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A previously-unnamed part of Antarctica is to be called 'Queen Elizabeth Land'. British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced the decision following The Queen's historic visit to Downing Street, the BBC reports. The area of Antarctica has been without a name in the past and is described as being "a strange, beautiful and dangerous world of towering mountains and infinite ice" by David Shukman. The territory is described as being twice the size of the United Kingdom and is home to penguins and elephant seals. However the news has caused controversy after Argentina claimed that the land (more) »
- By Sam Rigby
Britain's Queen Elizabeth is always welcome at cabinet meetings in Downing Street. The 86-year-old royal became the first monarch since George II in 1781 to attend a peacetime cabinet meeting yesterday (18.12.12), where she took a seat between Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague to listen to the weekly discussion of Government business. Speaking on 'The World at One' programme, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles revealed: 'The queen remained silent but clearly taking a keen interest... she did wish us all a merry Christmas.' He then joked: 'Given that it is her cabinet, she can come any time she wants.' The queen listened to a debate about the political and military situation in Afghanistan and remained quiet for »
A section of Antarctica has been named Queen Elizabeth Land after Britain's Queen Elizabeth. William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, announced the decision to name the territory - which covers 169,000 square miles, almost twice the size of the UK - in honour of the monarch to mark her Diamond Jubilee this year. The queen was told of the gift earlier today (18.12.12) when she made a historic visit to Downing Street to become the first monarch since 1781 to attend a cabinet meeting, and she was presented with a set of 60 place mats, one to mark each year she has spent on the throne. Mr. Hague - who gave the royal a tour of the »
If the Maleficent star is to bow out in style she'll need to steer a course between the vapid action fluff and middlebrow issue movies she's favoured lately
Angelina Jolie has always tried to use her celebrity to draw attention to humanitarian causes. So, following her recent Channel 4 News interview alongside William Hague to discuss warzone sexual assaults in her capacity as a Un special envoy, all the headlines were naturally about when she's going to stop being in films.
And the answer is apparently quite soon. Upsettingly for fans of her work, and for fans of errant red carpet leg-juts, Jolie already has the finishing line in her sights. "I think I'm going to have to give up acting as the kids hit the teenage years because there is going to be too much to manage at home," she said. Given that her oldest son Maddox is now »
- Stuart Heritage
I'm A Celebrity … MP told by Conservative chief whip to 'rebuild bridges' with Mid-Bedfordshire constituents and the party
Nadine Dorries has been put on notice that she must "rebuild bridges" with her constituents and fellow MPs if she is to be brought back into the Conservative fold after her controversial appearance on TV show I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!
The outcome of a brief meeting with chief whip Sir George Young on Tuesday means Dorries will have to sit as an independent MP in the Commons before a further meeting in the next fortnight.
The MP for Mid-Bedfordshire had the Tory whip suspended earlier this month after triggering a barrage of criticism when it emerged she had flown out to Australia while parliament was sitting to become the first serving MP to take part in the jungle-based reality show.
Over the weekend, an unrepentant Dorries branded the »
- Hélène Mulholland
Nothing published in newspapers now can change Lord Justice Leveson's mind. His report is with the printers and will be published on Thursday.
But newspaper editors, aware that the final decision on his recommendations will be taken in parliament, know that MPs - and especially the prime minister - are susceptible to pressure.
Therefore, yesterday's Sunday papers were full of dire warnings about the likely threat to press freedom should Leveson dare to suggest that a reformed system of regulation include any statutory element.
There were news stories, feature articles, columns, editorials and various adverts in the name of the Free Speech Network with the slogan: "Say No to state regulation of the press."
By far the most interesting contribution was the Mail on Sunday splash, which reported that David Cameron will resist any call to legislate on press regulation.
Citing "well-placed sources", political editor Simon Walters wrote that Cameron »
- Roy Greenslade
I haven't got a shred of regret about I'm a Celebrity. But the sexist reaction among politicians did shock me
As I head back from one jungle to another, I thought that maybe it was time to put into perspective the media storm created by my appearance in the real jungle via I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
In my seven and a half years as an MP I think it is important to state that I have never taken a single day away from parliament on one of the many jollies most MPs enjoy to various parts of the world.
In fact, some MPs can spend as many as six weeks a year away on freebie jaunts. This isn't really a point I would normally make. However, it seems that my appearance on Iac has been criticised by some MPs, admittedly the jobless, more ambitious ones, and »
- Nadine Dorries
Nadine Dorries carefully put down her coffee cup on her polished ministerial desk and stroked her BlackBerry affectionately. Five thousand new followers on Twitter since Tuesday when she had tweeted about Angela Merkel's awful dress sense. "Old Sour Kraut should try decent British TopShop," she had joked. Witty or what?
It took Nadine's total following to just short of 2 million. "Almost as many as Cheryl Cole now," she mused. Where would it end? Better than it had for David Cameron and that smirking ninny Osborne, she told herself. They wouldn't be patronising Nad any more. Mad Nad indeed!
In her wilder moments (she still had a few) Nadine could see herself in No 10 the way things were going. What the British people needed at »
- Michael White
Secret State is just like real British politics – but sexed up and Spookified
I think the prime minister is abroad at the moment isn't he? In the Gulf, selling arms to countries with dodgy human-rights records; not in America talking to a dodgy petrochemical company as the Pm is in this political conspiracy thriller, Secret State (Channel 4). Same idea, though – dubious big business ahead of domestic hardship.
It's difficult not to replace characters with their counterparts from the real world. Of course, no one would wish it on our Pm, but if his plane were to come down in suspicious circumstances (Boris, was that you, with your big grouse-buster blunderbuss?) on the way back, there could be a similar scenario. The home secretary and the foreign secretary fight for power. So that's Felix Durrel (Rupert Graves) and Ros Yelland (Sylvestra Le Touzel), respectively, in Secret State; Theresa May and William Hague in real life. »
- Sam Wollaston
Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, voices concern for jailed Iranian lawyer who is on hunger strike in Evin prison
The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, expressed her concern for the jailed Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh as she received the European parliament's most prestigious human rights award.
Sotoudeh and an acclaimed Iranian film director, Jafar Panahi, were on Friday awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, previously won by the likes of Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. The prize is named after the Soviet physicist and outspoken dissident Andrei Sakharov.
Sotoudeh fell foul of the Iranian authorities for representing political activists and is serving a six-year prison term in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. She is on day 10 of a hunger strike in protest at the state's harassment of her family and is reported to have been taken to the prison's medical facility as her health deteriorated. »
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan
To see exactly who runs the country, look no further than the dominance of public school voices on last night's Question Time
If few things are more irritating than a politician avoiding a question, what are we to make of an entire panel doing the same?
Last night BBC Question Time took one of the more interesting questions we've heard for a while. With a mischievous glint, the questioner asked:
"Would the country be better served if we had more plebs and fewer poshos stalking the corridors of power."
Dimbleby turned first, inevitably, to old Etonian caricature Jacob Rees-Mogg. His immediate (and only) reply was a kneejerk defence of public schools, suggesting that the important thing was that state schools produce pupils of the right calibre for the job. It's fortunate I didn't have any solid objects in my hand at that moment or it would have gone straight through the screen. »
- Ally Fogg
DoxBox co-founder has not been in contact with family since failing to board plane at Damascus airport two weeks ago
Prominent figures from the film world, including Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Danny Boyle and Kevin Spacey, have urged the Syrian government to release a film-maker detained in Damascus two weeks ago.
Orwa Nyrabia, director of the Damascus-based international documentary festival DoxBox, travelled to the Syrian capital on 23 August to catch a flight to Cairo. His family lost contact with him shortly after he arrived at the airport, and Egyptian authorities say he did not board the plane, indicating that he had been arrested by the Syrian authorities.
A letter signed by 51 directors, producers, writers and actors says no information has been forthcoming about where Nyrabia is being held, which security branch is holding him or why he has been detained.
"We, the undersigned members of the UK film community and international friends, »
- Haroon Siddique
As The Thick of It returns to TV for what may be the last time, its creator, satirist Armando Iannucci, is challenged by Observer chief political commentator Andrew Rawnsley to get serious about politics…
Armando Iannucci has a confession to make. "The thing is, I don't despise them," he says. "I've always been fascinated by politics. Read up on political history. Love all the election shows. I am a political geek."
At the age of 14 or 15, he would take himself off to a public library in Glasgow to read Hansard. I remark that William Hague is the only other person who has ever been heard admitting to the nerdish compulsion to read the parliamentary record as a teenager. "Yeah," he nods, wincing slightly. "I know."
We have met for lunch in a break between final edits of the new series of The Thick of It. The hugely acclaimed comedy has »
- Andrew Rawnsley
Britain's Prince Andrew is to abseil down The Shard. The 52-year-old royal will be joined by the British Foreign Secretary William Hague's wife Ffion and 20 others as they make the descent down Europe's tallest building in London on September 3 to raise money for the Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. Commenting on the exciting venture, Andrew - also known as the Duke of York - said: 'I am delighted to lead the descent of The Shard. 'I am also very proud, as the Chairman of The Outward Bound Trust, of the work the Trust undertakes with young people to give them challenge through adventure.' An aide close to Andrew added: 'He's »
We would hate to be Brad Pitt right now. Actually, that's not true, but it's gotta be tough to try and figure out what to get Angelina Jolie for her 37th birthday today (besides handmade cards from the kiddos, of course). And as for Jolie's last year, well, where do we start? Let's face it—there are about a gazillion things we could list right now, so let's just stick to the basics. Besides being one of the most well-known names in Hollywood, the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador continues her humanitarian efforts across the globe, most recently by joining forces with Britain's foreign secretary William Hague in London to help launch an initiative to combat »
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie met with Foreign Secretary William Hague ahead of a screening of her directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey at the Foreign Commonwealth Office in London this afternoon (May 30). Goodwill Ambassador Jolie was supporting a government initiative aimed at tackling sexual violence in war zones across the world. The star's film depicts a love story in Bosnia and the sexual violence that took (more) »
- By Naomi Gordon
Hague announced plans to set up dedicated teams to investigate rape in troubled countries as part of a new government scheme, and he was joined by Jolie, who works as a special envoy for the United Nations.
The actress' Bosnian war movie In The Land Of Blood And Honey, which features a harrowing rape scene, was shown to Members of Parliament (MPs) in a bid to highlight the problems in war zones.
Jolie spoke about the issues she tackled in the movie, and Hague declared in a statement, "We are deeply honoured that Ms Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy of the Un High Commissioner for Refugees, has joined us... at this launch. Ms Jolie, we are very grateful to you for coming and for graciously allowing us to screen your film In the Land of Blood and Honey. For more than 10 years you have worked to highlight the plight of refugees worldwide in Haiti, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and many other countries; to support numerous charitable causes, and to promote education, justice and the rights of women worldwide.
"And in this film you bring to life the devastating human consequences of international inaction in the face of conflict... It is a rallying call that none of us can ignore."
Jolie has visited conflict zones and refugees in countries including Iraq, Sudan and Libya. »
The intervention of celebrities in humanitarian crises doesn't tend to be taken very seriously, but Angelina Jolie made a real impact last night when she met ministers including William Hague, Philip Hammond and Lynne Featherstone at the Foreign Office. A private screening of her new documentary, In The Land Of Blood And Honey, was followed by a discussion including other human rights workers specialising in war rape.
At the event, Hague announced the development of a new expert task force designed to enter global trouble spots and investigate alleged cases of rape. Although rape is often used as a weapon of war it is difficult to prosecute because there is usually a shortage of evidence, meaning that even after conflicts have ended, criminals go free. In addition to the new task force, the UK has pledged to use its G8 presidency next year to highlight the issue.
Jolie began working with the. »
- Jennie Kermode
It's Tuesday, and Angelina Jolie is back doing her part to save the world. The 36-year-old actress joined forces with Britain's foreign secretary William Hague in London to help launch an initiative to combat sexual violence overseas. The actress's directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, was screened at the London launch, which will be followed by a yearlong diplomatic campaign. "It is in the context of war and conflict that sexual violence is found to the most appalling degree, and on a scale most of us cannot imagine," Hague said in a statement. "[It] is an issue which is central to conflict prevention and to peace building worldwide." As United »
Angelina Jolie was in London this afternoon for a screening of her movie In the Land of Blood and Honey at the Foreign Commonwealth Office. She linked up with UK officials like Foreign Secretary William Hague, Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond, Minister of State Jeremy Browne, and Parliamentarians Lynne Featherstone and Alan Duncan for the political event. Angelina posed for a photo with Hague and, before the film started, spoke to about preventing sexual violence during conflict. The day of politicking and philanthropy came during a break from shooting for Angelina. She's in the UK to work on her Disney picture Maleficent, and her whole family is in Britain for the shoot. Angelina and fiancé Brad Pitt just celebrated Shiloh Jolie-Pitt's sixth birthday. Brad arrived back at their rented home in the English countryside fresh off a stint in Cannes. He went to the South of France solo to premiere Killing Them Softly. »
- Allie Merriam
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