British ministry rattled by £10,000 bill to stuff snake

Updated 02 November 2012
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British ministry rattled by £10,000 bill to stuff snake

LONDON: Britain’s Foreign Ministry has come under fire after it emerged that it paid £10,000 to re-stuff a giant anaconda named Albert. The 20-foot (six-meter) snake, which has been in the possession of the Foreign Office for at least 120 years, is believed to have been presented to colonial officials in what is now Guyana in the 19th century.
Foreign Secretary William Hague revealed at the Conservative party conference last month that Albert, who has spent most of the last century hanging above the ministry library, was being restored. “He is looking very optimistic about the future of our foreign policy,” Hague joked.
But a request under freedom of information legislation by the Guido Fawkes political blog revealed on Thursday that the taxidermy job cost the ministry £10,000 ($16,100) at a time when the government is introducing steep spending cuts. A ministry spokesman said that as Albert was a gift, he is regarded as a government asset.
“As such, the Foreign Office is obliged to maintain its assets, and the work on ‘Albert’ was essential maintenance,” he said. “It is believed that ‘Albert’ was first re-stuffed in the 1960s or 1970s, but there are no records of how much it cost on that occasion. Certainly no significant maintenance has been carried out on him in the last 40-50 years.”


Restaurant asks Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders to leave

Updated 35 sec ago
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Restaurant asks Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders to leave

  • The owner said many of her employees were gay and that Sanders had defended Trump’s wish to bar transgender people from the armed forces
  • Protesters chanted “shame! shame!” repeatedly at Nielsen, a frontline defender of the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, until she left the restaurant

WASHINGTON: A Virginia restaurant was inundated with reviews from both ends of the political spectrum Saturday after White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said its owner asked her to leave because of her job.
On Friday, a Facebook user claiming to be a waiter at The Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia — around 70 miles southwest of Charlottesville — said he served Sanders “for a total of 2 minutes” before she and her party were asked to leave.
His post went viral when Brennan Gilmore, a musician, activist and former US diplomat, uploaded a screenshot to Twitter alongside an image of a handwritten note which read “86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders,” supposedly from the restaurant.
To “86” someone is a slang term meaning to refuse to serve a customer.
“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” Sanders tweeted on Saturday, confirming the incident.
“Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
Chef-owner Stephanie Wilkinson said that politics were especially explosive in her small town which voted against Trump in a county that did not.
Given her own moral position that the spokeswoman serves in an “inhumane and unethical” administration, Wilkinson told The Washington Post, she could not accept a defender of the president’s “cruelest policies.”

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said.
“I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” she stressed.
The owner said many of her employees were gay and that Sanders had defended Trump’s wish to bar transgender people from the armed forces. And then, she said, she was stunned by the spokeswoman’s defense of Trump policies leading to migrant children being taken from their parents’ care.
“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,” the owner explained.
“I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave.’“
The restaurant continued to be flooded Saturday afternoon with five-star online reviews praising the restaurant’s stance — and one-star reviews accusing the owner of “discrimination.”
“Sarah, you’re a class act. I’m so sorry you were treated this way,” was State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert’s response on Twitter.
It comes after US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled as she dined at a Mexican restaurant in Washington on Tuesday.
Protesters chanted “shame! shame!” repeatedly at Nielsen, a frontline defender of the Trump administration’s practice of separating migrant children from their parents, until she left the restaurant.
Two days earlier, according to the New York Post, White House adviser Stephen Miller was branded a “fascist” while dining at another Mexican eatery in Washington.