Thursday, October 30, 2008

Magraret Owen

On the back of this picture are the following two labels:

Margaret Owen Lady Stanley of Alderley when an old woman

Blanche Airlie

Margaret Owen Lady Stanley of Alderley

a water colour drawing from an oil painting at PenrhĂ´s Wales

This Lady was heiress of Penrhos
a beauty painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds

the Earl of Airlie

Margaret Owen was born in 1742 and died February 1, 1816. The de Witt archive has images of three Reynolds portraits of her, all before her marriage to Sir John Stanley o April 29, 1763. One of these is noted as sold to Harvard in Christie's Guinness sale of July 10, 1953, but the Harvard archivist, who tells me they have about 60 works by Sir Joshua Reynolds, could find no trace of it on their database

It isn't clear from Airlie's note whether the Penrhos picture was itself by Reynolds.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Margaret Owen

Not a very good photograph, but it was getting dark and the camera needed the flash.

This is a watercolour by Blanche Airlie, nee Stanley,who died January 5, 1921. She was the sister of my great grandfather Edward Lyulph Stanley and Katherine Bell, daughter of Edward John Stanley and Henrietta Maria Dillon, granddaughter of John Thomas Stanley and Maria Josepha Holroyd and great granddaughter of John Thomas Stanley and Margaret Owen.

The original, by Joshua Reynolds, I think I remember as a child at Lowndes Square. Dudi thinks it was in the drawing room at Penrhos. Maybe with a little detective work I can find out where it is now.

Obama supporters

If UK voters had a say in the American elections, Obama would have much larger majority, to judge by the people I know When I wear my Obama badge in the House I get favourable comments from colleagues in all parties.

JW is in Denver helping the Democrats there, as are others from Britain, and I suppose the situation would be the same in other swing states.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Resolution from last Sunday's Hannover conference on Bangladesh

Resolution of the 9th Bangladesh-Conference, Hannover/Germany

This Conference, held as part of the “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008”,

aware that Bangladeshi communities in European countries fervently hope for agreement between the stakeholders on the necessary steps to be taken for an orderly democratic process leading to peaceful elections on December 18;

noting that the European Union is sending an observer mission to monitor the elections, and that EU help may be needed to consolidate the transition to democracy

1. Respectfully calls on the caretaker government and the political parties to reach agreement without further delay on the conditions for registration of the parties;
2. Further requests the government and the political parties to reach agreement on the lifting of the state of emergency to allow freedom of expression and of movement, coupled with a prohibition on incitement to violence or communal hatred;
3. Calls on the parties to discuss a review of the constitution, to reduce the power of the political parties over the choice of candidates, and to amend Article 70, which deprives MPs of freedom to exercise their own judgement;
4. Welcomes the public discussion of the necessity of bringing to justice the perpetrators of the war crimes of 1971, and
5. Respectfully hopes that the incoming democratic government will implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord in full

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Recommendations of Pneumococcal Disease Group

Recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pneumococcal Disease (full report,

Recomendation 1
Recognised international health funding mechanisms such as the Global Fund and IFFIm fund immunisations and the management of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. As a result, UK Government statements, policies and strategies specifically recognise and focus on these diseases, as the UK Government is a major driver and financial contributor to both mechanisms. The AMC funds prevention of pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, through a similarly recognised mechanism.
We recommend that the UK Government give equal prominence and standing to pneumococcal disease and pneumonia in its statements, policies and strategies as with malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS . We also recommend that world governments give
equal prominence and standing to pneumonia and pneumococcal disease as they ascribe to other conditions.
Recomendation 2
The lack of a standard message around pneumococcal disease, technical factors and poor surveillance, have exacerbated the pervasive underappreciation of pneumococcal disease as a public health priority.
We recommend that the governments of developing countries increase their commitments, where possible, to prevent and treat pneumonia and meningitis, the two most common manifestations of serious pneumococcal disease.
R ecomendation 3
We believe that ongoing monitoring and evaluation is essential to secure public trust in the use of the large sums of public funding committed to the pneumococcal AMC. Public scrutiny of spend, transparency of management and robust evidence-based statistics are essential to
maintain this trust.
We recommend that the Department for International Development (DFID) and the AMC partners publish regular updates on the progress of the pneumococcal AMC programme.
We recommend that the UK Government and all AMC donors continue to monitor and evaluate the pilot AMC and work to assure that future AMC s benefit from the lessons learned.

R ecomendation 4
We believe that continued research into pneumococcal disease and vaccination is vital for improved epidemiology, more accurate diagnosis and monitoring of changes in serotype. Current PCVs are not effective against all serotypes of pneumococcal disease, particularly some strains that are common in adults and the elderly, (S. pneumoniae kills about
800,000 adults annually).208 In addition to this, herd immunity should ensure that adult mortality declines following the introduction of vaccination in children. AMC donors should engage with pharmaceutical companies to discuss developing vaccines effective against a larger variety of S. pneumoniae serotypes.
We recommend that AMC donors and other international governments consider supporting further research initiatives to discover and develop novel vaccines for the developing world and for adults who are also affected by pneumococcal disease.
R ecomendation 5
AMC donor nations and organisations, as well as other key stakeholders should encourage other governments to contribute to supporting and backing further efforts to strengthen health systems including the areas of education, prevention, treatment and management of pneumococcal disease and pneumonia and other diseases that affect the developing world.
We recommend that the UK Government and other organisations, such as GAV I, support ongoing international efforts to strengthen health systems in the developing world, including through the International Health Partnership.
R ecomendation 6
Educational, environmental and cultural factors increase the risk of pneumococcal disease. For example, parents may not recognise the symptoms in their children and might not appreciate the importance of seeking medical help.209 Overcrowding, poor domestic air quality and
malnutrition also increase the likelihood of exposure, transmission and the development of the disease.210 The MRF stated in their written evidence that “…it is particularly important to engage with the public. Effective communication about disease burden and the importance of vaccination plays a vital role.”
We recommend that governments and agencies take this opportunity to educate people on the signs, symptoms and risk factors for pneumococcal disease.

Last week

Peccavi! I'm not keeping up with events on my blog, as Hugh reminded me this evening. Briefly:

October 13, fielded a Parliamentary question on Burma. Then, a meeting with two distinguished visitors from Bangladesh, and later, helped defet the Government on their infamous proposal to allow a person to be detained for up to 42 days before being charged.

October 14, attended and spoke at a meeting to protest about the American intention to hand over control of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where there are several thousand members of the People's Mojahedin of Iran, to the Iraqi authorities. Later, attended the celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the inauguration of the Sikh faith (from the date when the holy book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, was made the permanent Guru, following the previous nine living Gurus. In the evening, spoke at a meeting on self-determination for Kashmir in the Moses Room.

October 15, lunch with Ursula; spoke at a meeting on West Papua, then at the launch of the Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pneumococcal Disease (having played an active role on the Committee's inquiry), then a meeting with Fernanda Borges of East Timor.

October 16, visit to the Vascular Laboratory at King's to have a Doppler scan of my aorta, which is still 4.75 cm, as it was a year ago. Then, a meeting with two Iranians, who were lobbying against the decision to deproscribe the PMOI as no longer satisfying the criteria to be treated as terrorists. They gave me some literature containing general allegations, but when I asked them to name one 'terrorist' offence committee by the PMOI since the assassination of the Governor of Evin Prison in 1999 or 2000 they were at a loss. In the early evening, attended the first showing of Shahriar Kabir's film on the 1971 war crimes in Bangladesh, hen allegedly three million people were murdered, and spoke as one of a panel discussing the film.

October 17, chaired a meeting of the Traveller Law Reform Unit.

October 18, to Hannover, attended a weekend meeting on Bangladesh there and spoke on the Sunday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

SOAS - the Bangladesh war crimes of 1971

At SOAS this evening there was the premiere of Shahriar Kabir's film on the Bangladesh war crimes of 1971, after which there was a panel discussion and questions by the audience. Kabir has recorded a large number of testimonies on the atrocities by the Pakistan army and their collaborators, but there still needs to be a systematic collection of the witness statements in a form that could be presented as evidence in a court of law. The revival of war crimes prosecutions, initiated by Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman after independence, but terminated abruptly at the point of the military coup in 1975, is likely to be debated in the General Election campaign in Bangladesh, and it would be useful if the diaspora could also express their views.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sheikh Hasina at yesterday's meeting

First week back

Fairly busy, first week back in Parliament. Monday I spoke in a debate on Pakistan, Wednesday, a question on Zimbabwe, Thursday, a question on Iraqi refugees, and chaired a meeting for Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Awami League in Bangladesh. She spoke about the forthcoming elections, due on December 18, and criticised the caretaker government's decision to continue emergency rule up to polling day. But she pointed out also that the only time in the history of Bangladesh that power has been handed over peacefully at a democratic election was in 2001, when she was defeated by the BNP.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

JW about to leave for Denver yesterday

Sunday lunch

There wasn't much to report last week, hence the gap in entries. Friday evening we attended a dinner to mark the centenary of engineering at Oxford, and Saturday I addressed a neeting at the London Buddhist Vihara, on Buddhism and International Relations.