LONDON (Reuters) – No one inflames British passions quite like Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister whose biopic “The Iron Lady” has rekindled debate on her legacy ahead of the film’s release on Friday.
Legions of admirers cast her as a pioneering politician whose bold policies rescued Britain from economic collapse, but equally numerous detractors see her as a heartless champion of free market orthodoxy at the expense of the poor.
LONDON (Reuters) – For years a bronze statue of Alfred Salter sat on a bench looking out on a quiet bend of the River Thames, a memorial to a doctor who dedicated his life to a London district once infamous for Dickensian levels of poverty and disease.
Now the bench is empty after his statue fell victim to a wave of metal thefts sweeping Britain, threatening artworks and ravaging infrastructure as thieves seek to capitalize on soaring metal prices and a cash-in-hand scrap industry.
LONDON (Reuters) – The government has reached a tentative deal on pension reform with most public sector unions, treasury minister Danny Alexander said on Tuesday, easing fears of further strikes after a mass walkout last month.
Union executives and members will study the details of the proposals, part of the deficit-cutting coalition’s efforts to reduce the cost of state sector pensions, which it says are unaffordable.
LONDON (Reuters) – The government has reached a tentative deal on pension reform with most public sector unions, treasury minister Danny Alexander said on Tuesday, easing fears of further strikes after a mass walkout over the issue last month.
Union executives and members will now study the details of the proposals, part of government efforts to reduce the cost of state sector pensions it says are now unaffordable. The unions are expected to respond early next year.
LONDON (Reuters) – A Libyan Islamist and militia leader has started legal action against Britain for what he says was his illegal rendition by British security forces to face torture in Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj is a former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which waged an insurgency against Gaddafi in the 1990s. He also spent time with Islamist militants in Afghanistan, but says he was not allied with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda.
LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – German Foreign Minister
Guido Westerwelle promised to mend fences with Britain on Monday
after a divisive EU summit to save the euro zone left the island
nation isolated in Europe.
“I am here to show you that we are willing to build bridges
over troubled water,” Westerwelle told reporters at a joint
press conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in
LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Getting paid has
outstripped security as the biggest issue for many companies
returning to war-worn Libya, putting on ice crucial work until
the emerging government can pay, delegates at a conference said.
Initial excitement from companies that rushed to return to
Libya to bag a slice of an estimated $200 billion reconstruction
programme has been tempered by concerns over payment for deals
signed under former leader Muammar Gaddafi.
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s top soldier warned on Wednesday that pro-democracy uprisings in the Middle East could spawn militant Islamist activity in Britain, but said the greatest threat was economic.
In his end-of-year analysis of the dangers facing Britain, the chief of the defense staff, General David Richards, said the Arab Spring could stir unrest in Britain’s immigrant communities.
COVENTRY, England (Reuters) – With only a few hours sleep, a phone glued to his ear and another two ringing, the fast-talking director of arguably Syria’s most high-profile human rights group is a very busy man.
“Are there clashes? How did he die? Ah, he was shot,” said Rami Abdulrahman into a phone, the talk of gunfire and death incongruous with his two bedroom terraced home in Coventry, from where he runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will not expand its role in Afghanistan to take over from departing U.S. troops, Britain’s defence secretary said on Thursday in a speech which also addressed spending, the cost of the Libya campaign and the role of women on submarines.
After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, the White House is moving ahead with plans to withdraw 33,000 of its near 100,000 troops by next September, raising speculation among some military analysts that British soldiers might be used to pick up any slack.