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Terrorist attacks hit London
I hadn't looked at the news services for a while; Michael says there's been a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in London. CNN and Reuters are, naturally, taking forever to load, but the Nikkei already has a translated report up. It looks as if the Underground was the biggest target, though Reuters seems to be saying three buses were blown up, too. (As my English colleague just said, between this and the Olympics, expect the British National ID to attain Big Brother proportions very quickly.) It looks as if there may be 100 dead and injured at Aldgate alone, and those numbers always go up.

The IRA likes bombs, of course; you don't have to spend much time in London to get used to the signs that show abandoned bags with stern instructions to notify the authorities at once if you see one. But this looks very big, and London is one of our closest allies and a society that exemplifies everything the Islamist terror groups hate. It won't be surprising in the slightest if one of them takes...uh...credit. (Yes, there's the G8 summit, but London seems kind of far afield from Scotland for that to be the irritant.)

In addition to being a close kin of our American society, England is my grandfather's homeland. He emigrated as a teenager, and we still have family and friends there whom we visit frequently. I love London. And of course, being a foreigner in Tokyo, I have British friends all over the place here, too. And Japanese friends who live there, for that matter.

It looks as if all there is to do now is to wait for more news. Condolences to the people of England and to the family and friends of the dead and injured. London being a cosmopolitan city, they're certain to come from a number of different countries.

Just went to CNN Japan. A fuller report (in Japanese) is up.

Added a few minutes later: My prediction--a rather obvious one--is that this is going to be a BIG story in Japan this week. The tenth anniversary of the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway was months ago, and being packed into to tight, hard-to-escape spaces on public transport at morning rush hour is part of reality here. (Well, at least in Tokyo, but we are the largest population center and news market.) There will be lots of CGI reenactments on NHK and a great deal of yak-show discussion about what the implications are for Japan. I hope it doesn't seem callous to say this already, but one of the things I try to do here, when feasible, is to give a sense of how world events are covered in Japan and seen by Japanese people.

Added a few more minutes later: Dean has a BBC link (in English this time). It gives a map that shows points of attack. It also clarifies something I'd wondered about: the major station in question is Aldgate East (an interchange) and not Aldgate (which is on the circle line but not, I don't think, any kind of interchange).

Time to get on my packed commuter train and go home. I'm sure there are continuous developments to come.
Posted by Sean on 2005-07-07 07:02:32
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