Universal credit is a welfare benefit program started in the UK in 2013 to replace the 6 means tested benefits and credit cards. The national launch was set for October 2013 for new claimants (excluding those with complex cases like families with children) though a pilot in 4 local authorities preceded this.
The transition was set to be gradual and to be completed by 2017. While this was the case, only one of the original pilots went ahead as scheduled due to persistent delays in implementation and IT failures. The other three pilots took off later that summer and were met by numerous criticisms.
Ian Duncan Smith, the secretary of Work and Pensions is the one that proposed the Universal Credit in 2010 at the Conservative Party annual conference. The aim was to ensure that it is implemented in the span of 4 years and two parliaments with the intention of merging the already existing 6 means tested tax credits and benefits into one monthly payment and to reduce costs as well. The six benefits include the following:
- Income based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income related Support
- Employment Allowance
- Income support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.
Unlike existing benefits like Income Support that have a 100 percent withdrawal rate, the Universal Credit will be tapered away gradually as is the case with existing Housing Benefit and tax credits so that in theory, people are able to still take part time jobs and at the same time, be allowed to retain some of the money they receive.
Universal credit payment would also be paid in a different manner from the current benefits. Some of these include the following:
- The money will be paid directly into the account you choose
- If one gets assistance with rent, the same will be included in their monthly payment so they can pay the landlord
- In cases where both partners are eligible for Universal Credit, they will get one payment set for the household.
There are 4 conditionality’s for claimants depending on circumstances ranging from whether they are required to search for full time employment to their inability to find work at all (this includes people in the unconditional group such as carers and the severely disabled)
Universal Credit payment will be done once every month directly into a building society’s or bank account. Any assistance with rent will also be included in the payment so that claimants can pay their landlords directly.
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The holocaust was the state sponsored bureaucratic, systematic persecution and murder of 6 million Jews including 1.5 million Jewish children by the Nazi regime and its collaborators in Europe. It occurred in 1933 to 1945. There are millions other people who were also caught up in the web of destruction woven by the Nazi’s.
In 1933, when Hitler became chancellor, the German government started passing laws that eliminated the rights of Jews as citizens. Eventually, in the German occupied Europe, the Jews were forced through laws to live in certain regions of the city known as ghettos. From there, many Jews were deported by the Nazis to death and labor camps.
Apart from the Jews the Nazis also targeted other minority groups such as political dissidents, those with genetic diseases, the Poles, male homosexuals, the disabled, Jehovah’s Witness and the gypsies or Roma. The anti-Semitic Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler believed the Jews were an inferior race and an alien threat to the racial purity of the Germans and the community.
After years of the Nazis ruling during which Jews were persecuted persistently, Hitler made ‘final solution’ which came to be known as the Holocaust. This was carried out under the disguise of World War 1 with mass killing centers constructed in concentration camps of occupied Poland.
Hitler’s worldview had two twin goals which included spatial expansion and racial purity. From 1933 onward, these goals would combine to form the driving force behind his domestic and foreign policy. The Nazis at first preserved their harshest persecution for political opponents like the social democrats and the communists.
They opened the first official concentration camp in 1933 March at Dachau (near Munich). Majority of the prisoners who were sent to the camp first were communists. Like other concentration camps that followed shortly afterwards and which served as the killing grounds, Dachau was under the command of Heinrich Himmler who was the head of the elite Nazi guard, the SS (Schutzstaffel) then later it was under the German police.
By 1933 July, the concentration camps held more than 27,000 people in protective custody. Huge symbolic acts and Nazi rallies like the public burning of Communists, books by Jews, foreigners and liberals aided in driving the desired message of the Nazis.
Because of Jews persecution, they numbered roughly 525,000 or 1% of the overall German population in 1933. In the next 6 years that followed, the Nazis undertook what was known as ‘Aryanization’ of Germany, liquidating businesses that were owned by the Jews, dismissing non-Aryans from the civil service and stripping Jewish doctors and lawyers of their clients. Under Nuremberg laws, anyone who had 3 or 4 Jewish grandparents was considered a Jew while those with 2 were considered Mischlinge (half-breeds).
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Marketing mix refers to a business tool used by marketers in marketing. It is crucial when determining a brands or products offer and is often associated with the 4 P’s which include:
Marketing mix also refers to set of tactics or actions that a company might use in order to promote its produce or brand in the market. Nowadays though, there are additional Ps such as People, Packaging, Positioning and even at times Politics which are vital elements to the mix.
Description of the 4 Ps
- Price-This refers to value of the product and depends on segment targeted, production costs, and ability of the market to pay as well as supply and demand. It also involves a host of other indirect and direct factors. There are several pricing strategies types and each has an overall business plan. Pricing is used as a demarcation for differentiating and enhancing a products image.
- Product-This is the item that is being sold and it must deliver minimum performance level. If this is not achieved, other elements of marketing mix will not be of any significant use.
- Place-This is the point of sale and whatever the industry, it is important to catch the consumer’s eye and make it possible for them to purchase the product. Retailers always pay a premium in order to get the right location. As a matter of fact, the mantra of any successful business is ‘ location, location, location’
- Promotion-This refers to activities that are undertaken in order to make the service or product known to users and trade. This includes word of mouth, advertising, incentives, awards, commissions and press reports to trade. It might also include direct marketing, consumer schemes, prizes and contests.
‘Marketing mix’ was popularized in 1964 after Neil H. Borden published his article ‘The Concept of Marketing Mix’. He begun use of the term in the late 1940’s after James Culliton described the marketing manager as a ‘mixer of ingredients.
The ingredients in his marketing mix included packaging, servicing, product planning, branding, pricing, personal selling, physical handling, fact finding, distribution channels, advertising and promotions. The ingredients were categorized into the 4 Ps mentioned earlier by Jerome McCarthy.
The framework of the marketing mix was especially useful in the early days of marketing concept when a large section of the economy was represented by physical products. Today, marketing has become integrated into organizations and there is a variety of markets and products factors that have seen authors attempt to extend the usefulness of the fifth P such as people, process and packaging etc. despite the limitations, use of the framework is still strong and most of the marketing textbooks are organized around it.
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Christian Perspective of Life after Death
Christian beliefs on life after death vary slightly from one denomination to another and individual Christians. While this is the case, a vast majority of Christians believe heaven is the place where believers go upon dying so they can enjoy the presence of God. Christians believe that in heaven, they are freed from sin and all other kinds of manifestations such as pain and suffering.
The Bible also teaches heaven is an actual place for instance in John 14:1-6. Life in heaven will have continuity like life in the present world. For instance, people will have bodies just like they do now yet, it will be different than it is in the present life because what people get will be ‘new’ bodies (1 Cor. 15:35-49).
A large percentage of Christians also believe the Bible teaches about the existence of a place known as hell where punishment and judgment will take place for instance 2 Peter 2:4. In the New Testament, there are several passages that provide the description of hell as a place where there is fire (Mark 9:43, James 3:6).
Some Christians have interpreted the imagery of fire as a figurative way of communicating severe punishment. There is also the minority that views the description literally but believes the punishment people will experience will be temporary like that of objects that are destroyed by flames eventually.
Roman Catholics hold believes that are slightly different as they believe in purgatory. To them, purgatory is a temporary place of punishment for Christians who died with un-confessed sins. The Catholic Church Catechism states ‘All who die in God’s grace and friendship , but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their external salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven’.
The questions most Christians ask include whether there is life after death and what type of form it takes. There are conflicting answers to these questions such as:
- Some christians believe that eventually, they land in Hell, Heaven, Sheol, Purgatory or some other state, condition or place
- They believe they cease to exist in any form or simply disappear
- The souls are separated from the body and they go to hell or heavy while the bodies remain on earth where they decay
- Some Christians believe they sleep for a long duration upon death before they wake up for the final judgment
- They are incarnated into new bodies where they live another lifetime on earth as an animal or human
While Christians hold different views about life after death, the Bible remains ambiguous about matters that are related to the same.
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Capital budget refers to the process through which firms decide on the long term investments to make. Projects of capital budgeting are supposed to generate cash flows for several years. The decision on whether to reject or accept capital budgeting project is dependent on analysis of cash flow that is generated by the project as well as its cost.
Capital budgeting makes it possible to determine which long term organization investments are worth funding through the capitalization structure like replacement machinery, new machinery, research development projects, new products and new plants.
In simple terms capital budgeting is the process of resources allocation for major investment and capital expenditures. The primary goal of this type of budgeting is to increase value of the firm to its shareholders. There are several techniques used in capital budgeting and some of these include:
- Net present value
- Payback period
- Accounting rate of return
- Profitability index
- Equivalent annuity
- Real options valuation
- Modified internal rate of return
- Internal rate of concern
The techniques mentioned above use incremental cash flows from each potential investment or project. There are times when techniques that are based in accounting rules and accounting earnings get used though economists might consider this as improper for instance ‘return in investment’ and accounting rate of return’. Hybrid and simplified methods can be used as well like discounted payback period and payback period.
There are several factors that determine capital budgeting such as the risk of the business, taxation policy, capital return, working capital, trend of earning, political unrest, geographical condition, lending policies of financing institutions, funds availability, structure of capital, exchange rate of currency, market forecast and immediate urgency of the project.
Capital budgeting projects can be classified as:
- Independent project-Which refers to a project whose cash flows cannot be affected by the reject/accept decision of other projects. As such, all independent projects that are able to meet capital budgeting criterion should be accepted
- Mutually exclusive projects-Which include a set of projects from which at the very least, one can get accepted. For instance, a set of projects that are designed to accomplish similar tasks. When choosing this type of project, there should be one that satisfied the criterion for Capital Budgeting and it is the only project that can get accepted.
Capital budgeting projects and investments must be funded with excess cash that is raised through debt capital, retained earnings or equity capital. Dent capital refers to borrowed cash which can be in the form of bonds or loans that are issued to creditors.
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Brand royalty is a term that explains a consumer’s act of choosing/buying a product produced by the same manufacturer repeatedly rather than one from a competitor. The concept is based on perception simply because the consumer believes they are buying the superior product.
It is important to note brand royalty is related to products not a company. For instance, while one might be loyal to their Honda Accord, they might believe a Harley is the best motorcycle. Therefore, brand royalty consists of the consumers’ commitment that they will repurchase or continue use of the same brand. This is demonstrated by their repeated choice of a service or products or other behaviors like word of mouth advocacy.
There is more to brand royalty than simple repurchasing. Customers might purchase a brand as a result of situational constraints, out of convenience or lack of viable alternatives. Therefore, true royalty exists when customers have relative high attitude towards the brand which is exhibited through repurchase behavior.
This kind of royalty is a great asset to the firm because customers are often willing to pay high prices, they can bring new customers to the company and it costs less to serve them. From a marketer’s point of view, brand royalty in regard to consumer usage is the key aspect.
More importantly though, the rate of usage is also important and this is where the Pareto 80-20 Rule applies. A second dimension is whether the consumer is com mitted to the brand and Phillip Kotler defines 4 behavior patterns which include the following:
- Switchers-These are consumers with no loyalty (they are most likely ‘deal prone’ constantly keeping an eye for ‘vanity prone’ or bargains)
- Shifting loyal- These are consumers who shift from one brand to the next one
- Hard –core loyal-These consumers always buy the same brand every time
- Split loyal-This consumer is likely to have two or three favorite brands
It is suggested that brand loyalty included a certain degree of pre-dispositional commitment towards a brand. Loyalty is therefore viewed as a multidimensional construct. There are several distinct psychological processes that influence loyalty and also entail multivariate measurements. The customers perceived brand trust, repeat purchase behavior, commitment, customer satisfaction and value are the key factors that influence brand loyalty factors.
The most influential writer on brand royalty, Fred Reichheld claimed the enhancement of brand royalty has dramatic effects on profitability. The greatest benefit associated with brand loyalty is said to be customers’ low sensitivity to price. Recent research has proven that long term customers who are loyal to a brand are less likely to be sensitive to price increases.
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Black Wednesday in economics and politics refers to the September 16th 1992 incident when the British Conservative government was forced to withdraw the pound sterling from the ERM (European Exchange Rate Mechanism) after it failed to keep above the agreed lower limit in ERM.
It happened after the Hungarian banker, George Soros made more than 1 billion GBP profit through short selling the sterling. Quickly, he became known as ‘the man who broke the bank of England’. The United Kingdom treasury in 1997 estimated that the Black Wednesday cost was at £ 3.4 billion while other sources estimated figures that were as high as £ 27 billion.
Documents released in 2005 under Freedom of Information Act revealed the actual cost might have been £3.3 billion only. Trading losses in September and August were estimated at £ 800 million. Note that the main loss to taxpayers arose as a result of devaluation that could have made profits for them.
The papers also show that had the government maintained $ 24 billion available in foreign currency reserves and if the pound had fallen by that same amount, the United Kingdom would have made a profit of £ 2.4 billion on sterling’s devaluation.
The ERM was set up in 1979 but the UK declined to join it which was a controversial decision. This is because Geoffrey Howe, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was steadfastly pro-European. Nigel Lawson, his successor and a believer of fixed exchange rate admired West Germany’s low inflationary record and attributed it to the management of Bundesbank and the strength of Deutsche Mark.
As such, though the United Kingdom had not joined ERM, from the start of 1987 to March 1988, Treasury followed a semi official policy of ‘shadowing’ the Deutsche Mark. George Soros had been building huge position in pounds sterling for months that lead up to Black Wednesday.
He recognized the unfavorable position the UK joined the ERM. For him, the rate at which the UK was brought into the ERM was quite high, their inflation was much high (triple that of the German rate) and the British interest rates were also hurting their asset prices.
The government made attempts at propping the sinking pound in order to ensure it is not withdrawn from the monetary system the country had joined 2 years earlier. On 16th September, the government announced it would raise the base interest from a high 10 to 12 % in a bid to tempt speculators to buy pounds. They made another promise later in the day to raise it to 15$ but dealers kept selling the pound because they were convinced the government wouldn’t stick to its promise.
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Horse Meat Scandal
The 2013 horse meat scandal was a scandal in Europe that foods advertised as containing beef had been found to contain improperly declared or undeclared horse meat. The issue was brought to the fore on January 15th 2013 when it was reported horse DNA had been discovered in some of the frozen hamburgers sold in several British and Irish supermarkets.
While horse meat does not pose any health danger and it is consumed in many counties, it is considered a major taboo in most countries and this includes Ireland and the United Kingdom. The analysis stated twenty three out of twenty seven samples of beef burgers also apparently contained pork DNA yet it is a taboo to Jewish and Muslim communities.
While the scandal was not a direct food safety concern, it revealed a breakdown in traceability of food supply chain and proved that harmful ingredients could be included as well. For instance, sports horses’ might have found their way into the food supply chain and yet the drug phenylbutazone which is used by veterinaries is banned in food animals.
Since then, the scandal spread to thirteen other European countries and this forced the European authorities to decide on finding an EU solution to the predicament. As a result of this, the EU initiated meat testing of about four thousand horse meat sample to see whether any was contaminated with the veterinary drug.
Further seizures were made in December 2013. Investigations that were carried out by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is what resulted to Ireland been the first state in the EU t report horse meat presence in beef and it was also the first to make the results public. On December 10th 2012, the first equine DNA test that was positive was reported. Additionally, tests were done on 18th and 21st December.
The samples were sent by FSAI to Eurofins lab in Germany. Professor Alan Reilly who worked with FSAI testified that the presence of equine DNA had been noted but not the amount to the Oireachtas on 5th February 2013. The Eurofins Laboratory and IdentiGen Laboratory were also asked to determine the level/amount of horsemeat in the samples provided.
Of the twenty seven burger products that were tested, thirty seven percent tested positive for horse DNA while another eighty five percent tested positive for pig DNA. Also, of thirty one been products tested, twenty one tested positive for pig DNA but they were negative for horse DNA. Nineteen salami products also got tested but they were negative for foreign DNA.
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The Wars of the Three Kingdoms
The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, was a combination of conflicts, which took place in Scotland, England and Ireland from 1639 to 1651. This was after the three Kingdoms had been put under the leadership of a single monarch. One of these conflicts was the English Civil War, which saw English Parliament execute King Charles I for alleged treason in 1649. The Wars of the Three Kingdoms also include other uprisings that occurred through 1650s up to the time for English Restoration, when Charles II took the mantle of leadership after eleven years of no monarch.
It is important to note that The Wars of the Three Kingdoms stemmed from religious differences and tensions across the three Kingdoms as Protestants and Catholics fought for supremacy. The bone of contention in most cases was whether the monarch was to dictate the religion of individual citizens. While the monarch wanted to exert authority by presiding over the religion of the land, most people wished to make personal choices on matters of faith. They felt that the monarch was denying them the right of worship.
On the other hand, Parliament sought autonomy over the monarch by establishing laws that empowered it. Of great concern was if the King was allowed to raise taxes without seeking Parliament’s approval. This sent jitters among members of the House of Lords who failed the monarch was overstepping its mandate. The issue of taxation was closely related to the control over the military. For example, Parliament opined that the monarch was to seek the House’s consent before increasing the size of the troops. According to pro-parliament system, this was to eliminate cases of monarchs misusing power for self-gratification.
Besides religion and taming the powers of the monarch, The Wars of the Three Kingdoms was based on the sovereignty of individual kingdoms. For instance, Ireland and Scotland were pleased with the domination of England in various matters. They were not satisfied by the fact that they appeared to be underdogs. Importantly, the success of the English Parliament to oust and execute the King under Oliver Cromwell, played a major role in breeding a constitutional Great Britain, with powers over Scotland and Ireland. With its political power centered in London, it was evident that England had triumphed over the others in The Wars of the Three Kingdoms.
After The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Ormond arrived at Cork on September 30, 1648. He came along with his army, and he was funded by the French government. In December of the same year, Scotland moved to support King Charles II and Sir Charles Coote. The merger forced the governor to escape to join royalists, who came under siege until 1649. It is important to note that initially, Irish had an informal army, which was raised by the society. As a result, majority did not have skills and competence to engage in sophisticated battles. Veteran soldiers were in limited numbers, with deficiency work force following Spanish and French idea to take Irish men to reinforce their troops during the Confederation period. Between 1644 and 1649, France received about 7000 Irish men while Spain got about 4000.
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The Gunpowder plot
The Gunpowder plot was a November 5, 1605 plot to blow up King James of England and the parliament for their continued persecution on Roman Catholics in the country. The plan to blow up the monarch was hatched by Robert Catesby and other like-minded people who had the hope of replacing the Protestant government with a Catholic system of governance. Unfortunately, one of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes was discovered in the basement of the building with barrels of gunpowder before exploding it. Guy and his team of conspirators were tried and found guilty of treason, which handed them direct execution. Following their execution, Britain remembers November 5 annually by celebrating Guy Fawkes Day.
If not for Sir Thomas Knyvet who discovered Fawkes, probably King James and the parliamentarians would have perished. The discovery of Fawkes led to a thorough search of the premise, with 36 barrels found. After torture in custody, Fawkes exposed other conspirators who were behind a plot to annihilate the King and his government and install a pro Catholic leadership. It is believed that Catesby was a bitter man, an English Catholic, who sought to revenge against the government because Queen Elizabeth I persecuted his father for rejecting conversion to the Church of England. On his side, Fawkes had converted to Catholicism and fought in the Catholic Spain forces in Netherlands, which was also under Protestant leadership.
The aborted gunpowder plot is believed to have been leaked to authorities, which called for a thorough search of The House of Lords building. Lord Monteagle was related to one of the planners of the plan. He received an anonymous letter, warning him against attending parliament because of possible attacks. He however alerted the authorities, resulting into the last minute discovery. Importantly, all the plotters were either killed or put on trial and executed for treason.
After their trial Fawkes and his team were to be hanged in London. Fawkes however killed himself moments before the execution by jumping from a ladder as he climbed the gallows on January 31, 1606.
The failed gunpowder plot was to have far-reaching effects on English Catholics. The government introduced repressive laws, eliminating them the right to vote. In other words, the government did not recognize them as English citizens following the attempt to kill the King and members of Parliament.
Without the capture of Fawkes, it would have been impossible to discover the barrels of gunpowder. Additionally, it would have been a toll order to seize the conspirators, who included Catesby. After his capture, he was detained at the Tower of London, where he underwent bodily torture. By the time he revealed all the plotters, most of them had fled to the countryside, fearing their arrest. This did not deter authorities from catching up with them. During the countrywide search, a shootout ensured at Hobeach house, leaving four of the conspirators dead, including the ringleader, Catesby. Eight others were rounded up and tried for treason before being hanged in London. On the material day, some of the plotters are said to have begged for forgiveness while others remained mum as their fate was already sealed. Fawkes was the last to face the gallows having suffered mental and physical damage because of prison torture. He however survived the disembowelment by jumping from the ladder and dying.
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The Great Fire of London
The September 1666 Great Fire of London, remains a historical event in the world today. The fire accident occurred at King Charles II’s house, on Pudding Lane, located near the London Bridge. The fire spread to the Thomas Street, gutting warehouses that had combustibles. It later became an inferno following strong easterly winds blowing at that time. The Great Fire was put out on September 6, with about four-fifth of London destroyed. Even though the fire took almost six days, only 16 people were confirmed dead by authorities.
According to investigations, which were later carried out, the Great Fire of London was disaster in waiting. By 1666, the City of London was mainly medieval houses, which were made of oak timber. For poor dwellers, they covered their structures with tar to prevent rain. However, these made the houses vulnerable to fire accidents. The city also had narrow streets, making it hard for fire fighters while making it easier for the fire to spread from house to house and street to street. Putting out the fire was difficult since the technology of the day was use of pails and neighborhood buckets. In some cases, the fire brigade team used hand-pumps. Even though citizens were told to check their houses for possible dangers, many were careless and did not heed to safety instructions.
What caused the fire? It was believed that the King’s baker, Thomas Farrinor, failed to extinguish the oven appropriately on September 1, 1666. Sparks from smouldering ambers caught fire and ignited firewood, which was next to the oven. The fire that broke out razed his houses down to ashes, even though Farrinor and his family survived the tragedy after escaping using the upstairs window. Unfortunately, one of the bakers died, making him the first causality of the fire.
The fire later extended to Star Inn after the fire from the bakery caught straw and fodder, spreading to Thomas Street. Here, the fire gutted down warehouse, containing a wide range of inflammables like spirits, coal, lamp oil and candles among others. This exploded into a flame that was incontrollable. As a result, locals stopped putting up the fire and rushed home to salvage their belongings as the fire threatened to consume the entire city of London.
The climate of the day further favored the easy spread of the blaze. A hot and dry summer, coupled with strong winds was enough to render the fire unmanageable by any firefighters of that time. As the flames extended to other parts of the city, authorities engaged all their efforts to tame it. In some case, they tore buildings to create firebreaks even though the raging fire overtook them before they could achieve anything. Thames River became a safe refuge as people rushed in, dragging their possessions too. Those who rendered homeless and had nothing to hold on went up the hills in the outskirts of the city. The fire was so powerful that light from the blaze could be seen 30 miles away. By September 5, the fire was coming under control and on the following day, it was put out completely.
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Execution of Charles 1
Charles I was executed in 1649 after he was found guilty of treason by Parliament. He was also accused of murder and described as a great enemy of the Commonwealth of England. He remains the first English monarch to be tried for treason and beheaded. It is a common event in England’s history and a contentious one. During that time, there was no law stipulating the trial of a King or Queen of England. Thus, Isaac Dorislaus from Holland wrote an order that established a court, which was to try the King. Dorislaus largely based his write-up on ancient Roman law, which stated that a military body or government could oust a dictator. The execution of Charles had a wide range of effects to the people of England and its future leadership. Importantly, it led to a leadership gap by the Stuarts for eleven years from 1649 to 1660. It also saw Oliver Cromwell rise to become a prominent personality in England.
According to the law that was quickly put in place, the trial of Charles I was to be heard and determined by 135 judges. However, only 68 turned up as the other half boycotted to avoid being associated with the historic trial of the monarch. It is important to note that not all parliamentarians supported the trail of the King. But by December 1648, those against the decree were no longer attending parliament sessions, following a Colonel Pride that was reinforced by soldiers. The Rump Parliament comprised of parliamentarians whom Cromwell thought they sincerely supported the trial of the King. These were the only members who attended parliament sessions. However, out of the 46 members of the Rump Parliament, only 26 voted in favor of the decree to try the King of England. This means that even among those who supported Cromwell, there were differences on whether to try Charles I or not.
The appointment of the Chief Judge of the High Court also demonstrated the division among the people and administrative systems. For example, none of the 68 judges who turned up for the trial of the King was willing to be the Chief Judge. Thus, they hired a lawyer, John Bradshaw. Even though Bradshaw accepted to be the Chief Judge, he was aware of the cost of his job as the decision was not popular in England. He even feared losing his own life. It is Bradshaw that read out the final verdict that found Charles I guilty of treason, who punishment was death.
Many historians to-date question the legality of the case, depending on how the trial was conducted. On the material Day of Judgment, the hall was full of soldiers to protect the judges against angry public and ensure that the King does not escape. Members of the public were also not allowed to get into the hall until the judgment was read out. This raised eyebrows over the sincerity of parliament to try the King. In the hall, Charles I did not defend himself, he did not take off his hurt to honor judges trying him. He also did not acknowledge the legality of the court behind his trial. These proved a point to the judges that Charles was arrogant and could not accept his faults, making him a threat to others. It was until Bradshaw read the judgment that Charles I tried to defend himself only to be told that he had squandered his only chance to do so. He was executed on a cold Tuesday, January 30, 1649. The king took the last walk at St. James Park, and had bread and wine as last meal. His execution was delayed because the initial man to do the job refused at the last minute.
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The English Civil War, one of the reminiscent wars in the history of England was fought between 1642 and 1651. The wars stemmed from differences between King Charles I and the country’s parliament. The bone of contention was the powers of the monarchy and the rights of Parliament. In the early stages of the war, members of Parliament wanted to retain Charles as the King of England but with a more powerful parliament. Parliamentarians trounced the royalists even though the latter had made early victories. The escalation of conflicts led to the execution of Charles and the formation of a republic. Though Charles II was welcomed to become king in 1660, parliament set an inevitable parliamentary system for the nation.
What caused the disagreement? When he ascended to power in 1625, Charles I believed in having powerful Kings as he ruled over England, Scotland and Ireland. This was a major cause of conflicts, as parliament had the final word on raising monarchy funds. He therefore dissolved the House frequently because of members’ continuous attack on his cabinet ministers and their hardness in approving his money. In 1629, the King stopped sourcing funds from parliament. Instead, he began funding his system using outdated taxes. This angered the entire population. In 1638, Charles’ attempts to introduce a new prayer book on the Church of England was met with furry and resistance even from the Bishops. What followed was documentation of Scottish complaints in the National Covenant.
Due to lack of funds to counter Scottish revolt, Charles recalled parliament in 1640, before dissolving it for members’ criticism. Because of Charles’ way of handling parliament, the house began taming him but introducing laws for regular sessions and restricting the king against unwarranted dissolution. His closest advisor, Earl Strafford was convicted of treason and parliament sanctioned his execution. In 1642, Charles withdrew to Oxford after his attempts to arrest five members in the house were thwarted.
Different political factions failed to agree and clashed in October 1642, at the Battle of Edgehill. This marked the first English Civil War. The conflicts and realignments continued with Charles being forced to free troops. Following these developments, parliament supported Scotland even as the King made peace in Ireland.
Royalists won at Cropredy Bridge in June 1644, before parliamentarians registered a major win at Battled of Marston Moor in July. Following this victory, parliament formed its army in 1645, prohibiting its commanders from holding sessions in parliament. In April 1646, Charles surrendered to the Scottish army, which handed him over to Parliament. Upon his ousting, parliamentarians started scrambling to form the government, and found the involvement of the King to be critical. He signed an agreement with the Scots, that backed with Royalists revolts would invade England. This failed miserably and angry parliamentarians recommended that Charles be charged with treason. He was executed on January 30, 1649 after being found guilty. This led to uprisings. Cromwell went to Ireland to avoid resistance, winning several battles. In June 1650, Charles II arrived in Scotland and merged with Covenanters. Royalists battled with Cromwell troops at Worcester on September 3 where Charles II was defeated and fled to France in exile.
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Darien Scheme was an unfortunate ambition of a few people to establish a colony on the Isthmus of Darien in the year 1698. Following the ill-faced scheme, Scotland lost its economic stability and became bankrupt. According to history, Darien Scheme was a creation of William Peterson, the founder of the Bank of England. Having travelled extensively through America and West Indies, Peterson, a Scot, drew most of his fortunes from international trade. His main intention was to find a colony for his motherland and encourage trade with the rest of the world thus creating wealth and economic development for his nation. The question that historians still grapple with is why Peterson chose Darien, which is the modern Panama. He had never been to Darien, but chose to believe the testimonies of sailors, leading to a tragedy.
To understand this scheme better, we look at the Company of Scotland, whose stakeholders were mainly Scottish and English. It is important to note that English and Dutch shared capital investment risk, during the reign of William Orange from Holland. Nevertheless, the English Parliament annulled their involvement in the scheme, after East India Company threatened to pull out its trading rights. English withdrawal almost killed the scheme idea, save for William Peterson, who convinced Scottish Parliament that the investment would richly benefit Scotland in future.
Because of the persuasion from Peterson, almost all Scots invested in the scheme, with the wealthy in the society taking the lion share of the investment shares. The scheme was to see them prosper financially. This meant the Company of Scotland had a surplus of £400,000, which was almost equivalent to the wealth of the nation. Peterson built five fine ships using the money and used them to ferry colonists to their new land. They also carried various supplies to keep them before they could establish in the new colony. There were more than enough volunteers for the expedition as most Scots lived in abject poverty.
William Peterson named the new colony Caledonia and gave orders to make the upland area the capital, which would later become News Edinburg. There was jubilation as people hoped for better lives. This was short-lived since Peterson had never seen Darien, a mosquito-infested swamp, which could not support farming and habitation. Many died during the voyage because of unfavorable conditions, reducing the workforce. The state of events was dire that even Peterson lost his wife. Due to lack of contact at home, it was believed that those in Caledonia were prospering. More ships were sent out to the new colony with more Scots. Unfortunately, they encountered the same challenges as their compatriots; many died on the way while others landed dying because of primitive conditions, diseases and starvation. The new settlers at Caledonia faced numerous challenges including battles with the Spanish and starvation. Following a series of calamities, Peterson’s idealistic schemed was dropped. This led to the dissolution of the Company of Scotland by the English Parliament, following an order by William Orange. Because of Scotland’s bankruptcy, the King of England allowed their compensation but it could provide for herself. As a result, the Act of Union was inevitable.
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Over the years, obesity remains a leading health concern among developed countries of the world, including the United States. Research shows ever-rising cases of obesity of among adults and children in America, a trend replicated in most developed and developing nations. While many people would want insinuate that the “obesity endemic” has been blown out of proportion, the writings are on the wall; it is a global scourge. Even though obesity might not be Black Death, it is needless to mention that it leads to numerous killer diseases like heart diseases, cancer and diabetes, since obese children are likely to become obese adults. These diseases drain world economies as huge funds are redirected into treatment and management of victims instead of channeling the resources to economic development. This paper explores some of the causes, effects and ways of taming obesity epidemic in our society today.
Nutritionists simply define obesity as excess body fat, which results from environmental and genetic factors that one cannot control easily through dieting. Medically, one is obese, if they have Body Mass Index, commonly known as BMI, which is 30 and above. BMI is a professional tool used to measure obesity in people. Obesity is a major predisposing factor of most killer diseases, and there is every need to control, prevent and avoid it as much as possible. Surprisingly, most people with obesity have no idea of their status, frustrating efforts to manage the scourge globally.
While the worry should not be, whether one is obese or not, it is vital to understand the causes of obesity among millions of Americans and other people worldwide. Most experts agree that obesity epidemic stems largely from eating too much and exercising too little. The only difference here are the specifics, like what is it that you feed on excessively. While genes may a role to play, some people have a contrary opinion owing to the fact that succeeding generations continue to experience increase in weight. This means there are other factors, mainly environmental that are contributing to these trends. For example, modern technology encourages a sedentary lifestyle more than ever. Today, one can spend a whole day without covering 100 meters walk, because of cars, mobile communication and computers, which jointly reduce moving from place to place on foot. This is different from what previous generations knew, because of low technological advancements of the day.
However, one of the most blamed factors is poor eating habits. To break this down, junk eating has become a fashion in modern day and age. Children, youth and adults are consuming junk foodstuffs, which are having a toll on their health unknowingly. This on the other hand, has been encouraged by massive advertising of these products, by the media. Today, there many food adverts that TV viewers watch in a one-hour news bulletin. Most of these adverts encourage eating sugary and high caloric foodstuffs to attain a given body size or figure. Fast food companies are not only competing for space on our streets but also having as an obese effect on the population. While these causes are, well known, controlling obesity epidemic appears to be a toll order. The problem intertwined with a wide range of other factors, which requires joint efforts to combat. Nonetheless, it is a problem that can be handled.
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