POLICEMAN ABDOOL: Mauritian police officer recalls vicious assault

A police officer on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has recounted a vicious attack launched upon him by local youths while on duty near the Gare du Nord area of Port Louis on February 11th, an eyewitness video of which was widely shared on social media and saw the apprehension of three of the attackers last week.

Constable Sameer Abdool, who was on traffic duty at the Trou-Fanfaron police post in the Mauritian capital, recalls how he noticed a group of young men crowding around a zebra crossing. He approached the men and asked them to be patient “for their own safety” as vehicles surged past on the city’s notoriously busy streets. They disregarded Con. Abdool’s advice and attempted to cross into the road anyway. Abdool then moved forward to stop one of the assailants for fear he would cause a road collision.

It was at that precise moment, according to the island’s French-language media group Le Defi Media, that the attack on the constable kicked off. Darren Eddy Brasse, a local youth aged 22, swung a punch at Abdool, striking the side of his head. “I received a punch to the temple, I felt nauseous“, Abdool told Le Defi. Brasse’s brother, Andy and friend Andrew Brice Samuel joined in the assault once Abdool received the blow to his head.

In the eyewitness video, captured by a passer-by with their mobile, Con. Abdool is seen grappling with one of the youths as he tries to protect himself from more punches. Brasse then throws a punch which narrowly misses Abdool as he tries to get away. Then another youth marches up to the policeman, slapping him with full force around the head. A few seconds later, a man in a red basketball vest suddenly jumps out from the crowd, putting Abdool in a headlock as a gaggle of shocked people assemble on the zebra crossing, stopping traffic. After a long period of inactivity from observers, a concerned passer-by manages to free Abdool from the fracas; his distinctive reflective uniform brace pulled out of place, the officer appears visibly shaken. Another police officer was also targeted in the melee, although the attack does not appear in the video and the officer in question has not been identified.

The video of the savage assault soon appeared on Facebook, where it went viral among islanders and Mauritians abroad. The island’s police began an investigation into the assault on Abdool. Despite the grainy video quality, the island’s police force was able to recognise the suspects.

A police raid in the area of Cité Roche-Bois on Friday and Saturday saw the Brasse brothers and Samuel arrested at their homes. Darren Brasse was interrogated by a team led by senior police officer Daniel Monvoisin, where he admitted his part in the attack on their colleague, saying that he was annoyed at being told not to cross the street by Abdool. He lost his temper and then struck the policeman, Brasse told officers.

All three are now in police custody, where they will be interviewed in connection with other crimes, Le Defi reports.

HEM News Agency, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-news-agency
Le Défi Media Group, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/defimediagroup
“Agressé à la gare du Nord – Le policier Abdool : « Monn truv zekler »” – Irfaad Olitte, Le Defi Media Group (22 February 2015) http://www.defimedia.info/live-news/item/68342-agresse-a-la-gare-du-nord-le-policier-abdool-monn-truv-zekler.html
Mauricien, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/mauricien1968
“VIDÉO SUR FACEBOOK: Une première arrestation suite à l’agression de deux policiers” – 24 Heures Info (22 February 2015) http://24heuresinfo.com/2015/02/21/video-sur-facebook-une-premiere-arrestation-suite-a-lagression-de-deux-policiers/


UPPER-CLASS PARTY ANIMALS: Neighbours complain about Duke of Rutland’s children’s non-stop parties

Three sisters, the children of the Duke of Rutland, have come under fire from sleep-deprived neighbours for holding a series of late-night parties at their mansion in the London district of Fulham, according to national newspaper The Telegraph.

The trio, Ladies Violet, Alice and Eliza Manners, were accused by a neighbour of showing a distinct lack of manners after allegedly organising a series of all-nighter parties which kept locals awake with their ‘awful’ noise, The Telegraph‘s Camilla Turner writes. The three are the daughters of the Lord of Rutland, who himself dwells in a sprawling Gothic style castle complete with 16,000 acres of woodland and farmland in the county of Leicestershire, and had allowed the daughters to settle in London to further their experiences and opportunities.

Neighbours have become increasingly incensed at the Manners sister’s glamorous and hedonistic partying; with many complaining that they feel as if though they were living next to a nightclub. One Fulham resident wrote to the eldest sister, Violet, aged 21, bringing her attention to a litany of “broken nights, unpleasantness and noise” caused by the sisters and their high-society friends partying into the wee hours.

Another concerned neighbour, marketing and communications consultant Jackie Elliot, took her frustration with the sisters’ partying directly to their father, writing him a letter detailing her and others’ ongoing battle with the clubbing young aristocrats. Elliot told the Duke she had complained to Hammersmith and Fulham council numerous times about the level of noise and that on one occasion, police were called to his daughters’ £2 million townhouse. She also expressed dismay at the fact that despite her telling Violet Manners several times to keep her music down, she still continued partying even after apologising for inconveniencing the residents of one of London’s most fashionable and expensive neighbourhoods.

She told the Duke: “I have also written to Violet and on occasions, after the event, we have received an apology. But not always and in any case, the apology has never prevented callous repetition.

In her note of apology after last week’s party your daughter Eliza said she has ‘little experience of London life’: I was brought up in the country and know that these are not the ways of the country either.”

Violet was alleged to have responded to the letter from Ms. Elliot by reproducing it on a social media account, while jokingly claiming that her neighbours ‘complain about everything’, according to The Telegraph. Ms. Elliot, who has lived on the same street for twenty-five years, did not see the funny side.

It has been on and on for two years,” she told The Telegraph. “Loud music, people coming and going very late, talking in the road, shouting, cars arriving, cars going.”

The neighbour, who lives with her husband, reported one serious incident involving guests attending a party at the Manners’ townhouse degenerating into  a ‘frightful raucous’ squabble outside on the street, which warranted a police car attending the scene, and that other neighbours have quit the area altogether rather than tolerate the excessive noise and hordes of partygoers that has been a hallmark of the sisters’ stay in London since they relocated to the area two years ago.

It is like having a nightclub on your doorstep in the middle of a quiet terraced street in Fulham.” Ms. Elliot said.

Responding to the 21-year-old’s claim that her neighbours complain about “everything”, Ms Elliot said: “We are highly tolerant, relaxed neighbours but we are living somewhere where you can’t get a decent night’s sleep.

I don’t know what they do, it’s like they have elephants in the house, it’s awful.”

The sisters’ father, David Manners, is the eleventh Duke of Rutland. Born in 1959, he is a lesser-known member of the British aristocracy and a landowner. He split from their mother, Duchess Emma Watkins, an opera singer, after an alleged romantic affair with a member of his castle staff. They married in 1992 and had five children – three daughters and two sons, all with titles. His home, Belvoir Castle is in the northern part of Leicestershire, and he also runs a hotel and restaurant, the Manners Arms Country Hotel and Restaurant. The Sunday Times Rich List 2013 estimated his personal fortune at £125 million.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives local authorities such as councils like Hammersmith and Fulham the legal right to deal with reports and complaints of excessive noise and anti-social behaviour emanating from both residential and commercial properties. The council receives 6,000 complaints a year about noisy neighbours. In severe cases, council can authorise the seizure of stereo equipment or other musical devices and can fine people up to £5,000 and take them to court if they break noise abatement orders served on them.

The Manners sisters did not comment on the situation with their neighbours to The Telegraph.


London, a leader among the world’s cities. A population of eight million.

Frantic, busy, popular, cultural, fast, slow. A giant urban sprawl where everything runs at breakneck speed and even life can ill-afford to catch a breath. People go past each other in a flurry of activity, not a glance or a smile. No-one asks about anyone else, their fortunes or their misfortunes. For those with no fortune in life, the loneliness and dismissal is even more profound. Aside from the casual toss of coins or the countless stares and avoided looks, those who take the streets as home feel as invisible and inconsequential as ever.

Out of many voices, one is captured. On a simple piece of nondescript cardboard, an anonymous individual asks for help. Not to buy a sandwich or get twenty pence for a phonecall, but to feel what the luckier ones feel. Eager to sample the delights of one of the city’s upmarket restaurants or for people to wish him a simple ‘happy birthday’, the owner of the mysterious sign pleads for assistance from a known, yet invisible public. To realise an ambition, just a helping hand to make it happen.



Behind the cardboard voices, capturing the less-photographed side of London and making a social stand against poverty, is a new artist and blogger, known only by the pseudonym ‘IMPREINT’. His latest project sees a visual night-time trip to the nooks and crannies beyond where most tourists and Londoners venture and where their eyes pass over. The solitary cardboard sign, with its well-written and urgent message, is part of IMPREINT’s latest photographic project, entitled CUT OFF – an acknowledgement of the invisible, the homeless, the forgotten – and their ambitions and desires. Taken among the city lights under the cover of night amid London’s distinctive red phone boxes and its bright lights, IMPREINT preserves with their camera the wishes of a down-and-out asking to be accepted and noticed by society. We see neither the sign’s creator nor the audience, but the loudness of the sign holder’s dream rings true amid the serenity and harshness of London’s cold grey streets.

CUT OFF is a long-time concern for the artist, who had previously exhibited works under the titles of “The Space” and “The White Frame Collection”, since his career began more than five years ago. Seeing a world where people were just asking and giving, IMPREINT felt something was wrong. He thought that rather than a give-or-take situation which is the norm regarding the homeless, it needed to be more about equality and letting them speak for themselves. The piece of cardboard became a metaphorical message, a symbol of seeking opportunity to change its owner’s condition while doing their best to bring about that change. Work on the CUT OFF project began in January 2015, which saw IMPREINT take to the streets of London with cardboard signs in tow. While more comfortable with paint and found objects, IMPREINT saw no challenge in arming themselves with a smartphone and camera and getting down and personal with London’s pavements to capture the images for CUT OFF.

CUT OFF is a project that works in its simplicity, yet subtly laced with a deep message. In one way, IMPREINT forces us to confront this reality of life without thrusting it into our faces. While popular culture and urban living has forever linked the homeless person with the cardboard sign, IMPREINT’s work challenges us to sit up and take notice of these often ignored signs, set amid the empty domains of those without roofs. By making the homeless the focus of CUT OFF, IMPREINT has reached out to society in its own terms, making art that opens people’s eyes to the harsh world of street living. IMPREINT has done well in a theme where many artists fear to tread, that of making art reflect on the more negative attributes of society. Not simply to show it on a white wall and say ‘ this is it!’ but to stir in the viewer a need to change their outlook, and perhaps, do something about it.





Cut off IMPREINT (3)



The artist began their work in the UAE in December 2009, with a wish to make art not just something to be sold at auction or admired by gallery visitors, but to make a social impact, benefitting society and not just depicting it. IMPREINT themselves transcends the default role of artist as name and brand, seeing themselves as not just a person, but a concept stretching far beyond the individual. IMPREINT has exhibited at impromptu art galleries and spaces of creativity all over London, as well as self-created international shows in places such as India, Spain and Hungary.


Official site: http://www.impreint.com/

Blog: https://impreintofficial.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IMPREINTofficial/


Many thanks to Napsugar Budai for setting up the collaboration and supplying images for this article.


IMPREINT http://www.impreint.com/
“EXHIBITIONS” – IMPREINT http://www.impreint.com/#!exhibitions/c236g
“Reviews” – IMPREINT, IMPREINTofficial https://impreintofficial.wordpress.com/reviews/
“PROJECTS” – IMPREINT http://www.impreint.com/#!projects/c20iw
“IMPREINT – CUT OFF” – Napsugar Budai (5 January 2015) https://napsugarzas.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/impreint-cut-off/
Photos by IMPREINT and supplied by Napsugar Budai.


PHOTO MOMENT: Chinese New Year 2015 – Year of the Sheep/Goat

This year, the Chinese New Year will fall on Thursday, February 19, and according to the hallowed annals of the ancient zodiac from which originated the animals and their associated years, we will see the dawn of the Year of the Sheep. The sheep in question is said to be specifically the female Wood Sheep, although some will say it is the Green Sheep. Whichever material or colour the sheep of 2015 will arrive as, the New Year will be a time of new beginnings, family reunions and much excitement.

The sheep is considered a lucky animal, attached to the easy life. An important and ubiquitous creature even today in the rural areas of the world’s most populous nation, the sheep is associated with the elements of earth and wood in the Chinese Five Element theory. Interestingly enough, some users of the Chinese zodiac in fact will state it will soon be the Year of the Goat, another farmyard animal that enjoys nibbling vegetation, although with a range restricted to pastures and mountains in northern China.

The confusion over whether this new lunar year is in honour of the sheep or goat stems from the use of the Mandarin word ‘yang’ to describe this year. The problem is, ‘yang’ can be used to refer to many kinds of herbivorous animals with cloven feet, including sheep, goats, camels and even gazelles, according to Isaac Yue, a professor of Chinese religion and mythology at the University of Hong Kong (interviewed by CNN).

People born in the Year of the Sheep (or Goat or Ram) are said to be tender, kind-hearted, family oriented and endowed with an intelligent nature while being humble and polite. You shouldn’t expect too much boasting bravado or fiery tempers to come out of a Sheep. They are also said to be good with business dealings and can be relied upon to keep the household budget in the black in their everyday economics. They are also aesthetically pleasing with symmetrical faces and figures, if you believe the old legends.

Previous years of the Sheep/Goat this and last century were:- 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003.

Whichever animal takes pride of place in this year’s fantastic celebrations, I’ll be wishing you a very happy Year of the Sheep or Goat.






往年羊/山羊这和上个世纪是: - 1907年,1919年,1931年,1943年,1955年,1967年,1979年,1991年,2003年



Here is our selection of lucky images for the occasion. Enjoy!!!




(c) Sky HD Wallpaper

Via HD Wallpapers Inn

(c) Chinese New Year 2015

(c) AliExpress

(c) Zazzle

(c) Zazzle Australia

(c) Colourbox via Holiday Pictures

(c) Zazzle

(c) 123newyear.com via R. Tayal/YouTube GB


(c) playrific


(c) Pixel Jeff/Tumblr

*The Half-Eaten Mind’s first ever bilingual article!!
*Text written mainly at Informa offices at Maple House, Tottenham Court Rd., Euston. Picture sourcing and editing of article carried out at the HEM home office in Plaistow. Published as per normal location listed above.
Chinese New Year 2015 – The Year of Green Wood Sheep or Goat” – Chinese Horoscope Fortune Calendar http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/2015.htm
“Is it the Year of the Sheep, Goat or Ram?” – , CNN International Edition/Cable News Network/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (13 February 2015) http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/12/asia/year-of-the-goat-sheep-ram/
“Chinese Zodiac – Sheep / Goat / Ram” – TravelChinaGuide http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/zodiac/sheep.htm
“2015 Chinese Zodiac Sheep – Year of Sheep” – Legend of Chinese Zodiac http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/Zodiac/SummarySheep.htm
Getty Images via Zemanta.
“Chinese New Year 2015″ – Sky HD Wallpaper, SkyHDWallpaper.com http://www.skyhdwallpaper.com/chinese-new-year-2015
“Animated Happy New Year Wallpaper 2015″ – HD Wallpapers Inn http://www.hdwallpapersinn.com/animated-happy-new-year-wallpaper-2015.html
“Chinese New Year 2015 Sheep HD GIF Animated Wallpapers,Images,Pictures” – Namit Kapoor, Chinese New Year 2015 (6 February 2015) http://chinesenew-year.com/chinese-new-year-2015-sheep-hd-gif-animated-wallpapersimagespictures/
“animated goats Results” – AliExpress, AliExpress.com http://www.aliexpress.com/popular/animated-goats.html
“2015 Chinese New Year Gifts – Shirts, Posters, Art, & more Gift Ideas” – Zazzle, Zazzle Inc http://www.zazzle.co.uk/2015+chinese+new+year+gifts
“Happy New Year Wishes Sms Greeting Card New Year Images Tee 2015″ – Holiday Pictures http://holidaypictures.org/new-year-2015/happy-new-year-wishes-sms-greeting-card-new-year-images-tee-2015-10
“Chinese New Year 2015 – Year Of The Sheep/Ram/Goat” – Raghav Tayal, YouTube GB (4 February 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuVIbZJZ73c
“Chinese New Year 2015 Wallpaper, Images, Pictures in HD” – Kartik Shah, CHINESE NEW YEAR 2015 HAPPY VALENTINES DAY WALLPAPER http://www.happynewyear2015wallpaper.com/2015/01/chinese-new-year-2015-wallpaper-images.html
“Happy 2015 Year of the Sheep!” – playrific, Playrific® Inc (January 2015)  http://playrific.com/m/19381/happy-2015-year-of-the-sheep
Pixel Jeff, Tumblr http://pixeljeff.tumblr.com/

REAL NEAT BLOG AWARD: First award of 2015 from Dear Kitty

It has been a very difficult week for me lately (and a bit strange too), but today I have at least a small bit of good news to share with you all. The Half-Eaten Mind has picked up its first blogging award for 2015, a special gift from the news and wildlife blogger “Dear Kitty“.

In the last few months of 2014, Kitty, who is based in the Netherlands, decided to dust off her computer graphic skills and created a new, cool and delightfully simple blogging award. She gave it life and christened it the Real Neat Blogging Award. It is the first award she has made, using computer skills that she once used before embarking on her blogging journey. The Half-Eaten Mind is one of fifteen nominees for the RNBA.

(c) Dear Kitty

Kitty blogs mainly news stories on “animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women’s issues, arts, and much more“. She is a veteran of the blogger’s game, having first put nimble fingers to clunky keyboards 10 years ago after signing up with now defunct platform ModBlog in 2005. A decade later, she is the editor behind Dear Kitty – Some Blog. It originally began as a news diary and since then, Kitty now covers stories on wildlife, global conflicts, art and many other subjects. Very importantly, she aims to report on those people and organisations that fight against greed, injustice and suffering in this world and who want to make it more better and peaceful. To ‘speak truth to power‘ is Kitty’s aim.

The RNBA has a set of rules for nominees to be aware of:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)


1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

The vast majority of my blog visits are from the United States, which is understandable given that the blog is in English and internet penetration is very high in American homes. The United Kingdom (my base and home country) comes in second place. Since I started my blog in April of 2012, I have received exactly 27,708 visits from the US, my highest total.

2. What is your favourite sport?

I’m not the most sporty person going, but I enjoy football and cricket (watching and playing). I also enjoy WWE wrestling, although don’t count on me stepping inside the square circle any time soon. I bruise easily.

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2014?

I can’t think of anything in particular, but some highlights were my niece turning five (and growing up really fast too), some new additions to the extended family in Mauritius, but generally 2014 was a quiet year for me.

4. What is your favourite quote?

“Rise above it all”

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

I enjoyed English, science and drama.

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

I wish I knew how to cook properly. Nowadays it’s mostly ready-made meals and that can’t be good for you!

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

I’ve played the conga drum, glockenspiel, xylophone and keyboards for music classes when I was in secondary school. Outside of formal lessons, I’ve messed around with my uncle’s guitar, which I turned out to be absolutely useless at. I’ve also played the tabla, a type of drum from south Asia, and I pretty much owned the instrument with my impeccable percussionist talents, if I say so myself.

A million thanks to Kitty for her kind nomination :) !!! You can see her awesome and informative blog here: https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/

(c) tumblr18.com

(c) NATURE/Google+

My RNBA nominees (in no particular order) are:

1. Mother Nature

2. Jakesprinter`s : Inspirational Quotes

3. decocraftsdigicrafts

4. Paul Militaru

5. AshiAkira’s Blog

6. Vultureşti

7. Alaturi de Tine

8. D-ale copilăriei

9. The be-all and end-all

10. Humorous Interludes by Ron Yarosh

As with any award nomination from the Half-Eaten Mind, there is no compulsion to accept the said nomination if you are not interested in awards or you are busy for time. Nevertheless I feel honoured to have chosen you. Congrats and a big group hug are in order!


“Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to all the nominees!” – Dear Kitty. Some blog (28 January 2015) https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/real-neat-blog-award-congratulations-to-all-the-nominees/
“About” –  Dear Kitty. Some blog https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/about/
“Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to all the nominees!” – Dear Kitty. Some blog (28 January 2015) https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/real-neat-blog-award-congratulations-to-all-the-nominees/
“Butterfly saying thanks to kitty” – tumblr18.Com/www.tumblr18.com http://www.tumblr18.com/images/thank-you/page/13/
“15 the best cat gifs ever!” – NATURE, Google+/Google Inc. (1 May 2013) https://plus.google.com/101978623215684492145/posts/Fiu61BCbgHe


Today’s post is in honour of a very special and unique member of my family, who sadly passed from this world on the 2nd of February, 2014. Although we were not related in blood, she was the closest I ever had to a grandmother. She was a shining light in my life and her kindness, hospitality and devotion to family, friends and God will always be a beacon of inspiration to me. As she and part of my immediate family are Gujarati, we called her by the Gujarati word ‘Baa’ which means ‘grandma’.

(c) A. Shah

(c) A. Shah

Baa was born in Bukoba, a small town in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1934. She got married to our grandfather in India and they settled in both that country and east Africa before emigrating to the UK in 1967, purchasing a house in Forest Gate, east London where she lived for several decades before her untimely departure. Together they had five children, four sons and a daughter, whom Baa helped support through many jobs in local factories. She was very welcoming and highly social, always inviting people from far and wide into her home, regardless of space. She loved shopping and watching Indian TV serials and had an impeccable taste in sarees (Indian dress) and boasted an impressive collection of them, as well as bangles. Like her husband (our grandfather), she was very pious and we would often go with them to the temple and celebrate festivals together.

The first time I met her was around 1997-1998 when I was out food shopping with my Mum at the Tesco in Green Street, Upton Park, not far from where she used to live. I remember being a bit nervous at first, but her smile and kindness soon endeared me to her. Over the years, Baa would often invite us to her home for dinners and family get-togethers. I remember often going around hers and she would always let me take a Coke can from the kitchen cupboard and also offer snacks and rotis. She always asked about my wellbeing, school and day-to-day life and I would help her with housework and shopping.

Sadly, after a few years, I left home due to some problems and lost contact with her and our grandfather, whom we called ‘Dada’. In 2009, she sustained a fall outside a hospital while visiting Dada there and from then on her health began to decline.

The last time I saw her was two days before her passing. She was very ill, unable to speak and move much and it shattered my heart to see her in that state. I went straight into the kitchen, the same kitchen where I and Baa would sit down for a cup of masala tea and a chat, and broke down in front of my aunt and mother. She sought solace in devotional songs because perhaps she knew God was going to call her soon. The one she was listening to when I saw her I have added below. It is the Gayatri mantra, which brings one closer to God in their hour of need.

Her funeral was held the following Friday at a local crematorium. As befitting the great person that she was, Baa received a beautiful and poignant send-off, with 300 guests attending a special service where her grandchildren read special eulogies for her, admiring her tenacity in the face of ill health and difficulty, including a time when she bravely fought off a mugger who tried to steal her necklace. Twelve pure white doves were released in her memory and just like how our families were brought together on this day, the doves flew as one flock into the trees, carrying Baa’s spirit with them. The recent bad weather and snow failed to show up that day, and instead bright sunlight trickled into the service hall, so that even it seemed that God was shining down on Baa and receiving her in His divine grace.

It has been a very sad and difficult time, but I and my siblings consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have benefitted from her care and wisdom. She always made a home from home and loved and adored her grandchildren.

Baa, you will always be in our hearts. We miss you and love you, forever and always.

બા, તમે હંમેશા અમારા હૃદયમાં હશે. અમે કાયમ અને હંમેશા તમે ચૂકી છે અને તમને પ્રેમ.

Many thanks to sister Anjali for creating the photo montage for this memorial.

EAST LONDON THAMES CROSSING: Newham mayor lays into Boris over bridge delay

The Mayor of the east London borough of NewhamSir Robin Wales, has slammed his GLA counterpart for the ‘unnecessary delay’ in securing a new river crossing over the Thames to link east London with areas south of the river, The Newham Mag reported recently.

In attendance at a meeting of the Parliamentary Transport Committee in the Houses of Parliament, Mayor Wales said: “A bridge at Gallions Reach in Beckton has been unnecessarily delayed for seven years. Having only a ferry is simply not good enough for London in the 21st century. London is moving east and a bridge should be built urgently“.

The Newham mayor also told the committee that he was against any plans to levy tolls for vehicles using the proposed river crossing at Beckton. He argued that people living and working in west London, who have several bridges at their disposal, are not required to pay to cross them, so the same courtesy should be extending to Londoners in the east. “If there are tolls there must be reductions for local people and local concessions“, Wales added.

There was no word of the London Mayor Boris Johnson‘s response to Wales’ criticism of his cabinet’s delay in construction of the Beckton crossing, but the transport committee is currently holding an inquiry into essential crossing over the river that cuts through London and have also been scrutinising the response to the delay by the Department for Transport. Newham Council have been petitioning City Hall for several years to establish a viable river crossing linking Newham with Greenwich, with Gallions Reach, home to a shopping centre, being the preferred location.

Newham Council hopes that the proposed bridge, which will be available 24 hours a day all week, will bring massive economic benefits and jobs to their borough, which has long struggled with high unemployment rates and lack of opportunities for residents. The new bridge could also reduce commuting times and help fuel growth in the area as part of the much-vaunted London Plan in the Thames Gateway, which includes Newham and four other boroughs.

The river Thames has over 200 bridges for foot and wheel, along with 27 tunnels, six public ferries and the Emirates cable car link between the O2 and southern Newham. With the expectation of the above-river cable car route which opened in June 2012 and is rarely used, Newham’s only links with the south are an underground tunnel connecting North Greenwich and Canning Town tube stations on the Jubilee line, and a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) connection between King George V station in Silvertown and Woolwich Arsenal in Woolwich. The Woolwich area also links with Newham via the Woolwich car ferry. There are no bridges at all along Newham’s stretch of the river with the nearest one being the famous Tower Bridge, completed in 1894 and situated around six miles (ten kilometres) away.

The transport committee’s report on the Gallions Reach crossing is expected to be published later this year.

“Delay on bridge is slammed” – The Newham Mag – Issue 308, Newham Council (30 January 2015)
“List of crossings of the River Thames” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crossings_of_the_River_Thames
“Beckton Bus Station” – Google Maps, Google Inc. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Beckton+Bus+Station/@51.5215347,0.0819957,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x1f7da9fadcbde07d
“LB Newham Economic Impact of Gallions Reach Crossings” – pba Peter Brett Roger Tym/Peter Brett Associates LLP & Newham Council (March 2013) http://www.newham.gov.uk/documents/news/gallionsreachcrossingseconomicimpact.pdf
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COUNCIL LICENSING: Illegally sold alcohol confiscated from Newham stores

Local authorities in the east London council area of Newham have recently reported a successful crackdown on convenience stores selling unlicensed alcohol, making several thousand pounds worth of seizures, reports the council publication The Newham Mag.

The magazine reports that more than 2,200 litres of spirits and other alcoholic beverages were confiscated by Newham Council‘s licensing team, which is responsible for the authorisation of local shopkeepers to sell alcohol to residents. The team has regularly carried out surprise inspections of stores believed to be selling drink under the table without the legally required licence, before authorising raids to seize the unlicensed stock and punish offenders through the legal system.

Licensing officers visited several stores and seized quantities of cider, beers and spirits either because the stores had no legal permission to sell alcohol on their premises or because they were selling drinks that had an alcoholic content above what was allowed on their licence.

English: No Street Drinking allowed

English: No Street Drinking allowed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around 500 litres of unlicensed spirits were pulled off the shelves at Vanesh Super Store, a corner store located on Bramall Close in Stratford. Early last year the same shop, also known as Vana’s Superstore, had its alcohol licence revoked by the council after its employees failed to follow ‘Challenge 21‘ guidance following a test purchase using a young person. The Challenge 21 rules prohibit the sale of alcohol to anyone under the age of eighteen and staff are expected to ask for age identification before handing over the goods.

In another confiscation which happened shortly before Christmas, 1,700 litres of alcohol was seized from Forest Gate Food and Wine, a grocery and mobile top-up shop on the Woodgrange Road in Forest Gate, near the border with Waltham Forest borough. This store was also caught out following a test purchase carried out by the council using an undercover police officer. The anonymous officer was able to buy extra-strength beer which had been imported from Poland, though Forest Gate Food and Wine’s licence did not allow them to sell these products. Pictures from the raid on December 20 showed council officers with a van packed with crates of alcohol, mainly stout and high-strength beer. Crates of Guinness stout, Dragon Stout from Jamaica, and the imported high-strength beverages branded Debowe and Perla from Poland were observed by a staff photographer from the Newham Recorder who witnessed the raid in Forest Gate.

Councillor Ian Corbett, the Newham mayoral adviser for environment and leisure, spoke with The Newham Mag. “Irresponsible off-licences can make the lives of residents miserable. Selling high strength alcohol without permission can often result in anti-social behaviour” he said.

Under Newham’s licensing rules, premises such as nightclubs and stores that wish to sell alcohol to customers must have a ‘premises licence’, on which a fee is paid to the council. The licensee is then required to display a licence notice on their premises and also make an announcement of licensing in the local newspaper. They may also have to inform certain parties, such as the police, fire and rescue and other departments in the council to allay any safety or crime concerns.

Anti-social behaviour and violence fuelled by alcohol is an ongoing problem in both Newham and the wider London area, causing residents to be fearful of going out at night or in visiting popular entertainment venues. A survey for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2013 reported that nearly a third of respondents said they were the victim of ‘yobbish’ behaviour or anti-social activities within the past year, often by troublemakers under the influence of alcohol. Eighty-one per cent felt that anti-social behaviour had gone up in England and Wales, reported the Telegraph.

Newham Council are planning to bring further action and prosecutions against the business owners caught in the latest licensing sting.


“Alcohol seized from stores” – The Newham Mag – Issue 308, Newham Council (30 January 2015)
“Premises alcohol and entertainment licence” – Newham London, Newham Council http://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/Services/Premises-alcohol-and-entertainment-licence.aspx?l1=100002&l2=200063
“Anti-social behaviour growing, says official survey” – David Barrett, The Telegraph/Telegraph Media Group Limited (11 April 2013) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9988026/Anti-social-behaviour-growing-says-official-survey.html
“1,700 litres of alcohol seized from Forest Gate off-licence” – Sophie Morton, Newham Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd/London24 (9 January 2015) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/1_700_litres_of_alcohol_seized_from_forest_gate_off_licence_1_3911023
“File:Streetdrinking24102008148.jpg” – J D Mack, Wikimedia Commons (24 October 2008) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Streetdrinking24102008148.jpg

SULLEE J: You Don’t Want No Problems ft. Macabeats

Baltimore rapper and lyrical philanthropist Sullee J returns from his recent success with “Work“, featuring G-Unit’s Young Buck, Ca$his and Project Pat alongside himself. Two weeks on, Sullee J collaborates with fellow Baltimorean Macabeats for this latest new single, entitled “You Don’t Want No Problems“.

Sullee’s latest collaboration comes fresh from his new mixtape “The Missing Element“. Macabeats, alias Hassan Thomas is an upcoming international recording artist and this is one of his first major collaborations in the Baltimore rap scene. The accompanying video was specially shot and edited by DJ Myzter Hurd and released via Tranzition Kingz. There’s also a free MP3 download on Soundcloud. Check them out here!!

(contains some strong language)


Sullee J Management.
Hassan Thomas, Google+, Google Inc. https://plus.google.com/115162627192990860253/posts

OBAMA: US President to cut short India trip after death of Saudi King

The United States President Barack Obama, who is currently on a tour of India, will cut short his diplomatic trip in the Asian subcontinent after the sudden demise of the Saudi king Abdullah, the Associated Press news agency (AP) reports.

Obama had visited India for strategic talks for a three-day period, of which the itinerary included an open-air audience with India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi, but the sudden death of the long-reigning King Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz Al Saud yesterday after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection has caused a sudden change of plans. The Saudis are one of America’s key allies in the Middle East. Indian officials told AP that President Obama will be heading immediately to Riyadh to pay his respects to the monarch, who was widely applauded in the West as a reformer who favoured some elemental women’s rights and helped preside over Saudi Arabia’s march forward as a regional power. He was only hours away from making a scheduled touristic trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra, just outside Delhi, when the passing of the Saudi ruler was announced. An official, Pradeep Bhatnagar, who is based out of Agra, said that American counterparts informed him today that Obama would not be visiting the ‘monument of love’ and would immediately jet off to Saudi Arabia, according to AP.

The US president had intended to hold a series of meetings with prime minister Modi on Sunday (tomorrow) and then arrive in New Delhi to be a special VIP guest alongside India’s political elites for the country’s yearly Republic Day celebrations and parades the following Monday. US officials have stated that the Saudi trip is a detour and that Obama will continue to press on with his India tour at an unspecified later date.

Josh Earnest, a spokesperson with the White House – the official presidential residence – said that president Obama and First Lady Michelle would travel to Riyadh on Tuesday this week and meet with the newly-crowned Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Salman is the half-brother of the late King Abdullah and previously held the portfolio as the kingdom’s defence minister since 2011, according to Wikipedia sources. The US had planned to send a separate delegation headed by Vice-President Joe Biden to Riyadh, but spokesperson Earnest said that these plans were dropped after the White House realised that Biden’s visit would clash with Obama’s departure from India. Biden will not now be attending the Riyadh function and will remain on official duties in Washington.

President Obama’s visit to India comes during a period of strengthening relations between the two superpowers. AP reported that Obama and Modi had got along very well and had built a good rapport as leaders of two of the world’s largest democracies. The Indian prime minister, formerly the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, visited Washington in autumn 2014, and invited the US president to return the compliment as a guest for India’s Republic Day on January 26th, 2015.

It took us by some surprise,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. “There’s a great affinity between the United States and India and our people, but there’s also a history that is complicated and that would have made it seem highly unlikely that a U.S. president would be sitting with India’s leaders at their Republic Day ceremony.

There have been tensions in the past, mostly over India’s nuclear programme, which some US observers feared would exacerbate tensions with nuclear arch-rival and neighbour Pakistan. Washington has also been perturbed by India’s reluctance to open up their carefully regulated state industries to more foreign investment and to tackle rampant infringement of often US-owned copyrights and patents, such as in pharmaceuticals and digital media.

The two countries have however enjoyed good relations particularly in the trade, science and education fields. Officials in the US also hope the warm ties between the two leaders will also help address issues such as the Indian contribution to tackling climate change, including the limitation of carbon admissions from its rapidly developing industrial areas, as well as provide American business leaders with new opportunities and linkups with big business in Asia.

After some deliberations from White House advisers, Obama was cleared to pay a visit to Modi at New Delhi. As well as attending the Republic Day celebrations in an official capacity, he was also scheduled to meet with local and US business leaders as well as attend bilateral meetings with India’s prime minister. Barack Obama has the new distinction of being the first American leader to visit India more than once. He previously visited for an economic summit held in 2010.

Obama’s tour of India is expected to be loaded with symbolism with fewer ‘substantive advances’, although significant issues such as climate change, economics and defence ties are expected to be on the agenda for discussion. Modi will also use the visit to help protect his country against any aggressive political complications from either China or Pakistan, according to AP, as well as neatly coinciding with his election promise to revolutionise Asia’s third-largest economy.

Indian political commentator Ashok Malik, speaking to AP, said expectations for concrete deliverables during the visit are “below the standards usually set by U.S. presidents when they travel across the world for a three-day visit.

The tête-à-tête with Obama also marks a significant sea-change for PM Narendra Modi, who was once denied a US visa in 2005 after protests at his alleged but unproven involvement with the Godhra incident of 2002, which saw religious riots paralyse the state he governed at the time.


Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Andrew S. Ginsburg, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/GinsburgJobs
“Obama to cut short India trip to visit Saudi Arabia” –  Julie Pace, Ashok Sharma & Muneeza Naqvi, AP Mobile/The Associated Press (24 January 2015) http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_289563/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=k9MBhS0r
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