New coin portrait of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth unveiled

A new portrait of Britain's long-reigning Queen Elizabeth which will be on the nation's coins was unveiled on Monday, and is set to reach her people's purses and pockets later this year. The portrait is the fifth of the 88-year-old queen, who will overtake Queen Victoria as Britain's longest-reigning monarch in September, to appear on coins since she came to the throne in 1952, and the first since 1998. The new portrayal, which shows Elizabeth wearing the Royal Diamond Diadem crown worn for her coronation, was created by 33-year-old Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark, whose design was selected from a number of anonymous submissions. The last Royal Mint Engraver to be commissioned to undertake a royal portrait was George William de Saulles, who engraved the portrait of Edward VII which first appeared on coins in 1902. Coins featuring the new effigy will go into production immediately. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO. Continue Reading

Princess Charlotte, daughter of Britain’s Prince William and Kate, to be christened next month

LONDON - Princess Charlotte, the newborn daughter of Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, will be christened in a private ceremony next month, officials said Friday. The ceremony is set for July 5 at St. Mary Magdalene Church on Queen Elizabeth II's sprawling Sandringham estate in Norfolk, on England's eastern coast. Charlotte's late grandmother, Princess Diana, was christened at the same church. Diana's family was closely tied to the royal family and she was born on the Sandringham estate in 1961. Charlotte, the couple's second child after Prince George and fourth in line to the throne, was born in London on May 2. The queen, her husband Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla are expected join Kate's family at the ceremony, along with the baby's godparents, who have not yet been announced. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will conduct the ceremony. William and Kate left London and traveled north shortly after the birth to their mansion in Sandringham, where they are expected to be based for the next few years. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH VIDEO HERE Continue Reading

Tricky math problem goes viral after stumping students in Britain

A tricky math problem on a standardized test in Britain has gone viral after stumped test takers took to social media to express their outrage. The probability equation involving orange candies was nearly impossible to solve in the short time students had to finish the GCSE test Thursday, frustrated students said. Here's the question: "There are n sweets in a bag. Six of the sweets are orange. The rest of the sweets are yellow. Hannah takes a random sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet. Hannah then takes at random another sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet. The probability that Hannah eats two orange sweets is 1/3. Show that n²-n-90=0." Puzzled pupils scratched their heads during test time, and then unleashed their grievances on Twitter. They also apparently started an online petition to get the Edexcel exam board to let them retake the test or lower their grade standards. It has garnered more than 27,000 signatures. The exams are created by a team of expert teachers who have a “deep understanding of the subject matter,” Edexcel said. "They make sure our papers are set at the appropriate level to test the full range of students' abilities,” the board said. "We are grateful for the comments that have been made and will take these into full account when we are marking and awarding the qualification, to ensure that students are treated fairly and get the grades they deserve." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Convicted murderers, now married in Britain’s first gay prison marriage, banned from sharing cell

Can’t live with him. Can’t live without him. Two convicted murderers who tied the knot in Britain’s first gay prison marriage have been barred from sharing a cell. Mikhail Gallatinov, 40 and Marc Goodwin, 31, made history when they exchanged vows in the visitors center of the Full Sutton Prison in East Yorkshire Friday. The 20-minute ceremony — attended by several relatives, four invited prison officers and a handful of convicts — concluded with the happy killers sharing a kiss and a slice of cake. But a Prison Service spokesman made clear they “are certainly not allowed to share a cell.” Gallatinov, a convicted pedophile, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years in 1997 for the murder of a man he met through a gay chat line. Goodwin received a life sentence in 2007 for killing a gay man in Blackpool — a crime cops labeled “a savage, senseless homophobic attack.” The couple’s relationship had been well known inside the maximum security prison, sources told The Guardian. “These two guys were on separate wings at Full Sutton and used to meet – and have sex – in the prison library,” the source said. Then they managed to get on the same wing and had sex regularly.” Gallatinov’s father told Manchester Evening News that his murderous son — despite his violent past — deserves the chance to find a soulmate. "If you find love you have to go for it - even if it is in prison,” Allen Abdulla said. "Everyone deserves to be happy." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Sky-gazers in Norway get perfect view of solar eclipse as blanket of clouds ruin spectacle for millions in Britain

LONGYEARBYEN, Norway — Sky-gazers in the Arctic were treated to a perfect view of a total solar eclipse Friday as the moon completely blocked out the sun in a clear sky, casting a shadow over Norway's remote archipelago of Svalbard. People shouted, cheered and applauded as Longyearbyen, the main town in Svalbard, plunged into darkness. The skies were clear, offering a full view of the sun's corona - a faint ring of rays surrounding the moon - that is only visible during a total solar eclipse. A few hundred people had gathered on a flat frozen valley overlooking the mountains, and people shouted and yelled as the sudden darkness came. A group of people opened bottles of champagne, saying it was in keeping with a total solar eclipse tradition. "I was just blown away. I couldn't believe it," said Hilary Castle, 58, from London. "It was just fabulous, just beautiful and at the same time a bit odd and it was too short," said Mary Rannestad, 60, from Minnesota. A solar eclipse happens when the moon lines up between the sun and the Earth. This casts a lunar shadow on the Earth's surface and obscures the sun. During a partial eclipse, only part of the sun is blotted out. Though some enterprising eclipse-seekers got exactly what they were hoping for, others were less lucky. A blanket of clouds in the Faeroe Islands in the North Atlantic blocked thousands of people from experiencing the full effect of the total eclipse. Children use telescopes and wear protective glasses to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse on Friday. The Faeroes and Svalbard were the only two places on land where the eclipse was total. About 20,000 visitors had traveled to the two remote island groups to watch the spectacle. Despite the clouds in the Faeroes, tourists and residents in Torshavn alike hooted and applauded as the daylight dimmed for about 2 minutes and 45 seconds. "It Continue Reading

Britain to decide who votes in referendum on whether country should remain in European Union

LONDON — Britain outlined Monday who can vote in a referendum on whether the country should remain in the European Union — opting for rules that exclude most voters from the 28-nation bloc who live in the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the parameters ahead of introducing legislation in Parliament to organize the ballot. His plans also include a tour of European capitals, before the European Council meets next month, to call for EU reforms. Under the measure, the vote will be open to those normally allowed to cast ballots in British elections — rather than rules used for European Parliament elections. The question is important because nearly 2.8 million non-British EU nationals live in Britain . Continue Reading

Head teacher in Britain convicted of having sex with boys

A nationally recognized head teacher in Britain has been convicted of sexually assaulting two boys, including a 13-year-old who said she took his virginity after taking a bath in front of him. Anne Lakey, 55, was found guilty Tuesday on 13 counts of indecent assault for having sex with the students. The second victim was 15 at the time he was seduced, according to Britain's Press Association. The younger boy was wearing his school uniform when Lakey bathed in front of him and later had sex with him. The other victim lost his virginity after he was encouraged by Lakey to sneak into her tent during school camp, he said. The youngest student said Lakey told him to call her "mommy" and would phone school authorities and pretend to be his mother when he played hookey to have sex at her house. Both assaults occurred in the late 1980s when Lakey was a history teacher. She has been suspended from her current post of running two secondary schools. She had been widely praised for improving the test scores of her students.  The younger student blew the whistle on Lakey in 2012, when he sent an email to her school calling her a "disgusting sexual monster." She resigned, and a police investigation began. The second victim testified that his initial sexual encounter with Lakey left him perplexed. "On the one hand, I was happy with little self that I managed to lose my virginity before I was 16, which seemed really important at the time. On the other and, everything was over so quickly. It should have been a bit more interesting than that. "It was a bit of a confusing mix of emotions as I left the tent," he said. He also testified that Lakey called him after the police investigation began, begging him to not cooperate. "Here is somebody who has not spoken to me for 20 years, who thought she could get me to pick up the phone and lie to police, 20 years later," he said. "If that doesn't give you an idea of the control she had over us Continue Reading

Kate Middleton, Prince William’s private care choice for second baby’s arrival becomes hot political topic ahead of Britain’s election

The royal baby has entered politics even before entering the world. Prince William and his wife Kate’s choice of private medical care for the upcoming birth of their second child is a hot topic in Britain’s upcoming general election, with some questioning the couple’s decision to forgo public care offered by the National Health Service. Prime Minister David Cameron defended the royal couple’s choice of private treatment at the posh Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, saying it was their business. Asked on TV if the royal couple’s decision was disappointing, Cameron said Sunday he supports people’s right to choose treatment options. But he did make a point to praise the NHS — a source of national pride for many Britons. He added that he is praying for good news about the royal couple’s second child, jokingly referred to as their “spare heir.” Palace officials have said the baby is due in late April — before the election set for May 7. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 32 and 33, respectively, have kept mum about their baby’s sex. With News Wire Services Continue Reading

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with London schoolgirls during education tour of Britain

Schoolgirls in east London greeted U.S. first lady Michelle Obama with song, interpretive dance and squeals of joy Tuesday as she traveled to the British capital to promote education for girls. Girls in maroon uniforms waved American flags to warmly welcome Obama at the Mulberry School for Girls to promote the “Let Girls Learn” initiative, launched in March. Visibly moved, she told the girls — many of whom come from working-class backgrounds — that she understood the struggles they faced and that she wanted them to succeed. “The world needs more girls like you growing up to lead our parliaments and our board rooms and our courtrooms and our universities,” she said. “We need you.” Obama’s visit highlights that education for girls is but a distant dream in much of the world. She cited unaffordable school fees, early and forced marriages and pregnancies, and also societal beliefs that girls are simply less worthy as just some of the factors holding girls back. Obama has urged world leaders to “throw the school gates open to girls everywhere,” arguing that it is a heartbreaking injustice to have 62 million girls out of school. She appealed for action, declaring that it is a security, economic and health issue. “Every time I meet these girls on my travels abroad, I am blown away by their passion, intelligence and hunger to learn — and I cannot help but see my daughters in them,” Obama wrote in an op-ed in the Financial Times. “Like my own girls, each of these young women has the spark of something extraordinary inside. The only difference is that my girls have had the opportunity to develop their promise.” The U.S. and Britain announced plans to expand their commitment to the issue, partnering to support girls’ education in countries affected by crisis such as Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Continue Reading

Britain’s youngest organ donor saves stranger’s life after dying at 100-minutes old

He lived and died a hero. A brave baby has become Britain's youngest ever organ donor, saving an adult stranger's life before he died just 100 minutes after he was born, his family said. Teddy Noah Houlston — who was diagnosed in the womb with anencephaly, a fatal condition which typically leads to death within a few hours after birth — gave away his tiny kidneys and heart valves just 20 hours after passing, according to reports. "Although he wasn't with us very long, and we brought him into the world knowing there was no hope of a life for him, we are incredibly proud of his heroism," his mother Jess told the Mirror. The 28-year-old Cardiff mom detailed the heartbreaking moment for the first time Wednesday on the 1-year anniversary of Teddy's death. The baby was a twin, but was doomed even before he was born when doctors diagnosed him with anencephaly, which prevents normal development of the brain and bones in the skull. His parents decided he wouldn't die in vain, planning the organ donation early on. The life-saving transplant went to a patient in Leeds with renal failure, Wales Online reported. "When he was taken away, there was so much sadness. But there was also so much joy," Jess told the Mirror. Teddy's kidneys only measured 3.8 centimeters. "It's impossible to explain how proud we are of him," his father Mike told Wales Online. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading