Speech: British Ambassador speech at the Queen’s Birthday Party

first_img30 Years of FreedomSpeech by Ambassador Andrew NobleQueen´s Birthday Party, 6 June 2019Welcome to the Queen’s Birthday Party, the anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in the 67th year of her reign. Today we have the opportunity to celebrate not only the longest reign in British history, but also the relationship between the United Kingdom and Romania which has flourished in recent years. I’d like to begin with some good news: my speech will be short. But, on the other hand, I also have some bad news: the short speech is going to be next year at the Queen’s Birthday Party 2020 and not this evening!Standing here today in front of you, I have the impression of a particularly pleasant event in a stunning corner of the city of Bucharest. Last time that I participated at a QBP in Romania, the dominant impression was of an event marked by fear and suspicion for which the guests had had to seek authorisation from Ceausescu’s Securitate to be allowed to participate. This happened in 1986. In the 33 years since then, it seems to me, Ladies and Gentlemen, that this country has changed profoundly and irreversibly.Recently, we’ve had demonstrated to us of the attachment of the Romanian people everywhere to the rights which they have attained in democracy. Similarly, we have seen that the institutions created in Romania in a short period, following the start of the process of reform in the middle of the 1990s, have been able to withstand pressures and unacceptable interference. I would like to salute in particular those present who have contributed towards the modernisation of Romania in this short period of reform. A few months ago, a Romanian rule of law expert told me that all of the controversies about justice were not a sign of the weakness of the system but, on the contrary, of the strength of the institutions and of the people. I agree that Romanians do not wish to tolerate a return to the days in which invitees to a National Day party had to seek permission from a repressive institution. On the basis of my personal conviction about the durability and quality of the changes that have been won in Romania, I propose that we should regard this party as an opportunity to celebrate the freedom of Romanians in the 30th year following the fall of communism.Liberty once won has to be defended, of course, in all its forms, from freedom of expression to the freedom to choose and develop in a just and democratic framework. Any strong democracy needs an independent and free press. This year, the British Government is supporting press freedom through a global campaign, an immense undertaking through which we wish to have the rights of journalists defended and respected. I am pleased that the Romanian authorities have already confirmed their participation at a global conference taking place in London in July which we are organising in partnership with the Government of Canada.In a sense, this party with British and Romanian guests is an eloquent expression of the strategic partnership between our countries which has brought together our national efforts to defend the benefits of our liberal and free societies.I would like to salute in particular: the representatives of our armed forces and of all those involved in protecting our security and who protect us from strategic dangers, from organised crime and terrorism I salute the representatives of the companies which have created the bilateral economic and commercial relationship which is growing from year to year. During the course for the preparations for an orderly Brexit, we need this sort of economic relationship to continue to facilitate cooperation I salute the non-governmental organisations present here today which have their roots in the United Kingdom and which are working for the benefit of the most disadvantaged amongst us. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like you all to take the opportunity to visit the pavilion next to us to find out about the activities of British NGOs in Romania. I am proud to say that the organisations present today and many others work unceasingly for the improvement of the lives of the marginalised who have not benefited from the wealth of modern Romania and of those who feel excluded from society Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s not forget that we are here to celebrate 30 years of freedom in Romania and 67 years of the reign of Her Majesty The Queen. I would therefore like to invite you to enjoy the British dishes on offer and to enjoy yourselves with a spectacular range of music. You are going to hear some pieces by the exceptional Ascendis Choir who have just sung the national anthems with great finesse. After the Ascendis Choir, I am delighted that we have the freedom to receive on the stage a group which demonstrates the extraordinary diversity of the cultural heritage of this country, Taraf de Caliu. Finally, you will be able to hear a selection of British pop music creativity thanks to a performance of the unforgettable group FreeStay.I would like to thank all of our sponsors and in particular our top sponsors, London Stock Exchange Group and Provident Financial, as well as our hosts, the National Bank of Romania who have received us with great warmth and professionalism and with whom it is a great honour and a pleasure to work.Finally, let me propose two toasts – I hope you have something in your glasses…I propose a toast to the health and success of the President, Government and People of Romania!I propose a toast to the health and success of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II!Thank you for your attention and now I would like to invite our guests of honour to say a few words.last_img read more

Metallica Returns To Massachusetts After Eight Long Years [Photos]

first_imgPhoto: ATS Photography On Friday night, the legendary Metallica took to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, marking the group’s first show in Massachusetts in eight years. Massachusetts was the fifth stop in Metallica’s WorldWired Tour in support of the Californian band’s tenth studio album, Hardwired To Self-Destruct—a double-album that was released last November and features twelve new songs that pick up right where 2008’s Death Magnetic left off. (The deluxe edition also features a third disc with over a dozen live recordings from various shows).12-Year-Old Son Of Metallica’s Robert Trujillo Debuts With Korn For South American Tour [Videos]Compared to the original all-thrash metal band they used to be, the band’s recent music displays an overall more balanced sound that lends itself to broader audiences, seemingly resulting in more album and concert ticket sales. Undoubtedly, Hardwired To Self-Destruct was a huge commercial success, debuting at #1 on Billboard 200 and taking the title of best-selling metal album of the year. Surprisingly, it was also the third largest album debut of all of 2016, proving that metal is certainly not dead. On the contrary, it is alive and well, reiterated by the boisterous Boston crowd that gathered at the New England Patriots’ home turf on Friday evening.Metallica Released Eleven New Music Videos Yesterday [Watch Them All]The show started with two songs off their new album, title track “Hardwired” and “Atlas, Arise!” before dropping into the classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls” off of the 1984 album Ride The Lightning. Metallica played three tunes from the band’s sophomore album, which went six times platinum and had a profound effect on the metal scene in America and across the globe. The remainder of the setlist weaved between hits of old and new and gave fans from all generations a solid representation of their discography. The band also played five songs from the self-titled album Metallica, often referred to as the “Black Album,” which features the infamous songs “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters,” both of which have become staples in Metallica sets over the years.Watch Metallica, Jimmy Fallon, and The Roots Perform “Enter Sandman” With Classroom InstrumentsIn a time where our nation seems to be more divided than ever, we are fortunate to have the often-thrashing and always-emotive music of Metallica to provide a soundtrack that allows us to let our aggressions in a socially acceptable way. That seemed to be the uniting theme as lead singer James Hetfield addressed the crowd: “It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you come from, what religion you follow, who you voted for. If you are here, you are Metallica Family.”If you ever had any doubt at how uniting this message can be, just look at the list of stadiums across North America that Metallica have been jam-packed with fans in black T-shirts and ripped jeans. Despite the “angry asshole” stigma metal fans sometimes get, the community showed its true colors Friday night, coming together and head banging to music new and old in complete harmony. It inspires hope in humanity to see sweaty tatted-up dudes in the mosh pits, helping each other of the ground and holding up lost wallets, phones, watches, and missing shoes—lots and lots of missing shoes. An occasional flying cup of ice cooled the crowd whether they liked it or not. On the way out of the gates, it was nothing but high-fives and hugs. The ‘Metallica Family’ is alive and well.Check out the complete set list below, along with the full photo album from photojournalist Adam Straughn (ATS Photography).Setlist: Metallica | Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, MA | 5/19/17Hardwired, Atlas, Arise!, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Fuel, The Unforgiven, Now That We’re Dead > Full Band Drum Solo, Moth Into Flame, Wherever I May Roam, Halo On Fire > Kirk Hammet Solo > Rob Trujillo Solo (Chris Cornell Tribute), Motorbreath, Sad But True, One, Master of Puppets, Fade to Black (‘Eye of the Beholder’ intro), Seek & DestroyE: Fight Fire with Fire, Nothing Else Matters, Enter Sandman (‘Frayed Ends of Sanity’ outro)[cover photo image by Josh Skolnik / Adam Straughn] Photo: ATS Photographycenter_img Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Latin American Forces Help Haiti Even as MINUSTAH Reduces Presence

first_imgBy Dialogo March 18, 2013 PORT-AU-PRINCE — The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was born out of UN Security Resolution 1582, ratified in April 2004 after the resignation of Haiti’s then-president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The resolution cited concerns of “human rights violations, particularly against civilians” as the prime cause for intervening in Haiti. MINUSTAH marks the first United Nations campaign that’s been led by and comprised almost exclusively of Latin American forces. Both Chile and Brazil have taken lead roles within MINUSTAH, with Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador and Guatemala, among others, contributing to the effort. On Jan. 30, Brazil’s Ministry of Defense announced it would start to gradually reduce the number of military personnel sent to Haiti as part of MINUSTAH three years after the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation. At present, Brazil has 1,910 troops deployed, but this number will fall to 1,450 in June with the change of contingents, returning to the same number before the January 2010 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince and its environs, killing more than 250,000 people. The binational Chiecuengcoy contingent Its name is a tongue-twister, but the Chiecuengcoy contingent — formed by Ecuadorian and Chilean soldiers serving in MINUSTAH — has been crucial in the rebuilding of Haiti. Chiecuengcoy is an abbreviation for “Compañía de Ingenieros Chileno-Ecuatoriano de Construcciones Horizontales” [Chilean-Ecuadorian Horizontal Construction Company]. Its 156 soldiers — 90 from Chile and 66 from Ecuador — start each workday at 6 a.m. They’re involved in a variety of tasks, ranging from fixing roads and cleaning drainage ditches to building new structures and demolishing unstable ones that might collapse at any moment. MINUSTAH is in charge of assigning tasks, according to priorities set by the Haitian government and the resources provided by donor countries. “The Haitians are witnessing how we help to rebuild their country. Every day, they come to us to help us and look after us,” said team member Luís Fernando Guamán, who like his fellow soldiers works 12 to 16 hours a day. Meanwhile, El Salvador will also send 34 soldiers to join Chilean peacekeepers in Haiti. During a March 1 visit to San Salvador, Chilean Defense Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter signed a memo of understanding with his Salvadoran counterpart, Defense Minister and Division Gen. José Atillo Benítez Parada. Under that agreement, Salvadoran soldiers will be trained in Chilean defense institutions and study under Chilean professors at defense academies in El Salvador. Benítez told the San Salvador newspaper El Mundo that his men already received “intense training” in Chile late last year. Ecuador focus on Artibonite area Ecuador’s work in Haiti did not begin with the magnitude-7.0 earthquake. It’s been sending peacekeepers here since 2004, when MINUSTAH was established. The current mission here is the 16th, with each contingent made up of 60 men. Members of the Chiecuengcoy contingent spend their days building roads and other infrastructure in Artibonite, three hours from Port-au-Prince. A major rice-growing area, Artibonite is one of Haiti’s 10 departments, comprising nearly 5,000 square kilometers and just over 1.3 million inhabitants. Ecuador also has given $13 million in grants, with that money going towards bridges and houses. A bilateral agreement signed between the two countries in July 2012 has made another $15 million available for construction of schools and clinics. Ecuador’s “Blue Helmets” have built 138 bridges and 145 kilometers of roads, according to MINUSTAH. Its peacekeeping troops have also cleared irrigation canals and provided water to shelters and orphanages in densely populated areas. “At first, I suffered so much discomfort because of the heat,” said one Ecuadorian soldier, Darwin Cusquilcuma. “But living in this country, with so many disadvantages, has helped us to appreciate what we have. Our daily interactions with Haitians — especially the children — are one of our warmest memories.”last_img read more