Culture

 

British Queen celebrates

UK news

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May was Friday expected to tell the European Union she will stick to her Brexit timetable despite a landmark court ruling throwing her plans into jeopardy.

May is likely to tell European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a phone call Friday morning that Britain will press ahead with the divorce process as planned after June's seismic referendum vote to quit the 28-member bloc.

Her office said she still intends to fire the starting gun on official talks "by the end of March", despite Thursday's High Court ruling that her government does not have the power on its own to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would formally start the process.

The decision raises the prospect of a protracted parliamentary debate before then -- in a chamber that overwhelmingly opposed Brexit -- although EU leaders themselves have urged a swift departure.

Lawmakers could also demand to know May's negotiating strategy and seek to maintain stronger ties with the bloc before agreeing to invoke Article 50.

 

 

The High Court struck a blow Thursday to the British government's plans for leaving the EU, ruling it must seek parliament's approval before starting exit talks in a landmark judgement that could delay Brexit.

Three senior judges said Prime Minister Theresa May's government does not have the power on its own to trigger Article 50 of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, the formal notification of Britain's intention to leave the bloc.

May has promised to begin the process by the end of March but the ruling raises the prospect of a protracted parliamentary debate before then, in a chamber which overwhelmingly opposed Brexit and may seek to soften the break with the EU.

The pound -- which has tumbled to multi-year lows against its main rivals in recent weeks as markets weigh the economic risks of Britain potentially leaving the European single market -- soared against the dollar and euro Thursday, jumping above $1.24.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney told a press conference the ruling was "an example of the uncertainty that will characterise this process".

EU leaders have been pressing for a swift divorce, and May has arranged a phone call with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday, a commission spokesman said.

 

 

 

Environmental campaigners in Britain won a High Court legal battle on Wednesday over the government's failure to tackle air pollution to meet European standards.

The ClientEarth non-governmental organisation (NGO) argued that Britain's environment minister had failed to take action to comply with European Union law on levels of nitrogen dioxide "as soon as possible".

A judge ruled in favour of the group's case, declaring that the government's Air Quality Plan was unlawful and "must be quashed" and rewritten.

The defeat is a blow for the government as it seeks to demonstrate its commitment to the global climate change deal struck in Paris last year.

ClientEarth's case focused on claims that ministers prioritised costs over health implications when drawing up plans to cut emissions.

The government's own data estimates that air pollution causes more than 40,000 premature deaths a year in Britain.

In his ruling, judge Neil Garnham said the government's goal of complying with EU targets nationally by 2020 and in London by 2025 were too distant and its model for future emissions "too optimistic".

 

 

A sense of kinship has emerged between British eurosceptics and Donald Trump supporters who are united in their efforts to unseat -- and shock -- the establishment, despite being separated by an ocean.

The self-declared "biggest fan of Trump in the UK" is a 46-year-old IT professional, who goes by the initials CT. He also voted for Britain to leave the European Union in the country's June 23 referendum -- "for independence", he tells AFP.

Preferring to remain anonymous, CT is convinced the Republican will win. To show his support he runs the @UKforTrump Twitter account, although it has only attracted several hundred followers.

Finding someone who will openly identify as a Trump supporter in the UK is no easy task.

When Channel 4 organised a TV debate on the presidential election, "they literary flew someone over" from the US to give the pro-Trump perspective, according to Brian Klaas, one of the guests and a specialist in US politics at the London School of Economics.

Britain is also where some of the strongest opposition has been voiced to the American billionaire's policy proposal to ban Muslims from the US.

Foreign minister Boris Johnson, one of those who championed Brexit, said he would stay away from certain New York neighbourhoods to avoid the risk of bumping into Trump.

- 'Farage's magic'-

Admirers of Hillary Clinton's rival are most likely found within the ranks of the anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP), a key driving force behind Brexit.

Invigorated by the vote, UKIP's co-founder and interim leader Nigel Farage has been spending ample time in the US recently, warming up the crowds at Trump rallies.

"The parallels are there," Farage told Trump supporters as he recalled his UK referendum success.

 

 

The troubled London Stadium came under the spotlight again on Wednesday as Labour’s London mayor Sadiq Khan ordered an investigation into the escalating costs.

A spokesperson for the mayor slammed the previous Conservative administration of Boris Johnson for leaving the stadium’s finances in a “total and utter mess”.

Johnson said the cost of transforming the then-Olympic Stadium into one suited to football — since then taken over by West Ham United, who have been bedevilled by crowd trouble at their new home — would cost £272m (300m euros, $330m), a figure which has now risen to £323m.

Costs such as retractable seating — necessary for when the stadium hosts concerts and athletics meets — have sky-rocketed.

According to the BBC, the annual cost for that has gone from £300,000 to £8 million because the company that won the original contract has gone broke.

“The mayor is deeply concerned about the finances of the Olympic Stadium, which have clearly been left in a total and utter mess by the previous administration at City Hall,” a spokesperson for the mayor said.

“Sadiq has ordered a detailed investigation into the full range of financial issues surrounding the stadium.”

The onus on who pays for the extra costs will fall on stadium operators London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and the London taxpayer.

Poppy Appeal collectors will be at Sainsbury’s Nine Elms Point from 29/10/2016 to 12/11/2016 raising funds for The Royal British Legion, the nation’s biggest Armed Forces charity.

There will be Poppy inspired products on sale in store, with all profits going to The Royal British Legion. The range will include two Poppy jute bags, a tote bag, a travel coffee cup, two Poppy mug designs, a tea towel, a key ring, poppy seeds and two flower bouquets. Customers shopping online between 1 - 13 November can receive a stick on Poppy in return for a £1 donation to The Royal British Legion.

This year Sainsbury’s is also supporting the Centenary of the Somme through sales of Remembrance rose bushes, two Somme pin badges and Flanders Poppy seeds.

Sainsbury’s has supported The Royal British Legion for the last 22 years, and in 2015 customers and colleagues helped raise over £2 million for the charity.

This year’s Poppy Appeal is encouraging the public to ‘rethink Remembrance’ by not only remembering those who served in the First and Second World Wars, but also the sacrifices made by other generations of the Armed Forces.

 

'Some of our island states in the Pacific and the Caribbean will be hit first and potentially disappear, therefore climate change has been an issue of real importance to the Commonwealth,' says an official

The Commonwealth is bringing together global experts to thrash out new ideas for not just reducing climate change but actually reversing its effects by mimicking success stories in nature.

At a two-day gathering on Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29, at the 52-country organization's headquarters in London, a diverse band of experts in fields such as biomimicry, carbon sequestration, design and regeneration traded ideas for practical schemes that could pull carbon out of the air and put it back into the Earth.

Rather than a series of presentations, the conference instead saw experts from around the world huddle in groups to brainstorm.

While the Commonwealth contains G20 industrial powers like Britain, Canada and Australia and emerging forces like India and Nigeria, many of its members are developing island microstates.

"Some of our island states in the Pacific and the Caribbean will be hit first and potentially disappear, therefore climate change has been an issue of real importance to the Commonwealth," Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

 

 

Horrified by the desperate plight of traumatised children in the "Jungle" migrant camp in France, one London borough is seeking to provide a new life in Britain for unaccompanied youngsters.

As bulldozers raze the sprawling camp in the northern French port city of Calais this week, busloads of children have been arriving in Britain.

With the UK promising to take in hundreds more, local authorities face the challenge of resettling these youngsters -- many of whom have fled war and poverty in countries like Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan.

But media reports say one in four local authorities have refused to take in any children of the Jungle.

One London borough, Hammersmith and Fulham, has been at the forefront of efforts to bring them to Britain under the so-called Dubs Amendment passed in May, vowing to accommodate 15 in total.

While children with family ties in Britain have the right to claim asylum here, the Dubs legislation allows vulnerable youngsters with no such ties to seek refuge.

 

A local fire service visited Sainsbury’s Nine Elms Point to give safety advice last weekend.  Crew members from Lambeth Red Watch – London Fire Brigade made a special visit to the supermarket to provide hints and tips to help Wandsowrth & Lambeth customers stay safe during the firework season.

The fire-fighting team were at the store on Saturday 22nd October 2016 and spent the day speaking to customers and handing out useful leaflets with information for shoppers.

Store Manager, Andy Robins, said: “As a store which sells fireworks, it’s really important that we act as a responsible retailer and make sure that our customers understand how to use fireworks safely. That’s why we were delighted to invite Lambeth Red Watch to the store at the weekend and we hope all of our customers took away some great advice on the day”.

 

British police on Wednesday charged a 19-year-old man with making or possessing explosives after a suspicious item was found on a London Underground train last week.

Damon Joseph Smith was charged a week after the item was found on a train at North Greenwich station, which serves the O2 entertainment complex in southeast London.

He is due to appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

London's Metropolitan Police allege Smith "unlawfully and maliciously made or had in his possession or under his control an explosive substance with intent by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the United Kingdom".

The charges relate to a day between October 18 and October 21, when Smith was arrested by armed police on a busy shopping street. An electric stun gun was used during the arrest, but no shots were fired.

A police spokeswoman would not confirm whether the explosive substance was a viable bomb and told AFP that Smith's alleged offence was not terrorism-related.