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Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

Britain In Afghanistan Aid Pledge Until 2017

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 8, 2012

Comment: And only about 10% will be used in the targeted sector – the aid trend shows this reality:

Britain has pledged to maintain aid funding levels to Afghanistan until 2017 and agreed to host a ministerial meeting in London in two years’ time to assess progress in the country.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell was speaking from a donors meeting in Japan which promised a total of £10.3 billion of civilian help to aid transition after international troops pull out.

In return, Kabul agreed new anti-corruption measures.

Mr Mitchell said: “Britain has accepted a request from Afghanistan and Japan to host a ministerial meeting in 2014 to review progress against Afghan and international commitments agreed today in Tokyo. Read the rest of this entry »

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World’s Deadliest Wealthy Countries

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 5, 2012

By Howard Steven Friedman,  Statistician/Economist for International Organization, Columbia University

 Before diving into any detailed analysis of government data, I usually hear the voice of one of my professors telling his favorite statistics joke. It went something like this, “Statisticians are brilliant people. They can analyze raw data, develop complex models, draw causal inferences and make bold projections of the future. They do this fearlessly, without concern for the minor issue that the data itself came from the fellow down the hall who wrote down whatever he felt like so he could get paid.” Analyzing government data isn’t quite as bad as that joke, but statisticians do need to be concerned about the danger of “garbage in garbage-out” in any work that do.

So how do these concerns about data quality relate to identifying the world’s deadliest wealthy countries? It starts with the fact that the data for crime is notoriously fraught with quality issues. Criminologists use the phrase the “dark figure of crime” to describe the amount of crime that goes unreported or undetected. This “dark figure of crime” represents the gap between the true crime rate and the rate found in official reports.

Knowing that the “dark figure of crime” is so large, I decided to focus on homicide rates in this article. Why homicide? For starters, it is a critically important measure of crime since it is perhaps the most extreme of possible crimes, the taking of a life. More importantly, it is considered to be one of the more reliable crime statistics.

So which wealthy countries have the highest homicide rates? Of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the countries with the five highest homicide rates are, in order: Mexico (highest), Chile, Estonia, the United States and Turkey (fifth highest). Anyone looking at that list would likely call out the fact that these countries, while all being in the OECD, are not equally wealthy. In fact, the United States has a GDP per capita that is more than twice that of any of the other top four most deadly OECD countries. A simple scatterplot, where each data point represents a different country and the US is displayed prominently, gives a clearer picture of how America stands. The graph below shows that for the OECD countries, the US has one of the highest rates of GDP per capita (a rough, but commonly used metric of wealth). You will also quickly see that the US is a major outlier in the general observation that wealthier countries tend to have lower homicide rates. Read the rest of this entry »

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Falkland Islands Anniversary: Argentina Demands Handover Of ‘Las Malvinas’ 30 Years After War

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 2, 2012

USHUAIA, Argentina — President Cristina Fernandez’s campaign to force Britain to hand over the Falkland Islands may have reached its high point with Monday’s 30th anniversary of Argentina’s failed occupation of the remote South Atlantic archipelago.

Fernandez prepared to lead hundreds of patriotic rallies nationwide with another major speech urging Britain to concede sovereignty of the islands Latin Americans know as “Las Malvinas.”

Leftists, meanwhile, called for a march on the British embassy in Buenos Aires. Nobel Peace Prize winners accused Britain of militarizing the islands, and union leaders were celebrating their boycott of British cargo and cruise ships. In recent weeks, her Cabinet ministers have urged companies to find alternatives to British imports and threatened to take British investors in the islands to court. Other Latin American countries have closed ranks around Argentina as well.

But none of these moves seem to be bringing Argentina any closer to recovering the islands, which it claims British forces stole from them in 1833 and ran as a colony for 150 years.

Britain says there is nothing to negotiate: The islands are now a self-governing British Overseas Territory and the people who have lived there for generations will determine their own fate. The islanders themselves overwhelmingly say they want to remain British. Read the rest of this entry »

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David Cameron And Barack Obama To Discuss Afghanistan Withdrawal In Washington Talks

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 13, 2012

David Cameron flies to the USA today for talks with President Barack Obama, with the timetable for withdrawal of British and American troops from Afghanistan likely to top the agenda.

Both leaders have stressed in public that there will be no rush to the exit in the wake of the recent deaths of six British soldiers and the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a renegade US serviceman.

They are expected to focus during the three-day visit on the timing of handover of the lead security responsibility throughout the country to Afghan forces during 2013.

This will allow allied troops to step back into a support role in the fight against the Taliban and begin the process of returning home by the previously-agreed target of the end of 2014.

An announcement on the date for transition to Afghan control is not expected until Nato’s Chicago summit in May. Nato agreed at a previous summit in Lisbon in 2010 that home-grown forces would take the lead responsibility for security by the end of 2013, but there was some speculation today that this could be brought forward to the summer of next year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Falkland Islands: UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon Appeals To Britain And Argentina For Calm

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 11, 2012

Unnecessar­y ego and greediness are the main masters for all these games:

Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary General has appealed for calm in the escalating dispute over the Falkland Islands, as Argentina took their claim of sovereignty to the General Assembly and Security Council.

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about the “increasingly strong exchanges between the governments of Argentina and the UK”.

It added that he had: “Expressed the hope that the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom will avoid an escalation of this dispute and resolve differences peacefully and through dialogue”.

Argentina’s foreign minister arrived in New York on Friday to officially protest about Britain’s “militarisation” of the seas around the disputed islands.

It comes after Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner hit out at the UK’s decision to send the Duke of Cambridge and one of its most modern navy warships to the South Atlantic region.

In a speech to an audience including Falkland war veterans on Wednesday, she said the move posed a risk to “international security” before announcing the official complaint would be made.

Addressing politicians yesterday, Ms Kirchner said: “In a few hours our chancellor leaves for New York to make a presentation to the United Nations about the militarisation and the introduction of nuclear arms in the zone.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Personality: Simon Phillip Cowel

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 18, 2011

Simon Phillip Cowell (born 7 October 1959) is television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known in the United Kingdom and United States for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop IdolThe X FactorBritain’s Got Talent and American Idol. He is also the owner of the television production and music publishing house Syco.

As a judge, Cowell is known for his blunt and often controversial criticisms, insults and wisecracks about contestants and their abilities. He is also known for combining activities in both the television and music industries, having promoted singles and records for various artists, including television personalities. He was most recently featured on the seventh series of The X Factor and the fifth series of Britain’s Got Talent. In September 2011, he began featuring as a judge on the first season of The X Factor USA.

In 2010, the British magazine New Statesman listed Cowell at number 41 in a list of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010”

Read the rest of this entry »

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5 Countries With the Highest Military Expenditure

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 1, 2011

How much a country spends on its military budget is a reflection of a number of factors, including the size of the economy, the perceived military threat or opportunity, the influence of the private sector on government policy and the overall priorities of a society.

When we look at the absolute spending amount, the United States is by far the largest spender. According to theStockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2011, America spent nearly $700 billion in 2010. This accounts for about 43% of the entire global military spending and is nearly 6 times more than the amount spent by the next largest, China. In fact, the United States spends more on its military than the total spent by the second largest (China), third largest (United Kingdom), fourth largest (France), fifth largest (Russia)… and fifteenth largest (Turkey) combined.


So, while in absolute dollar amount the United States is an extreme outlier regarding its military spending, it is more appropriate to examine the normalized spending since comparing the absolute amount each country spends on its military another isn’t very fair. After all, we would certainly expect that a large country with one of the world’s largest economies like the Russian Federation would spend more than a small country like Lithuania. But what is the most appropriate way to normalize the spending?

If we look at the military expenditure per capita, we can control for differences in population between different countries. In this comparison we see once again that the United States is an outlier, spending an average of over $2,000 per person versus a global average that is about one-tenth that amount. Among the top 15 countries with the highest military expenditure, only two other countries had more than $1,000 per person spent on military, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

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Why was Cheryl Cole fired?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 26, 2011

Catherine Gee considers why Cheryl Cole has already been fired from the US X Factor.

By Catherine Gee

Cheryl Cole as a judge on the UK X Factor Photo: Rex

It’s been 21 days since Simon Cowell’s production company hired Cheryl Cole for the US X Factor. She landed in the US a mere eight days ago and already she’s been fired and replaced by a Pussycat Doll.

How could the Americans do this to our national heroine? Was it her hair (too large)? Her voice (too Geordie)? Her personality (too boring)? She should have been adored. They adore Rihanna, another bad relationship survivor; she was surely on the path to greatness. But somehow, Cole just didn’t charm them.

The big reason being mooted – though the producers are staying stoically silent on the matter so far – is that thick Newcastle accent that we Brits seem to love so. Apparently the contestants were struggling to understand her. Mostly likely, they’d never even heard of Newcastle, let alone heard a Geordie in full flow.

After all, this is a country which regularly refers to a “British accent”, presumably using either Surrey well-to-do RP or working-class cockney as their reference. But of course there’s no such thing as a British accent, considering that the United Kingdom includes Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester, Cornwall, Birmingham and, well, everywhere else. For a relatively small country, the UK really has fostered a diverse collection of dialects – and many of those across the Atlantic are seemingly clueless about its geography. Read the rest of this entry »

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Queen Elizabeth II Becomes Britain’s Second-Longest Reigning Monarch

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 12, 2011

She is still very healthy and could be the first.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Queen Elizabeth Celebrates 85th Birthday, Hands Out Bags of Money

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 21, 2011


Move over Kate Middleton. Today is all about Her Majesty the Queen.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth holds on to her hat in high winds, during her visit to her grandson, Prince William, at RAF Valley, in north Wales April 1, 2011.

Thursday afternoon, Elizabeth, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will conduct the Church of England’s Maundy Services in Westminster Abbey. To mark Maundy Thursday—the day before Good Friday—she’ll distribute small bags of money to 85 male and 85 female retirees—one for each of her 85 years. The symbolic alms come in either a red or white purse. The former includes a £5 coin commemorating the Prince Philip’s 90th birthday in June, and a 50-pence coin marking the 2012 London Olympic Games. The latter is stuffed with Maundy Money of silver coins, minted especially for the occasion, in one, two, three and four penny denominations. They various coins add up to the Queen’s age.

(More on See pictures of Queen Elizabeth’s most stunning tiaras)

Of course, as the head of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, the Queen doesn’t just have one birthday—she has two. Thursday is her actual birthday—she was born at 1926 at 17 Bruton Street, her grandfather’s former home which is now an upscale Chinese restaurant. But the U.K. officially celebrates her birthday on the third Saturday of June, owing to a tradition started by King Edward VIII. His birthday was in November—not the best time for a street party—so he schedule a second, more festive affair for the summer. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Fabrication of Bahrain’s Shiite-Sunni Divide

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 17, 2011

This is another problem. People are dividing and dividing.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Katia Zatulivete, Russian Aide In England’s Parliament, Accused Of Spying

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 5, 2010

Another Russian spy story now.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ‘will release poison pill of damaging secrets if killed or arrested’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 5, 2010

Daily Mail By IAN DRURY

The founder of WikiLeaks has warned that his supporters are primed to publish a ‘deluge’ of leaked government

Threat: WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has warned that if he he is arrested or killed his followers will release more damaging information Read more:

documents should his activities be curtailed by any country.

Julian Assange has distributed to fellow hackers an encrypted ‘poison pill’ of damaging secrets, thought to include details on BP and Guantanamo Bay.

He believes the file is his ‘insurance’ in case he is killed, arrested or the whistleblowing website is removed permanently from the internet.

Mr Assange – understood to be lying low in Britain – could be arrested by Scotland Yard officers as early as tomorrow.

A warrant for his arrest was issued last Thursday by Swedish prosecutors who want to quiz him over rape allegations.

The developments came as fresh revelations were published on the WikiLeaks website. They include:

  • A leading Chinese politician coordinated the hacking of Google – which forced it to quit the Communist country – after finding unflattering articles about him on the website.
  • UK firm Rolls Royce lost out on a £200million contract to supply helicopter engines to Spain after the U.S. lobbied Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero in Madrid. The deal was eventually signed by American company GE.
  • And European Union President Herman Van Rompuy told a U.S. ambassador that European troops were still in Afghanistan only ‘out of deference’ to America.

Mr Assange, a reclusive Australian, has infuriated and embarrassed the U.S. in recent months by releasing hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

First, he published Army logs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that suggested soldiers were complicit in murder and torture.

And last week he published the first of around 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies, many containing sensitive information and embarrassing verdicts on leaders including David Cameron.

High-profile politicians in the U.S. including Sarah Palin, a narrow loser in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, have suggested the computer programmer should be ‘executed’ for publishing leaked U.S. state secrets. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prince William, Kate Middleton Royal Wedding?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 12, 2010

I gone through a forecast that he will not be the king. By that time UK will be a Republic country. I wish that will not happen. Let’s see, what happens with that forecast.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II Joins Facebook

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 7, 2010

Why not to be friend with the Queen at least through this social network FB?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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