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British Deputy PM welcomes £2.6bn agreements between UK and China

Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang

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London, Jan 11 (KATAKAMI / DPM.CabinetOffice.Gov.UK) — Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has welcomed Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang to London following his visit to Edinburgh yesterday.

Official talks took place at Lancaster House, after which the Deputy PM and Vice Premier Li witnessed the signing of agreements with an estimated value of £2.6 billion, which will further strengthen ties with China.

The talks covered global issues including international security and climate change in which the UK and China work closely together.

Co-operation on conservation and culture were also on the agenda, with China agreeing to gift a breeding pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for ten years. The arrival of Tian Tian and Yuangguang will boost research, conservation and tourism in Scotland and the UK.

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (standing 7th, L) speaks with China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang during a trade signing ceremony at Lancaster House on January 10, 2011 in London, Enlgand. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Paul Hackett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Mr Clegg said:

It is a pleasure to welcome Vice-Premier Li and the accompanying Chinese delegation to the UK. We had successful talks covering a range of issues, and we witnessed the signing of a number of agreements, including commercial deals with an estimated contract value of at least £2.6 billion.

“This week’s visits, and the agreements we have seen today, follow the Prime Minister’s successful delegation to China in November, demonstrating the momentum we are building together towards even stronger relations. The kind gift of a loan of a breeding pair of giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yuangguang, is a sign that we can co-operate closely on a broad range of environmental and cultural issues, as well as commerce.

“Together, today’s deals will safeguard 700 jobs in the UK and are estimated to have the potential to create many more.”

Agreements signed today include a commitment by Jaguar Land Rover to increase sales to China. Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Dr Ralf Speth, who attended the ceremony said:

This commitment to sales in China in 2011 of some 40,000 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles with a value in excess of £1 billion not only signals the acceleration of our growth plans but also reflects both the importance of the Chinese market to Jaguar Land Rover and our value to the UK economy.

BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed an agreement on deepwater exploration in the South China Sea.

The China National Petroleum Company and INEOS signed two agreements today. INEOS Chairman Jim Ratcliffe said:

We look forward to the success of this joint venture with the China National Petroleum Company. The agreement will further investment in our refineries, in France and the UK, ensuring their competitiveness in European markets, and securing jobs and skills in the UK and France. It will be hugely beneficial. Here in the UK, its success at our Grangemouth site will directly support 1,400 jobs at the site and indirectly around 7,000 jobs in central Scotland. We also look forward to mutual benefit in China through our agreement on technology sharing.

List of agreements

The full list of agreements signed today is as follows:

An agreement was signed on the terms of cooperation in the protection of and research into Giant Pandas between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation on low carbon.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the NDRC signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the China Development Bank (CDB) signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation.

BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) signed an agreement.

INEOS Group and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a framework agreement.

INEOS Group and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed a strategic partnership deal.

Jaguar Land Rover and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Trading (Shanghai) signed a letter of intent.

The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) and the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) signed a memorandum of understanding on co-operation.

Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd. and the Export and Import Bank of China signed an agreement.

The China Development Bank and HSBC signed a memorandum of understanding.

The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), Beijing International Brand Management Centre and Beijing Chaoyang District signed a memorandum of understanding.

A cooperation agreement was signed between China Nonferrous Metals International Mining (CNMIM) and Kryso Resources plc (UK).

Soho Data Holdings Company Ltd and Xiking Culture Centre Media Beijing Company Ltd signed an investment agreement for the Soho Data Centre project.

Shanghai Haobo Chair (UK) Company signed an agreement to buy a 45% equity stake in ES UK Group.  (*)

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in World News

 

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Trade deals and pandas after Britain-China talks

A photo provided by Adelaide Zoo shows a panda. Britain and China have signed trade deals worth £2.6 billion pounds and announced Beijing will loan a pair of pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for 10 years. (Adelaide Zoo/File/Dave Mattner)

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LONDON, Jan 11 (KATAKAMI / AFP) – Britain and China have signed trade deals worth £2.6 billion and announced Beijing will loan a pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for 10 years.

The agreements were inked during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Britain has rolled out the red carpet for Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese premier next year, as it scrambles to catch up with European rivals Germany and France in landing business deals with booming China.

On the second day of his visit to Britain on Monday, Li also held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron.

On Tuesday he will receive a royal welcome from Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and will make a speech at a banquet organised by the British Council.

The trade agreements include a commitment by Jaguar Land Rover to increase sales of vehicles in China to the 40,000 mark this year in a deal which the automaker said was worth £1bln.

“We had successful talks covering a range of issues, and we witnessed the signing of a number of agreements, including commercial deals with an estimated contract value of at least 2.6 billion pounds,” Clegg said.

In other deals, BP and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed an agreement on deepwater exploration in the South China Sea.

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang, right, listens to Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at Lancaster House in London, Monday Jan. 10, 2011. Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to sign commercial deals worth at least 2.6 billion pounds ($4 billion) - but the business dealings were overshadowed by a deal to loan pandas. Li oversaw an agreement to bring a breeding pair of pandas to Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, on a 10-year loan. Seven-year-old male Yangguang and female Tian Tian - which translate as "Sunshine" and "Sweetie" - are expected to arrive in the coming year from China's Wulong Panda Research Institute. (AP Photo/Paul Hackett, pool)

Petro-chemical group INEOS agreed to work more closely with China National Petroleum Corporation, which the British company said would lead to increased investment in its refineries in Britain and France.

The talks also covered international security and climate change “in which the UK and China work closely together”, a British government statement said.

It was also announced that China will loan a breeding pair of giant pandas — named Tian Tian and Yuangguang, which translates to Sweetie and Sunshine — to Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland for 10 years.

The pair, born in 2003, will be the first pandas in Britain for 17 years and the move “will boost research, conservation and tourism in Scotland and the UK”, the statement said.

The project is the result of five years of high-level political and diplomatic negotiation.

“Pandas are a Chinese national treasure. This historical agreement is a gift to the people of the UK from China,” said Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming.

“It will represent an important symbol of our friendship and will bring our two people closer together.”

Li has already visited Spain and Germany on his European visit, accompanied by a 150-strong business and political delegation.

Writing in the Financial Times on Monday, he said the world should not fear a rapidly growing China.

China’s development benefits other countries,” Li wrote. “We welcome the entry into our market of competitive goods and services from around the world, and will provide a fair and even more transparent environment for foreign investors.”

Li added that “reform and opening-up are the driving forces behind our development”, but warned that “China’s development will not be possible without the world — and world development needs China”.

The visit follows Cameron’s trip to China in November, when he was the first Western leader to visit the country since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

While he did not publicly confront Chinese leaders over human rights, Cameron used a speech to university students to call for “greater political opening” as the Chinese economy surges forward.

Deputy premier Clegg has insisted that “no subject will be off limits” during the talks in the four-day British visit.

Cameron’s Beijing visit produced deals worth around one billion pounds to British companies. In contrast, Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to France in November yielded 20 billion dollars of contracts.  (*)

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in World News

 

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Photostream : Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang meets British Leaders

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (2nd, R) attends a round table discussion with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) at Downing Street on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) attends a round table discussion with China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) at Downing Street on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (R) attends a round table discussion with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (not pictured) at Downing Street on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang leaves following a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron (not pictured) in 10 Downing Street in central London, on January 10, 2011. Britain and China signed trade deals worth 2.6 billion pounds (four billion dollars, 3.1 billion euros) on Monday and announced Beijing will loan a pair of pandas to a zoo in Scotland for 10 years. The deals were signed during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) walks with Britain's Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg (R), during a visit to Lancaster House on January 10, 2011 in London. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Paul Hackett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at Lancaster House in London January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (standing 7th, L) speaks with China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang during a trade signing ceremony at Lancaster House on January 10, 2011 in London, Enlgand. Mr Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese Premier next year, has already visited Germany and France during his European visit to strengthen business links. Mr Li and a delegation of 150 business and political representatives are also due to hold talks with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later today. (Photo by Paul Hackett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne before a meeting at Mansion House in central London, on January 10, 2011. Britain and China signed trade deals worth 2.6 billion pounds (four billion dollars, 3.1 billion euros) Monday and announced Beijing will loan a pair of giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo for 10 years. The agreements were inked during talks in London between Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. AFP PHOTO/LEON NEAL/POOL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in World News

 

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Nick Clegg aims to calm Lib Dem fears in New Year message

Nick Clegg

 

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December 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / BBC) — Nick Clegg says his party has faced “testing times” in a message aimed at calming grassroots Lib Dem concerns.

In his New Year message to members, the deputy prime minister pledged to start 2011 with action on social mobility, civil liberties and the environment.

He also launched a renewed defence of the decision to break a pledge to oppose rises in student tuition fees.

And he insists he had delivered on “every single one and more” of the party’s general election priorities.

In the message, sent from Spain, where he is celebrating Christmas with his wife Miriam’s family, he told the Liberal Democrat membership: “Well, what a year! A white-knuckle election; a new coalition government; Liberals in power for the first time in 70 years.

“Just eight months ago we were campaigning on our four big manifesto priorities – fairer taxes; extra money for disadvantaged children in schools; a green, rebalanced economy; a new, open politics. And now we are delivering on every single one, and more.”

‘Difficult decisions’

He went on: “I don’t want to pretend it has all been easy. These are testing times for the country and for our party too. Action to tackle the deficit, and the need to reform higher education, have forced us to take some incredibly difficult decisions.

“But that is government. And when we promised people that we were ready to govern, that is the commitment we made. I genuinely believe that the choices we are making will stand the test of time.”

He says the decision to almost treble tuition fees, which saw the party break a pre-election pledge, was needed to retain “world-class” universities and protect poorer students.

And he says backing the Conservatives’ package of public spending cuts would “make sure future generations are not saddled with the burden of our debt”.

“And by showing people that [the] coalition can work, we can prove that plural, liberal politics is best for Britain,” he told them.

He says he will start the year by concentrating on “three big changes” in addition to campaigning for a “yes” vote in May’s referendum on changing the Westminster voting system to AV – a key concession won in the coalition negotiations.

He set out his priorities for 2011: “Radical reform of our political system and restoring our hard-won civil liberties; boosting social mobility so that no child is held back by the circumstances of his or her birth; and making sure the economic recovery is green and balanced, with opportunities spread across the whole country.”

He concluded: “All of us are going to hear some people predict the worst for our party. The same people who have been underestimating the Liberal Democrats for as long as we have existed.

“But we prove them wrong at every single turn. The next 12 months will be no different, because we will continue to build the Liberal, fairer, greener Britain that we all believe in.”  (*)

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in World News

 

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Nick Clegg’s New Year message to Liberal Democrat members

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg

December 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / LIBDEMVOICE.ORG) — Nick Celgg’s message in full :

Well what a year! A white-knuckle election; a new coalition government; Liberals in power for the first time in 70 years.

Just eight months ago we were campaigning on our four big manifesto priorities – fairer taxes; extra money for disadvantaged children in schools; a green, rebalanced economy; a new, open politics.

And now we are delivering on every single one, and more.

From taking over 800,000 people on low pay out of paying income tax altogether, to restoring the earnings link for pensioners, from delivering the pupil premium in full by the end of this parliament to scrapping ID cards, from stopping the new runway at Heathrow to clamping down on industrial scale tax avoidance, and ending child detention, Liberal Democrats are making the difference for the people of Britain.

I don’t want to pretend it has all been easy. These are testing times for the country and for our Party too. Action to tackle the deficit, and the need to reform higher education, have forced us to take some incredibly difficult decisions.

But that is Government. And when we promised people that we were ready to govern, that is the commitment we made.

I genuinely believe that the choices we are making will stand the test of time.

By dealing with the deficit, we’ll make sure future generations are not saddled with the burden of our debt.

By changing the way universities are funded we are keeping them world class while at the same time giving disadvantaged young people more opportunity to go into university, not less.

And by showing people that coalition can work, we can prove that plural, liberal politics is best for Britain.

In the New Year I’ll be concentrating on three big changes: radical reform of our political system and restoring our hard-won civil liberties; boosting social mobility so that no child is held back by the circumstances of his or her birth; and making sure the economic recovery is green and balanced, with opportunities spread across the whole country.

And I, like you, will be out campaigning for a fairer voting system to make MPs work harder for your vote.

All of us are going to hear some people predict the worst for our Party. The same people who have been underestimating the Liberal Democrats for as long as we have existed.

But we prove them wrong at every single turn. The next twelve months will be no different, because we will continue to build the Liberal, fairer, greener Britain that we all believe in.

Happy New Year!

(*)

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in World News

 

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PM David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg press conference

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) gestures to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg during their joint news conference at number 10 Downing Street in London December 21, 2010. REUTERS/Carl De Souza/Pool

December 21, 2010 (KATAKAMI / NUMBER10.GOV.UK) — The PM and Deputy PM have held a joint press conference in Number 10 ahead of the Christmas recess.Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg began by thanking troops serving in Afghanistan for everything they are doing and sending them and their families Christmas wishes.

The PM also gave an update on government action following the coldest December in over 100 years.

He said Cabinet had discussed the widespread travel chaos “extensively” on Tuesday and that the Ministerial Resilience Team, led by the Transport Secretary Phil Hammond, was meeting regularly.

He added:

“The people stuck here are having an incredibly difficult time, especially just a few days from Christmas, and everything must be done to either get them on holiday or get them home safely.”

Discussing the economy, they said the Coalition Government was on the right track and that next year would be “rigorously focused on growth and job creation”.

Mr Clegg said the Coalition had achieved a great deal this year tackling the deficit. He said he believed ”we’ll fix the economy and build a better future”.

The Deputy PM also said they had made a good start on their far-reaching programme to rebuild British society so that it is “open, liberal, socially mobile”.

“…from schools, to hospitals, to planning – we’re taking power away from Whitehall and handing it back to individuals, back to families, back to neighbourhoods.”

 

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R) pats Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on the back as they leave after their joint news conference at number 10 Downing street in London December 21, 2010. REUTERS/Carl De Souza/Pool

Nick Clegg’s speech from PM and Deputy PM press conference

 

Let me start by wishing you all a Merry Christmas. And can I add my voice to what David said about our brave troops. The sacrifice they and their families make is felt more sharply at this time of year than any other, and we thank them for everything they do.

The Coalition Government has achieved a huge amount in a short space of time. Clearly our greatest challenge is tackling the deficit and returning our economy to health, and we are taking the difficult steps needed to do that.

But, Labour didn’t just leave us a fiscal mess; they left us a social crisis as well: a country where your chances in life are still too determined by the circumstances of your birth.

Just as we did not flinch – and we will not flinch – from taking the action needed to fix the economy, we will not back down from doing what it takes to address the deep unfairness in our society either.

It is easy to say that all this Government is about is cuts. But it is wrong. We have begun a far-reaching programme to rebuild British society so that it is open, liberal, socially mobile. So that people who want to get ahead in life can get ahead, regardless of the circumstances of their birth. So that people who want the best for themselves and their children can be sure that Government is on their side.

That’s the ambition driving our changes. That’s why we’re providing a £2.5bn pupil premium, targeted at the most disadvantaged children, as well as funding the childcare needed to help give 2, 3 and 4 year olds the best possible start in life.

It’s why we’re overhauling our welfare system – to get people into work. And why we’re raising the income tax personal allowance – to make sure work pays. From April 880,000 people on low incomes will stop paying income tax altogether, with more to follow. And it’s why our changes to higher education, though controversial, will make it easier and cheaper, not more expensive, for bright people from poorer backgrounds to go to university.

But we also know that to make our plan work – to really help people get ahead – Government must stop constantly telling them what to do. So from schools, to hospitals, to planning – we’re taking power away from Whitehall and handing it back to individuals, back to families, back to neighbourhoods.

Self-confident Government that trusts people, instead of Labour’s insistence that “Government always knows best”. It’s a big project; it won’t happen overnight; and, we know the year ahead, and the years after that, won’t always be easy. But we believe that our decisions will stand the test of time, and that we are on course to fix the economy, while building a better country.

We’re also confounding the fears about coalition.  The idea that parties working together would cause paralysis and stagnation has quietly bitten the dust. In fact, now the complaint from some is that we’re doing too much, not too little.

When we talk about the New Politics, we’re actually talking about a very old idea: that people who disagree can have honest and frank discussions, and reach a conclusion they can both support. In most walks of life, that’s an unremarkable idea. I hope it won’t be too long before it catches on in Westminster too. Next year, during the referendum on voting reform, the Prime Minister and I will even show how you can politely disagree in public.

So, we have made a good start to an ambitious project, and we have a clear view of the stable, fair Britain we want to build. That’s our plan. And we will stick to it.  (*)

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in World News

 

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Photostream : Remembrance Day 2010 at London's Cenotaph war memorial

Queen Elizabeth II waits to lay a wreath as Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh look on at the Cenotaph during Remembrance Sunday in Whitehall, on November 14, 2010 in London, England. Remembrance Sunday tributes were carried out across the nation to pay respects to all who those who lost their lives in current and past conflicts, including the First and Second World Wars. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) walks in front of Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron (2nd R) Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg (3rd R) and Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband (L) during the Remembrance Sunday service in Whitehall, London, on November 14, 2010. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II prepares to lay a wreath during the Remembrance Sunday service in Whitehall, London, on November 14, 2010. It marks the armistice to end the First World War. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath on the Cenotaph during the Remembrance Sunday service in Whitehall, London, on November 14, 2010. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain's Prime David Cameron (R) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg attend the annual Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, in central London November 14, 2010. (Getty Images / REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth )

Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron lays a wreath on the Cenotaph during the Remembrance Sunday service in Whitehall, London, on November 14, 2010. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Samantha Cameron (R), wife of British Prime Minister David Cameron (not pictured) and his mother Mary Cameron (L) attend the Remembrance Sunday service in Whitehall, London, on November 14, 2010. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2010 in World News

 

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