A war of books

books-not-warThe British Foreign Office and the University of Oxford have received a formal request to return a collection of books, which was looted by Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex when his troops sacked the city of Faro in 1596. The authorities in Britain are being tight-lipped at the outset of what could become a prolonged historical wrangle involving the world’s two oldest allies.

The seizure took place while Portugal was under Spanish rule during the 16th century Anglo-Spanish War. A combined British-Dutch fleet under the Lord High Admiral Charles Howard was returning to England after destroying Cádiz when a flotilla pulled into Faro. Troops led by Essex found the city virtually deserted. He occupied the bishop’s palace for a couple of nights and then loaded up the book collection, comprising at least 91 volumes, before leaving the city ablaze. Essex presented the collection to his friend Sir Thomas Bodley and it became part of the library Bodley founded in 1602. The Bodleian is still one of the most acclaimed libraries in the world.

The ownership of the pillaged books is clear because nearly all are uniformly bound and have on their covers the armorial stamp of Ferdinand Mascarenhas, appointed the 5th Bishop of Faro two years before the raid. The request for the books’ return is contained in a motion passed unanimously at the general assembly of a 250-member organization called Faro 1540, which is devoted to protecting and promoting the cultural heritage of the Algarve capital. Copies of the motion have been sent to Buckingham Palace and the British Embassy in Lisbon, as well as Portugal’s secretary of state for culture and senior officials in the Algarve. They are mostly 16th century treatises on theology, scholastic philosophy and canon law. Some had been published in Germany, France, Belgium and Italy just a few years prior to their theft.(Text in portuguese  http://www.faro1540.org/?p=1994)


The Iron Lady

«…But that evening in 1993, she was still on her best ex-prime ministerial form. At the end of her address, as her fans cheered her, she responded with what I can only describe as a full-body wiggle, an almost sensual shimmy – which I could hardly fail to notice, sitting about two feet behind her. It was not quite Marilyn Monroe, but I began to understand why François Mitterrand had compared her comportment to that of the screen goddess.

…In Shepherd’s memoir, there is an eye-witness account of Mrs Thatcher crying non-stop for 40 minutes after a British warship bound for the Falklands was struck by an Argentine missile: despite what the cynics would say, those tears were not of a politician, but of a mother who had put young men in harm’s way.»

Rest in peace

One though gang

Fifty years ago the rugby team of the Portsmouth Grammar School in Hampshire posed for a photo.

They went their separate ways, but all sixteen members survived the years and returned to update their picture.

They are not as badass as the russian granny who takes brides as hostages. Mock abductions of brides are part of marriage ceremonies across the former Soviet Union. :)




God save the king


Mike Hastings of Jerilderie,  a forklift driver by trade, passed away in Australia at the age of 71. According to British history, he could have sat on the royal throne instead of Queen Elizabeth II.

He was a descendant of England’s House of York, whose dynastic struggle with the House of Lancaster became known as the Wars of the Roses, dramatised by William Shakespeare.

The same old story, in-breading and illegitimate children and all other sorts of playing with the crown jewels.

Realmente pelintras

Prince William talked about the dilemma he was facing over the official guest list which had gone out of control, at the time of his wedding to Kate Middleton. ‘There was very much a subdued moment when I was handed a list with 777 names on – not one person I knew or Catherine knew. … I went to her(Queen) and said, ‘Listen, I’ve got this list, not one person I know – what do I do?’ and she went, ‘Get rid of it. Start from your friends and then we’ll add those we need to in due course. It’s your day.’

Kant’s conception of desire leads up to an account of “practical-cognitivist” conception of the will as a rational faculty of desire – a conception based on Kant’s identification of the will with practical reason. As exercises of reason, acts of volition are forms of cognition: they are essentially judgments about good that are derived from principles.

This reasoning is almost alien nowdays.

Para bom entendedor…

Em Inglaterra deu-se uma polémica acerca de escutas feitas pelos media para “descobrir” notícias, isto só para simplificar. O manda-chuva foi chamado ao Parlamento, respondeu por pensamentos,  actos e omissões. O veredicto foi Rupert Murdoch moralmente não está apto para conduzir uma empresa.

Na Holanda, a agência de previsões macro-económicas considerou o pacote de austeridade acordado entre o governo de minoria e mais três partidos, conseguido em dois dias, tão vago que é impossível calcular o seu impacto na economia.

Na Alemanha, está a pensar-se criar uma polícia de combustíveis, para investigar os preços da gasolina e tornar transparente a política de preços da gasolina. Em Portugal…