Seth Casteel — who has previously gifted the world with photo books of both puppies and babies swimming underwater — is back with another adorable project. The photographer’s latest offering, Pounce, features a collection of heartwarming shots of kittens leaping through the air.
“A beautiful, funny gift book with more than 80 previously unpublished photographs, Pounce reveals adorable cats and kittens as they pounce and jump through the air, arms outstretched–all in Casteel’s signature up-close, mid-action style,” a representative of publisher Little, Brown and Company wrote in a press release.
Great Britain is not short of irritating, scoundrelous, extremist figures. One thinks of today’s Labour party leader, the Trotskyite Jeremy Corbyn, a ‘friend’ of Hamas and Hizbullah; the anti-Semitic far-left former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, recently suspended from the same party for anti-Jewish remarks; or George Galloway, who defended and lobbied for Saddam Hussein and called on the Iraqi leader to conquer Israel and retake Jerusalem. We have had more than our share of self-vaunting and holier-than-thou religious figures, too, notably the string of Muslim hate preachers who tour our universities and mosques, radicalising students and a host of other impressionable and easily-angered young people.
But for many of us, there is concern about the high rate of radicalisation engineered by Muslim extremists such as Anjem Choudary, who has tried to promote some of Britain’s most radical Islamist movements for some twenty years. His interview technique is to say things that are offensive, or at times seemingly demented, while remaining calm and apparently rational. He preaches hatred for democracy, loathing for British law, and a candid disrespect for all non-Muslims. In different circumstances, he would make a very able politician. In fact, he is a traitor to his country, a manipulator of the young and vulnerable, and is probably best revealed in his own words:
“We [Muslims] take the Jizya, which is ours anyway. The normal situation is to take money from the kuffar [non-Muslim]. They give us the money. You work, give us the money, Allahu Akhbar. We take the money.”
And: ‘Next time when your child is at school and the teacher asks,
‘What is your ambition?’ They should say, ‘to dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain, that is my ambition'”.
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Theresa May’s backing for the expansion of Heathrow airport drove Zac Goldsmith last night to go through with his promise to resign his seat and prompt a by-election over the issue. He sought to go out with a bang by furiously denouncing the decision in the Commons, warning that it would be a “millstone around the Government’s next for many years”, although Michael Deacon was left thoroughly underwhelmed. “As protests go, this was meeker than Ovaltine,” he writes. “[Transport Secretary] Grayling may have feared he would be savaged by a pitbull. Instead he was nibbled by a lamb.”
Goldsmith has been one of Parliament’s most prominent anti-Heathrow campaigners, and has pledged to use the Richmond Park by-election as a “referendum” on airport expansion. But there may not be much debate given that his main rival, the Liberal Democrats’ Sarah Olney, agrees with him on the issue and the Tories are not fielding anyone against him, so there won’t be a pro-Government pro-Heathrow option. So this may mean other issues rise up the agenda, like Brexit, which the Lib Dems are eager to exploit in the hopes of taking back the seat they represented from 1997 to 2010. “We threw the kitchen sink at Witney,” one senior Lib Dem source told me, “and now we’ll throw the rest of the house in too.”
Team Goldsmith will want to do all it can to avoid fighting the by-election over Brexit as Richmond Park is fervently pro-EU. The area was the 20th strongest for Remain in the referendum, and it is estimated that as many as 77% of its residents voted to stay in the European Union. This doesn’t necessarily spell electoral doom for him as he was elected twice to represent Richmond Park, both times when residents would have known what he thought about the EU, but the Lib Dems will hope that casting a spotlight on his views will make him look out of step with his constituents.
Tim Farron’s troops will be cock-a-hoop this morning over the Guardian’s report of fresh pro-EU remarks made by Theresa May before the referendum in which she conceded that “a lot of people will invest” in Britain “because it is the UK in Europe”. They will be undoubtedly preparing to make good use of these quotes on their by-election leaflets. In the meantime, if you want to be up-to-date with the reaction to this report over the day – and at PMQs – just follow our liveblog here.
It was a decision over 50 years in the making. The British government today gave its approval to the expansion of Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s largest and long one of its most congested by air traffic. The construction of a third runway at the airport on London’s western flank is forecast to cost £18 billion ($22 billion), but analysts say it could give the British economy a £147 billion boost.
The main alternative plan under the government’s consideration had been to expand Gatwick Airport, a far smaller facility in London’s southwest, and one much further from the city’s center than Heathrow. That cheaper and less ambitious proposal would have mainly benefited the European tourists who currently fly into Gatwick, and not the airlines and other businesses who have been pleading with the government to expand the country’s main air hub for a generation. Heathrow airport’s runways currently operate at 98% capacity, which restricts air traffic and makes costly delays more likely.
The Transport Department said the government’s approval “underlines its commitment to keeping the U.K. open for business now and in the future and as a hub for tourism and trade.” And on the face of it, this seems like just the message for Britain to be sending to international markets, as the country prepares to leave the European Union: Look how we’re still willing to listen to the business community, and make the big decisions to keep Britain booming. But this decision arrived at its destination after years and years of delays, and faces many more years of debate before the first spade digs into Heathrow’s turf—if it ever does. It may end up sending another kind of message altogether.
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Before the 15th commemoration of the 9/11 attacks this Sunday, America might also do well to pause on Friday, September 9, to reflect on the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud, an Afghan of Tajik ancestry from the Panshjir Valley, who was our best ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Massoud’s detractors say he was just another warlord, but this is not correct. True, the Lion of the Panjshir, as he was known, was a commander of forces. But in a land of warlords, he stood out as a humanist who by all accounts practiced a tolerant, egalitarian version of Islam. He played chess, read poetry, and traveled with hundreds of books. Some called him the “warrior monk.”
Massoud opposed forced marriages, child marriages, and other kinds of widely-approved abuses of women. He signed and promoted the Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women. That alone makes him more than “just another warlord.”
He once said, “I am against killing anyone because they believe in communism, liberalism, or any other ‘ism.'” But Massoud did kill. He was a key member of the mujahideen who, with American weapons, ousted the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. He then fought the Soviet puppet-government led by a Moscow-educated Afghan, Dr. Mohammad Najibullah.
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