TIME China

The U.K. Has Refused Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei a Long-Term Visa

Ai Weiwei - Visit from Germany
Peter Kneffel—picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in his studio during a visit from Margarete Bause, Chairman of Alliance '90/The Greens in the Bavarian parliament, in Beijing, China, 23 Nov. 2013

Instead, he will be allotted just 20 days in the country

London’s Royal Academy of Arts will soon host a three-month landmark exhibit of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s most important work, but the artist himself could be conspicuously absent. The dissident auteur announced via his Instagram account on Thursday afternoon that British immigration authorities had declined to issue him the six-month business visa for which he applied, claiming he had supplied deceptive information on his application.

With characteristic cheekiness, he released the news in a caption to a picture of a toilet.

He then posted the letter from the U.K. Visas and Immigration Office — sent by way of the British Embassy in Beijing — that informed him that he would receive only a three-week permit, requiring him to leave the country shortly after the exhibit opens.

The visa form requires the applicant to declare if he or she has ever faced, among other things, criminal charges in the U.K. or elsewhere.

“You have stated: ‘No, I have never had any of these,’” the letter to the artist read. “It is a matter of public record that you have previously received a criminal conviction in China, and you have not declared this.”

The letter then informs Ai that any future visa applications containing “inaccurate” information could earn him a 10-year ban from entering the country.

Though Ai’s politically controversial work has led to several run-ins with Beijing law enforcement officials, he says the state has never formally charged him with or convicted him of a crime. According to his Instagram post, the artist attempted to prove this to British authorities in China, but “the representatives insisted on the accuracy of their sources and refused to admit any misjudgment.”

Only a week ago, China returned the artist’s passport after revoking his international travel privileges four years ago on tax-evasion charges that Ai claims are politically motivated. The Royal Academy of Arts quickly affirmed in an eager blog post that Ai would indeed be traveling to London for the his exhibition, which opens on Sept. 19.

It appears that Ai is currently on his way to Berlin, where his 6-year-old son lives with his mother. (The artist posted an Instagram of a freshly minted German visa early this week).

TIME India

This U.K. Lawmaker Wants a Huge Diamond in the Queen’s Crown Returned to India

Crown Koh-i-noor Diamond
Tim Graham/Getty Images The Crown Of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1937) Made Of Platinum And Containing The Famous Koh-i-noor Diamond Along With Other Gems.

The Koh-i-noor diamond was taken by the East India Company in the 19th century

In the midst of a recently reignited conversation about Great Britain’s colonial debt, particularly to India, one member of the country’s parliament has proposed a preliminary step in repaying the South Asian nation — the return of the famous Koh-i-noor diamond.

U.K. lawmaker Keith Vaz called for the return of the famous jewel on Tuesday and urged Prime Minister David Cameron to promise as much during his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s visit this November, the Press Trust of India reports.

Vaz, himself of Indian origin and the longest-serving British MP of Asian descent, also referenced Indian lawmaker Shashi Tharoor’s much-lauded speech at the Oxford Union that recently went viral on social media. Tharoor argued that Britain owes India and its numerous other colonies reparations for centuries of oppression, a position endorsed by Modi.

“I welcome Dr. Tharoor’s speech and the endorsement of its message by Prime Minister Modi. I share their views,” Vaz said. “These are genuine grievances which must be addressed.”

While he recognized that calculating the monetary reparations is anything but straightforward, the British MP said giving back the iconic diamond — which currently adorns the Queen of England’s crown — is one tangible step.

“Pursuing monetary reparations is complex, time consuming and potentially fruitless, but there is no excuse for not returning precious items such as the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a campaign I have backed for many years,” he added.

Once considered the largest diamond in the world, the Koh-i-Noor is said to have been 793 carats uncut when originally mined in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh during medieval times, following which it passed through the hands of various invaders — most notably Persian ruler Nadir Shah who gave the precious stone its current name — before being seized by the British East India Company in the mid-19th century.

“What a wonderful moment it would be, if and when Prime Minister Modi finishes his visit, which is much overdue, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond’s return,” Vaz said.

TIME Internet

Teenagers Could Have the Right to Delete Their Online History in the U.K.

US-IT-FACEBOOK
Karen Bleier—AFP/Getty Images This January 30, 2014 photo taken in Washington,DC, shows the splash page for the social media internet site Facebook.

Some teenagers have lost jobs or suffered embarassment because of their pre-adult posts

A campaign backed by the U.K. government wants children to have the right to delete embarrassing pictures or information they share online by the time they reach the age of 18.

Government officials have promised to persuade technology companies to allow 18-year-olds to delete or edit all content they created when they were younger. But, there are no plans to follow California’s Erasure Law, which compels companies to give minors the option to delete user activity.

The iRights Campaign highlights the issues surrounding the way the internet permanently records errors of judgement and immature attitudes, which negatively impacts the lives of of those posting it.

Nicole Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, supports the campaign and has also set up a commission to figure out how Scotland can adopt these standards.

“We believe that every child and young person has the right to grow up in a safe environment – that principle applies to the virtual world too,” Sturgeon told the London Times.

TIME U.K.

John Sewel Has Resigned From the House of Lords

House of Lords member Lord Sewel resigns
DODS/EPA

John Sewel caved in to pressure

(LONDON) — A member of the House of Lords has resigned from the chamber and apologized after he was filmed in an alleged cocaine-and-sex session with prostitutes.

John Sewel caved in to pressure on Tuesday, telling parliamentary officials in a statement that he was “terminating my membership of the House of Lords.” He now says he can best serve the house by leaving it.

Sewel, who as deputy speaker had enforced standards in the House of Lords, apologized for the “pain and embarrassment” he had caused. The Labour Party member and former ally of Tony Blair had insisted as late as Monday that he would try to stay.

Images of Sewel that emerged in The Sun newspaper on Monday showed him wearing an orange bra belonging to one of the prostitutes.

TIME Asia

Asian Superpowers China and India Top List of Nations Whose Millionaires Move Abroad

General Economy Images Of China
Tomohiro Ohsumi—Bloomberg/Getty Images The Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, right, and commercial buildings are illuminated as they stand at dusk in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

Tens of thousands of "high-net-worth individuals" have left to seek a better life overseas

We may be in the midst of “the Asian century,” but a new report shows that many of the wealthiest citizens of the continent’s two fastest-growing economies — China and India — have chosen to leave their countries and settle down abroad.

A total of 91,000 Chinese millionaires left the country and settled overseas in the past 14 years, while the exodus of Indian millionaires ranked second at 61,000, according to a report by consultancies New World Wealth and LIO Global. France, Italy, Russia, Indonesia, South Africa and Egypt round out the top eight.

The study, released this month, looked at immigration data from 2000 and 2014 indicating applications for a second citizenship or change of domicile (permanent residence).

The U.K. — its capital city London, in particular — appears to be the most popular destination for the world’s rich to settle down in, followed by the U.S, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong. The report says Indians tend to move to countries like Australia and the United Arab Emirates, while Singapore and Hong Kong are popular destinations for China’s wealthy.

Despite the large-scale departure of millionaires, both China and India still have plenty of wealthy citizens who chose to stay back — reflected by their respective positions at fifth and 10th on the list of countries with the most millionaires overall. They also remain the world’s most populous nations, sharing a third of the global population.

Those who leave generally cite reasons like “turmoil in home country, security concerns and optimizing education of children,” the report said.

Read next: China Slowdown? Depends on Where You Look

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TIME Bizarre

Killer Seagulls Are Terrorizing Animals in the U.K. and Experts Fear a Baby Might Be Next

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Luis Díaz Devesa—Getty Images/Flickr RF

"To a seagull, what's the difference between a dog and a baby?"

Seaside residents in the U.K. are being warned to keep a keen eye on young children after a spate of seagull attacks have picked off an array of worryingly large animals.

The aggressive birds have been on a killing spree in the scenic Cornwall area, recently pecking a dog and a tortoise to death. Even an aging pensioner was knocked over and left bloodied by a dive-bombing bird, the Telegraph reports.

Experts are now concerned that the problem will only get worse, calling for individuals to not leave their babies unattended as images of small rodents and even other fowl being devoured whole by ravenous gulls spread on social media.

Simon Prentis, of the Gull Awareness Group, has started a petition to drastically reduce seagull numbers. “To a seagull, what’s the difference between a dog playing on the lawn and a baby playing on the lawn?” he told the Telegraph.

“If somebody were to leave a baby sleeping in a pram or a push chair and left it unattended, it happens I would not wish it on anybody, but we’re headed in that direction.”

Even the British Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped in, the Telegraph reports, calling for a larger discussion on managing the urban gull problem. He has yet to suggest any concrete measures to deal with the problem, however.

[Telegraph]

TIME India

India’s Prime Minister Supports a Call for India to Be Compensated for British Colonial Rule

“Tharoor’s speech reflected the feelings of patriotic Indians," Modi says

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has joined a chorus of support for lawmaker Shashi Tharoor, who gave a now viral speech speech in which he called for Britain to pay reparations to India for centuries of colonial rule.

To date, a video of the speech posted on YouTube has garnered almost 1.5 million views. The speech was recently delivered at the Oxford Union debating society in Oxford, England.

“Tharoor’s speech reflected the feelings of patriotic Indians on the issue and showed what impression one can leave with effective arguments by saying the right things at the right place,” Modi said at an event at the New Delhi Parliament on Thursday, the Guardian reports.

In his 15-minute speech, recorded in May, Tharoor attacked the U.K. for the negative economic and social repercussions its colonial rule over India had on the country.

“It’s a bit rich to oppress, enslave, kill, torture, maim people for 200 years and then celebrate the fact that they are democratic at the end of it,” Tharoor said in the speech. “What is required, it seems to me, is accepting the principle that reparations are owed.”

One columnist and publisher, Minhaz Merchant, calculated the reparations due to India at close to $3 trillion.

“I am very touched and grateful,” Tharoor apparently said in response to Modi’s praise, according to the Guardian.

Though Tharoor is part of the center-left opposition Congress Party, the direct competitor of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, he has been rather vocal of his support for Modi, the Guardian says. He was even stripped of his title as party spokesman last year by Congress Party leader, Sonia Gandhi, for speaking too favorably of Modi’s policies.

[Guardian]

TIME U.K.

Fragments of What Could Be World’s Oldest Koran Have Been Found in the U.K.

The manuscript's writer almost certainly lived in the time of Muhammad, experts believe

Fragments of a Koran dating back at least 1,370 years have been found among the archives of the U.K.’s University of Birmingham.

Written in an early form of Arabic, the fragments were part of a collection brought back to Britain from Iraq in the 1920s but had never been recognized for their antiquity or value, the BBC reports.

Radiocarbon dating indicates that the fragments, which are written on goat or sheepskin, almost certainly come from between the years 568 and 645. “They could well take us back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam,” University of Birmingham professor of Christianity and Islam David Thomas told the BBC.

Tradition dictates that the Prophet Muhammad received the revelations that would eventually form the Koran between 610 and 632, the year he died. Many scholars believe that portions of the Koran were written down separately on palm leaves, parchment, or the shoulder bones of camels, before being collected into a complete edition around 650.

Although the imprecise nature of radiocarbon dating make it impossible to claim decisively that these fragments represent the oldest Koran, they are certainly significant. “The person who actually wrote it could well have known the Prophet Muhammad,” Thomas told the BBC. “He would have seen him probably, he would maybe have heard him preach. He may have known him personally — and that really is quite a thought to conjure with.”

[BBC]

TIME U.K.

2 Men Charged With Planning Attack on U.S. Troops in U.K.

The men wanted to join ISIS, authorities said

Two men who wanted to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) have been charged with plotting an attack on American soldiers in the U.K.

Junead Ahmed Khan, 24, and his uncle, Shazib Ahmed Khan, 22, are accused of planning to attack American military bases in Mildenhall and Lakenheath, which house a combined 10,000 American personnel, according to ABC’s Jon Williams. They were also planning to travel to Syria to join ISIS, Bloomberg reports.

The pair have been held in police custody in the U.K. since their arrest on July 14. They will appear in London court.

The latest arrests are in line with Prime Minister David Cameron’s crackdown of ISIS extremists, which he outlined in a speech on Monday, warning young Britons of the pitfalls of joining the terror group. “If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up,” he said. “If you are a girl, they will enslave and abuse you.”

TIME U.K.

Queen Elizabeth to Stop Breeding Corgis as She ‘Doesn’t Want to Leave Any Behind’

BRITAIN-ROYALS-ANIMALS
Ben Stansall—AFP/Getty Images Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks at a Corgi dog as British television presenter Paul O'Grady looks on during a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London on March 17, 2015

The monarch's first corgi was named Dookie

Queen Elizabeth II’s love of corgi dogs is legendary. However, after owning more that 30 corgis in her lifetime she is now left with just two, and a palace confidant says she has no plans to add to the pack as she feels too old to care for them.

Monty Roberts, an adviser to the Queen and a frequent guest at the royal residence, told Vanity Fair that the British monarch, 89, has bred her last Pembrokeshire Welsh corgi. “She didn’t want to leave any young dog behind,” said Roberts. “She wanted to put an end to it.”

The Queen fell in love with the breed as a young child and named her first dog Dookie. According to the Telegraph, she still feeds them herself and takes them on daily walks.

The last two dogs left to enjoy the comforts of the royal household are named Holly and Willow. They are both almost 12 years old and so cannot be expected to live much longer.

Roberts, 80, said that the tone of his conversation with the Queen “concerned” him since he did not want her to think about dying.

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