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Independent, April 9, 2013
by Andreas Whittam Smith
Baroness Thatcher, Britain’s longest-serving prime minister since Queen Victoria was on the throne, has died in the Ritz hotel at the age of 87. She had been ill for some time and barely been seen in public life for a decade. While a heroine for many people, she was equally a hate figure for others. Indifference wasn’t an option.
She was one of the two great prime ministers that the United Kingdom has had since the Second World War. The first was the Labour Party leader, Clement Attlee (1945 to 1951). The Conservative Party broadly accepted what Attlee had done until Mrs Thatcher (as she then was) challenged the post-war settlement. Attlee had founded the welfare state, created the National Health Service and nationalised major industries and public utilities. The NHS remained inviolate but one of Mrs Thatcher’s first actions as Prime Minister in 1979 was to give council tenants the right to buy their council houses at a discount. Over a million were sold before she left office. And denationalisation, or “privatisation” as Mrs Thatcher called it, was one of the most prominent aspects of her period in 10 Downing Street. Indeed we largely live in Thatcher’s Britain.
Not many prime ministers remain in people’s minds long after they have stepped down. Lady Thatcher was one, even becoming a character in plays and films. Only Winston Churchill exceeds her in stage and broadcast impersonations.
Fewer still have been the British prime ministers who have given their name to a political philosophy. The only other example since the war is “Blairism”, but what is that, other than a skill in political marketing? Its only followers are, bizarrely, the present Prime Minister and a handful of those close to him. To this day, “Thatcherism” is used all over the world to describe a brisk, unsentimental pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps approach. It can indicate political obstinacy. It has also become synonymous with “cuts”.
Moreover our political parties still advance and retreat across the very same battle lines that Mrs Thatcher first laid out – free enterprise versus state ownership, self-help versus reliance on government, further curbs on the unions versus preserving their privileges, and acting on the world stage as if we were still a great power versus focusing on aid for poor countries. Lord Lawson, one of her chancellors of the exchequer, recently urged David Cameron to start modelling his premiership on Margaret Thatcher rather than on Tony Blair. Many Conservative MPs agree.
Read More: http://goo.gl/mNSbH
By Henry Chu
April 2, 2013, 10:19 a.m.
LONDON — Joblessness in the 17-nation Eurozone hit a record high in January and February, according to statistics released Tuesday that gave a grim snapshot of the region’s continued economic malaise.
The unemployment rate rose to 12% in the first two months of the year, the highest level since the euro was introduced more than a decade ago. That translates to about 19 million people who were out of work in February, 1.8 million more compared with the same time last year.
Read more: http://goo.gl/D7TQr
By David Sherfinski
The Washington Times
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday signed off on a sweeping, first-of-its-kind treaty to regulate the international arms trade, brushing aside worries from U.S. gun rights advocates that the pact could lead to a national firearms registry and disrupt the American gun market.
The long-debated U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) requires countries to regulate and control the export of weaponry such as battle tanks, combat vehicles and aircraft and attack helicopters, as well as parts and ammunition for such weapons. It also provides that signatories will not violate arms embargoes, international treaties regarding illicit trafficking, or sell weaponry to countries for genocide, crimes against humanity or other war crimes.
“It’s time the Obama Administration recognizes [the treaty] is already a non-starter, and Americans will not stand for internationalists limiting and infringing upon their Constitutional rights,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “Furthermore, this treaty could also disrupt diplomatic and national security efforts by preventing our government from assisting allies like Taiwan, South Korea or Israel when they require assistance.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that “we are pleased to join with the consensus” on the treaty, adding that before the White House gets to planning on how to get it through the Senate, it will first review and assess the language of the treaty itself.
Read more: http://goo.gl/fIq4c
A national security expert who has spent several years in intelligence gathering operations around the Mexican drug cartels’ criminal insurgency into the continental United States told Breitbart News, “This assassination of DA McClellend and his wife is meant to send a message: no one is safe, no one is beyond our reach. We will kill you and your loved ones. We are in control here.”
“This is a significant point of escalation in the crisis,” he continued. “This type of high-profile targeting of public officials is a classic insurgent tactic. Its escalating use inside the US shows a complete lack of fear of consequences and demonstrates the fundamental shift in the strategic landscape that has already occurred.
“The criminal insurgencies and their gang foot soldiers have exported the type of warfare that brought Mexico to its knees deep into our sovereign territory. They are waging a war: targeting, assassinating, using terror tactics—and our law enforcement is outgunned and overwhelmed.”
Breitbart News interviewed McLelland several weeks ago as part of an investigation into Mexican drug cartel criminal insurgency operations in the United States, including Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and the city of Chicago. Breitbart News’s Brandon Darby conducted the interview with D.A. McLelland in his office in Kaufman, TX.
Read more: http://goo.gl/LJxZD
By Joseph Curl
Being president of the U.S., the most powerful man in the world, is often most about perception. The man (or, one day, woman) in the job takes actions large and small every day, but it is the perception of the man that seeps into the everyday lives of working Americans.
That’s why presidential candidates always hit Philadelphia for a cheesesteak during campaigns (Democrats to Pat’s, Republicans to Geno’s). Sure, they’re running billion-dollar operations trying to win the White House, but one picture of them wolfing down a Cheez Whiz-covered glob of meat on a Philly street hits home with millions of voters: “Hey, that guy’s just like me! He loves him a Pat’s [or Geno’s] cheesesteak, too!” (Unless you’re John F. Kerry and order Swiss cheese — then everyone hates you.)
Sometimes, that perception cuts to the core. Like when President George W. Bush stopped playing golf in 2003, at the height of the Iraq War.
“I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” he said years later. “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”
That’s also why Mr. Bush did two other things, without fanfare or praise. First, he never headed home to his Texas ranch until after Christmas, instead going to Camp David for a few days. That way, the hundreds of people revolving around him at all times — White House staff, Secret Service agents, reporters, photographers, all the others — could spend the holiday with their families in and around Washington, D.C. No one ever reported that — until this column.
Read more: http://goo.gl/GX9bP
WASHINGTON, March 31 | Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:54pm EDT
(Reuters) – The United States sent F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea on Sunday to join military drills aimed at underscoring the U.S. commitment to defend Seoul in the face of an intensifying campaign of threats from North Korea.
The advanced, radar-evading F-22 Raptors were deployed to Osan Air Base, the main U.S. Air Force base in South Korea, from Japan to support ongoing bilateral exercises, the U.S. military command in South Korea said in a statement that urged North Korea to restrain itself.
“(North Korea) will achieve nothing by threats or provocations, which will only further isolate North Korea and undermine international efforts to ensure peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” the statement said.
Sabre-rattling on the Korean peninsula drew a plea for peace from Pope Francis, who in his first Easter Sunday address called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis on the Korean peninsula.
“Peace in Asia, above all on the Korean peninsula: may disagreements be overcome and a renewed spirit of reconciliation grow,” he said, speaking in Italian.
Read more: http://goo.gl/OeLva
NEW YORK — A judge on Friday tossed out a lawsuit that sought to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among the World Trade Center’s rubble, saying the artifact could help tell the story of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts rejected the arguments of American Atheists, which had sued the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s operators in 2011 on constitutional grounds, contending that the prominent display of the cross constitutes an endorsement of Christianity, diminishing the contributions of non-Christian rescuers.
Batts wrote that the cross and its accompanying panels of text “helps demonstrate how those at ground zero coped with the devastation they witnessed during the rescue and recovery effort.” She called its purpose “historical and secular” and noted that it will be housed at the museum in the “Finding Meaning at Ground Zero” section with placards explaining its meaning and the reason for its inclusion. It also will be surrounded by secular artifacts.
“No reasonable observer would view the artifact as endorsing Christianity,” the judge said. She added that the museum’s creators “have not advanced religion impermissibly, and the cross does not create excessive entanglement between the state and religion.” She said the plaintiffs also failed to allege any form of intentional discrimination or cite any adverse or unequal treatment on the basis of their religious beliefs.
The 17-foot-tall steel beam was found by rescue workers two days after the terror attacks. It is scheduled to be displayed among 1,000 artifacts, photos, oral histories and videos in an underground museum that will also house the staircase workers used to escape the towers as well as portraits of the nearly 3,000 victims and oral histories of Sept. 11. The museum, still under construction and scheduled to open next year, is part of a memorial plaza that includes waterfalls that fill the fallen towers’ footprints.
A lawyer for the atheists group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read more: http://goo.gl/ici94
The photos appeared in the state-run Rodong newspaper and were apparently taken at an “emergency meeting” early on Friday morning. They show Kim signing the order for North Korea’s strategic rocket forces to be on standby to fire at US targets, the paper said, with large-scale maps and diagrams in the background.
The meeting of Pyongyang’s senior military leaders was called after two US B2 bombers, flying out of bases in Missouri, carried out simulated bombing raids on North Korean targets on an island off the coast of South Korea.
“He finally signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets, ordering them to be on standby to fire so that they may strike any time the US mainland, its military bases in the operational theatres in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in South Korea,” the state-run KCNA news agency reported.
Read more: http://goo.gl/2FAw6
Ten of thousands of Cypriots scrambled to get hold of what savings they could today after the island’s banks opened for the first time in two weeks amid tight restrictions on withdrawals.
There were chaotic scenes outside some banks, with one branch manager in the capital Nicosia forced to placate angry customers clamouring to get in ahead of opening.
Staff had turned up for work early as cash was delivered by armoured trucks, while armed police and hundreds of staff from private security firm G4S were placed on standby over fears of a run on deposits.
Cyprus’s banks have been closed while the government negotiated a 10billion euro (£8.5billion) bailout to recapitalise its ailing lenders.
As part of the deal savers with more than £85,000 will lose up to 40 per cent of their cash, a measure which has prompted fury among the cash-strapped island’s wealthiest residents.
Read more: http://goo.gl/xI0Pq