Uk: We’re Working Toward Reopening Embassy In Iran

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The “duffin” is a doughnut-muffin cyborg sweet that combines buttermilk and nutmeg in the batter before being baked, is stuffed with raspberry jam, dunked in melted butter and then dusted with sugar. Bea’s of Bloomsbury, which operates four cafes in London known for afternoon tea services, have been serving the treats under the nickname since at least 2011. But when Starbucks debuted its own similar version of the dessert on Friday, they made no mention of any forbears in promotional copy — and they trademarked the name. “Inspired by our muffins, we sat together with our bakers and pondered how you could make a muffin go one step further,” reads the Starbucks copy introducing the baked good. “Step forward the Duffin: taking the best of a muffin: that moist texture, the iconic shape and then mixing it up with elements of a traditional jam filled doughnut.” But instead of hunger pangs, the announcement inspired the ire of British locals who took Starbucks to task for not crediting Bea’s. A hashtag #duffingate began to trend on Twitter. “I didn’t really give it too much thought until I found out their version of the duffin also contains raspberry jam, nutmeg and buttermilk,” said Bea Vo, owner of Bea’s on Bloomsbury, in an e-mail to ABC News. “My recipe, which was published in my cookbook back in August 2011, is the only one out there to carry all of those traits. Doughnut muffins have been around for a while, Nigella Lawson even has them in her first cookbook — but the style of mine, that is what makes it unique.” The fact that Rich Products, Starbucks’ wholesaler/distributor of baked goods, had trademarked the name “duffin” troubled Vo, who worried she would now be prohibited from selling her own creations at the Bea’s cafes. “I thought ‘this is absurd,'” Vo said. “It’s like trademarking ‘cupcake.'” In an initial statement by Ian Cranna, VP Marketing & Category for Starbucks UK, the chain expressed vague ignorance that other versions of a doughnut-muffin hybrid existed prior to their own.

Doughnut-Muffin Hybrid Causes Controversy in UK

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Hague said the coming months “may be unusually significant” in British-Iranian relations, which have been beset by arguments over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and Tehran’s support for embattled leader Bashar Assad in Syria. Hague told lawmakers there are signs of a change albeit qualified ones. The British embassy in Tehran was closed in late 2011 after a mob overran the building as tensions over a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities ran high. Iran also closed its embassy in London. Relations have remained tense since then, but the recent election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has raised hopes of a thaw between Iran and the West and of a possible nuclear deal. “It is clear that the new president and ministers in Iran are presenting themselves and their country in a much more positive way than in the recent past. There is no doubt that the tone of the meetings with them is different,” Hague told the House of Commons. He said he and his Iranian counterpart had agreed to appoint non-resident charge d’affaires offices which would discuss the eventual reopening of the British embassy in Iran and the Iranian one in Britain. Hague still expressed caution, saying it is critical for Iran’s warmer tone “to be accompanied by concrete actions and viable approach to negotiations.” Iran and Western powers have been arguing for years about Iran’s atomic energy program. Iran insists its nuclear facilities are being used for peaceful purposes, but the United States, Europe and Israel believe they’re a cover for clandestine development of atomic weapons. The U.S. and its allies have slapped tough sanctions on Iran for its refusal to open up about the program. “We must not forget for one moment that as things stand today Iran remains in defiance of six U.N. Security Council resolutions … and is installing more centrifuges in its nuclear facilities,” Hague said.

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