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London

Remembering the 7/7 London Bombings

On July 7, 2005, four sick-minded terrorists tried to break the spirit of London. They failed.

Exactly 10 years ago today, on 7 July 2005, four young men committed mass murder on the transport network of my former home city, London.

At around 8.30 am — the busiest time on London’s widely used tube network — the four men, wearing backpacks stuffed with explosive hydrogen peroxide, exited King’s Cross station and split up. Three headed towards the underground while one boarded a double-decker bus.

Exactly 19 minutes later, at 8.49 am, they set off a series of deadly explosions on the Circle Line, the Piccadilly Line, and on the number 30 bus.

Fifty-two innocent individuals, people simply travelling to work that morning, lost their lives. Their names — David Foulkes (22), Gamze Gunerol (24), Shahara Islam (20), Rachell Chung For Yuen (27), Monika Suchocka (23) and 47 others — reflect London’s staggering diversity.

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How many expats are there worldwide?

How Many Expats Are There Worldwide?

Are More People On The Move Than Ever Before?

Twenty-five years ago, there were more than 154 million international migrants who – for one reason or another – packed up their homes in their native countries and moved to become expatriates in another part of the world.

Now that figure stands at over 232 million (3.2% of the world’s total population) – the highest number of international migrants ever recorded by the UN’s surveys.

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What is the friendliest country for expats?

The World’s Friendliest Countries for Expats

Which Countries Rank Highest for Social Life, Making Friends and Feeling Welcome?

Living overseas doesn’t have to mean loneliness, homesickness and being made to feel unwelcome by the locals. At least that’s true if you’re living in Russia (yes, you read that right), Bahrain or Mexico.

These are the three friendliest countries for expats, where they can most easily make friends, integrate into the community, enjoy an active social life and be made to feel welcome at work, according to the most recent HSBC Expat Explorer Survey.

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Expat voting rights

Can I Vote While I’m Living Abroad?

Overseas Voting Rights Under the Spotlight

The recent announcement that the British government will act to extend overseas voting rights to all citizens (though not in time for expat  Britons to vote in the planned EU membership referendum), irrespective of how long they have been living outside of the UK has put expat voting rights under the spotlight.

At present British citizens can vote from overseas in General and European elections, so long as they have not lived outside of the UK for more than 15 years. The “15 year rule” has generated quite a bit of controversy because, with an estimated 5.6 million British citizens living overseas, it causes a substantial number of people to be disenfranchised.

The European Commission has gone so far as saying that Britain is “punishing” its expatriates for leaving the country by denying them the right to vote. “The right to vote is one of the fundamental rights of citizenship. It is part of the very fabric of democracy,” said Vivian Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner, in a statement made in 2014.

However, far from being an anachronism, Britain’s expatriate voting rules are actually among the most relaxed in the world. The vast majority of the world’s migrants and expats are unable to continue to have a say in how their countries are run and many of those expats who do have voting rights find that they are subject to stricter recent residency conditions than imposed by the UK.

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Memorial day explained

Memorial Day Explained for Non-Americans – A Quick Guide

What is Memorial Day — the US Public Holiday taking place on May 25 — all about?

For expats a country’s national holidays — and how people mark them — can be a huge insight into your new home’s culture and way of life. Understanding the background to the public holidays celebrated your new country, and how you can mark them, can be an important part of your integration.

With that in mind, it is currently “Memorial Day Weekend” here in the United States – a holiday unique to the USA, and therefore an opportunity for me to try to better understand my new home. If the reaction of people on Twitter is anything to go by the holiday is predominantly about barbecues and parties:

Clearly there is much more to Memorial Day than this. So what is it all about?

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