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Queen’s umbrella may have sparked Chinese row, and mayor steps down after 47 minutes

Queen’s umbrella may have sparked Chinese row, and mayor steps down after 47 minutes

Queen’s umbrella may have sparked Chinese row, and mayor steps down after 47 minutes
Queen’s umbrella may be to blame for diplomatic row with China
The Queen’s umbrella may be to blame for a recent diplomatic row with the Chinese, according to a Telegraph report.

During a frank discussion with a policewoman at a garden party Tuesday, Her Majesty, thinking she was out of range of journalists’ microphones, said that Chinese officials were “very rude” to the British ambassador during October’s state visit.

While the Queen would ordinarily have been out of microphone range, insiders told the Telegraph that her plastic umbrella acted like the cone of a loudspeaker, directing her voice toward the microphone of a cameraman who was filming the event for the BBC, ITV and Sky News.

The BBC took the decision to broadcast the remark – a decision that Whitehall sources say damaged the convention that members of the public should be able to have frank conversations with the Queen. The remark also led to Beijing blocking reports of the event on its BBC World News feed, the Telegraph reported. 
Australian PM named in Panama Papers for connection to Russian gold mine
The Australian prime minister has been named in the Panama Papers, according to a Telegraph report – a damaging revelation for a politician with shaky approval ratings in an already tight election campaign.

Malcolm Turnbull, a self-made millionaire, was named as director of an offshore gold prospecting company that was set up by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in the 1990s. The company was created as part of a plan to develop a gold mine in Siberia, and reportedly made donations to Russian politicians, the Telegraph reported.

The opposition was quick to insist that Turnbull had “questions to answer.”

“This is a man who is prime minister of the country … and he should provide a full and frank explanation of his involvement in this company which was established in a tax haven,” said Labor MP Penny Wong.
Average London home price has nearly doubled since 2009
The average price of a home in London has almost doubled since 2009, according to a Guardian report.

The average home price in London was £600,625 in March, according to property firm LSL. That’s an 11% year-on-year increase, and nearly double the average price during the credit crisis in 2009.
The continued rise in home values comes in large part because of low inventory, the Guardian reported.

“This acceleration in home values comes when many had expected house prices to dip due to a natural decline in demand from buy-to-let and second homebuyers,” said Adrian Gill, director of LSL-owned estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains. “However, after an exceptional March, there is a severe shortage of properties on the market, with fierce competition between buyers for each available property.”
University gender gap a ‘national scandal’
The university gender gap is a “national scandal” that needs addressing, according to a thinktank report.

The Higher Education Policy Institute found that men are less likely to go to university than women, and those who do are more likely to drop out. Even those who complete their courses are less likely to get a good degree, according to a Guardian report.

One of the report’s authors said that men’s underachievement was a national scandal and said universities should channel more funding into widening young men’s participation.
The National Union of Students, however, had harsh words for the report, claiming it had reduced a complex issue to a “battle of the sexes,” the Guardian reported.
William Hill pays out £3 million on Leicester City win
William Hill has paid out £3 million to people who took a flutter on Leicester City to win the Premier League, according to a Guardian report. Fortunately for the bookmaker, the loss was partly offset by results from the rest of the season’s matches.

And William Hill chief executive James Henderson sees a bright side: Leicester City’s win may well lead to a boom in underdog betting next season – and underdogs usually lose.

“I would expect the market for next season to be bulging,” Hill told Bloomberg.
In lieu of a cheque, how about a tall glass of shut the hell up?
A note to newlyweds: a wedding gift is just that – a gift. The only appropriate response is a thank-you note.

That commonsense rule was apparently too much for at least one bride to understand – as her former colleague found out.

According to the Mirror, a woman presented her ex-colleague a cheque for £100 as a wedding gift. But after the wedding, she received an email saying that her “contribution” wasn’t up to snuff – and asking for more money.

Looking for advice, the woman posted the email on a Mumsnet forum and asked what she should do.

“We were surprised that your contribution didn’t seem to match the warmth of your good wishes on our big day,” the email read. “In view of your own position, if you wanted to send any adjustment it would be thankfully received.”

The poster said she was “utterly gobsmacked” and unsure of how to respond, according to the Mirror. She asked Mumsnet readers if she should “reply, ring them, ignore it or what??”
Perhaps the best advice came from a user posting as MrsMorton: “Tell them to get to f*** and drop them from your phone book. Ungrateful t***s.”
End of an era – Mayor steps down after historic 47 minutes in office
William Henry Harrison served as the president of the United States for 30 days in 1841. In 2002, Diosdado Cabello was the president of Venezuela for less than a day. But the mayor of a Cornwall town has them both beat – his term was up in just 47 minutes.

Ian Gillett was unanimously chosen as the mayor of Lostwithiel, Cornwall, but had to surrender the reins of power after less than an hour due to a council blunder, according to the Mirror.

It turned out that the town council had published the agenda for the annual selection meeting two days in advance rather than the three required by law. The blunder was pointed out by a former parish council clerk who said that the council’s failure to give proper notice made the vote illegal. While some councilors tried to dismiss the issue as “spurious,” town clerk Sandra Richards advised that the meeting be abandoned and apologised for not uploading the agenda to the council’s website in time, the Mirror reported. The town will now have to repeat the entire selection process.

And so ended the brief reign of Ian Gillette, the shortest-serving mayor in Lostwithiel history. Surrender of power was peaceful and orderly. Gillette was philosophical about his fall from power.
“It was an interesting experience being the mayor of Lostwithiel, even though it was very brief and was not quite what I expected,” he said.