The Queen has led mourners in St Paul's Cathedral at the funeral of Baroness Thatcher, Britain's longest serving prime minister of modern times. More than 2,000 dignitaries from around the world paid their last respect at the biggest such occasion since the Queen’s own mother's funeral in 2002.
Lady Thatcher's coffin was carried through streets lined by mourners and members of the three armed forces. PM David Cameron said it was a "fitting tribute" to a major figure.
Four thousand police officers are on duty in central London, which saw large crowds along the route of her funeral procession, which was conducted with full military honours. There were reports of some protests but not the large demonstrations some had predicted. In fact the noise of protest was drowned out by the clapping coming from the crowd.
The congregation at St Paul's included Lady Thatcher's family and all surviving British prime ministers, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Sir John Major, the current cabinet and surviving members of Lady Thatcher's governments,
There were tears, and occasional laughter, as the Bishop of London, Right Reverend Richard Chartres paid tribute to her forthright character in a simple service, which, at Lady Thatcher's personal request, did not include any eulogies.
"After the storm of a life led in the heat of political controversy, there is a great calm," said The Right Reverend Chartres.
"The storm of conflicting opinions centres on the Mrs Thatcher who became a symbolic figure - even an ism.
"Today the remains of the real Margaret Hilda Thatcher are here at her funeral service.
"Lying here, she is one of us, subject to the common destiny of all human beings."
"But when you're mourning the passing of an 87-year-old woman who was the first woman prime minister, who served for longer in the job than anyone for 150 years I think it's appropriate to show respect."
In total, two current heads of state, 11 serving prime ministers and 17 serving foreign ministers from around the world attended. Notable absences were former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who could not attend due to ill health, and former US first lady Nancy Reagan, who was also unable to come.
Graphene is so strong a sheet of it as thin as Clingfilm could support an elephant. It is tougher than diamond, but stretches like rubber. It is virtually invisible, conducts electricity and heat better than any copper wire and weighs next to nothing. And people all round the world – especially businesspeople – are getting really excited about it.
Meet graphene — an astonishing new material which could revolutionise almost every part of our lives. Some researchers claim it’s the most important substance to be created since the first synthetic plastic more than 100 years ago.
It could transform medicine, and replace silicon as the raw material used to make computer chips. The ‘miracle material’ was discovered in Britain just seven years ago, and the buzz around it is extraordinary.
Last year, it won two Manchester University scientists the Nobel Prize for physics, and Chancellor George Osborne pledged £50 million towards developing technologies based on the super-strong substance. In terms of its economics, one of the most exciting parts of the graphene story is its cost. Normally when scientists develop a new wonder material, the price is eye-wateringly high.
But graphene is made by chemically processing graphite — the cheap material in the ‘lead’ of pencils. Every few months researchers come up with new, cheaper ways of mass producing graphene, so that some experts believe it could eventually cost less than six dollars per pound.
But is graphene really the wonder stuff of the 21st century?
For a material with so much promise, it has an incredibly simple chemical structure. A sheet of graphene is just a single layer of carbon atoms, locked together in a strongly-bonded honeycomb pattern.
So what can graphene do for the newspaper business which is suffering globally?
Dominic Wightman (pictured), Proprietor of the Allied Newspaper Group based in Hong Kong, is one who believes graphene is the future of newspapers. He says: “If it lives up to its promise, graphene could lead to mobile phones that you roll up and put behind your ear, high definition televisions as thin as wallpaper, and bendy electronic newspapers that readers could fold away into a tiny square. Newspapers will be gadget-driven until then. We will watch many of the old names in the newspaper business go to the wall with their printed paper versions and new names will spring up in their place. The demand for virtual newspapers will relentlessly rise.”
The future of newspapers has been widely debated as the industry has faced down soaring newsprint prices, slumping ad sales, the loss of much classified advertising and precipitous drops in circulation. In recent years the number of newspapers slated for closure, bankruptcy or severe cutbacks has risen—especially in the United States, where the industry has shed a fifth of its journalists since 2001. Revenue has plunged while competition from internet media has squeezed older print publishers.
The debate has become more urgent lately, as a deepening recession has cut profits, and as once-explosive growth in newspaper web revenues has levelled off, forestalling what the industry hoped would become an important source of revenue. One issue is whether the newspaper industry is being hit by a cyclical trough and will recover, or whether new technology has rendered newspapers obsolete in their traditional format. To survive, newspapers are considering combining and other options, although the outcome of such partnerships has been criticised.
In the UK just this week The Telegraph group announced it is to shed 80 of its 550 editorial staff as part of what the chief executive, Murdoch MacLennan, calls a root-and-branch restructure of the business. It will mean the complete merger of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph as a seven-day operation.
The cut of 14% of the staff affects print-based journalists at the two titles. It will be offset by the hiring of 50 "new digitally-focused jobs", meaning that the overall staff reduction amounts to 5%.
Ultimately, the newspaper of the future may bear little resemblance to the newsprint edition familiar to older readers. It may become a hybrid, part-print and part-internet, or perhaps eventually, as has happened with several newspapers, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Christian Science Monitor and the Ann Arbor News, internet only. In the meantime, the transition from the printed page to whatever comes next will likely be fraught with challenges, both for the newspaper industry and for its consumers.
"My expectation," wrote executive editor Bill Keller of The New York Times in January 2009, "is that for the foreseeable future our business will continue to be a mix of print and online journalism, with the growth online offsetting the (gradual, we hope) decline of print." The paper in newspaper may go away, insist industry stalwarts, but the news will remain. "Paper is dying," said Nick Bilton, a technologist for The Times, "but it's just a device. Replacing it with pixels is a better experience. "On September 8, 2010, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman and Publisher of The New York Times, told an International Newsroom Summit in London that "We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD."
But even as pixels replace print, and as newspapers undergo wrenching surgery, necessitating deep cutbacks, reallocation of remaining reporters, and the slashing of decades-old overhead, some observers remain optimistic. What emerges may be 'newspapers' unrecognizable to older readers, but which may be more timely, more topical and more flexible.
"Journalistic outlets will discover," wrote Michael Hirschorn in The Atlantic, "that the Web allows (okay, forces) them to concentrate on developing expertise in a narrower set of issues and interests, while helping journalists from other places and publications find new audiences." The 'newspaper' of the future, say Hirschorn and others, may resemble The Huffington Post more than anything flung at today's stoops and driveways.
Much of that experimentation may happen in the world's fastest-growing newspaper markets. "The number of newspapers and their circulation has declined the world over except in India and China," according to former CEO Olivier Fleurot of The Financial Times. "The world is becoming more digital but technology has helped newspapers as much as the Internet." Making those technological changes work for them, instead of against them, will decide whether newspapers remain vital – or roadkill on the information superhighway.
Wightman agrees. “Our most important titles are The Manila Herald, Sun of India and Hong Kong Morning Star. The real growth in online circulation and advertising markets is in the East, as well as in global entertainment – video channels, especially. Change happens so fast your business model has to be super-flexible with costs low. You need to be as flexible as graphene really!”
Interesting times in the world of newspapers. Only time will tell who is right and who’s a winner.
Written By Chris Ashley
Weeks after the brutal gang killing of Hani Abou El Kheir in Pimlico in January, Westminster City Council organized an event that aims to usher youngsters away from hooliganism and joining gangs.
The event, which was held on Saturday February 23 at Churchill Gardens Estate in Central London featured parkour (free running) and graffiti workshops. Free counseling was also given from 11am to 4pm in Johnson's Place, opposite Coleridge House.
London Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposal to close down fire and police stations in different London boroughs aroused the ire of many, including numerous politicians and councilors. The affected areas will be Mitcham, Earlsfield, Catford, Balham, Norwood, Streatham, Thornton Heath, Tooting, Norbury, Dulwich, Forest Hill, Sydenham and Beckenham.
The Mayor’s critics reasoned out that once the decision has been finalized and implemented, the area that is about 75 miles squared would be left without a 24 hour police station. This means that crime will be prevalent and people would live in fear without anyone to turn to.
Sadiq Khan, MP for Toothing said: "Victims of crime, witnesses with information, residents with useful intelligence, members of the public wanting crime prevention advice and many others will not be able to attend a local police station and won’t make the journey for miles to their nearest open police station."
Labour spokeswoman for Crime and Community safety was also in agreement with Khan stating that the proposal to close down police stations were concealed from the public during the elections to mislead voters.
Even the leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis, expressed his concerns over the Mayor's proposal to downgrade police services in certain areas.
MP for Streatham Chuka Umunna also contested the Mayor's decision and said that the unjustifiable cuts to police service will lead to less visibility of police enforcers and less protection the community needs and deserves.
However, the Mayor is not without allies. MP for Battersea Jane Ellison and Richard Tracey, GLA member for Merton and Wands worth both supports the Mayor's approach to policing and said that Johnson's proposal will not only help in solving the country's financial problems but will eventually lead to safer community since more police officers will be visible on the streets.
After two months of being harbored in its Ecuadorean embassy in London, Julian Assange, editor-in-chief and founder of WikiLeaks, was finally granted a political asylum to Ecuador.
Assange was issued a European Arrest Warrant in 2010 for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting two women in Sweden; 10 days after the arrest, he was freed on bail. After losing his Supreme Court appeal in England to avoid extradition to Sweden on May 30, 2012, Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, 2012, a day before extradition was to have taken effect. He stated that he fears that once he is extradited, he may then be sent to the US to answer espionage charges, where he can be sentenced death penalty.
Titled 'Isles of Wonder', the 30th Olympic Games Opening Ceremony welcomed the best and finest athletes from more than 200 nations at the Olympic Stadium last July 27, 2012. The ceremony mirrored the key themes and priorities of the London 2012 Games, based on sport, inspiration, youth and urban transformation.
Although the foreign press was baffled, no one can deny that the Oscar-winning director, Danny Boyle, scored last Friday night at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. According to NBC, the Shakespeare-inspired opening ceremony was the most-watched opening ceremony in history with 40.37 million viewers worldwide.
Known for his disheveled appearance, razor sharp mind and compelling sense of humor, Boris Johnson has caught the attention of the press and the public. The current Mayor of London do not seem to mince on words and can cut anyone to pieces; including those who are enjoying the highest positions in the government.
In an unsigned editorial of The Spectator in 2003, Mr. Johnson described the former US President George W. Bush: "The President is a cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomises the arrogance of American foreign policy". In 2008, when endorsing the now President Barack Obama, he once again wrote a pungent column stating: “Unlike the current occupant of the White House, he has no difficulty in orally extemporizing a series of grammatical English sentences, each containing a main verb.”
On his three-country world tour, the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney committed one gaffe after another.
Romney made his first blunder when he answered Brian Williams: "There are a few things that were disconcerting", in an NBC interview, when asked whether Britain looked ready to host the Olympics. The asinine answer drew a sharp reproof from the Prime Minister David Cameron when he pointedly stated: "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere." (To those who haven’t heard yet, Romney organized the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.)
Last night on Clarence Road in North London – at the epicentre of recent rioting - a group of Socialist Worker Party protesters was gathered chanting about how the police were agents of a capitalist state; generally engaged in rabble rousing.
The hooded youths around them were peaceful at first – chatting with the police; enjoying tins of beer and having a smoke. The police were relaxed – chatting with the youths and with a mass of assembled journalists - and there was no sign of violence.
Then the Socialist Worker Party protesters started getting louder and nastier. Some of them started swearing at the police and invoking the name of Mark Duggan (the man who is the centre of an IPCC investigation and was killed last week). They called the police racist.
The youths present began to walk away and then return in masks. Things were soon turning ugly.
We'll be updating you on details and developments of the Olympic games as the event unfolds. Today we are presenting the venues for topographical overview.
The stadium is on a peninsula, with waterways on three sides. Construction officially started on 22 May 2008, under the watchful eye of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
A 20m-high "wrap" will encircle the 900m circumference, decorated with historical sporting champions, participating countries' flags and sponsor logos.
The 80,000-seat stadium is expected to be converted into a 25,000-capacity venue after the Games, although debate still rages as to what it will be used for.