Tuesday, May 31, 2005

News In Brief 31 May 2005

London Gripped In 5th Day of Riots
Fears That Big Ben Stoppage Signals 'End of Days'; Some Blame Camilla

The City of London suffered its fifth day of panic and rioting as British citizens ran through the streets, ransacking storefronts and overturning automobiles and lighting them on fire. The British military has been called in to augment the over-matched London Police and restore order.

The discord began last Friday evening, when the historic landmark clock, Big Ben, stopped ticking twice and remained inoperative for over 90-minutes.

Big Ben survived German bombings during World War II and has continued to mark the time to within 1.5 seconds of Greenwich Mean Time. In 1962, the giant clock rang in the New Year 10-minutes early due to snow, and broken machinery caused it to stop in 1976. Big Ben also stopped on April 30, 1997, and once more three weeks later.

Standing 315-feet-tall, Big Ben, actually the clock's 13-ton bell, was completed 1858

Officials say that it may have been the record-breaking heat in London, where it reached 90-degrees - the hottest May day in London since 1953. The heat, official also say, may be what contributed to the panic and rioting.

"It seemed like the whole town paused for a few minutes and then exploded" said one London police officer.

Security was beefed up at Windsor Castle as a crowd swelled, demanding that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, the former Camilla Parker Bowles, leave the country. Some in crowd held signs blaming the Duchess for the troubles with Big Ben.

While some of the rioting has spread to towns outside of London, most of it has been contained within the city. The only establishments spared being razed are the town's pubs.

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