A project in London has been forced to scale down its plans following bitter protests lead by a local councillor. It was originally billed as “the biggest mosque in Europe”. Now, even though the plans have changed—and it may not quite live up to the name—opposition remains strong. The Tablighi Jamaat, the conservative Muslim missionary group that’s behind the proposal is seen by Western intelligence agencies as providing a recruiting ground for extremists.
While some changes are made at the ballot box, others are made in fashionable London restaurants. Britain's long standing Prime Minister Tony Blair handed over the reins of power to his partner and rival, Gordon Brown in 2007. There have been reports of a tea-time deal with a young Tony Blair agreeing to hand over the leadership of the country after two terms in office -- well, after a very long wait - Gordon Brown took over at 10 Downing Street a decade later. In London, Radio France International's Rosalyn Hyamns took a look back at Tony Blair’s legacy and peeped into the future of Britain's new Prime Minister.
Diana, Princess of Wales commenting on the insatiable appetite of the media in her public and private life. 2007 marked 10 years since that fatal car crash in Paris. And even a decade after her death, the interest in the People's Princess has not diminished. Phil Hall who was editor of "News of the World" at the time, admitted this August that the media had some responsibility for Diana's death. He said that , "If the paparazzi hadn't been following her, the car wouldn't have been speeding and the accident may never have happened. " As Radio Netherland's Richard Walker reports, Diana was a dream come true for Britain's tabloid press.
And for those of you who used that minute break to light up, you may be aware that 2007 saw a smoking ban come into effect in England. Since the first of July, it's been forbidden to puff away in virtually all enclosed public spaces and workplaces. Deutsche Welle's Carol Allen checked up on Londoners after the first nerve-wracking month
It's now 10 years since Diana's death in a high speed car crash in Paris, which also claimed the lives of Dodi Al Fayed and the driver Henry Paul. What role did the Paris paparazzi and indeed the media play in the accident? This question has been much debated over the past decade. This week Phil Hall, the then editor of "News of the World" admitted the media had some responsibility for her death. He said "if the paparazzi hadn't been following her, the car wouldn't have been speeding and, the accident may never have happened. A big Diana story could add 150,000 sales. So we were all responsible". Ten years after Diana's death the media interest in the People's Princess has not diminished.
Celebrity gossip, big brash headlines, paparazzi pictures and lots of nudes, those are all trademarks of British tabloids. But another recurring topic the tabloids love to hate is the European Union - or the so-called Euromyths. You might say Brussels bunkum if you're British. Anthony Gooch is the Head of Media at the Representation of the European Commission in London and his mission is to fight these so-called Euromyths.
It’s now been a bit over a month since a smoking ban came into effect in England - and there’s been a rather stoic reaction to the ban. As the country moves into its second smoke free month, we look at some of the anomalies and unexpected effects the ban has had on Londoners and London life.
An era came to an end this week in Northern Ireland's troubled history, when the British army ended its long-running operation in the province. The first soldiers were deployed after violent clashes between Catholics and Protestants in 1969. Back then, people thought they would only remain for a few weeks, but what became known as Operation Banner was to be the British army's longest running campaign. And although it was Northern Ireland's catholic minority which originally requested the army's presence, it wasn't long before the troops were not that welcome any longer.
British men are content to self-medicate when in need of relaxation and for large numbers of them on stag-weekends that means picking up a cheap flight to Krakow in Poland! The beer’s cheap, the hotels are cheap, and, until recently at least, the local population greeted them warmly. To give the uninitiated an idea of what the British stag weekend is – groups of up to 20 or so men, usually friends and relatives of the one getting married, go away for the weekend to celebrate the groom’s last days of bachelor life. Such weekends often get so beer-soaked that in Prague, another popular cheap booze destination, the British embassy plans to issue 20,000 beer-mats warning that under Czech law you could spend a couple of days in jail for being drunk and disorderly. But there seems little doubt that Krakowites are having their patience tested by brash, boozy Brits.
10 years after he was elected, British Prime Minister, Tony Blair handed over the reigns of power to his partner – and rival – the long waiting Mr Brown. It was the end of an era for Britain - but also for Europe, where Tony Blair was long held up as the poster-boy of political reform. Radio France International's Rosslyn Hyamns in London takes this look back at Tony Blair’s legacy and into the future at Britain's new Prime Minister.
European leaders this week converged on Brussels for talks on the controversial EU treaty at a two-day summit in Brussels, which began on Thursday. Governments around the EU went into the summit assuring voters that they would stand firm on their own position. Some of them - notably the UK and Poland have long threatened to veto the new treaty if it doesn't serve their national interest. It all seems a far cry from the days when the majority of European leaders talked happily about forging an ever closer union. Or does it? Network Europe's Brussels correspondent, Stephen Castle in Brussels
Stockholm's International Peace Research says too much focus on the possible possession of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea has diverted attention from the development of a new generation of sophisticated nuclear weapons by three countries in Europe - Russia, France and the UK.
After decades of violence and division, this week saw the inauguration of an historic power-sharing government in the long troubled province of Northern Ireland. Rival protestants and Catholics will take their seats in the freshly revived Northern Ireland Assembly. The conservative Protestant DUP party won elections there last month, with the Catholic Sinn Fein coming second. The hard-line Protestant leader, eighty one year old Reverend Ian Paisley, will become the province’s first minister. Radio Netherlands’ Lia van Beckhoven has this portrait of the man who, finally, changed his mind.
Repeated shootings over the past few months have raised fears about gun crime in Britain’s black communities. Police and politicians have struggled to explain the surge in violence. Many black community members blame a culture that glamourises guns and gang membership. Deutsche Welle’s Stephen Beard reports from London.
Formerly secret documents, brought to light by a recent radio documentary in Britain, have revealed that in the 1950's, Paris took the extraordinary step of proposing to merge France with Britain. It w as the initiative of the then Prime Minister Guy Mollet. But this was no marriage of equals: the offer was that the British monarch become the French head of state, and that France be integrated into the British commonwealth.
Come what may in 2007 Britain will have a new Prime Minister and France a new president. The EU will celebrate its 50th Birthday and Germany will raise taxes and finally catch up on anti-smoking laws. Daniel Franklin executive editor of the Economist takes a closer look at what else might lay ahead in 2007.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said relations between his country and Britain were unaffected by the British police investigation into the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. His comments came as British police officers in Moscow conducted interviews with key witnesses to the bizarre poisoning case that has been going on for weeks.
A recent study revealed a massive increase in the number of overseas students enrolling at universities in the UK. In fact, the number has more than doubled since the mid 1990s. What's led to this huge rise, and what impact is it having on university education in the UK? Radio Prague's Ian Willoughby has been finding out.
The United Kingdom recently announced it would not be extending its "open door" policy to workers from Romania and Bulgaria, when they join the European Union in just under two months' time. That move comes in reaction to the phenomenal influx of workers following the last EU enlargement in 2004, with actual numbers far, far exceeding official estimates. And the biggest wave of immigration in British history is really making its mark on the country.
Romania and its neighbour Bulgaria, will most probably join the European Union on January the 1st , 2007. Many Romanians support membership because it will allow them to work and gain experience abroad, preferably in the UK. But Radio Romania International explains that the UK may curtail its open doors policy.
An almost immediate impact of the attacks on the US in 2001 in Britain was a move to bring in legislation giving police wider powers, notably to act on suspicion of terrorist activity. Some see such initatives on the part of the British government as sensible and effective prevention steps. Others have raised concerns over abuse of rights.
One of the oldest monarchies in Europe is the House of Windsor. Britain's Royal family can trace its roots back to William the Conqueror in the 11th century. As an institution, the British monarchy remains secure; there is little appetite for a Republic. But in recent years the popularity of the Queen and her close relatives has declined...largely because of the antics of some of the younger members of the family.
Citizens from new EU member states are able to enter the UK through the front door, as the country has a free labour market for EU citizens. According to the Home Office around 250 000 Poles are employed in the UK. Up to two million Poles may have settled in EU countries since Poland joined the Union in 2004. But emigration on this scale may in the long term have dramatic consequences for Poland, which has an ageing population. More from Radio Polonia.
English football fans have a bit of a reputation. But the British government wants to change that. About three-and-a-half thousand Brits, convicted of football-related violence, will have to hand in their passports to police this week. And that'll force these hooligans to give up their tickets to the World Cup. Deutsche Welle has this report on British efforts to keep the peace in Germany:
In May 2004 as 10 new members joined the European Union Ireland, the United Kingdom and Sweden were the only countries to immediately open their labour markets to the new EU citizens. Since then, according to Ireland's official figures, around 10,000 Czechs have taken advantage of that opportunity to work there. Now - drawing on two years of experience - the Irish government has just launched an information campaign entitled "Know Before You Go" . Radio Prague reports from the Czech capital.
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