Bristol statue toppling: Who was Edward Colston and why did anti-racism protesters target him?

Via Euronews: Bristol statue toppling: Who was Edward Colston and why did anti-racism protesters target him?

Anti-racism protesters in the English city of Bristol tore down the controversial statue of slave trader Edward Colston on Sunday after years of wrangling over his checkered legacy.

The 5.5-metre statue was toppled from its plinth and then thrown in the River Avon towards the end of a protest attended by about 10,000 people to denounce institutional racism.

The march, like similar ones across Europe, was organised in solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of African American George Floyd last month in Minneapolis, US.

Who was Edward Colston?

Colston was born to a wealthy merchant family in Bristol but was educated in London, where he was based for most of his working life, according to the Museum of Bristol’s website.

Edward Colston

He initially traded on his own account in Europe in woollen textiles and wine but bought shares in the Royal African Company (RAC) in 1680. Only RAC members were allowed to trade with Africa for gold, ivory and enslaved Africans.

RAC ships, which departed from Bristol, Liverpool and London, transported about 100,000 west African salves to the Caribbean and the Americas between 1672 and 1689. All of them were branded on the chest with the company’s initials.

According to the History of Parliament’s website, Colston “made the bulk of his fortune” from the slave trade”.



BBC News: Brexit: UK-EU trade talks resume ahead of June summit

BBC News – Brexit: UK-EU trade talks resume ahead of June summit

Talks between the UK and EU over a post-Brexit trade deal will enter their third round later, ahead of a decisive summit next month.

Both sides are due to decide by the end of June whether the current deadline for negotiating an agreement should be extended beyond the end of December.

The UK has said it will not agree to an extension, even if the EU requests one.

Transition extension calls

The UK is currently in a transition period under which it must follow most EU regulations, following its legal withdrawal from the bloc on 31 January.

Both sides exchanged legal text on a future trade deal in March. After the negotiations this week, a fourth round of talks is scheduled to begin on 1 June.



UK to launch Covid-19 pandemic monitoring system ranking threat level from 1 to 5

Via Euronews: UK to launch Covid-19 pandemic monitoring system ranking threat level from 1 to 5 https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/10/uk-to-launch-covid-19-pandemic-monitoring-system-ranking-threat-level-from-1-to-5

The UK is reportedly to launch a system that tracks the evolution of the pandemic the country.

The system will rank the health threat level on a scale from 1 to 5, in a similar way to what happens with terror threat levels.

A biosecurity center will collect data and monitor progress against the virus, hence determining the government’s response.

Specific measures may be implemented in certain parts of the country, depending on the evolution of the pandemic.

UK Prime Minister

The system is expected to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johson during tonight’s address to the nation at 8pm.


France, Spain and UK prepare to ease lockdowns starting Monday

Via Euronews: France, Spain and UK prepare to ease lockdowns starting Monday https://www.euronews.com/2020/05/09/france-spain-and-uk-prepare-to-ease-lockdowns-starting-monday

In Spain regions where hospitals can show they’re able to handle a possible second wave of coronavirus infections will be allowed to loosen their lockdown starting Monday.

In some areas, mostly rural ones, bars and restaurants will be allowed to open up half of their outdoor seating. Churches, theatres and museums will also be reopened with limits on visitor numbers.

But Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez indicated the spread of the virus could ramp up again.

“The fight against the epidemic is continuing because it has not been extinguished, nor will it be extinguished until we find a vaccine or a definitive therapeutic remedy,” Pedro Sánchez said.

In France, after 55 days, the lockdown will also be loosened on Monday.

People won’t need to present a permit to travel within 100 kilometres of where they live and public transport will step up a gear.

But restaurants, cafés bars and museums will remain firmly shut, for now.

Hairdressers will also open, as will small shops but not big shopping malls.

In the UK, which has Europe’s highest death toll, the measures to loosen the restrictions are much more limiting.

The government is expected to allow people to exercise outside for longer.

And £2bn will be spent on promoting walking and cycling, partly by widening pavements, establishing cycling tracks and making some streets only open to cyclists.