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September 2009

In praise of: London Festivals

One of the best things about living in London are the festivals. On any given weekend, you can find at least one, if not a dozen festivals around town ranging from the small neighborhood events like our local Angel Canal Festival to the big city-wide events. Many of our favorites take place in September including the Mayor's Thames Festival, a celebration of London's river. Our newest favorite took place on Sunday: The Mayor's Skyride, a bicycle festival to encourage people to cycle. Several major roads in the city were closed, allowing bikers free reign of the roads from Tower Bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral to Buckingham Palace!  Here's a few photos from this month's festivals! 

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Diplomats hide bad news?

From The Washington Times:

U.S. embassies are discouraging or suppressing negative reports to Washington about U.S. allies, sometimes depriving officials of information they need to make good policy decisions, current and former diplomats say.

One diplomat told The Washington Times that he has decided to resign in part because of frustration with "rampant self-censorship" by Foreign Service officers and their superiors that has gone so far as to ban "bad news" cables from countries that are friendly with the United States.

The diplomat, who asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution against himself and colleagues, said that, in one instance under the George W. Bush administration, an embassy in the Middle East did not report local government interference in elections. Senior management censored accounts of low morale at another Middle East mission that had been the target of terrorist attacks, he said.

More than a dozen diplomats serving in Washington and abroad told The Times that they agreed with most of the officer's critique, and that the censorship has continued to a lesser extent in the Obama administration. All asked not to be named to avoid retribution.

Read the full story here.

Seven weeks and no news

Foreign Service update: Nothing to report. My case is still in adjudication. Seven weeks now, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It's just not good. Most people are in and out of adjudication within 2-4 weeks so I have no idea what's taking so long. I'm guessing it has to do with my EXTENSIVE foreign work, travel and living experiences. Mr. Crab has been to 56 countries (and counting), including some less-than-friendly places but all were work-related and all well-documented. 

In the meantime, check out this great FAQ post from DiploJournal. If you have no idea what the "Foreign Service" is all about, this post will answer your questions.