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In the UK, nothing interrupts the shipping forecast — not even live sports

LONDON — There are warnings of gales in all areas except Biscay and Trafalgar. Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight: Southwest 5 to 7, occasionally gale 8 in Dogger. If those lines are unrecognizable, you’re almost certainly not British.

Britain’s other spying scandal

LONDON — Revelations about the vast data-harvesting operations of Britain’s top spy agency have made headlines around the world. But the UK is also grappling with astonishing allegations about the far more personal methods Britain’s largest police force has used to gather information about individuals at home.

Murder on the telly, for real this time

LONDON — In the United States, high-profile murder trials have been nationally televised since the 1970s, and American viewers have since become used to sensationalized televised proceedings like those of O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Casey Anthony. The English, however, have banned cameras from their courtrooms since 1925.  

Britain’s banking mission impossible

  LONDON — The Bank of England is advertising for a new governor for the first in its 316-year history. But experts say few can live up to the job description.

Letter from London: Liverpool no longer bears its cross alone

The Hillsborough soccer tragedy was a major event in recent British history. This week’s reaction to a two-year inquest into the incident shows why.
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People in Liverpool take part in a vigil for the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster after the disclosure of an independent report into the incident. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
LONDON — David Cameron's apology for the gross failures of his predecessors reflects the magnitude of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, when 96 supporters of the Liverpool soccer club were crushed to death during a match in the northern English city of Sheffield.

British soccer goes for broke

LONDON — One of the most successful teams in English sporting history, Arsenal have lost their place at the top since big-money foreigners began buying English teams. Now they struggle to finish within the top three or four because the best players have left for other teams that pay vastly higher salaries.

Tensions between Italy and Britain over failed hostage rescue attempt

British raid in Nigeria led to deaths of two hostages held for more than nine months by Boko Haram
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Briton Chris McManus, who was killed yesterday in Nigeria when British Special Forces tried to rescue him from his captors. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Success has many fathers, but failure?

Yesterday's failed attempt by British Special Forces to rescue a pair of British and Italian men held hostage by Nigeria's Islamist Boko Haram for the last nine months has led to diplomatic repercussions.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has expressed genuine anger at not being informed about the raid in advance. "The way the British government has behaved is quite inexplicable. To have failed to inform or consult Italy, with regard to a military action which could have such consequences," Napolitano said.


European austerity by the numbers: in or out of the euro zone today's figures are grim.

Statistics prove yet again: cutting alone will not help an economy

The European economic numbers flow across my computer screen, not quite as quickly as the ticker tape crawl at CNBC or Bloomberg, but there are a lot of them and virtually every one is bad. And in or out of the euro zone, they all point to the same thing: austerity isn't working.

In Greece: the economy contracted by 7 percent in the last quarter. Since austerity budgets began to be implemented two years ago Greece's debt had jumped from 115 percent of GDP to 166 percent of GDP, the Guardian reports.

In Britain: Unemployment is at 8.4 percent according to the Office of National Statistics, a 16 year high (I have reported on other sources of unemployment statistics here).


Syria: France, Britain and Italy recall ambassadors

European countries play what cards they have against Assad regime.

There is not a lot European countries can do to stop the Bashar al-Assad regime's onslaught against its own people - especially in light of this weekend's vetoing of a Security Council resolution by Russia and China.

Recalling ambassadors from Damascus for consultation is about the only card they can play. That is exactly what Britain, France and Italy have done. No word about the German government's intentions. But police in Berlin have arrested two men suspected of spying for Syria.


Britain, Argentina: more Falkland's anniversary saber rattling

As anniversary of war approaches, Britain sends another warship to patrol waters around the Falkland Islands
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Prince William puts his helicopter pilot game face on at maneuvers last year in Canada. The heir to the throne's deployment to the Falkland Islands has angered the Argentine government. (Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

The 30th anniversary of the start of the Falkland war is just two and a bit months away. Most of the time this sort of anniversary sees old foes extending the hand of - if not friendship - at least respect and honor for the dead.

But not this time. As I blogged two weeks ago, the leaders of the two countries, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Argentine President Christina Kerchner were involved in some nasty rhetoric.

Now, the nastiness is escalating. Kerchner has arranged with neighbor Mercosur countries in South America to impose a ban on all Falklands flagged boats landing on the continent.

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