Tag Archive: London

British Police waited too long to act

Police guard a shop after looting broke out in Brixton on August 8, 2011 in London


British Prime Minster David Cameron says the police faced “a new and unique challenge” this week, as looting broke out at the same time in different places across the country.

He said police in London acknowledge they initially delayed too long before taking action to arrest rioters and looters, as he addressed Parliament Thursday. The violence first broke out after a protest over the death of a London man, Mark Duggan, who Cameron said was shot by police.

Cameron promised a thorough inquiry into Duggan’s death in Tottenham but said it could not be used as a justification for later violence.

The peaceful demonstration was “used as an excuse by opportunist thugs in gangs, first in Tottenham itself, then across London and then in other cities,” he said. “It is completely wrong to say there is any justifiable causal link.”

Cameron praised the bravery of individual officers in tackling rioters, but said: “What became increasingly clear earlier this week was that there were simply far too few police were deployed onto the streets. And the tactics they were using weren’t working.”

Police in Britain are being given more tools to tackle disorder, he told lawmakers, including greater powers to ask people suspected of causing trouble to remove face masks. Curfew powers will also be reviewed.

More than 1,200 people have now been arrested across the country, Cameron told lawmakers as he addressed an emergency session of Parliament, and if convicted they can expect to go to jail.

“Keeping people safe is the first duty of government,” he said. “The whole country has been shocked by the most appalling scenes of people looting, violence, vandalising and thieving.

“It is criminality pure and simple. And there is absolutely no excuse for it.”

Cameron said London would see a “surge” of 16,000 police officers — far more than the city’s usual policing levels — on its streets through the weekend.

A massive police presence seemed to have had its desired effect in Britain with authorities reporting no major outbreaks of violence on Thursday morning.

But much of the damage has already been done, with retailers losing more than £100 million ($161 million) in four nights of looting and violence, an analysis found.

Cameron promised government help for families and businesses whose properties have been damaged during unrest in England’s cities this week. They will receive tax breaks and grants, including a new £20 million fund to help affected retailers get back in business, he said.

Cameron said the government was looking at whether it could act to stop troublemakers using social media to coordinate looting.

Street gangs are behind much of the trouble on Britain’s streets, he added, saying evidence suggested they had coordinated attacks on police and looting.

He urged action to deal with groups of mostly young boys, leading a “blighted life” in deprived areas, including social reforms and tough criminal justice. The United Kingdom would turn to the United States for help in tackling gangs, Cameron said, referring to efforts in Boston, Los Angeles and New York.

Cameron also said a “broken society” that had led to some children “growing up not knowing the difference between right and wrong” had to change, with parents taking on proper responsibility.

But, he added, the troublemakers did not represent the vast majority of young Britons. The nation now needed to unite to restore its image in the eyes of other countries, he said.

“A year away from the Olympics, we need to show them the Britain that doesn’t destroy but builds, that doesn’t give up but stands up, that doesn’t look back, but always forwards,” he said.

The rioting that began Saturday in Tottenham spread in the ensuing days to other parts of London and then other English cities.

Early Thursday, 16,000 police blanketed London’s streets for a second consecutive night.

They have been authorized to use whatever means necessary to combat unrest, with plastic bullets permitted and plans in place for water cannon to be available if needed. Water cannon have never before been used in mainland Britain.

Courts in London and elsewhere have been holding late-night sessions to try to process the large numbers of people arrested and charged over the unrest.

An analysis conducted by the Centre for Retail Research on behalf of price comparison website Kelkoo found that retailers have lost £80 million ($129.4 million) in sales.

They also lost £17.4 million ($28.1 million) in looted stock, and face £43.5 million ($70.3 million) in repairs, the analysis said. The total could skyrocket to £520 million ($840 million) over the next year, it said, if tourists decide to take their business elsewhere.

The Association of British Insurers estimates the cost of the damage from rioting and looting at about £100 million so far. “But the situation is very fluid, so this figure is likely to change,” a spokeswoman told CNN.

The disturbances are also having an impact on sporting events in the capital.

A football match between Tottenham and Everton scheduled for Saturday has been postponed, a spokeswoman for the Premier League said Thursday. An international exhibition match between England and Holland, due to be played in London on Wednesday, was also canceled.

By midday Thursday, London’s Metropolitan Police Service had arrested 922 people in connection with the violence and charged 401. Police in West Midlands reported 300 arrests and Greater Manchester Police 145.

Steve Kavanagh, deputy assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, said Thursday officers would be raiding dozens of homes in the coming hours and days as they sought to arrest more than 100 suspects.

In Tottenham, where the violence first kicked off, the focus has shifted to clean-up operations. Groups handed out brooms to residents, and hundreds took to the streets to sweep up broken glass and debris.

Streets were largely closed off to cars and pedestrians, said CNN iReporter Spike Johnson in Tottenham.

“Riot vans were lined up in the side streets, council workers repaired roads and shop fronts, and squads of police hung around en masse,” he said. “Residents milled around in shock at the destruction, some were very vocal about their loss.”

In west London, young Sikhs stood guard outside their temple. North of the city, in Enfield, local residents chased after suspected looters. Riot police faced off not with looters but with local residents whose anger verged on mob violence.

Police said residents could help them by identifying photographs of looting suspects. The Metropolitan Police and other police forces posted surveillance photos online.

In Birmingham, the father of a man who was killed in a hit-and-run incident pleaded for calm. Tarik Jahan’s son was one of three men who were mowed down by a car while protecting local businesses from looters, residents said.

Though police had not announced any link between the rioting and the incident, they said they were treating it as a murder inquiry.

“I lost my son,” Jahan told a crowd of more than 1,000 that had flooded the neighborhood. “Blacks, Asians, whites. We all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another? What started these riots, and what’s escalated them? Why are we doing this? I lost my son. Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home. Please!”

The men — British Pakistanis — were returning at 1 a.m. Wednesday from prayers to a gas station they were protecting when they were hit by the car.

The violence comes against a backdrop of austerity measures and budget cuts. But Cameron, community leaders and police have repeatedly pointed to a criminal, rather than political, motivation for the looting.

Analysts say a mix of economic and social tensions has been at play in the unrest, with deprivation a key factor. Those seen taking part in rioting and looting have been from diverse ethnic backgrounds and span a wide range of ages, and many are young.

The violence began Saturday after a protest over the August 4 shooting death of Duggan, a father of four.

Officers from Operation Trident — a Metropolitan Police unit that deals with gun crime in the black community — stopped a cab carrying 29-year-old Mark Duggan, a black man, in the working-class, predominantly Afro-Caribbean district of Tottenham during an attempted arrest, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

It is investigating his death but has not yet said who fired the shot that killed him.

The man’s family and friends, who blamed police for the death, gathered peacefully Saturday outside the Tottenham police station to protest.

The protest soon devolved into violence as demonstrators — including whites and blacks — tossed petrol bombs, looted stores and burned police cars.

On subsequent nights, the violence spread to other areas of London and England. Police characterized the disorder as “copycat criminal activity” by people intent on looting and destruction.

Rare spider silk textile

The only naturally golden textile woven from the silk of spiders is to come to London Victoria and Albert Museum in January next year.

Golden Spipder Silk - V&A

The four metre long woven textile was made from the silk of more than a million female Golden Orb spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar.

It took 80 people five years to collect the spiders, and the naturally golden hand-woven brocaded textile took over four years to create.

According to experts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, spider’s silk has not been woven since 1900, when a textile was created for the Paris Exposition Universelle – but that no longer survives. This will be the first time spider silk has been exhibited in Europe since.

The earliest recorded weave using the silk of spiders dates from 1709, made by a Frenchman, Francois-Xavier Bon de Saint Hilaire, who successfully produced gloves and stockings and supposedly a full suit of clothes for King Louis XIV.

Later, in the early nineteenth century, Raimondo de Termeyer, a Spaniard working in Italy, produced stockings for the Emperor Napoleon and a shawl for his first wife, Empress Josephine.

To create the textiles, spiders are collected each morning and harnessed in specially conceived ‘silking’ contraptions. Trained handlers extract the silk from 24 spiders at a time.

Unlike mulberry silk from silkworms, in which the pupa is killed in its cocoon, the spiders are returned to the wild at the end of each day.

After ‘silking’, the silk is taken on cones to the silk weaving workshop where skilled weavers have mastered the special tensile properties of the silk.

In the so-called Malagasy textile, each warp is made from 96 spun strands of spider silk and each brocading weft has 10 of those threads together – so 960 strands in total.

On average, 23,000 spiders yield around 1 ounce of silk. It is a highly labour intensive undertaking, making these textiles extraordinarily rare and precious objects.

It will be shown together with a new golden cape, currently being woven and embroidered in Madagascar, at the V&A on 25 January 2012.

A man living in a Melbourne, Australia suburb sculpted the above as a lovely gesture to let the neighbors know just what he thinks of them.

The late Amy Winehouse was reportedly in the process of adopting a 10-year-old St. Lucian girl, Dannika Augustine, when the singer suddenly passed away, according to The Mirror, but it’s apparently not so.


Amy’s rep set the record straight, saying, “There’s no truth to it. I think [Amy] might have met her in St. Lucia, but she was in no way about to adopt her.”

Though her father claimed his daughter was clean and sober at the time of her death, Winehouse still had her share of problems that would’ve raised many red flags for the adoption board. The Mirror claimed Winehouse’s camp had already hired lawyers and booked a flight to St. Lucia – where the singer spent a lot of time.

Amy Reached Out to Dr. Drew

During her stay on the island, the 27-year-old befriended Dannika, whom she met in 2009 through the 10-year-old’s grandmother, Marjorie Lambert, who runs a beach bar. Dannika is not an orphan – she has a mother and grandmother, but her mother reportedly was willing to give her up for adoption because she struggled to provide for her family and did not have a job.

“Amy was already my mother,” the child told the paper. “I would call her mum and she would call me her daughter. She took care of me and we had fun together. I loved her and she loved me.

“She was the most amazing person and I was looking forward to living with her here or in London. I cannot believe she is gone. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

Anders Behring Breivik


One week after the Oslo drama, Anders Behring Breivik’s 1518-page manifesto reveals a detailed portrait of the suspected Norway shooter and of what he himself describes as his “privileged upbringing.”

Breivik was born in 1979 in London, where his father Jens Breivik was stationed at the Norwegian embassy. Less than a year after his birth Breivik’s father and mother divorced, prompting his mother Wenche Behring to return to Oslo. Breivik’s father remarried and remained in Europe, accepting a position in Paris where Breivik used to visit him during school vacations.

According to the Telegraph, Breivik described growing up with his mother in his manifesto, saying: “I do not approve of the super-liberal, matriarchal upbringing as it completely lacked discipline and has contributed to feminise me to a certain degree.”

In school Breivik seemed to have been a rather quiet child. Friends told Time magazine that he became a bit of an outsider at the end of sixth grade. “He was getting bullied,” a friend told the magazine.

By the age of 15, Breivik lost contact with his father. “I tried to contact him five years ago,” theTelegraph quotes him writing in the document. “But he said he was not mentally prepared for a reunion.” He did keep in touch with his stepmother, Tove Oevermo, who had divorced his father three years before. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, Oevermo said she said she had never seen any violent behavior in her former stepson. She did remember him talking about a book he was writing. In the manifesto , he describes his stepmother as “intelligent” but “obviously a traitor.” According to the Daily Mail he said: “Although I care for her a great deal, I wouldn’t hold it against the KT (Knights Templar) if she was executed during an attack.”

When he was about 15, Breivik got into graffiti. CNN reports he claimed to be the most active graffiti artist in the Norwegian capital by 15. Of that time he also wrote: “Unless you had Muslim contactsyou could easily be subject to harassment, beatings and robbery,” according to CNN. The network also points at some of the more paradoxical paragraphs in the document. Breivik writes: “As all my friends can attest I wouldn’t be willing to hurt a fly and I have never used violence against others … If we wanted to we could have harassed and beaten up dozens of Muslim youth. However, as we didn’t share their savage mentality, violence was pointless.”

Breivik’s right-wing political views seem to have fully developed in his late twenties, childhood friends saying that he had friends of Middle Eastern descent earlier on. A friend told the Guardian that it was only then that Breivik began posting right wing opinions on Facebook.


Kanye West‘s attraction towards fashion has been evident and growing since the beginning of his career. While in Rome for six months in 2010, ‘Ye interned at Fendi. “[I] presented ideas for clothing and ideas I had about fabrics, and just tried to learn more and more about that,” Kanye West said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

‘Ye may be getting closer to the fashion gods, if not becoming one! According to Grazia Daily, Kanye West has been working on his New York Fashion Week womenswear collection debut for months. Kanye has allegedly opened a studio in London, hired Louise Goldin to “oversee design,” and has called on St. Martin’s professor Louise Wilson for guidance.

What do you think of Kanye West’s alleged NYFW debut?

kanye fendi Kanye West, A Fendi Intern? www.upscaleswagger.com

That’s right. In a recent interview with radio personality Angie Martinez, Kanye West revealed some insight on what he did after his VMA incident. After the incident, Kanye moved to Rome and during his time there he interned for Fendi. This isn’t the first time Kanye has interned for a major fashion empire. Back in 2008, he also interned for Louis Vuitton & Raf Simmons.

Details surrounding the death of Amy Winehouse have begun to emerge today, and it has been claimed she purchased a combination of drugs that included cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine late on Friday evening in Camden.Amy Winehouse

Winehouse was found dead at her house on Saturday afternoon, and as yet police have still not been able to confirm the exact cause of death.

However, a source has reported to The People that Winehouse was seen buying a mixture of drugs in the hours before her death. Other reports have said that she was drinking heavily prior to her death.

According to the Sunday Mirror in Britain a “friend” of Winehouse has said she believes she died from a “bad” ecstasy pill that was mixed with a large amount of alcohol.

The friend said, “It was an ecstasy overdose. She could do cocaine until the cows come home. But this was obviously a dodgy pill.”

A post-mortem is scheduled for Sunday to determine the exact cause of death.

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After news broke of her death, hundreds of fans and friends rushed outside her home to see if the news was true, and a memorial has been established with well-wishers leaving flowers and messages outside her home.

Winehouse’s management company, Metropolis Music, released a statement Sunday saying: “We are trying to come to terms with the death of a dear friend and colleague, the most amazing artist and talent.

“We will always remember Amy as a vibrant, funny, caring young woman who made everyone around her feel welcome. We have lost a very special person, part of our family.”

Winehouse’s mother Janis has told of her concern for her daughter when they met just 24 hours prior to her death. Janis said, “She seemed out of it. But her passing so suddenly still hasn’t hit me.”

The heartbroken mother described the final time she saw her daughter alive; Amy told her mother “I love you, Mum.”

Janis said, “They are the words I will always treasure and always remember Amy by.”

Winehouse’s father had just arrived in New York on a jazz tour when the news of his daughter’s death was reported to him. He said, “I’m coming home. I have to be with Amy. I can’t crack up for her sake. My family need me.”

A police spokesperson said in a press conference has confirmed that as yet no cause of death had yet been confirmed: “I am aware of reports of a suspected drugs overdose, but I would like to re-emphasize that no post-mortem has yet taken place and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of death.

“The death of any person is a sad time of friends and family especially for someone known nationally and internationally like Amy Winehouse. My sympathy extends not only to her family but also to her millions of fans across the world.”

Winehouse’s U.S. record label released a statement saying: “We are deeply saddened at the sudden loss of such a gifted musician, artist and performer. Our prayers go out to Amy’s family, friends and fans at this difficult time.”

Jose Mestre and sister Guida

Above: Jose Mestre and his sister Guida in London. Pictures below show Jose aged 14 when the tumor was still small, and as he is now.
A victim of horrific facial disfigurement – known as “the man with no face” – has been given new hope by the advancement of medical science.

Jose Mestre, from Lisbon, Portugal, has been losing his face to a huge growth for the past 35 years, distorting it out of all recognition – and it’s still growing.

The tumor on 51-year-old Jose’s face is a collection of blood vessels that have expanded, producing a raised red area on the skin.

Jose was born with a strawberry-coloured birthmark on his upper lip. At puberty it began growing, eventually smothering his lips, nose and one of his eyes. Now it is 33cm long and weighs 3kg.

But Jose’s religious faith – as a Jehovah’s Witness he refuses to accept a blood transfusion – has prevented him from having surgery to remove the growth.

Jose’s rare condition was the subject of a Discovery Channel TV documentary ‘The Man With No Face’, part of the ‘My Shocking Story‘ series.

It reveals how top medical experts in London have now held out hope of helping Jose, a well-known figure around the streets of Lisbon.

A leading British surgeon has offered to treat Jose using ultrasound waves to coagulate the blood before the operation.

This should remove the risk of heavy bleeding – satisfying his religious beliefs about blood transfusions in the process.

Dr Iain Hutchison, of St Bartholomew‘s in London, is confident an operation with a harmonic scalpel could make him look a lot more normal.

Discovery Channel said: “Surrounded by a loving family, it seems incredible that he has not been treated and his face was allowed to grow so big. However, through years of medical misinformation, some misdiagnosis, lack of finances, and reluctance to undergo treatment due to religious beliefs, the growth has continued to obliterate his face.”

My Shocking Story follows Jose on a journey through Europe to seek medical advice for one last chance to stop his face from suffocating him.

In this journey of a lifetime he travels by train, via Paris, to Britain, to meet the top experts in London. He goes through a series of tests, consultations, and meets other patients with a similar affliction. In London he also spends time with his sister Guida and the rest of his family, enjoys being a tourist in London, while making the biggest decision of his life.

Jose’s dream is to live a long and normal life. Following the showing of the Discovery documentary he continues to adhere to his ‘no blood transfusion’ religious principles. But he has agreed to go back to the London hospital in 2008, when doctors hope to carry out specialist surgery to begin removing parts of his tumor, without the need for blood transfusions.


Wearing dark suits, black dresses and the occasional beehive hairdo, friends and family said goodbye to Amy Winehouse Tuesday with prayers, tears, laughter and song at an emotional funeral ceremony.

The singer’s father, mother and brother were joined by Winehouse’s close friends, band members and celebrities including producer Mark Ronsonfor the service at Edgwarebury Cemetery in north London. Media personality Kelly Osbourne was one of several women to wear her hair piled beehive-high in an echo of the singer’s trademark style.

Fans and photographers thronged the lane outside, but the funeral was for several hundred friends and family only.

The Jewish service was led by a rabbi and included prayers in English and Hebrew and reminiscences from Winehouse’s father, Mitch Winehouse. The cab driver and jazz singer, who helped foster his daughter’s love of music, ended his eulogy with the words “Goodnight, my angel, sleep tight. Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much.”

It ended with a rendition of Carole King‘s “So Far Away,” one of Winehouse’s favorite songs.

“Mitch was funny, he told some great stories from childhood about how headstrong she was, and clearly the family and friends recognized the stories and laughed along,” said family spokesman Chris Goodman.

He stressed so many times she was happier now than she had ever been and he spoke about her boyfriend and paid tribute to a lot of people in her life.”

According to the Press Association news agency, Mitch Winehouse said during the ceremony that his daughter was trying to overcome her addictions, having told him: “Dad I’ve had enough, I can’t stand the look on your and the family’s faces anymore.”

He said he planned to set up a foundation in his daughter’s name to help people struggling with addiction.

“Knowing she wasn’t depressed … knowing she passed away happy, it makes us all feel better,” he said.

Family friend Alfie Ezekiel, 55, said the service had been a “joyful” celebration of the singer’s life. “Mitch gave a very good eulogy and he managed to get through it very well, considering,” he said.

Close family and friends – including Winehouse’s recent boyfriend, Reg Traviss – moved on to Golders Green Crematorium, where the singer was cremated.

Several mourners, including Ronson – who co-produced Winehouse’s breakthrough album “Back to Black” – looked emotional as they left the red brick structure, which has seen the cremations of thousands of ordinary Londoners and many celebrities, including psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, comedian Peter Sellers and drummer Keith Moon of The Who.


Photos: Amy’s Greatest Moments | Amy Winehouse Chart History


The family was then due to hold two days of shiva, a Jewish traditional period of mourning.

The soul diva, who had battled alcohol and drug addiction, was found dead Saturday at her London home. She was 27.

An autopsy held Monday failed to determine what caused her death. Police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, which will take two to four weeks.

On Monday the singer’s father, mother and brother visited the house where she died, thanking mourners who had left flowers and cards.

Mitch Winehouse said “Amy was about one thing and that was love.”

“Her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends and to you guys as well,” he told fans.

Winehouse released only two albums in her short career – winning five Grammy awards for “Back to Black” – and often made headlines because of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, destructive relationships and abortive performances.

Since her death, her records have re-entered album charts around the world, and tributes have poured in from fans and fellow musicians.

George Michael called her “the most soulful vocalist this country has ever seen,” and soul singer Adele said she “paved the way for artists like me and made people excited about British music again.”

Met website hacked

A top cop website was hacked – by a monster-type creature!

The cheeky hackers broke into London’s Metropolitan Police recruitment website, and posted a picture of a cuddly toy on its front page.

And beneath the picture of the green stripy animal they added taunting comments.

The message posted by “Officer Brobee” referred to the Scotland Yard’s SO15 counter-terrorism unit.

It said: “OH HAI GUYS do joo wanna bes a policeman lulz?”

“I see that teh so15 anti-terrorism anti-lulz police are hiring more incompetent nervy edgy socipaths to make London’s streets just that little bit safer!”

“OH LULZ. SHOUTS TO l0g1kal for being such a leet dude and to LULKITTEH for being so fancy.”

A spokesman for the Met said they were aware of the hack.

“We are aware of an unauthorised image and text having been placed on the Met Careers internet site,” a statement issued by the force said.

“The Met Careers site is managed by an external company who are responsible for its upkeep.

“We will discuss this with the service provider at the earliest possible time.”

The embarrassing message and cuddly monster were later removed.

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