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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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Why are British and American English different?

Why to Succeed in the USA You Must First Learn to Speak “American”

When doing business in today’s globalized world, all of the expert advice suggests learning to speak a little of your host’s language. If you’re British (or have learned British English) then you might think you have a head start in the USA. In fact, the differences between British and American English are substantial.

The approaching Fourth of July holiday (or should that be July Fourth?) is a reminder that American and British English share a common ancestry. Yet, despite the modern day United States having it’s roots in British colonialism, the two main branches of the English language have diverged quite markedly over the past 250 years.

Having a firm knowledge of the differences and deploying American English correctly is, as I am discovering as a British expat living and working in San Francisco, crucial to business success in the United States.

What, then, are the key differences, how should you handle them and why are British and American English so different?

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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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How big is the UK compared to California?

How Big Is the UK Compared to California? (And Nine Similarly Important Questions)

One thing that expats to the United States, especially from densely populated Europe, find difficult to comprehend is the sheer scale of the place.

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, the United States is enormous. In fact, the USA is so big that the entire European Union (all 28 member countries) could fit inside it, twice.

My new home state, California, is (by population at least) the largest state in the union. But how does it compare to my native United Kingdom?

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