Morocco's Historic La Mamounia Hotel Reopens in Marrakech After 3-Year Makeover
By Alfred De Montesquiou
CANADIAN PRESS (CP), Nov 4, 2010 - MARRAKECH, Morocco, Winston Churchill invited Franklin Delano Roosevelt here to relax after strategic talks during the Second World War, and Alfred Hitchcock shot some of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" in the hotel's lobby, which also has been a haunt of the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, Sharon Stone and many other Hollywood stars for nearly a century.
Now, after a three-year, $176-million makeover, the Mamounia is open again for business in the oasis gardens of Marrakech in southern Morocco.
A top interior designer has refurbished its rooms in Art Deco and Arabo-Andalusian styles, star-studded chefs have opened restaurants and a sprawling spa has been added to the eight-hectare gardens of palm and olive trees to lure again the rich and the famous to this legendary hotel set inside the medieval ramparts of a world heritage site.
"There are only three golden rules about a palace of this standing," says Jacques Garcia, the star French decorator who led restoration efforts: "Elegance, elegance and elegance."
Built in 1923, when Morocco was a French protectorate, the Mamounia merges the sober lines of Art Deco architecture with the intricacies of traditional arabesque decorations. The hotel long has been considered the masterpiece of this fusion of styles, unique to a handful of Moroccan buildings.
Its great marble hall leads to shaded courtyards where the trickle of small fountains echoes amid multicoloured tiling of rare refinement. The pool house copies a 17th-century princely pavilion. Here sculptures in the Moroccan Zellige mosaic style are carved all over the plaster walls, overlooking a 55-square-metre swimming pool filtered with ozone. Colonnades and corridors reminiscent of the Alhambra palace in Spain lead to the Churchill bar, complete with black and white photos of jazzmen, a panther-dotted carpet and red leather seating.
Historic WWII RAF Buildings Must be Preserved: Minister
By Dan Coombs
UXBRIDGE GAZETTE, 10 November 2010 - THREE buildings at the heart of operations at RAF Northolt during the Second World War have been granted Grade II listed status on the eve of Remembrance Day.
The approvals were announced by tourism and heritage minister John Penrose last week.
The buildings are a 'C-type' hangar, the former squadron watch office and former 'Z' Sector Operations Block.
Group Captain Tom Barrett, station commander, said: "I am delighted that the importance of these buildings to the heritage of the nation has been recognised.
"RAF Northolt is a modern and effective operational station, but our success is built on generations of airmen and airwomen who served here before us."
The hangar was used throughout the war to house Winston Churchill's personal aircraft, in which he flew to many important meetings with other Allied leaders.
The watch office which also served as the aircraft readiness room during the Battle of Britain - the building from which RAF Northolt's pilots were scrambled.
The Operations Block, on the other hand, was part of the 'Dowding System', a method of communication developed by Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding, using early radar, spotters and phone lines in concert to intercept enemy aircraft.
The Third (and Final) Volume of William Manchester's "Last Lion"
An N.C. writer keeps a promise to Winston Churchill biographer William Manchester: He's writing the final installment in the late author's "Last Lion" trilogy. By Pam Kelley
CHAROLETTE OBSERVER, Sunday, Nov. 07, 2010 - TRYON Paul Reid is a former Florida newspaper reporter who moved to the N.C. mountains a few years ago. He's also the most highly anticipated author you've never heard of.
Since 2004, Reid has been writing the third and final volume of "The Last Lion," the late William Manchester's majestic biography of British statesman Winston Churchill.
For legions of Churchill devotees and Manchester fans, the book can't be published soon enough. Readers regularly contact Reid, some from as far away as England and Pakistan, to ask about his progress.
Now he can give them good news. He's nearly finished. Most of the manuscript is in the hands of his editor at Little, Brown and Co. Reid plans to turn in the final pages by month's end.
There's no publication date yet. But typically, once the author delivers the book, it takes about a year to publication.
Reid took on the book at Manchester's request as his health was failing. He died in 2004 at age 82, just months after they decided to collaborate.
"I told Bill, and I meant it ... that I wouldn't let him down," Reid says. "If he wanted me to do this, I would do it. And it would be done well."
Reid, 61, seems at first glance an improbable choice to write an 800-plus page biography. He was neither a Churchill scholar nor a biographer. As a feature writer at the Palm Beach Post, his pieces seldom ran more than a few thousand words.
"We started hearing these stories about this guy, and nobody knew him," says Craig Horn of Weddington, chair of the Churchill Society of North Carolina. "He's certainly not known in Churchill circles."
Reid lacked Churchillian credentials, but Manchester, a former newspaperman himself, wanted a writer with a reporting background. And he trusted Reid.
From Churchill to David Davis: Ten of the Greatest Backbench MPs
By QUENTIN LETTS, Daily Mail Parliamentary sketch writer
1. OLIVER CROMWELL 1599-1658 -Oliver Cromwell is an example to all backbenchers. He sat, listened, learned, biding his time.
2. WILLIAM COBBETT 1763-1835 - William Cobbett so loathed the Establishment that he called it 'The Thing'.
3. TAM DALYELL b 1932 - Ministers lived in dread of Tam Dalyell standing at the end of their long-winded spiels and asking: 'Why?'
4. GWYNETH DUNWOODY 1930-2008 - Although she died in 2008, Gwyneth Dunwoody had by then put the whips in their place.
5. LEO ABSE 1917-2008 - Welsh lawyer Leo Abse used the security of a safe Labour seat to push the state towards loosening laws on divorce and gay rights. 6. SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 1874-1965 - It was from the Commons backbenches that Winston Churchill spoke up about the German threat in the Thirties. He warned the country that Hitler was not a man to be bought off by the policies of appeasement.
7. NANCY ASTOR 1879-1964 - Nancy Astor, the first woman to take her seat in the Commons, had a genuine connection with her constituents, once giving the diamond ring from her finger to a Plymouth woman after a German bombing raid.
8. DOUGLAS CARSWELL b 1971 - Douglas Carswell has made enough of a nuisance of himself to ensure he will never become a Tory frontbencher.
9. STEPHEN POUND b 1971 - Stephen Pound is mischief on two legs, offering a ceaseless commentary on the antics of ministers.
10. DAVID DAVIS b 1948 - David Davis has matured into a strong voice for individual freedoms.
Whether iconic British Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew it or not, he followed Peter Drucker's eight rules for being an effective executive
By Rick Wartzman
A few weeks ago, Winston Churchill went digital. The former British Prime Minister's estate announced that it was launching its own iPhone (AAPL) app featuring Churchill's "wit and wisdom." A related website, along with Facebook and Twitter profiles, has also been set up. About the only thing missing, from what I can tell, is a link to the work of Peter Drucker.
Ties between the two men go way back. In May 1939, Churchill reviewed Drucker's first major book, The End of Economic Man, for The Times Literary Supplement, praising him as "one of those writers to whom almost anything can be forgiven because he not only has a mind of his own, but has a gift of starting other minds along a stimulating line of thought."
But even more than by pen, Churchill and Drucker seem to be connected by deed-at least in the eyes of one Churchill authority. Daniel Myers, chief operating officer of the Churchill Center in Chicago, has in recent years been delivering to business executives a lecture that examines the British leader's actions as "an executive success story." More specifically, Myers details how Churchill illustrated Drucker's eight rules for being an effective executive.
Myers came across these principles when Drucker laid them out in a 2004 Harvard Business Review article. "I read it and said 'Wow,' " recalls Myers, whose educational organization boasts 3,000 members worldwide. "It's pure Churchillian."
V for Victory: The Day the Battle of Britain was Won
Never, said Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was so much owed by so many to so few, and, on Wednesday, the nation will celebrate the RAF's victory over Hitler's Luftwaffe.
By Correlli Barnett
THE INDEPENDENT, Sunday 12 September 2010 - Even before the rescue of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) began, Winston Churchill foresaw the worse-case scenario that could follow from the encirclement of the doomed Anglo-French armies. France herself might well go down in defeat, so leaving a half-armed Britain alone to confront triumphant German armed forces. That would make it all too likely that Hitler would decide to put an end to the war by invading England.
So on 26 May 1940 Churchill asked the Chiefs of Staff a direct question: "Can the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force hold out reasonable hopes of preventing serious invasion?"
The Chiefs of Staff replied that as long as the Royal Air Force remained "in being", then the Royal Navy and the air force between them "should be able to prevent Germany carrying out a serious sea-borne invasion of this country". But if Germany obtained air superiority, then the Navy could hold off an invasion "for a time", but not "for an indefinite period". Once a large-scale invasion had been launched, Britain's land defences would not be strong enough to prevent the German army establishing a firm bridgehead, nor from subsequently heading inland. Therefore, concluded the Chiefs of Staff, "the crux of the matter is air superiority".
Hitler's generals and admirals came to exactly the same conclusion when, at the end of July, the Führer issued his directive for "Operation Sealion", a cross-Channel invasion of south-east England. They reckoned that, without German mastery of the skies, the Royal Navy could play havoc in mid-Channel with Sealion's unwieldy mass of river barges stuffed with troops and equipment. Such a venture must inevitably end in catastrophe.
As the RAF faces an uncertain future, its Central Band's latest album celebrates the Service's role in a pivotal moment in our history - the Battle of Britain. Adam Sweeting reports. By Adam Sweeting
UK TELEGRAPH, 15 September 2010 -As news reaches us of disreputable attempts by Army and Navy chiefs to fight off threatened budget cuts by dismembering the Royal Air Force, the RAF's Central Band comes thundering low over the horizon with an immaculately timed riposte. It's their debut album for Decca, Reach for the Skies.
The disc has been designed to precision-bomb the heartstrings of the nation by bringing together every lip‑trembling, blood-stirring anthem ever associated with Britain's gallant airmen, from Ron Goodwin's rumbustious theme from 633 Squadron to the elegiac Battle of Britain March. William Walton's Spitfire Prelude flies in formation with The Dambusters March and Reach for the Sky, and for light relief there's Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.
Leaving no nostalgic tear unshed, the album lobs in a couple of Winston Churchill's greatest hits - his Battle of Britain tributes about the RAF's "finest hour" and the "Never was so much owed by so many to so few" speech - with appropriately reverent musical accompaniment.
"With a little help from Winston Churchill himself, we have produced an album of which we're all immensely proud, and one that we hope will continue to showcase the excellence of musicianship for which the RAF has always been known," said Decca's general manager, Mark Wilkinson, who is doubtless well aware that the Central Band was the first military band to make a long-playing record when it recorded Eric Coates's theme from The Dam Busters film in 1955.
"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that if the British Commonwealth and Empire lasts for a thousand years, men will still say 'This was their finest hour.'"
1940 was Britain's first full year of war. It was not only the year that the country's very existence was threatened, it was also - as Churchill said - its ‘finest hour'. Defeat and occupation by Nazi Germany were very real possibilities, but it was the momentous events of this year that helped to shape the course, and eventual outcome, of the Second World War.
In 1940, Britain needed leadership, determination, courage, effort, sacrifice - and luck - to survive.
NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 24, 2009- "Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the "confirmed un-teachability of mankind": the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them. Churchill bemoaned what he called the ‘want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.'
"I speak here today in the hope that Churchill's assessment of the ‘unteachability of mankind' is for once proven wrong. I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history-that we can prevent danger in time.
In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come."
Israeli PM Netanyahu Cites Churchill in UN General Assembly
24 September 2009
The holocaust denier President Ahmadinejad of Iran was back at the United Nations this past week, so we felt that another look at the Isreali Prime Minister's very Churchillian speech last year was worth another look. To see Ahmadinejad's speech, follow this link.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.
I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.
The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events.
Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth. Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.
Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments. Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?
Winston Churchill joins Twitter, Facebook and builds an iPhone app
‘Greatest Briton' will be tweeting, the former Prime Minister's estate has announced.
By Matt Warman, Consumer Technology Editor
THE TELEGRAPH, 17 September 2010 - The Estate of Sir Winston Churchill has launched its own iPhone app and is to use social media to bring the former Prime Minister's "wit and wisdom" to a wider audience, it has been announced. Facebook and Twitter profiles have been set up and will launch on Friday, and an iPhone app will go on sale for £1.19, with all proceeds going to the Churchill Estate.
Randolph Churchill, Sir Winston's great-grandson, said that the application was "the first accurate guide to the best of his sayings. It shows just how relevant his thoughts remain".
The new forays into social media are based on the work of historian and Churchill expert Richard Langworth. "There is not a day when Sir Winston is not quoted in one way or another, whether by presidents, prime ministers, newspapers on the web or by people in their everyday lives," said Randolph Churchill. "This app is also the most superb opportunity to make sure the record is correct."
Called "Churchillisms: The Official Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill", the iPhone App includes photographs, more than 250 quotations and excerpts from speeches. A website has also been set up at churchillisms.com and the twitter profile can be found at twitter.com/wchurchill2010.
Prime Minister David Cameron Meets Battle of Britain Heroes
AP, 13 September 2010 - Prime Minister David Cameron has met heroes of the Battle of Britain at the start of a week of commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the RAF's historic struggle with Germany's Luftwaffe.
The event in central London was Mr Cameron's first public engagement since the death of his father Ian last week.
He told the veterans and their wives how his father, who was born with stunted legs, had always been proud of meeting flying ace Douglas Bader, who lost his legs in an air accident and encouraged him to make the most of his life despite his disability.
Mr Cameron welcomed a full-size replica of a Spitfire fighter plane of the kind which took part in the Battle, which will be positioned outside the Ministry of Defence building on Whitehall throughout the week.
He met four of the people wartime PM Sir Winston Churchill called "the few": Spitfire pilots Geoffrey Wellum, 89, from Cornwall, and William Walker, 97, from west London; Hurricane pilot Bob Foster, 90, from St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex; and Blenheim gunner Owen Burns, 94, from west London.