Elton John's Address Among Thousands Accidentally Leaked Online By UK

LONDON: The British government accidentally published online the addresses of the New Year's Honours 2020 recipients, it said on Saturday. The New Year Honours 2020 list, in which Britain recognised its film-directing and cricketing stars, with a damehood for Olivia Newton-John and knighthoods for Sam Mendes, Steve McQueen and cricketer Clive Lloyd, was published late on Friday.

The initial version posted online contained the home or work addresses of more than 1,000 recipients, including singer Sir Elton John, and was visible for around an hour, according to BBC.

The Cabinet Office said the addresses had been published in error and taken down from the website "as soon as possible".

"We apologise to all those affected and are looking into how this happened. We have reported the matter to the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) and are contacting all those affected directly," the Cabinet Office said.

It said it had reported the incident to the data protection watchdog.

Honours also go to Ashes hero Ben Stokes, his captain Joe Root and footballer Jill Scott.

Elton John, who was knighted in 1998, becomes a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to music.

British-born Australian singer and actress Newton-John, 71, is probably best-known for the 1978 musical "Grease" in which she sang the duet "You're the One that I Want" with John Travolta which became one of the world's best-selling singles.

Mendes, 54, directed the "Skyfall" and "Spectre" James Bond movies while McQueen, 50, won the 2014 Best Picture Oscar for his film "12 Years a Slave." He becomes a Knight Bachelor, awarded by the Foreign Office in recognition of outstanding service to Britain internationally and overseas.

Lloyd, 75, was a middle-order batsman and captain of the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 at a time when the team reached the peak of its powers. CBEs - Commander of the Order of the British Empire - go to "Butterflies" and "Not in front of the Children" sitcom actress Wendy Craig, 85; England limited-over cricket captain Eoin Morgan, 33, and broadcaster Annie Nightingale, 79.

OBEs - Order of the British Empire - are awarded to Australian Trevor Bayliss, 57, the former England cricket head coach; wine writer Oz Clarke, 80; Welsh taekwondo world champion Jade Jones; Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody and racing-horse trainer Paul Nicholls, 57.

OBEs also go to broadcaster June Sarpong, 42; food writer Nigel Slater and to Stokes, 28, who was man of the match as England won the cricket World Cup for the first time this year and hit an unbeaten 135 in his side's epic third Ashes Test triumph against Australia.

MBEs - Members of the Order of the British Empire - go to Root, 28, who was made England cricket captain in 2017; England and Manchester City women's team midfielder Scott, 32; TV chef Ainsley Harriott, 62, and fashion expert Gok Wan, 45.

The New Year's honours have been awarded since Queen Victoria's reign in the 19th century and aim to recognise not just well-known figures but those who have contributed to national life through often selfless and unsung contributions over many years.

The twice-yearly honours list is released on the Queen's official birthday in June and at the end of each year

The list, along with a guide to the various awards, is published by the Cabinet Office.

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‘Mr Assange could die in prison. There is no time to lose’ – over 60 medics in open letter to UK govt.

Julian Assange may be in real danger of dying in a UK prison, medics from across the world warned in an open letter. He may not even be fit to stand extradition trial, given the years of denial of proper healthcare.

Assange, the founder of the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, is currently in British custody at a top-security Belmarsh jail. In February next year he is to stand trial over an extradition request from the US, where he may be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. In an open letter addressed to British Home Secretary Priti Patel, over 60 medical professionals from across the world voiced their concern over the physical and mental health of the publisher, arguing that he may not only be unfit to stand a trial but even at risk of dying.

“We have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose,” the letter says.

Also on rt.com ‘A 1950s show trial’: John Pilger describes ‘disgraceful’ courtroom treatment of Julian Assange by UK judge...

The doctors cite several eyewitness accounts demonstrating deterioration of Assange’s health during his seven-year-long say at the Ecuadoran embassy in London. The Australian-born anti-secrecy activist breached his bail conditions by hiding at the diplomatic mission in 2012 and remained there until his eviction in April this year.

A UN panel of experts concluded that the self-exile amounts to his arbitrary detention by the British authorities, considering the circumstances.

A threat of arrest made it impossible for Assange to get treatment at a proper hospital over that period of time, even as living in confined conditions and increasing isolation took their toll on his health. The medics that did get a chance to examine him at the embassy did so against the background of a “climate of fear and intimidation”, the letter said, which was most likely created deliberately.

If it was deliberate, we as medical doctors condemn such behavior as reckless, dangerous and cruel. That all this has been played out in the heart of London for many years is a source of great sadness and shame to many of us.

The concerns were further fueled by the opinion of Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, who visited Assange in prison in early May, accompanied by two medical experts specializing in assessing victims of torture. He said the team concluded that Assange had symptoms of a person who sustained psychological torture over an extended period of time.

Also on rt.com UN torture envoy demands ‘full accountability & compensation’ after Sweden drops rape probe against Assange...

Assange’s latest public appearance during a court hearing last month further demonstrated his ailing health. The man seemed exhausted and confused, struggled to recall his own name and date of birth and complained that he couldn’t think properly.

The signatories called for an urgent expert medical assessment of Assange’s state of health that should be done “in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital,” as opposed to the prison’s hospital ward.

US accusations of Assange filed under the Espionage Act stem from WikiLeaks publishing of classified materials embarrassing to the US government. Supporters see his mistreatment as a major attack on freedom of speech with disastrous consequences for whistleblowers and journalists, who consider exposing wrongdoing by Western governments.

The open letter was signed by medics from the United States, Australia, Britain, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Sri Lanka and Poland.

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Film and TV weapons on display at Leeds Royal Armouries Museum

Weapons from films and television programmes have gone on display in a Leeds museum.

The Royal Armouries Museum features blasters from Star Wars, swords from the Lord of the Rings and helmets from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The props have been bought with money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Laura Bell, director of collections, said the museum had spent the last few years acquiring the weapons.

"For many, knowledge of arms and armour begins in popular culture, and whether we see it in film or television, some of the most iconic scenes on the silver screen have revolved around these objects," she said.

"We hope the public are as excited as we are to see these fantastic pieces of cinematic, television and stage history on display in Leeds."

Lord of the RingsSwords used in the Lord of the Rings films also feature

The Leeds museum houses a major part of the national collection of arms and armour and displays more than 8,500 objects throughout its five themed galleries.

It was opened in 1996 in Leeds Dock and many of its exhibits were transferred from the Tower of London.

Star WarsMany of the exhibits were bought with National Lottery money

As well as the displays, the exhibition features some of the stunt work and special effects associated with making battle scenes.

Other movie weapons include Lancelot's armour from the 1981 film Excalibur about King Arthur and a "pulse rifle" from 1979 sci-fi horror film Aliens.

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/16858/production/_109484229_display976.jpgThe museum has both imperial stormtrooper and rebel weapons used in the Star Wars films

The permanent Make: Believe exhibition will also include talks from people working in the film industry, starting with a lecture from Natalia Lee who worked as an armourer on the TV series Game of Thrones.



  • Published in Culture

Cuban Company Acosta Danza Announces UK Tour

United Kingdom stages will soon host the presentations of the Cuban company Acosta Danza, which will perform a selection of the best known pieces from its repertoire, informs today a statement from the institution.

Under the general direction of Carlos Acosta, between October 28 and November 23, the cast of dancers from the Caribbean nation will arrive in the cities of Norwich, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London, where they will perform four performances in the Sadler's Wells theater.

According to the official note, the programme includes the play Satori, a choreography by Raúl Reinoso based on concepts of Zen Buddhism, with music by Pepe Gavilondo; as well as the duet Fauno, by the Belgian Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, inspired in the legendary La siesta de un fauno, by the Ukrainian Vatslav Nijinsky.

The piece entitled Paysage, soudain, la nuit, by Swedish artist Pontus Lidberg, inspired by the footsteps of Cuban rumba, which features scores by Leo Brouwer and Stefan Levin, while an artistic installation by Elizabet Cerviño serves as a stage design, stands out in the selection.

Each presentation will close with the staging of Rooster, by choreographer Christopher Bruce, with music by the British band The Rolling Stones.

The announcement also states that at the end of the British tour, the company will travel for the first time to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, where it will offer two performances.

  • Published in Culture

Denied tools for his defense, Assange remains resilient ahead of ‘epic’ extradition battle – Pilger

Julian Assange is in high spirits despite being deprived the materials he needs for his defense, veteran journalist John Pilger has reported, adding that Assange’s upcoming extradition hearing will be a battle for democracy.

Pilger tweeted out a status update after visiting the WikiLeaks co-founder in Belmarsh Prison.

“Denied the tools to prepare his defence against extradition to America, [Assange’s] resilience endures,” he wrote, stating that Assange’s upcoming court hearing will being an “epic fight… the fight of democracy.”

@johnpilger I saw Julian #Assange today in Belmarsh prison. Denied the tools to prepare his defence against extradition to America, his resilience endures. On Monday he appears at Westminster Magistrates Court where his epic fight begins. It's the fight of democracy. Join us.

Pilger has been a tireless advocate for Assange, visiting him in prison multiple times and making appearances at rallies demanding the journalist’s release.

Assange will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday as he battles to stop his extradition to the United States.

In the US, Assange is charged with possession and dissemination of classified information. If found guilty, he could receive up to 175 years in prison. The journalist has been in Washington’s crosshairs for more than a decade, after WikiLeaks published a video showing the US military attacking journalists and civilians in Iraq in July 2007.

Assange’s treatment at the hands of UK authorities and other parties involved in his imprisonment was condemned by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer in October. According to Melzer, the WikiLeaks co-founder has been subjected to “psychological torture” and his right to due process has been “systematically violated.”

Also on rt.com Assange subjected to torture & violations of due process rights – UN envoy
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Brexit deal has been struck - Johnson and Juncker announce 'fair and balanced' agreement

UK and EU negotiators have finally agreed a Brexit deal and will now be put to the 27 leaders of the European Union to sign off. However critically, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) say they oppose the agreement.

President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced on Wednesday morning via Twitter that a “fair and balanced agreement” had been struck between the two sides. “I recommend that #EUCO endorses this deal,” he added.

                          Where there is a will, there is a #deal - we have one!

UK PM Boris Johnson also took to social media to reveal that a “great new deal that takes back control” had been brokered and urged the UK parliament to sign it off on Saturday when MPs convene to debate the agreement.

It’s not all good news though as the DUP, Johnson’s key allies who support his minority Tory government have responded by insisting that their opposition to the deal, as it stands, “hasn’t changed.” 

In a statement published on social media earlier on Wednesday morning DUP leader Arlene Foster and deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: “As things stand, we could not support what is being suggested on customs and consent issues and there is a lack of clarity on VAT.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also criticized the new UK-EU Brexit deal, claiming that it was a “sell out” agreement that “won’t bring the country together and should be rejected.”  

“The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote,” he added.

Johnson needs 320 UK lawmakers to back the deal to see it pass through the House of Commons, and so with the DUP and Labour looking like they’ll reject such a proposition, it appears he could struggle to get the required numbers.

It’s gearing up to be a highly momentous day in the UK parliament on Saturday, if as expected, MPs convene to debate and vote on the deal. It would be the first Saturday sitting since 1982, when Argentina invaded the Falklands Islands, and only the third since World War II.

Also on rt.com Crawling to freedom? Boris Johnson compares Brexit to tunnel escape from ‘The Shawshank Redemption’




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New Cuban rum brand Black Tears launches into UK market

The Island Rum Company celebrates the launch of its new Cuban rum brand Black Tears into the UK market. The brand has announced it as ‘the first dry spiced Cuban rum made available to consumers worldwide’.

The rum producer was established in 2012 and has intended to combine local Cuban influence with international beverage industry experience to effectively showcase its products globally.

Black Tears is distilled from molasses and sourced from four mills in the province of Ciego de Avila near Cuba’s northern coast. Its ‘authentic’ blend is made up of coffee, cacao and ají dulce, a variety of small sweet peppers.

The spiced rum supposedly sets itself apart from others on the market through its low sugar content and bittersweet flavour, as opposed to sweet vanilla-based rums that have previously dominated. Its production process has earned Black Tears the Vigia seal of high-quality rum.

As well as its signature serve which incorporates Black Tears with tonic, ice, an orange slice and habanero pepper, the brand offers a range of long drink and cocktail recipes.

According to a recent report by Persistence Market Research, the global rum market is expected to make a compound annual growth rate of 2.2% during 2018-2026 with consumers responding well to the increasing amount of new product launches in the rum market.

  • Published in Cuba

Boris Johnson Threatens To Purge UK Lawmakers Against No-Deal Brexit

London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the stakes Monday in a pivotal week of the Brexit saga by threatening to purge ruling party lawmakers who try to block a no-deal divorce with the EU.

The warning came as heavyweights from the governing Conservatives such as former finance minister Philip Hammond plotted a way to keep the premier from taking Britain out of the European Union on October 31 without an agreement.

Johnson insists he must keep the chaotic option open to try to persuade Brussels to relent at the last moment and agree a better economic deal for Britain.

He poured more oil on the political fire by deciding last week to suspend parliament -- a legal but highly contentious manoeuvre -- for more than a month.

As a result, pro-European lawmakers will have just days to try to tie Johnson's hands and avoid a painful split from Brussels when they return from their summer break on Tuesday.

"It would be entirely unreasonable for MPs, having rejected the previous deal three times, to attempt to bind the hands of the PM as he seeks to negotiate a deal they can support," the prime minister's spokesman told reporters.

A Downing Street source told AFP that Johnson will be meeting his cabinet later on Monday.

"Last chance"

Johnson has upturned political traditions and inflamed passions on both sides of the Brexit chasm since taking over from Theresa May in July.

His strategy of counter-punching his domestic opponents and playing a game of chicken with Brussels has helped his flagging party to shoot back up to the top of opinion polls.

But he enjoys a majority of just one in parliament -- a margin that has prompted many to assume that he wants Brexit to happen by any means possible and then to hold a general election.

"Tomorrow's possible vote is an expression of confidence in the government's negotiating position to secure a deal and will be treated as such," the Downing Street source said.

Trying to stop Johnson will be tricky for MPs like Hammond and pro-European lawmakers from opposition parties who each have their own political interests in mind.

Their first step on Tuesday will see them try to seize power from the government over what legislation is put up for a vote.

Success would then see them draft -- and pass -- legislation by next week that obliges Johnson to secure a Brexit extension at an October 17-18 EU summit.

Almost two dozen moderate Conservatives have backed similar attempts in the past.

They will be relying on support of the main opposition Labour Party and pro-EU lawmakers from the Scottish National Party and the resurgent Liberal Democrats.

"We must come together to stop no-deal," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told his supporters outside the northern city of Manchester.

"This week could be our last chance."

Secret report

Johnson has staked his leadership on a promise to get Brexit -- already delayed twice due to parliamentary resistence -- done at any cost next month.

His government unfurled a formal "get ready for Brexit" campaign Monday that included a website advising EU and UK nationals on how to deal with potential problems such as their phones not working abroad.

Both Brussels and London now view a no-deal end to the four-decade partnership as the most likely outcome.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that the current agreement's most contentious element -- a so-called backstop to keep the Northern Irish border open in all post-Brexit circumstances -- was "the maximum amount of flexibility that the EU can offer".

Johnson's insistence that there were other solutions -- including one involving high-tech border technology -- was punctured further by the leak of a UK government report showing that none of them worked.

"It is evident that every facilitation has concerns and issues related to them," The Guardian quoted the August 28 dossier as saying.

The report added that its findings should be kept private "given (its) potential negative impacts on the renegotiation with the EU".

Corbyn accused Johnson of "hijacking" the results of the original 2016 Brexit referendum.

He said Labour could back a vote of no-confidence in Johnson's government if lawmakers' last-ditch legislative manoeuvre fails.

"The vote of no confidence is very much there on the table," said Corbyn. "It's not an either or. Both options are absolutely there."

  • Published in World
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