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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘united kingdom

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes the refusal of Bombardier to explain to the TTC, even in the context of an impending lawsuit, why streetcar production is so delayed.
  • At the Broadside Blog, Caitlin Kelly recommends the movie Spotlight for its insights into the importance of journalism.
  • Crooked Timber considers protests at Princeton about racial representation.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting possibilities for direct imaging of the Alpha Centauri system.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes plans to close down the last coal-powered power plant in Britain.
  • Far Outliers looks at Russian and German encounters with Papuans in the late 19th century.
  • Language Hat starts a discussion on marginalized languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the defense of the mayor of Roanoke that his defense of the Japanese-American internment was not racist.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the importance of the Iran-Iraq War in the Middle East’s downward spiral.
  • pollotenchegg notes language use in Ukraine.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes how the Kirchner governments in Argentina subsidized energy companies.
  • Torontoist notes a Bloordale artist’s efforts to start a fact box in her neighbourhood.
  • Towleroad notes the belated recognition of a trans widow’s marriage.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the complications of the cut-off of electricity supply from Ukraine to Crimea.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alexander Harrowell is critical of certain plans for devolution that risk creating party fiefdoms.

[LINK] “Belgravia Mansion Sales Slump as Russians Vanish From London”

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Bloomberg’s Neil Callanan describes the collapse in the purchase of mansions in London by wealthy Russians.

Home sales in Belgravia, the London district favored by Russian oligarchs for its large Regency-style houses, are slumping after the collapse of the ruble against the pound.

Transactions dropped 25 percent in the neighborhood in the 10 months through October from a year earlier, compared with a decline of almost 20 percent in the rest of central London’s best districts, according to researcher Lonres. The ruble has fallen 26 percent in the past year against the U.K. currency amid international sanctions over Ukraine and the collapse of oil prices.

“The share of Russian buyers in the prime central London market is down due largely to the currency weakness and difficulty in getting money out of the country,” said Charles McDowell, who advises wealthy clients on buying luxury homes in London. “This has affected Belgravia and Knightsbridge in particular, which is very much the Russian heartland.”

Written by Randy McDonald

November 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm

[LINK] “Calais refugees grieve for Paris while dreading Islamophobic backlash”

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Al Jazeera America’s Colette Davidson reports on what seems to me to be the increasingly untenable situation of the refugees in the Calais camp.

Dulbar Karem sits cross-legged in her trailer in the Iraqi section of a refugee camp on the outskirts of Calais which holds thousands of people, many of whom mourned Friday’s attacks in Paris while also fearing that they would lead to an Islamophobic backlash.

“We cried for France that night,” she said, bouncing her 11-month-old daughter, Chawy, on her lap. “We didn’t sleep.”

[. . .]

This sentiment was shared yesterday when about 200 people gathered in the camp’s activities tent to hold a vigil for the victims of the Paris attacks. Camp residents of all nationalities met, holding hands in two circles for three minutes of silence before participants were given the floor to express themselves.

“There were mostly messages of peace and hope, but there were also a lot of apologies from Muslim members of the community,” said Abby Evans, who runs the Hands International vaccinations clinic next door and attended the vigil.

“They weren’t apologizing for themselves,” said Joe Murphy, whose Good Chance theater helped organize the commemoration. “They really wanted to stress that ‘we are not those people — this is not Islam.’”

Written by Randy McDonald

November 17, 2015 at 10:59 am

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes an old mansion at Bloor and Sherbourne is being moved to make room for the new.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about her routines and rituals.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a catalog of nearby stellar systems.
  • Joe. My. God. observes the bizarrely rigid British ban on poppers sales.
  • Language Hat notes the remarkable flexible language used in Albanian bazaars.
  • Language Log notes a politely-worded anti-smoking sign in New York City’s Central Park, partly written in Chinese, and how this differs from the standard.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that Central Americans have not benefited from globalized trade agreements, at all.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the underperformance of the white English.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla examines the small moons of Pluto-Charon.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer announces the introduction of an economic history category.
  • Towleroad notes an anti-trans activist who led the successful fight against an anti-discrimination law, on the grounds that trans people would harass women, himself defended men who took illicit photos of women changing.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the Russian government is trying to present sanctions as the new normal.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO shares photos of Yonge and Dundas in the grimy 1970s.
  • The Big Picture shares photos from a Tibetan Buddhist assembly.
  • Crooked Timber shares a photo of Bristol’s floating bridge.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on an estimate of the number of extraterrestrial technological civilizations.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes an atlas of drought in Europe.
  • Geocurrents examines the fallacy of environmental determinism.
  • Joe. My. God. notes how open travel between the European Union and Ukraine has been endangered by the failure to protect gay employment.
  • Language Hat links to an essay by a feminist talking about what it is like to live in a language environment, that of Hebrew, where everything is gendered.
  • Language Log engages with fax usage in Japan and notes rare characters in Taiwan.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the plight of the dying steel town, all the worse because it was evitable.
  • Marginal Revolution has a bizarre defense of Ben Carson.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog and Window on Eurasia report on a rectification of the Russian-Chinese frontier.
  • Window on Eurasia is critical of village values in Russia, and notes the return of ISIS fighters to Azerbaijan.

[LINK] “Putin Tests English Debt Law as Ukraine Feud Heads to London”

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Bloomberg’s Natasha Doff notes a potentially very noteworthy legal battle in London, between Russia and Ukraine, over issues of international debt.

Russia and Ukraine are about to test the boundaries of sovereign-debt litigation in a dispute that could have far-reaching implications for government bailouts the world over.

The neighbors are vowing to fight each other in a London court over a $3 billion bond Vladimir Putin bought to reward his Ukrainian ally, Viktor Yanukovych, for rejecting closer trade ties with the European Union two years ago. That move fueled the protests in Kiev that led to Yanukovych’s ouster, Putin’s annexation of Crimea and an insurgency that’s killed 8,000 people.

Ukraine’s government, on life support from the International Monetary Fund, gave Russia until Thursday to agree to the same writedown and extension that Franklin Templeton, which manages the largest U.S. overseas bond fund, and other creditors accepted this month. Russia has refused to negotiate and is shopping for a law firm to file suit as soon as Ukraine makes good on its threat to default when the bond comes due Dec. 20.

“This issue will go to court, there’s no other way around it,” said Christopher Granville, a former U.K. diplomat in Moscow who runs Trusted Sources research group in London. “There’s no way Russia will remain under financial sanctions from the U.S. government and accept the same terms as Franklin Templeton.”

Written by Randy McDonald

October 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm

[LINK] “Waterstones to stop selling Kindle as book sales surge”

The Guardian‘s Nicola Slawson reports that British bookselling chain Waterstones has decided to stop selling Kindles, on weak e-reader sales and stronger book sales.

Waterstones, which teamed up with Amazon in 2012 to sell the electronic reader in its stores, will use the display space for physical paperbacks and hardbacks instead.

James Daunt, the managing director of the retailer, told The Bookseller: “Sales of Kindles continue to be pitiful so we are taking the display space back in more and more shops.

[. . .]

The move comes after physical book sales at Waterstones rose 5% in December 2014 at the expense of the e-reader.

It appears this trend is not unique to Waterstones. Figures released by Nielsen Bookscan show sales of print books for the first 36 weeks of 2015 rose by 4.6% (worth £739.5m) when compared to the same period in 2014.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 7, 2015 at 8:52 pm


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