UK Govt Under Pressure To Lift Cricket COVID-19 Ban

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on June 24, 2020, to attend Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs)a at the House of Commons – ˜ (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was told “England is not England without cricket” by one of his own Conservative MPs on Thursday as the British government came under renewed pressure to lift a ban on recreational cricket during the coronavirus pandemic.

During a debate in Parliament, Peter Bone MP urged Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, to “persuade the chief umpire (Johnson) to stroll across from Number 10 next week” and announce the amateur game can resume.

International cricket is set to get underway for the first time since lockdown when England face the West Indies in a three-Test series starting at Southampton on July 8.

But the amateur game remains mothballed, with professional county cricket delayed until at least August 1.

Earlier this week, while announcing a lifting of lockdown restrictions on pubs and restaurants, Johnson said club cricket could not resume because the ball is a “natural vector of disease”.

But with social tennis and golf currently allowed, his comments were labelled “utter nonsense” by former England captain Michael Vaughan.

Many British politicians have been cricket lovers.

Clement Attlee, Labour’s Prime Minister in the years immediately after the Second World War had an agency ticker machine installed at 10 Downing Street so he could receive the county scores.

Alec Douglas-Home, briefly Prime Minister in the 1960s, played 10 first-class matches in the 1920s.

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Meanwhile, another Conservative Prime Minister and cricket enthusiast, John Major, during a speech to rally support for his position of keeping Britain in the European Union in 1993, said that “fifty years from now, Britain will still be the country of long shadows on county (cricket) grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs (and) dog lovers”.

Bone, the MP for Wellingborough, central England, appeared to tap into that spirit on Thursday when he recalled visiting his local cricket club last weekend.

He said he had “heard the ripple of applause from the boundary and the occasional shouts of “owzat?'” before realising he was imagining it.

Bone added: “Up and down the country thousands and thousands of men and women and boys and girls are desperate to play competitive cricket.

“England is not England without cricket.

“Leader, would you persuade the chief umpire to stroll across from Number 10 next week and make a statement in this House that play can resume?”

Somerset supporter Rees-Mogg replied that few MPs missed cricket as much as he did.

“All my tickets to go to watch various Test matches across the course of the year, my visits to Taunton (Somerset’s headquarters), have all had to be cancelled,” he said.

“And worst still, there was a chance that Somerset might win the County Championship for the first time in its history.”

Rees-Mogg agreed the absence of cricket was a “real loss” but added “we have to be as safe as we possibly can be”.

AFP

British Opposition Leader In Trouble Over Theresa May’s Comments

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons in London on July 18, 2018. HO / PRU / AFP

 

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn got himself into trouble on Wednesday for apparently muttering “stupid woman” at Prime Minister Theresa May during a heated exchange in parliament over her delaying tactics on Brexit.

The Labour Party leader could be seen appearing to mouth the words in response to May making a joke about his failure to demand a no-confidence vote against her government after he had accused her of leading the country “into a national crisis”.

Conservative MPs shouted “disgraceful” when the allegations were first raised after the angry exchanges, and May herself was asked what she thought of the supposed comment.

“I think that everybody in this House, particularly in this 100th year of women getting the vote, should be encouraging women to come into this chamber and to stand in this chamber and should therefore use appropriate language in this chamber when they are referring to female members,” she said.

Several Conservative MPs said the alleged comment was a reflection of abusive language faced by many female politicians and a culture of bullying in parliament that has become a focus for concern in recent months.

Parliament speaker John Bercow said he did not see the incident himself but, if true, the allegation meant that Corbyn would have to apologise in front of parliament.

“It is incumbent upon all members of this House to operate in accordance with its best conversion… If a member has failed to do so that member has a duty to apologise,” he said.

Bercow, who has himself been accusing of bullying and using abusive language, said he would also look at video evidence and seek professional advice on the alleged incident.

AFP

Prince Harry To Marry Meghan Markle As World Watches

Well-wishers line the Long Walk leading to Windsor Castle ahead of the wedding and carriage procession of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. PHOTO: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and US TV star Meghan Markle tie the knot on Saturday in a globally-watched ceremony at Windsor Castle filled with traditional pomp and modern twists.

Some 100,000 people were expected in picturesque Windsor, west of London, for the historic moment and street parties were being readied around the kingdom.

Thousands of fans, many decked out in royalist paraphernalia, camped in the town overnight or arrived on the first trains from London, pulling into a station renamed “Harry and Meghan Central” for the day.

From Markle’s native Los Angeles to Queen Elizabeth II’s scattered realms, royal watchers were also set to tune in to see the grand-scale event.

The service at noon (1100 GMT) inside Windsor Castle will marry the old and the new — a traditional Church of England wedding but with unusual turns including a gospel choir singing “Stand By Me” and a lively US pastor delivering the address.

Ahead of the nuptials, Queen Elizabeth granted Harry and Meghan the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

It is the last big royal wedding of 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth’s reign and the last on this scale for a generation until Prince William’s children, Harry’s niece and nephews, tie the knot.

Markle, 36, is to start her walk down the St. George’s Chapel aisle on her own, interpreted by some commentators as a sign of her feminist credentials.

Besides starring in the US legal drama “Suits”, she was also a United Nations advocate for women’s empowerment.

Her father Thomas Markle, recovering from a heart operation in Mexico, pulled out on Thursday — though he still appears in the printed order of service.

The reclusive Emmy Award-winning former television lighting director was caught in a fiasco, posing for staged photographs after complaining of media harassment, then performing several U-turns over whether he would attend.

In her father’s absence, Markle has asked Harry and his best man William’s “Papa” Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, to bring her to the altar.

Besides royalty, the wedding will be attended by celebrities including Markle’s former “Suits” co-stars.

 Profound affection

Before they retired for the night in separate hotels, Harry, 33, told well-wishers he was feeling “great”, while Markle said she felt “wonderful”.

The couple met on a blind date in July 2016 and quickly had a whirlwind romance, criss-crossing the Atlantic as she continued filming “Suits” in Toronto.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who will marry the couple, said they were “very sensible” and “self-possessed”.

“There’s profound affection between them which is wonderful and a deep understanding and mutual support,” he said.

The groom, officially Prince Henry of Wales, is expected to be given a new title to mark his wedding day.

Following the service, the bride and groom will ride through Windsor in an open-top carriage.

Royal fans camped out for several nights for a front-row view.

Singing and laughing, Audrey Wilde, 66, from Newcastle in northeast England, wore a black t-shirt with the British flag featuring the couple on it.

“We want to be the nearest we can so we needed to get up early!” she told AFP. “The atmosphere will be electrifying!”

Karen Wallace, 53, from Chicago, said she wanted to give the bride some backing after the so-called Markle debacle over her father.

“After the week she’s had, she needs some support,” she said.

“I think her half-siblings are so jealous — they want their 15 minutes of fame.”

Retired nurse Cynthia Osborne, from Cardiff, wore a Welsh dragon hat.

“I think they’re a little bit envious of us, not just the Americans but the Europeans too,” she said of the international attention.

Stars were aligned

Markle, a biracial divorcee from Los Angeles, is seen as a breath of fresh air for a royal family often seen as overly traditional.

“I think it’s really nice that he’s marrying someone that’s representative of modern society,” said Sam Lukes, 28, who came from nearby Reading to see the procession.

But feuding in Markle’s fractious family overshadowed the wedding build-up.

Her estranged older half-siblings, who have not been invited, have been regularly popping up and venting forth on multiple media outlets.

Meanwhile, her even more distant half-brother’s ex-wife and son Tyler, a cannabis farmer, have jetted into Britain to make merry beyond the castle walls.

When Harry and Markle met, she was a divorcee of three years; he had a few foundered relationships and his 10-year army career recently behind him.

Harry was scarred by his mother Diana’s death in a Paris car crash in 1997 when he was just 12, and he had to mourn in the full glare of the world’s media and got close to the breakdown in his rebellious youth.

Markle has had her own share of heartbreak.

She married producer Trevor Engelson in 2011 but the relationship collapsed in 2013 after she moved to Toronto.

Security was tight in Windsor ahead of the event, with armed police officers and snipers posted around the town.

The event is a welcome respite for a country still burdened by austerity and deeply divided over Brexit, although polls have shown that only around a third of the population is interested in the wedding.

Even sceptical Britons can at least rest assured of a financial boon from the nuptials, with Brand Finance estimating a benefit to the economy of around £1.0 billion (1.1 billion euros, $1.3 billion).

AFP

Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Welcome Baby Girl

Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Prince William, gave birth to a daughter on Saturday, the couple’s Kensington Palace residence announced.

The baby weighed 8 lbs 3 oz  Prince William was present at the birth.

The Palace took to its twitter page to announce the birth of the new born also British Prime Minister David Cameron amongst other celebrities.

“Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well,” the palace added.

duchess baby

 

duchess 2

 

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She gave birth at 8:34 a.m. (3.34 a.m. ET), some 2-1/2 hours after having been admitted in the early stages of labor to the private Lindo wing of St Mary’s Hospital, West London, the palace said.

Both families of the couple had been informed, it said, including the new baby’s great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth, her grandfather Prince Charles and William’s brother Prince Harry.

A ceremonial town crier announced the birth of the new baby, who will be fourth in line to the throne after Charles, William and her older brother George.

No name for the newborn has yet been announced.

William, 32, was born at the same hospital to the late Princess Diana in 1982.

He and Kate, 33, met as students at St Andrews University in Scotland, married in a spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey in April 2011 and have since become global stars.

When Kate leaves hospital, the couple will initially return to Kensington Palace for a couple of days before heading to Anmer Hall, their country mansion on the queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, Eastern England.

 

Thousands queue to buy iPhone 5

Apple fans from around the world on Friday queued in their various cities to get their hands on the new iPhone 5.

The new phone went on sale across, Europe, Asia and Australia with mobile carriers.

Apple has booked more than 2 million orders for the device in the first 24 hours, double the first-day sales of the previous iPhone 4S.

Some analysts expect Apple to sell up to 10 million iPhone 5 models in the remaining days of September and JP Morgan estimates the phone release could provide a $3.2 billion boost to the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter.

The new phone has a larger, 4-inch screen and is slimmer and far lighter than the previous model. The iPhone 5 supports faster 4G mobile networks and also comes with a number of software updates, including Apple’s new in-house maps feature.

But not everyone was impressed with the standard of the new technology. Some users criticized the maps feature for a number of geographical errors, missing information and a lack of features.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller has said the company launched the new service knowing it was a major initiative. “We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get.”

Hundreds of French iPhone fans lining up at Apple’s main store in Paris got an earful from disgruntled employees and former retailers protesting against the group’s policies.

Some 20 former staffers of independent Apple distributors which closed after struggling to compete with Apple’s own stores marched in front of the Paris store.

Joining them were three store employees striking to protest against Apple’s refusal to offer perks such as meal vouchers and a yearly bonus of an extra one month’s salary that are standard for many French workers.

Olympics: China’s Yi wins first Gold

China’s Yi Siling on Saturday won the first gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics which commenced on Friday, with victory in the women’s 10m air rifle at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Yi played with Poland’s Sylwia Bogacka into second, with Yu Dan of China taking bronze.

Poland’s Bogacka was leading until the eighth attempt of the 10-shot final when a wayward effort handed Yi first place while Britain’s Jennifer McIntosh was knocked out in the qualifying round.

Yi and Bogacka had close ties with a score of 399 out of 400, Yi took the gold with an overall score of 502.9 while her competitor had 502.2

Jennifer who finished 36th out of 56 competitors in her first Olympics said “I’d have liked to be in the final, but performance-wise I felt like I handled it really well. You live and learn

With so much excitement Yi said “I have been up since five this morning. There was a lot of pressure on me. I’m very grateful to China and to my mother and father, who I love very much.”

Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic was fourth.

Jonathan takes part of blame for failed attempt to rescue European expatriates

President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday that he would take some of the responsibility for a failed hostage rescue attempt in which an Italian and a British man died in Sokoto.

The President who disclosed this in an interview with CNN said the Nigerian authorities had worked with intelligence agencies from Britain and other countries in the failed rescue operation.

“We worked with the international intelligence system. If there was success, there would have been a collective glory. Since we did not quite succeed, well, we all take responsibility.”

“So I cannot say I will not take part of that responsibility. Yes, I do. I’m the President of the country.”

Kidnappers last Thursday killed two European expatriate Franco Lamolinara and Chris McManus while a raid to free them was under way, according to British government sources briefed on the matter.

The case drew criticism from the Italian government, who questioned the British authority on why Rome was not consulted before the operation, which was launched by Nigerian forces with support from Britain.

Britain said it had not been possible to inform Italy of the operation until it was under way because of the fast moving situation on the ground and the “imminent and growing danger” to the hostages’ lives.

President Jonathan said the raid on the hide out of the Kidnappers was initiated after conversations between the captors were intercepted.
The hostages had been moved several times and there were fears they would be taken out of Nigeria, he said.

The President said that the escape of one of the alleged kidnappers during an arrest the day before the failed rescue attempt also raised fears that McManus and Lamolinara would be killed.

He said he was not aware of any demand for a ransom, or of any ransom payment having been made.

“In this particular case, no family member informed security agencies that they (the captors) had reached out to them for ransom,” he said.