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U.K. PM Cameron’s visit to Ottawa about business, not history
OTTAWA – Parliament Hill welcomes a special guest on Thursday as British Prime Minister David Cameron makes his first bilateral visit to Canada.
It’s the second time in three months that someone representing the ruling power in the United Kingdom will be on Canadian soil.
Cameron follows on the heels of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, better known as Will and Kate, who visited Canada in an enchanting royal tour earlier this summer.
Cameron was in Canada last year for the G20 summit in Toronto and is returning after wrapping up business at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
For Cameron, the trip to Canada will be about getting down to the unglamorous business of governing, with the focus on the tangible political issues facing the two countries instead of reviving the love affair between Canada and Britain.
“What Cameron represents in terms of the relationship between Canada and the U.K. is normal state-to-state relationship,” says David Long, a professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, contrasting it to the relationship Canada has with its crown. “It’s a relationship of equals.”
Long says that the relationship is shaped not by historical ties, but by their common membership in global institutions and the global economy.
Cameron and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are expected to talk about their roles in NATO’s mission in Libya, where both countries are playing a leading role in supporting a rebel effort to oust embattled dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The economy will also come up as well, as Britain seeks to get its debt under control and Canada anxiously waits to see how global economic uncertainty will reverberate at home.
Long said Canadians shouldn’t expect to see anything different than what the leaders have said in front of international bodies such as the United Nations, G8 and NATO.
Ned Franks, a professor of political science at Queen’s University, says he thinks most Canadians won’t even notice Cameron’s visit.
“After the post war period, it would have been big news,” he says. “What’s happened in the last 60 plus years is that there has been a significant shift in Canadian attention away from Britain towards the United States and other countries.”
After speaking privately with the Canadian prime minister, Cameron will address the House of Commons. Question period has been rescheduled to 11 a.m. to accommodate the rare visit from a British prime minister.
The last British prime minister to visit Ottawa outside of international summits and multi-state meetings was Tony Blair in 2001.
Today was the first open day of the new ‘Parlamentarium’ at the European Parliament here in Brussels. The thing is billed as a visitors’ centre, but in fact it is a propaganda centre, a multi-million pound way for the MEPs to stroke their own egos.
So, how many multi-millions of taxpayers’ money has gone into this thing? The parliament’s press people admit £18m has been spent on it, but with the book-keeping standards in EU institutions, the real amount is any body’s guess.
Besides being a vanity project for MEPs, the thing is also is a way for the EU institutions to brainwash school children, who are invited to come in groups to join a ‘multi-modal role play game’ in which they can take on the role of an MEP and go through all the steps need to approve a new European law.
Yes, laws come from Europe, not from Westminster anymore, but I’d hardly take a British child on a holiday to Brussels to celebrate that disaster. Take him instead to the House of Commons and let him lay a wreath.
But it’s worse than that: consider what kind of exhibitions the children will be herded past on their way to the ’360 degree digital projection’ of the parliament’s plenary chamber.
Most revolting is a long dark corridor with a line of illuminated pictures which are part of a ‘journey through time.’ Run an 8-year old child past those and he will come out at the end imagining — and that appears to be the purpose –that before the European institutions set up shop, the countries of the European continent could be nothing but a rubble-strewn wasteland.
Examples: just one picture illustrates Italy in the early 20th century, and that shows Mussolini’s march on Rome. The Netherlands in 1949: a grim border post, with nearby propaganda insisting that ‘transport across Europe was very complicated and had to overcome various bureaucratic obstacles.’
Amazing: this is an EU institution tut-tutting bureaucratic obstacles. Go ask the first small businessman you kind find about just what sort of bureaucratic obstacles the EU now puts up to him getting on and doing is business anywhere, much less across borders.
Then Poland gets two pictures to illustrate its history. First picture, 1939, Nazis. Second picture, 1943, more Nazis. Spain, 1939, gets a picture of Republican forces who were defeated by Franco. But the parliament spares the Republican forces any mention of their Soviet communist backing.
The United Kingdom finally gets a mention on this history wall, and this ought to frighten the wits out of any 8-year old you might be foolish enough to take to this place: London, 1941, shows children at Cosway School sitting in class wearing gas masks while a recording repeats over and over again: ‘What in concrete and practical terms does the independence of nations mean in the world of today, a world of the closest economic and political interdepenence, which means the destiny of all mankind is indivisible.’
Berlin, 1948: a picture showing ‘poverty and hunger.’ Then — hallelujah, which is the response we are supposed to have since what we are dealing with here is a temple dedicated to the cult of Europe — a picture of a European Movement gathering in Brussels in 1949, ‘a mass gathering in support of European unification.’
2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Jean Ping, on 10 October, 2011, separately, received in his office at AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ambassadors Norman Ling of the United Kingdom and Antonio Sánchez-Benedito of Spain, who, as Ambassadors to Ethiopia, also represented their respective countries at the African Union during their tenures in Addis Ababa. Both came to bid him farewell at the end of their tour of duty.
The Chairperson exchanged views on several issues of mutual interest with his guest and seized the opportunity to commend the two diplomats for their laudable work in promoting and strengthening the ties of cooperation between their respective countries and the African Union.
On their part, the outgoing Permanent Representatives thanked the Chairperson and the entire AUC leadership for the cooperation and support they received during their tenure of duty. They assured the Chairperson of their countries’ continued support for the AUC’s efforts to achieve the noble goals of the Union.
The farewell ceremonies were attended, among others, by the Chief of Staff in the Bureau of Chairperson, the Deputy Chief of Staff and the Diplomatic Advisor of the Chairperson.
NBA’s James savors Liverpool trip
United Kingdom — NBA star LeBron James, who obtained a minority stake in English Premier League club Liverpool in April, says he’s looking forward to attending their marquee match with Manchester United on Saturday.
“can’t wait!! Amazing” James noted on his @KingJames Twitter feed on Friday.
“At Anfield Stadium, jersey ready for the big match 2morrow”
Pictures of James touring the iconic Anfield ground, and meeting club staff and players, were displayed on Liverpool’s website.
The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player obtained a small share of Liverpool in April, when he inked a marketing deal with Fenway Sports Marketing — which is owned by the Fenway Sports Group that is the parent company of baseball’s Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC.
The Miami Heat star has plenty of time to make the trip to check out his acquisition with the NBA mired in a labor dispute.
The pre-season and the first two weeks of the regular season — which had been scheduled to start on November 1 — have already been cancelled as warring owners and players failed to resolve their differences.
Interested in more than a semester abroad but unsure of how to navigate a foreign admissions system?
For American students considering studying in Britain, be encouraged: the student visa application process has been remarkably simplified in recent years, according to Robert Willis, international admissions officer of the University of Edinburgh.
“The detail and data required have been substantially reduced,” he said on Thursday, speaking on a panel titled “Global Destinations: The Best of British Higher Education,” as part of the annual convention of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
There are about 130 universities in Britain, nearly all of them public and the majority of them within England.
Most undergraduate programs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are three years, Mr. Willis said, and students must specialize from the outset – there are no undecided majors. (In contrast, Scotland, like the United States, has four-year programs that afford flexibility in course selection during a student’s first and second years.)
Students may earn professional degrees at the undergraduate level in Britain, though not all programs are available to students matriculating from outside of the European Union. For example, while law programs (three to four years) and architecture programs (five to seven years) are open to American students, programs in medicine (five to seven years) are restricted to European Union citizens.
All institutions in Britain require the same application, known as the Universities and College Admissions Service application. Students may apply to only five schools each year and, limited by the universal application, they may not tailor their essays or any part of the application to a particular institution.
Another restriction, mentioned by Kate Burn of Oxford University, concerns “Oxbridge,” Oxford and the University of Cambridge: No student may apply to both universities in the same year.
Application fees in Britain are substantially lower than in the United States: 11 pounds (about $17) to apply to only one school, and 22 pounds ($34) to apply to up to five.
SAT and ACT scores are both accepted by institutions in Britain, and application deadlines largely align with those of American colleges, with Jan. 15, 2011, being the main application deadline for most institutions this year. (Oxbridge is an exception; those deadlines fall on Oct. 15.)
Ms. Burn of Oxford stressed that universities in Britain are more interested in academically directed personal statements than they are in reflections on personal memories or demonstrations of character.
Of the essay, she said: “It’s not the place to talk about the time you ate a pot brownie. It’s about what you want to study and why.”
Ms. Burn emphasized that recommendations should be similarly to the point. “This isn’t a time to talk about how charming students are, or how they’re always on time,” she said. “Talk about their academic performance and be specific.”
She also advised that people providing recommendations be wholly truthful and not write anything they would not want a student discovering: by law in Britain, applicants are allowed to read submitted recommendations of them.
Applicant interviews are uncommon in Britain, excluding Oxford and Cambridge, both of which require them, Ms. Burn said. “There are just too many applicants to interview at most schools,” she said. “And the concept of the alumnae interview or student interview doesn’t exist for us.”
Once an application is in, there are three possible admissions outcomes: unconditional acceptance, conditional acceptance, or rejection. Conditional acceptance, a common occurrence, might require, for example, that a student take a particular A.P. course before enrolling.
“Some U.S. students find the conditional offer alarming,” said Rory McDiarmid of the University of Glasgow. “But we don’t just make anyone a conditional offer. As long as they meet what’s been said, admission is absolutely guaranteed.”
Once accepted, an American student must file for a visa, submitting a copy of the completed universal application, the letter of acceptance and proof of financial support.
Each university acts as a visa sponsor to the student. The application must be completed within the three months before matriculation, and the student may enter the country anytime within a month of the start of classes, Mr. Willis said.
Such student visas additionally provide health coverage and allow for part-time work during the school year – up to 20 hours a week – and full-time work during school breaks.
Beyond delivering an overview of the British undergraduate admissions process, the panel delivered statistics on international applications in recent years, specifying that the number of applicants from China has spiked, while the number of applicants from Africa and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, has fallen.
United States, United Kingdom and Germany are Top Launch Countries for New Drugs
New research finds that 50% of pharmaceutical companies prefer to launch new products in the U.S. before any other market
Half of the drug manufacturers profiled in a new Cutting Edge Information study target the United States as their primary country to launch new products, followed by Germany (31%) and the United Kingdom (13%).
Drug companies have increasingly built global launch sequence strategies into their business plans. Not only do global launch sequences allow companies greater control over the profits, but they also directly impacts the success — or failure — of a product’s lifespan. A product launched at a low price in a reference country subsequently lowers the drug’s price elsewhere and can ultimately result in lost revenue.
“Pharmaceutical Pricing Strategy: Maximize Revenue in an Evolving Economic Climate,” includes benchmarking metrics to support global launch sequencing strategies. The study found that beyond the three most common primary launch countries, drug manufacturers target France, Spain, Italy and Canada as their secondary launch markets.
“A lot of factors, such as government regulations, local reimbursement policies and advocacy group input, enter into the launch sequencing decision,” said Shaylyn Pike, senior research analyst and lead author of Cutting Edge Information’s study. “But the most objective factor seems to be reference pricing.”
Reference pricing exists when an individual country’s payer organization sets a fixed price on pharmaceuticals based on another country’s reimbursement rate. As important as understanding what countries are ideal for starting the reference pricing “domino effect” is understanding what countries to avoid. Currently, Germany represents the best European market for drugs to launch in because regulatory requirements are more streamlined than in other countries where local requirements present more challenges, according to the study.
“Pharmaceutical Pricing Strategy: Maximize Revenue in an Evolving Economic Climate,” ( http://www.cuttingedgeinfo.com/research/market-access/pricing-reimbursement/ ), explores benchmarks for pricing departments’ team structure, staffing and budgets and gives a detailed view of key trends including:
* Growing company and payer experience with risk-sharing agreements
* Government-specific price cuts
* The United Kingdom’s move away from NICE’s veto authority and toward value-based pricing
* Increasing focus on comparative effectiveness
* Parallel trade/re-importation in both developed and emerging markets
United Kingdom plans 75 bn pounds stimulus
LONDON: The Bank of England will spend 75 billion pounds more of newly-created money to shield Britain’s economy from the euro zone debt crisis and keep a faltering recovery going, opting for an early, dramatic move to maximise the impact.
Thursday’s decision by the BoE to expand its asset purchase programme to a total of 275 billion pounds highlights the precarious state of Britain’s economy as global growth slows, government spending cuts and tax hikes bite, and consumers face high inflation and slow wage rises. BoE governor Mervyn King said in a letter to finance minister George Osborne that the global economic recovery had slowed, and that the euro debt crisis had created severe strains on financial markets.
“These tensions in the world economy threaten the UK recovery,” King said. While inflation was still expected to rise above 5 percent over the next months, the recent deterioration of the outlook had made it more likely inflation would undershoot the 2 percent target over the medium term.
The bold move puts the BoE ahead of other central banks in responding to a darkening global economic outlook and renewed market turmoil. All eyes will now be on the European Central Bank later this session to see if it primes markets for pre-Christmas interest rate cuts.
The UK central bank kept interest rates on hold at a record-low 0.5 percent, while the ECB has raised them twice this year to 1.5 percent.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had reckoned there was a 40% chance the central bank would restart its asset purchase programme, or quantitative easing, this month, though most had only expected an injection of 50 billion pounds. Sterling fell to $1.5280, its lowest since late July 2010, dropping from around $1.5466 before the announcement, to trade with losses of around 1 percent for the day. UK gilt futures spiked over 100 ticks higher to hit 131.49, before falling back to stand at 130.90.
MORE TO COME?
A number of policymakers had flagged their readiness to join arch-dove Adam Posen and vote for more quantitative easing, after many saw the case for more easing strengthening at the September meeting.
“The fact that the MPC chose to act now on QE and to go for 75 billion pounds rather than 50 billion pounds reflects the fact that they believe an already difficult outlook for the economy has deteriorated amid mounting domestic and global headwinds,” said Global Insight economist Howard Archer.
LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom — Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard insisted on Saturday that Wayne Rooney must be included in the Euro 2012 squad despite the star striker being banned from all three group games.
Rooney was handed a three-match ban by UEFA after being sent off in last week’s final qualifier against Montenegro where a 2-2 draw assured England’s place in the tournament in Poland and Ukraine next summer.
“For me he has got to go, the talent that he is,” the Liverpool captain told talkSPORT radio.
“He is that good a player I think you have to take the risk and take him. It is devastating he is out for the first three games.
“We will have to see who we come up against in the group games but we should progress from the group stages and then you need your best player out there with you to push on all the way to the final.”
Gerrard, who scored in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Rooney’s Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday, added that the striker’s ban could even spur England on to reach the knockout rounds at Euro 2012.
“Not having him for the first three games will hopefully galvanise the squad,” said Gerrard.
“We all need to pull together and take responsibility with him not being there. Then hopefully if we do get out of the group he will be there fit and fresh to help us push on.”
Philip Hammond named new United Kingdom Defense Secretary
Philip Hammond, formerly the United Kingdom’s transport minister, has been appointed as the new defense secretary after the resignation of Liam Fox on Friday, according to the Washington Post.
Fox resigned from his post amid controversy that he had allegedly used a friend to conduct government business, Bloomberg reported. His friend, Adam Werritty, had been present on 18 overseas trips to gain defense contracts and had personal business cards with his role named as an adviser to Fox, though he does not hold that position.
The AP reported that Fox’s resignation is the first loss to the U.K.’s Conservative Party, which was formed after an inconclusive election in May 2010. His departure came before the results from a government inquiry are expected to be made public next week.
According to The Guardian, in a letter of resignation to Prime Minister David Cameron, Fox said: “I mistakenly allowed the distinction between my personal interest and my government activities to become blurred. The consequences of this have become clearer in recent days.”
Hammond, 55, replaces Fox after having served as transport secretary in the British government. He has served in Parliament since 1997, according to AP.