Duchess of Cambridge opens Bletchley Park restored centre

The Duchess of Cambridge "listens in on the enemy" during a visit to Bletchley Park

The Duchess of Cambridge “listens in on the enemy” during a visit to Bletchley Park

The Duchess of Cambridge has reopened a World War Two codebreaking centre, where her grandmother once worked.

The home of the Government Code and Cypher School in Buckinghamshire cost £8m to restore and was mostly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The duchess also met Lady Marion Body, a former colleague of her paternal grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, who worked in Hut 16.

The project has seen the buildings returned to their WW2 appearance.

The duchess met with flag-waving children at Bletchley Park The duchess met crowds of children on her visit to Bletchley Park
The Duchess of Cambridge talks with Bletchley veteran Lady Marion Body, who knew her grandmother, during a visit to Bletchley Park The Duchess of Cambridge talks with Bletchley veteran Lady Marion Body, who knew her grandmother, during her visit
Sir John Scarlett, chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: “The work at Bletchley Park made an immense contribution to the victory of Great Britain and our allies in World War Two.

“It was a great honour to welcome the Duchess of Cambridge and to show her where her grandmother worked, especially now that Hut 6, along with other fragile buildings, has been restored to create a permanent and fitting tribute to the thousands of men and women whose work helped to shorten the war.”

Iain Standen, the trust’s chief executive, said the duchess had heard “first-hand memories of her grandmother from her Bletchley Park colleagues, demonstrating how veterans’ recollections are central to telling this remarkable story”.

Ms Glassborow, who married the duchess’ grandfather Peter Middleton, was a civilian staff member at the centre where her twin sister Mary was also employed.

The duchess tried her hand at being a codebreaker during the visit

Documents dated October 1944 show she was probably a duty officer and worked in Hut 16, now restored Hut 6, where it is thought she chose which intercept stations staff should listen to.

The success of the centre’s codebreakers in breaking the German cypher systems Enigma and Lorenz, are credited with shortening the war by two years.

During the tour of the centre, the duchess, dressed in an Alexander McQueen outfit, attempted to intercept radio messages.

Plans for complete restoration began at the end of 2011 when the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the trust a £5m grant and work began in 2012.

Veteran Lady Marion recalls working with the twin sisters on 15 August 1945 when they heard that the war had ended.

The three were on shift when their superior officer told them a signal had been intercepted between Tokyo and Geneva that the Japanese were surrendering.

“We just sat there in complete silence,” she said.

“Commander Williams then just told us to get on with our work and we all laughed.

“It’s something I could never tell anybody about because we were sworn to secrecy but it was a great moment to feel you were perhaps among the first people who knew the war was at last over.”

She was among other former codebreakers meeting the duchess, who will be planting a tree to commemorate the visit.

Original source


David Bowie track ‘not eligible’ for UK singles chart

The release of Where Are We Now? this week took many David Bowie fans by surprise

The release of Where Are We Now? this week took many David Bowie fans by surprise

The first new track from David Bowie in a decade is not eligible for the UK singles chart.

The Official Chart Company said sales of Where Are We Now? “cannot currently be counted… as the release is linked to an album pre-order promotion”.

“It is not possible to distinguish” people who purchase the song on its own from those who pre-order the album and get it for free, the company explained.

The track was released on Tuesday, coinciding with Bowie’s 66th birthday.

It was made available as a video and an iTunes download and will be followed by a new album, The Next Day, in March.

Where Are We Now? currently tops the iTunes UK singles chart, while The Next Day is the online retailer’s most requested pre-order.

If it had reached number one, it would have given the musician his first UK chart-topper since Let’s Dance in 1983.

Fans were upset to find out the song would not feature in this week’s countdown.

“Surely someone high up can step in and sort it out,” wrote Ian Wade on Twitter.

“A terrible shame,” agreed Lee Thompson. “Means we’re stuck with will.i.am and Britney instead.”

Another writer suggested Bowie wouldn’t be overly concerned, writing: “He must be crying diamond tears into his dodo-feather-stuffed golden pillow”.

Bowie has not performed live since 2006 and has rarely been seen in public since then, prompting speculation over the state of his health.

The Official Charts Company said the singer’s new track could not be considered for its singles countdown due to “rules which are agreed in partnership with UK record companies and retailers”.

“Should it become possible in the future for regular track sales to be distinguished from album pre-order incentive purchases, then these sales can be counted towards the chart.”

Deport Morgan, demands US petition

Piers Morgan has been accused of a hostile attack against the US Constitution

Piers Morgan has been accused of a hostile attack against the US Constitution

A petition calling for TV host Piers Morgan to be deported from the US following his outspoken comments on gun control has attracted more than 31,000 signatures.

The CNN host provoked the fury of gun rights activists when he interviewed Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt, in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and said to him: “You’re an unbelievably stupid man, aren’t you?

“You have absolutely no coherent argument. You don’t actually give a damn about the gun murder rate in America.”

Following the interview, a petition was posted on the White House website claiming that Morgan, 47, “is engaged in a hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment”.

More than 31,600 people have signed the petition, which hit the 25,000-signature threshold to get a White House response.

Morgan joked on Twitter: “If I do get deported from America for wanting fewer gun murders, are there any other countries that will have me?”


Original Source :http://news.uk.msn.com/odd-news/deport-morgan-demands-us-petition-5

Early death ‘more likely in solo artists’


Successful solo artists are twice as likely to die early compared to those in bands, the journal BMJ Open reports.

The study looked at the careers of 1,400 European and North American rock and pop stars who were famous between 1956 and 2006.

The chances of a European solo artist dying young was one in 10 – and twice as likely for those in North America.

Experts suggest that peer support from band mates may be protective.

The cut-off point of the study was 20 February 2012 – at which point 137 performers had died prematurely.

These included solo artists like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, rapper 2Pac, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston.

And band members like Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, Sid Vicious from the punk group Sex Pistols and Stuart Cable from Stereophonics.

“Band members can stop an individual spiralling into self-destruction”,  Honey Langcaster-James Celebrity psychologist

The stars’ achievements were determined from international polls and top 40 chart successes, while details of their personal lives and childhoods were drawn from a range of music and official websites, published biographies and anthologies.

The average age of death was 39 years for European stars, with those from North America being six years older on average.

Solo performers were about twice as likely to die prematurely compared to those in a band, irrespective of whether they were European or Northern American.

And while the chances of a European solo artist dying young was one in 10 – it was double that for American solo artists at one in five. The authors speculate this may be due to longer tours in North America plus variations in access to health care and exposure to drugs.

Honey Langcaster-James, a psychologist who specialises in celebrity behaviour, believes the support of a band may be protective.

‘All in the same boat’

She said: “Solo artists in general approach life in a solitary manner – deliberately choosing to go it alone.

“They can find themselves in a situation where everyone around them are paid employees – the PR guru, their manager – all interested in them from a financial point of view and not in their personal needs – it’s hard for the artist to know who to trust.

“They travel a lot, are away from friends and family for long periods of time and only seen for their public image, not their real self – which can make them feel inferior, isolated and invalidated.

“Even for the general population, psychology research has found that people with support have increased lifespan – and those in a band may benefit even more from this – they are all in the same boat.

“It is easier to know who to trust – other members can stop an individual spiralling into self-destruction and pull them back into the group – both because of concern for the band mate, but also because they are all in it together.”

Difficult childhoods

The study also found that while gender and the age at which fame was reached did not influence life expectancy, ethnicity did – with those from non-white backgrounds more likely to die early.

And those that died of drug and alcohol problems were more likely to have had difficult or abusive childhood than those dying of other causes.

The authors of the study, from Liverpool and Manchester, suggest that a music career may be attractive to those escaping an unhappy childhood, but it may also provide the wealth and access to feed a predisposition to unhealthy and risky behaviour.

In the paper they write: “Pop/rock stars are among the most common role models for children, and surveys suggest that growing numbers aspire to pop stardom.

“A proliferation of TV talent shows and new opportunities created by the internet can make this dream appear more achievable than ever.

“It is important they [children] recognise that substance use and risk taking may be rooted in childhood adversity rather than seeing them as symbols of success.”

Original source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20784457