TIME United Kingdom

1,000-Pound Bomb From World War II Unearthed in London

World War II Bomb London
Sergeant Rupert Frere—Britain's Ministry of Defence/AFP/Getty Images An unexploded 1,000-pound bomb discovered at a building site in south London, on March 23, 2015.

Hundreds evacuated while experts work to defuse the explosive

Experts safely defused a 1,000-lb. bomb from World War II on Tuesday after it was unearthed in southeast London.

The 5 ft.-long bomb, which was 6-9 ft. below ground, had prompted an evacuation of 1,200 homes in Southwark after a construction vehicle discovered the device on Monday, officials said in a statement. As of Tuesday evening, affected residents were allowed to return home, with the bomb defused and removed.

The Southwark area, once the commercial hub of London, had been heavily bombed during World War II. Bombs continue to be discovered decades after the war ended in 1945: between 2009 and 2014, the London Fire Brigade was notified of seven unexploded bombs from World War II.

TIME astronomy

Watch the Solar Eclipse

See the moon block out the sun

Lucky skywatchers were able to spot Friday’s solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, plunging parts of the world into darkness.

The best place to see the eclipse was in the Faroe Islands, 200 miles off the coast of Scotland, and in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, which was set to experience a total eclipse, reports the Guardian.

Starting in Greenland at sunrise, the eclipse moved in a semicircle northeast, passing over Iceland, and reached the U.K. at around 8:45 a.m. local time. But most of the solar eclipse was expected to go unseen as it crossed over the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

Weather permitting, residents in Europe and northern Africa, western Asia and parts of the Middle East were able to enjoy a partial eclipse to varying degrees. St. John’s in Newfoundland Canada was expected to see a small part of the eclipse but the rest of North America won’t be able to experience it.

A solar eclipse can only happen when there is new moon, and Friday’s is set to be a supermoon, meaning the moon is the closest point to the earth in its orbit, making it appear much larger.

To complete the trio of celestial events, Friday also marks the spring equinox, the time of year when day and night are of equal length.

If you are lucky enough to observe the full or partial eclipse, experts advise not to look directly at the sun, especially when taking photographs or selfies.

[Guardian]

Read next: See the Best Solar Eclipse Pictures

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TIME U.K.

A 15-Year-Old Just Redesigned the British Pound Coin

This photo issued by HM Treasury shows the side of a new one pound coin announced by the Government.
The Royal Mint—AP This photo issued by HM Treasury shows the side of a new one pound coin announced by the Government.

Young man designs old coin

The new British one pound coin has been designed by a 15-year-old who beat out more than 6,000 entries.

David Pearce’s drawing contains the national emblems of the United Kingdom, with a rose, leek, thistle and shamrock emerging from a Royal Coronet, reports Sky News. The drawing was slightly refined by coin artist David Lawrence and lettering expert Stephen Raw.

The teenager from the West Midlands city of Walsall said, “I spent a lot of time researching what coin designs looked like and what sort of designs would represent all parts of the UK before submitting my idea and I honestly cannot believe I have won.”

The Royal Mint

The coin is being replaced for the first time in more than 30 years because of its vulnerability to counterfeiters.

Pearce’s design will feature on the new currency that will be released in 2017.

[Sky News]

Read next: Prince Harry: Behind ‘My Tough Decision’ to Leave the Army

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TIME United Kingdom

Swedish Prosecutors Offer to Question Julian Assange in London

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Aug. 18, 2014.
John Stillwell—AFP/Getty Images WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gestures during a press conference inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Aug. 18, 2014.

Sweden first issued an arrest warrant for the Australian Wikileaks founder in 2010 after he was accused of sexual assault and rape

LONDON — Swedish prosecutors on Friday offered to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in London, potentially breaking a stalemate in an almost five-year-old investigation into alleged sex crimes.

Prosecutors had previously refused to travel to London, where Assange has spent almost three years inside the Ecuadorean embassy. Lead prosecutor Marianne Ny explained the change in position by saying some of the crimes the 43-year-old Australian is accused of will reach their statute of limitations in August.

“My view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the Ecuadorean embassy in London would lower the quality of the interview, and that he would need to be present in Sweden in any case should there be a trial in the future,” Ny said in a statement.

“Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies in the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward,” Ny said.

She said she had made a request to Assange’s legal team on Friday to interview him in London and to have a DNA sample taken with a swab. She said permission was also being sought from Ecuadorean authorities.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said the Swedish decision was “a victory for Julian,” but criticized the delay.

“I think it’s absolutely outrageous that it took the Swedish prosecutor 4 1/2 years to come to this conclusion after maintaining that she couldn’t come to London because it would be illegal to do so,” he said. “Obviously that was a bogus argument.”

One of Assange’s defense lawyers, Per Samuelson, welcomed the move and said Assange would likely accept the offer. He said he had spoken to Assange early Friday.

“This is something we’ve demanded for over four years,” Samuelson told The Associated Press. “Julian Assange wants to be interviewed so he can be exonerated.”

Friday’s move comes after Assange appealed his detention order to Sweden’s Supreme Court, which earlier this week asked Sweden’s prosecutor-general to issue an opinion.

Samuelson said the prosecutor-general had probably ordered Ny to move the case forward by traveling to London. Karin Rosander, spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution authority, declined to comment.

Assange has not been formally indicted, but is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual misconduct and rape involving two women he met in Sweden in 2010. He denies the allegations.

Assange has been at the Ecuadorean embassy since June 19, 2012.

He has said he has no intention of going to Sweden because he has no guarantees he wouldn’t subsequently be sent to the U.S., where an investigation into WikiLeaks’ dissemination of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents remains live.

Hrafnsson said the Swedish offer did not mean Assange would be able to walk out of the embassy anytime soon.

“We have to worry about the ongoing criminal investigation in the United States,” he said.

Ny has dismissed claims of any U.S. involvement in the Swedish investigation.

TIME ebola

British Military Health Worker Has Ebola

SLEONE-EBOLA-HEALTH
Francisco Leong—AFP/Getty Images The Kerry Town Ebola treatment center on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone in 2014.

The worker tested positive while stationed in Sierra Leone

A United Kingdom military health worker stationed in Sierra Leone has Ebola, the BBC reports.

The Minister of Defence confirmed the news, and said officials are investigating how the worker got the virus.

“The UK has robust, well-developed and well-tested systems for managing Ebola and the overall risk to the public in the UK continues to be very low,” Public Health England, a branch of the UK’s Department of Health, said in a statement, according to the BBC.

MORE: TIME Person of the Year: Ebola Fighters

It is unclear whether the worker will return to England for treatment.

So far, 24,247 people have been infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and 9,961 people died. Sierra Leone has had the greatest number of Ebola infections at 11,619.

[BBC]

TIME Television

Top Gear Host Jeremy Clarkson Has Been Suspended After a ‘Fracas’ With a Producer

He's no stranger to controversy

British Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC.

Clarkson, 54, who is known for being outspoken, had already been given a final warning about his behavior after claims that he had used a racist slur during filming two years ago, Reuters reports.

“Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation,” the BBC said in a statement on Tuesday.

The U.K. broadcaster reported that he stands accused of hitting the producer during an argument last week.

Clarkson has not commented on the suspension.

Sunday’s episode of the current season will not be broadcast and it is uncertain whether the remaining episodes will be shown.

Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most successful television programs and is watched in more than 200 countries.

READ MORE: Here’s 6 Times the BBC Should Have Suspended Jeremy Clarkson But Didn’t

Read next: Julie Andrews on The Sound of Music at 50 — And That NBC Remake

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TIME United Kingdom

British Man Arrested After Spending Night on Roof of Parliament Building

Trespasser On The Roof Of Parliament
Keith Hewitt—Getty Images A trespasser stands and walks along the roof at House of Commons on March 8, 2015 in London.

23-year-old managed to scale Westminster Palace

Police in the United Kingdom have arrested a 23-year-old man who spent the night on the roof of Westminster Palace, the building that houses the British Parliament.

The man was first seen on the roof Saturday evening and was apprehended Sunday morning, the BBC reports. Police say his motives remain unclear at this time. The man, who was not released, was arrested on charges of critical damage and trespassing.

“At this stage it is too early to ascertain the reason as to why the man was trespassing on the roof,” police said in a statement.

The building, known as Westminster Palace, is home to both Houses of Parliament.

[BBC]

TIME United Kingdom

Boy Excluded From School For Dressing Up As Christian Grey

Teachers didn't see the humor in the 11-year-old's costume for World Book Day

Eleven-year-old Liam Scholes faced punishment at his British high school when he showed up for class dressed as the title character from Fifty Shades of Grey.

Sale High School, in northern England, was celebrating World Book Day on Wednesday and students were encouraged to dress up as characters from books. Taking his cue from the worldwide best-seller by EL James, which famously features a lot of explicit sex and bondage, Scholes dressed up as Christian Grey, wearing a gray suit and carrying cable ties and an eye mask. The school reportedly deemed the get-up “inappropriate” and kept the boy out of the class photo.

Yet the boy’s mother, Nicola Scholes, feels the school’s stance is hypocritical, as she explained to the BBC that the school felt it was “appropriate for a teacher to dress up as a serial killer” and “acceptable for kids to dress up as people that kill others” and “come in with [toy] guns.”

“Liam was advised to dress as James Bond, but he was promiscuous and a murderer,” she said. “Personally, I’m more offended by a murderer.”

She also said that her son’s friends “all talk about sex” and the costume “has been massively blown out of proportion. It was meant as a laugh and tongue in cheek.”
[BBC]

TIME politics

Netanyahu Will Be Speaking in Winston Churchill’s Shadow

Netanyahu is only the second foreign leader to address Congress three times

A leader of a close U.S. ally arrives in Washington to speak before Congress for his third time, as relations between the two countries begin to fray.

That was British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in January 1952, making what TIME then called a “cautiously billed” visit to the United States to attempt to restore the close ties that had carried the U.S. and Britain through World War II.

The same description might also work for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who addresses Congress on Tuesday, becoming only the second foreign leader to address Congress three times. The close relationship between Israel and the U.S. has been buffeted by Israeli policies in the West Bank (opposed by the White House) and by U.S.-led negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program (opposed by Netanyahu). Now, Netanyahu is hoping to convince Washington to see eye-to-eye with him on Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu has already been compared to Churchill by Republicans in Congress. “There is a reason that the adjective most often applied to Prime Minister Netanyahu with respect to Iran is Churchillian,” said Senator Ted Cruz on Monday. House Speaker John Boehner said he plans to give Netanyahu a bust of Churchill.

Here’s how Churchill handled the situation:

In 1952, the post-war state of affairs had brought with it a new set of grievances between Washington and London. What approach should be taken toward Communist China? Would the U.S. support British influence in the Middle East? Would Britain allow the U.S. to use bases in England for nuclear-armed flights against Russia? “But above all else was the fact that, in the time of her own financial and foreign-affairs crises, Britain had somehow lost touch with the U.S.,” TIME wrote in the Jan. 14, 1952 issue.

Still, Churchill faced a friendlier environment than Netanyahu might on Tuesday. While the Prime Minister did not share the same bond with President Truman that he had with Truman’s predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, he was warmly received in Congress and he met personally with Truman. (Obama has declined to meet with Netanyahu, citing concern about influencing upcoming elections in Israel.)

In an article in the Jan. 28, 1952 issue, TIME reported on his entrance into the chamber: “The great man, bearing his 77 history laden years with impassive dignity, walked slowly through the standing, clapping U.S. Congressmen. He had aged, of course, but Winston Churchill seemed hardly a shade less pink-cheeked, rocklike and John Bullish than when he spoke before the House and Senate during World War II.”

One of those speeches had been given nine years earlier, on May 19, 1943, when Churchill had spoken to Congress to provide a confident report on wartime progress and to pledge Britain’s support in the fight against Japan. It was “not one of Churchill’s greatest speeches,” TIME reported, “though any other orator might well have envied it.” The bar had been set high by his first appearance, on Dec. 26, 1941, when Churchill arrived in Washington to rally a disheartened nation that was still reeling from the Pearl Harbor attack three weeks earlier.

Wrote TIME:

Churchill arrived like a breath of fresh air, giving Washington new vigor, for he came as a new hero. Churchill—like Franklin Roosevelt, not above criticism at home —is, like Franklin Roosevelt in Britain, a man of unsullied popularity in his ally’s country…. There were tears in Winnie Churchill’s eyes at the ovation which greeted him, from isolationist and interventionist Congressmen alike. He shoved his thick, hornrimmed glasses over his nose, blinked, balanced himself like an old sailor. With a sly grin, he made his joke, established himself as one of the boys.

Then he let go: eloquence, blunt, polished and effective as an old knobkerrie, the growling, galling scorn for his enemies, the passages of noble purple for his friends. Between bursts of applause in which Supreme Court Justices and diplomats joined as lustily as doormen, the galleries wondered whether ever before had such a moving and eloquent speech been made on the Senate floor. Actually it was not so much the speech as the personality that put it over.

Though Churchill’s third speech was received less “lustily,” Netanyahu, who previously spoke to Congress in 1996 and 2011, might learn from the British Prime Minister’s performance that day. Despite the circumstances, and despite not accomplishing all his aims, Churchill’s visit in 1952 ultimately proved helpful.

“In spite of the very serious failure to make progress on Middle East policy,” TIME observed, “the Churchill visit was a success; it reversed the Anglo-American drift away from unity.”

Read TIME’s story about Churchill’s first speech to Congress: The U.S. at War; Great Decisions

TIME China

Britain’s Prince William Handles His China Visit With Polish

The Duke Of Cambridge Visits China - Day 2
WPA Pool—Getty Images Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on March 2, 2015 in Beijing, China.

Pretty impressive, when you consider the diplomatic line he has to tread

Diplomacy is full of awkward moments. But the fact that an English prince met yesterday with “red princeling” Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and the President of the People’s Republic of China, is still, if you think about it, strikingly odd. What could the symbolic heir to the British empire and China’s avowedly anti-imperialist new leader have to talk about?

Not history. Since coming to power in 2013, Xi has spoken at length about the great “rejuvenation” of the nation. The message is that after suffering centuries of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers, the country, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, is once again on the rise. So while Prince William toured Beijing’s Forbidden City, his handlers probably did not mention the fact that the British burned the city’s other great palace, Yuanmingyuan, on Oct. 18, 1860. Or that Anglo-French forces looted its treasures.

Nor can they talk about Hong Kong. The fate of the former British colony returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 might be old news by now, if not for the months-long protests that shuttered parts of the Chinese Special Administrative Region last fall. Many, including the protesters themselves, say the movement was a grassroots push for genuine universal suffrage. Beijing blamed “hostile foreign forces.” A British delegation sent to look into the protests was turned away, prompting a rather pointed editorial from the Chinese ambassador to the U.K.

And they certainly can’t talk about family. Prince William and Xi Jinping are both royalty in their own right — the former, a Windsor, the latter, a scion of China’s red royalty. (Xi’s father Xi Zhongxun was a contemporary of Mao and a hero of the Long March.) But don’t expect either to bring that up. Xi rarely trades on his pedigree, at least publicly, preferring to cast himself as just another cadre. And William, if he’s wise, will know that royalty is a touchy subject in China, not least because his grandfather, the racist-gaffe-prone Prince Philip once warned an exchange student about “slitty-eyed” Chinese, and his father Prince Charles once called China’s leaders “appalling old waxworks.”

It’s safe to guess that absolutely none of this came up during the first two days of the tightly choreographed three-day tour. After landing in Shanghai, the prince opened a festival and met with business leaders including Alibaba’s Jack Ma. On Tuesday, local time, he watched Chinese students play soccer (football) to mark the addition of the sport to the Chinese curriculum. “I also gather you’re quite a football fan,” the prince reportedly told the President. On Tuesday evening, he will take in the premiere of Paddington, a kid’s film about a stuffed bear.

So how did young Prince William do? “Defter diplomat than Dad,” judged NBC.

And that, really, is all there is to say.

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