Monday, July 29, 2013

2nd body found in N.Y. river where best man fell in

PIERMONT, N.Y. (AP) ? A day after a bride-to-be was pulled dead from the Hudson River, the body of her fiance's best man was found a mile downstream Sunday, the second victim of a nighttime crash involving a speedboat and a barge north of New York City.

The deadly collision left the groom-to-be grieving for his intended and his best friend, while facing surgery for his own injuries as another friend is charged with manslaughter ? two weeks before the wedding day.

"I don't think you can put words to what we have to tell these families," Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said as he announced that a body believed to be that of Mark Lennon, 30, the best man, was found Sunday morning.

At the church where Lindsey Stewart and Brian Bond, both 30, would have been married Aug. 10, the pastor said their lives "were filled with hopes and dreams, and that has been snuffed away."

Stewart, Bond, Lennon and three others were on a speedboat that crashed Friday night into a barge holding equipment for the construction of a replacement for the Tappan Zee.

The group had left the village of Piermont for a short trip aboard the 21-foot Stingray across the river to Tarrytown, about 30 miles north of New York City, authorities said.

Police said it was being piloted by Jojo John, 35, of Nyack, whom they suspect was intoxicated and who has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault.

Stewart and Lennon were thrown off the boat. When the bodies were found, they did not have life vests on, said Sheriff's Department Chief William Barbera.

Bond, John and two others, whose names have not been made public because they are witnesses, were injured and hospitalized.

One of the witnesses has been released from the hospital, Falco said Sunday. Mitchell Turk, a friend of Bond's family, said Bond would be undergoing surgery on Monday.

Turk, of Orangetown, said he visited with Bond's mother on Sunday at her Pearl River home.

"It's sad and quiet there, long faces," he said. "They're trying to carry on, doing as well as can be expected. I'm a little shaken. When you think of what they've lost, a daughter-in-law, Brian injured, it's tough."

Turk's daughter, Sheryl Palacio, said she has known Bond, an art teacher, all her life.

"He's an outstanding teacher, a wonderful, kind, respectful man," she said.

She said Lennon was Bond's best friend and John was "his other best friend." She described the suspect as "a good man, happy and loving."

She said John "would never, ever want to put his friends in danger."

"I just hope Brian is able to move past this," she added.

It was not clear if John had an attorney. Falco said a mug shot of John released Sunday was from a previous arrest, but he would not elaborate.

At Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pearl River, where Stewart and Bond had planned to get married, the Rev. John Havrilla said he remembered them as children. He told The Journal News that Stewart, who worked for an insurance company, was an important part of the congregation.

"Her loss, and the wedding, just makes this even more of a heartache," he said.

Falco said the body believed to be Lennon's was discovered by a person on a recreational watercraft who then called 911. Twelve search boats were on the water at the time. The county medical examiner will have to officially identify both bodies but police feel sure they are Stewart's and Lennon's.

The sheriff said the barge's lighting would be part of the investigation of the crash. Authorities have said the barge was equipped with lights, but it was still difficult to see on the water late at night.

A spokesman for the $3.9 billion bridge project said the barges were properly lit Friday night, but lighting has since been added.

"We will determine if those barges were lit properly and if it was a factor," Falco said.

Pre-construction work related to the new bridge was suspended for the weekend but is to resume Monday.


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Amazon unveils new hiring spree ahead of Obama visit

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inc unveiled a new hiring spree on Monday ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama to one of the Internet retailer's giant distribution warehouses this week.

Amazon said it is looking to fill more than 5,000 new full-time jobs at 17 of its fulfillment centers across the United States. That's roughly a 25 percent increase in full-time fulfillment center staff, which currently number more than 20,000 in the country.

Amazon has been building lots of new fulfillment centers closer to customers in recent years as the company tries to speed up delivery of online orders and reduce shipping costs.

Amazon needs a lot of workers to pick, pack and ship orders alongside high tech robots that whiz around its warehouses. The company's demand for employees is so strong that it has created special programs to woo candidates.

Last year, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos used the front page of the company's website to announce a Career Choice program that pays thousands of dollars for warehouse employees to take technical and vocational courses in high-demand areas including engineering, information technology, transportation and accounting.

Amazon made its latest hiring push as President Obama is due to visit a company fulfillment center in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Tuesday to speak about jobs in the United States.

The President will discuss proposals to jumpstart private sector job growth and make America more competitive, according to a White House spokeswoman.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr; Editing by Chris Reese)


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Beer Can House in Houston: Actually a Thing!


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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Labour union donations revealed

THE full scale of the unions? financial grip on Labour is revealed today by a Sun investigation.

They have donated an astonishing total of ?120MILLION in the past 12 years.

Four out of five Labour MPs have been bankrolled by unions ? including almost 100 who have received five figure sums.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has taken donations worth almost ?170,000.

More than ?118,000 of that is from Unite, the union run by ?Red Len? McCluskey which is accused of vote-rigging.

Mr Miliband?s policy chief Jon Cruddas has had even more. He has taken ?210,000 ? including ?157,000 from Unite or the unions which merged to form it.

And every full member of the shadow cabinet has benefited from union cash ? with all but four getting money from Unite or its predecessors.

The Sun probe comes as Mr Miliband battles charges he is in the pockets of left-wing union barons such as Mr McCluskey.

He announced plans to reform the way the unions fund his party in the wake of claims Unite tried to ?fix? the election of a Labour parliamentary hopeful in Falkirk to get its preferred candidate the job. Our investigation shows it is a high-risk strategy that could bankrupt Labour.

We studied union handouts to Labour dating back to 2001 when online Electoral Commission records started.

In that time the party has had 7,354 union donations worth more than ?120million. They include cash and perks like advertising, travel or use of buildings.

Since Mr Miliband became Labour leader in 2010 the unions have stumped up ?23.6million ? almost half the party?s ?51.8million income.

He won the leadership from his Blairite elder brother David by the narrowest of margins.

David?s initial poll lead vanished after Mr McCluskey and other left-wingers threw their weight behind his brother. Donations to Labour big guns such as Mr Miliband, Mr Cruddas, Gordon Brown and Ed Balls go to their private offices.

But most Labour MPs have seen union support poured into their constituency parties.

Between them, 211 current MPs? local parties have had donations worth ?2.4million.

That?s an average of more than ?11,000 each from the 15 unions officially affiliated to Labour.

Chart showing unions donations & political beneficiaries

Specifics ... biggest donors and most notable beneficiaries

Almost half the donations came from Unite or the unions which merged to form it in 2007, Amicus and the TGWU.

All nine of the MPs on the party?s ruling National Executive Committee have had support. Unions already have 11 of their own representatives on the body which oversees policy-making ? more than any other section of the party.

NEC members Euro-MP Glenis Willmott and Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor, have also benefited from union handouts.

Union cash is used for staffing, campaigning and other costs. There is no suggestion it goes into MPs? pockets.

Under Mr Miliband?s proposed reforms, union members will no longer automatically be docked the ?3 a year ?political levy? that goes to Labour. Instead they will have to ?opt in? to the payment.

Mr McCluskey has warned it will cost Labour millions ? but also predicted the move could give the unions more power and influence.

He said: ?We?ve been taken for granted by people who welcome our money but don?t want our policy input. They want our resources at election time but don?t want our members as candidates.?

Mr Miliband?s overhaul was hastily announced after the ballot fixing allegations in Falkirk.

Police were called in amid claims Unite bought membership for activists so they could support the union?s preferred candidate.

It was claimed some of those Unite members who were signed up knew nothing about it.

A criminal investigation was ruled out last week. But Labour has promised disciplinary action. Police are looking into alleged fraud by Unite in two London parliamentary seats, Ilford North and Lewisham Deptford.

They are among 41 seats Unite is said to be targeting to get its members picked as Labour candidates ? tightening its grip on the party.

Tory chairman Grant Shapps said The Sun?s investigation showed how the likes of Mr McCluskey were puppet-masters pulling Mr Miliband?s strings.

He said: ?Day by day, the unions? stranglehold on the Labour Party increases as they quite literally buy the candidates, dictate the policy and choose the leader.?

But Labour said: ?The Labour Party and Labour MPs receive funding from a wide range of sources, details of which are provided to the Electoral Commission and the Register of Members Interests.

?In recent months the Labour Party has seen a significant increase in donations from individuals.

?Ed Miliband has been clear he is determined to modernise and strengthen Labour?s historic link with the trade unions, giving working people a real choice and a real voice in the Labour Party.?

Of the ?51.8million Labour has been given since Mr Miliband became leader, ?20.4million came from public funds.

Donations higher than ?500 from individuals were worth ?3.9million. Companies added ?1.2million.


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Cleveland kidnapping victim appears at music festival

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - One of the three women starved, beaten and sexually assaulted for years after being kidnapped by former Ohio school bus driver Ariel Castro made a surprise public appearance on Saturday at a concert in Cleveland.

Amanda Berry, along with Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, was freed from Castro's home in a rundown area of Cleveland on May 6. The women began disappearing in 2002 and had been bound in chains and ropes during their confinement, authorities said.

Smiling and wearing a black t-shirt, jeans and sunglasses, the 27-year-old Berry received raucous applause as she walked on the stage at the RoverFest 2013 event in downtown Cleveland after being announced by local radio host Rover.

Berry pointed a finger skyward and waved and shook the hands of some of the cheering concert-goers.

"I told her she had a little bit of time to make up on the partying and you guys would help her out tonight," Rover said according to a video posted on YouTube by radio station WMMS.

Berry did not speak before exiting the stage. She was later called back by the rapper Nelly when he finished his set.

Her appearance came two days after Castro pleaded guilty to hundreds of charges of kidnapping and rape in a deal to avoid the death penalty. The move spared Berry, DeJesus, 23, and Knight, 32, from having to testify at a trial.

Castro has agreed to a sentence of life in prison without parole as part of his plea deal. His sentencing is scheduled for August 1.

(Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Paul Simao)


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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hill Real Estate By the Numbers - The Hill Is Home

July 26th, 2013 by Guest Author ? No Comments ? Capitol Hill

This is a ongoing series that will feature the latest in Hill home value changes straight from a Hill expert real estate agent. Jason Martin is one of the founding partners of Keller Williams Capital Properties and the principal at the Jason Martin Group. You may contact Jason at 202-641-0299.?

The Washington DC Metro region tied a record high for median price in June. At $440,000, the median sale price is 10 percent higher than this time last year, a gain of $40,000, according to Real Estate Business Intelligence.?The market is even healthier on the Hill. Here is the breakdown by zip code:

June 2013 20002 stats

Talk about a zip code showing signs of growth.? Take a look at the sold dollar volume, average sold price and median price.?They?re all up by 25 percent or more. If that doesn?t convince you of the health of the market in this zip then just take a look at the average sold price compared to original list price.

June 2013 20003 stats

Here again we see sold dollar volume on the rise from the same month in 2012 as well as units sold. The average sold price and median sold price dipped a bit since June 2012, but the sold price to list price ratio here again indicates a healthy seller?s market.

Without doubt Capitol Hill and its neighbors remains one of the most fluid markets in the country.?With interest rates on the rise it will be interesting to see how the next few months play out.

Tags: Real Estate


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Obama says choices now will govern future economy

President Barack Obama give the thumbs up as walks from Marine One the the White House, Friday, July 26, 2013, in Washington, as he arrives after spending the day at Camp David with members of his cabinet and their families. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama give the thumbs up as walks from Marine One the the White House, Friday, July 26, 2013, in Washington, as he arrives after spending the day at Camp David with members of his cabinet and their families. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(AP) ? President Barack Obama says Washington's top priority must be to reverse trends like economic inequality, weakened middle-class security and global competition. He says Washington has lost focus on the economy.

In his weekly Internet and radio address, Obama is pressing economic ideas he's been promoting in an ongoing series of speeches. He wants better access to education, home ownership, health care and secure retirement.

He says that he'll listen to good ideas from either party but that Republicans are threatening to take the nation in the wrong direction.

In the Republican address, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia says Republicans will focus this week on government abuse, such as intrusive regulations and red tape that he says threaten Americans' paychecks and civil liberties.



Obama address:

GOP address:

Associated Press


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Washington Redskins Darrell Green Corrects Report He Wanted Team to Change Name

Former Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green has come forth to defend his statement regarding the team name and statements he made in a radio interview earlier this week that incorrectly construed what he said as a call for the team to change the Redskins name.

Earlier this week, in an interview with WTOP-FM,?former Washington Redskins superstars and Pro Football Hall of Fame members Art Monk and Darrell Green conceded the term "redskins" could be considered offensive to some and a conversation about a name change "could be considered."

"It deserves and warrants conversation because somebody is saying, 'Hey, this offends me,' and then you have a conversation," Green said Thursday.

Media reports immediately surfaced, reporting the pair had called for, or at least supported, the idea and ongoing controversy suggesting the name change.

The next day, Green clarified his remarks in an interview with 106.7 The Fan, a D.C.-area radio station.

"What my real comment in response to the question was, 'Does it deserve merit?'" Green clarified. "And my comments were that, 'Look, if it offended somebody ? if somebody was offended, then I think it merits at least a discussion.' I mean, goodness, I mean, people should be able to say 'Hey, you offended me' and somebody should be able to have a dialogue. Now, where it lands, that?s another thing."

Later during the interview, Green made his position abundantly clear.

"In no way I want to see the Redskins change their name,? Green told the hosts and radio audience. "So that just makes that clear. And I?ll speak for Art, there?s no way he wants it, and I guarantee he didn?t say it, and I know I didn?t say it.?

The ongoing discussion, debate, controversy, non-issue that has occurred this offseason led team owner Daniel Snyder to declare he would never change the team name. On May 10, Snyder told USA Today,?"We'll never change the name," Snyder said. "It's that simple: NEVER?you can use caps."?

One week prior to Snyder's comments, a so-called "Native American chief" was interviewed on Redskins Nation, a show that is produced, staffed and hired by Redskins owner Dan Snyder. The team proudly announced the news and the support of someone who could put a face on the story.

In the interview, the chief declared, "We don't have a problem with [the name] at all; in fact we're honored. We're quite honored."

Nearly two months after the Redskins interview with the chief, writer Dave McKenna reported, "It turns out that the 'full-blooded American Inuit chief' is neither a full-blooded American Inuit nor a chief in any formal sense of the term." The chief was not a chief after all. The Redskins had been duped.

Hopefully Darrell Green's closing comments Friday will bring the story to a simmer (not to mention training camp has started)?when he pointed out other cases in the news that have fueled the fire in the ongoing debate of fairness and equality.

With the Redskins in particular, as Green noted in his 106.7 interview, there isn't anyone that can stand up and adequately represent them.

?See, Rodney King has a face. Trayvon Martin has a face. Some of these issues have a face and a personality,? Green noted. ?One thing I will say on the Redskins side of it, there is no face or personality.?

Follow on Twitter?@JohnBibb?and view previous Bleacher Report?articles I have written on the?Washington Redskins?here.?


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Can We Trust Monsanto with Our Food?

Monsanto protest

About 200 people joined the "March Against Monsanto" in Boulder, Colorado, one of 450 marches in 55 countries on 5/25/13. The worldwide actions were to protest Monsanto's production and use of GMO's, pesticides and herbicides used in farming, and genetically engineered seeds. Image: Flickr/Chris Goodwin

  • Showcasing more than fifty of the most provocative, original, and significant online essays from 2011, The Best Science Writing Online 2012 will change the way...

    Read More??

SA Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology.

The World Food Prize laureates for 2013 were announced in June. They are Marc van Montagu, Mary-Dell Chilton and Rob Fraley. These scientists played seminal roles, together with the late Jeff Schell, in developing modern plant molecular modification techniques. Fraley is chief technology officer of Monsanto. Chilton is a Distinguished Science Fellow at Syngenta. Montagu founded Plant Genetic Systems (now part of Bayer CropScience) and CropDesign (today owned by BASF).

Scratch the blogosphere and you?ll be dumbfounded by this award. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) produced by big ag-biotech companies are responsible for farmer suicides in India. Monsanto sues farmers who didn?t plant biotech seeds, but had a bit of pollen blown into their fields. U.S. wheat farmers are facing bankruptcy because GM wheat was discovered growing in Oregon. A quick search on YouTube turns up these top hits: "Seeds of death: unveiling the lies of GMOs," "Horrific new studies in GMOs, you're eating this stuff!!" and "They are killing us?GMO foods."

Humans began genetically modifying plants to provide food more than 10,000 years ago. For the past hundred years or so plant breeders have used radiation and chemicals to speed up the production of genetic changes. This was a genetic shotgun, producing lots of bad changes and a very, very occasional good one. That?s the best we could do until the three laureates (and their colleagues) developed molecular techniques for plant genetic modification. We can now use these methods to make precise improvements by adding just a gene (or two or a few) that codes for proteins whose function we know with precision. Yet plants modified by these techniques, the best and safest we?ve ever invented, are the only ones we now call GM. Almost everyone believes we?ve never fiddled with plant genes before, as if beefsteak tomatoes, elephant garlic and corn were somehow products of unfettered nature.

The anti-GM storm gathered in the mid-80s and swept around the world. Most early alarms about new technologies fade away as research accumulates without turning up evidence of deleterious effects. This should be happening now because scientists have amassed more than three decades of research on GM biosafety, none of which has surfaced credible evidence that modifying plants by molecular techniques is dangerous. Instead, the anti-GM storm has intensified. Scientists have done their best to explain things, but they?re rather staid folk for the most part, constitutionally addicted to facts and figures and not terribly good at crafting emotionally gripping narratives. This puts them at a disadvantage. One scare story based on a bogus study suggesting a bad effect of eating GMOs readily trumps myriad studies that show that GM foods are just like non-GM foods.

What are the facts? Monsanto and the other big ag-biotech companies have developed reliable, biologically insect-resistant and herbicide-tolerant commodity crops that benefit people, farmers and the environment, and are nutritionally identical to their non-GM counterparts.

GM insect-resistant crops contain a gene that codes for a bacterial protein that?s toxic to an insect pest, but not animals or people. Insecticides are toxic chemicals that kill insects indiscriminately, both harmful and beneficial. They?re also poisonous to other animals?people included. Insect-resistant crops have reduced insecticide use. Biological solutions for insect pest problems were Rachel Carson?s dream.


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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Greek shipowner Restis arrested on money laundering charges

By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek shipowner Victor Restis was arrested on charges of money laundering and embezzlement on Tuesday, becoming one of just a few prominent businessmen to be detained by police since Greece sank into crisis.

Restis, who has a stake in Greece's top-selling newspaper and other media as well as his shipping fleet, is being investigated over bad loans of up to 500 million euros ($660 million) at FBBbank, a troubled lender that was wound down this year, court officials said.

He has been accused of using his influence over the bank to secure a 5.8 million euro loan for companies with links to him, the officials said.

His family owned a majority stake in FBBbank, which had about 1.6 billion euros' worth of assets before it was wound down, with its healthy assets absorbed by Greece's top lender, National Bank.

Restis denied any wrongdoing when he appeared before a prosecutor to be formally charged, court officials said. Calls to his company were not answered. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.

He will appear before a prosecutor on Friday, court officials said.

He was arrested outside his office in a northern suburb of Athens, a police official said. A Greek prosecutor has issued arrest warrants for two more suspects in the same case.

Rated number 56 in the Lloyd's List top 100 influential people in shipping, Restis has been active in sectors including the dry bulk, tanker and offshore markets, managing an estimated 80 to 85 vessels.

"This comes as a major surprise to the shipping industry - he is a big player in the sector," a ship industry official said. "Restis has been a highly visible Greek ship owner and businessman who has built his business from his family."

Another prominent Greek businessman, Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, was jailed in December pending trial for involvement in a banking scandal. He has denied any wrongdoing [ID:nL5E8NED1E]

Greece's descent into a deep economic crisis has triggered public anger against a political and business elite widely viewed as privileged and corrupt, prompting prosecutors to step up investigations into corruption cases.

The shipping industry accounts for about 5 percent of GDP.

Greece's wealthy shipowners, who control about 15 percent of the global fleet, have enjoyed favorable tax terms for decades, paying taxes on their ships' tonnage instead of profits.

They have come under fire since the crisis started from some media groups and the leftist opposition that accuses them of sidestepping their share of austerity and tax burden on the public.

Last week, the conservative-led government said that 441 shipping companies would donate up to 140 million euros annually to the state over three years, to help boost the economy which is in a sixth year of recession.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Saul in London; Editing by Deepa Babington and Robin Pomeroy)


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NTT DoCoMo outs Raku-Raku F-09E smartphone for 'beginners'

NTT DoCoMo outs Raku-Raku F-09E smartphone for 'beginners'
It's been more than a year since NTT DoCoMo unveiled its F-12D Raku-Raku handset, so it's only natural the company would follow up with a successor in 2013. The Japanese firm just introduced the F-09E, an easy-to-use, Android-based device tailored for folks looking to get their feet wet on the smartphone craze. Hardware-wise, this Fujitsu-made, 4.3-inch (qHD) F12-D will be running Android 4.2.2, while a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600, 2GB RAM, 16GB of built-in storage and a 2,100mAh battery round out the spec list. Don't get too attached to what's under the hood, though: NTT DoCoMo notes the new member of the Raku-Raku family is still in development and things could change by the time it launches, sometime in "between late September and early October."

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Via: Ameblo (Blog of Mobile)

Source: Fujitsu


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Leap Motion's 'Minority Report'-esque controller ships to first buyers


1 hour ago

Leap 1

Leap Motion

The Leap Motion Controller in action, controlling a 3-D game.

The Leap Motion Controller, which tracks users' hands with great precision and allows for gesture controls like those made famous in the movie "Minority Report," is arriving this week on the doorsteps of those who pre-ordered it.

Leap device

Leap Motion

The device is extremely small and powered by USB.

Leap Motion's device tracks your hand and fingers with an infrared sensor, and the company claims that it's hundreds of times more sensitive than similar devices like the Kinect. And it's all in a device about the size of a stick of gum and costs a surprisingly low $80.

Imagine brushing aside windows with a wave of the hand, pausing Netflix with a raised palm, or just using your finger to control the cursor when your wrist is sore from long hours of Excel (or games).

Of course, even the coolest peripheral is useless if nothing works with it. And right now the Leap is compatible mainly with a stable of 75 approved apps they've collected at Leap Motion's "Airspace Store."

A few companies are already lined up to implement the device in their apps and games (Corel and Disney, for instance), but until some bigger names like Microsoft and Adobe take up the call, it may be more of an impressive tech demo than a transformative experience.

The Leap Motion Controller is just now arriving in buyers' and reviewers' laps; we'll be posting our hands-on experience with it later this week.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New rules threaten angel investing | i2E ? Innovation to Enterprise

By Scott Meacham

Copyright ? 2013, Oklahoma Publishing Company

In the world of angel investing, the law of unintended consequences just struck and struck hard.

Instead of easing the access to capital for new businesses, the just-announced rules governing the Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 could destroy angel investing, making it much harder, if not impossible, for some Oklahoma startups to raise capital.

Here?s the situation.

Under the JOBS Act, the Security and Exchange Commission was directed to lift the ban on general solicitation and advertising to investors for private offerings to make it easier for entrepreneurs to reach more qualified investors.

A condition was that companies (issuers) raising capital via solicitation take ?reasonable steps to verify? that all investors are accredited. The SEC definition of an accredited investor is an individual with an annual income exceeding $200,000 and/or net worth greater than $1 million excluding that person?s primary residence.

Accreditation isn?t new ? angels and other individual investors in private equity have been self-certifying for decades. What is new is that for those deals that are generally solicited, angels can no longer self-certify.

Instead, investors will be required to divulge personal financial information in the form of pay stubs, tax returns, or brokerage statements or be certified quarterly by an attorney or accountant. (For offerings that do not use solicitation, the SEC rules haven?t changed, although entrepreneurs and investors alike must be very careful to keep these offerings completely private.)

?Not a single angel I have spoken with is willing to provide personal financial information to an issuer who is asking them for an investment,? said Marianne Hudson, executive director of the Angel Capital Association. ?The violation of privacy is untenable. It is critical for angel investors to have a reliable safe harbor without having to divulge personal financial information or having a third party comb through their financial statements every three months.?

The rule is even more onerous considering that Angel Capital Association members have been investing in startups for years while self-certifying accreditation without a hint of fraud. Angel groups, like Oklahoma?s SeedStep Angels, have strong investment and membership best practices. They recruit members they know. They seek education and focus on the skills needed to do this type of investing well.

The Angel Capital Association ( is pushing for a ?safe harbor? recommendation to permit ACA members to self-certify within their groups for generally solicited offerings.

Congress didn?t intend to hurt small business and cut private investment when they passed the JOBS Act. This recent action by the SEC is yet another example of when something isn?t broken we sure don?t need the federal government to fix it ? the results can be disastrous.

Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state?s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at

DID YOU KNOW? Angels are estimated to have invested nearly $23 billion in more than 67,000 companies in 2012, focusing on innovative high-growth firms that create the most new jobs.

?Click here to read the article at



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South Africa's Kumba H1 profit, output largely flat

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Kumba Iron Ore reported little growth in first-half profit on Tuesday, hit by a sharp fall in iron ore prices and a slow return to pre-strike production at its flagship mine after labour unrest last year.

The company, which contributes close to 40 percent of parent Anglo American's profit, said headline earnings totalled 24.13 rand per share in the six months to end-June, from 23.88 rand a year earlier.

Headline EPS, the main measure of profit in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items.

Iron ore production totalled 21.6 million tonnes, in line with the same period a year ago, with export sales down 3 percent to 20.1 million tonnes.

Kumba's flagship Sishen mine in the remote Northern Cape province continued to suffer from low supply of high grade material as it recovered from strike action in the last eight months.

Around 300 workers started the stoppage in early October and the mine resumed production just over two weeks later but intimidation remained rife and the full workforce was only able to return in December, costing the company more in lost production.


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Monday, July 22, 2013

WSJ: Apple testing larger iPhone, iPad screens with suppliers

WSJ Apple testing larger iPhone, iPad screens with suppliers

Rumors that Apple is looking to super-size its upcoming iPhone and iPad lineups are gathering steam, thanks to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal. It cited Apple's suppliers in Asia, who said that Cupertino is testing a 13-inch iPad design and prototype iPhone screens larger than the current four inches. While Apple wouldn't comment, of course, that jibes with an earlier Reuters report, which claimed it was considering 4.7- and 5.7-inch iPhone screens. If accurate (and that's always a big if with such rumors), the report doesn't necessarily mean that products with larger displays will ever come to market -- Apple routinely changes specs and tests components during the development cycle. Still, it would be further evidence that the company's willing to bend on its one-size-fits-all screen size policy, which is something that the large-handed (or weak-eyed) among us might appreciate.

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Source: WSJ


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Sunday, July 21, 2013

James Woods Slams Obama Trayvon Martin Speech On Twitter

James Woods went on a bit of a Twitter rant after President Obama yesterday addressed Trayvon Martin?s death and the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict.

The president?s speech apparently did not sit well with the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated actor in the context of economic issues.

During the course of his remarks about the controversial Florida case in which the Hispanic neighborhood watchman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter, the president said ?And there are very few African-American men who haven?t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator.?

This portion of Obama?s address prompted the actor to tweet ?The only reason people lock their car doors when Obama walks by is they are afraid he?ll tax them to death.?

Among other things, Woods also asked on Twitter if the president could offer advice to other teenagers in America such as those injured in the line of duty while serving in the military (i.e., wounded warriors). Woods also insisted that jobs and skills training were among the best ways to address social problems in the country rather than reliance on a bloated welfare state.

Woods, 66, caused quite a stir on social media recently in connection with his social life. He recently ended his seven-year relationship with 26-year-old Ashley Madison and is now dating 20-year-old Kristen Bauguess who reportedly has had some recent run-ins with the law.

Known for playing many intense, over-the-top characters, James Woods has 134 entries at IMDB for acting roles and several entries for producing, directing, and writing.

Woods has claimed that he had an encounter with some of the the 9/11 hijackers when they were doing a trial run on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles in August 2001 and reported it to law enforcement authorities at that. The FBI apparently never followed up.

What do you think of James Woods? Twitter criticism of the Obama Trayvon Martin speech?


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Light aircraft heading towards London crashes into English Channel

From upper left: City of London, Tower Bridge and London Eye, Palace of Westminster
London region in the United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51?30?26?N 0?7?39?W? / ?51.50722?N 0.1275?W? / 51.50722; -0.1275Coordinates: 51?30?26?N 0?7?39?W? / ?51.50722?N 0.1275?W? / 51.50722; -0.1275
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region London
Ceremonial counties City and Greater London
Districts City and 32 boroughs
Settled by Romans as Londinium, c. AD 43
Headquarters City Hall
???Regional authority Greater London Authority
???Regional assembly London Assembly
???Mayor of London Boris Johnson
???UK Parliament
?-?European Parliament
74 constituencies
14 constituencies
London constituency
???London 1,570?km2 (607?sq?mi)
Elevation[1] 24?m (79?ft)
Population (July 2010 est.)[2]
???London 7,825,200
???Density 4,978/km2 (12,892/sq?mi)
???Urban 8,278,251
???Metro 13,709,000
???Demonym Londoner
(June 2009 estimates)
Time zone GMT (UTC?0)
???Summer?(DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcode areas E

, EC , N , NW , SE , SW , W , WC , BR , CM , CR , DA , EN , HA , IG , KT , RM , SM , TN , TW , UB

, WD
Area code(s) 020, 01322, 01689, 01708, 01737, 01895, 01923, 01959, 01992

London Listeni/?l?nd?n/ is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures.[note 1] Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named it Londinium.[3] London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its square-mile mediaeval boundaries. Since at least the 19th century, the name London has also referred to the metropolis developed around this core.[4] The bulk of this conurbation forms the London region[5] and the Greater London administrative area,[6][note 2] governed by the elected Mayor of London and the London Assembly.[7]

London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence.[8] It is the world's leading financial centre alongside New York City[9][10][11] and has the fifth-largest city GDP in the world (and the largest in Europe).[12] London has been described as a world cultural capital.[13][14][15][16] It was the world's most visited city during 2011 [17][18] and London Heathrow is the world's busiest airport by number of international passengers.[19] London's 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education in Europe.[20] In 2012 London will become the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.[21]

London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries.[22] In July 2010 Greater London had an official population of 7,825,200, making it the most populous municipality in the European Union,[2][23] and accounting for 12.5% of the UK population.[24] The Greater London Urban Area is the second-largest in the EU with a population of 8,278,251,[25] while London's metropolitan area is the largest in the EU with an estimated total population of between 12?million[26] and 14?million.[27] London had the largest population of any city in the world from around 1831 to 1925.[28]

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory marks the Prime Meridian (0? longitude) and GMT).[29] Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Wembley Stadium, and Shard London Bridge. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, Natural History Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Library, Wimbledon, and 40 West End theatres.[30] The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world[31] and the second-most extensive (after the Shanghai Metro).[32]


The etymology of London is uncertain.[33] It is an ancient name and can be found in sources from the 2nd century. It is recorded c. 121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin.[33] The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae.[33] This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.[34]

From 1898 it was commonly accepted that the name was of Celtic origin and meant place belonging to a man called *Londinos; this explanation has since been rejected.[33]Richard Coates put forward an explanation in 1998 that it is derived from the pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonida, meaning 'river too wide to ford', and suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London; from this, the settlement gained the Celtic form of its name, *Lowonidonjon.[35]

Until 1889 the name "London" officially only applied to the City of London but since then it has also referred to the County of London and now Greater London.[4]

Prehistory and antiquity[link]

Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans in 43?AD.[36] This lasted for just seventeen years and around 61, the Iceni tribe led by Queen Boudica stormed it, burning it to the ground.[37] The next, heavily planned incarnation of the city prospered and superseded Colchester as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in 100. At its height during the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000. By the 7th century, the Anglo-Saxons had created a new settlement called Lundenwic over a mile (2?km) upstream from the old Roman city, around what is now Covent Garden.[38]

It is likely that there was a harbour at the mouth of the River Fleet for fishing and trading, and this trading grew, until the city was overcome by the Vikings and forced to move east, back to the location of the Roman Londinium, in order to use its walls for protection.[39] Viking attacks continued to increase, until 886 when Alfred the Great recaptured London and made peace with the Danish leader, Guthrum.[40] The original Saxon city of Lundenwic became Ealdwic ("old city"), a name surviving to the present day as Aldwych, which is in the modern City of Westminster.[41]

Two recent discoveries indicate that London could be much older than previously thought. In 1999 the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the foreshore north of Vauxhall Bridge.[42] This bridge either crossed the Thames, or went to a (lost) island in the river. Dendrology dated the timbers to 1500BC.

In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to 4500BC, were found on the Thames foreshore, South of Vauxhall Bridge.[43] The function of the mesolithic structure is not known, but it covers at least 50m x 10m, and numerous 30?cm posts are visible at low tides. Both structures are on South Bank, at a natural crossing point where the River Effra flows into the River Thames, and 4?km upstream from the Roman City of London. The effort required to construct these structures implies trade, stability, and a community size of several hundred people at least.

Middle Ages[link]

With the collapse of Roman rule in the early 5th century, London was effectively abandoned. However, from the 6th century an Anglo-Saxon settlement known as Lundenwic developed slightly to the west of the old Roman city, around what is now Covent Garden and the Strand, rising to a likely population of 10?12,000.[38] In the 9th century London was repeatedly attacked by Vikings, leading to a relocation of the city back to the location of Roman Londinium, in order to use its walls for protection.[39] Following the unification of England in the 10th century London, already the country's largest city and most important trading centre, became increasingly important as a political centre, although it still faced competition from Winchester, the traditional centre of the kingdom of Wessex.

In the 11th century King Edward the Confessor re-founded and rebuilt Westminster Abbey and Westminster, a short distance upstream from London became a favoured royal residence. From this point onward Westminster steadily supplanted the City of London itself as a venue for the business of national government.[44]

Following his victory in the Battle of Hastings, William, Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England in the newly finished Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066.[45] William constructed the Tower of London, the first of the many Norman castles in England to be rebuilt in stone, in the southeastern corner of the city to intimidate the native inhabitants.[46] In 1097, William II began the building of Westminster Hall, close by the abbey of the same name. The hall became the basis of a new Palace of Westminster.[47][48]

During the 12th century the institutions of central government, which had hitherto accompanied the royal court as it moved around the country, grew in size and sophistication and became increasingly fixed in one place. In most cases this was Westminster, although the royal treasury, having been moved from Winchester, came to rest in the Tower. While the City of Westminster developed into a true capital in governmental terms, its distinct neighbour, the City of London, remained England's largest city and principal commercial centre and flourished under its own unique administration, the Corporation of London. In 1100 its population was around 18,000; by 1300 it had grown to nearly 100,000.[49]

Disaster struck during the Black Death in the mid-14th century, when London lost nearly a third of its population.[50] London was the focus of the Peasants' Revolt in 1381.[51]

Early modern[link]

During the Tudor period the Reformation produced a gradual shift to Protestantism, with much of London passing from church to private ownership.[52] The traffic in woollen cloths shipped undyed and undressed from London to the nearby shores of the Low Countries, for use by well-to-do wearers chiefly in the interior of the continent. But the tentacles of English maritime enterprise hardly extended beyond the seas of north-west Europe. The commercial route to Italy and the Mediterranean Sea normally lay through Antwerp and over the Alps; any ship passing through the Strait of Gibraltar to or from England were likely to be Italian or Ragusan. Upon the re-opening of the Netherlands to English shipping in January 1565 there at once ensued a strong outburst of commercial activity.[53] The Royal Exchange was founded.[54]Mercantilism grew and monopoly trading companies such as the East India Company were established, with trade expanding to the New World. London became the principal North Sea port, with migrants arriving from England and abroad. The population rose from an estimated 50,000 in 1530 to about 225,000 in 1605.[52]

In the 16th century William Shakespeare and his contemporaries lived in London at a time of hostility to the development of the theatre. By the end of the Tudor period in 1603, London was still very compact. There was an assassination attempt on James I in Westminster, through the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605.[55] London was plagued by disease in the early 17th century,[56] culminating in the Great Plague of 1665?1666, which killed up to 100,000 people, or a fifth of the population.[57]

The Great Fire of London broke out in 1666 in Pudding Lane in the city and quickly swept through the wooden buildings.[58] Rebuilding took over ten years and was supervised by Robert Hooke[59][60][61] as Surveyor of London.[62] In 1708 Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral was completed. During the Georgian era new districts such as Mayfair were formed in the west; and new bridges over the Thames encouraged development in South London. In the east, the Port of London expanded downstream.

In 1762 George III acquired Buckingham House and it was enlarged over the next 75 years. During the 18th century, London was dogged by crime and the Bow Street Runners were established in 1750 as a professional police force.[63] In total, more than 200 offences were punishable by death,[64] and women and children were hanged for petty theft.[65] Over 74 per cent of children born in London died before they were five.[66] The coffeehouse became a popular place to debate ideas, with growing literacy and the development of the printing press making news widely available; and Fleet Street became the centre of the British press.

According to Samuel Johnson:

? You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. ?

?Samuel Johnson, 1777[67]

Late modern and contemporary[link]

London was the world's largest city from about 1831 to 1925.[68] London's overcrowded conditions led to cholera epidemics,[69] claiming 14,000 lives in 1848, and 6,000 in 1866.[70] Rising traffic congestion led to the creation of the world's first local urban rail network. The Metropolitan Board of Works oversaw infrastructure expansion. It was replaced in 1889 by the London County Council, London's first elected city-wide administration. The Blitz and other bombing by the German Luftwaffe during World War II killed over 30,000 Londoners and destroyed large tracts of housing and other buildings across London. Immediately after the war, the 1948 Summer Olympics were held at the original Wembley Stadium, at a time when the city had barely recovered from the war.

In 1951 the Festival of Britain was held on the South Bank. The Great Smog of 1952 led to the Clean Air Act 1956, which ended the "pea-souper" fogs for which London had been notorious. From the 1940s onwards, London became home to a large number of immigrants, largely from Commonwealth countries such as Jamaica, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, making London one of the most diverse cities in Europe.

Primarily starting in the mid-1960s, London became a centre for the worldwide youth culture, exemplified by the Swinging London subculture associated with the King's Road, Chelsea and Carnaby Street. The role of trendsetter was revived during the punk era. In 1965 London's political boundaries were expanded to take into account the growth of the urban area and a new Greater London Council was created. During The Troubles in Northern Ireland, London was subjected to bombing attacks by the Provisional IRA. Racial inequality was highlighted by the 1981 Brixton riot. Greater London's population declined steadily in the decades after World War II, from an estimated peak of 8.6?million in 1939 to around 6.8?million in the 1980s. The principal ports for London moved downstream to Felixstowe and Tilbury, with the London Docklands area becoming a focus for regeneration as the Canary Wharf development. This was borne out of London's ever-increasing role as a major international financial centre during the 1980s.

The Thames Barrier was completed in the 1980s to protect London against tidal surges from the North Sea. The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986, which left London as the only large metropolis in the world without a central administration. In 2000, London-wide government was restored, with the creation of the Greater London Authority. To celebrate the start of the 21st century, the Millennium Dome, London Eye and Millennium Bridge were constructed. On 7 July 2005, three London Underground trains and a double-decker bus were bombed in a series of terrorist attacks.[71]

Local government[link]

The administration of London is formed of two tiers?a city-wide, strategic tier and a local tier. City-wide administration is coordinated by the Greater London Authority (GLA), while local administration is carried out by 33 smaller authorities.[72] The GLA consists of two elected components; the Mayor of London, who has executive powers, and the London Assembly, who scrutinise the mayor's decisions and can accept or reject his budget proposals each year. The headquarters of the GLA is City Hall, Southwark; the current mayor is Boris Johnson. The mayor's statutory planning strategy is published as the London Plan, which was most recently revised in 2011.[73] The local authorities are the councils of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation.[74] They are responsible for most local services, such as local planning, schools, social services, local roads and refuse collection. Certain functions, such as waste management, are provided through joint arrangements. In 2009?2010 the combined revenue expenditure by London councils and the GLA amounted to just over 22 billion ? (14.7 billion ? for the boroughs and 7.4 billion ? for the GLA)[75]

Policing in Greater London, with the exception of the City of London, is provided by the Metropolitan Police Force, overseen by the Metropolitan Police Authority. The City of London has its own police force?? the City of London Police.[76] The British Transport Police are responsible for police services on National Rail and London Underground services in the capital.[77]

The London Fire Brigade is the statutory fire and rescue service for Greater London. It is run by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and is the third-largest fire service in the world.[78]National Health Service ambulance services are provided by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust, the largest free at the point of use emergency ambulance service in the world.[79] The London Air Ambulance charity operates in conjunction with the LAS where required. Her Majesty's Coastguard and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution operate on the River Thames.[80][81]

National government[link]

London is the seat of the Government of the United Kingdom, which is located around the Palace of Westminster. Many government departments are located close to Parliament, particularly along Whitehall, including the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street.[82] The British Parliament is often referred to as the "Mother of Parliaments" (although this sobriquet was first applied to England itself by John Bright)[83] because it has been the model for most other parliamentary systems, and its Acts have created many other parliaments.


Greater London is the top-level administrative subdivision covering London. The small, ancient City of London at its core once contained the whole settlement, but as the urban area grew the City Corporation resisted attempts to amalgamate it with its suburbs, causing "London" to be defined in a number ways for different purposes; and the situation was once open to legal debate.[84] Forty per cent of Greater London is covered by the London post town, within which 'LONDON' forms part of postal addresses.[85][86]

The London telephone area code (020) covers a larger area, similar in size to Greater London, although some outer districts are omitted and some places just outside are included. The area within the orbital M25 motorway is normally what is referred to as 'London'.[87] and the Greater London boundary has been aligned to it in places.[88]

Outward urban expansion is now prevented by the Metropolitan Green Belt,[89] although the built-up area extends beyond the boundary in places, resulting in a separately defined Greater London Urban Area. Beyond this is the vast London commuter belt.[90] Greater London is split for some purposes into Inner London and Outer London.[91] The city is split by the River Thames into North and South, with an informal central London area in its interior. The coordinates of the nominal centre of London, traditionally considered to be the original Eleanor Cross at Charing Cross near the junction of Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, are approximately 51?30?26?N 00?07?39?W? / ?51.50722?N 0.1275?W? / 51.50722; -0.1275.[92]


Within London, both the City of London and the City of Westminster have city status and both the City of London and the remainder of Greater London are the ceremonial counties.[93] The current area of Greater London has incorporated areas that were once part of the counties of Middlesex, Kent, Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire.[94] London's status as the capital of England, and later the United Kingdom, has never been granted or confirmed officially?by statute or in written form.[note 3]

Its position was formed through constitutional convention, making its status as de facto capital a part of the UK's unwritten constitution. The capital of England was moved to London from Winchester as the Palace of Westminster developed in the 12th and 13th centuries to become the permanent location of the royal court, and thus the political capital of the nation.[98] More recently, Greater London has been defined as a region of England and in this context known as London.[5]


Greater London covers an area of 1,583 square kilometres (611?sq?mi), an area which had a population of 7,172,036 in 2001 and a population density of 4,542 inhabitants per square kilometre (11,760?/sq?mi). A larger area, referred to as the London Metropolitan Region or the London Metropolitan Agglomeration covers an area of 8,382 square kilometres (3,236?sq?mi) has a population of 12,653,500 and a population density of 1,510 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,900?/sq?mi).[99] Modern London stands on the Thames, its primary geographical feature, a navigable river which crosses the city from the south-west to the east. The Thames Valley is a floodplain surrounded by gently rolling hills including Parliament Hill, Addington Hills, and Primrose Hill. The Thames was once a much broader, shallower river with extensive marshlands; at high tide, its shores reached five times their present width.[100]

Since the Victorian era the Thames has been extensively embanked, and many of its London tributaries now flow underground. The Thames is a tidal river, and London is vulnerable to flooding.[101] The threat has increased over time due to a slow but continuous rise in high water level by the slow 'tilting' of Britain (up in the north and down in the south) caused by post-glacial rebound.[102]

In 1974, a decade of work began on the construction of the Thames Barrier across the Thames at Woolwich to deal with this threat. While the barrier is expected to function as designed until roughly 2070, concepts for its future enlargement or redesign are already being discussed.[103]


London has a temperate oceanic climate, similar to much of southern Britain. Despite its reputation as being a rainy city, London receives less precipitation in a year than Rome at 834?mm (32.8?in), or Bordeaux at 923?mm (36.3?in).[104] Winters are generally chilly to cold with frost usually occurring in the suburbs on average twice a week from November to March. Snow usually occurs about 4 or 5 times a year mostly from December to February. Snowfall during March and April is rare but does occur every 2?3 years. Winter temperatures seldom fall below ?4 ?C (24.8??F) or rise above 14 ?C (57.2??F). During the winter of 2010, London experienced its lowest temperature on record (?14 ?C (6.8??F)) in Northolt and the heaviest snow seen for almost two decades, a huge strain on London's transport infrastructure. Summers are generally warm and sometimes hot, the heat being boosted by the urban heat island effect making the centre of London at times 5 ?C (9 ?F) warmer than the suburbs and outskirts. London's summer average is 24 ?C (75.2??F). On average there are 7 days a year above 30 ?C (86.0??F) and 2 days a year above 32 ?C (89.6??F). Temperatures of 26 ?C (80 ?F) usually occur on a weekly basis from mid- June to late August. During the 2003 European heat wave there were 14 consecutive days above 30 ?C (86.0??F) and 2 consecutive days where temperatures soared up to 38 ?C (100.4??F), leading to hundreds of heat related deaths. Rain generally occurs on around 2 out of 10 summer days. Spring and Autumn are mixed seasons and can be pleasant. On 1 October 2011, the air temperature attained 30 ?C (86.0??F) and in April 2011 it reached 28 ?C (82.4??F). However in recent years both of these months have also had snowfall. Temperature extremes range from ?10 ?C (14.0??F) to 37.9 ?C (100.2??F).

Climate data for London (Greenwich)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high ?C (?F) 14.0
Average high ?C (?F) 8.1
Average low ?C (?F) 2.3
Record low ?C (?F) ?10
Precipitation mm (inches) 55.2
Snowfall cm (inches) 24.4
%?humidity 91 89 91 90 92 92 93 95 96 95 93 91 92.3
Avg. rainy days (? 1?mm) 10.9 8.1 9.8 9.3 8.5 8.4 7.0 7.2 8.7 9.3 9.3 10.1 106.6
Avg. snowy days 4 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 16
Mean monthly sunshine hours 45.9 66.1 103.2 147.0 185.4 180.6 190.3 194.4 139.2 109.7 60.6 37.8 1,460.2
Source no. 1: Record highs and lows from BBC Weather,[105] except August and February maximum from Met Office[106][107]
Source no. 2: All other data from Met Office,[108] except for humidity and snow data which are from NOAA[109]


London's vast urban area is often described using a set of district names, such as Bloomsbury, Mayfair, Wembley and Whitechapel. These are either informal designations, reflect the names of villages that have been absorbed by sprawl, or are superseded administrative units such as parishes or former boroughs.

Such names have remained in use through tradition, each referring to a local area with its own distinctive character, but without current official boundaries. Since 1965 Greater London has been divided into 32 London boroughs in addition to the ancient City of London.[110][111] The City of London is the main financial district[112] and Canary Wharf has recently developed into a new financial and commercial hub, in the Docklands to the east.

The West End is London's main entertainment and shopping district, attracting tourists.[113]West London includes expensive residential areas where properties can sell for tens of millions of pounds.[114] The average price for properties in Kensington and Chelsea is ?894,000 with similar average outlay in most of central London.[115]

The East End is the area closest to the original Port of London, known for its high immigrant population, as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London.[116] The surrounding East London area saw much of London's early industrial development; now, brownfield sites throughout the area are being redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway including the London Riverside and Lower Lea Valley, which is being developed into the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.[116]


London's buildings are too diverse to be characterised by any particular architectural style, partly due to their varying ages. Many grand houses and public buildings, such as the National Gallery, are constructed from Portland stone. Some areas of the city, particularly those just west of the centre, are characterised by white stucco or whitewashed buildings. Few structures in Central London pre-date the Great Fire of 1666, these being a few trace Roman remains, the Tower of London and a few scattered Tudor survivors in the City. Further out is, for example, the Tudor period Hampton Court Palace, England's oldest surviving Tudor palace, built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey circa 1515.[117]Wren's late 17th century churches and the financial institutions of the 18th and 19th centuries such as the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England, to the early 20th century Old Bailey and the 1960s Barbican Estate form part of the varied architectural heritage.

The disused, but soon to be rejuvenated, 1939 Battersea Power Station by the river in the southwest is a local landmark, while some railway termini are excellent examples of Victorian architecture, most notably St. Pancras and Paddington.[118] The density of London varies, with high employment density in the central area, high residential densities in inner London and lower densities in the suburbs.

The Monument in the City of London provides views of the surrounding area while commemorating the Great Fire of London, which originated nearby. Marble Arch and Wellington Arch, at the north and south ends of Park Lane respectively, have royal connections, as do the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall in Kensington. Nelson's Column is a nationally recognised monument in Trafalgar Square, one of the focal points of the city centre.

High-rise development is restricted at certain sites if it would obstruct protected views of St Paul's Cathedral. Nevertheless, there are plans for more skyscrapers in central London (see Tall buildings in London), including the 72-storey Shard London Bridge which is currently under construction. Development temporarily stalled as a result of the recent financial crisis, but is reported to be recovering.[119] Older buildings are mainly brick built, most commonly the yellow London stock brick or a warm orange-red variety, often decorated with carvings and white plaster mouldings.[120]

In the dense areas, most of the concentration is achieved with medium- and high-rise buildings. London's skyscrapers such as 30 St Mary Axe, Tower 42, the Broadgate Tower and One Canada Square are usually found in the two financial districts, the City of London and Canary Wharf. Other notable modern buildings include City Hall in Southwark with its distinctive oval shape,[121] and the British Library in Somers Town/Kings Cross. What was formerly the Millennium Dome, located by the Thames to the east of Canary Wharf, is now used as an entertainment venue called The O2 Arena.

Parks and gardens[link]

The largest parks in the central area of London are the Royal Parks of Hyde Park, its neighbour Kensington Gardens at the western edge of central London and Regent's Park on the northern edge.[122] Regent's Park contains London Zoo, the world's oldest scientific zoo, and is located near the tourist attraction of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.[123][124]

Closer to central London are the smaller Royal Parks of Green Park and St. James's Park.[125] Hyde Park in particular is popular for sports and sometimes hosts open-air concerts. A number of large parks lie outside the city centre, including the remaining Royal Parks of Greenwich Park to the south-east[126] and Bushy Park and Richmond Park to the south-west,[127][128] as well as Victoria Park, London to the east. Primrose Hill to the north of Regent's Park is a popular spot to view the city skyline.

Some more informal, semi-natural open spaces also exist, including the 320-hectare (790-acre) Hampstead Heath of North London.[129] This incorporates Kenwood House, the former stately home and a popular location in the summer months where classical musical concerts are held by the lake, attracting thousands of people every weekend to enjoy the music, scenery and fireworks.[130]

2001 United Kingdom Census[131]
Country of birth Population
United Kingdom United Kingdom 5,230,155
India India 172,162
Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland 157,285
Bangladesh Bangladesh 84,565
Jamaica Jamaica 80,319
Nigeria Nigeria 68,907
Pakistan Pakistan 66,658
Kenya Kenya 66,311
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 49,932
Ghana Ghana 46,513
Cyprus Cyprus 45,888
South Africa South Africa 45,506
United States United States 44,622
Australia Australia 41,488
Germany Germany 39,818
Turkey Turkey 39,128
Italy Italy 38,694
France France 38,130
Somalia Somalia 33,831
Uganda Uganda 32,082
New Zealand New Zealand 27,494

With increasing industrialisation, London's population grew rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was for some time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the most populous city in the world until overtaken by New York in 1925. Its population peaked at 8,615,245 in 1939 immediately before the outbreak of the Second World War. There were an estimated 7,556,900 official residents in Greater London as of mid-2007[update].[133]

However, London's continuous urban area extends beyond the borders of Greater London and was home to 8,278,251 people in 2001,[25] while its wider metropolitan area has a population of between 12 and 14?million depending on the definition used.[26][27] According to Eurostat, London is the most populous city and metropolitan area of the European Union and the second most populous in Europe (or third if Istanbul is included). During the period 1991?2001 a net 726,000?immigrants arrived in London.[134]

The region covers an area of 1,579 square kilometres (610?sq?mi). The population density is 4,542 inhabitants per square kilometre (11,760?/sq?mi),[135] more than ten times that of any other British region.[136] In terms of population, London is the 25th largest city and the 18th largest metropolitan region in the world. It is also ranked 4th in the world in number of billionaires (United States Dollars) residing in the city.[137] London ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world, alongside Tokyo and Moscow.[138]

Ethnic groups[link]

According to the Office for National Statistics, based on 2009 estimates, 69.7 per cent of the 7,753,600 inhabitants of London were White, with 59.5 per cent White British, 2.2 per cent White Irish and 8.0 per cent classified as Other White. Some 13.2 per cent are of South Asian descent, with Indians making up 6.2 per cent of London's population, followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis at 2.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively. 2.0 per cent are categorised as "Other Asian". 10.1 per cent of London's population are Black, with around 5.3 per cent being Black African, 4.0 per cent as Black Caribbean and 0.8 per cent as "Other Black". 3.5 per cent of Londoners are of mixed race; 1.8 per cent are Chinese; and 1.7 per cent belong to another ethnic group.[139]

Across London, Black and Asian children outnumber White British children by about six to four in state schools.[140] However, White children represent 62 per cent of London's 1,498,700 population aged 0 to 15 as of 2009 estimates from the Office for National Statistics, with 55.7 per cent of the population aged 0 to 15 being White British, 0.7 per cent being White Irish and 5.6 per cent being from other EU White backgrounds.[141] In January 2005, a survey of London's ethnic and religious diversity claimed that there were more than 300 languages spoken and more than 50 non-indigenous communities which have a population of more than 10,000 in London.[142] Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, as of 2010[update], London's foreign-born population is 2,650,000 (33 per cent), up from 1,630,000 in 1997.

The 2001 census showed that 27.1 per cent of Greater London's population were born outside the UK.[143] The table to the right shows the 20 most common foreign countries of birth of London residents in 2001, the date of the last published UK Census.[131] A portion of the German-born population are likely to be British nationals born to parents serving in the British Armed Forces in Germany.[144] Estimates produced by the Office for National Statistics indicate that the five largest foreign-born groups living in London in the period July 2009 to June 2010 were those born in India, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Bangladesh and Nigeria.[132]


The majority of Londoners?? 58.2 per cent?? identify themselves as Christians.[145] This is followed by those of no religion (15.8 per cent), Muslims (8.5 per cent), Hindus (4.1 per cent), Jews (2.1 per cent), Sikhs (1.5 per cent), Buddhists (0.8 per cent) and other (0.2 per cent), though 8.7 per cent of people did not answer this question in the 2001 Census.[145]

London has traditionally been Christian, and has a large number of churches, particularly in the City of London. The well-known St Paul's Cathedral in the City and Southwark Cathedral south of the river are Anglican administrative centres,[146] while the Archbishop of Canterbury, principal bishop of the Church of England and worldwide Anglican Communion, has his main residence at Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth.[147]

Important national and royal ceremonies are shared between St Paul's and Westminster Abbey.[148] The Abbey is not to be confused with nearby Westminster Cathedral, which is the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in England and Wales.[149] Despite the prevalence of Anglican churches, observance is very low within the Anglican denomination. Church attendance continues on a long, slow, steady decline, according to Church of England statistics.[150]

London is also home to sizeable Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish communities. Many Muslims live in Tower Hamlets and Newham; the most important Muslim edifice is London Central Mosque on the edge of Regent's Park.[151] Following the oil boom, increasing numbers of wealthy Middle-Eastern Muslims have based themselves around Mayfair and Knightsbridge in west London.[152][153] London is home to the largest mosque in western Europe, the Baitul Futuh Mosque, of the Ahmadiyya Mu


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