Al Jazeera

Julian Assange supporters stand by their man

London, United Kingdom – Whenever the stand-off between Julian Assange and British authorities seeking to extradite him to Sweden to answer sex assault allegations finally ends, it seems unlikely to involve a car chase.

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Julian Assange’s supporters have maintained a daily vigil outside the Ecuadorean embassy [Simon Hooper]

The narrow streets around the Ecuadorean embassy, from which the fugitive WikiLeaks founder has not emerged since claiming asylum there one year ago, are a permanent traffic jam of oversized limousines favoured by the local diplomatic community, and chauffeur-driven saloons queued up outside the neighbouring Harrods department store.

Across the road from the embassy in the west London district of Knightsbridge, a small cluster of dedicated Assange supporters have maintained a daily vigil for each of the 365 days that the Australian has been inside.

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CNN, Opinion

How tax havens stole your money

Few tourists would perhaps even notice the stone dragon stranded between buses in the middle of the road that marks the boundary of the City of London, the British capital’s financial district and one of global capitalism’s most dynamic engines.

London_Skyline

Yet to step into the City is to enter what has been described by Nicholas Shaxson, author of “Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World,” as “an offshore island inside Britain.”

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Al Jazeera

UK sights set on world’s tax havens

The United Kingdom sits at the centre of the world’s most far-reaching network of tax havens, even as David Cameron, the British prime minister, sets his sights on “galvanising international action on tax evasion” at this week’s G8 summit.

Click on the image to see Al Jazeera's infographic on the UK's tax haven network

Click on the image to see Al Jazeera’s infographic on the UK’s tax haven network

Cameron, drawing on populist anger at corporate tax avoidance, hopes to emerge from the Northern Ireland meeting of the leaders of the world’s largest economies with an agreement that would open up the ownership of hundreds of thousands of offshore companies to scrutiny for the first time.

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Al Jazeera

The rock concert that helped spring Mandela

London, United Kingdom – “What will he sing, Tony? What will Nelson Mandela sing?”

Dire Straits: The band that helped free Mandela [Courtesy: Tony Hollingsworth]

Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms with Mandela [Courtesy: Tony Hollingsworth]

Even a quarter of a century on, Tony Hollingsworth sounds incredulous as he remembers the conversation with a Los Angeles-based music industry agent about the concert he was organising to mark the 70th birthday of the then-jailed South African icon.

By 1988, Mandela had been in prison for 26 years, yet word of his plight had not yet reached the more sheltered corners of the entertainment industry on California’s sunny shores.

“You have to remember that a lot of people still didn’t know who Mandela was,” Hollingsworth told Al Jazeera, recalling the buildup to the June 11, 1988, London concert watched by a global television audience of 600 million.

Many campaigners credit the show with doing more to raise awareness about Mandela’s struggle against apartheid in South Africa in a single day than anything else in the decades-long struggle against racist rule.

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Al Jazeera

Projecting power and persuading people

London, United Kingdom – From coins bearing images of ancient Greek monarchs, via world wars and clashes of ideology to our modern obsession with social media, an ambitious new exhibition at the British Library is attempting to expose how states have used propaganda to exert influence over our lives and behaviour.

Courtesy British Library

Courtesy British Library

Although typically the term has had a negative connotation, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion broadens its definition of the word to include anything used by governments as a means of validating and justifying their actions, building support and influencing behaviour.

It also aims to challenge the depiction of propaganda as a blunt weapon in the arsenal of Orwellian “ministries of information”, arguing that it is at its most effective when it is altogether more discreet.

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