Entries in Britain (68)


Muslim British Cabinet Member Warns Against to Anti-Muslim Attitudes

Photo Courtesy - Getty Image(LONDON) -- The first Muslim woman to sit in the British cabinet is calling attention the social acceptability of discrimination against Muslims in Britain, reports say.

Sayeeda Warsi, who is Pakistani in origin, recently told BBC News, "It has seeped into our society in a way where it is acceptable around dinner to have these conversations where anti-Muslim hatred and bigotry is quite openly discussed."

Friday in a speech at the University of Leicester, Warsi was expected to speak out against anti-Muslim sentiments, blaming the media for "fueling misunderstanding with labels such as 'moderate' or 'extremist,'" reports the Gulf Daily News.

The British cabinet member is also calling for the Muslim community to speak out against Islamic extremism.  This issue has been a major concern for government officials since a homegrown suicide bombing killed 52 people in London in 2005.

In a recent display of responsiveness to Muslim discrimination, Britain refused to allow U.S. pastor Terry Jones into the country.  Jones incited controversy last year with threats to burn the Quran.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Controversial Florida Pastor Banned from Entering Britain

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- Controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones has been officially banned from entering Britain.

The British government maintains it opposes extremism in all its forms and barring Terry Jones, it says, is for the public good.

When asked if he considers himself to be an extremist, the preacher told the BBC, "definitely not."

Jones, who advocated burning a Koran last fall, had been invited to the U.K. to address a right-wing group about what he sees as the 'Islamification of Britain.'

A government spokesman said coming to Britain is a privilege, not a right.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More and More Brits Living to 100

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- According to new British government statistics, roughly a sixth of the country's current population will live to see their 100th birthday.  While that's good news, it also raises the question of how to properly fund old age.

The numbers come from the government's state pension department. "For people like me the question is, if you thought you were going to live to 100, how would that change what you do now in terms of working and saving? And saving more has got to be part of the mix," says Steve Webb, the minister of state for pensions.

The bottom line is under the current economic climate, saving for those golden twilight years may be easier said than done.  

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Canada Most Internet-Addicted Country, Eh?

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(TORONTO) – Canadians spend more time on the Web than any other country, according to a new report.

The ComScore report says that around 68 percent of Canadians surf the Web regularly and spend an average of 42 hours online each month. It also doesn’t hurt that 51 percent of the population -- around 17 million -- have Facebook accounts.

France and Britain came in second with 62 percent. Germany followed with 60 percent while Americans trailed slightly behind at 59 percent.

Italy was among the least Internet-crazed country, with just 36 percent of the population using the Web regularly.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Britain's Prince William Visits Afghanistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan) -- Britain's Prince William visited Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's Helmand Province on Sunday, which Britons refer to as "Remembrance Sunday."  It is much like Veterans Day in the U.S., a time to honor those who have served in the nation's wars.  It is typically held on the closest Sunday to Nov. 11, to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. 

The Prince and Britain's Defense Secretary, Liam Fox, visited the camp, which is Britain's main operating base in Afghanistan, where it is part of the coalition led by the U.S. in fighting the insurgency that supports al Qaeda. 

William's brother, Prince Harry, served with his military unit in Afghanistan about three years ago, until his whereabouts were revealed in the media.  He was then sent home because officials feared knowledge of his whereabouts could endanger his fellow troops.  He is expected to return to fight in Afghanistan next year. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Britain, France Come Together in Defense Cooperation Deal

Photo Courtesy - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- New, unprecedented defense cooperation has been announced between Britain and France.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy firmed up the deal on a visit to London, where he met with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The plan has been talked about for years, but now, under these tough economic times, it seems to make even more sense to people like Britain's Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

He says, "This is not about inter-dependence, it's about inter-operability.  It's about making sure that we are able to get the maximum use out of the equipment that we have in our, in both of our countries for as much of the time as possible."

Under the plan, the two countries will share various equipment, like aircraft carriers, warhead testing facilities and satellite communications.  The theory is that working together will enhance capabilities, while saving money at the same time.

The two countries will also form a joint expeditionary force -- a pool of around 5,000 -- able to deploy together at short notice on peace keeping, rescue or combat missions.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Mohammed Challenges for Top British Baby Name

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- In Britain, the classic boys' names like Jack and Oliver are being challenged in popularity by the non-traditional British baby name of Mohammed.

Taking into account the different spellings of Mohammed or Muhammed, the name of the Islamic prophet would be in the top five of the country's most popular baby names for boys in 2009.

Some British publications, however, have determined that Mohammed has risen to be the No. 1 favorite name and are indignant that Jack, the king of British boys names for the last 14 years, has been dethroned.

"It's obvious how it's an area of great interest," said Office of National Statistics media relations officer Richard Miles, which released the data Wednesday. Miles said he'd fielded calls on Mohammed all day.

The surge in the number of British boys named Mohammed stems from a growing Muslim population and a rise in Islamic pride.

"It's a popular name because he is the prime prophet of the Muslim community," said Khalid Anis, a spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Britain. "Muslims are becoming more aware of their own faith. Part of the reaction to this is being proud of who you are, and part of that might be the increase in the name Mohammed."

Anis points out Muslim numbers in Britain have been on the increase for the last few decades, at the most recent Census back in 2001 Muslims made up 2.8 percent of the population. Keziah Mookram-Gray, a Catholic resident of London who's six months pregnant with her second child, said she could understand while a Muslim mother would name her son Mohammed.

"Ultimately you want your kid to be popular," said Mookram-Gray.

She spent months going back and forth with her husband to find the perfect name for her first born. "In this competitive world, if you give them a good popular name it will give them a little head start," she said, indicating one would pick a popular name.

London resident Fernanda Palone is pregnant for the first time and spent about three months choosing the name of her upcoming baby. She works at a pregnancy center and hears all sorts of baby names, including ones she finds strange like Apple. Naming a baby, she said, can bring a lot of pressure.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Strangers Connect Online to Commit Suicide

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images.(LONDON) -- A woman and a man found each other through an online posting looking for a partner -- to end their lives together. Shortly after meeting in person, Joanne Lee and Stephen Lumb got into Lee's car and committed suicide.  The double suicide of two strangers has stunned Great Britain where it occurred and surprised suicide experts.  "It's very, very unusual," said Essex Police press officer Heather Watts who said she's never seen anything like this in her 20 years on the police force. "We have had double suicides, but not under the circumstance where they'd never met in person....I saw it as a sign of the times when people meet and do things on the Internet."  Lee, 34, and Lumb, 35, are believed to have met on an Internet forum that discusses suicide when she put up a notice seeking a partner to help her die.  "I haven't the strength to do this alone. I have all the ingredients and want to do it ASAP," Lee wrote, according to London's "Daily Mail." Britain has about 6,000 suicides per year, low compared to many other countries like Japan. It also does not have a culture of suicide with strangers that has grown rapidly in Japan in recent years. The suicide rate in the U.S. is 11.5 per 100,000, about 35,000 people per year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

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