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Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died "peacefully" at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke while staying at the Ritz hotel in central London.
David Cameron called her a "great Briton" and the Queen spoke of her sadness at the death.
Lady Thatcher was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990. She was the first woman to hold the role.
She will not have a state funeral but will be accorded the same status as Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.
The ceremony, with full military honours, will take place at London's St Paul's Cathedral.
The union jack above Number 10 Downing Street has been lowered to half-mast.
News of Margaret Thatcher's death this morning instantly and predictably gave rise to righteous sermons on the evils of speaking ill of her. British Labour MP Tom Watson decreed: "I hope that people on the left of politics respect a family in grief today." Following in the footsteps of Santa Claus, Steve Hynd quickly compiled a list of all the naughty boys and girls "on the left" who dared to express criticisms of the dearly departed Prime Minister, warning that he "will continue to add to this list throughout the day". Former Tory MP Louise Mensch, with no apparent sense of irony, invoked precepts of propriety to announce: "Pygmies of the left so predictably embarrassing yourselves, know this: not a one of your leaders will ever be globally mourned like her."
This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure's death is not just misguided but dangerous. That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power.
Margaret Thatcher was one of the most important figures of the 20th century. She is loathed by many for burying the idea of the cradle-to-grave welfare state and celebrated by others as the mother of the modern-day Great Britain. She died Monday at the age of 87.
In October 2010, Margaret Thatcher was invited to return to her former Downing Street office on the occasion of her 85th birthday. David Cameron, the freshly elected Conservative prime minister, had arranged a party on her behalf. Virtually every Tory luminary in the country showed up to fête the country's über-mother figure. But Thatcher had to cancel after coming down with the flu. She spent her final years in seclusion and had to visit the hospital repeatedly. On Monday, she died of stroke-related complications at the age of 87.
1975 cable from U.S. diplomat gives "first impressions" of rising, free market-loving Conservative powerhouse
One of the early and timely gems to emerge from WikiLeaks’ new collated database of diplomatic cables from the 1970s pertains to Margaret Thatcher as a rising star in British politics. A U.S. diplomat in England relayed to the State Department a number of early impressions of Thatcher in 1975, the year she gained leadership of the (then-opposition) Conservative party.
Detroit Free Press
A Detroit professor and legal adviser to the Vatican says Catholics who promote gay marriage should not try to receive holy Communion, a key part of Catholic identity.
And the archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, said Sunday that Catholics who receive Communion while advocating gay marriage would "logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury."
The comments of Vigneron and Edward Peters, who teaches Catholic canon law at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, are part of a polarizing discussion about gay marriage that echoes debate over whether politicians who advocate abortion rights should receive Communion.
The Baltimore Sun
Maryland is on its way to becoming the 19th state to have a medical marijuana program after the Maryland Senate passed the measure 42-4 today.
The bill heads to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign it.
The drug would be administered by doctors and nurses through academic centers that are also charged with studying the effects of the program.
Original post: WikiLeaks late Sunday published the world’s largest searchable collection of U.S. confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications. The over 1.7 million records released were not leaked by a whistleblower. Rather, the documents, dating from between 1973 to 1976, were obtained from the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) and collated through a year’s painstaking work into a digital format for public access.
Updated, 10:35 a.m.: News organizations around the world who have partnered with Wikileaks over the Kissinger Cables are already digging up a number of significant stories.
The late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi may have been a middleman for an arms deal in the 1970s, according to diplomatic cables searched by The Hindu newspaper. Gandhi was employed by Swedish group Saab-Scania to help sell its Viggen fighter jet reportedly because of access to his mother Indira Ghandi – prime minister at the time. In his press conference Monday, Julian Assange said this revelation is shaking Indian politics, as the Ghandi family still dominates India’s ruling party.
Meanwhile, one cable dated October 18, 1973 sent to Washington by the US embassy to the Vatican reveals that the Vatican once dismissed reports of massacres by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as “Communist propaganda.”
As the Senate returns from a two-week spring recess Monday, topping its agenda is legislation to try to curb the kind of gun violence that took the lives of 20 first-graders in Connecticut last December.
Recent polls show broad popular support for enhanced background checks and bans on military-style guns and ammunition. But many members of Congress side with gun-rights advocates who oppose such measures.
And those advocates are increasingly making the case that Americans need guns to fight government tyranny.
'A Fringe Idea' Goes Mainstream
It was late January, six weeks after the shooting in Newtown, Conn. The Senate Judiciary Committee was holding its first hearing in the aftermath on what to do about gun violence.
Seated at the witness table was Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had a question for the NRA chief: Did he agree with the point of view that people needed firepower to protect themselves from the government?
Washington (CNN) -- Last November, Hispanic voters planted the seeds for serious immigration reform when they backed President Barack Obama by a record margin.
This April, we'll see if those seeds can grow in Capitol Hill's toxic partisan soil.
Congress returns from spring break Monday, and immigration reform tops the agenda.
The Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" is preparing to release its long-awaited plan for resolving the status of 11 million undocumented men, women, and children now living in America's shadows.
Can a unique confluence of factors -- a Democratic president trying to build his legacy, a Republican Party grappling with new demographic realities -- overcome the usual strong bias for inaction in a sharply divided Congress? The answer remains unclear.
Savita Halappanavar inquest to hear evidence from doctors and nurses at Irish hospital where she died
The full inquest into the death of a woman who was refused an abortion in an Irish hospital will begin on Monday.
Savita Halappanavar died at University Hospital Galway in October. At least 16 witnesses from the hospital, as well as expert witnesses, will give evidence before the coroner, Dr Ciaran McLoughlin, in the city's court.
Pontiff's call dismissed by victims' groups as simply rhetoric designed to try and woo back disgusted Catholics to the church
Pope Francis has directed the Vatican to act decisively on ecclesiastic sex abuse cases and take measures against paedophile priests, saying the Catholic church's credibility was on the line.
The announcement was quickly dismissed by victims' advocates as just more talk. "Once again … a top Catholic official says he's asking another top Catholic official to take action about paedophile priests and complicit bishops," said Barbara Dorris, an official of Snap, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a US-based organisation.
"Big deal. Actions speak louder than words. And one of the first actions Pope Francis took was to visit perhaps the most high-profile corrupt prelate on the planet, Cardinal Bernard Law, who remains a powerful church official despite having been drummed out of Boston for hiding and enabling crimes by hundreds of child molesting clerics," Dorris said in a statement.
Clergy abuse victims have called for swift and bold action from Francis as soon as he was elected pope last month. In the pope's homeland, Argentina, Roman Catholic activists had characterised him as being slow to act against such abuse while he was head the church there.
North Korea has announced it is withdrawing all its workers from the joint-Korean Kaesong industrial zone and suspending operations there.
The move follows weeks of warlike rhetoric from Pyongyang after it was sanctioned by the UN for carrying out its third nuclear test in February.
Kaesong was established almost a decade ago and had been a symbol of co-operation between the two Koreas.
But a North Korean official said it could now be closed permanently.
In a statement, South Korea's Unification Ministry said the decision "cannot be justified in any way and North Korea will be held responsible for all the consequences".
Serbia has rejected a European Union-brokered deal on normalising ties with its breakaway province of Kosovo.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008. While many countries recognise it as an independent country, Serbia does not.
The EU had given Serbia until Tuesday to relinquish its effective control over northern Kosovo in return for the start of EU membership talks.
Serbia must normalise relations with its neighbours before joining the EU.
Many minority ethnic Serbs in Kosovo reject the authority of the Kosovo government in Pristina.
Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters: "The government of Serbia cannot accept principles verbally presented to its negotiating team in Brussels, since they do not guarantee full security and protection of human rights to the Serb people in Kosovo."
In an interview with SPIEGEL, Peer Steinbrück, the 66-year-old Social Democrat German chancellor candidate, says Chancellor Angela Merkel's strict focus on austerity in the debt crisis has been wrong. He also vows to crack down on tax evaders and raise taxes on high earners.
SPIEGEL: Why do Germany and the European Union have such a hard time taking action against tax havens?
Steinbrück: The current government has indeed neglected the issue. Worse yet, Mrs. Merkel's government wanted to stop German tax authorities and public prosecutor's offices from accepting tax CDs for their investigations of tax evaders. This makes the latest reactions about wanting to establish a sort of tax FBI all the more hypocritical. That's what the German government should have done long ago, instead of sidelining the tax evasion probes.
Tax havens cause hundreds of millions of euros in annual damage to national economies around the world and they create an uncontrollable parallel economy. The recent Offshore Leaks investigative reports are helping to fuel efforts in Europe and the US to have them eliminated.
What do a now-deceased German playboy and the daughter of the former Philippine dictator have in common? What connects a Russian oligarch and the former campaign manager of the French president?
Gunter Sachs and Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, Mikhail Fridman and Jean-Jacques Augier have all parked assets in countries that expect little in taxes and guarantee absolute confidentiality. And they are not alone. More than 130,000 people do exactly the same thing, and those are only the ones whose names appear in a data set called "Offshore Leaks," which was analyzed by a group of international media organizations.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Microsoft will spill the beans on its next-generation Xbox at an event on May 21, according to Windows blogger Paul Thurrott and a report from The Verge.
Originally scheduled for April, the event was pushed back to May, sources have told the Verge.
That echoes similar information from Supersite for Windows writer Paul Thurrott. In an interview with the video blog "What the Tech" on Friday, Thurrott said that Microsoft had planned to announce the new console on April 24 but then rescheduled the event for May 21. In the video clip of the show, Thurrott's comments about the next Xbox start at the 54:44 mark.
The Verge's sources claim the event will be a small one, offering the first details on the next Xbox, code-named Durango. Microsoft reportedly will unveil the console at the E3 event in Los Angeles in June, with the product hitting shelves later in the year.
Thurrott added even more to mull over. He said "Durango" is likely to be expensive -- $500 for the regular console itself and $300 for a subscription-based model.
Google is in talks to acquire cross-platform messaging application WhatsApp, claims a Digital Trend report.
Google and WhatsApp have been talking for "four or five weeks," according to Digital Trends, citing a person who claims to have knowledge of the negotiations. So far, WhatsApp has been able to push the acquisition price to nearly $1 billion by "playing hardball," the source says.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging applications available to mobile users. The app allows users on almost any mobile platform -- including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone -- to send instant messages, images, audio, and video messages to one another. The messaging app essentially allows for cross-platform texting without having to pay for SMS.
Apple sold less than 33 million iPhones last quarter. No, wait, it sold more than 42 million. Actually, those are just the lowest and highest predictions offered by a bevy of analysts surveyed by Fortune.
Among the 48 analysts questioned about Apple's iPhone sales last quarter, Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu was the most bearish, offering an estimate of just 32.5 million. On the other end of the spectrum, Michel Contant of the Braeburn Group was the most bullish, eyeing sales of 42.5 million.
The average turned out to be almost 36.9 million, while the median came in at exactly 37 million.
Whichever analysts are on the money, few expect a blockbuster quarter for iPhone sales. For the March quarter of 2012, Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones. But that proved to be an 88 percent jump over the same period in 2011.
Even reaching 42 million in sales last quarter would be just a 21 percent rise from a year ago. Achieving the median estimate of 37 million would represent a gain of just 5.5 percent.
At any moment on a regular weekday in 2011, about 660,000 people across the U.S. were sitting in the drivers seat and talking on their cell phones. Twice that number were engaging with their mobile device in some way, checking calendar appointments perhaps, replying to email or planning a route on their maps app.
The new numbers come from the most recent National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) conducted by a wing of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This study also shows that texting-and-driving stats haven't dipped since 2010, and some trends, like young drivers who use cell phones, seem to be on the rise.
WESTFIELD, Mass. — The envelope factory where Lisa Weber works is hot and noisy. A fan she brought from home helps her keep cool as she maneuvers around whirring equipment to make her quota: 750 envelopes an hour, up from 500 a few years ago.
There's no resting: Between the video cameras and the constant threat of layoffs, Weber knows she must always be on her toes.
The drudgery of work at National Envelope Co. used to be relieved by small perks — an annual picnic, free hams and turkeys over the holidays — but those have long since been eliminated.
“It's harder for me to want to get up and go to work than it used to be,” said Weber, 47, who started at the factory at 19. “It's not something I would wish on anybody. I'm worn out. I get home and I can barely stand up.”
Phil Richards used to like his job driving a forklift in a produce and meat warehouse. He took pride in steering a case of beef with precision.
Now, he says, he has to speed through the warehouse to meet quotas, tracked by bosses each step of the way. Through a headset, a voice tells him what to do and how much time he has to do it.
It makes the Unified Grocers warehouse in Santa Fe Springs operate smoothly with fewer employees, but it also makes Richards' work stressful.
"We're just like human machines," said Richards, 52. "But with machines, they don't care whether you feel good, or if you're having a bad day."
Technology has eliminated many onerous work tasks, but it's now one of the factors contributing to a harsher work environment.