Thursday, April 20, 2017

China to Nuke U.K.?

I don't know why they would:

"UK approves stalled Chinese-funded nuclear power plant deal" by Stephen Castle New York Times  September 16, 2016

LONDON — The British government Thursday said it would push ahead with a contentious deal to build a nuclear power station financed in part with French and Chinese investment, but only after making changes intended to address security concerns.

Britain, which angered its international partners by postponing a final decision on the $24 billion Hinkley Point C project in July, said in a statement that the government would take a “special share” in any nuclear projects built in the future.

Although the statement made no reference to China, it almost certainly had the Beijing leadership in mind when it noted that the changes would ensure that “significant stakes cannot be sold without the government’s knowledge or consent.”

The government will also add a review of any deal for national security implications, and the revised terms mean that Britain will have a much greater say if EDF, the largely state-owned French company that is the main investor in the plant, wishes to sell its stake in the plant to a foreign buyer.

The delay, which was ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May shortly after she took office, was seen as a calculated shift away from the ties with Beijing that her predecessor, David Cameron, had cultivated. He often courted China despite geopolitical, security, and human rights concerns.

Related:  Cameron to leave British Parliament

His fate was sealed when he allowed a Brexit vote; that's why he was mentioned in the Panama Papers reports, and he has apparently also been caught up in the BBC/Saville child porn scandal.

May decided to review the construction of the nuclear power plant in Somerset, even though the costs of canceling the project at such a late stage would have been considerable: EDF would have claimed compensation after spending large amounts on development and construction; trade with China would have almost certainly suffered; and Hinkley is crucial for Britain to avoid an energy shortage in the future.

“Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear is an important part of ensuring our future low-carbon energy security,” Greg Clark, the secretary of state for business and energy, said in the statement.

Opponents of the power plant argued that it represented poor value for money and that British taxpayers would end up paying higher prices for energy.

Somehow I knew you'd get $crewed.

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Related:

"Slowing demand for electricity and tumbling prices for natural gas have eroded the economic rationale for nuclear power, which is extremely costly and technically challenging to develop. Alternative-energy sources like wind and solar power are rapidly maturing and coming down in price. The 2011 earthquake in Japan that led to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant renewed worries about safety...."

I didn't see any worries in that article above, and Japan is getting them back on line anyway. 

Maybe a woman can prevent the next war, 'eh? 

Are YOU ready for it?

"Report slams Britain’s Libya intervention" by Gregory Katz Associated Press  September 14, 2016

LONDON — Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s 2011 decision to intervene militarily in Libya was misguided and helped give rise to Islamist extremism in North Africa, a key British parliamentary committee said Wednesday.

Isn't that the plan?

The harsh report slams Cameron and his National Security Council for expanding a civilian protection mission in Libya to include regime change and failing to adequately plan for the country’s future after the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Khadafy.

It said that Britain’s military action was based on ‘‘erroneous assumptions’’ and an ‘‘incomplete understanding’’ of the ramifications of removing Khadafy and that Cameron’s team should have been aware that the rebel groups Britain was backing contained ‘‘significant’’ numbers of extremists.

‘‘The UK’s actions in Libya were part of an ill-conceived intervention, the results of which are still playing out today,’’ said committee chairman Crispin Blunt, a Conservative Party legislator. He said evidence gathered by the committee suggested the threat to civilians used to justify intervention had been overstated.

OMG, Iraq II!!

France and Britain led an international coalition in a series of airstrikes against Khadafy in March 2011. The oil-rich North African country descended into chaos after the intervention and parts of it have become a bastion for Islamic State extremists.

He was also moving away from private central banks.

The parliamentary report says the failure to plan for the aftermath led to political collapse, internal warfare, a humanitarian crisis and the rise of the Islamic State group — a criticism similar to the findings of an earlier official inquiry, known as the Chilcot Report, into Britain’s role in the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.

You killed my son!

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Also see:

Jeremy Corbyn reelected as leader of Britain’s Labour Party

May Vows She Won’t Try to Keep Britain in EU by ‘Back Door’ (1)

Britain will start EU exit talks by end of March

British leader to unveil plan for EU repeal

The envelope please....

"Prime minister calls general election in UK, seeking stronger Brexit mandate" by Steven Erlanger New York Times   April 18, 2017

That is quite a switch over a month, and my first reaction to it was that she wanted to stay in, and now another rigged election will be served up that will undo the Brexit vote. Since that vote, Trump, and the Colombian rejection of their peace deal, we have gotten Wilders disappointment in Holland and surprise win by Merkel in Germany. The masters of the universe are no longer leaving matters up to chance in elections. It's that simple.

LONDON — The financial markets bid up the pound on the news, apparently anticipating a Conservative sweep that would give Prime Minister Theresa May the mandate to override hard-liners in her own party who might resist concessions to the European Union in return for market access — the so-called soft Brexit.

Certainly, the Conservatives’ election prospects look promising. They are riding high in the opinion polls, with the Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn in disarray, the centrist Liberal Democrats weak, and the shambolic far-right UK Independence Party, if anything, more a threat to Labor than to the Tories.

Although the margins are sure to tighten, the Conservatives hold a double-digit lead over Labor, which, if it holds up, would translate into a working majority in Parliament of over 100 seats, compared with only 17 seats now.

But the decision does carry political risks for May. For a politician who has cultivated a reputation as a straight shooter who puts country before party, the about-face on early elections could smack of opportunism. And in a year of election surprises, embittered but highly motivated voters from the Remain camp could coalesce behind one of the parties to register their anger over leaving the bloc.

The last election was only in 2015, when David Cameron won a surprising but thin majority as the Labor Party lost heavily in Scotland and the Liberal Democrats were reduced to just eight seats in Parliament.

Labor’s choice of Corbyn, a man of the hard left, has proved hugely unpopular, but on Tuesday he issued a statement welcoming an early election, as politically he had to do. That makes it likely that Parliament on Wednesday will give May the two-thirds majority she needs to call an early election under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, which otherwise mandates an election in May 2020.

“I welcome the prime minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first,” Corbyn said in a statement. “Labor will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS,” the National Health Service.

What about the wars, or can he not talk about those anymore?

Corbyn, 67, was elected after Labor’s bad defeat in 2015 and took the party strongly to the left. He was a weak supporter of the Remain campaign, and efforts by Labor legislators to unseat him have failed. He will lead a badly divided party and, should Labor lose this election, too, as expected, will be under considerable pressure to resign.

He has an inkling toward Palestinian suffering and therefore must go.

The Liberal Democrats, under a new leader, Tim Farron, have been explicitly against leaving the bloc and have called for another referendum on any final deal with Brussels. Though the Liberal Democrats are expected to win back some seats in June from the Conservatives, the Conservatives are expected to win more seats from Corbyn’s Labor Party, in that many Labor constituencies in Britain’s hard-pressed northern cities voted strongly for leaving.

The Liberal Democrats have promised to bludgeon the Conservatives with the specter of a “hard Brexit,” in which Britain would leave the EU’s single market and customs union without a mitigating trade agreement.

On Tuesday, Farron said that “if you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit, if you want to keep Britain in the single market, if you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.”

“Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority,” he added.

The leader of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party, was harsh, saying, “This announcement is one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history, and it shows that Theresa May is once again putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the country.”

Sturgeon, who favors an independent Scotland but also wants to remain within the EU’s single market, said the snap election was about “standing up for Scotland in the face of a right-wing, austerity-obsessed Tory government with no mandate in Scotland but which now thinks it can do whatever it wants and get away with it.”

Related:

Scotland takes step toward another independence vote

“Scotland has the gayest Parliament in the world, and [They]’ve come a very, very long way in a really short time.” 

I dunno. The kilts. Just came out of the closet is all.

Scotland seeks to block EU exit talks without its approval

May not have to.

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RelatedParliament OK’s prime minister’s call for early election ahead of Brexit

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Fatal Beating of Polish Man Fuels Debate Over Xenophobia in Britain

What spew was he professing?

Shoes appear to make the man, much to Britain’s chagrin

"The United Kingdom’s biggest companies are having a harder time gaining shareholder approval for executive pay packages, as investors take issue with a lack of transparency and disclosures when CEOs get a raise. The number of companies in the FTSE 100 Index that failed to win at least 75 percent of shareholder votes in support of executive compensation plans almost doubled since 2012, consultant Deloitte said in a report released Monday. Eight companies in the index missed the 75 percent threshold, while two failed to secure majority approval for proposed payouts. Just 26 percent of the largest 30 companies on the list garnered the backing of 95 percent of shareholders. Last year more than half reached that mark. “While we’re still talking about a relatively small number of companies, this is rightly a cause for concern,” said Stephen Cahill, a partner in Deloitte’s remuneration team. “The 2016 AGM season has been bruising for a number of companies, perhaps even more so than the shareholder spring of 2012.”

"Police arrest 55 after armed men occupy Sikh temple in UK" Associated Press  September 11, 2016

LONDON — Police arrested 55 people and seized bladed weapons after dozens of men occupied a Sikh temple in central England on Sunday. A Sikh youth group said it was protesting the temple’s use for interfaith weddings.

The Warwickshire Police said officers were called early Sunday morning to the Gurdwara Sahib Leamington and Warwick temple in Leamington Spa, a town 100 miles northwest of London.

Police said the 55 demonstrators were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass. They said no one was injured.

The force said ‘‘a significant number’’ of bladed weapons had been seized, though it didn’t say of what kind. Some Sikh men wear a ceremonial dagger known as a kirpan.

Police said the incident wasn’t related to terrorism, but was ‘‘an escalation of an ongoing local dispute.’’

A group called Sikh Youth Birmingham said on its Facebook page that a peaceful protest was taking place against an interfaith wedding due to be held at the temple.

In France, police said they arrested a 15-year-old boy at his Paris home to thwart what they feared was a planned weekend attack.

The French prime minister warned on Sunday that some 15,000 people in the country could be in the process of being radicalized.

The arrest of the teenager on Saturday came two days after police moved in on what the Paris prosecutor says was a group of female ‘‘commandos’’ arrested after an aborted attack at Notre Dame Cathedral and another possible attack.

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RelatedUK court sentences radical Islamic preacher to prison Anjem Choudary has been one of the best-known faces of radical Islam in Britain for years, leading groups under names including al-Muhajiroun, Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades. Several people who attended Choudary’s rallies and events have been convicted of violent attacks, including the pair of Al Qaeda-inspired killers who ran over British soldier Lee Rigby and stabbed him to death in 2013.

Please, don't make me laugh.

"British lawmaker quits senior post amid sex and drug scandal" by Stephen Castle New York Times   September 07, 2016

LONDON — Caught in what appeared to be a classic British newspaper expos√©, an opposition lawmaker on Tuesday relinquished leadership of an influential parliamentary committee over allegations that he paid for the services of prostitutes and offered to buy drugs for them.

Given the pedophilia rampant among the elite cla$$, this seems like small potatoes.

The Sunday Mirror published a report two days ago about the encounter involving the lawmaker, Keith Vaz, a prominent member of the Labor Party and a former minister for Europe,

Vaz said Tuesday tha it was “in the best interest” of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which he led, for its work to be “conducted without any distractions whatsoever.”

“I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain chair,” Vaz said.

After the allegations were published Sunday, Vaz argued that it was “deeply disturbing that a national newspaper should have paid individuals to have acted in this way,” adding that he would refer the report to his lawyers.

Britain’s freewheeling tabloid press has been more restrained in recent times, after scandals over telephone hacking that led to an inquiry into ethical standards at the country’s newspapers.

Yeah, they were acting as data collectors for government.

The Sunday Mirror sought to justify its report by pointing to the political responsibilities of Vaz, suggesting that his conduct had compromised his ability to fulfill his duties.

As chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, he had a prominent role in oversight of the department that controls Britain’s policy on, among other things, drugs and prostitution.

How ironic.

Even before his announcement Tuesday, some politicians had suggested that his resignation was inevitable. John Whittingdale, who served as culture secretary under former Prime Minister David Cameron, said Sunday that he understood that Vaz would relinquish his leadership of the committee.

“Given the areas of which the committee is responsible, that does seem to me to be a sensible course of action,” Whittingdale told Sky News.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Vaz, who is a married father of two, met with two men, identified by the tabloid as prostitutes, on Aug. 27 at a London apartment. Vaz, 59, a native of Yemen, has held several key posts in the House of Commons.

Oh.

Before meeting with them, Vaz texted one of the men and asked him to bring poppers, a class of chemicals called alkyl nitrites that can be inhaled for a quick high or to enhance sexual pleasure, although the paper reported that Vaz had said that he did not use the drug himself.

Vaz also discussed paying for cocaine but said he would not consume it, the paper reported.

In Parliament, Vaz has argued against including poppers in a list of banned substances.

During the encounter, Vaz told the men that his name was Jim and that he was a salesman for industrial washing machines, the Sunday Mirror reported, but one of the escorts recognized the lawmaker from his television appearances.

Some reports suggested he faced a no-confidence vote from Conservative Party members of the Home Affairs committee had he not stepped down.

Conservative committee member David Burrowes told the BBC on Tuesday that Vaz had done the right thing, the Associated Press reported.

‘‘It was the inevitable thing, I think, given the nature of the allegations and his role as chairman of the committee,’’ Burrowes said. ‘‘It wasn’t a party political view.’’

Burrowes said the committee’s investigations into prostitution and drugs demand objectivity and made his positon untenable. ‘‘What has been exposed through the papers meant he was fatally compromised to continue as chair,’’ he said.

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Related:

British banker guilty of murdering Indonesians in Hong Kong Rurik Jutting, a British banker, was convicted of murder Tuesday for killing two Indonesian women in Hong Kong, torturing one of them over three days while using cocaine in a gruesome case

Also seeA hint of Alcatraz with 2 inmates on the run from London prison

They caught one of 'em.

"British lawmaker hospitalized after party clash" by JILL LAWLESS Associated Press  October 07, 2016

LONDON — Feuding in Britain’s fractious, right-wing UK Independence Party erupted into violence Thursday that left a member of the European Parliament hospitalized with a head injury after an altercation with a colleague.

Steven Woolfe — the front-runner to be UKIP’s next leader — suffered seizures and lost consciousness after clashing with another lawmaker Thursday morning during a meeting of party lawmakers at the legislative building in Strasbourg, France.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Woolfe was initially in serious condition, but he said Thursday afternoon that Woolfe was ‘‘in a much better place than he was a few hours ago.’’

Farage said he was launching an inquiry into the violence, which he said ‘‘shouldn’t have happened.’’ He declined to identify the other party member involved in what he termed ‘‘an altercation.’’

Strasbourg police said the incident had not been reported to the force.

According to media reports, Woolfe was punched during a fistfight with another lawmaker, hit his head, and collapsed a little while later.

UKIP said Woolfe had two ‘‘epileptic-like fits’’ and lost consciousness. An image published by ITV News showed a man resembling Woolfe apparently unconscious on a walkway in the Strasbourg building just outside the parliament chamber.

Several hours later, Woolfe reported that he was conscious and recovering.

The party said Woolfe would remain in the hospital overnight awaiting the results of more tests.

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"The issue of unaccompanied children — mostly from Afghanistan and Sudan — living in the squalor of a sprawling migrant camp between two of Europe’s wealthiest capitals has become one of the most widely denounced aspects of Europe’s migration crisis. A group called Safe Passage will provide a number of children with emergency packs containing cellphones, chargers, and food....." Britain to begin taking in eligible children from Calais refugee camp

British plan to force voters to show ID provokes a backlash

UK shelves much of its austerity plan in first spending blueprint since Brexit

EU may rebound after Brexit, Trump Eastern European and Scandinavian nations in particular fear Russia’s army and have so far comforted themselves with the presence of US troops in the region, but Trump’s contradictory statements on that matter have raised worries that the United States might no longer be a reliable ally.

He's since backtracked on that.

While on the subject of royalty:

Queen Elizabeth II misses Christmas service due to illness

"The inclement weather may have been a contributing factor in her decision to stay indoors. It was cold with a steady rain. The 90-year-old queen, the longest reigning monarch in British history, had earlier delayed her departure for Sandringham for the Christmas holidays because both she and her husband, Prince Philip, were suffering from intense colds. Her prolonged illness has raised some concerns because colds and flus can be dangerous for elderly people. The queen has generally been in good health in recent years, although she has cut down somewhat on her traveling and public appearances. Philip, 95, has also reduced his schedule, but managed to attend more than 100 public events in 2016...."

RelatedFormer President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Houston

Also see:

Assassin of British lawmaker gets life sentence

Sorry for the apathy.

NDU: ‘Brexit’ Talks Could Stretch 10 Years, British Official Warns