UK honors cave rescue divers, Twiggy, Monty Python’s Palin

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In this file photo dated Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007, former English model, actress and singer, Twiggy Lawson, commonly known as Twiggy, in London, England. (AP)
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In a combination of pictures created in London on December 28, 2018 Canadian author Margaret Atwood (L) attends Variety's Power of Women: New York at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on April 13, 2018 and British author Philip Pullman (R) poses during a photo call for his new book 'La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One' at the Bodleian Libraries, in Oxford, southern England, on October 18, 2017. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on August 05, 2018 British actress Sophie Okonedo poses on the red carpet upon arrival for the European premiere of the film "Christopher Robin" in London on August 5, 2018. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on October 16, 2018 British divers involved in the Tham Luang cave rescue in Thailand, (L-R) Chris Jewell, Connor Roe, Jim Warny and Rob Harper, pose for a photograph at a reception hosted by Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace in London on October 16, 2018. (AFP)
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British broadcaster and horticulturalist Monty Don poses with his medal after being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to broadcasting and charity during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on December 20, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 29 December 2018

UK honors cave rescue divers, Twiggy, Monty Python’s Palin

  • Divers Joshua Bratchley, Lance Corporal Connor Roe and Vernon Unsworth will be made Members of the Order of the British Empire for their roles in the risky Thai cave rescue last summer

LONDON: British divers who rescued young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are among those being recognized in Britain’s New Year’s Honors List, along with 1960s model Twiggy and Monty Python star Michael Palin.
Twiggy, a model who shot to stardom during the Beatles era, will become a “dame” — the female equivalent of a knight — while Python, whose second career has seen him become an acclaimed travel documentary maker, receives a knighthood.
Jim Carter, who played the acerbic Mr. Carson in “Downton Abbey,” was also recognized, as was filmmaker Christopher Nolan, director of “Inception” and “Dunkirk,” and best-selling author Philip Pullman, creator of the Dark Materials trilogy.
The list released Friday also named 43 people who responded quickly to the extremist attacks in Manchester and London in 2017.
The honors process starts with nominations from the public, which are winnowed down by committees and sent to the prime minister before the various honors are bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II or senior royals next year.
The 92-year-old monarch has increasingly called on her children and grandchildren to hand out the coveted awards.
Divers Joshua Bratchley, Lance Corporal Connor Roe and Vernon Unsworth will be made Members of the Order of the British Empire for their roles in the risky Thai cave rescue last summer.
Four other British cave divers will receive civilian gallantry awards for their roles in the thrilling rescue of 12 boys and their coach, who were trapped in the cave for more than two weeks.
Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, the first to reach the stranded children and their coach, have been awarded the George Medal, while Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
Twiggy, whose modeling career lasted for decades, burst on the London Mod scene as one of the original “It” girls. She earned worldwide fame by 17 and went on to a career in theater and films.
“It’s wonderful, but it makes me giggle,” said Twiggy, 69, whose real name is Lesley Lawson. “The hardest thing has been keeping it a secret.”
Palin’s knighthood recognizes his contribution to travel, culture and geography. He said the news had not sunk in yet but noted “I have been a knight before, in Python films. I have been several knights, including Sir Galahad.”
“I don’t think it will (sink in) until I see the envelopes addressing me as Sir Michael Palin,” said the 75-year-old.


10,000 homeless after fire razes Bangladesh slum

Updated 14 min 1 sec ago

10,000 homeless after fire razes Bangladesh slum

  • The fire broke out at in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighborhood late on Friday and razed around 2,000 mostly tin shacks
  • Experts say fires are frequent in Dhaka due to lax safety measures

DHAKA: At least 10,000 people are homeless after a massive fire swept through a crowded slum in the Bangladesh capital and destroyed thousands of shanties, officials said Sunday.
The fire broke out at in Dhaka’s Mirpur neighborhood late on Friday and razed around 2,000 mostly tin shacks, fire services official Ershad Hossain said.
“I could not salvage a single thing. I don’t know what will I do,” 58-year-old Abdul Hamid, who ran a tea stall inside the slum, said as he broke down in tears.
Authorities eventually got the blaze under control and no-one was killed, although several people had minor injuries, firefighters said.
Many residents — largely low-income garment factory workers — were not in the slum as they had left their homes to celebrate the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday with their families.
“Otherwise, the damage would have been bigger,” local police chief Golam Rabbani said.
Around 10,000 people have taken refuge in crammed camps at nearby schools closed for the weeklong holiday, according to Hossain.
“We are providing them with food, water, mobile toilets, and electricity supply,” municipal official Shafiul Azam said, adding that authorities were trying to find permanent accommodation.
Some families have erected tarpaulins to shelter them from bouts of rain during the monsoon season, but the wet conditions have turned the fields muddy.
Experts say fires are frequent in Dhaka due to lax safety measures.
At least 100 people have been killed so far this year in building fires across the densely populated metropolitan city.
In 2012, a fire swept through a nine-story garment factory near Dhaka killing 111 workers. An investigation found it was caused by sabotage and that managers at the plant had prevented victims from escaping.
A 2010 fire in Nimtoli, one of the most densely populated districts of the capital, killed 123 people.