It is perhaps not the best omen for US foreign affairs. Local historians in Wexford, Ireland, have discovered that George W. Bush is a descendant of Strongbow, the power-hungry warlord who led the Norman invasion of Ireland thus heralding 800 years of mutual misery. \nWith a long line of Scots Irish presidents including Woodrow Wilson, the Irish are normally quick to claim US leaders as their own. But, despite President Bush's large Ulster Scots vote in the American Bible belt, Ireland had let his family escape the genealogical microscope. \nBut now Ann Griffin Bernstorff, an artist working on a tapestry to commemorate Ireland's Norman heritage, has discovered what she claims is the Bushs' missing Irish link. \nGriffin Bernstorff was researching Strongbow's son-in-law, William Marshal, when she discovered the connection. A descendant of Marshal married Anne Marbury Hutchinson, a famous 16th century religious dissenter who had already been linked to Bush. \n"It is one of those bizarre developments," she said. "We traced the Bush genealogy through a Republican source in Chicago and found it was correct. People here are absolutely shocked. I'm not sure what the wider reaction will be, Bush has not been seen as a great friend of the Irish." \nIndeed, when Bush visited a County Clare castle last year, radio talk-show hosts asked: "Is this the most hated American ever to set foot on Irish soil?" \nThe US president's now apparent ancestor, Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke -- known as Strongbow for his arrow skills -- is remembered as a desperate, land-grabbing warlord whose calamitous foreign adventure led to the suffering of generations. Shunned by King Henry II of England, he offered his services as a mercenary in the 12th century invasion of Ireland, in exchange for power and land. \nWhen he eventually died of a festering ulcer in his foot, his enemies said it was the revenge of Irish saints whose shrines he had violated. \nThe Bush clan -- who pride themselves on a distinguished New England family history that can be traced back to the first English in America -- may well be looking for a healthy spin on the news. But it seems that Strongbow is not the worst of Bush's newfound ancestors. \nThe genetic line can also be traced to Dermot MacMurrough, the Gaelic king of Leinster reviled in history books as the man who sold Ireland for personal gain. \nEven before MacMurrough earned the title of Ireland's worst traitor by inviting Strongbow's invasion to save himself from a local feud, the Irish chieftain had a reputation for gore. \nOne English chronicler told how MacMurrough, recognizing the features of a personal enemy poking from a pile of severed heads after a battle, snatched up the rotting flesh and tore it with his teeth in a "hideous frenzy." \nAs if it were not enough to be related to two of the most notorious figures in Irish history, Bush's relatives are also thought to have founded the Norman settlement of New Ross, in County Wexford. \nA quiet place, New Ross has a stunning Norman church and another claim to fame: it is the ancestral home of John F. Kennedy. \nDuring his first election campaign in 2000, English genealogists found that Bush was descended from yeomanry in Essex, eastern England. But unlike many US presidents keen to impress the Irish-American voters, he never before claimed an Irish link. \nIn the recent election campaign, the Democrat John Kerry had to deny rumors he was Irish. But Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy played the Irish card. And Bill Clinton, perhaps aware that portraits of JFK hung beside the Pope above rural Irish fireplaces, once punched the air at a St Patrick's Day parade, declaring: "I feel more Irish each day." \nThe jury is out on whether Strongbow had a "conquering" gene that drove him to invade. Michael Staunton, a lecturer in history at University College Dublin, felt Strongbow was simply desperate. \n"It was a typical colonial situation, the people who don't have much going for them decided to hop off to another country." \nPerhaps the most worrying question in New Ross is whether Bush now has a claim on Leinster. \n"Yes of course, he probably does," Ms Griffin Bernstorff said. "But there are other families in the area who have a claim and neighbors and friends here would put up a pretty stiff fight."
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable