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LondonNet Archive:
London News Headlines from August 2004
Click here for current news


31/08/04
Tragic Ending to Carnival Anniversary
- Notting Hill Carnival's lower crime rate suffers after a late night shooting

A breezy Notting Hill Carnival ended tragically on Monday, when a man was shot on Hazel Road in Kensal Green, around ten at night.

Police have yet to determine whether the shooting was Carnival related, although witnesses say revellers were playing music on a nearby makeshift sound station until the time of the shooting.

The man, whose name has not been released, died later that night in hospital.

The shooting was a surprising end to a weekend generally without incident. An estimated one million weaved their way through Carnival on Sunday and Monday, tackling crowds to hear Steelbands, static sound systems and over 70 mobile mas bands perform alongside about 50,000 participants, said Carnival representative Rebecca Whitehead.

Chris Mullard, Chairman of lead organisers, London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, in a comment late Monday afternoon, considered Carnival an overall success.

"After a year of hard work from hundreds of community groups, I am overawed to see so many nationalities with smiles on their faces," he said.

Overall crime at Carnival was lower than last year by about 30%, according to the Metropolitan Police.


31/08/04
Wife and Kids leave Thatcher to Face the Music
- Sir Mark stays alone in South Africa under coup charges

SIR MARK THATCHER'S wife and children have arrived in London from South Africa, leaving the son of the former Prime Minister to face alone charges that he helped organise a coup in Equatorial Guinea.

It is thought Diane Thatcher will meet her mother-in-law during her visit to this country but is then expected to fly to the US where her and Sir Mark's children are due to go to school.

Sir Mark says he is innocent of the charges which relate to the financing of a coup attempt on the oil rich west African country. His friend Simon Mann was convicted of procuring weapons illegally by a court in Zimbabwe.


27/08/04
List Alleges Archer Involvement in Coup Finance
- Archer denies he helped buck up cash for the coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, but a list with his initials alleges otherwise.

FAMED AND SHAMED Lord JH Archer, the Tory politician jailed for perjury and perverting the court of justice in 2001, is back in question after Mark Thatcher's public arrest for financing a coup in Equatorial Guinea. A list of financers currently being detained by officials allegedly includes the initials of JH Archer.

The disgraced Tory denies all involvement, although James Kershaw, the former associate of Thatcher's close friend Simon Mann, is preparing to use the list as part of Thatcher's prosecution. Also included in the list are business mogul Ely Calil, millionaire David Hart, and Greg Wales, a friend of Thatcher.

Archer was released last year after serving half his four year sentence for a 2001 perjury case, in which he was found guilty of lying and cheating during a 1987 libel suit against the Daily Star.

Mark Thatcher posted a 165,000 UKP bail and is currently under house arrest in wait for his trial. He faces 15 years if found guilty.


26/08/04
Carnival Away Day for OAPs
- Council sends Notting Hill pensioners to Bognor to escape bank holiday revelries

FORTY OLD FOLK in the Notting Hill area are to be shipped out for the bank holiday weekend to escape from the excesses of this year's Carnival.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is footing the UKP13,000 bill for the group to relax in the bingo-friendly environment of Bognor Regis's Butlins.

"There are so many strangers in this area during carnival and it's so noisy with the sound systems that the whole house shakes. It's quite stressful" said Notting Hill resident Alice Marshall, 64.

"When it first started it was just one lorry taking the children around but now it has got so big."


 

Mayor Hails Environmental Gains24/08/04
Mayor Hails Environmental Gains
- But more needs to be done to guarantee Londoners clean air says Ken

MAYOR KEN LIVINGSTONE says a new report shows gains are being made to the capital's environmental well-being.

The Environmental Report 2004, published yesterday by Transport for London (TfL) claimed success in reducing the environmental impact of the capital's transport network.

"Like many Londoners, I can remember the dreadful 'pea-souper' smogs in the 1950s. These are now, thankfully, a thing of the past but we are still a long way from guaranteeing Londoners the clean air they have every right to expect" the Mayor said.

"Transport for London is leading a wide-ranging programme to improve matters. Two of the highlights are replacing all the older buses and making London a Low Emission Zone. But it's not just cleaner air. Using 'green' electricity and installing solar panels all help to improve our environment. The land on either side of many Underground lines also help to protect London's wildlife."

The environmental improvements claimed by TfL span London’s extensive transport network including London Underground, buses and street management.

Here at LondonNet we're particularly excited by the new Vauxhall Cross interchange station. It incorporates the latest design in solar power to provide the station with 30 per cent of its annual energy use. More importantly the futuristic contraption looks like it's landed direct from outer space.

"TfL has made great in-roads in increasing the viability and attractiveness of cleaner modes of transport" Barry Broe, TfL Director of Transport Planning and Policy, said.

"At the same time we have cleaned up our own vehicles. But we're not complacent, so we've set ourselves challenging targets and are moving forward with a programme of improvements to reduce pollution, energy use, waste, noise and improve recycling and London's natural and built environment.”


23/08/04
Diana Fountain Floors Spaniard
- Tourist hospitalised by troubled memorial

A SPANIARD has become the latest victim of the troubled Diana Memorial Fountain in London's Hyde Park.

The woman, understood to be in her forties, was taken to hospital after slipping on mud at the memorial on Saturday. It seems that heavy rain had raised the water level of the circular installation causing the excess to spill over to the surrounding ground.

The accident came just a day after the structure was re-opened to the public having been shut down due to safety fears a month earlier. Officials had claimed that subtle changes to the fountain's surface, new warning signs and a pair of attendant park officers would ensure that the memorial would be safer for visitors in future.

The UKP3.6million fountain, by Kathryn Gustafson, was designed to be an interactive experience, with visitors encouraged to bathe their feet. But unless a safer system of operation can be put in place very soon, these lofty aims could be dashed as the fountain is turned into a strictly 'hands-off' memorial.


20/08/04
London is Full of Crap
- Snap downpours force sewage into Thames

THE THAMES has been cleaned up in recent years with many dangerous pollutants now a thing of the past, but this summer's sudden bursts of rain have caused thousands of tonnes of untreated sewage to flow into the river.

This week over 500,000 tonnes of the stuff has arrived in the Thames after first flooding at the River Lea's Abbey Mills pumping station in east
London.

It the second time in a month the Thames has been affected in this way and it seems the problem is not likely to be flushed away any time soon.

"Londoners can expect the problem of sewage in the River Thames to be an ongoing health, amenity and environmental problem," said a spokesperson for the Environment Agency.

Londoners who are fish have the most to complain about as a rise in sewage levels reduces the Thames's oxygen quotient, causing suffocation.


19/08/04
The Rack Makes Them Bigger
- Madonna's bust receives increased spiritual guidance from old-school machine

In her continued quest for strange exercise and health methodology, Madonna's latest project brings her a step closer to medieval torture, via the Gyrotonic Expansion System.  According to the Daily Star, the machine has not only toned her muscles; it has also increased her bust size.

The 'Rack', as it is known, is a wooden structure attached by pulleys and wires that was developed in the 80's by ballet dancer Juliu Horvath in order to combine 'spiritual awareness' with dance-appropriate exercise.

Madonna's ninety minute sessions at a studio in St. John's Wood have likely been to keep her in shape for her ongoing Reinvention tour, which hit Earl's Court last night.  The trail of shows will continue on Sunday and Monday at Wembley Arena, with tickets for those and added shows at Wembley Arena on the 25th and 26th still available.

Madonna @ Wembley Arena - tickets for 22, 23, 25 and 26 August available - click here


The Toe for Tarmac18/08/04
The Toe for Tarmac
- Performance artist Mark McGowan's toe will drag a bus around seven miles of London, all for the glory of the roads.

In response to Mayor Ken Livingstone's announcement of planned west London congestion charges, McGowan wanted to do something that illustrated his distaste. In true McGowan taste, his ideas involved a bus, a road, and a body part. He told the BBC, "This project is a protest against the excessive use of bus lanes and against mayor Ken Livingstone's ridiculous traffic strategy."

He will pull the bus along Camberwell on Wednesday, with a driver seated in case of an emergency or large hill.

This is his third highly publicized stunt, following a 12-day bath in baked beans to celebrate English cuisine and a seven-mile journey to Number 10 Downing Street, pushing a monkey nut with his nose, to demonstrate against inflated student debt. The monkey-nut feat also took him 12 days.

McGowan has had a long history of performance art, however, involving people from Peckham and Camberwell. His hope is that his art helps in "tackling serious issues from a humorous point of view."


18/08/04
Sex With Ten People is Normal for Single Brits
- UK tops poll for promiscuity; comes bottom for in-marriage ardour

BRITISH people sleep around more than others when single but bother with sex less when they're married, according to a just-published American survey.

60 per cent of over 2,000 Britons surveyed by New York-based RSCG Worldwide reckoned it was normal for people to have at least 10 sexual partners during their single years. In contrast, only 50 per cent of Germans, 49 per cent of Americans, 30 per cent of French and 17 per cent of Chinese agreed with the ten or more as normal level.

But it could be the Chinese and the others save their passion for the marital bed. 82 per cent of Chinese surveyed said they had a right to sex when married, compared to only 63 per cent of British people. The French
logged in at 80 per cent, Americans 76 per cent and Germans at 78 on this question.


17/08/04
Kerry's Royal Genes to Clinch Victory
- Blood line boost for US Presidential candidate

US PRESIDENTIAL hopeful John Kerry is related to the Queen, a blood link
that is predicted to ensure his victory in the November election.

"Because of the fact every candidate with the most royal genes has always won the November election, the coming one - based on 42 previous presidents - will go to John Kerry," said Harold Brooks-Baker of Brooks Peerage, which conducted research into the matter.

Kerry isn't just more royal than President Bush, he is the most royal US candidate in history. "Every maternal blood line of Kerry makes him more royal than any previous US president," said Brooks-Baker.

The Democrat is a distant cousin of the present Queen and can also trace a separate maternal line back to Henry II.


16/08/04
'Porn Star' Cops Face the Chop
'Porn Star' Cops Face the Chop
- On duty Soho duo alleged to have had sex with actresses

TWO London policemen caught on film having sex with porn stars could be booted out of the force within weeks.

"It is too early to comment on what discipline they could face," said a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police. "If the facts are simple and clear, that may be finished in a matter of weeks."

Some of those facts appear to be that the two constables, aged 30 and 34, somehow found themselves inside a van, parked in Soho, which was the setting for a porn film. The pair were on duty at the time.

The two officers allegedly let the porn actresses play with their helmets and handcuffs before taking part in what has been termed a 'sex act'.

"I never thought serving officers could act like that, and in front of us all as well," said Marino Franchi, the film's director. "They just decided to have their very own private porn movie while on the job."


13/08/04
US Pays Blair to Talk
- Cherie joins lucrative speaker circuit

CHERIE BLAIR is being hired out for after-dinner speaking gigs when she visits the US this October.

The wife of the British Prime Minister can expect to land tens of thousands of dollars per speech after being signed up by the Harry Walker Agency, a New York firm that also handles the speaking careers of Bono out of U2, Bill Clinton and Henry Kissenger.

"I know Cherie Blair would be a great success at your next event, so please contact me today for more information about her lecture topics," says the blurb advertising the PM's wife's wares. It is not known if those topics include crystal gazing and other New Age beliefs thought to be held by Cherie Blair.

Cherie herself has tried to play down the looming money-making opportunity. "She is in the US in October," said a spokesperson for Matrix, her London legal chambers. "She has accepted an invitation from this agency to speak while she is in the US."


12/08/04
Ken Goes West With C-Charge
- Survey findings over-ridden by Mayor

LONDON'S congestion charge zone is to be widened westwards from central London into Kensington and Chelsea, after Ken Livingstone decided to brush aside the results of a consultation process.

100,000 Londoners were asked what they thought of the plan. 66 per cent of those living in the proposed new zone said they were against its extension, a figure that fell only slightly, to 62 per cent, of Londoners overall.

Mayor Livingstone was unmoved by the findings. "The proposal to extend the zone is clearly controversial," he said. "Consultations however tend to draw responses primarily from those opposed to whatever is being consulted upon."

The boundaries of the new zone would be Kensal Green Cemetery in the north, Shepherd's Bush to the west and Chelsea Embankment to the south. It is unlikely to be up and running much before 2007.


12/08/04
The Big Tent is Born Again
- Friday’s big-tent calypso revival sanctifies Notting Hill Carnival with
rhythm and rhyme.

Classic calypso performers grace the stage this Friday to rev-up energy for the bank holiday weekend's Notting Hill Carnival.

The performance, which is the third in a series of pre-Notting Hill revelry, will feature British and Trinidad and Tobago Maestro Calypsonians, including The Explainer, Soca Elvis, Cyclops, and the ten-year-old Calypsonian whiz, Sheynenne Hazell. More than just shaking what their mamma's gave them, the tent event will also be recorded by Kenny Phillips of calypso studio KMP Music lab, for release on the following Friday.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the official Notting Hill Carnival, although similar festivities have occurred since the influx of immigrants to London from the West Indies, particularly within the Trinidadian community. Carnival representative Natalie Still considers the carnival more than just a passionate few days in extravagant costumes; it is also a place that champions artistic collaboration, ingenuity and self-expression.

"[It] continues to be a celebration of artistic excellence, featuring different sounds and genres of music born over the years," she said, "The Notting Hill Carnival has been a platform for an array of musical styles; each playing an integral part in creating the soundtrack to Carnival."

The Friday tent events lead up to the Calypso Monarch competition, on the 26th, which will conclude with a spanking new Calypso Monarch for the weekend's rowdy carnival.


11/08/04
Women With Kids Need Not Apply
- Jobcentre tells City worker to drop reference to child from CV

A WOMAN looking for work in The City was told by government advisers to delete mention of her daughter from her CV.

"They [the advisers at a Jobcentre] told me something that shocked me, which I still cannot get over," said Diane Winship, a 35 year-old financial controller from the Isle of Dogs.

"I was to delete the line that I had a child on my CV as it could be a cause of not getting work. This really upset me. I am so proud of my daughter and yet she could be stopping me from getting work so I have now deleted her existence from my CV."

The Jobcentre advice came after Winship had applied for six City jobs and failed to get so much as an interview for any of them. Three prospective employers didn't bother to reply.

Winship is currently on Jobseeker's Allowance. She is in dispute with her previous employer, American fund management company Goldenberg, Hehmeyer and Co, over the terms of her return to work after maternity leave.

Her story comes in the wake of many tales of employers avoiding taking on women of child-bearing age and the comments last month of one UKIP Euro MP who said women should concentrate their efforts on cleaning behind the fridge rather than finding work.


10/08/04
Don't Give to Beggars, Say Councils
- 'Cruel to be Kind' campaign highlights problems of drink and drugs

PEOPLE are being told not to give money to street beggars in a campaign launched today by two central London authorities.

Camden and Westminster councils have teamed up to advise, via a 'Cruel to be Kind' poster campaign, against donating money to individual beggars on the grounds they are likely to use the cash for drink and drugs.

"People need to know that the money they casually give to a beggar may buy the fix that kills them," said Kit Malthouse, deputy leader of Westminster City Council. "In my view giving to beggars is actually a very cruel thing to do."


09/08/04
Police State Goes Underground
- Immigration Officers trawl Tube for foreign accents

THE GOVERNMENT has defended it's police-state-type tacti cs after volleys of
criticism following revelations that Immigration Officers are asking non-white Londoners, more or less randomly, to show their papers.

"The Government has made it clear it will take a robust stance against those who abuse UK laws," said a Home Office spokesperson. "We will prosecute and will seek to remove those who have no legal basis of stay in the UK."
Such a banal statement fails to deal with the specifics of new reports which have uncovered a previously secret scheme by which Immigration Officers are stopping Tube travellers on the basis of vague suspicions as to their nationality.

"If you hear someone speaking non-European language we approach them and ask 'do you mind if I ask you what nationality you are?'," explained one Immigration Officer. "We ask the police to assist and demand identification."

Campaigning group Liberty slammed the practise as worthy of a police state.

"Stopping people and checking their papers is what we used to associate with the old communist states," said the group's Barry Hugill.

The use of Immigration Officers in this way is seen by many as a sneaky method of getting round the burdens of a openly, democratically controlled police force, which would officially not be allowed to conduct such speculative operations.


06/08/04
Summer Music Festival in Full Swing
- A packed programme for the Proms this weekend

Prommers are spoilt for choice over the weekend, starting with a double programme on Friday night. This years themes focus on the Orient with "East/West", "Back to Bohemia" in celebration of Dvorak's anniversary and a tribute to home grown talent with "England at the Crossroads".

The East/West theme lies at the heart of Ravel's Sheherazade performed tonight (Prom 29) by the BBC Orchestra of Wales. Originally intended as an opera, Ravel never finished the work, but the overture that remains was inspired by Arabian Nights, full of influences from the Orient.

Prom 30 takes the late night slot with Sir Harrison Birtwhistle's Theseus Game. Latin mass, early music and Greek myths bind the piece, which enlists the aid of two conductors.

The weekend finally rounds up with a Bohemian feel featuring Smetana's Bohemian Woods and Fields on Saturday (Prom 31) followed on Sunday by Janacek's Sinfonietta and Dvorak's The Spectre's Bride (Prom 32). Prommers can expect to stand in the stalls from 4 UKP, queues withstanding.


05/08/04
Portobello Film Festival Kicks Off
- 8th staging of free movie spectacular

FREE films from around the world are on offer as another Portobello Film Festival gets underway.

Running from the 6th to the 22nd of August, the festival has been going for eight years and has grown considerably from its early days. There are over 600 films on show, from blockbusters in the open air to independent shorts.

Highlights include the Meanwhile Gardens megascreen which will show blockbusters and kids films, Cinematic Orchestra's new soundtrack to legendary early-Soviet film Man With a Movie camera and a new movie about director Derek Jarman.

More info at http://www.portobellofilmfestival.com/


04/08/04
Lightning strikes five
- Five people were hit by lightning yesterday as thunderstorms trampled Britain

One boy was killed and four teenage girls were injured yesterday, as they were caught outside during particularly violent moments of the thunderstorm that caused traffic delays, tube closures, and flash flooding all over Britain.

14-year-old Joseph Wharton was struck by lightning while camping in his friend's West Midland's back garden, as reported by The Metro. His body was found in the morning and paramedics were called, but Wharton was pronounced dead at hospital.

Eye-witnessess say three of the four girls were lifted into the air from the force of the lightning that struck Hyde Park yesterday afternoon. While one girl was treated only for shock, two of the girls were treated overnight in hospital for minor burns. The fourth girl is being treated for critical injuries, after having stopped breathing before paramedics arrived.

The storm's flash flooding also caused Underground closures of the Piccadilly, Central, District and Metropolitan lines, as well as individual tube stations and roads.

More rain is expected today and the rest of the week, with thunderstorms predicted for Saturday.


03/08/04
Fresh Air Falls on London
- French musical feast for the South Bank

THE HEROES and Villains festival continues on the South Bank tonight with one the season's highlights as Air turn up at the Royal Festival Hall.

Electronica and jazz-funk vie with classical and rock for the musical attention of France's most innovative and internationally influential
musical combo.

Also this week under the Heroes and Villains banner go Lee Hazlewood with Morcheeba on Wednesday and then Badly Drawn Boy to close the whole thing on Friday and Saturday.


02/08/04
Where there is heat, there is smog
- High levels of air pollution forecasted for London this week means that many people with breathing difficulties will be spending their sunny afternoons inside.

With this week's temperatures predicted to edge the 30's, Department for Environment Food and Rural affairs officials have reminded sun-bathing Londoners that heat causes smog, and where there is smog, many people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses have problems.

According to the Defra website, most smog is a product of vehicle emissions, fuel from the heating and cooling of buildings, and vapour from industrial plants that, when heated on a hot summer day, produces a foggy-like cloud that hovers over urban areas.

While this summer has produced less smog than last summer, the threats are still the same: The Liberal Democrats say smog will cause nearly 100,000 deaths over the next 20 years, at its current levels.

'Smogs are a huge "hidden killer." We must stop choking our cities and ourselves,' said MP Norman Baker, secretary of Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment.

"While we bask in this heatwave, we must remember that summer ozone levels are a serious health risk,' he said.

Those affected by the smog are suggested to stay indoors during the afternoons, and avoid travelling in a car. Predicted storms later this week might also ease sufferers, although not their heat-basking friends.

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