
London - 15 March 2021 - Protesters against Police outside New Scotland Yard (photo credit Stand Up to Racism
London, 15 March 2021 - Liberty and freedom aren’t values belonging to Britain anymore.
At few days from the brutal murder of the 33 years old Sarah Everard at the hands of a MET police officer and after the violent intervention of police at the vigil for the victim in Clapham Common on Saturday, the Conservative government is trying to approve the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: the bill is to be considered as a substantial eradication of those civil liberties Britain has been regarded as a democracy around the world.
If the bill is passed, the MET police will be able to fine or arrest not just groups, but also a single person protesting and making noise with a fine of £2500 even if the protest is peaceful.
The new law also sets ‘noise’ as a partial and ambiguous parameter applying its limits to a wide range of circumstances, practically making the intervention of police always justifiable and allowing officers to break down events based on sound impact.
UK - Violence against women: shut up! Here it comes the bill.
Second reading for an Act that erases British heritage of freedoms
Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi
takes the helm of Italy
New Italy's PM Draghi talks to the nation addressing Covid and economic crisis as main challenges
New PM Mario Draghi called to drive the country out of the crisis and ensure the administration of 222bln euros European Recovery Fund.
Draghi's 'conditional acceptance' will become fully operative after constructive talks to rebuild a working majority in the Parliament.
“The idea is to get in somebody competent to draw up the government and get the recovery on the right track. It is rightly seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay the groundwork for economic recovery”, said to the New York Times Federico Santi, senior Europe analyst at think tank Eurasia Group.
"Investors applauded his appointment. Italy’s borrowing costs were heading for their biggest daily fall since June while the Milan bourse blue chip index rose 2.5%. However, there was no guarantee that the highly respected economist would be able to muster sufficient support, with the largest party in parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, immediately ruling out its backing", Reuters explains .
"It's a difficult moment", started Mario Draghi in his first speech to the nation after accepting the mandate of PM from the Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
"Defeating the pandemic, completing the vaccination campaign, giving answers to citizens' daily problems, relaunching the country: these are the main challenges we are called to face".
As former ECB head, Draghi made clear the massive EU Covid funds give Italy "the chance to realise a lot, with a keen goal to the young generations' future and to strengthen social cohesion".
The appointment puts an end to a political manoeuvre in the Senate by a minority ally of Giuseppe Conte's government, Italia Viva led by Matteo Renzi who is also Conte's predecessor.
Conte, who has a wide popular support, resigned with the hope to rebuild a stable majority, but after days of consultations and power politics among the leading majority groups (moderate socialists/populists 5SM, dems PD and left Leu), on the one side and the right and far right asking a short transition government and new elections asap, the stance for a stability prevailed and a EU technocratic model and a champion of political balance prevailed.
"I trust that from the dialogue among political parties and parliamentary groups and with the social representations, will come out unity along with the ability to give a responsible and positive answers to the President's call".
While the former majority supports Draghi, it's not clear as to whether Giuseppe Conte is going to accept any role in the new government.
Ditching America first', for the good of all
US President Joe Biden - photo © Copyright wtop
Before the unfortunate advent of Donald Trump, calling in a inaugural presidential speech Americans to unite, act together to safeguard democracy, recalling the words of the Founding Father of US Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, would have sounded an outdated rhetorical cliché. But Joseph R. Biden Jr understands well that America, after four years of poisoning and dividing nationalism, now needs to restore and rebuild the true, common, sentiment of belonging, that tolerance making fifty States acting in the spirit of a wider community.
“Today on the same sacred ground that just few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we had for more than two centuries”.
Applause and emotion from the crowd of a small official ceremony constrained by the Covid rules and controlled by FBI and riot police.
While the way out of the man who first provoked the pro-Trump violence was led by the 21 cannon shots, an unusually quiet celebration paved Biden’s way into the White House: the new president bares on his shoulders the dangers inherited from the previous one: “a rise of extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat. To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: unity. Unity. In another January in Washington, on New Year’s Day 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the President said, and I quote, 'If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it.' My whole soul is in it. Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together".
In Biden’s intent to restore the common ground for a progressive and peaceful society, to righteously draw the line between the values of the American Civil war and the grim opportunism of the ‘uncivil war’, Trumpism is revealed for what it has actually been: an interruption of democracy reducing the US from nation to a “state of chaos”.
As the world was watching the new American President saying "We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again; we will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example", we put our whole souls in that promise.
Trucks on M20 Highway, Kent, UK
Royal Navy deployed four gunboats to protect UK fishing waters as no-deal is the most likely outcome
London, 12 Dec. 2020 - While talks in Brussels are crashing into a no-deal, the final act of the Brexit tragedy ends with the worst case scenario: the provocative deployment of the Navy ships patrolling the Channel and the frantic preparation of the 'operation Brock barrier': a set of possible new paths for trucks coming from the EU to avert bottle necks on Kent's highways: with the introduction of custom checks thousands of import-export trucks are going to get stuck in long queues.
All is set in the dark, with last minute manoeuvres that perfectly reflect British government's confusion, lack of plan and dependence on pure political propaganda: Navy's imperial style move, after all, brings votes; that political consensus of the millions increasingly poor and de-potentiated by the Covid crisis who project on establishment the need to have power to act, to be independent, while in the tragic reality of a deepening economic crisis, are increasingly dependent on state aid.
The aggressive 'Navy move' by the way, only provoked strong opposition even within the Tories: Tory MP Tobias Ellwood described it as "irresponsible":
"Global threats increasing, Navy overstretched. Here we are squaring up to a NATO ally as beneath the same sea increased Russian sub/ drone activity goes unchecked. Our friends (US) watch in dismay. Our foes (China/Russia) in joy. Let’s raise our game & get a deal", he wrote in a tweet.
Operation 'Broxit'; UK prepares for the worst
amid chaos and propaganda
London, 25 Nov 2020 - The day of the ‘spending review’ is a tragic one: “The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecast the economy will contract this year by 11.3%, the largest fall in output from more than 300 year”, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said.
That’s also the biggest loss within the G7.
The British government did not give any clue on tax rise as yet.
Britain will have to wait at least until the end of 2022 to see a recovery in the post-Covid era.
Sunak read out a discouraging and concerning list of record high and lows: nearly 3mln unemployed (2.800.000), borrowing forecast 394bln pounds over the next years, the largest i Britain’s peace time history.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, © Copyright UK Parliament
In 2021 public spending is set at 55bln: 18bln to testing, 3bln £ to NHS recovery, 2bln to transports, 3bln to local councils, extra 2.50bln to end rough sleeping
3bln unemployment program, 2.6bln to devolved authorities in Scotland, NI Wales.
It will take more than two years for the economy to recover: “Our economy is not expected to return to pre-Covid levels before the forth quarter of 2022 and the economic damage is likely to be lasting”.
Growth forecast is grim:+ 5.5% next year, 6.6% in 2022, then 2.3% 1.7% and 1.8% over the following years.
In 2025 the economy will be 5% smaller than expected in the March budget.
Unemployment will reach a peak of 7,5%: 2.6mln jobless next year; by the end of 2024 is forecast to fall to 4.4%.
Though support to public sector is relevant (pay rise to over one million NHS workers) the private sector is on the verge of crashing.
UK: GDP down by 11.3% this year: largest loss over three centuries.
Borrowing set at 394bln.
Recovery more than two years away. Chancellor sets 55bln plan
Christmas lights in Oxford Street praise ‘2020 NHS Heroes, kind strangers and neighbours’, celebrating London as one city in its diversity and one heart beating for its whole community. (video taken on Nov 4th 2020)
London, 11 Nov - In the capital infection rate is lowering down to 152 cases out of 100.000 people, while in Northern England the Covid alarm is still high: in Manchester 781 per 100K, in Birmingham 306 per 100K while in Liverpool alarm is still high with the army deploying 2K troupes to help deliver a massive test and trace program.
In 21 out of 32 London’s boroughs infections are below alarm level so businesses are asking to shorten lockdown in order to stop the ongoing huge damage to the economy. Where big companies announced thousands layoffs, small ones are simply closing permanently.
London Chamber of Commerce launched the appeal to stop lockdown early before the downturn becomes irreversible. “We should come out as soon as the figures allow us to do it” e representative told BBC, suggesting a return to the regional tier approach.
London calling: stop lockdown,
while Johnson says no.
Retailers are luring shoppers with shining Christmas decorative trees anticipating the festive season, while outside the crisis hits hard.
London, 22 Oct. 2020 - While local governments put under forced lockdown rise their opposition against Westminster, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces the 'Winter Economy Plan': employees of companies forced to close in lockdown areas will receive at least 67% of their pay from the government; the new Job Support Scheme starting in November reduces the previous 80% paid with the furlough scheme.
Meanwhile the figures issued by the Office of National Statistics rise widespread concern: for June to August this year the unemployment rate for all people was 4.5%.
As a consequence taxes are expected to rise to compensate the unprecedented economic support and the historic high public debt: 2.06 trillion pounds.
UK: Isn't Christmas yet and the crisis already hits hard. The 'Winter economy plan' won't help retailers
London, 23 Sept 2020 - In the British capital the infection rate is increasingly high. NHS England reports the total number of deaths in London hospitals of patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 is now 6,172. The total number of deaths in London hospitals where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate is now 242.
The Mayor Sadiq Khan published a message to the population today: "Our city has experienced a significant rise in coronavirus cases. I know that many Londoners haven’t been able to get a test and are frustrated by the situation – I am too. But now, more than ever, we all have to stick together to fight this deadly disease".
The measure announced by the Prime Minister Johnson yesterday apply to London while Norther Ireland, Wales and Scotland have implemented similar, and tougher, measures which are being enforced in England:
police will be able to issue higher fines to those who refuse to comply with the rules. The fine for failing to wear a face covering if you do not have an exemption, or for breaking the rule of six will be £200. If you break the rules on self-isolation you could be fined up to £10,000. Fines will also apply to business breaking COVID-19 rules.
"It’s vital that we all follow these new rules to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Please let your friends and family know this latest update. London, it’s on all of us to protect our city. We can do this, together." said the Mayor Sadiq Khan in a message to Londoners.
COVID: Infection rate is rising in London. Mayor Sadiq Khan calls for unity and to respect new guidelines
London, 17 Sept 2020 - There’s an hidden message of England’s supremacy over Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland aimed at reaching the majority of Brexiters and expand Tories’ electorate in this Internal Market Bill.
That’s what looks like the underlying ‘norm’ of the Bill behind its legal inconsistency both with the British domestic law and the international one.
A reckless push toward centralisation of decision making where Westminster tries to withdraw devolved powers and reclaim its alleged right after decades to put under scrutiny mutually struck agreement and historical peace treaties such as the one with Northern Ireland.
It’s the step forward down the abyss of Brexit: now that Britain is out, how can Tories feed the hunger of English discontent? EU immigration ended, attacking immigrants from the far East would not be economically convenient, criminalising asylum seekers could be sanctioned by the UN...meanwhile the covid-19 crisis deepens.
They know their overall majority is the result of the hard sell of a fake illusion of supremacy, of a media crusade branded with England’s red cross flag. Therefore here it comes the new game of the Tory playground: the domestic Brexit. The destruction of the internal Union.
When Brexit goes domestic: the Internal Market Bill could be the ultimate Tory power grab destroying the UK
Watch video reportage
London, 11 September 2020 - Over these days if you walk in central London you can listen to the finest jazz, classical music, and pop. While theaters are dark, exceptional performers are out there.
Social distancing rules are hitting hard theaters and the music industry.
The West End is silent, but on the other side passers by are delighted to have the chance to hear professional bands and performers right on the go, when music becomes that unespected moment making your daily life and soul feel better in times of pandemic.
While the music sector said government’s 1,57 billion COVID-19 support scheme isn’t enough to keep it alive, the end of the tunnel for performers looks far away.
Reportage: A new way to listen to live music is creeping out of the vibrant streets of the ‘big cloud’
In the meantime exceptional artist are capturing ears and souls of people walking in high streets: London could make the most of it by giving space and new chances of live sessions and performances en plein air. Also over winter? Yes: music always keeps us warm.
London, 7 August 2020 - Five years since the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and still women, children, men are escaping war, famine and persecution.
To the EU 27 taking them on board is not just a matter of upholding human rights, but it’s about taking their own responsibilities as weapons produced in the EU are used in African conflicts and military backed proxy-wars have been for decades the western European states' ‘foreign policy’.
They are our own refugees, we have a ‘duty of first adoption’ because, as Europeans, we reckon that after having destroyed and impoverished Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria by drilling oil from their lands like bloodsuckers and keeping tyrants on their thrones for that, we must give their populations a chance to survive, to escape that hell we, so diligently, contribute to create.
UNHCR report (updated 6 August): in 2020 385 refugees/migrants dead in the Mediterranean route. Total arrivals so far: 39,309 of which 35,402 by the sea. During the migration crisis in 2015 over one million (1,032,408) reached southern Europe and 771 died during the dangerous journeys.
Migrants and refugees are the consequence, not the problem.
From vicious circles to developing chains the way out from war and poverty in Africa
Interview with Liam Campling, Professor of International Business and Development, Programme Director International Business and Politics MSc, Director of the Centre on Labour and Global Production at Queen Mary University London.
London, 28 July 2020 - Though fisheries sector only accounts for 0.1% of British economy, there's much at stake, not just job losses, but the balance and maybe even peace, on our seas.
While the negotiations talks are going on, fisheries are one of the major stumbling blocks in the Brexit negotiations.
Why is that? What’s the core of the issue?
"There are different layers - explains Campling - the first question regards the longstanding access of European fishing fleets into UK's waters and ever since the UK joined the EU in 1975 and gave over its fishing sovereignty to its EEZ (Exclusive Economic zone) so EU after the common fishery policy forced together all the fishing interests across the European Union, so after the long history of generations of Danish, French, Dutch, Spanish and Irish fishing interests using British waters, to stop that happening is a big political hit to those continental European fishing interests. This is a big political question."
Diving into the sea of Brexit troubles: "we risk new 'cod wars'"
Prof Liam Campling (Queen Mary): explains EU-UK fisheries battle while negotiations are drowning
London, 23 July 2020 - The future of EU citizens in the UK and British in the Union is at stake; today more than ever. Maike Bohn, co-founder of The3million, the largest campaign organisation for the rights of EU citizens in Britain, warns that "with no-deal Brexit any hope of continuing social security and healthcare coordination for all has gone up in smoke, which means that it will be much more complicated for the smaller group of 3.6 million EU citizens in the UK to get those rights in practice".
She talks in exclusive with Talkeurope on the sad day EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier stressed the unwillingness from the UK side to reach an agreement.
"No deal also means any lingering hope that our friends British in Europe might have had of still securing their rights in EU member states other than their own is definitely gone- Maike Bohn explains - they will lose Freedom of Movement and only be allowed to live and work in their current country of residence: a huge blow to the many cross-border workers".
The Home Office stated the vast majority of EU citizens have been given Settled Status and just few thousands a pre-settled status is that true? What sort of help is available to EU citizens who have lived in the UK for decades and instead have been given pre-settled status only?
"It is not true to say the vast majority of EU citizens have been given Settled Status – current grants of pre-settled status are over 1,4 million. That is more than the high estimate of 1.4million, and much more than the low estimate of 0.9million anticipated in the EUSS Impact Assessment the Home Office itself published in March 2019.
Maike Bohn, co-founder at The3million
The no-deal catastrophe
Maike Bohn (The3Million): "first signs of discrimination, but the real problems will start in January 2021".
British young are asking end of systemic racism. In Bristol a symbolic toppling to change culture and course of history
London, 7 June 2020 - Today protesters in Bristol toppled a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston who killed 19,000 African origin people and enslaved 60,000, and then threw it into the harbour while some went up replacing the bronze monument calling for a 'revolution' with a megaphone.
It is the step forward from protest to revolt against the British racist and divisive system which through petty legal cheating makes it impossible to report and denounce discrimination based on race and nationality and finally seek justice.
Many of the signs of the thousands who on Saturday rallied by the Supreme Court of Justice in London, asked a fair and equal education and justice system. Beyond George Floyd, as the trial for his murder at the hands of Minneapolis police is starting on Monday, the whole British new generation, not just African origin and BAME, want to bury colonialism and imperialism derived racism, right the culture and ideology promoted by Tories and British business ruling class.
"Black history mandatory in schools", "Stop militarization of police", "Black is beautiful", are some of the messages in the endless sea of signs in Parliament Square and the nearby area of the Supreme Court where the chant "Black Lives Matter" and "Justice for George Floyd" marked the rhythm of low-sounding drums.
Nearly all are young, all backgrounds, all races and make clear "this is not a trend" but a determined commitment to achieving justice and equality.
For the second time on Saturday police intervened in the Downing Street area at the very end of the protest: mounted police have been reported dispelling the crowd. We can report until 6.30 the protest was absolutely peaceful.
London, 18 May 2020 - It’s now proven scientific evidence surgical masks reduce Covid-19 infection rate by over 50%.
“The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,” said yesterday Hong Kong University microbiologist Dr Yuen Kwok-yung showing the outcome of the experiment he conducted with his team on 52 hamsters, the rodent with the immune system similar to humans.
The experiment is three-folded:
1) two cages put close, one with infected hamsters and the other with healthy ones: infection rate after 10 days is 67%, two thirds of the hamsters became infected.
2) two cages, one with infected hamsters protected by a surgical mask-like barrier and the healthy ones’ cage with no protections: infection rate falls to 16% ...
Wearing surgical face masks works
Hong Kong University study demonstrates infection rate reduction