Friday, 23 April 2010

Identity parade: What do flags say about nations – and human nature?
So out it pops today, as always in the last week of April, waving in the wind like some great blowsy red-and-white spring blossom which has suddenly emerged: the Cross of St George. But while blossom is universally welcome, the red cross on white of England, hoisted in its homeland on this St George's Day, 23 April, arouses contradictory and dangerous emotions: enthusiasm on the one hand, contempt and distrust on the other. Can there be a national flag anywhere which is so potentially divisive in the very country it symbolises?

Can you name this man? The many changing faces of St George

England never celebrates St George’s day. Well, not really anyway, as the deafening silence which greeted Boris Johnson’s attempt to drum up enthusiasm for the saint “who had been ignored for too long” showed last year. Despite his “St George’s week” efforts, Londoners barely noticed the 23rd April, except to wonder why their local pubs were full of complimentary red and white party hats.

Five interesting things that happened on today’s date

There are some dates in history that are repeated time and again, producing an odd synergy. For example, the 23rd November is the date on which John F. Kennedy was assasinated in 1963; it was the date British prime minister Margaret Thatcher ended her premiership in 1990; and it was the date on which Angela Merkel became the first ever female Chancellor of Germany in 2005.
Today's date, 21st April, is another such date. It has seen a host of interesting historical events, births and deaths. Here we look at five of the most significant things to happen on this day.

How Dangerous Is the Volcanic Ash?
A flight by the German Aerospace Center on Monday measured the ash plume over Germany and found that the particle concentration was no higher than that of sand clouds from the Sahara desert that sometimes reach Europe. But it is still unclear what kind of effect Eyjafjalljökull's ash particles could have on jet engines.

Playing for time
If North Korea did deliberately destroy a South Korean warship, what next?

Woman firefighter 'slept with her boss to stop him sexually harassing her', tribunal hears
A female firefighter slept with her 'sexist' boss in a desperate bid to end harassment by colleagues, a tribunal heard.

Tory candidate in John Prescott mask arrested for assault on female Labour party helpers after lunge at former deputy PM
A Tory council candidate wearing a John Prescott mask has been arrested after allegedly knocking down two women while trying to disrupt a campaign visit by the former deputy prime minister.

Doctors in Spain claim to have performed world's first full face transplant
A team of 30 Spanish doctors claim to have successfully performed the world’s first full face transplant.

The man who threw away the £100,000 winner
A mail driver today described how he threw away a £100,000 winning scratchcard because he misunderstood the rules of the game.

As foreign affairs enter the debate, so the anti-war protesters make their voice heard
Six people were arrested last night after police clashed with protesters in fractious scenes in Bristol hours ahead of the second leaders' debate.

'Sun' censored poll that showed support for Lib Dems

The Sun newspaper failed to publish a YouGov poll showing that voters fear a Liberal Democrat government less than a Conservative or Labour one.

Burglars break into prison to rob absent inmates
It would make a good gag for a comedy if it weren't actually true: thieves have broken into a Dutch prison to steal the inmates' televisions.

Virgin Atlantic Accused In Price Fixing Probe

Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic will be grilled over alleged passenger fare price fixing with rival carrier Cathay Pacific Airways.

Police Figures Show 7% Drop In Crime

The number of violent attacks, robberies and burglaries have fallen sharply across England and Wales, according to the latest figures.

RAF Hopes To Resume Flights After Ash Scare
The RAF hopes to resume Typhoon training flights today after deposits of volcanic ash in engines sparked a fresh scare over British air safety.

Owners of Marmite seek injunction against BNP after jar appears in video
The owners of Marmite sought an injunction against the British National Party yesterday after it included images of the brand in a political broadcast.

Failed job hunt ends in overdose at 21
A young woman who had left school with ten GCSEs and three A levels apparently killed herself because she felt “humiliated” when she could not get a job.

Newborn babies to get bar codes instead of handwritten name tags
An NHS hospital has become the first in the country to issue all new born babies with bar codes instead of traditional handwritten tags.

British family ‘asked not to be served by hotel’s black waiters’
A family of British holidaymakers were accused yesterday of telling the management of a five-star Florida hotel that they did not want to be waited on by black staff.

'Boastful' killer, 17, detained for four years
A teenager who killed a man and boasted about it on the social networking site Facebook has been detained for four years.

Diabetic boy died after swine flu misdiagnosis
An eight-year-old boy died from diabetes after being misdiagnosed with swine flu by an out-of-hours doctor service, an inquest has been told.

Man jailed for sex with autistic teenager

A man who had sex with a "vulnerable" autistic girl after meeting her mother via the internet has been jailed for more than three years.

Somerset village stands up against 'greedy MPs'
Driving across the Somerset levels, through the village of Burtle, I cannot fail to notice one thing.
Nearly every other house has a black and white poster up saying Vote Against Greed.
It was started by Robin Howell, who said he wanted to send a message to all politicians and parties about greed and corruption in parliament.

Poor 'get less prostate surgery'
Men living in deprived areas are less likely to receive radiotherapy or surgery for prostate cancer than their richer counterparts, a study suggests.

Britain's first-quarter growth eases fears of double-dip recession

Labour relieved as official figures today are tipped to show growth at high end of economists' forecast

Car bomb blast outside police station on Irish border

Police face rise in threat of activity by dissident republicans

Davd Cameron attacks Gordon Brown over 'scaremongering' leaflets

Conservative leader scores big hit during leaders' debate with accusation of 'lies' about policy on pensioners

Stranded BA passengers sent to back of queue

British Airways faced an angry backlash from long-haul customers stranded in India and China today after the airline admitted it is giving them no priority over new paying customers for empty seats.


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