British Queen celebrates

UK news

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, police have said.

The men, aged 18 and 32, are being held at a central London police station under the Terrorism Act 2000, Scotland Yard said.


The Conservatives are out of touch because they are listening to those with power and influence and not working people, Labour's leader will say.

Ed Miliband will tell the national conference of the Unite union there was "no place at the table" for decent hard-working families. He will contrast the way Labour and trade unions are reconnecting with people in workplaces and communities, with the "out of touch" coalition Government.

"Why are the Tories so out of touch? Because they are listening to the wrong people. They are listening to those who already have power and influence and not to the working people of this country.

"They have cosy kitchen suppers for the privileged. Cosy country suppers for the powerful, but there is no place at the table for decent hard-working families."

Mr Miliband will attack the Government for "doing nothing" to help hundreds of workers at the Coryton oil refinery in Essex set to lose their jobs because of the site's closure.

"Turning away where governments in other countries would have stepped in. Six hundred jobs gone because the Government didn't listen to working people, because it wouldn't even ask the European Commission whether there was something it could do, because this Government thinks the role of government is to sit back and do as little as possible."


Millions of NatWest bank customers faced financial trouble this weekend after technical glitches left angry clients unable to pay bills, access their accounts, and even receive their wages.

The upheaval extended beyond the bank's customers, with the Guardian website reporting that one couple who do not bank with NatWest were unable to move into their new home because of the glitch.

Customers at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Ulster Bank were also affected. All three banks are part of the RBS Group.

NatWest left more than 900 branches open until 6pm on Saturday, with plans to open them again until midday on Sunday as it works to clear the backlog.


Passengers are facing a twin threat of travel disruption because of two separate disputes involving Tube workers.

Members of the drivers' union Aslef working on London Underground's (LU) Piccadilly line are due to stage a 24-hour strike next Thursday over the sacking of a colleague, with further dates to be announced.

In another row over jobs and conditions, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union based at a control centre in west London are set to stage walkouts from July 1-4 and ban overtime from July 8-15.

RMT leader Bob Crow said: "This group of workers are absolutely key to delivering the service on the Piccadilly line and sub-surface railways and the way that they have been treated by the management at a time when the system is under intense pressure is nothing short of shocking."

Phil O'Hare, LU's Piccadilly line general manager, said: "It is disappointing that Aslef has threatened to take strike action on the Piccadilly line, especially when only a third of those balloted have voted for industrial action.

"This train operator was dismissed for gross misconduct after knowingly passing a signal at danger and then proceeding with passengers on board without authority, without knowing the cause of the danger signal, and without notifying service control.

"The train operator has lodged an employment tribunal complaint, which is the appropriate way for this matter to be dealt with, not through threats of industrial action in defence of behaviour that Aslef itself does not condone."

It is vital that the Egyptian elections lead to "legitimate, accountable and democratic governance", William Hague has said.

The Foreign Secretary said he welcomed the peaceful conduct of the polls, but the country faced a "critical moment".

It is just over a year since a violent revolution saw Hosni Mubarak being forced to step down from the presidency.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party says its chairman, Mohammed Mursi, received 52% of the vote, while former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq said he had 48%.

The official results are not due to be announced until Thursday but the Islamist movement, which will most likely be leading the country, is set to protest against a decree the ruling military generals have put in place.

The decree ordered the immediate dissolution of parliament after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the law governing the first elections were unconstitutional as party members had been allowed to contest seats reserved for independents.

The second decree amended the March 2011 constitutional declarations by giving generals complete control over legislation and military affairs until fresh parliamentary elections are held.


Buckingham Palace is tight-lipped about how the Queen came to suffer an extremely bloodshot eye.

The red left eye was clearly visible in photographs taken as she watched polo players take to the field at the Cartier Queen's Cup Final, in Surrey.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment on how the Queen suffered the red eye but said "nothing untoward" had happened and the monarch was in "fine fettle".

The final, at Guards Polo Club, in Windsor Great Park, Egham, is rated as one of the world's top five polo events, attracting some of the best international players.

Queen Elizabeth II will on Wednesday attend a Commonwealth luncheon in London following a grand four-day diamond jubilee celebration which was marred by the illness of her husband, Prince Philip.

The queen will host heads of government and representatives of the Commonwealth nations at Marlborough House, but will be without her husband who is recovering from the bladder infection that hospitalised him on Monday.

The couple's youngest son Prince Edward told reporters after visiting Philip in hospital that his father was "getting better" but he will remain in hospital for several days and that the queen was "bearing up but missing him."

The monarch on Tuesday brought the official public celebrations to a close when she greeted 1.5 million cheering subjects from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

A dramatic flypast capped four days of celebrations marking her 60th year on the throne as the crowd waved Union Jack flags at the monarch and her family, surrounding the palace in a sea of red, white and blue. 

The 86-year-old monarch later said in a special television message shown across the nation and the Commonwealth that the jubilee had been a "humbling experience."

"It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere," the queen said.

"I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth," she added. "Thank you all."

The queen braved the rain with her heir Prince Charles and his wife Camilla as well as Prince Harry, Prince William and his wife Catherine to wave from the balcony.

"We were told by police that there were 1.5 million in and around The Mall area," a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace told AFP in reference to the packed avenue running from the palace to Trafalgar Square.

The crowd boomed the national anthem as historic World War II planes flew overhead, followed by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows display team who filled the skies with plumes of red white and blue smoke.

The queen's guard also released celebratory cascades of rifle fire.

Minutes earlier, the royals had driven to the palace from the Houses of Parliament in horse-drawn carriages, again cheered by thousands -- many of whom camped out overnight to get a glimpse of the queen.

Military bands and more than 100 mounted soldiers in traditional uniform accompanied the carriages in a classic display of British pageantry. Banners saying "Elizabeth the Great" were held above the crowd.

In Philip's absence, Charles and Camilla joined the queen, who was dressed in a mint-green silk coat scattered with crystals, in the red and gold 1902 state landau.

Prince Harry joined William and Catherine, who wore a beige lace dress by Alexander McQueen, as they smiled and waved from their own carriage -- their first such carriage trip since William and Catherine married in April 2011. 

Charles had earlier taken his father's place by the queen's side at a special jubilee service at St Paul's Cathedral attended by political leaders, foreign ambassadors and royals.

Leading the service beneath the imposing dome of the cathedral, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the world's Anglicans, paid tribute to Philip as well as the monarch.

"We are marking six decades of living proof that public service is possible and that it is a place where happiness can be found," said Williams, adding that their prayers were with Philip.

A rapturous flag-waving crowd of more than 100,000 cheered Queen Elizabeth II at Epsom racecourse in Britain on Saturday as she began four days of celebrations for her diamond jubilee.

Gun salutes rang out across the country to mark the anniversary of her coronation before the 86-year-old queen arrived to watch the races, smiling broadly as she and husband Prince Philip were driven past the winning post.

In a surge of enthusiasm for the monarchy across Britain, thousands of people paraded through Perth in Scotland for the jubilee, many held community parties, and villages competed to create the longest stretch of bunting.

Crowds even turned out to watch military bands rehearse in London ahead of the main celebrations for the queen's 60 years on the throne. 

"It's not every morning you wake up on a day that will be written about in the history books," declared The Sun, Britain's best-selling newspaper.

"Make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. It may be centuries before another comes along."

Cloudy weather and forecasts of rain did not deter the public from partying amid the highest support for the royals in decades. A recent poll showed about 80 percent of Britons want the country to stay a monarchy.

People were already camping in tents beside the Thames river ahead of a pageant of about 1,000 boats that will sail through London on Sunday with the queen in a royal barge decked with 10,000 flowers.

"There is huge excitement. The queen has done a terrific job in the past 60 years," said Andrew Phasey, whose canal narrowboat will be part of the pageant.

"We feel hugely privileged to be taking part. It will be a terrific day."

Britons have planned more than 9,500 street parties for Sunday, although there are concerns about forecasts of heavy rain.

On Monday, some 4,000 beacons will be lit across the Commonwealth following a huge picnic and star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace.

Tuesday, which like Monday is a public holiday, will be devoted to ceremonial events including a thanksgiving service and carriage procession. 

The queen, a keen rider and racehorse owner, and her husband were on Saturday watching races including the Epsom Derby, Britain's richest horse race.

Paratroopers descended to the racecourse trailing huge Union Jack flags and red smoke ahead of their arrival with sons Andrew and Edward, young princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and other members of the royal family.

The queen wore royal blue and her trademark matching hat with flowers, while Prince Philip, 90, waved his top hat to the crowd of 130,000 people.

Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins sang the national anthem, while Buckingham Palace posted on Twitter: "And we're off! The #diamondjubilee weekend begins."

Queen Elizabeth later presented the 110-year-old Coronation Cup, renamed the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup for the occasion, to the team behind winning horse St Nicholas Abbey, who also won the race last year, ahead of the Derby.

Rachel Molloy, 28, a singer from London, said over strawberries and champagne, "We waved to her and it was very exciting because we've never seen the queen this close. She looked happy."


Queen Elizabeth II told her grandson Prince William to rip up the guest list he was given for his wedding and do it again himself to include his friends, he said in an interview.

The Duke of Cambridge also said he got got just half an hour's sleep before last year's wedding to Catherine Middleton, which was watched by billions around the world.

In extracts released Tuesday from a forthcoming ITV television documentary to mark the queen's jubilee, William said he went to his grandmother with his concerns about the guest list drawn up by royal officials.

"There was very much a subdued moment when I was handed a list with 777 names on -- not one person I knew or Catherine knew," he said.

"I went to her (the Queen) and said, 'Listen, I've got this list, not one person I know -- what do I do?' and she went, 'Get rid of it. Start from your friends and then we'll add those we need to in due course. It's your day'."

The April 29 wedding at Westminster Abbey in London was attended by around 2,000 people and more than one million people lined the processional route to see the happy couple.

William, the second in line to the throne after his father Prince Charles, admitted that his grandmother was a tough act to follow.


A Scotland Yard officer has denied racially abusing a suspect after the summer riots.

Pc Alex MacFarlane elected to be tried by a Crown Court jury as he appeared before magistrates accused of telling 21-year-old Mauro Demetrio: "The problem with you is you will always be a n*****, yeah?".

The bespectacled 52-year-old was granted bail to appear again at Southwark Crown Court on June 29.

Suited MacFarlane, wearing black glasses with tinted lenses, chose not to stand in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court as he entered a not guilty plea to a racially-aggravated harassment offence.

He confirmed his date of birth and gave his address as Forest Gate police station as the charge against him was read out.

The indictment detailed that he intended to cause "harassment, alarm or distress" to his victim and "used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour".