The population of wild foxes in London has exploded in recent years. Though attractive animals, foxes can be nuisance scavengers toppling your garbage can in the same fashion as raccoons, but foxes are also liable to eat the family cat. One overly-ambitious fox earlier this year made headlines by trying to carry off a four-week-old baby in South London. The infant survived, but lost a finger.
Boris Johnson, the current flamboyant mayor of London, apparently recently had his cat attacked, and Johnson was provoked to come out against the 2004 Hunt Ban, and (amusingly) express support for fox hunting in metropolitan London.
Boris Johnson has called for fox hunts in London to deal with the problem of increased numbers of the animals in the capital.
The mayor of London described how he was enraged after his cat was attacked and was tempted to go out and ‘blaze away’ at the fox with his air rifle.
There are around 10,000 foxes in the capital out of a total 33,000 living in urban areas across the UK, around 14 per cent of the total population of the animals.
Earlier this year a four-week-old baby had his finger ripped off by a fox.
Mr Johnson said it was time to brining in culling to keep numbers in check.
‘This will cause massive unpopularity and I don’t care. I’m pro liberty and individual freedom. If people want to get together to form the fox hounds of Islington I’m all for it,’ he said.
‘I got wild with anger not so long ago because I thought our cat had been mauled by a fox. I wanted to go out with my 2.2 [sic] and blaze away.’
Was it the mayor or reporter Tariq Tahir who thinks that air rifles are chambered in “2.2”?
The concept of fox hunting in heart of London, alas! neither Boris Johnson nor Tariq Tahir will be aware, is actually a famous literary theme.
In 1932, Gordon Grand published a wonderful story, titled The Silver Horn, A Nocturne of Old London Town, in The Sportsman, the opulent monthly catering to the wealthy and well-educated American sporting community, edited by Richard Danielson and published in Boston from 1927 to 1937.
One of the female members of the Millbeck Hunt tells Arthur Pendleton a story of observing during a recent visit to the metropolis a tipsy gentleman in evening dress, carrying a silver hunting horn, and hunting a notional pack of hounds through the heart of London’s fashionable West End. She describes the hunt in marvelous detail, remembering every check and incident of the hunt, producing a splendidly imaginative piece of sporting whimsy.
The story is a masterpiece, which manages to convey the technical sophistication and aesthetic charm of hunting through a verbal account of an entirely imaginary hunt in incongruous surroundings.
The Silver Horn was published the same year by Eugene V. Connett’s Derrydale Press as the title story of a collection of Grand’s foxhunting stories. The same story was also published privately in very small editions to be presented as gifts in Montreal in 1935 and Honolulu in 1941.
In 1927 Claude Friese-Greene shot some of the first-ever color film footage ever taken around London. He captured everyday life in the city with a technique innovated by his father, called Biocolour. The British Film Institute used computer enhancement to reduce the flickering effect of the original Biocolour and bring us this striking rare film which transports us back through time.
And they clearly have terrific noses for food, as this Sun story repeated by MSNBC demonstrates.
A fox cub was found living at the 72nd floor of the U.K.’s tallest skyscraper, it was reported Friday.
The animal, estimated to be six months old, had lived for at least two weeks on scraps of food left by workers about 945 feet up in the under-construction Shard tower in London, The Sun newspaper said.
Pest controllers managed to catch the fox and it was released near London Bridge after a health check, the tabloid reported. London is home to a large population of urban foxes.
“It was unbelievable,” local government official Les Leonard told The Sun. “To get up there the fox would have had to climb 71 sets of stairs and an old-fashioned ladder.
“We finally caught him in a large fox cage, baited with chicken carcasses.”
A loud triple bang was heard and vibration felt in a wide area of East London tonight as ‘Hermann the stubborn German’ Second World War bomb was detonated by the British Army.
The massive 2,200lb (1000 kg.) unexploded wartime device discovered by marine engineers dredging the River Lea at Bromley-by-Bow on Monday was finally defused tonight and the explosives packed inside burned off with a controlled explosion.
But the amount of explosives the 6ft by 2ft ‘Hermann’ was packing surprised most experienced Army engineers.
It would have torn a hole in the East End up to a-quarter-of-a-mile wide if it had exploded—64 years to the day after Allied Forces landed at Normandy on D-Day 1944. This was Big Hermann’s revenge.
There was still half-a-ton of high explosives left burning at 7pm, an hour after it was detonated.
Bob disposal experts have been describing ‘Hermann’ as “proven to be very stubborn” and having developed “a personality of its own, almost like a petulant child.”
‘Hermann’ was stubborn from the outset, booby-trapped to thwart any daring Army sapper.
It had remained dormant for 67 years, buried in the muddy riverbed until it was unearthed at low tide by a mechanical digger.
But it didn’t remain silent for long. It started ticking again on Wednesday, after nearly seven decades, following four failed attempts to defuse it by Army experts.
Tonight’s controlled explosion displaced 400 tonnes of sand which had formed a protective ‘igloo’ around the bomb.
The officer in charge, Major Matt Davies, told the East London Advertiser: “We were not exactly sure what to expect. The sand managed to contain the blast, which is what we wanted it to do.
“There are so many different ways these bombs were made in the 1940s that you can never tell exactly how long it would take.”
He added: “If it had gone off in wartime there would have been large fragments up to a mile away which could have destroyed buildings and sewers.
“This is the biggest unexploded bomb we have found in central London.”
The sappers used a laser-guided water jet to cut two circles in the thick metal casing to run steam hoses to liquefy the high explosives packed tightly inside.
One Army engineer was sent back repeatedly to the ticking device to pour a salt solution into it, then used a powerful magnet to stop the timer.
Police Commander Simon O’Brien said: “The engineer is a hero and has done Londoners a great service. It was a serious situation.” ...
Pol Supt Phil Morgan said: “They spent 12 hours neutralising the fuse which was booby trapped and had ‘tamper’ devices fitted.
“If it had gone off, the blast would have reached more than 40,000ft in all directions, from Bow as far as Stratford.”
The bomb was just a few hundred yards from the huge Bromley gasworks, a prime target for the Luftwaffe when Britain was at war.
It was a team of marine engineers widening the riverbank to take barges for London’s 2012 Olympics construction who unwittingly found ‘Hermann.’
“Our mechanical digger suddenly hit this large metal object about 6ft long on the riverbed,” engineer Andrew Cowie told the Advertiser on Monday, less than an hour after the discovery.
“We had waited for the tide to go out and were working against time. We couldn’t believe what we found. It was massive.
“We called the foreman over and he quickly evacuated the site. We were taking no chances.”
ArabianBusiness.com boasts that Dubai is in the process of replacing London and New York as world capital of the financial industry.
Dubai is picking up the mantle of the financial capital of the world, as global banking sectors London and New York continue to fade on the back of the global credit crises.
The new mantra in New York and London is “Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai or goodbye”, as job losses mount in both cities while opportunities in the east continue to rise.
Lehman Brothers on Tuesday became the latest investment bank moving one of its most senior positions to the UAE. Philip Lynch, the bank’s co-head of equities for Europe and the Middle East, will be relocating to Dubai after serving more than two decades in London.
The US investment bank, which has axed over 6,000 staff in the last nine months, said the move was aimed at serving the growing needs of clients in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East.
Lynch will find himself in good company. Barclays last month dispatched Roger Jenkins, one of London’s highest-paid bankers, to the emirate as chairman of investment banking and investment management.
Earlier in May Citigroup, which has so far cut 1,500 jobs because of the global credit crisis, announced it would send Alberto Verme, co-head of global investment banking from London to Dubai. ...
The relocation of roles from London and New York to Dubai, and to a lesser extent Mumbai and Shanghai, reflects the reshaping of global opportunities for investment banks.
With a surge in oil revenue, rapidly rising infrastructure needs, and the emergence of sovereign wealth funds at the head of M&A activity, the Middle East and Asia have become crucial for global investment banks looking to remain profitable.
Michael Hodges, in Time Out London, looks ahead with optimism to London’s Islamic future.
Islam is not an alien religion to London. At the end of World War I the city sat at the heart of an Empire that had 160 million Muslim subjects, 80 million in India alone. London was the largest Islamic capital in the world. Forty years later and the end of the Empire, unrest and war and poverty in south Asia had lead to mass immigration to the mother country and London became a Muslim capital in another sense.
According to the 2001 census there are 607,083 Muslims living in London (310,477 men and 296,606 women). The majority of Muslims live in the east of the city and, by 2012, the Muslim Council of Britain estimates that the Muslim population of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest and Hackney will be 250,000. There are plans afoot (though no formal application has yet been submitted) to build the UKs biggest mosque – capable of welcoming 40,000 worshippers – near the 2012 Olympic site, a move which has prompted predictable outrage from some quarters. Consequently, Muslim disillionment with a reactionary and often ill-informed press is at an all time high.
But rather than fear the inevitable changes this will bring to London, or buy in to a racist representation of all Muslims as terrorists, we should recognise both what Islam has given this city already, and the advantages it would bring across a wide range of areas in the future. ...
Islam offers Londoners potential health benefits: the Muslim act of prayer is designed to keep worshippers fit, their joints supple and, at five times a day, their stomachs trim. The regular washing of the feet and hands required before prayers promotes public hygiene and would reduce the transmission of superbugs in London’s hospitals.
Alcohol is haram, or forbidden, to Muslims. As London is above the national average for alcohol-related deaths in males, with 17.6 per 100,000 people (Camden has 31.6 per 100,000 males), turning all the city’s pubs into juice bars would have a massive positive effect on public health. Forbid alcohol throughout the country, and you’d avoid many of the 22,000 alcohol-related deaths and the £7.3 billion national bill for alcohol-related crime and disorder each year.
‘The world is green and beautiful,’ said the prophet Muhammad, ‘and Allah has appointed you his guardian over it.’ The Islamic concept of halifa or trusteeship obliges Muslims to look after the natural world and Muhammad was one of the first ever environmentalists, advocating hima – areas where wildlife and forestry are protected. So we could expect more public parks under Islam, but halifa also applies to recycling: in 2006, 12,000 Muslims attended a series of sermons at the East London Mosque explaining the theological evidence for a link between behaving in an environmentally sustainable way and the Islamic faith. ...
Application of halal (Arabic for ‘permissable’) dietary laws across London would free us at a stroke from our addiction to junk food, and the general adoption of a south Asian diet rich in fruit juice, rice and vegetables with occasional mutton or chicken would have a drastic effect on obesity, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorders and associated public health problems. As curry is already Londoners’ and the nation’s favourite food (see our Brick Lane food feature), it would be a relatively easy process to encourage the adoption of such a diet. Not eating would be important as well. The annual fasting month of Ramadan instils self-discipline, courtesy and social cohesion. And Londoners would benefit philosophically and physically from even a short period when we weren’t constantly ramming food into our mouths. ...Each Muslim is obliged to pay zakat, a welfare tax of 2.5 per cent of annual income, that is distributed to the poor and the needy. If the working population of London, 5.2 million, was predominantly Muslim this would produce approximately £3.2bn each year. More importantly, everyone would be obliged to consider those Londoners who haven’t shared their good fortune. London would become a little less cruel.
Under Islam all ethnicities are equal. Once you have submitted to Allah you are a Muslim – it doesn’t matter what colour you are. End of story.
What would Richard Coeur-de-Lion say?
Hat tip to David Ross.
But it is infested with the same left-wing supercilious elite as all the other great cities are, Gerard Baker tells us. New York City, eat your heart out!
For someone who has not lived in the city for more than a decade, the occasional trip to London is a reminder of how richly it deserves its new reputation as the world’s capital.
As my colleague James Harding wrote in times2 this week, there’s a vibrancy about London these days that easily eclipses New York or Paris or Tokyo. To many residents, perhaps, life in London may be a struggle against rising crime and a crowded Tube and overpriced housing, but from an international perspective, it is truly the world’s preeminent urban locale.
In fact, in anything other than the most literal, geographic expression of the term, London is really no longer an English city at all. Its great economic dynamo, the City, powers corporations from Shanghai to Seattle. Its labour force, drawn to it by the opportunities of its free markets, is much more polyglot and multinational than any other urban concentration in the world.
But there’s salt to this strawberry. London’s political culture has been uprooted from its English heritage. It is run — if you can call it that — by a sort of postmodern communist Mayor, whose political voice — minus the annoying nasal whine — would sound right at home in Paris, Bologna or San Francisco. It hosts a metropolitan elite that loftily gazes three ways: outward, at the supposed superiority of anything not British; inward, at its own ineffable genius; and down its elegantly pampered nose, at the provincial trivialities that consume the dreary lives of the rest of the population.