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Freezing snow threatens to shut down UK. Is it caused by 30% reduction in warm ocean currents..discovered in 2005?

drivers face dangerous conditions on the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent as snow sweeps the country

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Snow and freezing weather threaten to shut down Britain

Arctic blizzards are set to cause a national shutdown on Monday as forecasters warn of the most widespread snowfall for almost 20 years.

The Met Office is warning of an "extreme weather event" across large swathes of England, Scotland and Wales with up to 10in of snow expected even in the usually warmer south and as much as 1ft on higher ground. With freezing temperatures expected to endure for at least a week, there were predictions that resulting disruption and an expected spike in absenteeism could cost the British economy as much as £600 million a day, as the public transport system grinds to a halt and schools and offices are forced to close.

an ice storm in Versoix near Geneva in Switzerland rendered cars immovable

New weather warning after storms kill 21 in France and Spain

As hundreds of thousands are left without power, forecasters fear floods will follow worst weather for a decade
With 680,000 people still without electricity in France and 50,000 in Spain...  read more »

Economy in recession, Paris fashion in session - Haute Couture Fashion Week 2009

the couture shows started in Paris today

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PARIS – Looking at the shows that kicked off Paris' haute couture week on Monday, you'd never know the world was the midst of the most serious financial turmoil since the Great Depression.

models present creations by French fashion house Jean Paul Gaultier, Armenian fashion designer Veronique Nichanian in Paris, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009

Designers here delivered opulent, flamboyant collections that, instead of reflecting the gloomy economic reality, transported the viewer into a world of beauty and fantasy. "My job is to make women dream," Christian Dior designer John Galliano told The Associated Press. "Of course I'm aware of the credit crunch, but it is not a creative crunch - not at the house of Dior, anyway."

Haute Couture Fashion Week - Giorgio Armani Prive S/S 2009  read more »

Happy Lunar New Year! Especially to those born or to be born in the Year of the Ox

Happy Lunar New Year! Year of the Ox

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The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.

Ox people need peace and quiet to work through their ideas, and when they have set their mind on something it is hard for them to be convinced otherwise. An Ox person has a very logical mind and is extremely systematic in whatever they do, though they have a tremendous imagination and an unparalleled appreciation for beauty. These people speak little but are extremely intelligent. When necessary, they are articulate and eloquent.

People born under the influence of the Ox are kind, caring souls, logical, positive, filled with common sense and with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Security is their main preoccupation in life, and they are prepared to toil long and hard in order to provide a warm, comfortable and stable nest for themselves and their families. Strong-minded, stubborn, individualistic, the majority are highly intelligent individuals who don't take kindly to being told what to do.

The Ox works hard, patiently, and methodically, with original intelligence and reflective thought. These people enjoy helping others. Behind this tenacious, laboring, and self-sacrificing exterior lies an active mind. The Ox is not extravagant, and the thought of living off credit cards or being in debt makes them nervous. The possibility of taking a serious risk could cause the Ox sleepless nights.  read more »

Obama takes office with call to remake nation with ideals of the Founding Fathers and "choose our better history"

Barack Obama, joined by his wife Michelle, takes oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the US Capitol in Washington

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama was inaugurated yesterday as the 44th president of the United States, seizing the historic moment to invoke the "price and the promise of citizenship" and demand the participation of all Americans in restoring the country to greatness. He took the oath of office on Abraham Lincoln's Bible before a sea of more than 1 million people that stretched from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial. He struck a solemn tone in warning of the challenges and sacrifices that lie ahead. Comparing the economic crisis and fight against terrorism to the trials faced by the Founding Fathers, Obama implored his fellow citizens to join him "in the work of remaking America."

President Barack Obama giving his inaugural address to the millions assembled spectators

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord," Obama said, his voice reverberating throughout the National Mall. "Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end - that we did not turn back, nor did we falter."  read more »

Mastery of winter: onto ice are skaters, swan, crabapple tree, child & sculptures at International Ice & Snow Show

Harbin, China: the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

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People visit ice sculptures for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, China, opened on Jan. 5, 2009. The festival lasts for one month, and features large ice and snow sculptures, ice lanterns, swimming in the icy Songhua River and more. The northern hemisphere is a hospitable place for ice festivals these days, so in that spirit, here is a collection of recent photographs of all things frozen, and some of the ways we live and play with ice.

Castleford, northern England: swan trying to land

A swan attempts to land on a frozen lake near Castleford northern England Monday Jan. 5, 2009. Freezing temperatures and snow have struck large areas of Britain.

visitors sliding down ice slides at 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

Visitors slide on tracks at an ice sculpture during a preview for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.  read more »

Lewis Gordon Pugh astounded world by becoming 1st person to swim at North Pole, to raise global warming awareness

Lewis Gordon Pugh, nicknamed The Polar Bear, is the only person to have completed a long distance swim in each of the five oceans of the world

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Who is Lewis Gordon Pugh?

I am passionate about swimming and I enjoy pushing boundaries. But there's a lot more to it than that. Through my swims I have had a unique perspective on climate change. I have witnessed retreating glaciers, decreasing sea ice, coral bleaching, severe droughts, and the migration of animals to colder climates. It's as a result of these experiences that I am determined to do my bit to raise awareness about the fragility of our environment and to encourage everyone to take action.

But I've not always been in swimming trunks. I studied law at the University of Cape Town and the University of Cambridge, and then went on to work as a maritime lawyer in London. I now spend much of my time public speaking and lobbying world leaders to protect the environment.

Lewis Gordon Pugh

Letter from Lewis Gordon Pugh

Dear Friends

Forget about future generations. This is about us.

For many years, I've been known as a swimmer and an environmentalist. I've used my skills in the water to draw attention to disturbing changes in our oceans. Last year I undertook the first swim at the North Pole to raise awareness about the melting of the Arctic sea ice. It is happening quicker than anyone predicted.  read more »

France condemns Israeli offensive against Gaza revealing sharp difference in tone from official line in Washington

Israeli artillery guns fire towards the Gaza Strip from the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border on January 4, 2009. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza and clashed in fierce battles with Hamas fighters today as Israel upped its deadly offensive on the Islamist

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AFP - France spearheaded alarmed reaction from European nations as Israeli tanks and troops pushed into the Gaza Strip, revealing a sharp difference in tone from the official line in Washington.

At least 460 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded in an eight-day bombing campaign, according to Gaza medics, as Israeli tanks clashed overnight with Hamas fighters who fired back with mortars and rockets.

a Palestinian man tries to get his family to safety

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the decision to send ground forces into Gaza after a week of air strikes was a "dangerous military escalation", while Britain called for an immediate ceasefire.

The European Union's new Czech presidency said Israel did not have the right to take military actions "which largely affect civilians," though its launching of land operations in the Gaza Strip was no surprise.  read more »

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