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Scotland will begin the process next week for making a request to the British government to hold a new independence referendum between late 2018 and early 2019, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday (March 13).

Her announcement came as British Prime Minister Theresa May was set this week to trigger the process of leaving the European Union after last year’s Brexit vote.

“Next week I will seek the authority of the Scottish parliament to agree with the UK government... the procedure that will enable the Scottish parliament to legislate for an independence referendum,” Sturgeon said.

 

Chelsea's plans to build a new £500 million ($610mn, 580mn euros) 60,000-seat stadium cleared another major hurdle on Monday when they received approval from London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

"London is one of the world's greatest sporting cities and I'm delighted that we will soon add Chelsea's new stadium to the already fantastic array of sporting arenas in the capital," Khan said in a statement.

The Premier League leaders plan to build the new arena on the site of their current Stamford Bridge home in west London, which seats 41,631 fans.

The proposals received planning permission from local authorities in January and the new ground could be completed in time for the 2021-22 season.

"Having taken a balanced view of the application, I'm satisfied this is a high-quality and spectacular design which will significantly increase capacity within the existing site, as well as ensuring fans can have easy access from nearby transport connections," Khan added.

"I'm confident this new stadium will be a jewel in London's sporting crown and will attract visitors and football fans from around the world."

The new stadium has been designed by Herzog and de Meuron, the architects behind the "Bird's Nest" stadium used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.

Red Nose Day is back! And colleagues and customers from Sainsbury’s Nine Elms Point will be fundraising and making their laugh matter for Red Nose Day. Over the next few weeks, Sainsbury’s colleagues all over the UK will be working hard to raise money for Red Nose Day which takes place on Friday 24 March. Fundraising activities at the Nine Elms Point store include wearing silly wigs and disguises, rowing/cycling challanges at the front of the store foyer area, wearing funky funny customes and much more all taking place to raise as much money as possible for Red Nose Day. Andy Robins, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s Nine Elms Point, said: “Our colleagues love getting involved with Red Nose Day fundraising and we’re all really proud to support such a great cause. There are some brilliant activities planned this year and we look forward to inviting customers to join in with the fun.”

 

 

The House of Lords looks set Wednesday to defy Prime Minister Theresa May by demanding guarantees for EU nationals living in Britain, delaying a bill she needs to start Brexit negotiations.

The opposition Labour party is hopeful it can push through an amendment to legislation empowering May to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which begins two years of divorce talks.

May hoped the bill would pass through parliament by next week and has promised EU leaders to formally start the withdrawal process by the end of the month.

But if peers in the upper house of parliament vote to amend the bill later Wednesday, it must return to MPs in the House of Commons for further deliberation.

 

 

A British zoo is facing closure and its owner prosecution after nearly 500 of its animals died of poor nutrition, cramped conditions and hypothermia over four years, it emerged Wednesday.

A damning report into the South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria, northwest England, found that 486 animals had died in the past four years, putting most of the blame on its owner David Gill.

The zoo had over 1,600 animals in 2016.

Describing the conditions as "appalling", inspectors reported finding poor levels of veterinary care, cleanliness and pest control, as well as inadequate food.

"The conditions that these animals are being held in, is quite frankly appalling, and has led directly to the death of a number of them," they wrote in the report.

 

 

IAG, parent group of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, grew profits in 2016 as lower fuel costs helped to offset the impact of a weaker pound, results showed Friday.

Net profit rose almost a third to 1.93 billion euros ($2.0 billion) compared with 2015, IAG said in an earnings statement.

Lower oil prices resulted in the company's jet fuel costs falling by 20 percent last year.

However IAG's "performance was affected by an adverse currency impact of 460 million euros", chief executive Willie Walsh said in an earnings statement.

 

 

Thousands of Europeans enraged by US President Donald Trump's immigration ban demonstrated Saturday in cities across the continent, calling on Americans to "dump Trump" and vowing to fight his policies.

In London, an estimated 10,000 people turned out, chanting "Theresa May: Shame on You" to denounce the British prime minister's support for the new US leader.

Brandishing placards declaring "No to scapegoating Muslims" and "Socialism not Trumpism", the protesters moved from the US embassy toward May's Downing Street office.

In Paris and Berlin each, around a thousand people came out to protest, while smaller gatherings of several hundred people took place in provincial British cities including Manchester and Birmingham.

Rallies were also held in Sweden's capital Stockholm and the Spanish city Barcelona, where some 300 people marched outside the Spanish consulate, according to media reports.

 

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday refused to back down on inviting US President Donald Trump for a glitzy state visit, despite a petition gaining more than 1.5 million signatures and protesters rallying across the country.

May is standing firm on the invitation, which would see Trump honoured by parliament and Queen Elizabeth II, despite the premier's office saying she does not agree with his controversial ban on refugees and citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries.

"The United States is a close ally of the UK, we work together across many areas of mutual interest and we have that special relationship between us," May told a press conference in Dublin alongside her Irish counterpart Enda Kenny.

"I have issued that invitation for a state visit to President Trump to the UK and that invitation stands."

The British premier added: "In relation to the policies that have been announced by the US, the UK takes a different approach."

May announced the state visit during a meeting with Trump at the White House on Friday, which was intended to boost trade ties after Britain leaves the European Union.

 

 

A British court on Thursday blocked pollution claims against Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell by more than 40,000 Niger Delta residents demanding action over decades of oil spills in the region.

Members of the Ogale and Bille communities had applied for the case to be heard in Britain, arguing they could not get justice in Nigeria.

But the High Court in London said it did not have jurisdiction in the case, and that it was a matter of Nigerian law.

King Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi, ruler of the Ogale Community, told AFP the decision would be appealed, saying: "The battle is not over. Not over at all. Never, never!

"We are highly disappointed with the ruling, but we are not broken," he added.

"We are very strong, we believe in the British judicial system, we believe this judge was wrong, and we believe by the grace of God we'll get justice in the Court of Appeal".

Legal firm Leigh Day, representing the claimants, called it a "very surprising decision".

"We are confident that the court will overturn this judgment," the legal firm's Daniel Leader told AFP.

"There is no hope of getting justice in the Nigerian system, the system is inefficient."

Leigh Day argued during November's hearing that Shell was "ultimately responsible for failing to ensure that its Nigerian subsidiary operates without causing environmental devastation".

Shell lawyer Peter Goldsmith countered that the case was aimed at establishing the High Court's jurisdiction over Shell's Nigerian subsidiary SPDC, opening the door for further claims.

SPDC's Igo Weli welcomed the "common sense" decision.

"Issues about Nigerian claimants against a Nigerian company should be handled in Nigeria based on the principles of Nigerian law," he told AFP.

"There's a myth that you can't get justice in Nigeria and I know it's not true".

- 'Strange diseases' -

Okpabi disputed this argument, telling AFP in an interview in November that: "Shell is Nigeria and Nigeria is Shell".

"You can never, never defeat Shell in a Nigerian court. The truth is that the Nigerian legal system is corrupt," he said.

Holding up a plastic bottle containing contaminated water from his community in Nigeria, the tribal king said "my people are drinking this water".

"There are strange diseases in my community -- skin diseases, people are dying sudden deaths, some people are impotent, low sperm count," he added.

"I can afford to buy water. But can I afford to buy for everybody? No."

 

 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will agree to be extradited to the United States if President Barack Obama grants clemency to the former US soldier Chelsea Manning, jailed for leaking documents, the company said on Thursday.

"If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ (US Department of Justice) case," WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter.

Assange has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

The Australian former computer hacker said he fears Stockholm will in turn extradite him to the US, where he angered Washington over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents leaked by former US soldier Manning.