Friday, 16 October 2009

Bosnian war crimes + Parliament burned down!

A former Bosnian Serb army commander has been sentenced to 30 years in gaol for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed in just a week. Milorad Trbic was found to have taken part in the planning of the mass murder, which happened in what was supposed to be an enclave protected by the UN.

The former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is due to go on trial at The Hague in ten days time, while the former Chief of Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic, remains at large.

On this day…..
175 years ago, the Houses of Parliament burned down! The blaze had begun in a heating furnace and spread with alarming speed. In the name of Parliamentary privilege, the building was exempt from most safety legislation, and ministers, peers and MP’s had to race through a baffling rabbit warren, breaking down doors to try and rescue priceless relics.

Sightseers flocked to the scene, including the great painter J M W Turner, who sketched away furiously. London’s new fire chief, James Braidwood, decided to concentrate on saving Westminster Hall, the only remaining part of the original 11th Century Palace of Westminster. He achieved his objective, but most of the rest of the complex was destroyed, and replaced by the Gothic masterpiece we see today. For more, see The Disastrous History of London.

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