LONDON — Many remarkable things have emerged from the River Thames in its long, crowded and often filthy history, from pods of dolphins to unexploded World War II bombs . But few were as rare as the flash of pearly white spotted Tuesday afternoon near Coalhouse Fort, in a quiet stretch of the river in southeast England. It was a beluga whale, jumping in and out of the river, hundreds of miles from its natural habitat in the far colder waters of the Arctic Circle. The last time whales of this species were seen in British waters was in September 2015, off the Northumberland coast in northeast England, where two were found dead. This beluga whale — the most southerly ever recorded in British waters, according to Sally Hamilton, director of the charity Orca — seemed to be in good health and still feeding. It was seen again Wednesday morning. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue are monitoring the situation, but have so far decided not to intervene. How long could … [Read more...] about A Beluga Whale Surfaces in the Thames, and Britain Marvels
‘Pass Him’: How a British For-Profit College Made Millions
College recruiters walked immigrant neighborhoods, knocking on doors or stopping people in shopping malls, selling the merits of a business-school education and adding a surprising offer: Get paid to enroll. “Money, money, money,” said Stefan Lespizanu, a former recruiter for Oxford Business College. “Everybody was saying, ‘Hey, push the money.’” News of the opportunity spread, propelled by Facebook groups and word of mouth. Whole families signed up, helping turn a vocational school of 41 students atop a Chinese restaurant into a for-profit juggernaut. Oxford Business College, unaffiliated with the elite school nearby, now has several campuses and more than 8,000 students. That transformation made millions of dollars for its owners, company records show. Years of free-market changes to British higher education have created opportunities for for-profit schools like Oxford Business College. Through opaque partnership deals with publicly funded universities, schools can offer … [Read more...] about ‘Pass Him’: How a British For-Profit College Made Millions
Who’s Behind the Drone Attacks Inside Russia?
Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: GAVRIIL GRIGOROV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images Russia has been bombarding Ukraine from the air for more than 15 months, but recently, the tables have turned. In May, drones buzzed harmlessly near the Kremlin in what Vladimir Putin nonetheless called an assassination attempt. Later in the month, drones targeted residential areas in Moscow , in a remarkable demonstration of impunity. Meanwhile, pro-Ukrainian militants have launched several attacks into Russian territory in the Belgorod region, and Ukrainian shelling in the area has killed multiple people. Some Russians are now living in fear , the way many of their Ukrainian counterparts have been since February 2022. I spoke with Dr. Stephen Hall, an assistant professor in Russian and post-Soviet politics at Bath University, about who is probably behind the drone attacks and the psychological and practical effect that repeated incursions into Russian territory could have on the war. … [Read more...] about Who’s Behind the Drone Attacks Inside Russia?
Jacinda Ardern becomes a dame as New Zealand honors her service during shooting, Covid-19
Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday received one of New Zealand’s highest honors for her service leading the country through a mass shooting and pandemic . Ardern was made a Dame Grand Companion, the second-highest honor in New Zealand, as part of King Charles III’s Birthday Honors. It means people will now call her Dame Jacinda. Royal honorees are typically chosen twice a year in New Zealand by the prime minister and signed off by Charles, the British king who is also recognized as New Zealand’s king. Ardern was just 37 when she became prime minister in 2017, and was seen as a global icon of the left. She shocked New Zealanders in January when she said she was stepping down as leader after more than five years because she no longer had “enough in the tank” to do it justice. She was facing mounting political pressures at home, including for her handling of Covid-19, which was initially widely lauded but later criticized by those opposed to mandates and … [Read more...] about Jacinda Ardern becomes a dame as New Zealand honors her service during shooting, Covid-19
India’s Vultures Fall Prey to a Drug in the Cattle They Feed On
NEW DELHI, March 27 - Until recently the vulture was an integral part of the Indian landscape. Vultures were so abundant that ornithologists never even thought to monitor their population. But conservationists are now warning that a drug used to treat sick cows in South Asia is killing the scavenging vultures by the millions. They say the drug is responsible for a 97 percent decline in the species in India during the past decade. Wildlife experts have criticized what they call the government's lethargic approach to a promised ban on the drug, diclofenac, a cheap painkiller for cattle that is poisonous to vultures. "The government's failure to act is increasingly frustrating," said Chris Bowden, the head of the vulture conservation program of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, in Britain. "This delay is making full extinction of these birds much more likely." Vibhu Prakash, the principal scientist at the Bombay Natural History Society, agreed that "the … [Read more...] about India’s Vultures Fall Prey to a Drug in the Cattle They Feed On
A Good Walk, Filmed
Good morning. It’s Monday. I’m on duty today as my colleague James Barron caps off a well-earned vacation. Today we’ll talk to a local filmmaker who uses Hastings-on-Hudson, the New York City suburb, as his muse. In the most isolating days of the pandemic, a walk around the neighborhood became for many a ritual of community, fresh air and mental salvation. These constitutionals were also a backdrop to a (re)kindled love and appreciation for all that is local — accessible not by plane or iPhone, but by feet. Peter Callahan, a filmmaker in the New York City suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, is the writer, director and star of a new movie, “ Out and About ,” that takes its entire story from one man’s afternoon walk around his town, a familiar setting in which he struggles to locate his place in the world. “There is a universality to small towns that I think makes the film resonate,” Callahan said in an interview. “Hastings is both unique and like everywhere else.” … [Read more...] about A Good Walk, Filmed