This happened 20 years ago today

Paris, Sunday, Aug. 31 — Diana, the Princess of Wales, was killed shortly after midnight today in an automobile accident in a tunnel by the Seine. The accident also killed Emad Mohammed al-Fayed, the Harrods heir, and their driver, the police said.

Diana’s death was announced this morning by the Interior Minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement. She died after being hospitalized in intensive care at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in southeast Paris.

A bodyguard was seriously injured, according to a police spokesman. ‘The car was being chased by photographers on motorcycles, which could have caused the accident,’ a spokesman for the Prefecture of Police said. Several motorcyclists were detained for questioning after the crash, Reuters reported, quoting police officials.

The Princess, 36, was divorced from Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, last year. She had vacationed with Mr. al-Fayed, 41, the son of Harrods’s owner, Mohammed al-Fayed, on the French Riviera earlier this month and had been expected to return to London today to be with her two sons, the Princes William and Harry. [Obituaries of Diana and Mr. al-Fayed appear on page 31.]

French radio stations reported that a spokesman for the British royal family in London expressed anger and said the accident was predictable because photographers relentlessly pursued the Princess wherever she went.

The crash occurred 35 minutes past midnight in the Alma Tunnel, on the right bank of the Seine under the Place de l’Alma, the police said.

The driver was hired from the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The Princess and Mr. al-Fayed had been pursued from the Ritz Hotel, where they were believed to be staying after spending time together on the Riviera.

The Paris police said that the Interior Minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, and the Prefect of Police, Philippe Massoni, had accompanied the British Ambassador in Paris to the hospital where the Princess was treated.

The police said the car was totally wrecked. The impact was so great, the car’s radiator was hurled onto the knees of the front-seat passenger. The Princess was in the back seat.

The site of the accident, in the Eighth Arrondissement, is on a high-speed road along the Seine with a divided roadway as it passes under the Place de l’Alma to the Place de la Concorde.

On Aug. 21, Diana and Mr. al-Fayed, who is of Egyptian ancestry and is commonly called Dodi, flew to the French Mediterranean resort of St. Tropez for their third holiday in each other’s company in five weeks. Mr. al-Fayed’s father said in an interview with The New York Times in London last week that the two were simply ‘young people getting to know each other.’

British newspapers reported that Diana first met Mr. al-Fayed almost 10 years ago when he and Prince Charles played polo on opposing teams. Films he had produced or co-produced included the 1981 Oscar-winning ‘Chariots of Fire,’ ‘The World According to Garp,’ ‘F/X’ and ‘Hook.’

Reportedly a multimillionaire, Mr. al-Fayed had homes in London, New York, Los Angeles and Switzerland and a garage full of luxury cars. He was divorced after a marriage that lasted eight months in 1994. Diana was catapulted into the public eye at age 19 in 1981 when it was announced that she was engaged to Charles, the heir to the British throne and 12 years her senior.

The couple were married on July 29 that year in London in a ceremony watched by millions and billed as a ‘fairy-tale wedding.’

Diana soon became a mother, to Prince William in June 1982, but by the birth of her second son, Harry, in September 1984, her biographer Andrew Morton wrote in ‘Diana: Her True Story,’ she was already suffering from bulimia and had attempted suicide five times.

From 1986, the first press stories began appearing of cracks in the marriage, and Mr. Morton later wrote that Charles had resumed his relationship with a married friend, Camilla Parker Bowles, at that time.

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Beware of Osama bin Baby

From the Guardian:

A three-month old baby was summoned to the US embassy in London for an interview after his grandfather mistakenly identified him as a terrorist.

Harvey Kenyon-Cairns had been due to fly to Orlando in Florida for his first overseas holiday, until his grandfather Paul Kenyon made the error on a visa waiver form.

On the part of the Esta form which reads “Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?” Kenyon ticked yes instead of no.

He only learned of his error when his grandson’s travel was refused. “I couldn’t believe that they couldn’t see it was a genuine mistake and that a three-month-old baby would be no harm to anyone,” said the 62-year-old.

The baby was taken from his home in Poynton, Cheshire, to the embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, to be questioned by officials. The round trip took about 10 hours, longer than the nine-and-a-half-hour flight time from Manchester to Orlando.

Here’s the alleged terrorist and the grandpa who ratted him out:

One other small question. So a terrorist would answer “yes” to that question on the visa waiver form?

His Royal Highness Hookerpiss the First

Because, what else would you expect from the crimson-complected babyman (click to enlarge):

Read that again. the El Douché with the pigmy penis demands this:

Trump demands gold‑plated welcome

President insists on a carriage journey down The Mall to Buckingham Palace

 

Donald Trump waving from the Queen’s royal carriage is not a scenario many would have foreseen a year ago, but it has become a very real prospect, forcing security services to plan an unprecedented lockdown.

The White House has made clear it regards the carriage procession down the Mall as an essential element of the itinerary for the visit currently planned for the second week of October, according to officials.

Security sources have warned, however, that the procession will require a “monster” security operation, far greater than for any recent state visit.

How should a president handle this?

President Obama chose to spare his hosts the security nightmare.

A Nightly Scene in London: 1855

An observation on homelessness and poverty from Charles Dickens titled “A Nightly Scene in London”

On the fifth of last November, I, the Conductor of this journal, accompanied by a friend well-known to the public, accidentally strayed into Whitechapel. It was a miserable evening; very dark, very muddy, and raining hard.

There are many woful sights in that part of London, and it has been well-known to me in most of its aspects for many years. We had forgotten the mud and rain in slowly walking along and looking about us, when we found ourselves, at eight o’clock, before the Workhouse.

Crouched against the wall of the Workhouse, in the dark street, on the muddy pavement-stones, with the rain raining upon them, were five bundles of rags. They were motionless, and had no resemblance to the human form. Five great beehives, covered with rags— five dead bodies taken out of graves, tied neck and heels, and covered with rags— would have looked like those five bundles upon which the rain rained down in the public street.

“What is this! ” said my companion. “What is this!”

“Some miserable people shut out of the Casual Ward, I think,” said I.

We had stopped before the five ragged mounds, and were quite rooted to the spot by their horrible appearance. Five awful Sphinxes by the wayside, crying to every passer-by, ” Stop and guess! What is to be the end of a state of society that leaves us here!”

As we stood looking at them, a decent working-man, having the appearance of a stone-mason, touched me on the shoulder.

“This is an awful sight, sir,” said he, “in a Christian country!”

“GOD knows it is, my friend,” said I.

“I have often seen it much worse than this, as I have been going home from my work. I have counted fifteen, twenty, five-and-twenty, many a time. It’s a shocking thing to see.”

“A shocking thing, indeed,” said I and my companion together. The man lingered near
us a little while, wished us good-night, and went on.

We should have felt it brutal in us who had a better chance of being heard than the working-man, to leave the thing as it was, so we knocked at the Workhouse Gate. I undertook to be spokesman. The moment the gate was opened by an old pauper, I went in, followed close by my companion. I lost no time in passing the old porter, for I saw in his watery eye a disposition to shut us out.

“Be so good as to give that card to the master of the Workhouse, and say I shall be glad to speak to him for a moment.”

We were in a kind of covered gateway, and the old porter went across it with the card. Before he had got to a door on our left, a man in a cloak and hat bounced out of it very sharply, as if he were in the nightly habit of being bullied and of returning the compliment.

“Now, gentlemen,” said he in a loud voice, “what do you want here?”

“First,” said I, ” will you do me the favor to look at that card in your hand. Perhaps you may know my name.”

“Yes,” says he, looking at it. ” I know this name.”

“Good. I only want to ask you a plain question in a civil manner, and there is not the least occasion for either of us to be angry. It would be very foolish in me to blame you, and I don’t blame you. I may find fault with the system you administer, but pray understand that I know you are here to do a duty pointed out to you, and that I have no doubt you do it. Now, I hope you won’t object to tell me what I want to know.”

“No,” said he, quite mollified, and very reasonable, ” not at all. What is it?”

“Do you know that there are five wretched creatures outside?”

“I haven’t seen them, but I dare say there are.”

“Do you doubt that there are?”

“No, not at all. There might be many more.”

”Are they men? Or women?”

“Women, I suppose. Very likely one or two of them were there last night, and the night before last.”

“There all night, do you mean?”

“Very likely.”

My companion and I looked at one another, and the master of the Workhouse added quickly, “Why, Lord bless my soul, what am I to do? What can I do ? The place is full. The place is always full—every night. I must give the preference to women with children, mustn’t I? You wouldn’t have me not do that?”

“Surely not,” said I. “It is a very humane principle, and quite right; and I am glad to hear of it. Don’t forget that I don’t blame you.”

“Well!” said he. And subdued himself again. …

“Just so. I wanted to know no more. You have answered my question civilly and readily, and I am much obliged to you. I have nothing to say against you, but quite the contrary. Good night!”

“Good night, gentlemen!” And out we came again.

We went to the ragged bundle nearest to the Workhouse-door, and I touched it. No movement replying, I gently shook it. The rags began to be slowly stirred within, and by little and little a head was unshrouded. The head of a young woman of three or four and twenty, as I should judge; gaunt with want, and foul with dirt; but not naturally ugly.

“Tell us,” said I, stooping down. “Why are you lying here?”

“Because I can’t get into the Workhouse.”

She spoke in a faint dull way, and had no curiosity or interest left. She looked dreamily at the black sky and the falling rain, but never looked at me or my companion.

“Were you here last night?”

“Yes, All last night. And the night afore too.”

“Do you know any of these others?”

“I know her next but one. She was here last night, and she told me she come out of Essex. I don’t know no more of her.”

“You were here all last night, but you have not been here all day?”

“No. Not all day.”

“Where have you been all day?”

“About the streets.”

”What have you had to eat?”

“Nothing.”

“Come!” said I. “Think a little. You are tired and have been asleep, and don’t quite consider what you are saying to us. You have had something to eat to-day. Come! Think of it!”

“No I haven’t. Nothing but such bits as I could pick up about the market. Why, look at me!”

She bared her neck, and I covered it up again.

“If you had a shilling to get some supper and a lodging, should you know where to get it?”

“Yes. I could do that.”

“For GOD’S sake get it then!”

I put the money into her hand, and she feebly rose up and went away. She never thanked me, never looked at me— melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost.

One by one I spoke to all the five. In every one, interest and curiosity were as extinct as in the first. They were all dull and languid. No one made any sort of profession or complaint; no one cared to look at me; no one thanked me. When I came to the third, I suppose she saw that my companion and I glanced, with a new horror upon us, at the two last, who had dropped against each other in their sleep, and were lying like broken images. She said, she believed they were young sisters. These were the only words that were originated among the five.

And now let me close this terrible account with a redeeming and beautiful trait of the poorest of the poor. When we came out of the Workhouse, we had gone across the road to a public house, finding ourselves without silver, to get change for a sovereign. I held the money in my hand while I was speaking to the five apparitions. Our being so engaged, attracted the attention of many people of the very poor sort usual to that place; as we leaned over the mounds of rags, they eagerly leaned over us to see and hear; what I had in my hand, and what I said, and what I did, must have been plain to nearly all the concourse. When the last of the five had got up and faded away, the spectators opened to let us pass; and not one of them, by word, or look, or gesture, begged of us.

Many of the observant faces were quick enough to know that it would have been a relief to us to have got rid of the rest of the money with any hope of doing good with it. But, there was a feeling among them all, that their necessities were not to be placed by the side of such a spectacle; and they opened a way for us in profound silence, and let us go.

My companion wrote to me, next day, that the five ragged bundles had been upon his bed all night. I debated how to add our testimony to that of many other persons who from time to time are impelled to write to the newspapers, by having come upon some shameful and shocking sight of this description. I resolved to write in these pages an exact account of what we had seen, but to wait until after Christmas, in order that there might be no heat or haste. I know that the unreasonable disciples of a reasonable school, demented disciples who push arithmetic and political economy beyond all bounds of sense (not to speak of such a weakness as humanity), and hold them to be all-sufficient for every case, can easily prove that such things ought to be, and that no man has any business to mind them. Without disparaging those indispensable sciences in their sanity, I utterly renounce and abominate them in their insanity; and I address people with a respect for the spirit of the New Testament, who do mind such things, and who think them infamous in our streets.

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A woman’s work is never done

The political conventions in the U.S. are over. The choices are clear.

And right now it looks like as of Jan. 20, 2017, the Western world is going to be governed by these three people:

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England’s prime minister

Angela Merkel Austerity Europe Germany

Germany’s chancellor

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The next president of the United States

 

Welcome to the 21st century. We’ve shattered the glass ceiling and the sky’s the limit.