2014年6月17日 星期二

Londonderry, the U.K.’s Capital (of High Speed Internet)倫敦暴動延燒 北愛遊行爆衝突/Londonderry宣佈慶祝成為英國「文化之都」

Jun 17, 2014
Londonderry, the U.K.’s Capital (of High Speed Internet)
Hands across the divide statues, Derry, Northern Ireland.
Visit Derry
You could be forgiven for thinking that Ofcom, the U.K. communications regulator, made a typo on Tuesday when it revealed that the city in the U.K. with the best access to superfast broadband Internet was Londonderry in Northern Ireland, not London, England’s capital.
Ofcom made the announcement following its latest study into the U.K.’s online status. The announcement also comes slap bang in the middle of London Technology Week, where some 30,000 people involved in the U.K’s technology sector converge on the capital to celebrate London’s unrivaled tech supremacy.
But it is, Londonderry, a city of less than 100,000 people, a third of the size of Northern Ireland’s largest city, Belfast, which has the best access to broadband Internet in the U.K. and not London—a global metropolis of eight million, a business hub and financial HQ of many of the world’s biggest corporations.
Londonderry’s citizens have 99% access to fiber optic networks owned by BT and cable group Virgin Media, Ofcom said, which commissioned the study by telecom data provider Analysys Mason.
Fiber-optic cables offer superfast broadband, generally running from the telephone exchange to a street “cabinet”, then to homes or businesses through a standard copper phone line, reaching download speeds of up to 80 mega-bits-per-second, BT says. There are also end-to-end fiber connections direct to premises, for faster speeds.
According to the study, which analyzed performance in 11 U.K. cities, London’s availability was only at 88%, behind smaller English cities like Birmingham, Cambridge and Exeter, as well as Cardiff in Wales,
Concerns about the slow speed of broadband Internet in central London is well-known among the tech community in the capital.
Perhaps just as worrying for London, and unlike some smaller cities, is that there was no improvement on last year’s performance.
The main reason behind’s Londonderry’s “exceptionally high figure,” according to Ofcom, is public investment into fiber networks in recent years.
The U.K. government’s department of enterprise, trade and investment upgraded around 1,300 street cabinets across Northern Ireland in 2009 to provide next-generation broadband services, Ofcom said. And BT says Londonderry, otherwise known as Derry City, is the only city in the U.K. and Ireland which has 100% of its street cabinets fiber-enabled, it says.
The eminence of Londonderry in fast broadband connection is reflected in the whole of Northern Ireland.
90% of all lines across Northern Ireland are connected to a fiber broadband cabinet following “significant investments” by the operator and the public sector, BT says. The result is that Northern Ireland is one of the best connected locations in the world, it says, with more fiber deployed than most major European countries aspire to rollout by 2015.
Still, Londonderry, which was named the U.K.’s City of Culture in 2013, can’t be too boastful.
In mobile telecom networks, rather than fixed lines, it still has work to do. Of all the cities in Ofcom’s study, only Londonderry had premises which were not covered by any mobile operators.

北愛爾蘭的倫敦德里(Londonderry)宣佈成為慶祝英國「文化之都」即將舉行的活動,特納獎獲獎作品(Turner Prize)、倫敦交響樂團(London Symphony Orchestra)和皇家芭蕾舞團(Royal Ballet)都將來這裏參加慶祝活動。 又被稱為德里(Derry)的倫敦德里擊敗了 ...
2011.8 倫敦暴動延燒 北愛遊行爆衝突
(法新社伯爾發斯特13日電) 警方表示,今天北愛爾蘭倫敦德利(Londonderry)發生車輛挾持以及汽油彈投擲事件;該城市以天主教為主,新教徒在市內舉行遊行活動,緊張情勢升高。
北愛爾蘭警務處(Police Service of Northern Ireland, PSNI)發言人表示,車輛挾持事件中有1名女子和她的女兒被拉出車外,且市中心的混亂狀態仍未平息。目前有4名男子遭逮捕。

2014年6月16日 星期一

Sorry, David Cameron, but your British history is not mine

Sorry, David Cameron, but your British history is not mine

The prime minister is silent about this country's radical past that inspires me. That's why talk of unifying 'British values' is nonsense

• Imposing 'British values' is simply old-school political meddling
The people confront the king in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381
The people confront the king in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, 'when ordinary folk rose in rebellion at a poll tax. Women such as Johanna Ferrour played a key role.' Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis
The government's crusade to embed "British values" in our education system is meaningless at best, dangerous at worst, and a perversion of British history in any case. It's meaningless because our history is the struggle of many different Britains, each with their own conflicting sets of values.
For example, the values of many post-Thatcher Conservatives are predominantly neoliberal, drawn from an ideology that champions the extraction of commercial value from everything and that has little respect for national boundaries. Indeed, its founding fathers are the likes of the American economist Milton Friedman and the Austrian Friedrich Hayek. At a Conservative research department meeting, Thatcher once slammed down a copy of Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty, declaring: "This is what we believe!"
My own values, on the other hand, are inspired by a variety of Welsh, Scottish, English and foreign socialists. Where modern Tories promote dog-eat-dog individualism, ruthless competition and the supremacy of private profit, I believe in solidarity, collective action and a fundamental redistribution of wealth and power. My opponents would characterise their own values rather more sympathetically and mine less so, but the point of agreement should surely be that there is a chasm between us. It will be said that we are united by a common belief in democracy, but this is hardly a specifically British value – and, in any case, my perception of a democracy that is continually imperilled by Tory-backed corporate and private interests is rather different to theirs.
Where the government's agenda becomes dangerous is if one side claims its values are those of the nation as a whole. This is an age-old strategy of authoritarian regimes and movements, used to exclude, ostracise or suppress dissidents. The instrument of McCarthyism to persecute the US left, after all, was the House Committee on Un-American Activities. But we've seen this at work in our own country recently. The Daily Mail declared that Ralph Miliband was the "man who hated Britain" because he was a Marxist who opposed institutions such as the monarchy, the Church of England and the army. Not deferring to the status quo, in its view, is not just un-British, but anti-British.
It is an agenda based on the twisting of British history too. Magna Carta – an English, rather than British document – will be the centrepiece of the values campaign. David Cameron wants "every child" to learn about it. Given that speaking English normally heads lists of skills required by those who like to define the British way of life, it is amusing that a document originally written in Latin, before it was translated into French after four years, is being exalted like this. Here was a charter imposed by powerful barons – hardly nascent democrats – on the weak King John to prevent him trampling on their rights: it didn't satisfy them, and they rose in revolt anyway. It meant diddly squat to average English subjects, most of whom were serfs.
Only in the 17th century did it begin to win its central place in English mythology: it suited Levellers and other radicals to portray themselves as reactionaries, attempting to turn the clock back and reassert ancient rights that had supposedly been trampled on. After all, the word "revolution" comes from the Latin revolvere, or to "turn back".
But here's the point. There is a history of Britain that is about empire, aristocracy, monarchy, the established church, exploitative employers, and so on. The Tory view of history is founded on the myth of a benevolent elite granting carefully managed change out of goodwill and generosity. But there is another history, of struggle from below against those in power – often at great cost and sacrifice – by ordinary people who are airbrushed from history. These different histories inform a schism in values that lasts to this day.
This other history goes back to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, when ordinary folk rose in rebellion at a poll tax. It wasn't just led by men: women such as Johanna Ferrour played a key role (court documents damn her as "chief perpetrator and leader of rebellious evildoers from Kent"). Tens of thousands of people – ranging from roofers and bakers to millers and parish priests – marched on Blackheath, where the Lollardpriest John Ball publicly questioned the class system: "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" Widespread defiance against the ruling elite would re-emerge in the 17th century: we had our own revolution a century-and-a-half before the French stormed the Bastille. The king was deposed, and radical movements like the democratic Levellers and socialistic Diggers flourished.
Resistance to authority is a value threaded through our history. When six Dorset labourers were transported to Australia in the 1830s for organising a primitive trade union, 800,000 signed a petition demanding freedom for the Tolpuddle Martyrs. In the following years, the Chartists emerged – the world's first great working-class political movement. Today the suffragettes are treated as vindicated heroes, but they were force-fed in prisons and demonised as terrorists and anarchists in the early 20th century. Those who fought sexism, racism and homophobia – like the first LGBT demonstration in London in 1970, when 150 protesters were outnumbered by police officers – were demonised and persecuted in their time.
The welfare state, the NHS, workers' rights: these were the culmination of generations of struggle, not least by a labour movement that had set up the Labour party – controversially at the time – to give working people a voice. The values and interests of Britons have always been pitted against each other.
It is this history – of a very different Britain to that championed by this government – that underpins my values. It helps drive me to oppose the values underpinning Cameron's administration, which justify policies that kick the poor – such as the bedroom tax – while shovelling even more wealth into the hands of the richest, through tax cuts and privatisation. It's also why I think people should be inspired by the values and traditions of our ancestors who fought back, and emulate their example.
So if the coalition wants a divisive struggle over "values", fine – bring it on. But if the government's rationale is that "values" will unite the nation, it had better think again.

2014年6月14日 星期六

Uber run a taxi service in the city

  1. Uber
  2. Uber is a controversial venture-funded startup and transportation network company based in San Francisco, California, that makes mobile apps that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services. Wikipedia
  3. FoundedMarch 2009

On June 11th, thousands of black-taxi drivers in London protested against Uber, an app that lets users hail private cabs. Taxi drivers have long complained about licensed minicabs chipping away at their business. Now they are irked by the decision by Transport for London, the authority behind the city's roads, to let Uber run a taxi service in the city http://econ.st/1p1rJNu

2014年6月12日 星期四

British travellers awaiting passports for imminent trips/ Boris Johnson Agrees To Get Blasted By Water Cannon

Boris Johnson Agrees To Get Blasted By Water Cannon
The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted:   |  Updated: 11/06/2014 10:59 BST
Boris Johnson has agreed to be blasted by a water cannon to prove they are safe, after he controversially bought three for the Metropolitan Police at a cost of £218,000.
He told LBC radio on Wednesday morning: "Man or mouse. You've challenged me, so I suppose I'm going to have to do it now."
He told presenter Nick Ferrari: "I can see all my press people pulling their hair out over this, but never mind, it's got to be done. Thanks for that one."
On Tuesday it was revealed Boris had ordered the purchase of three water cannon - even though home secretary Theresa May has yet to agree they can be used.
Water cannon have never been used on the British mainland, although they have been deployed in Northern Ireland. The mayor has bought the three water cannon from the German federal police.
In February a German pensioner, blinded by a police water cannon, addressed a public meeting in London.
Dietrich Wagner was left unconscious, his eyes irreparably damaged when he took the full force of a water cannon to the face during an environmental protest in Stuttgart.
He warned: "Ever since I was hit my life has drastically changed. I can’t drive, go shopping, read or do any of the things I used to do. My message is police need to be aware that they are not just a big shower, they are lethal weapons and do serious bodily harm."
His eyelids were torn by the force of the water, damaging the lenses of his eyes and fracturing his orbital bone around the eye.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have condemned the water cannon purchase as "reckless", insisting there is not enough evidence that the tactic is effective in maintaining order.
Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat leader on the London Assembly, said: "There is no evidence to defend the provision of water cannon in London.
"After three hearings at City Hall the case against the use of water cannon was compelling. London Assembly Members, across the political parties have expressed their total opposition to one of the worst aspects of European policing being adopted in London. The Mayor's refusal to listen or engage with evidence presented to him is shameful."
Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has pledged that water cannon would be "rarely used and rarely seen".

These are worrying times for British travellers awaiting passports for imminent trips. Applications are at a 12-year high according to the government. Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, has claimed that "tens of thousands" of Brits may have to cancel their holidays because of a backlog http://econ.st/1oR5l9D

2014年6月10日 星期二

Boris berating the anti-homeless spikes shows what a ruthless pragmatist he is

Boris berating the anti-homeless spikes shows what a ruthless pragmatist he is

The mayor knows what plays well with Londoners and chooses that course, regardless of whether it fits his wider world view
London Mayor Boris Johnson welcomes Queen's Baton Relay
Boris Johnson welcomes the Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay to London. 'He emphasises that for the modern politician it is as important to catch the mood as it is to master detail'. Photograph: Guy Corbishley/Demotix/Corbis
Few sights distress the relatively well-heeled Londoner as much as the sight of an unfortunate huddled, sleeping or begging in a doorway. We live amid such wealth and plenty; the sight of the homeless bursts the bubble. The stark contrast is unbearable.
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, knows this. He is a Tory and thus will embrace the core philosophy of self-determination. He will see limits to the extent to which each of us is a brother's keeper. He will discern within the public a belief that the state cannot and should not try to do everything. But he knows Londoners don't like the sort of meanness of spirit that led the developers of a block of luxury flats in the capital to erect spikes at the foot of their building to ensure the homeless could not sleep outside.
We don't like homelessness, but we don't hate the homeless. We don't like the homelessness problem, but we acknowledge it is our problem and balk against this hard-hearted attempt to hide it away.
This is what has made Johnson a formidable force in London over the past two terms. He doesn't really do the nuts and bolts of the mayoralty. To watch his performances at mayor's question time, when he is forced into the fine print of his job and often found wanting, is to wonder how someone with such superficial knowledge of his brief can dominate the capital's politics. But he emphasises that for the modern politician it is as important to catch the mood as it is to master detail. Those metal spikes might solve a problem, but they offend the city's sense of fair play and decency. Johnson can be a very Tory Tory – the persona he saves for his Daily Telegraph column – or he can be a socially liberal wet kind of Tory. A ruthless pragmatist, he will choose the path of maximum advantage in each case. His talent is gauging the audience and knowing which of the two approaches to choose.
London is one of the world's most densely populated cities, and yet there is a strong presumption that what space there is should be shared. The canny politician understands that. Witness the mayor's insistence that skateboarders be accorded their proper space in the multimillion-pound development plans for the South Bank. "The skate park is the epicentre of UK skateboarding and is part of the cultural fabric of London," he said, wrong-footing critics who assumed he would side with the developing forces of modernity. "This much-loved community space has been used by thousands of young people over the years. It attracts tourists from across the world and undoubtedly adds to the vibrancy of the area – it helps to make London the great city it is."
It is a great city, but just as much London is a narrative. Londoners shape the narrative as a template for their own lives in the capital, but also as a way of promoting their city to the rest of the world. Anti-homeless spikes and bulldozed skateboard parks run against the flow of that narrative. The mayor grasps that. He sees that big picture, and no one really seems to care that he doesn't see much else.