Victoria Cross fetches record price at auction

Monday, July 24, 2006

The auction house Bonhams and Goodman have sold the last privately owned Victoria Cross(VC) awarded at the World War I Gallipoli campaign in Sydney tonight. The medal was awarded to New Zealand-born Australian soldier Captain Alfred Shout. The sale price of $A 1 million surpassed the previous record of $A575,000 set in 2004 for the VC medal awarded to Sergeant Norman Jackson of the RAF 1944.

The Victoria Cross is the highest recognition for valour “in the face of the enemy” that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces and civilians under military command. It is also the highest award in the British Honours system.

The buyer is an Australian businessman, auctioneer Mr Tim Goodman said “I can confirm the buyer is a prominent Australian businessman who is going to work with the RSL to make sure the medals go on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.”, after commissions and other charges the successful buyer will pay $A1,214,500.

The addition of this medal will take the display of Victoria Crosses at the Australian War Memorial to 60. The display will include all nine Victoria Crosses awarded to Australian servicemen at Gallipoli.

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EU, Canada impose duties on some US goods in retaliation for Byrd Amendment

Friday, April 1, 2005

The European Union (EU) and Canada announced they will impose a 15% tariff on some United States (U.S.) imports. Permission for the sanctions was granted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) due to the U.S. maintaining a law known as the Byrd Amendment, which gives its companies billions of dollars collected from foreign rivals.

U.S. Congress failed to repeal the four-year-old Byrd Amendment ruled illegal by the WTO in September 2002. The WTO gave the EU and Canada, in addition to Brazil, Japan, India, South Korea and Mexico the right to impose retaliatory tariffs on November 27. The tariffs will take effect May 1.

The retaliatory tariffs will largely affect U.S. paper, clothing and machinery for the EU and live swine, cigarettes and oysters for Canada.

In the 2004 fiscal year, U.S. based Timken received $40 million, and Lancaster Colony Corp. received about $26 million. The EU says that total payouts will rise as high as $1.6 billion in the fiscal year of 2005 unless the law is repealed. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office estimated that payouts for the fiscal year of 2006 will reach $1.15 billion.

The European tariffs will collect near $26 million, while the Canadian tariffs will amount to near $11.6 million.

The European Commission, in a statement, said the tariffs were caused by “the continuing failure of the U.S. to bring its legislation into conformity with its international obligations.”

According to Canadian Trade Minister Jim Peterson, the tariffs are “a strong message that we are all sending to the U.S. that international rule, those of the WTO, must be respected. We just cannot allow the U.S. to illegally disburse funds that are collected.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative, Richard Mills, said “We’re disappointed that this step is being taken. The U.S. is working to comply with the WTO decision.”

Other countries such as Japan and Mexico are considering a similar move.

President Bush has called for congress to repeal the Byrd Amendment since February.

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T Shirts Its Ethical Side}

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Submitted by: Smart Web

T-shirts are not merely an attractive, multipurpose piece of clothing but are also to be something that others can benefit from. Though putting t-shirts up for sale online have long been associated with charitable groups of a technique of direct advertising the implementation of numerous initiatives through eminent websites has widened the their charitable reach. Besides looking great in them, you are able to give something back to the world! There’re numerous ways in which purchasing t-shirts can bring about a positive transforms and help to encourage a more fair society.

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Making use of sustainable practices

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Sweden’s Crown Princess marries long-time boyfriend

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sweden’s first royal wedding since 1976 took place Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria, 32, married her long-time boyfriend and former personal trainer, Daniel Westling, 36. The ceremony took place at Stockholm Cathedral.

Over 1,200 guests, including many rulers, politicians, royals and other dignitaries from across the world, attended the wedding, which cost an estimated 20 million Swedish kronor. Victoria wore a wedding dress with five-metre long train designed by Pär Engsheden. She wore the same crown that her mother, Queen Silvia, wore on her wedding day 34 years previously, also on June 19. Victoria’s father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, walked Victoria down the aisle, which was deemed untraditional by many. In Sweden, the bride and groom usually walk down the aisle together, emphasising the country’s views on equality. Victoria met with Daniel half-way to the altar, where they exchanged brief kisses, and, to the sounds of the wedding march, made their way to the the silver altar. She was followed by ten bridesmaids. The couple both had tears in their eyes as they said their vows, and apart from fumbling when they exchanged rings, the ceremony went smoothly.

Following the ceremony, the couple headed a fast-paced procession through central Stockholm on a horse-drawn carriage, flanked by police and security. Up to 500,000 people are thought to have lined the streets. They then boarded the Vasaorden, the same royal barge Victoria’s parents used in their wedding, and traveled through Stockholm’s waters, accompanied by flyover of 18 fighter jets near the end of the procession. A wedding banquet followed in the in the Hall of State of the Royal Palace.

Controversy has surrounded the engagement and wedding between the Crown Princess and Westling, a “commoner”. Victoria met Westling as she was recovering from bulemia in 2002. He owned a chain of gymnasiums and was brought in to help bring Victoria back to full health. Westling was raised in a middle-class family in Ockelbo, in central Sweden. His father managed a social services centre, and his mother worked in a post office. When the relationship was made public, Westling was mocked as an outsider and the king was reportedly horrified at the thought of his daughter marrying a “commoner”, even though he did so when he married Silvia. Last year, Westling underwent transplant surgery for a congenital kidney disorder. The Swedish public have been assured that he will be able to have children and that his illness will not be passed on to his offspring.

Westling underwent years of training to prepare for his new role in the royal family, including lessons in etiquette, elocution, and multi-lingual small talk; and a makeover that saw his hair being cropped short, and his plain-looking glasses and clothes being replaced by designer-wear.

Upon marrying the Crown Princess, Westling took his wife’s ducal title and is granted the style “His Royal Highness”. He is now known as HRH Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He also has his own coat-of-arms and monogram. When Victoria assumes the throne and becomes Queen, Daniel will not become King, but assume a supportive role, similar to that of Prince Phillip, the husband of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II.

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British fashion designer Alexander McQueen found dead at age 40

Friday, February 12, 2010

British fashion designer Alexander McQueen has died at the age of 40. He was found dead inside his residence in London, England yesterday.

The Metropolitan Police said they are are not treating the death as suspicious. A spokesperson for the police force said, “[w]e were called by London Ambulance Service at about 10.20am this morning to reports of a man found dead at an address in Green Street, W1. He is believed to be 40 years old and from London. Next of kin have been informed, however we await formal identification before releasing the name of the deceased.” According to reports, McQueen committed suicide by hanging, however this has not been confirmed.

Between the years of 1996 and 2003, McQueen received Fashion Designer of the Year four times. He was also given a CBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003. The fashion designer had a new selection of clothing, entitled “McQ”, that was expected to be shown on Thursday; the show has now been cancelled. Alexander’s mother Joyce died earlier this month. In response to this, McQueen placed a message on his Twitter page which said “RIP mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.” Isabella Blow, who assisted in making McQueen famous, killed herself in 2007.

Yesterday, a statement was released from McQueen’s company headquarters stating “On behalf of Lee McQueen’s family, Alexander McQueen today announces the tragic news that Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home. At this stage it is inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying that we are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee’s family. Lee’s family has asked for privacy in order to come to terms with this terrible news and we hope the media will respect this.”

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Taekwondo In San Francisco: Your Fa Qs Answered}

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Submitted by: Thea Beckman

Are you interested in signing up for martial arts classes in order to get into shape and learn the physical techniques and skills necessary to defend yourself? If so and if youve been thinking about taking up Taekwondo classes in San Francisco, here are the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions by prospecting students:

FAQ: What exactly is taekwondo?

Answer: Taekwondo is a martial art form that originated from Korea over two millennia ago. Tae means to jump or kick, Kwon means fist or hand and Do means the way. So Taekwondo is literally the way of the hand and foot, which makes sense since this martial art focuses on using the hands and feet to deliver strikes, explain martial arts experts in San Francisco.

FAQ: What are the core principles of taekwondo?

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Answer: In any taekwondo class in San Francisco, you will learn the importance and true value of courtesy, self-confidence, integrity, perseverance, self-control and commitment. This martial art form is not just about learning how to take on an opponent; its about achieving the best version of yourself possible and attaining a greater harmony between your mind and your body.

FAQ: Films often depict taekwondo as quite a violent martial art; or as a cult or sect. Is this at all true?

Answer: Taekwondo is none of these. It certainly isnt a religious sect or cult and while many martial arts films can depict taekwondo to be violent and thuggish, in reality it is a sensible, peaceful method of training that teaches students to achieve a greater control of their bodies and their minds. You will find that with a sophistication of the mind comes a lesser desire to fight, explain martial art experts in San Francisco.

FAQ: What ranking system is used in taekwondo?

Answer: The color of the belt you wear is typically used as a way to indicate your level of achievement or rank in taekwondo. This helps to motivate students and gives them a sense of reward for the skills they have mastered, explain taekwondo experts in San Francisco. There are nine belts with the highest achievement being Black Belt. Having said this, your training does not stop there. True taekwondo masters never stop learning and they never stop training.

FAQ: Is it necessary to learn Korean terminology in taekwondo?

Answer: You cant learn a martial art and divorce yourself from the culture from which it sprang, say martial arts experts in San Francisco. That would be very ignorant and frankly a disrespectful attitude to have. Even if you arent especially good at languages, the words used in taekwondo are short and easy to remember. Also, they are used universally, so no matter where in the world you train you will understand the commands of your master.

It would be very embarrassing to be given a command by, say, a grandmaster visiting your gym and for you to have no idea what he or she is asking you to do! say martial arts experts in San Francisco. If you want to compete in tournaments and take taekwondo seriously, its a good idea to come to grips with the terminology. Also, its fun!

About the Author: Thea Beckman is a seasoned web and article writer collaborating with clients associated with martial arts in San Francisco as well as the health and wellness industry. She has a keen interest in different forms of martial arts including Taekwondo. Thea delights clients with amusing and informative articles, blogs, and press releases. For more information about the Korean martial art form of Taekwondo visit:


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Spelbound declared winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

An acrobatic group known by the name of Spelbound has been declared as the winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010, a televised variety talent show competition broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom. As the winning act of the show, Spelbound have won £100,000 (US$144,580, 120,313, A$175,079) and a place at The Royal Variety Performance, an annual gala evening that is attended by senior members of the British Royal Family.

In no particular order, the top three acts were revealed to be two dancers known by their stage name of Twist and Pulse, gymnastic group Spelbound and Kieran Gaffney, whose act involves playing on the drum kit. After Kieran Gaffney was revealed to be in third place, Anthony McPartlin, who hosts Britain’s Got Talent with Declan Donnelly, said to Kieran: “Well done Kieran. Kieran, you’re a star, you came back, you got all the way to the final. I know you’ve loved this. You’ve loved this, haven’t you?” In response to this, Kieran Gaffney stated: “Thank you very much. Thank you, everyone for supporting me. Thank you.”

Shortly afterwards, on the episode that was broadcast live on ITV1 on Saturday, Anthony announced: “After tens of thousands of auditons, five semi-finals and an amazing final, this…this is it. One of you is about to walk away with £100,000 and a place at this year’s Royal Variety Performance. The winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2010 is…Spelbound!” Glen Murphy from Twist and Pulse commented about finishing in second place, stating: “Yeah, it’s amazing. I can’t even believe it. I can’t believe it at all.”

Alex Uttley, a 24-year-old member of Spelbound, commented on the gymnastic group’s victory, commenting: “Oh, my god. This is unbelieveable. We just want to say thank you to everyone out there. It just shows that all our hard work has paid off.” One of the coaches of Spelbound, named Neil Griffiths, stated about Spelbound: “Oh, they’ve worked so hard over the last few weeks. Um, since the semi-final, we…we really had to pull out the stops to try and up the game. They’ve not known they’ve worked in the gym from six in the morning till twelve…twelve o’clock of the night. I couldn’t have asked for more. Um, it’s a team of coaches. I don’t take all the credit myself. There’s, uh, two people up there that know who they are who’ve been fantastic.”

Spelbound consists of 24-year-old Alex Uttley, Nicholas Illingworth, aged 24, Adam Buckingham, aged 21, 20-year-old Adam McAssey, 19-year-old Douglas Fordyce, 18-year-old Edward Upcott, 18-year-old Leighanne Cowler, 17-year-old Katie Axten, 17-year-old Lauren Kemp, 15-year-old Jonathan Stranks, Abigail Ralph, aged 15, 13-year-old Hollianne Wood and Amy Mackenzie, aged 12. Bookmakers had previously predicted that Spelbound would be the most likely act to become the winner of the series.

The running order for the final started with Twist and Pulse. The second act to perform was Liam McNally, a 14-year-old singer. The running order subsequently continued with 40-year-old impressionist Paul Burling, singer Christopher Stone, aged 28, Tina & Chandi, a woman and dog dancing act, Connected, a five-piece singing group, Kieran Gaffney, aged 12, 22-year-old Tobias Mead, a dancer, 80-year-old singer Janey Cutler and Spelbound in that particular order.

Earlier on in the final, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has stated to Spelbound: “We are hosting the 2012 Olympics and I think ‘what a brilliant opening act’.” Fellow judge Piers Morgan also commented that “[t]he purpose of this show is to identify hidden great British talent. You are that act.” After Spelbound won in the final, another judge, named Simon Cowell, stated that “the right boys and girls won on the night” and that he could “only say on live TV that that was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen. Seriously.”

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Man is waiting for 139 days in front of theater for “Star Wars” movie

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Jeff Tweiten, a 27-year-old graphic artist, is encamped in front of the Cinerama Theatre, on a blue sofa, in the northwest city of Seattle, Washington. Tweiten plans to wait 139 days for the premiere of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which opens May 19, 2005.

He has received help from a community of friends and local business people who have supplied changes of clothes, coffee, food, and a nearby restroom.

City authorities have chosen not to enforce vagrancy laws that would force Tweiten to move between the hours of 7AM and 9PM local time.

Tweiten also camped out for the previous two episodes of the Star Wars movies, “Episode I” and “Episode II”.

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Michael Jackson shops in women’s clothes

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pop star Michael Jackson was caught by photographers dressed in women’s clothing in a shopping mall in the Gulf state of Bahrain. Jackson was dressed in a black abaya (a traditional full-length robe), a veil covering his face, dark sunglasses and gloves. Jackson was accompanied by three young, Western-looking children, their faces covered with black veils, and an adult woman wearing an abaya over jeans, her face partly covered, and bodyguards.

After Jackson was recognized, he reportedly said “Please, No!” and the unidentified woman asked photographers to back off. Photographers continued to take pictures while mall security guards escorted Jackson and his entourage out through a back door, where they got into a white Lexus with darkened windows. A picture published by The Australian shows an adult completely covered in black, holding the hand of a young child whose face is covered. Mall officials confirmed that it was Michael Jackson.

Jackson has been a guest of the royal family since June 2004, after he was acquitted of sexually molesting young cancer patients who visited his California ranch, Neverland, in 2003.

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US military brig officials order whistle-blowing suspect to sleep naked

Monday, March 7, 2011

United States soldier Bradley Manning, accused of leaking US state secrets to WikiLeaks and detained under restrictive conditions at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia since July 2010, was ordered Wednesday to sleep stripped of all clothing. According to his attorney, this condition was imposed because Manning made a “sarcastic quip” about the harsh conditions of his confinement.

For most of the eight months he has been held there, Manning has been required to sleep only in his boxer shorts because he has been under “prevention of injury watch,” according to First Lieutenant Brian Villiard, a spokesman for the Quantico facility. David Coombs, Manning’s legal representative for the upcoming court marshal, said that on Wednesday Manning complained of his clothing restrictions and joked that if he wanted to, he might be able to harm himself “with the elastic waistband of his underwear or with his flip-flops.”

On Wednesday night, the brig commander determined that Manning must give up his boxer shorts also. Villiard said, “The intention is to ensure the safety and security of the detainee and make sure he is able to stand trial.” Villiard, citing privacy rules designed to protect the detainees, did not explain how Manning could harm himself if allowed to wear his underwear.

Coombs said Manning was not put under a suicide watch because that would have required the decision of a mental health professional. As a result of the tightening of Manning’s conditions, he will be required for the indefinite future to sleep naked in his cell, and endure, according to Coombs, the “humiliation of standing naked at attention for the morning roll call”.

In a statement, Senator John Kerry suggested recent publicity will cast light on Manning’s situation and the balance between humane treatment and suicide prevention: “I think that a lot of people are now reviewing this very, very closely, people have weighed in, myself included, I think that analyses are being made. … And I’m convinced that there will be real scrutiny with respect to that issue.”

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