Tag Archive: Britian


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2060567/Pippa-Middleton-Alex-Loudon-romance-runs-trouble-Wholl-court-next.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Sporty, eligible bachelors at the ready: the
lovely Pippa Middleton is reported to be back on the market.

She is unlikely to remain there for long. The
Duchess of Cambridge’s foxy little sister was the world’s most sought after
woman even when she had a boyfriend.

Singer Justin Timberlake, who has dated
Hollywood stars such as Cameron Diaz, admits to drooling over her.

‘We American males love Pippa… I’m going to
sound like a sleazeball!’ he told Esquire magazine. Websites and blogs, some
with unprintable names, are dedicated to her outfits, pert figure and spirited
exercise regime. And just to raise temperatures even further, newspaper reports
suggest she has split from her boyfriend, the handsome, square-jawed,
cricket-loving Alex Loudon, ‘after a blazing row at a wedding’.

Pippa is reported to have walked out on the
31-year-old Old Etonian after a string of rows. Now they are ‘barely
speaking’.

 

Friends of the couple have confirmed to the
Mail that they did, indeed, have a ‘blazing and very public’ argument at the
wedding of Pippa’s old Edinburgh University friend Humphrey Bowles in Whitby,
North Yorkshire, in September.

‘Pippa had been on the dancefloor without Alex
all night and he didn’t appear happy. They could clearly be heard arguing hammer
and tongs,’ says a source.

However, members of Pippa’s social circle
emphasised last night that the split must be very recent because most of them
were unaware of it.

And it may yet be that there is  a
reconciliation (perhaps over  the socially complex Christmas holidays). But the
feeling among their set seems to be that there is no long-term future for the
pair.

Oh dear. Not so long ago, Loudon was said to
be on the brink of proposing and hunting for an engagement ring on the sly.

William and Kate and the Middleton parents
were known to approve of the solid, good-natured financier, and all was looking
rosy for the nearly-weds.

Pippa had been presented with keys to his flat
in Parsons Green, South-West London, where she spent many nights away from her
own pad in Chelsea. And she was a regular guest at his parents’ beautiful Kent
pile.

In September, Pippa turned 28 and celebrated
her birthday at a low-key Italian restaurant with just Alex and the Cambridges.
She is just the right age, you might think, to accept a proposal. So, what went
wrong?

It seems that Alex — who comes from the sort
of English gentry family who try to avoid being in the papers apart from their
births, marriages and deaths — struggled with Pippa’s sudden and unexpected
fame.

Apart from a brush with publicity thanks to a
brief stint with the England cricket team, Alex was content to live the
privileged and anonymous life of the upper classes.

But, last April, his girlfriend went from
being a pretty Berkshire Sloane to Her Royal Hotness, her silk-clad derriere
admired by billions around the world.

And not for the first time in the history of
love, the relationship couldn’t take the change in status.

There was a brief split in June (later denied)
when Pippa was much photographed on mini-breaks with her good friend George
Percy, the future Duke of Northumberland.

But tantalising though it was to speculate on
the Middleton parents having ‘double duchess’ daughters, Pippa soon got back
together with Alex and it looked as if marriage might be on the cards.

But after the reunion, whenever they were
photographed together, Loudon looked excruciatingly uncomfortable in the
spotlight. Unlike Pippa or, for that matter, Percy. Pippa and Alex are firmly in
the ‘wedding zone’ — that time between the ages of 28 and 32 when public school
and university-educated types must spend most of their  weekends at a wedding,
hen or stag night.

Typically, among this flurry of fascinators
and champagne-fuelled flirtation, the question of marriage tends to be thrust to
the forefront of a couple’s minds as they turn

The relentless recitals of those wedding
standards Sonnet 116  (‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds . . .’) and 1
Corinthians (‘Love is patient, love is kind . . .’) took their toll on Pippa and
Alex.

They had that huge row (topic unrecorded) at
the Whitby wedding. Could the subtext have been that Alex was keen on marriage,
but Pippa wasn’t so sure?

You can see the emotional dynamic in those
perky pictures of Pippa a couple of weeks ago in her low-cut red dress being
raised aloft by children’s party entertainer Charlie ‘Sharky’ Astor at the
Boodles Boxing Ball in London.

A man already feeling uncomfortable about his
girlfriend’s globally publicised desirability could be forgiven for feeling
irritated by those photos. Another well-bred, tall Old Etonian lifting her up so
enthusiastically? A lesser man than Loudon might have been tempted to reward
‘Sharky’ with a shiner.

bliss in Anglesey and Kensington — they are
hardly out every night — and Prince Harry is flying helicopters and drinking in
Arizona, Pippa has become absolutely ‘it’ among the social set who congregate
around the young royals.

‘In any given night in Chelsea, you’ll find
Pippa having dinner with socialites Astrid Harbord, Arabella Musgrave or other
girls from that royal inner circle,’ says one member of that scene.

After that revealing red dress, Pippa wore a
more covered up (though still tight-fitting and fetching) frock to her last big
public outing, the Too Many Women charity event at Petersham Nurseries near
Richmond upon Thames.

There, Pippa danced with her friend Katie
Readman (who works for the Issa design label favoured by Kate) and sat next to
Carphone Warehouse founder David Ross, who has a long-term girlfriend and knows
the Middletons from holidays on Mustique.

So Pippa is socially feverish — but what next?

Though she still juggles working for her
parents’ Party Pieces company with her job at Table Talk, the London caterers,
there were recent rumours of a book deal for Pippa to write a party planning
guide.

How To Get My Figure might have sold more, but
you can see that a Party Pieces tie-in publication is a safer prospect and has
logic to it.

We can expect lots of jolly imaginative
suggestions about how to turn your kitchen into a faux rainforest with just a
few banana cupcakes. She can, of course, expect a huge advance.

As for men, if she does embark on 2012 as a
single girl, she is likely to want to follow her sister’s example and not leave
marriage too late.

Timberlake, Daniel Radcliffe, singer Joe Jonas
of the Jonas Brothers and others who have expressed their admiration publicly
can dream on — Pippa will probably choose her future husband from a small, safe,
inner circle of courtiers.

Suitors must be well-connected, rich,
anti-drugs, Conservative- leaning, keen on the country, but be presentable in
Chelsea.

Blue blood combined with an entrepreneurial
streak — something that is fashionable and Middleton-style — would be good, as
would a love of sports, particularly tennis, skiing and triathalon.

A past involving university pranks and
high-jinks — wrapping yourself in loo roll and downing vodka from the bottle,
for example — is fine, but any kind of brush with the law involving illegal
substances is not.

It would be easier for everyone concerned if
the suitor was from the royal court, because having a future king as
brother-in-law will be a daunting option for many.

The last time Alex Loudon vanished, George
Percy bravely stepped up to the role of Her Hotness’s escort.

The future Duke of Northumberland — Pippa’s
flatmate at Edinburgh University and now an energy entrepreneur — eagerly rowed
the brunette from Bucklebury around a lake in Madrid and took her to the tennis
at Queen’s Club in London.

It is said by their friends that the chemistry
isn’t there, but that could be a cover story.

Her other Edinburgh flatmate, Lord ‘Ted’
Innes-Ker, a golfer and duke’s son, is promisingly single.

Otherwise there is William’s friend Thomas Van
Straubenzee, who works for a smart estate agent, or the handsome, smiley William
Van Cutsem, a chartered surveyor and property entrepreneur, whose father is an
old friend of Prince Charles.

Then, of course, there is the Boodles Ball
chap who danced with her, Charlie ‘Sharky’ Astor, who is half of children’s
entertainers Sharky and George. That might not be a lifelong career choice, but
for a girl who is rumoured to be about to get a million-pound advance for
writing about children’s parties, it could be helpful. And he is an
Astor.

Racier options include banking heir James
Rothschild — though he is seeing Paris Hilton’s sister Nicky — and Arthur
Landon, heir to the ‘White Sultan’, the British military commander who once
arranged a coup in Oman.

Arthur has a £200  million fortune and royal
connections, but he, too, has a girlfriend.

Other men who would be suitable but are
currently taken include Richard Branson’s handsome son Sam and brewing heir
James Tollemache.

Should their relationships not lead to
marriage, they could be good options for Pippa. ‘I know some people who will
make themselves single for Pippa,’ says one girl.

Whatever her choice, for now the
Chelsea/Clarence House royal set will be rallying around, inviting her for
supper and consoling her with masses of attention.

Well-meaning Alex Loudon will carry on carving
out his quiet  City career and Pippa will enjoy her blossoming social life and
try  to work out how to enjoy her burgeoning fame without being accused of
crassness.

After all, she is inundated by freebies from
everyone from fashion houses to leading sporting events. Of course, she has to
be careful about what she accepts, but as that possible book deal shows, the
winnings will be there for her.

And at some point — if it is not to be Alex
Loudon — a husband will be, too

 

 

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-closes-great-pyramid-rumors-rituals-104026490.html

 

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s antiquities authority closed the largest of the Giza pyramids Friday following rumors that groups would try to hold spiritual ceremonies on the site at 11:11 A.M. on Nov. 11, 2011.

The authority’s head Mustafa Amin said in a statement Friday that the pyramid of Khufu, also known as Cheops, would be closed to visitors until Saturday morning for “necessary maintenance.”

The closure follows a string of unconfirmed reports in local media that unidentified groups would try to hold “Jewish” or “Masonic” rites on the site to take advantage of mysterious powers coming from the pyramid on the rare date.

Amin called all reports of planned ceremonies at the site “completely lacking in truth.”

The complex’s director, Ali al-Asfar, said Friday that an Egyptian company requested permission last month to hold an event called “hug the pyramid,” in which 120 people would join hands around the ancient burial structure.

The authority declined the request a week ago, al-Asfar said, but that did not stop concerned Egyptians from starting internet campaigns to prevent the event from taking place.

“It has been a big cause now on Facebook and Twitter for many people to write about,” al-Asfar said.

The closure was unrelated to the rumors, he said, adding that the pyramid needed maintenance after the large number of visitors during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday last week.

The rest of the complex, which includes two other large pyramids, numerous tombs and the Sphinx, remained open Friday, though security appeared to be heavier than usual.

Dozens of police officers and soldiers were posted throughout the complex. Some patrolled on camel-back. One soldier stood next to his machine gun near a souvenir shop selling miniature pyramids.

Speaking by phone from the pyramids after 11:11 had passed, al-Asfar said he’d seen nothing out of the ordinary.

“Everything is normal,” he said. “The only thing different is the closure of the Khufu pyramid.”

Khufu is credited with building the Giza complex’s largest pyramid, now one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions. Khufu founded the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/2011/oct/31/jk-rowling-ron-weasley

What would Hermione say? JK Rowling has revealed that she “seriously” considered killing Ron Weasley “out of sheer spite” while she was writing the Harry Potter series.

 

Although the British author has not been shy about handing out sorry ends to a host of popular characters – from Hogwarts’s white-bearded headmaster Albus Dumbledore, who bites the dust in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, to Harry’s owl Hedwig, who dies in the final novel – she never intended to kill one of her three main characters until, halfway through the series, she “wasn’t in a very happy place”. And it was the cheeky, ginger-haired Ron Weasley, best friend to Harry, love interest for Hermione, over whom the axe was hovering.

 

“Funnily enough, I planned from the start that none of them would die. Then midway through, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I wasn’t in a very happy place, I started thinking I might polish one of them off. Out of sheer spite. ‘There, now you definitely can’t have him any more.’ But I think in my absolute heart of heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider killing Ron, [I wouldn’t have done it],” she told the actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in the films and who was “convinced one of the main three had to buy it”.

 

Rowling was being interviewed by Radcliffe for a special feature for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 DVD, which has been leaked online ahead of the DVD’s release later this year.

 

“It’s a real relief to be able to talk about it all,” the author added.

 

Fans were also relieved to learn of her change of heart. “Ron cannot die because he’s Hermione’s true love,” said one, writing on The Leaky Cauldron fan site. “Well she killed off three of my favourites: Sirius, Snape and Dobby so I suppose I should be grateful she didn’t kill Ron,” added another.

 

Palestine wins UNESCO seat

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/envoy/palestine-wins-unesco-seat-143002573.html

 

Palestine won full admission into UNESCO, the United Nations science, education and cultural heritage organization, in a closely watched vote in Paris Monday. Global diplomacy hands view the 107-14 vote as a benchmark carrying larger implications for the Palestinians’ bid for state recognition before the UN Security Council. Both the United States and Israel have strongly opposed both initiatives.

 

The United States, Israel, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia were among the 14 nations voting against the Palestinians’ UNESCO bid, while 107 countries–including France, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Africa and Indonesia–voted in favor. Fourteen nations–including the United Kingdom and Italy–abstained.

Washington, which called the UNESCO vote “premature” Monday, has threatened to cut off funding to UNESCO if Palestine is granted membership. The United States currently accounts for about one-fifth of the organization’s budget.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also rejected the UNESCO vote, and warned it would set back peace process.

“This is a unilateral Palestinian maneuver which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement,” the Israeli ministry said in a statement.  “This decision will not turn the Palestinian Authority into an actual state yet places unnecessary burdens on the route to renewing negotiations.”

Palestine’s successful UNESCO bid comes as Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair is due to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Monday.

Blair has been trying to advance the Quartet’s efforts to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, asking each side to lay out their specific terms for resolving the issues of borders and security for a two-state solution. Meanwhile, Israeli officials have been depicting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as an unworthy peace partner.

Abbas, in turn, has recently reiterated his periodic threat to dissolve the Palestinian Authority–a move that if carried out would presumably give Israel the burden of administering, funding, and coordinating security for the West Bank’s Palestinian population.

It’s a girl! British royal succession rules to change

http://news.yahoo.com/girl-british-royal-succession-rules-change-104444789.html

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Centuries of British royal discrimination came to an end Friday after Commonwealth leaders agreed to drop rules that give sons precedence as heir to the throne and bar anyone in line for the crown from marrying a Roman Catholic.

The 16 countries that have Queen Elizabeth as their monarch agreed to the changes put forward by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had called the rules of succession outdated.

“The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic, this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we’ve all become,” Cameron told reporters.

The agreement came on the sidelines of a Commonwealth summit presided over by the Queen in the remote west Australian city of Perth.

Current succession rules dating back to 1688 and 1700 were designed to ensure a Protestant monarchy, and bar anyone in line to the throne from marrying a Catholic.

Only a Catholic link is barred. There are no restrictions on marrying members of other religions or atheists.

The rules have their roots in a turbulent period of English history dating back to Henry VIII’s break with Rome in the mid- 16th century. The laws were imposed at a time when Catholics were seen as a threat to the state.

However, the British monarch remains head of the Church of England.

The leaders also agreed to drop the practice of giving precedence to male over female heirs to the throne, regardless of age.

The issue has been brought into focus by this year’s wedding of Prince William, second-in-line to the throne, and Kate Middleton.

Without a change, their first son would eventually become king even if he had an older sister.

A group will now be set up to coordinate the necessary legislation for the changes.

 

harry_potter_deathly_hallows_3http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/10/27/harry-potter-moratorium/

Relax, Potterheads. All is well. Yes, beginning on Dec. 29, Warner Bros. is halting shipments of Harry Potter DVDs and Blu-rays to Walmart and Amazon and other stores. But discs aren’t being immediately swept from the shelves. “Even though there could be a sense of urgency from the consumers’ perspective, there will be Potter product come the first of the year,” says Jeff Baker, senior vp and general manager of Warner Bros.’ Theatrical Catalog. “But over time, they’ll be less and less of that inventory. At some point, whether it’s next April or May or June or July, it’ll probably be very difficult to find Harry Potter product, especially if you’re looking for the third movie or the fifth movie, for example.”

Even with its gradual disappearance from store shelves, the Potter franchise will remain available in other forms, like video-on-demand and digital download. “The idea is not to let Harry Potter dissipate. There are exhibits around the world. There’s the Harry Potter World [i.e. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter] in Orlando,” says Baker. “There are a lot of things that are Harry Potter that are going to be available to consumers well into the future, and we certainly want a home entertainment component to those grand plans.”

This isn’t the first time that Warner Bros. has pulled a popular title from its catalog. The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and Blade Runner have all vanished from time to time — to then be reintroduced with great fanfare. Disney, of course, is famous for making its classic films drop out of sight from time to time so that it can later make a splash with a new generation of fans.

Warner Bros. doesn’t intend to wait as long, and there are already plans to “eventize” Potter’s return. “There is discussion internally about aggregating assets from all of these films over the last decade and adding some new things — we’ve never done an Ultimate Edition on the final two films — and doing some grand kind of piece,” says Baker. “It could be the end of 2012 or the beginning of ’13.”

Harry Potter: Get the latest news, photos, and more

Got that, Muggles? Yes, you might want to rush out and purchase The Complete 8-Film Edition when it is released Nov. 11. But even that “complete” set of films will soon be surpassed by another, more complete Harry Potter video collection. So, is this good news or bad news for Potter fans? You decide.

Read more:
Book review: ‘Harry Potter: Page to Screen’
‘When Harry Left Hogwarts’ teaser
EW’s ‘Harry Potter’ HQ

 

Libya Leader Wants NATO Presence Through 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/world/middleeast/libya-leader-wants-nato-presence-through-2011.html

Libya’s interim leader said on Wednesday that NATO should extend its air patrols over the country through the end of 2011 despite the death and burial of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and the formal declaration that the country’s violent revolution was over.       The assertion by the interim leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, chairman of the Transitional National Council, appeared to be a tacit admission that armed remnants of Colonel Qaddafi’s defeated disciples could possibly regroup and cause new trouble for Libya in the months ahead.

Mr. Jalil spoke as NATO was preparing within days to formally end its operations in Libya, which have been credited with helping anti-Qaddafi fighters topple Colonel Qaddafi’s regime in an eight-month conflict that was the most violent of the Arab Spring uprisings.

NATO warplanes also helped flush out Colonel Qaddafi and his subordinates from their final hideaway last Thursday in his hometown, Surt, where he and dozens, if not hundreds, of loyalists were killed, ending his 42-year tenure as one of the Arab world’s most ruthless dictators.

Mr. Abdel-Jalil formally declared the conflict over on Sunday, and Colonel Qaddafi, along with one of his sons and former defense minister, were buried in a secret location on Tuesday.

“We have asked NATO to stay until the end of the year to protect citizens from Qaddafi loyalists,” Mr. Jalil said at a news conference in Doha, Qatar, where he was attending a meeting of other countries that have assisted the anti-Qaddafi forces in the conflict.

Asserting that he was also concerned about efforts by remaining supporters of Colonel Qaddafi to take refuge abroad, Mr. Abdel-Jalil said: “We seek technical support for training for our forces on the ground. We hope NATO can sustain its operations over Libya, but if they do not we are still thankful.”

NATO ministers last week tentatively set Oct. 31 as the end of their military operations in Libya, which were conducted under the auspices of a Security Council resolution to protect Libyan civilians from reprisals by Colonel Qaddafi’s military during the conflict.

The NATO ministers had been scheduled to meet on Wednesday in Brussels to finalize the termination date but abruptly postponed that meeting to Friday, presumably to weigh Mr. Abdel-Jalil’s request for an extension.

Qatar, one of the first Arab countries to recognize the coalition of anti-Qaddafi rebels that toppled Colonel Qaddafi’s regime, disclosed for the first time on Wednesday that it had deployed hundreds of soldiers on the ground in Libya to help them.

The disclosure came in an interview conducted by Agence France-Presse with Qatar’s military chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Hamad bin Ali al-Atiya, at the Doha meeting. He also was quoted as saying that the Qataris had been “running the training and communication operations” of the anti-Qaddafi forces in Libya.

Previously, Qatar had said only that it was providing some air support, water, weapons and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of other aid to the rebels battling Colonel Qaddafi’s military.

There were unconfirmed reports from Libya that Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a son of Colonel Qaddafi who was once considered his heir apparent and is still on the run, was seeking to turn himself in at an undisclosed location. But a person close to the Qaddafi family said that he had no knowledge of Seif al Islam’s whereabouts and that his surrender at this time was extremely unlikely. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to prevent harassment from Qaddafi opponents.

Reporting was contributed by Adam Nossiter and David D. Kirkpatrick in Tripoli, Libya.

Islamists claim win in Tunisia’s Arab Spring vote

http://news.yahoo.com/tunisia-counts-votes-first-arab-spring-election-011055438.html

TUNIS (Reuters) – Moderate Islamists claimed victory on Monday in Tunisia’s first democratic election, sending a message to other states in the region that long-sidelined Islamists are challenging for power after the “Arab Spring.”

Official results have not been announced, but the Ennahda party said its workers had tallied the results posted at polling stations after Sunday’s vote, the first since the uprisings which began in Tunisia and spread through the region.

“The first confirmed results show that Ennahda has obtained first place,” campaign manager Abdelhamid Jlazzi said outside party headquarters in the center of the Tunisian capital.

As he spoke, a crowd of more than 300 in the street shouted “Allahu Akbar!” or “God is great!” Other people started singing the Tunisian national anthem.

Mindful that some people in Tunisia and elsewhere see the resurgence of Islamists as a threat to modern, liberal values, party officials said they were prepared to form an alliance with two secularist parties, Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol.

“We will spare no effort to create a stable political alliance … We reassure the investors and international economic partners,” Jlazzi said.

Sunday’s vote was for an assembly which will sit for one year to draft a new constitution. It will also appoint a new interim president and government to run the country until fresh elections late next year or early in 2013.

The voting system has built-in checks and balances which make it nearly impossible for any one party to have a majority, compelling Ennahda to seek alliances with secularist parties, which will dilute its influence.

“This is an historic moment,” said Zeinab Omri, a young woman in a hijab, or Islamic head scarf, who was outside the Ennahda headquarters when party officials claimed victory.

“No one can doubt this result. This result shows very clearly that the Tunisian people is a people attached to its Islamic identity,” she said.

REVOLUTION INSPIRED UPRISINGS

Tunisia became the birthplace of the “Arab Spring” when Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable seller in a provincial town, set fire to himself in protest at poverty and government repression.

His suicide provoked a wave of protests which, weeks later, forced autocratic president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia.

The revolution in Tunisia, a former French colony, in turn inspired uprisings which forced out entrenched leaders in Egypt and Libya, and convulsed Yemen and Syria — re-shaping the political landscape of the Middle East.

Ennahda is led by Rachid Ghannouchi, forced into exile in Britain for 22 years because of harassment by Ben Ali’s police.

A softly spoken scholar, he dresses in suits and open-necked shirts while his wife and daughter wear the hijab.

Ghannouchi is at pains to stress his party will not enforce any code of morality on Tunisian society, or the millions of Western tourists who holiday on its beaches.

He models his approach on the moderate Islamism of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

The party’s rise has been met with ambivalence by some people in Tunisia. The country’s strong secularist traditions go back to the first post-independence president, Habiba Bourguiba, who called the hijab an “odious rag.”

Outside the offices of the commission which organized the election, about 50 people staged a sit-in demanding an investigation into what they said were irregularities committed by Ennahda. Election officials said any problems were minor.

“I really feel a lot of fear and concern after this result,” said Meriam Othmani, a 28-year-old journalist. “Women’s rights will be eroded,” she said. “Also, you’ll see the return of dictatorship once Ennahda achieves a majority in the constituent assembly.”

Ennahda’s preferred coalition partners may reassure some opponents. Ali Larayd, a member of the party’s executive committee, said it was ready to form an alliance with the Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol, both secularist groups respected by Tunisia’s intelligentsia.

 

The Congress is led by Moncef Marzouki, a doctor and human rights activist who spent years in exile in France. Ettakatol is a socialist party led by Mustafa Ben Jaafar, another doctor and veteran Ben Ali opponent.

The only official results released were from polling stations abroad, because they voted early.

The election commission said that out of 18 seats in the 217-seat assembly allocated to the Tunisian diaspora, 9 went to Ennahda. Its closest rivals were Marzouki’s Congress on four seats and Ettakatol, which won three.

The highest-profile secularist challenger to Ennahda, the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) conceded defeat. It had warned voters that modern, liberal values would be threatened if the Islamists won.

“The PDP respects the democratic game. The people gave their trust to those it considers worthy of that trust. We congratulate the winner and we will be in the ranks of the opposition,” a party statement sent to Reuters said.

Ennahda’s win was a remarkable turnaround for a party which just 10 months ago had to operate underground because of a government ban and which had hundreds of followers in prison.

In a slick and well-funded campaign, the party tapped into a desire among ordinary Tunisians to be able to express their faith freely after years of aggressively enforced secularism.

It also sought to show it could represent all Tunisians, including the large number who take a laissez-faire view of Islam’s strictures, drink alcohol, wear revealing clothes and rarely visit the mosque.

Secularist opponents say they believe this is just a cleverly constructed front that conceals more radical views, especially among Ennahda’s rank and file in the provinces.

The party’s final election rally last week was addressed by one of Ennahda’s candidates, a glamorous woman who does not wear a hijab.

On the fringes of the same rally, stalls sold books by Salafist authors, followers of a strict interpretation of Islam who believe women should be covered up and that the sexes should be segregated in public.

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by  Tim Pearce)

Amanda Knox

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/10/03/501364/main20114867.shtml

(CBS/AP)

Last Updated 4:04 p.m. ET

PERUGIA, Italy – American student Amanda Knox, who was convicted by an
Italian court for the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher, was
acquitted today by an appeals court.

Her murder conviction in the 2007 slaying of her roommate Meredith Kercher
was thrown out by the jury, and she was ordered immediately released from prison
after nearly four years of detention.

Knox collapsed in tears after the verdict was read out Monday.

Her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also found not guilty.

Knox and Sollecito had been convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting and
murdering Kercher, who was stabbed to death in her bedroom. She was found in a
pool of blood and covered by a duvet the following day.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, Sollecito to 25. Also convicted in
separate proceedings was Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian man. They all denied
wrongdoing.

As the verdict was announced, about a dozen supporters from the group called
Friends of Amanda, gathered at a downtown Seattle hotel to watch the proceedings
on TV, burst into applause and cheered. They began chanting, “She’s free!” and
“We did it!”

Earlier Monday, as hundreds of reporters and cameras filled the underground,
frescoed courtroom, Knox tearfully told the Italian appeals court she did not
kill her British roommate, pleading for the court to free her so she can return
to the United States after four years behind bars. The court began deliberations
moments later.

Knox frequently paused for breath and fought back tears as she spoke in
Italian to the six members of the jury and two judges in a packed courtroom, but
managed to maintain her composure during the 10-minute address.

“I’ve lost a friend in the worst, most brutal, most inexplicable way
possible,” she said of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old Briton
who shared an apartment with Knox when they were both students in Perugia. “I’m
paying with my life for things that I didn’t do.”

“She had her bedroom next to mine, she was killed in our own apartment. If I
had been there that night, I would be dead,” Knox said. “But I was not
there.”

“I did not kill. I did not rape. I did not steal. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t
there at the crime,” Knox said.

“48 Hours Mystery” correspondent Peter Van Sant reports that Knox appealed to
the jury – members of which wept openly during her statement – to reverse the
conviction and let her return home.

“I insist I’m innocent and that must be defended. I just want to go home, go
back to my life,” she told the court through tears.

Van Sant says Knox’s words brought tears even to the eyes of some journalists
in the room.

Minutes before, an anxious Sollecito also addressed the court to proclaim his
innocence and plead for his release from prison.

“I never hurt anyone, never in my life,” Sollecito said, shifting as he spoke
and stopping to sip water. He said at the time of the murder he was in a great
period of his life, close to defending his thesis to graduate from university
and having just met Knox.

The weekend Kercher was murdered was the first the pair planned to spend
together “in tenderness and cuddles,” he said.

At the end of his 17-minute address, Sollecito took off a white rubber
bracelet emblazoned with “Free Amanda and Raffaele” that he said he was been
wearing for four years.

“I have never taken it off. Many emotions are concentrated in this bracelet,”
he said. “Now I want to pay homage to the court. The moment to take it off has
arrived.”

The Kerchers have arrived in a Perugia hotel and are expected to be in court
for the verdict.

Speaking this morning, Stephanie Kercher said her sister “has been most
forgotten” in the media circus surrounding the high-profile trial.

“As long as they decide today based purely on the information available to
them and they don’t look into the media hype, I think justice will be found,”
she told reporters.

Kercher
family doesn’t want victim forgotten

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/harry-potter-book-sales-postponed-2012-14642996

Harry Potter fans will have to wait a bit longer to buy the magic tales in electronic form.

The creators of the online Potter portal said Friday that the launch of an e-book store has been pushed back to next year.

The seven Harry Potter books had been due to go on sale in October, exclusively through the “Pottermore” website.

The site is a combination of virtual encyclopedia, role-playing game and online community for fans of author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard.

It launched in July and is so far accessible to 1 million registered users chosen through an online competition.

//

In a blog posting on the site, “Pottermore” management said registration would be open to everyone from the end of October, and the online store would open in “the first half of 2012.”

The posting said use of the site so far had been “phenomenal,” and the delay would “allow us to focus on our first priority: opening ‘Pottermore’ to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be.”

The Harry Potter novels have sold 450 million copies — and made Rowling one of the world’s richest women, with a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $1 billion — but have never been available as e-books.

Rowling annoyed some booksellers with her decision to circumvent established retailers and sell the e-books and digital audio books through her own site.

The creators of “Pottermore” say the books will be compatible with popular e-readers, including Amazon’s Kindle, Sony’s Reader and Apple’s iPad.

———

Online: www.pottermore.com

 

%d bloggers like this: