Formerly known as the British Commonwealth or simply the Commonwealth, The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organization which developed from the former members of the British Empire. With the present 54 member states, only Rwanda and Mozambique were not members of the Empire. The framework as outlined in the Singapore Declaration guides the operation of this organization.
The current members of the Commonwealth include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Cyprus, Dominica The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India , Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Lone, Singapore, Solomo Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, and Zambia. In its history, there were four member countries which were dissolved consisting of Malaya and Newfoundland; two withdrawn members including Ireland and Zimbabwe; and one suspended member which is Fiji.
At present, there are six countries applying for membership namely Algeria, Madagascar, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen. Queen Elizabeth II is the symbolic Head of the Commonwealth although she has no political power over the member-countries. The goals of the Commonwealth is founded on the principles of democracy, good governance, individual liberty, free trade, world peace, human rights, and rule of law, among others. The Commonwealth functions like an international organization more than a political association with no country exercising any control over the others.
About the Author:
Teresa is a researcher-writer who covers a wide range of topics in search of useful information.
2012 marks the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary), Having reigned for the past 60 years, she took the throne on the 6th of February 1952, although the coronation took place the 2nd of June 1953. She is the second British monarch who will celebrate such a big event. The other monarch was Queen Victoria (1897).
For this year’s celebrations the Queen and her husband Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh), the famous royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton and other members of the royal family have been touring England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales as well as other overseas regions. Bank and school holidays have also been set to mark this grand event. Many pageants, fundraisers and lunches have also been organized to support it.
A few days ago, the Queen along with the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Manchester Town Hall. As part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, they attended a lunch hosted by the Lord Mayor. There were many well-wishers who came just to catch a glimpse of her. They patriotically stood outside the town hall, cheering and waving as the monarchs waved at them.
Here the pink clad Queen met the newly-wed Cannings from Prestwich. The Queen and her husband became surprise guests of honor during their wedding. The monarchs even posed for photos with the couple who decided to set their wedding in spite of the scheduled Jubilee events. They were aware of the celebrations but they booked the venue before the visit was announced.
Image from Kvasir79
Coconuts or cocos nucifera are fruits that come from the coconut palm, also called “the tree of life” because it is a source of food and medicine. They are high in fiber, minerals and nutrients. Coconut juice and meat are very delicious and refreshing especially when chilled. It is usually served as a drink on a warm day while the meat and its milk are added to desserts or other dishes.
It is only recently that we started appreciating coconuts for its healing and health properties. Recent studies have discovered and proven its medical wonders. This is why more people use it for cooking and even cosmetics.
Apart from strengthening the immune system, coconut oil can also aid in healing wounds and bruises. When applied, it protects the area from dirt, bacteria and fungi that can infect it. It also contains a lot of calcium that keeps bones and teeth healthy.
Coconut oil can work wonders by aiding better digestion and it can even be useful for weight loss. It increases the absorption of nutrients and it helps speed up metabolism. A regular intake of coconut oil also controls blood sugar and it improves insulin secretions. It is also known to prevent kidney and gall bladder diseases; even dissolve kidney stones as well.
Image from maureen lunn
According to Wikipedia, “a backpack, also known as a rucksack, knapsack, packsack or pack is, in its simplest form, a cloth sack carried on one’s back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders”. There are some backpacks though which are lightweight enough to be worn with one strap.
Back in the day, these packs were used to carry heavy loads of equipment or hunter’s game. Through the years it has evolved for special uses and travel. In the recent years, it was a common school bag because it made carrying school books more convenient. It also became a fashion trend when makers produced smaller and more fashionable designs.
Unfortunately the trend died down in the mid 90’s and shoulder and hand bags became more popular. These days, the backpack is making a comeback. Designer Alexander Wang decided to make them in ‘grown-up burgundy leather which can be worn with a single strap across the body. Felder Felder on the other hand gave the classic backpack a girly spunk by reviving them in funky metallic green paired with studded cuffs and skater skirts.
These new age backpacks come in a countless colors, materials and fabrics. It will be no surprise if this “it bag” becomes a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. Its regular size gives enough space for essentials, reducing back aches caused by heavy and stuffed shoulder and hand bags.
If you are still not convinced that backpacks are right for you, try getting into the trend with a mini backpack made of black or navy leather. Simple sling on strap on your shoulder and you will barely notice that you have switched from the usual purse to a backpack.
Image from Romana Correale
Christmas songs are part of the season. Most establishments and radio stations play them as early as November. They help condition the brain and set the holiday mood. It is said that music releases a brain chemical called dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that rewards human activities linked to pleasure. This is the reason why most people feel good when listening to Christmas songs. It reminds people of pleasant memories and common holiday cheer
People shop more when establishments play them. Based on surveys, 95% of consumers are in the shopping vibe and tend to splurge when holiday tunes are played as compared to everyday music they are familiar with, for the reason that it ignites the festive mood and brings about good feelings.
Here is a list of top 10 most played Christmas songs in the UK:
1. All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
2. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues
3. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
4. Stop the Cavalry – Jona Lewie
5. Do They Know it’s Christmas? – Band Aid
6. Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea
7. Last Christmas – Wham
8. I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake
9. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
10. Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney
Source: PPL & PRS for Music
Other popular Christmas songs include Jingle Bells, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, White Christmas, Merry Christmas Everybody, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Baby. The types of songs played are also vital factors. Some Christmas songs actually drive people away. So it is best to stay with a common playlist that everyone loves.
Image from flickr./com/photos/amanda_munoz
Motor insurance is mandatory. Anyone who drives must have an insurance policy otherwise you can simply just get behind the wheels. Accidents happens during times when you least expect it. If you are going through some tight financial situation, you are not excused to not have insurance coverage, but there are a lot of available ways on how to save money on auto insurance policy. Here are some tips that you can use to save lots of cash at the same time have a quality motor insurance coverage.
• Shop around
There is no harm in shopping around for auto insurance. People tend to focus on the top two insurance companies. These people might have been the oldest and the smartest of all but with their price tag, you are simply paying for their name and not for the service that you are getting or will be getting just in case. It’s a good thing that there are more than thousands of websites that provides online research and compare tools. With these smart tools, you would be able to compare premium rates and the features and benefits of your insurance.
• Pay upfront
One of the best tricks to save money on insurance is to pay your policy upfront. This will not just earn you some plus point in your credit rating but you are also getting loads of discounts as compared to monthly payment schemes.
• Clean up your credit rating
This is one of the most discriminatory acts that insurance providers do but there is nothing anyone can do about it. Did you know that insurance providers consider your credit rating when calculating the risk? Yes that’s, “technically” if you are responsible enough to pay for your dues, that means you are a responsible driver. If you want to save money on auto insurance, please your insurer to get more discounts.
Every nation in this world would certainly want something to be called their core culture. Some countries (especially in Asia) label their cultures as hospitable and welcoming. Others label their cultures as hard working. Still others prefer the label easy going and fun loving. What is the core culture of the Britain of today? If someone were to ask you this question, what would you answer off the top of your head?
I was quite saddened when I read something about this over at Time.com. Here are some excerpts from the feature article:
What are the key components of Britishness? The bulldog spirit? A stiff upper lip? Or a penchant for Sex on the Beach? With Britain locked in an identity crisis (the English feel English, the Welsh, Welsh and some Scots are so eager to assert their Scottishness that they want to disunite the United Kingdom), these questions are troubling Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Oddly, Brown overlooked another fundament of Britishness: alcohol-fueled misbehavior. Booze culture unites Britons from Land’s End in southwestern England to John O’Groats at the northeastern tip of Scotland, and it’s also one of the U.K.’s best-known exports. In sun spots such as Ibiza, Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Spain and Greece, English, Welsh and Scottish holidaymakers raucously intermingle, indistinguishable from each other in their bright leisure wear and brighter sunburns, downing alcoholic concoctions such as Sex on the Beach, sometimes as a prelude to the act itself.
The feature is longer than these two paragraphs and I felt disturbed after I read it. Is this how people of other nations perceive the British people? Do they really think that the British is a nation of boozers?
Photo courtesy of mike harper
It has been observed, one time too many, that people from the West seem to have a more liberal attitude than the rest of the world. Though this includes more countries than the United Kingdom, an incident in a beach in Dubai has brought negative attention to the UK once again.
Last week Michelle Palmer, 36, from Rutland, and Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, southeast London, were sentenced to three months in prison in Dubai for having sex outside marriage on a public beach and offending public decency. They were also fined about £200 and will be deported when they have served their sentences. They were lucky: their punishment could have been much worse.
This incident is evoking a lot of varying opinions. On the one hand, these are adults who are supposed to be free to do whatever they want to. On the other hand, some people think that their behaviour is offensive and insensitive to others. The Times feature actually leans towards the second point and I tend to agree. Indeed, we live in modern times where the attitude towards sex and sexuality has changed a lot. However, these two people were NOT in the UK. They were in a country which has a different culture, a different religion. Come to think of it, if this happened in the UK, sensibilities would probably still have been offended. The point, I think, is that our freedom should end where other people’s toes begin. Freedom is only as good as not stepping on other people’s toes. Whatever happens in your own house is your business. What you do at the beach becomes everyone else’s business.
How do you feel about this?
[From the Archives]
Among the things you could get in order to manage your finances more easily, a calling card is one of the less popular ones. And it’s surprising that it’s so, considering the numerous benefits a good, high-quality calling card can offer you. At the end of the month, when you no longer have to pay a hefty phone bill since you’ve already taken care of that thanks to your calling cards, you’ll be thanking yourself – and you’ll likely keep using the card for quite a while ahead.
One of the best things about calling cars are free calls – those come with various extra conditions outlined about them, but in most cases you should be able to score some completely free calls to predetermined destinations, allowing you to manage your budget a lot more flexibly and efficiently. Calling cards don’t have to be limited to travelers and businessmen – even if you make phone calls just occasionally, you should still be able to net some good savings from the whole ordeal.
Just remember that free calls aren’t everything to look for in a calling card – there are various other factors that can define a good deal, like convenience of recharges (this is especially good if the card can actually be recharged instead of having to be replaced), usability, coverage, as well as accumulating bonuses (which is becoming a very popular feature among calling card providers lately).
Calling cards, usually similar to credit cards or bank ATM cards in shape and size, come in two variations. Standard phone cards have a fixed load limit that you have to consume. After you have consumed the load in your standard phone card, you can no longer make a phone call. You have to purchase another card. Some phone cards also come in re-loadable versions. You no longer have to buy another card even when you have already consumed the available load. You just simply have to go to the nearest reloading outlet and replenish your consumed load. It is even advisable to replenish your load even if you have not yet fully consumed it. In that way, you can make a call anytime you need to. Different cards usually have different payment modes and regulations. Originally, phone cards are used in public payphone booths. However, with the advancement of technology, phone cards can now be used in mobile phones.
All phone cards have magnetic stripes. These magnetic chips serve as the information database of the phone card. The chip contains the available balance of your card. Some phone cards also use the optical storage feature where the phone card owner can see the amount or balance left in the account on top of the card. Some phone cards require the user to call a toll-free hotline number first to activate the account before making any regular calls or before using the card.