ME and Ophelia

Monday, July 24, 2006

Or viral marketing?


What’s more, this Emily even has her own blog. This billboard is just one step. Read more at - and the comments.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 7/24/2006 0 comments

Saturday, July 15, 2006

"Make ready" for operations off Lebanon

My 18 year old niece is in the Royal Navy, serving aboard HMS Illustrious.

HMS Illustrious

BBC report 15 July 2006:

Defence Secretary Des Browne has given orders for HMS Illustrious and HMS Bulwark to "make ready" for operations off Lebanon.

The pair will depart as soon as necessary, possibly within 24 hours.

No order for evacuating UK citizens has yet been given, but ministers and defence staff are considering a plan to evacuate those trapped in Lebanon.

It comes as Israel has stepped up its strikes in Lebanon after Hezbollah militants seized two Israeli soldiers.

'Contingency planning'

HMS Illustrious is currently in Gibraltar and HMS Bulwark is close to Barcelona in Spain.

The decision whether to proceed with an evacuation plan has not yet been taken and no orders have been given.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said British nationals in Lebanon should make sure the embassy knows of them, to stay put, keep a low profile and take embassy advice as it becomes available.

A Foreign Office spokesman added: "We are also advising British nationals to get ready for departure at short notice if the situation changes including by having travel documents in order."

But a British student in Lebanon, Natalya Adams, told BBC Radio Five Live she was having trouble getting help from the British embassy, unlike American students who had been send texts from their embassy.

"We've not heard anything and the only news I'm getting is from my mum... bugging them from London," she said.

"She's able to get through to the London number and she's the one who's giving me the information on what the British embassy are saying."

Meetings on the evacuation plan are taking place at the Ministry of Defence.

An MoD spokeswoman said the two ships had been given "no specific tasking", but added: "As you would expect we are monitoring the situation closely and are engaging in prudent contingency planning."

"As part of this HMS Illustrious and HMS Bulwark will shortly head towards the region," she said.

'Planes and bombs'

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said the offensive against Lebanese targets will continue until Hezbollah releases the soldiers and stops firing rockets at Israel.

British student Karen Wild from Sheffield, who is in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, told BBC News 24 that she did "not feel safe".

She said she had been able to speak to the British embassy in Beirut who had told her to "stay put, stay inside" for the time being.

"It is quite unnerving when you hear the planes and bombs coming," said the student of Arabic.

Ms Wild said fellow Canadian, Spanish and Italian students had been evacuated in the past few days.

There are several thousand Britons in Beirut. One who has got out of the city is student Angela Quatermaine, from Oxford.

She told the BBC: "The Lebanese have been so kind and friendly... they have been wonderful getting us out of Beirut."

Referring to the news that the two Royal Navy vessels were on standby, she said: "I don't know how they are going to get here as the port has been bombed... we'll believe it when we see it."

Marines aboard

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood has said that 24 hours to get ready for sailing would be considered a "short turnaround" for the two ships.

He said that damage to the airport and port in Beirut meant it would be "difficult to get in".

"Any evacuation would be carried out in concert with other countries, led by the US," he added.

Mr Wood said HMS Bullwark had a contingent of 500 marines, which could be used to make beaches safe in the event of any evacuation.

HMS Illustrious has helicopters and fighter bombers on board, which again could be used to aid any evacuation.

British and dual nationality citizens contacting the Foreign Office in London should call 0207 008 1500.
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July 15 2006 PA report at Guardian - Royal Navy sails to crisis area - Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Blair called for "calm" following the air strikes in Lebanon by Israel in retaliation for the kidnap of two of its soldiers.

Speaking at a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Mr Blair said the most important thing was to support the United Nations' mission to "try and get some restraint" into the situation.

He said: "The only way we are going to get this situation resolved is if we support the UN mission, get some calm into the situation and then as soon as possible - and I want to emphasise how important I think this is for world security - get back in to the road map towards a two-state solution that offers the only chance for stability and peace in the future."