Britain - Britain approves new North Sea oil drilling in welcome news for the industry but not activists

Trudeau Rejects India’s Denial of Involvement of Assassination in Canada

NY Times

23-09-19 19:05

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on India to take allegations of its involvement in the murder of a Sikh dissident in Canada seriously. On Monday, Trudeau alleged that "agents of the Indian government" were behind the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh separatist leader, near a Sikh temple in Vancouver. Canada's intelligence agencies have refused to provide further details, but an anonymous government official confirmed that the intelligence had been gathered by multiple countries. India has long accused Canada of harbouring Sikh terrorists involved in a plot to create a separate Sikh state called Khalistan.
Five household food brands you should spend on, and five you needn’t


23-09-19 18:35

Aldi and Lidl are losing market share to traditional UK supermarkets for the first time this year, according to market research firm Kantar. The discount chains have previously been able to attract customers with cheaper prices, but supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda are now matching their prices on certain products. For instance, Sainsbury's and Tesco's tinned tomatoes are price-matched with Aldi's at 35p ($0.47) for a 400g tin. Tesco is also offering a 1kg bag of pasta for £1.39, the same price as Aldi. However, the discount chains are still faring well in comparison to other supermarkets. Aldi's market share rose by 0.5% to 6.9% over the 12 weeks to 3 September, while Lidl's increased by 0.7% to 5.3%. Aldi and Lidl's market shares were higher than Asda's, which fell by 0.2% to 15%.
What is Khalistan, the independent homeland some Sikhs fought for?


23-09-19 18:27

The Khalistan movement, which seeks to establish an independent homeland for Sikhs, is still alive and supported by groups in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, according to The Economist. Although the movement has lost momentum in India due to crackdowns and economic growth, it remains a threat to the country's foreign policy and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh leader, by Indian government agents has strained relations between Canada and India.
Roger Whittaker, whistling balladeer who found global fame, dies at 87

Washington Post

23-09-19 23:24

Roger Whittaker, an avuncular singer-songwriter whose soothing baritone, virtuosic whistling and gentle interpretations of pop standards earned him an international following for more than four decades, died Sept. 12 at a hospital near Toulouse, France. He was 87.
King Charles heads to France for three-day state visit


23-09-19 23:13

King Charles and Queen Camilla will embark on a three-day state visit to France, aimed at improving relations between the two countries. The visit will include a state dinner at the Versailles palace, a visit to Notre-Dame cathedral to view restoration works, and a trip to an organic vineyard in Bordeaux. The king hopes to build on personal bonds with President Emmanuel Macron and rebuild ties that have been strained by Brexit. The visit comes after several tense years over negotiations for Britain’s exit from the EU and disputes over various issues.
Trudeau’s ‘credible allegations’ against India part of another sordid Canadian chapter in a decades-old conflict

The Toronto Star

23-09-19 23:12

The death of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh activist from Canada, has sparked tensions between India and Canada. Indian authorities considered Nijjar to be the head of a listed terrorist group and wanted him for involvement in various crimes, including the 2021 murder of a Hindu priest in India. However, in Canada, Nijjar was a free man until his untimely death on June 18. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested that the Indian state may be behind Nijjar’s killing, leading to anger and surprise in India. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has denied any involvement in Nijjar’s death. However, the Indian government’s alleged involvement in an extraterritorial killing would place India alongside countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. The Indian intelligence officer expelled from Canada in response to the incident was identified as the Canadian station chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency. The RAW was created in the late 1960s and has focused on Pakistan, as well as Sikh militants, over the years.
Forget LA – it’s British film studios that are in demand


23-09-19 23:10

The UK film and high-end TV production industry has seen rapid growth in recent years, with spending reaching £3.6bn ($4.9bn) in 2020, according to the British Film Institute. Tax incentives and the rise of streaming services have driven demand for studio space and original content. However, the growth has also created challenges including a shortage of skilled staff and a decline in independent filmmaking. Some argue that the influx of cash from foreign firms is benefiting large multinationals rather than independent creators, and are calling on policymakers to ensure a more diverse industry.
UK urges Meta not to roll out end-to-end encryption on Messenger and Instagram


23-09-19 23:09

The UK Home Secretary has urged Meta to implement safety measures to protect children from sexual abuse when rolling out end-to-end encryption on Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Meta, which already encrypts messages on WhatsApp, plans to expand the feature to its other platforms, arguing that it enhances safety and security. However, the government has said the proposed Online Safety Bill, which passed in parliament on Tuesday, does not ban end-to-end encryption but requires tech firms to take action against child abuse and develop technology to scan encrypted messages as a last resort.
Prince William, billionaires Gates and Bloomberg say innovation provides climate hope

The Toronto Star

23-09-20 01:13

Prince William, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg have announced the finalists for the Earthshot Prize, which will award five prizes of £1m ($1.2m) each to groups that develop innovative ways to save the planet. Among the 15 finalists are projects to reduce London’s air pollution, reduce livestock methane emissions using seaweed feedstock and develop DNA technology for sustainable textile dyes. William said that despite the need for realism about the climate crisis, he hoped his prize could provide hope that people could make a difference.
Wave of mainlanders under Hong Kong talent drive sparks diversity concerns

South China Morning Post

23-09-20 01:00

Hong Kong has seen an influx of mainland Chinese professionals since fully reopening in February, but foreign expatriates have been slower to return. Mainland Chinese professionals have flooded into the city on various work visas and talent schemes, with over 47,000 receiving work visas across five schemes from January to July. The majority of applicants have been mainland Chinese, accounting for over 90% of all those approved to move to Hong Kong this year. However, Western expatriates, including those from the UK, US and Australia, have been less likely to return, raising concerns about the impact on the city's diversity and international financial hub status.

The new mainland Chinese arrivals have been highly educated, many of whom studied overseas, and have integrated differently into the local community compared to earlier generations. Experts have noted that previous waves of mainland talent had ties to the city through friends and relatives, whereas newer arrivals have come from all over China and have formed their own community. While the influx of mainland professionals has been welcomed by employers in Hong Kong, concerns have been raised about the lack of diversity and the potential competition for jobs with local residents.

It remains to be seen whether the newly arrived mainlanders will remain in Hong Kong for the long term. The city’s demographic composition is changing, and if levels of Western expatriates do not return to pre-pandemic levels, it could have a significant impact on the diversity and vibrancy of Hong Kong society.

China says Britain's plans to disrupt Hong Kong 'doomed to fail'


23-09-20 00:47

China's foreign ministry in Hong Kong has criticized a report by Britain on the financial hub, stating that it ignored the "good" societal conditions and stable business environment in the city. The report, covering the period from Jan 1 to June 30, stated that China had extended the application of its national security law beyond genuine concerns. Beijing imposed the law in 2020 after protests in Hong Kong. The ministry said that Hong Kong has had "universal success" in implementing the practice of 'one country, two systems', and criticized the UK's democracy and human rights situation. The British report highlighted attempts to suppress freedom of expression and the politicization of media tycoon Jimmy Lai's prosecution. It also noted that Hong Kong police have issued arrest warrants and bounties against individuals in the UK and elsewhere. The report stated that Hong Kong's legal and judicial systems are at a critical juncture.
Britain is tossing aside its last green trump card

Reuters BreakingViews

23-09-20 20:31

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering deferring targets for electric vehicles and eco-friendly houses, which could harm the country's progress towards net-zero emissions. The move comes as the government's lackadaisical approach to the environment has already led to a slowing of the green transition. Weaker targets would likely deter investment in new car and battery plants and discourage consumers from purchasing green vehicles. Furthermore, the delay in reducing emissions from transport and housing, which account for 40% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions, could be difficult to offset without radical action elsewhere.
Iran’s president says US should ease sanctions to demonstrate it wants to return to nuclear deal

Associated Press

23-09-21 04:53

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi has said that relations with the US can move forward if the Biden administration demonstrates it wants to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, and a first step should be easing sanctions. Raisi reiterated that the US withdrawal from the 2015 agreement trampled on US commitments including on sanctions. The Iranian leader added that "we have not left the table of negotiations."
HQ for multilateral jet fighter project to be placed in U.K.

Japan Times

23-09-21 12:20

Japan and Britain have announced plans to collaborate on a project to develop a new generation of power stations. The two countries will work together on the design and manufacturing of the new reactors, which will be smaller and more flexible than current models. The project aims to provide a more sustainable and secure source of energy for both countries. Japan and Britain have a long history of collaboration in the nuclear industry, and this project is expected to further strengthen their partnership.
Lord Goldsmith too rich to feel net zero pain, says Kemi Badenoch


23-09-21 12:12

Kemi Badenoch, the UK's Business Secretary, has suggested that former net-zero tsar Lord Goldsmith is too wealthy to understand the need to soften Britain's climate commitments. Badenoch implied that Goldsmith is out of touch with ordinary people due to his wealth and stated that decisions should be made based on facts rather than personal opinions. Goldsmith, a Tory environmentalist, had publicly criticised the government's decision to scale back green measures in order to reduce costs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the decision, stating that honesty and realism about the financial impact were necessary.
Load of rubbish! Truth behind Sunak’s ‘seven bins’ claims

The Independent

23-09-21 12:10

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has faced criticism for claiming to have scrapped green measures that never existed in the first place. Sunak made the claim in a speech in which he rowed back on several environmental policies, including the possibility of taxes on meat and the introduction of seven bins per household. However, statements from two government departments contradicted the prime minister's claims. Sunak was unable to provide evidence that the measures had ever been proposed.
UK interest rates stay at 5.25% in surprise move by Bank of England

The Independent

23-09-21 12:08

The Bank of England (BoE) has decided to keep interest rates on hold at 5.25%, a move that surprised many economists and investors who were expecting a rate hike. This is the first time since November 2021 that the BoE has not increased rates, after 14 consecutive hikes. The decision comes as inflation fell to 6.7% in August, down from 6.8% in July. The BoE left the door open to future rate rises, saying it will "take the decisions necessary" to return inflation to 2%. Some economists believe this will be the peak of borrowing costs.
Solar storm: Why the next disaster to strike will come from the sun


23-09-21 11:43

The UK is at risk from a major solar storm, which could cause widespread disruption to electrical power and communications systems, according to experts. Solar storms are eruptions on the sun's surface that release large amounts of energy and can send charged particles hurtling towards Earth. If a major solar storm were to hit, it could cause power outages, high-frequency communication blackouts, and interference with GPS signals. The economic and social consequences could be comparable to those of the COVID-19 pandemic, with recovery estimates ranging from 4 to 10 years. The UK's National Risk Register has increased the classification for the impact of severe space weather from "moderate" to "significant," with the economic fallout measured in billions of pounds. Experts are divided on how well-prepared the UK is for a major space weather event. Some believe that the UK is "very prepared" and would be able to ride out the storm, while others argue that the country is "completely inexperienced" and underprepared. The UK has plans to launch a new satellite, Vigil, to help monitor the sun and better predict the impacts of a solar storm.
Labour ‘does not want to diverge’ from EU rules, says Keir Starmer

The Independent

23-09-21 16:29

Labour leader Keir Starmer has said that the party does not want to diverge from EU rules, suggesting that this approach could help smooth relations with the bloc. Starmer said that the more the UK and Brussels "share a future together", the less conflict there will be. He argued that different ways of solving problems become available when there is alignment on values and standards. Starmer's comments offer insight into Labour's thinking on Europe, as he previously exercised caution on the details of his plans to align Britain more closely with the EU.
Major Iain Grahame, Idi Amin’s old commander and friend, later sent by the British to negotiate with him – obituary


23-09-21 16:16

Major Iain Grahame of Claverhouse, who passed away at the age of 91, had a varied and notable career. He served in the British Army and was stationed in Uganda, where he became friends with Idi Amin, who would later become the President of Uganda. Grahame spoke Swahili fluently and was sent to Uganda by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on several occasions in an attempt to exert influence on Amin. However, Amin proved to be a ruthless despot, characterized by corruption, repression, and extra-judicial killing.

In 1975, a British lecturer at Makerere University, Denis Hills, referred to Amin as a “village tyrant” in an unpublished book draft. Amin ordered Hills’ arrest and sentenced him to be executed. The British government, including Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and other heads of state pleaded for clemency, but Amin saw Hills as a valuable political pawn. Grahame was then enlisted by the FCO to deliver a personal letter from the Queen to Amin in a final bid to save Hills. Grahame and Lieutenant-General Sir Chandos Blair flew to Uganda but were initially unable to meet with Amin. Eventually, they presented the letter, and after some negotiation, Amin agreed to spare Hills’ life.

Grahame had a lifelong passion for natural history, particularly ornithology and entomology. After retiring from the Army, he established the Daws Hall nature reserve in Suffolk, England, where he bred exotic waterfowl and pheasants. Grahame also made significant contributions to the study of butterflies and was involved in the conservation of endangered species. He wrote several books, including a memoir about his time in Uganda with Amin. Grahame was also a water diviner and amateur hypnotist and healer. He is survived by his third wife, Bunny, and his children from his first marriage.