2009年6月29日 星期一

倫敦London Plan

名 列英國人心目中最佳十大景點之首的倫敦知名地標大笨鐘,甫於4月10日歡度過150歲的生日。大笨鐘位於倫敦西敏寺國會大樓東北端的哥德式鐘塔上,鐘體重 達13公噸,四面鐘面積2平方公尺,是在1858年4月10日安裝完成,1859年起開始根據格林威治時間為倫敦報時。
路透
為解決倫敦人口持續膨脹問題,上任剛滿一年的市長強森(Boris Johnson)公布了一項野心勃勃的倫敦計畫(London Plan),以因應20年後人口增至900萬時的相關需求。 強森在其發布的「迎向挑戰」文中指出,倫敦「正處於歷史轉捩點,有機會運用其資源、物力及多元性,躍居為領導世界、全球第一流城市」。 這項報告說,倫敦不僅將面臨人口暴增,組成結構也很可能轉變。由於2026年及2031年時的學齡人數較多,倫敦會持續比其他地區更「年輕」。據倫敦各行 政區委員會提報,嬰兒潮加上金融危機導致父母選擇將小孩送往當地學校,小學學生員額超過編制的情況日趨嚴重。4月倫敦各區彙整的資料顯示,今年9月時將超 編2,250個額度,明年則會超過5,000人。 倫敦市民遷出的數量正在下降,將使上述情況更加惡化。倫敦地區的出生率約為死率的2.5倍,此外,經濟衰退對生育率似乎沒影響,該報告指出,「從現在到 2031年,我們必須籌劃年輕人口成長帶來的學校及其他公共設施需求,也需注重高齡人口的需要。」據估計,倫敦現居人口約為756萬,其中300萬人居住 在倫敦市中心(inner and central London);由於海外移入英國者多以倫敦為主要據點,在過去6年裡有5年的淨遷移率居全英之冠,預期到2031年時倫敦人口將在879萬至911萬。 倫敦的人口結構也將持續呈現多元化,報告指出,到2031年,倫敦會有六個行政區的人口組成結構,是黑人、亞裔及少數民族的人數過半。此外,逾90歲的人口數亦將上升。獨居者的人數亦將增加,尋找住所的壓力將更重。 在環境方面,倫敦計畫書列出施行計畫,發展永續能源以確保倫敦未來是座低排碳城市,而規劃中的系統,將是對抗及因應氣候變遷的重要工具,並可協助倫敦有效 管理其短缺的資源,例如水。失業問題方面,計畫書推估「不景氣後接著就是循環性地經濟復甦,較長期的實質就業機會也會跟著增加。」此報告還建議將倫敦分成 東、南、西、北、中五大新區塊,以「監控及管理」計畫執行。 倫敦計畫出爐後當然會出現批評聲音,認為是一項「回歸失敗體系且了無新意的計畫」。綠黨說,應更加強調綠色產業及倫敦各區的地方產業;自由民主黨則指出, 此報告雖提出幾項經濟發展的原則,但其他方面乏善可陳,所謂倫敦必須維持競爭力、轉型成低碳經濟的說法,相當平淡無奇。(綜合外電)


倫敦金屬交易所(LME)1877年成立,目前世界上最大有色金屬交易市場,年交易金額達2兆美元。
彭博資訊

圖/經濟日報提供

金融業鼎盛的倫敦,是全球金融中心。金融業也是英國的經濟命脈,成長的最大推手。銀行業、金融服務業、保險業占國內生產毛額(GDP)的比重最大,但百年一見的金融危機,使金融業從倫敦的搖錢樹變成大錢坑,可謂成也金融、敗也金融。

倫敦是英國的第一大城、最大港口,因此除金融業外,倫敦也是全球名列前茅的航運及服務業重鎮,是許多國內外企業的大本營,約有半數以上的英國百大企業,以及100多家歐洲500大企業在此設立總部。

石川先生嚐過倫敦金融榮景的甜美果實,他在2002年開始擔任低階信用分析師時,倫敦的銀行約發行200億英鎊與各式房貸工具連結的證券,接下來的五、六年,金額暴增至1,800多億英鎊。去年摩根士丹利發給他300萬美元紅利,作為銷售「有毒」資產的獎勵。

但去年的金融泡沫爆破,房貸相關證券業務有如一灘死水,他也失去在摩根士丹利的工作,和倫敦其他2.8萬名金融從業人員一樣淪為失業族。目前石川已改行當作家,出了一本名為《我如何搞出信用危機》的回憶錄。

不過,亟需收入填補財政窟窿的英國工黨政府可沒有喘息餘地,倫敦智庫經濟與商業研究中心(CEBR)資深經濟學家史努克說:「到2010年,英國預算赤字將在已開發國家中居冠,問題在於金融服務業過去十年是英國政府的搖錢樹,如今變成難以填補的無底錢坑。」

英國預算赤字已增至GDP的12%,公共債務很快會攀至經濟年產值的80%。然而,金融業這具經濟成長引擎卻在英國最需要它的時候失靈了,未來兩到三年預料將有7萬多個金融工作消失,占倫敦預估裁員總數的四分之一。

最高所得稅率 將調至50%

英國政府已挹注數千億英鎊防止許多大型銀行破產,但由於政府即將更嚴格要求銀行維持高資本比率、並減少依賴槓桿及高獲利交易活動,短期內銀行業復甦的機率微乎其微。近期復甦無望,加上監管部門準備嚴格限制銀行紅利,都可能導致倫敦金融區的企業與所得稅急遽減少。

據英國國家統計局資料,金融業對經濟的貢獻在2007年攀至高峰,達GDP的10.8%,遠高於1996年工黨尚未執政時的5.5%。相較下,金融服務業對美國經濟的貢獻從未超過8%。

金融危機使華爾街到杜拜的所有金融中心聲譽掃地,倫敦金融城公司製作的全球金融中心指數顯示,倫敦仍舊排名第一,紐約緊追在後,但兩者與第三名新加坡的差距日益縮小。

明年生效的稅改則可能動搖倫敦世界第一金融中心的地位。為增加稅收,英國政府已決定把最高所得稅率調高至50%,估計有35 萬名年收入超過15萬英鎊(21.9萬美元)的富人受影響,但史努克認為,調高富人稅只會讓英國處境雪上加霜,他說:「他們會離開倫敦,將衝擊公共財 政。」

英國的最高稅率將是全球第四高,僅次於丹麥、瑞典和荷蘭,對身為世界第一金融中心的倫敦無疑是負面宣傳,批評者說,多達2.5萬名高收入戶將逃離英國。 CEBR執行長麥克威廉斯說:「我們估計未來三年英國失去的工作將增至14萬個、倫敦的GDP會少掉3%,且政府一年將短收8億英鎊,可能逼走2.5 萬個繳稅大戶,稅率較低的瑞士將成為最大受惠者。」

2.5萬繳稅大戶 爆出走潮

英國早已爆發富豪出走潮,大地資本合夥公司(Terra Firma)老闆漢茲搬到位於英吉利海峽的根西島;保險業者Pearl公司老闆奧斯蒙和經紀商Hargreaves Landsown執行長哈格佛斯遷居瑞士和摩納哥;倫敦知名避險基金經理人歐迪也揚言要拍屁股走人,他說:「避險基金人心惶惶,每個人都想出走。」

CEBR估計,今年金融業繳納的企業與所得稅將占整體稅收的8%,遠低於2007年的12%,未來幾年這個數字還可能往下掉,可能迫使英國政府擴大原已龐大的借貸需求。


2009年6月27日 星期六

Digital Britain

Inside Europe | 27.06.2009 | 07:05

Will Britain become the digital capital of the world?

The British Government has drawn up a plan to turn the UK into the “digital capital of the world”.

The plan – dubbed DIGITAL BRITAIN – aims to help the country make the most of modern communications technology. Among the goals: universal access to broadband by 2012 and a fund to invest in next generation broadband. From London Stephen Beard reports.



“暴君”亨利加冕500年

历史 | 2009.06.27

“暴君”亨利加冕500年

1509年登基的英格兰国王亨利八世,是一名肆无忌惮的残暴统治者。他在世时,就因为六次婚姻而名声远播。为了寻找能够给他带来王室继承人的妻子,而导致 他与罗马天主教廷的决裂。年轻时的亨利,以光芒四射的英明形象出现在政治舞台,但最后却是以一名病态的、有着强烈统治欲的怪物而终结。在他统治期间,英格 兰曾对苏格兰和法国发动多次毫无意义的战争,导致近70000人的死亡,并耗尽国库充盈的资金。

每天的下午茶时间,也就是16点的时 候,汉普顿宫就有一名身材臃肿,穿着华丽服装的大胡子男人,在宫殿庭院里开始叫喊,旁边是他第六任美丽的新皇后,也是他最后一位妻子。上演这出亨利八世与 凯瑟琳.帕尔婚礼的舞台剧,只是为这位都铎王朝国王加冕500周年而举行的许多纪念活动之一。宫殿发言人鲍威尔向参观者推荐说,决不可错过"年轻的亨利" 这项展览:“大家都认识的亨利,是一名肥胖且残暴的国王,这在宫殿展览的其它部分也能看到。但是在这个展览中,人们看到的是一位年轻、健美、受过良好教育 的文艺复兴时代的王子。他后来的乖僻行为,这时已端倪渐显。”

参观者在这里能看到许多有关年轻国王受教育的内容;从华丽的油画中得知亨利是以何等的奢侈、挥霍向对手炫耀;同时了解到有关他第一任妻子冯阿拉贡的一切,以及亨利所有妻妾情妇的情况。这是一个非常特别的主题,就连汉普顿宫廷里的幽灵也为此而窃窃私语、议论纷纷。亨利八世与凯瑟琳.帕尔的真人秀Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: 亨利八世与凯瑟琳.帕尔的真人秀

"离婚、砍头、死亡、离婚、砍头,幸存"-这是 一首每个英国孩子都知道的儿歌。亨利八世与冯阿拉贡的第一次婚姻以离婚结束,此后的几位王后也命运不济:波林被砍头、西摩尔死去、冯克莱维离婚、霍华德也 被砍头,只有帕尔活了下来。搭配展览的是一出由伊安尼蒂斯执导的历史舞台剧“头颅与心灵”:“这是一出关于亨利八世与帕尔婚礼的故事。人们经历的是宫殿喜 气洋洋的一天。我们如实依照当时的情景布置舞台,参观者可以自己会体会当时场面是多么地美好、华丽。500年前的汉普顿宫是欧洲最豪华、壮丽的王宫。”

宫殿拥有1100个房间,还有花园,甚至一个室 内网球场。最令人毛骨悚然的部分是:亨利和他的女人们的展览。六位妻子出现在同一个展览上,这还是第一次:在一块已有500多年历史的原版绘画上,她们处 在同一间祈祷室里。亨利八世就是在这里决定与天主教廷决裂的,因为克莱门斯神父阻止他与第一任妻子离婚。固执的亨利建立了自己的国教-英国圣公会教。


借着纪念亨利八世加冕500周年的机会,不仅汉普顿宫值得一看,市中心的伦敦塔也不能漏掉。伦敦塔的守卫,也被称为仪仗卫士的吉米说:"亨利的第二个妻子波林就是在这里被处死的。她被控告乱伦、通奸和使用巫术。罪名成立后的第18天被砍头。"


#b#
不过,亨利八世并不只有残酷的一 面,他对流行时装也很感兴趣。这在伦敦塔举行的“盛装杀戮”展览中就能看得到。 吉米说:“盛装杀戮展出的是500年前亨利八世私人收藏的武器和盔甲大 展。这里首先看到的是年轻王子的体育装备,亨利最喜欢的就是骑士比武竞赛。年轻时候的王子修长、健美,但是从他最后一件盔甲可以看出,后来的他是多么的肥 胖和臃肿。”

参观亨利八世加冕500年的纪念活动,是游览伦敦的一个好理由:现代温莎王朝的爱恨情仇和丑闻是非,与亨利和他女人们的故事相比真可谓是小巫见大巫。

作者:Taufig Khalil/子江

责编:石涛

英國政府宣布新的國家網絡安全計划

2009年06月25日 格林尼治標準時間17:29北京時間 01:29發表
英國政府宣布新的國家網絡安全計划

computer
英國官員特別指出來自中國的攻擊
英國首相布朗星期四(6月25日)宣布一項新的國家網絡安全計划,加強打擊網絡間諜攻擊活動。

英國首任網絡安全國務部長維斯特勛爵說,英國正面臨著來自俄羅斯和中國的網絡間諜攻擊。

維斯特勛爵宣布,英國政府正在采取新的策略,對付來自有組織犯罪、敵對國家政府和恐怖組織的網絡攻擊。

他說,英國政府雇用了一些曾經充當計算機黑客的網絡高手,加入新建立的"網絡安全行動中心",協助反擊國家受到的網絡攻擊。

他還証實,英國政府發展了反擊網絡攻擊的能力,但是他拒絕說明政府是否使用過這樣的能力。

他說,最大的威脅是其他國家支持的攻擊,但是來自恐怖分子的攻擊也在加強。

他警告說,未來受到攻擊的目標可能包括關鍵企業、國家供電系統、金融市場和中央政府部門。

英國政府前國務部長沃森說,對付網絡攻擊的唯一辦法是建立一個間諜學校,招募一些比他們的中國對手更狡猾的計算機高手。

2009年6月26日 星期五

英國倫敦地鐵的駕駛廣播名言

(中央社倫敦25日法新電)官員今天表示,英國倫敦地鐵的駕駛廣播,已開始出現法國哲學家沙特(Jean-Paul Sartre)或印度聖雄甘地(Mahatma Gandhi)等思想家的至理名言,提振乘客心情。

  除了播出「當心間隙」與列車誤點等日常廣播外,比卡迪里線(Piccadilly Line)的公共廣播系統,現在還引用哲學名言。新服務上路後,廣受乘客歡迎。

  廣播內容包括「人人都應受到敬重,但不應被偶像崇拜。」(語出愛因斯坦Albert Einstein)、「行動勝理論」(語出恩格斯Friedrich Engels)與「善用今日」(語出歌德Johann von Goethe)。

倫敦地鐵駕駛都獲得藝術家傑瑞米.戴勒(JeremyDeller)編纂的名言錄一書。這項創舉的目的旨在推動倫敦地鐵的藝術風氣。

  俗稱「管子」(Tube)的倫敦地鐵車廂內,往常用於刊登廣告的空間,現已定期刊登詩篇。

  經營倫敦地鐵的「倫敦運輸局」(Transport forLondon)在聲明中表示,希望此舉將「鼓舞比卡迪里線乘客的心情」。(譯者:中央社張仲琬)980625

2009年6月20日 星期六

bullet train for King Cross/St Pancras and Ashfor

高速列车 出征伦敦
高速列车
这种Javelin(标枪)高速列车时速可达140英里
一辆贯通伦敦市中心和英格兰东南“花园国”肯特郡(Kent)的高速列车,即将让习惯慢慢悠悠,晃晃荡荡进城的上班族体会一把“风驰电掣”的感觉。

英国虽然在1970年代便有了时速能达到125英里(200公里)的城市间高速列车,但后来铁路发展缓慢,唯有的真正高速是往返伦敦和巴黎之间可以达到300公里时速的“欧洲之星”(Eurostar)。

肯特人天天看着往返巴黎的国际列车从家门口飞速驶过,自己进城坐火车却不能着急。

现在这趟由日本制造的“子弹头”高速列车,往返于伦敦交通枢纽国王十字车站(King Cross/St Pancras)和肯特郡阿什福德车站(Ashford)之间。

时间减半

由于时速高达142英里,原先77分钟的车程现在只要37分钟即可抵达。

就票价而言,这趟高速列车的单程票价为26.6英镑,比普通列车的票价高出4.4英镑。

自6月29日起,英国东南铁路公司运营的这趟高速列车将开始启动部分车次。

到今年12月13日,这条高速线路将开始全面运营。届时,将有29辆“子弹头”列车被投入使用。

物超所值

据悉,这种名为Javelin的高速列车共有338个座位,最多载客508人。

除了往返于伦敦国王十字车站和肯特郡阿什福德和沿线车站之外,这趟高速列车还将在2010年伦敦奥运会期间往返于国王十字和伦敦东部奥运场馆所在地斯特拉特福德之间。

英国东南铁路公司运营总裁查尔斯•霍顿(Charles Horton)表示,这趟高速列车可谓物超所值,对于肯特郡和英格兰东南部居民来说就更是如此。

Ayatollah, Calling Britain Enemy No. 1,

Ayatollah, Calling Britain Enemy No. 1, Taps Into Deep Distrust Rooted in History


Published: June 19, 2009

LONDON — When Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used his speech at Friday Prayer in Tehran to denounce Britain as “the most evil” of Iran’s enemies, he was striking a chord with a deep resonance in the psyche of Iranians, the legacy of a long history of British imperial intrusions into their country’s affairs.

Singling out Britain, and not the “great Satan” of the United States, so often the bugaboo for Iran’s leadership since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, might seem an odd choice for Iran’s supreme leader, when the government he leads faces its greatest crisis in 30 years.

But British scholars on Iran said Ayatollah Khamenei’s attack on Britain was characteristic of a Tehran leadership that resorts under pressure to a mix of crude stereotypes that play well at home. They said it might also reflect a concern not to slam the door opened by President Obama, who is offering a new dialogue in his search for a diplomatic solution to the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program.

If that were the calculation, Ayatollah Khamenei may have correctly concluded that going after Britain would cost Iran little, judging by the carefully hedged response to the Tehran speech by Britain’s prime minister, Gordon Brown. At a European summit meeting in Brussels, Mr. Brown noted the ayatollah’s speech, but offered only a modest sharpening of Britain’s previous admonitions to Tehran’s leaders over their handling of the election crisis.

Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Brown seemed determined not to give the Iranian leadership the excuse of foreign meddling to justify a crackdown on the protesters filling the streets of Iranian cities.

“What we want is to have a good relationship with Iran in the future, but that depends on Iran being able to show to the world that its elections have been conducted fairly and that there is no unfair suppression of rights or individuals,” Mr. Brown said.

In focusing on Britain, the experts said, Mr. Khamenei was playing to popular resentment of Britain’s long history of intervention in Iran, and perhaps avoiding confronting, at least for now, the renewed appeal America holds among many Iranians with Mr. Obama in the White House.

Still, Mr. Khamenei’s attack on Britain surprised some scholars. Ali Ansari, a professor of Iranian history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said the attack suggested that Mr. Khamenei might be more beholden to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the official winner of the presidential election, than many Iran experts had thought. Animosity toward Britain is strongest among the working class and agrarian Iranians — Mr. Ahmadinejad’s political base, he said.

“I think it just reflects the really quite bizarre view that Ahmadinejad and his supporters have,” said Professor Ansari, whose father was an Iranian diplomat under the monarch ousted in 1979, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. He added, “Britain has always been a bogeyman, but going back to that now, resorting to the villain of choice, if they really believe it, just shows how out of touch they really are.”

Iranian popular culture has kept alive suspicions dating to the 18th century, when Britain, protecting its empire in India, began competing with Russia for influence in Iran. Britain’s strategic interest deepened with the development of Iran’s oil fields.

Antipathies sharpened when Britain invaded Iran in 1941 and exiled the Iranian ruler, Reza Shah Pahlavi, suspected of pro-German sympathies. In 1953, British secret services worked with the Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh, the nationalist prime minister. The issue then was the Mossadegh government’s nationalization of Iran’s oil fields, ending the monopoly of the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

More recently, Britain’s relations with Tehran were strained by the confrontation over the author Salman Rushdie. His novel “The Satanic Verses” prompted Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution, to issue a call in 1989 for Muslims to kill Mr. Rushdie for what the ayatollah deemed to be the book’s blasphemy. That led to a lengthy freeze in diplomatic relations, and to years in which Mr. Rushdie, a British citizen, lived in hiding under police protection.

But perhaps the sharpest thorn in Tehran’s side has been the BBC’s Persian-language services, by radio since the early 1940s, and by a recently established television channel. Millions of Iranians have come to rely on the BBC’s reporting on Iran, regarding it, Professor Ansari said, as the “most trustworthy” account of what is happening in their country.

On Friday, the BBC said it had decided to use two extra satellites to combat intensive jamming efforts by Iran, a step likely to be seen by Tehran as a direct challenge, given its assertions in recent days that foreign broadcasters — and Web services like Facebook and Twitter — are being used to foment unrest over the disputed election.

But Rosemary Hollis, a professor of Middle East studies at City University London, said Mr. Khamenei’s attack on Britain may have been prompted by something more basic to the Iranian psyche, an old shibboleth in which Britain remains the dark force behind American power. “Strange as it seems, they’re convinced that the British are the clever ones, manipulating things behind the scenes,” she said.

2009年6月19日 星期五

"The Beast of Bolsover"

PAGE ONEJUNE 19, 2009
Parliament Finally Sees Some Beauty in Britain's Beast of Bolsover For 40 Years, Irritating Lawmaker Has Been a Scold on Expenses. Now People Listen

LONDON -- Over four decades, the man known as "The Beast of Bolsover" has richly earned his reputation as Parliament's No. 1 killjoy.

Impolitic and often ill-mannered, Dennis Skinner, a representative of the English town of Bolsover, has made a career of verbally shredding colleagues and ridiculing Parliament's ancient protocols. His acid tirades -- publicly branding one member of Parliament "a pompous sod" and another "slimy" -- have gotten him ejected from Parliament 10 times. His relentless barrage of attention-grabbing stunts and statements haven't endeared him to fellow MPs, who often tend to regard him as a loner.

Benjamin Thomas for The Wall Street Journal

Dennis Skinner, Labour MP, stands near one of the many entrances to the British houses of parliament on June 3, 2009.

But these days, one habit of Westminster's resident grouch -- his reflexive need to vote against pay raises and extra allowances for members of Parliament -- has put this antisocial 77-year-old outlier in sync with the mood of both the public and other politicians.

For the past month, Britain has been riveted by an explosive scandal revealing how politicians have used taxpayer money to claim reimbursement for everything from "glitter" toilet seats to payments on mortgages that don't exist. It has brought nationwide condemnation of politicians and an early end to the careers of more than a dozen.

On Thursday, the redacted copies of more than a million expense claims and receipts from the past four years were put on Parliament's Web site after a nearly five-year fight between politicians and freedom-of-information campaigners.

As a result, Britain's leaders are racing to embrace reforms. Repeating language Mr. Skinner has uttered for years, Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants to rein in the self-regulating "gentleman's club" of Parliament. Cabinet minister Ed Miliband called for an end to much of the pomp and ceremonial garb that make Parliament less of an "open and welcoming place for people."

In this environment, the Beast has been lionized. The Daily Telegraph -- the right-of-center newspaper that broke the expense scandal -- recently declared that the hard-left Mr. Skinner gives U.K. taxpayers more value than all but one other politician. Mr. Skinner himself had the second-lowest expense claims in all of Parliament, and nobody has shown up for more votes than he has.

The only member of Parliament who claimed less in expenses than the Labour Party's Mr. Skinner was Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, a former paratrooper who is so careful with the public's pennies that he employs no staff and uses second-class stamps.

The Beast Speaks

Dennis Skinner, nicknamed the "Beast" for his scathing comments, has been ejected from the British Parliament 10 times. Below are some of his biting remarks, not all of which resulted in his ejection.

* * *

In 1992, Mr. Skinner referred in Parliament to the Conservative Minister of Agriculture John Gummer as "slimy" and a "wart." Mr. Gummer did not return calls seeking comment.

Mr. Skinner called Liberal Democrat MP David Owen a "pompous sod" in Parliament. When asked by the House speaker to withdraw the remark, he said he would withdraw "pompous" and was ejected. Dr. Owen did not return calls. Asked last month about Dr. Owen, Mr. Skinner was unrepentant: "he was a pompous sod."

In 1995, Mr. Skinner was thrown out of Parliament after accusing the government of a "crooked deal" to sell off Britain's coal mines.

In 2005, the Beast was ejected from Parliament after accusing Conservative finance spokesman George Osborne of taking cocaine in reference to a newspaper allegation. Referring to the economic record of the Conservatives in the 1980s, Mr. Skinner said, "The only thing that was growing then were the lines of coke in front of Boy George and the rest of the Tories." Mr. Osborne denies the allegation.

Mr. Skinner frequently taunted the former leader of the Liberal Democrats Paddy Ashdown in Parliament by calling him "Paddy Backdown" for what Mr. Skinner said was his changing views on politics.

In 2006 he accused deputy House Speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst of leniency toward remarks made by Conservative frontbencher Theresa May "because she's a Tory."

Mr. Skinner asked Black Rod -- an official of the Parliament -- if he had Helen Mirren on standby for the queen before she opened Parliament in 2006, in reference to the actress's film portrayal of the queen.

In 2007, Mr. Skinner shouted at Black Rod "who shot the harriers?" in reference to the shooting of two protected harriers near a royal property. Prince Harry and a friend had been questioned but not charged by police over the incident.

Related Article

In 2001, MPs approved a near 50% increase in living expenses for themselves, one of many such votes since the 1980s, so they wouldn't have to vote themselves salary increases. Mr. Skinner warned at the time that the measure would one day backfire, telling colleagues it was "a bad day for Parliament." Lately, he has reminded other MPs of those votes.

Mr. Skinner hails from a family of nine children, and followed his father into the coal mines of England's Derbyshire region. Mr. Skinner says that when he left for his first day of work amid the ornate gothic pinnacles of Parliament, his father joked, " 'At least you won't have to test the roof so it's safe, like in a mine.' "

Among Mr. Skinner's targets are the many traditions Parliament has accrued in its 900 years. Coat hangers still have pink ribbons to attach members' swords. The Speaker of the House of Lords sits on a large pillow stuffed with wool, meant to symbolize Britain's ancient wealth. There is a snuffbox full of snuff that MPs never touch.

Some traditions have already been killed. At one time, MPs had to don a top hat when calling a point of order. Collapsible top hats were kept for the purpose. That was discontinued in 1998. Some aren't worth the effort of squashing, such as the rule forbidding politicians from wearing a suit of armor in Parliament.

Mr. Skinner's attacks on tradition have become an institution themselves. Every year, he rants against a ritual involving an official who traditionally dons tights as the "Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod." When Black Rod, the monarch's representative in the House of Lords, knocks on the door of Commons to invite MPs to listen to the Queen's annual speech to Parliament, the door is slammed in his face to symbolize the independence of the House of Commons from royalty. When it is opened again, Mr. Skinner pounces.

In 2001, the role was played for the first time by Sir Michael Willcocks, a 5-foot-8-inch former three-star army general. He was unprepared for what Mr. Skinner had planned.

"They've shortchanged us! He's nowt but a midget!" Mr. Skinner shouted as Mr. Willcocks entered on his second day on the job.

"Nobody had warned me," Sir Michael recalls. "It threw me, and I fluffed my lines." Sir Michael has grudging admiration for Mr. Skinner, despite the humiliation he regularly suffered at Mr. Skinner's hands: "He's held his staunchly republican principles and he's never compromised, and to some extent you have to admire him for that, even if you think he is wrong."

[Dennis Skinner]

Dennis Skinner

Not everybody is so forgiving. Conservative MP Patrick Mercer says Mr. Skinner is "capable of grave misjudgments," and some of his comments are immature. Mr. Mercer says he was interrupted once when he was talking about helping the family of a British army captain who had been killed in Afghanistan. Mr. Skinner denies he heckled. Other politicians say Mr. Skinner's political beliefs -- with an emphasis on state-owned industry and trade-union activism -- are as out of tune with the modern world as some of the traditions he bemoans.

Three Saturdays ago, Mr. Skinner took the call that all British politicians have come to dread: The Daily Telegraph was phoning to ask about his Parliamentary expenses. The paper later wrote that Mr. Skinner hadn't paid taxes on fees for tax advice that he claimed; MPs can claim for the advice, but not the tax on the claim.

Mr. Skinner says he did pay and has checked that with Internal Revenue. A Revenue & Customs spokeswoman said "we do not comment on individuals' taxes."

A colleague, Labour MP Austin Mitchell, said it was good news for all MPs because the attempted attack on Mr. Skinner, after all his years of "Puritanism," was a sign that the Telegraph was "dredging the bottom of the barrel" in its expenses exposé.

It turns out that the Beast's habitual savaging of Parliament hides a deep secret: He loves the place.

When Mr. Skinner arrived here in 1970, he immersed himself in Parliament's history, studying its bible, Erskine May's 19th-century book of Parliamentary practice. "I stayed in the [Commons] for many hours...listening to the little things that happened, watching people as they raised questions," Mr. Skinner recalls. "So by the time I was ready to pounce, I knew how to do it."

Late at night, Mr. Skinner sometimes lingers in the empty debating chamber, home to a ceremonial gold mace that, since the 17th century, has served as a symbol of the monarch's authority in Parliament. The mace has been brutalized at times: Former Conservative minister Michael Heseltine won the nickname Tarzan after swinging it round his head during a heated debate in 1976.

Mr. Skinner, however, once tested the weight of the mace, and handled it with care. It helped him gauge the place. Eventually, Mr. Skinner says, you get to "understand the chemistry" of Parliament.

Write to Alistair MacDonald at alistair.macdonald@wsj.com

2009年6月15日 星期一

英國第一宗甲型H1N1流感死亡病例

英國衛生官員說,雖然出現了本國以致歐洲的第一宗甲型H1N1流感死亡病例,但流感病毒對公眾的威脅仍然"很低"。

蘇格蘭政府周日(6月14日)證實,一名38歲婦女在醫院接受甲型H1N1流感治療時病故。據信,這名婦女剛剛早產了一名嬰兒。

衛生專家說,這名婦女的死亡並不表明甲型H1N1流感病毒變得"更加兇猛"。

這是自甲型H1N1流感爆發以來發生在美洲之外的首宗死亡案例,該病毒在美洲已經導致140人喪生。

目前僅在蘇格蘭,被證實感染甲型流感的已達到500人,在整個英國為1261人。此外,還有486宗疑似病例正在調查之中。

BBC記者沃爾什說,對於已經患有呼吸道疾病、心血管疾病和肥胖症的人,甲型H1N1流感病毒具有更大威脅。

病毒學家奧克斯福教授說,雖然發生了英國第一例流感死亡,但公眾無需因此而感到驚慌,感染這一病毒的可能性微乎其微。

他還說,英國是全世界準備工作做得最好的國家。

2009年6月10日 星期三

Peter Pan Theatre in Kensington Gardens

Covering 111 hectares (275 acres), Kensington Gardens is planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds. It is a perfect setting for Kensington Palace, peaceful Italian Gardens, the Albert Memorial, Peter Pan statue and the Serpentine Gallery.

map of Kensington Gardens
Download map (861kb PDF) then zoom in to view it in detail...
Coming events
Peter Pan Theatre
25 May 2009
- 14 September 2009

London Underground under RMT strike action

不滿加薪5%的要求未獲同意,倫敦「鐵路、海運及運輸工會」宣布,9日晚間7點(台北時間10日凌晨3時)起進行48小時大罷工。預料將造成倫敦地鐵全面癱瘓,數百萬名乘客受到影響。

倫敦市長強生(Boris Johnson)痛批工會罷工決定「荒謬而且造成不必要的交通運輸中斷」。

地鐵罷工一直進行到周四(11日)晚間7點為止(台北時間12日凌晨3時)。倫敦地鐵每天運載約300 萬名乘客,48小時的地鐵罷工,將造成1 億英鎊(約台幣53億元)的損失,對衰退的英國經濟無疑是雪上加霜。不僅如此,這還會傷害倫敦的形象,使觀光客和訪客認為倫敦的運輸系統不可靠。

強生說,市政府將盡一切努力讓倫敦客通勤能順暢,輕軌鐵路服務不受影響,市府將加派100輛公車,提供泰晤士河免費往返船運服務,在主要火車站提供計程車共乘,提供單車族更多的停車空間,讓用地鐵卡的乘客也可以搭乘火車。



News centre

This page contains press releases issued this month. Releases issued in the past two years can be searched for in our Release archive.

June 2009

10 June 2009
TfL advice on travelling to World Cup qualifying game at Wembley this evening

10 June 2009
Current services on London Underground during RMT strike action - service update at 12:30

05 June 2009
Transport for London welcomes key findings of National Audit Office report on failure of Metronet

05 June 2009
London Underground offers new pay deal and calls on RMT leadership to end strike threat

05 June 2009
New lock will take pressure off London's busy roads and help to smooth traffic flow

04 June 2009
London Underground welcomes RMT 'change of heart'

04 June 2009
London's new bus moves a step closer

04 June 2009
Mayor's traffic signal review targets major junctions in the next year

03 June 2009
Mayor's Transport Director joins cast of internet drama to urge teenagers 'Look out for your mates'

02 June 2009
TfL moves to improve traffic CCTV and smooth traffic flow

01 June 2009
London Underground unveils more languages at ticket machines

2009年6月9日 星期二

Food Standards Agency

UK
Food Standards Agency

Tesco recalls some lamb rogan josh

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Tesco has recalled some of its own-brand Lamb Rogan Josh products, because the products contain wheat, soya and sulphites that are not mentioned on the product labels. This means the products are a possible health risk for anyone who is allergic or sensitive to these ingredients. The Agency has issued an Allergy Alert.

Shellfish classification for Scotland agreed

Monday 8 June 2009

The Agency has agreed the 2009/10 classification areas for shellfish production in Scotland in accordance with European Union legislation. The document listing the classifications came into affect from 1 April 2009.

Food Standards Agency Scotland hosts third teachers panel

Friday 5 June 2009

Food Standards Agency Scotland (FSAS) is top of the class when it comes to hosting teachers’ panels.

2009年6月7日 星期日

英對台免簽證實施逾三個月

英對台免簽證實施逾三個月 雙方關係更密切
  • 2009-06-07
  • 中國時報
  • 【中央社】

 今年3月3日起英國准許中華民國護照持有人免簽證赴英停留六個月,實施以來吸引大批台灣民眾訪英,成效良好;駐英代表張小月表示,這項措施使台英雙邊關係更密切。

 張小月接受中央社記者訪問時說,自六個月免簽證措施執行以來,國人訪英觀光旅遊、洽商的人數增加很多,效果良好,隨著暑假即將到來,預期訪英的人數會更多。

 張小月表示,免簽證措施對強化台灣與英國在經貿、文化等方面的交流與合作,有正面幫肋,台英雙邊關係也更為密切。

 她提醒計劃暑期到英國進修的留學生,要找可靠的住宿家庭,請家長留心注意,如果需要協助,可以與駐英代表處文化組連絡;代表處網站提供免簽證措施的注意事項與說明,國人可以參考。

 自3月3日起,中華民國護照持有人可以免簽證赴英國停留(少於和包含)六個月,範圍擴及觀光、會議、參展、商務、進修與探親,是目前給予台灣免簽證待遇最優惠的國家。

 如果中華民國護照持有人預計在英國停留超過六個月工作和定居,或就讀超過六個月以上的課程,則需要申請符合其類別的簽證。台灣留學生如果計劃在英國申請變更簽證、簽證延期或者在求學期間工作,也必須申請符合類別的英國簽證。

 根據代表處的統計,免簽證一年可節省台灣民眾新台幣上億元申辦簽證費用,之前英國觀光簽證的費用是每人新台幣3250元,一年多次入境則要1萬250元;在英旅行業者估計,與去年4月和5月約700名台灣旅客相比,今年人數約8000人,顯示免簽證優惠措施的確吸引旅客訪英。

 另外,免簽證措施實施後,搭機旅客增加,航空業者業績轉好,台英機票降價,旅行業者藉由減省簽證費、票價、便利轉機和多加倫敦景點等誘因配合,出團到英國數量大增。

 不僅如此,由於目前英鎊兌台幣匯率較去年低,名牌商品如Burberry的售價轉換成台幣後比在台灣採購便宜,民眾大量採購,退稅時動輒上千英鎊,雄厚的採購能力,也為陷入嚴重衰退的英國經濟帶來正面效益。

 代表處官員指出,免簽證措施實施以來,旅行團團進團出,未發生任何被拒案件;個人入境仍需攜有關訪英目的文件,避免被拒入境,被拒的零星個人案例包括持一年語文學校通知入境,與六個月免簽規定不符、行李中再次查獲攜帶水果刀、返校補考但未攜帶學校信件等。

 在英國擔任專業證照導遊20多年的葉乃琳告訴中央社記者,免簽證優惠實施,加上英鎊匯率下跌,台灣旅客訪英的人數大增,過去平均一個月頂多一團,現在幾乎是每天都有台灣團,團員涵蓋各年齡層,盛況是多年來僅見。

 葉乃琳說,在大英博物館、西敏寺等熱門景點都會看到台灣旅客。不過也出現負面效應,部分旅行社安排旅客參觀在倫敦的莎士比亞環型劇場(Globe Theater)時,未在預定的時間出現,事前也未取消,影響其它參觀團體權益,劇場已將台灣團列入黑名單,值得帶團領隊改進注意。

 到英國旅遊,葉乃琳建議,除了首都倫敦,如果時間充分,不妨安排到巴斯(Bath)、巨石陣(Stonehenge )、溫莎古堡、牛津大學、劍橋大學、鄉間莊園和蘇格蘭等地參觀,讓英國之旅更豐富多采。(本文附有照片)。980607

2009年6月6日 星期六

Gordon Brown Rearranging the deckchairs

國首相布朗(Gordon Brown)承認﹐他本人及其所領導的政府目前正面臨考驗﹐不過他表示﹐他將繼續工作下去。

布朗表示﹐他不會主動請辭﹐還有工作需要完成。

布朗證實阿利斯泰爾•達林(Alistair Darling)將繼續擔任財政大臣。

他否認了有關其打算在本週早些時候的改組中替換達林的說法﹐並表示﹐他本週沒有考慮過辭職。

為了鞏固其政治威信﹐布朗週五上午開始對內閣進行改組。首相辦公室證實﹐內閣改組正在進行中。


British politics

Rearranging the deckchairs

Jun 5th 2009
From Economist.com

After losing another cabinet minister, Gordon Brown begins to reshuffle his cabinet


AFP

GORDON BROWN’S crumbling premiership owes its survival thus far to the timidity of critics on his own side. That good fortune ended on the evening of Thursday June 4th, when James Purnell, a Blairite cabinet minister responsible for work and pensions, resigned and called on Mr Brown to go. Mr Brown's continued leadership of the Labour Party, wrote Mr Purnell in his resignation letter, made a Conservative victory at the next general election more likely.

Rather than stand down, however, Mr Brown brought forward part of a cabinet reshuffle that most had expected would be announced after the results of the European elections (which are likely to bring more grim news for Labour) are made public late on Sunday night. Despite suggestions that Mr Brown had planned to remove his diligent chancellor, Alistair Darling, the finance minister will keep his job. That Mr Darling has not been reshuffled may show prime ministerial weakness as much as magnanimity: the chancellor reportedly turned down two other cabinet jobs, forcing Mr Brown to leave him in place.


Mr Brown’s position has been shored up somewhat by the refusal of heavyweight rivals to follow Mr Purnell’s lead. Mr Purnell’s resignation was not part of a plot. Colleagues who share his market-oriented Blairism, such as John Hutton, or his lack of faith in Mr Brown, namely David Miliband, may have been expected to follow his lead. Instead, the defence secretary and foreign secretary, who is tipped as a candidate in a Labour leadership contest, have joined other senior figures in rejecting Mr Purnell's verdict. Mr Brown feigned regal insouciance by describing the loss of a third cabinet member in as many days by saying that he was “disappointed”. Elsewhere in the party there has been contempt for Mr Purnell. John Prescott, a former deputy prime minister, describes him as “not so much a Blairite as a careerite”.

It is an odd line of attack; Mr Purnell has forsaken a cabinet job and possibly imperilled a gilded future by making this move (although he may hope to be back in office under a new leader very soon). He risks being enduringly tainted in the eyes of this most tribal of parties, much of which already regarded him as too slick, too southern and too right-wing.

So far, the reshuffle, a rare reminder of the power that even a struggling prime minister can wield, seems to be strengthening Mr Brown's position. Alan Johnson, the well-liked health secretary who many wanted to challenge for the crown, has accepted a promotion to home secretary, thus binding him to his boss. Mr Hutton has resigned but for seemingly innocuous reasons.

But even if the prime minister's hitherto shrinking band of sympathisers has been inadvertently augmented by Mr Purnell’s action, he is not safe yet. The prime minister’s position remains critical and could quickly become fatal. Results of the local elections looked dire for Labour as they were announced on Friday. The outcome of the European poll on Sunday is likely to be bleak too. Above all, Mr Purnell's thesis, that Labour led by Mr Brown has little hope of being re-elected, remains unarguable. Labour MPs generally know it. Prominent backbenchers are gathering colleagues' signatures for a letter calling on the prime minister to go.

If they succeed, the tumult will not end there. As a senior cabinet member publicly conceded after Mr Purnell's resignation, the government could not plausibly anoint a second unelected prime minister in a row. If Mr Brown is replaced, a general election is likely to be called long before June 2010, the last possible date permitted under law. And the prospects for peace in the Labour Party look bleak. If Mr Brown had gone of his own accord, or after a putsch encompassing all sides of the party, Labour could have looked forward under a new leader. Now, however, Brownite stalwarts may be able to blame his demise at least partly on Mr Purnell—a former adviser to Tony Blair, no less. There will, probably, be blood.

Alan Sugar, Bob Ainsworth

英內閣改組 黑手出頭天

路透

英 國首相布朗(Gordon Brown)在內閣瀕臨垮台的危機中改組人事,希望為自己的政治生命帶來生機,新閣陣容裡,國防大臣安斯華斯(Bob Ainsworth)只有中學畢業,曾是Jaguar車廠的機械工人,「政府企業顧問」則是中學中輟生出身的電視真人秀主持人舒格(Alan Sugar)。

56歲的安斯華斯出生在英格蘭第九大城卡文特利市,中學畢業後在市內的Jaguar車廠工作長達20年,並成為工會活躍成員,在工會裡的地位日益上升,1984年當選市議員,1989到1992年擔任副議長。

1992年,他出馬角逐國會議員,一戰成功,1997年布萊爾(Tony Blair)出任首相後,安斯華斯成為黨鞭,在幕後執行黨內紀律,協助工黨在國會通過法案,英國國會通過加入伊拉克戰爭,主要就是由他促成。他後來成為國防部次官,5日晉升國防部長。

不過,加入伊戰,以及繼續陪著美國駐兵在阿富汗,在英國愈來愈不得人心,但撤不撤軍一直是兩難,安斯華斯當初力促參戰,現在若改口要撤兵,恐怕會招來出爾反爾的批評。




Alan Sugar

英國的「政府企業顧問」又稱「企業沙皇」,新沙皇是62歲的舒格,他並非是工黨迷,在1992年曾投書倫敦金融時報表示:「某個名叫戈登‧布朗的先生,指 控我在經濟衰退時期發橫財,這話我聽了覺得惡心。我可不曉得這位布朗先生是何方神聖,恕我無知。不管他是誰,他都沒有好好做功課,這位老兄不知道自己在說 什麼。」

兩人後來顯然熟了起來,布朗兩年前邀他加入「經濟領袖委員會」,現在又請他擔任政府最高經濟顧問,一般認為,從基層幹起的舒格,可能為經濟政策帶來一些新意。

舒格出身倫敦東區一個猶太裁縫家庭,16歲輟學,用100英鎊積蓄開廂型車兜售汽車天線和錄音機,但他努力上進,成年後創辦幾家科技公司,並從事科技投 資,2007年出售英國天空廣播公司(BSkyB),2008年成為泰晤士報英國富翁榜第92名,目前身價約8億英鎊(約新台幣 417億元)。

舒格後來主持英國版「誰是接班人」(The Apprentice),聲名更盛,節目主持人那句Your're fired(你被開除了),幾乎人人耳熟能詳。


Sir Alan Sugar, 16th November 2005

Alan Sugar brought his knowledgeable, straightforward, wise yet witty business perspective to an Oxford audience of over 300 people on Wednesday 16th November 2005 during a question and answer session which he generously allowed to run over time.

Sir Alan asserted that “There’s nothing stopping anybody in this country from doing exactly what I have done; it’s no secret that I started with absolutely nothing” he started his business with £100 in post office savings which purchased a van for £50, motor insurance for £8 and £42 in stock. Accordingly, he had little sympathy for complaints about banks or venture capitalists and reminded the audience that banks are businesses and that “most ideas are totally useless and there are no free lunches” he compared the investor sentiments of the “dotcom boom to a phenomenon that lasted for about five and a half minutes” and advised fledgling entrepreneurs to start small. Sugar explained that he was originally motivated by a desire for self sufficiency and his inspirations included his “Uncle John, because he was the only person I knew that had a business, I came from a working class background with family who lived on council estates, business was completely alien…and when I decided to start in business, he was my guru, if you like, and all he had was a corner shop in Victoria.” Alan Sugar’s inspirations today include Rupert Murdoch for his qualities as a “speculator, gambler and a maverick” and he admires Branson, he conceded to the Oxford audience that “his style of doing business is completely different to mine but it’s successful.” Sugar disclosed his thoughts about ‘entrepreneurship’ in general, indicating his dismay at the misuse of the word ‘entrepreneurship’ as a descriptive word for people who would otherwise be described as ‘enterprising’ or ‘business oriented’; he viewed entrepreneurial traits as inherent and akin to those of an accomplished concert pianist or artist.

Sugar offered amusingly dry responses to various questions; his response to a protest from an audience member about whether business has to be dominated by targets, profit and money was “Yes, it all has to be about money and targets” to lecture theatre laughter. Sir Alan later betrayed the fact that he wishes he had re-directed energies spent on managing Tottenham Football Club to charitable causes such as Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. The football club was sold by Alan Sugar for a gross profit of approximately £30 Million - he advised the audience to “stick to what you know” and to have a good knowledge of the sector areas in which they choose to do business. On the subject of human resources he joked that “everybody is dispensable” and later explained via an anecdote about early entrepreneurial experiences with an engineer who perceived himself as pivotal and ‘indispensable’ to Sugar’s businesses. Sir Alan provided a humorous diatribe around his views of ‘management consultants’ and then proceeded to discuss global technology and manufacturing considerations, teasing the Oxford audience by playfully suggesting that they probably had “management consultant” aspirations. The vast majority of the audience were members of Oxford Entrepreneurs, the largest student society of its kind in the UK.

A student enquired whether an Oxford presence on The Apprentice (TV programme) was long overdue, especially in the light of a Harvard candidate on the American version of the TV show, Sir Alan responded “…Well you can apply for The Apprentice next time around with the other 10,000 people…we mustn’t make any special favours because I’m here this evening”


2009年6月4日 星期四

Purnell calls on Gordon Brown to "stand aside"

Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell calls on Gordon Brown to "stand aside", after quitting the cabinet.


Purnell resignation letter

James purnell
The country is owed a "real choice", says James Purnell

Work and pensions secretary James Purnell has stepped down from the cabinet and told Gordon Brown to "stand aside". Here is a copy of his resignation letter to the prime minister in full.

Dear Gordon,

We both love the Labour Party. I have worked for it for 20 years and you for far longer. We know we owe it everything and it owes us nothing.

I owe it to our party to say what I believe no matter how hard that may be. I now believe your continued leadership makes a Conservative victory more, not less likely.

That would be disastrous for our country. This moment calls for stronger regulation, an active state, better public services, an open democracy.

It calls for a government that measures itself by how it treats the poorest in society.

Those are our values, not David Cameron's.

We therefore owe it to our country to give it a real choice. We need to show that we are prepared to fight to be a credible government and have the courage to offer an alternative future.

I am therefore calling on you to stand aside to give our party a fighting chance of winning. As such I am resigning from government.

The party was here long before us, and we want it to be here long after we have gone. We must do the right thing by it.

I am not seeking the leadership, nor acting with anyone else. My actions are my own considered view, nothing more.

If the consensus is that you should continue, then I will support the government loyally from the backbenches. But I do believe that this question now needs to be put.

Thank you for giving me the privilege of serving.

Yours,

Rt Hon James Purnell MP

向溫家寶扔鞋劍橋學生被判無罪



向溫家寶扔鞋劍橋學生被判無罪

馬丁﹒楊克
楊克說他反對中國政府侵犯人權
今年二月在劍橋大學向中國總理溫家寶扔鞋抗議的德國學生獲判無罪。

經過兩天的審訊後,英國劍橋裁判處法官謝拉頓表示,沒有足夠證據證明27歲的馬丁﹒楊克引起騷擾和焦慮。

楊克在法庭上首次公開為自己的行動進行辯解。他說,他是仿效去年12月向美國前總統布什扔鞋抗議的伊拉克記者扎伊迪。

扎伊迪後來被伊拉克法庭判處一年監禁,目前正在服刑。

楊克說,在他看來扔鞋已經成為一種象徵。它象徵著對一個不負責任的、使用暴力的政權或當局的蔑視。

象徵抗議

他還說,他並不想傷害中國總理本人。他只是進行象徵性的抗議,並不打算傷害誰。否則的話,他就不會扔一隻旅遊鞋了,而是一隻更重的鞋了。

楊克說,他反對中國政府侵犯人權,他視他的行動為"形象地"體現他的抗議。他否認利用言語和行為製造騷擾和焦慮。

此前,楊克的代表律師說中國政府向英國警方和檢控當局施壓向楊克提控。

英國檢控方對此予以否認。

楊克是劍橋大學的病理學研究生,他被控在今年2月2日溫家寶在劍橋大學演講的時候扔鞋抗議。

檢控方在法庭上表示,當時楊克吹哨子打斷演講,稱溫家寶為"獨裁者",還說校方"出賣"大學,接著楊克扔鞋,鞋子掉在距離溫家寶數公尺的地方。

檢控方認為他的舉動超出了"合法"抗議的範圍。

楊克在法庭上說,他的行動是要抗議溫家寶在劍橋演講,以及向沒有代表的中國民眾顯示他的支持。


2009年6月2日 星期二

百萬富翁數

2009年 06月 03日 09:10
英國的百萬富翁少了一半


突然之間﹐人人都在談論不斷消失的百萬富翁們。

週二﹐《華爾街日報》有篇文章談到了美國馬里蘭州百萬富翁越來越少。現在有消息說﹐英國的百萬富翁人數減少了約一半。

Associated Press這並不是因為富翁們移民或是避稅去了﹐而是個人財務狀況出了問題。

正如過去一年中我所寫的﹐富人們在此次危機中遭受了重創﹐原因主要是他們的投資和房地產的價值銳減。正因為如此﹐百萬富翁(特別是富翁中的“貧困戶”)的人數驟減。

根據初步估計﹐去年美國的百萬富翁人數減少了30%。如今﹐看起來英國的百萬富翁人數減少了50%﹐太令人震驚了。

這 項由經濟暨商業研究中心(Centre for Economics and Business Research)公佈的數據令人吃驚的原因有幾個。英國富人損失了約38%的資產。鑒於美國是金融危機的重災區﹐我本來預計美國的百萬富翁境況會和英國 的一樣糟﹐甚至更遭。

該中心經濟學家戴維斯(Charles Davis)向我說了兩個原因﹐解釋英國消失的百萬富翁為什麼比美國多。首先是統計時間的問題。經濟暨商業研究中心的數據包括2007年至2009年5月 期間消失的百萬富翁總數。而美國的顯示百萬富翁減少30%的數據卻只是2008年的。所以﹐2009年的數據很可能會顯示美國損失了更多的百萬富翁。

其次﹐英國的百萬富翁中有更多的人財富來源於房地產。據經濟暨商業研究中心的數據﹐2007年他們約有42%的資產為房地產。據美聯儲(Fed)的數據﹐美國百萬富翁約有25%的資產是房地產。

英國的房價較峰值降了約20%﹐因此“奪走了”很多新晉富翁的百萬富翁地位。

戴維斯說﹐在英國﹐很多人無意之中被房價推到了百萬富翁的行列。

如今﹐他們又無意之中脫離了這個行列。

讀者們﹐你們認為年底前美國的百萬富翁人數也會減少50%嗎﹖

Robert Frank

(“奢華人生”專注於富人的生活和文化﹐由Robert Frank主筆。)

2009年6月1日 星期一

Big Ben

Big Ben, one of the world's largest four-faced clocks, is also one of London's most famous landmarks. The name, which originally referred to the hour bell, was given in honor of Sir Benjamin Hall, the commissioner of works when the bell was installed in 1856.

The hour bell weighs 13 tons (13,760 kg) and is nine feet (2.7 m) in diameter and 7.5 feet (2.3m) high. It was cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 1858, and rang for the first time from its spot over Westminster Palace on May 31, 1859. The clock tower is 316 feet (96 m) high. The dials of the clock are 23 feet (7 m) square; the minute hand is 14 feet (4.25 m) long and the figures are 2 feet (.6 m) high. It is a particularly accurate timepiece, and has rarely stopped in its long history.

When Parliament is in session, a light shines above the clock face. At night, the four clock faces are illuminated, making it a particularly impressive site.

UK nationals may climb the clock tower by prior arrangement; contact a local MK by calling: 020·7219·3000. Visitors from abroad can request a tour by writing at least three months in advance to: Clock Tower Tours, Parliamentary Works Services Directorate, 1 Canon Row, London, SW1A 2JN, England.




英國大本鐘迎來150歲生日
大本鐘
BBC也用大本鐘的聲音報時

英國倫敦的標誌性建築大本鐘本周日(5月31日)迎來150歲生日。

1859年5月31日,大本鐘開始走動。六個星期後,它的鐘聲首次整點報時。

這個古鐘是由1個大鐘和4個小鐘組成。

從技術上講,大本鐘是威斯敏斯特宮鐘塔主鐘的名字,但多年來,它也成為這個鐘塔和鐘的代名詞。

大本鐘每隔五年就需要進行一次大修。

負責維修大本鐘的工程師伊安﹒威斯特伍斯解釋了大本鐘鐘聲獨特的原因。

威斯特伍斯說,大本鐘上面有兩處修復的裂縫,所以鐘聲獨特,人們一聽就知道是它。

世界各地的人們通過收聽英國廣播公司BBC的節目聽到大本鐘的聲音。

為了保證報時的準確性,大本鐘也和格林威治天文台的原子鐘相連,BBC國內廣播仍然几乎每天以它來準點報時。