Monday, March 31, 2008

Salon sued by Muslim hairdresser in headscarf

Last Updated: 1:45am BST 01/04/2008

A Muslim hairdresser has accused a salon owner who objected to her Islamic headscarf of "blatant" religious discrimination.
Bushra Noah, 19, told an employment tribunal that she was "devastated" after being turned down for a job as a stylist at Wedge salon in King's Cross, north London.
She claimed that she could have fitted in at the salon, which specialises in "urban, edgy and funky" cuts, even though she insists her headgear is essential to her beliefs.

Heathrow Terminal 5 debacle 'damages UK'

By David Millward, Transport Editor Last Updated: 1:45am BST 01/04/2008

The fiasco at Terminal 5 has dented the nation's pride, the aviation minister said yesterday as he disclosed that double the number of bags were now stranded at Heathrow.
Mr Fitzpatrick said passengers using the £4.3 billion terminal had suffered an "unacceptably poor experience" and delivery had fallen "well short of expectation".

Limit immigration, warns House of Lords

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor Last Updated: 2:03am BST 01/04/2008

The number of immigrants entering Britain should be capped, an influential House of Lords committee has warned.
Its analysis concludes that record levels of immigration are bringing no economic benefit to the country.
The House of Lords report says that immigrants are not needed to fill labour market shortages
The report says that ministers should urgently review immigration policies as plans to increase the population by 190,000 a year threaten to have "major impacts" on public services and housing.

Al-Qa'eda told me to bomb London, says Briton

By Tom Chivers and agencies Last Updated: 1:46am BST 01/04/2008

A London-based British Muslim has told how he was asked by a man alleged to be one of al-Qa'eda's most senior masterminds to carry out a suicide attack on the capital.
The man, who is known by the pseudonym Abu Omar, spoke of being at a terror terror safe house in Karachi, Pakistan, when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is alleged to have been behind the 9/11 attacks on New York, asked him if he would carry out a "martyrdom" operation in Britain.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mortgages rise by £150 in one week

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 1:31am GMT 29/03/2008

The cost of an average mortgage has risen so fast in recent days that borrowers are paying an extra £150 a year on their home loans compared with the start of last week, it has been disclosed.
The turmoil in the financial markets has caused banks and building societies to raise their rates on a daily basis, even though the Bank of England has cut interest rates on two occasions since December.

Michael Martin's home gets £1.7m makeover

By Rachel Sylvester and Robert Winnett Last Updated: 1:11am GMT 29/03/2008

Refurbishing the home and garden of the Speaker of the House of Commons has cost the taxpayer £1.7 million.
The bill includes more than £700,000 on furnishing and improving his official residence, figures released to The Daily Telegraph reveal today.

BA 'faces fines of £5,000 per passenger' over Heathrow Terminal 5 chaos

By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter, Tom Chivers and agencies Last Updated: 10:42am GMT 29/03/2008

BA faces fines of up to £5,000 per passenger after allegedly misleading travellers stranded at Heathrow's Terminal 5 about their compensation rights, a newspaper has reported.
The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) says that a letter issued by BA to passengers on Friday breached European regulations laying out the minimum compensation rights for delayed travel, according to The Times.

Two terrorists released from prison early

By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor Last Updated: 1:12am GMT 29/03/2008

Two convicted terrorists have been released early under a controversial Government scheme to ease prison over-crowding, ministers have been forced to admit.
One is a radical Muslim cleric - Yassin Nassari, 29 - who was caught trying to smuggle blueprints on how to build a missile into Britain. Yassin Nassari was freed from Wakefield prison last month
The identity of the second terrorist had not been made public but the BBC reported he was Abdul Muneem Patel, who was released from Glen Parva jail in Leicestershire on Jan 7 this year.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prisons 'to remain at bursting' says Jack Straw

By Christopher Hope,Home Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 2:52am GMT 27/03/2008

Prisons will be at bursting point for the next two years, Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, has admitted.
His disclosure will prompt fears that emergency measures, such as the use of police cells to house prisoners and early release schemes, are here to stay.
The prison population reached a record 82,000 in February and is being managed on a short-term basis by prisons and the police.

Labour 'kills off marriage' as rates lowest ever

By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 2:53am GMT 27/03/2008

Marriage rates in England and Wales have fallen to their lowest level since records began, fuelling accusations from family campaigners that Labour is "killing marriage off".
Couples are marrying at an average of almost five years later. While the number of single, divorced or widowed people rose in 2006, those choosing to marry fell, producing the lowest marriage rates since 1862.

Heathrow Terminal 5 flights cancelled amid luggage chaos

By Aislinn Simpson, Lucy Cockroft and David Millward last Updated: 3:06pm GMT 27/03/2008

Thirty-three flights have been cancelled and luggage problems have caused chaos as Heathrow's new fifth terminal got off to a bumpy start.
In addition to the cancellations, which included incoming and outgoing flights, three planes left without baggage and incoming passengers were forced to wait up to two hours for their luggage to come through.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Trapped tourists go potty on faulty London Eye

By Bonnie Malkin and agencies Last Updated: 12:28pm GMT 25/03/2008

Hundreds of passengers on the London Eye were forced to crack open supplies of blankets, water and emergency toilets last night when the tourist attaction ground to a halt so that engineers could carry out urgent repairs.
Four hundred people were trapped on the giant wheel for more than an hour when it was stopped at about 6pm.

Muslims 'to outnumber traditional churchgoers'

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent Last Updated: 3:05am GMT 25/03/2008

The increasing influence of Islam on British culture is disclosed in research today that shows the number of Muslims worshipping at mosques in England and Wales will outstrip the numbers of Roman Catholics going to church in little more than a decade.
Projections to be published next month estimate that, if trends continue, the number of Catholic worshippers at Sunday Mass will fall to 679,000 by 2020. By that time, statisticians predict, the number of Muslims praying in mosques on Fridays will have increased to 683,000.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Heathrow fingerprint plan challenged

By Nick Allen Last Updated: 2:18pm GMT 23/03/2008

Plans to fingerprint millions of passengers at Heathrow's new fifth terminal could be illegal and have been challenged by the UK's data protection watchdog.
The Information Commissioner's Office warned airport operator BAA that the security measure, designed to stop terrorists getting into the country, may breach the Data Protection Act.

Teachers report more knives, drugs in schools

Last Updated: 2:05am GMT 23/03/2008

Knives and drugs are being brought into schools in England and Wales on a weekly basis, a survey has revealed.
The number of teachers reporting weapons being found in school at least once a week has risen four-fold in eight years.

One in 23 teenage girls had an abortion

By Melissa Kite, Deputy Political Editor, with additional reporting by Paul Ovenden
Last Updated: 2:33am GMT 23/03/2008

One in 23 teenage girls in parts of Britain has had an abortion, according to figures released by ministers.
South London and pockets of the North of England are shown to be teenage abortion "hotspots" by a regional breakdown showing the number of terminations in each primary care trust area.

Dementia timebomb 'will hit 1.2m'

By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent Last Updated: 2:05am GMT 23/03/2008

More than a million people will suffer from dementia within 20 years, Government forecasts show.
The number of patients diagnosed with diseases such as Alzheimer's will rise by 70 per cent to more than 1.2 million by 2028.

Monday, March 17, 2008

City braces itself for 10,000 job cuts

Lilly Peel

The City could be facing up to 10,000 job cuts, an economic think tank has warned – an estimated 54 per cent higher than the same group predicted just three months ago.

Bank pumps £5bn into money markets

By Russell Lynch, Monday, 17 March 2008

The Bank of England moved to pump £5bn into frozen money markets today as London's leading shares tumbled on the latest impact of the credit crunch.
Policymakers made the move to ease overnight lending rates between banks spooked by the bail-out and the cut-price sale of troubled investment bank Bear Stearns.
London's FTSE 100 Index fell more than 2.5 per cent as leading banks such as Halifax Bank of Scotland and Barclays bore the brunt of the sell-off.

Ken Livingstone got 'secret donation' from developer Gerald Ronson

By Simon Johnson Last Updated: 1:10am GMT 17/03/2008

Ken Livingstone received a donation from a property developer with a fraud conviction after the London mayor championed the businessman's plan for a controversial skyscraper.
Gerald Ronson, the tycoon who was jailed for his role in the Guinness share-dealing scandal, wrote a cheque for £4,990 - £10 below the threshold for the public registration of donations with the Electoral Commission.

1000 village shops may close with post offices

By Toby Helm and Harry Wallop Last Updated: 1:29am GMT 17/03/2008

More than a thousand village shops are facing the threat of closure over "draconian rules" that will ban them from offering rival postal services after their own Post Office sections are shut down.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Inflation-busting rise in airport charges gets go-ahead

Graeme Wearden Tuesday March 11 2008

Passengers will pay more to fly in and out of London's largest airports following the Civil Aviation Authority's decision today to allow inflation-busting increases in charges at Heathrow and Gatwick over the next five years.
The CAA's ruling, which has angered airlines, means BAA can charge £12.80 per Heathrow passenger in 2008/09, up from £10.36 this year - a 23.5% rise. It will then be allowed to hike the charge by up to 7.5% more than the retail prices index over the following four years.

Britain to have a national day and pupils to swear 'oaths of allegiance to the Queen' under new plans to bolster national pride

Last updated at 11:40am on 11th March 2008

Lord Goldsmith says an oath could involve pledging allegiance to the Queen
Schoolchildren should be encouraged to swear oaths of allegiance and Britain could have a new public holiday to bolster people's sense of national pride, according to a long-awaited review of citizenship.

'Thousands' of British girls in forced marriages

By Sophie Borland Last Updated: 10:53am GMT 11/03/2008

There is growing concern thousands of British girls are being taken out of schools and forced into marriages after new figures hinted the problem was far worse than previously thought.
A study by the Home Office found there were more than 300 inquiries in the town of Luton in one year and the issue is likely to be widespread across the country.

Lighter sentences for 'desperate' thieves

By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor Last Updated: 1:00am GMT 11/03/2008

Burglars and thieves who steal to fund an addiction to drugs, gambling or drink could escape jail even if they target a vulnerable victim such as an elderly shopkeeper, under new official guidelines.
Judges and magistrates have been told to take an offender's dependency into account when sentencing.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

'Dirty bomb' threat as UK ships plutonium to France

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor Sunday, 9 March 2008

From Sellafield, an ordinary, unarmed ferry is to transport weapons-ready plutonium –material that could easily be used to make a 'dirty bomb'
Weapons-ready plutonium that terrorists could easily make into a nuclear bomb is to be carried hundreds of miles down the west coast of Britain in an unarmed ship, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Seven die in horror crash after convicted drink-driver collides with family's car while overtaking

By STEVE MYALL - More by this author Last updated at 17:05pm on 9th March 2008

Seven people died when a convicted drink-driver crashed head-on into a family's car while overtaking.
Jason Brain smashed into a VW Passat, killing its driver John Kirby, his wife Maggie and their daughter Julie.
The Kirbys' grandchildren, aged nine and ten, were last night fighting for their lives.

Misery makes Britons happy, says US writer

By Andy Bloxham Last Updated: 5:31pm GMT 09/03/2008

Do you feel that it never rains but it pours? Well, this week's storms should give you a boost, according to an American author who claims British people relish being miserable.
Former New York Times journalist Eric Weiner claims Brits are never happier than when at their most miserable. His book, The Geography of Bliss, has received rave reviews and is riding high in the bestseller charts across the Atlantic.
Mr Weiner said Brits believed happiness was something for Americans and said they could only enjoy themselves when they had something to complain about.

Britain braced for worst storm of winter

By Sam Wilson and agencies Last Updated: 4:13pm GMT 09/03/2008

Forecasters have warned the public to stay indoors tonight as Britain braces itself for the worst storm of the winter.
Winds of up to 80mph, heavy rain and hailstones are forecast to hit the country from midnight.
The storm is expected to disrupt transport networks and power supplies, with airports and ferry companies warning of possible delays and cancellations.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Row over military uniforms in public

From The Times March 7, 2008 Francis Elliott, Fiona Hamilton and Michael Evans

Plans to urge soldiers, sailors and airmen to wear their uniforms in public were in disarray last night after RAF personnel were ordered to dress in civilian clothes while off-duty because of persistent threats and abuse.
The uniform ban was imposed by the station commander at RAF Wittering, near Peterborough, after a number of servicemen and women walking in the city in their military clothes were targeted because of their involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Gordon Brown and Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, tried last night to overturn the ban. But the incidents in Peterborough threaten to undermine a new planned policy, favoured by the Prime Minister, that aims to draw the military and general public closer together.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

MPs fighting expenses scrutiny claim £10m

By Jasper Copping and Ben Leapman Last Updated: 12:59am GMT 02/03/2008

A group of more than 70 MPs opposed to full disclosure on parliamentary allowances have between them claimed more than £10.3 million in expenses, at a higher average rate than their colleagues.
The MPs have signed an early day motion supporting Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons, who has blocked attempts to force MPs to reveal full details of their expenses.

Recycling material 'being dumped as landfill'

By Andy Bloxham Last Updated: 1:01pm GMT 02/03/2008

Thousands of tons of material put out to be recycled by environmentally conscious Britons secretly ends up at landfill, it has emerged.
Around 240,000 tons of paper, glass and plastic is either dumped or burned after being collected in green bins and bags by local council staff, according to the Local Government Association, which represents town halls across the country.
However, the true amount could be much higher as only around half of local authorities submitted their data.

Britain has lost its way, says Archbishop

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 12:31am GMT 02/03/2008

The Government has failed to find a vision for the country and has not built a cohesive society, the Archbishop of York has claimed.
Dr John Sentamu said that racism had been allowed to flourish and that Britain was no longer the "great nation" it once had been.
Instead, it was a nation in crisis. "Britain is in a very, very uncomfortable place," he said.