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


30/07/04
Young Teens Banned from the West End
- Night time curfew to hit under 16s, say police

GANGS of young teenagers are to be targeted by central London police and will face a curfew.

The West End has attracted more youngsters to its streets in recent years, a factor some believe is linked to increased drug use and petty crime.

Just north of central London, in Somers Town, police have already used new 'dispersal' powers to get under-16s off the streets and believe the approach to be popular. It is off the back of the Somers Town experience that the Met is introducing the scheme to other parts of town.

"I don't think any responsible parent would like their 15- ear-old unaccompanied in the West End after 9pm," said Sir Ian Blair, the Met Deputy Commissioner.

West End shops have complained that groups of teenagers put off shoppers and thus harm business.


29/07/04
British Troops get 'Stay-Awake' Pills
- Afghan and Iraq wars fed by Provigil

THE BRITISH army has bought thousands of pounds worth of stay-awake drugs for its troops, a report in The Guardian newspaper has revealed.

In normal life, Provigil is used to treat severe sleeping problems but for the military it is thought the drug is used to help keep troops awake for long periods.

5,000 Provigil pills were bought just before the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and another 4,000 before the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

The Defence Medical Supplies Agency puts Provigil under the 'sustain UK military capability' heading in its reports, which reveal a total of UKP43,000 has been spent on the drug.


New Trees to Keep London Green28/07/04
New Trees to Keep London Green
- Mayor backs Woodland Framework

LONDON, already the greenest of the world's big cities, aims to keep its lead with the unveiling of the London Tree and Woodland Framework.

The idea is to include trees and other forms of greenery, both those already existing and new plantings, in development plans, a measure described as "vital" by London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

"Trees are as much a part of London's history as its famous buildings and monuments," said English Heritage's Philip Davies.


27/07/04
End of the Line for Pimbury Clan
- Surname to die with Mike, 73

NORTH LONDONER Mike Pimbury is likely to take his surname to the grave, making it the first recorded case of a British surname to face extinction.

"I have worked on cases where the surname is quite rare but this is the first case that I have worked on where it is actually confirmed as the
last," said genealogist Karen Bali.

Mike has tried to find others with his surname across the world but his search has been proved a failure.

"We've traced the family tree right down to the present day and most male Pimburys died without any family - so I think I'm the last," he said. The bright side for Mike and his erstwhile clan is that a character bearing the Pimbury surname appears in Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie, one of the most famous books of the last century.

Though Mike's search has been thorough, he is hoping the publicity generated will help draw out a secret family of Pimburys somewhere on the planet. Pimburys of the world are invited to contact Karen Bali at [email protected]


26/07/04
Kim Cattrall in Bed in London
- New role for Sex and the City star

SEX and the City star Kim Cattrall is to tread the boards of the West End, starting net January.

That wasn't quite accurate - fans of the late TV show won't be too surprised to learn that Cattall's new role involves her spending the whole show lying on her back in bed.

That wasn't altogether fair, either. Cattrall is to take the lead in Whose Line is it Anyway? at the Duke of York theatre from the 25th of January, playing an artist who is a quadraplegic, lying in bed in hospital after a
car crash.

First seen 26 years ago, the play was originally written by Brian Clark for a male lead. The revised version will be directed in London by Sir Peter Hall.

London Theatre Guide - Tickets, listings and reviews


23/07/04
Freesports Showcase for Clapham Common
- Urban Games back for another year of extreme thrills

SOME of the top skaters, BMXers, B-Boys and FMXers in the world are due to turn up on Clapham Common this weekend as the Sprite Urban Games rolls into town for its annual blast of freesport excitement.

Going on the huge crowds that have attended previous year's Urban Games, organisers expect tens of thousands of people to show up this year to watch some of the sports' big names under what looks like being a mostly clear sky.

The event kicks off on Friday with a BMX qualifying competition, followed by an FMX (Freestyle motorcross) showdown and ends on Sunday night with the BMX final.

In between, all types of pro-skaters and B-Boys (break dancers) add to the mix of what is proving to be one of the most vibrant events on the London calendar. There's also a public skate area for both BMXers and skaters.

For more info, go to:
www.spriteurbangames.com


Police Scratch Heads at Crime Rise22/07/04
Police Scratch Heads at Crime Rise
- Met is 'perplexed' at shock figures

LONDON police have reacted with amazement to new figures that show a 37 per cent rise in violent crime in the capital.

"We live and work in London and we get vibes. This is not what we have seen," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve House. "We are genuinely perplexed."

"We live and work in London and we get vibes"The figures come from the British Crime Survey, which is an opinion poll method of calculating crime figures. According to this survey, London's problems with violent crime are in stark contrast to the rest of the country, which posted a drop of three per cent over the same April 2003-April 2004 period.

The police's own figures show a much smaler increase in crime, of only two per cent, but the government and many experts favour the BCS as it captures crime that is not reported to the police.


21/07/04
Most Kids Have Seen Internet Porn, Says Report
- LSE survey says parents don't know what's going on

MOST older children in Britain have looked at porn on the internet, according to a survey by the prestigious London School of Economics.

57 per cent of children aged between 9 and 19 said they had seen web-porn, according to the LSE survey of 1,511 respondents in that age group. Most of the 57 per cent said they the porn had reached them unawares through spam
and unwanted pop-ups.

"I am struck by a sense that a significant minority of parents don't know what they do online," said Sonia Livingstone, professor of social psychology at the LSE. The survey also found that 42 per cent of 9-19s has given out, unbeknownst to their parents, personal information.

The rest of the survey's results were fairly predictable with children saying they use the internet mostly for email, homework, music and instant messaging.


20/07/04
Kylie the Queen of CD Insurance Claims
- Fraudsters 'not very original' say researchers

ONE of the most common frauds of all is to exaggerate an insurance claim and one of the most common ways to exaggerate an insurance claim is to file a list of phantom CDs that have been stolen, lost or burnt.

Researchers have now discovered that the most likely artist named in such phantom CD collections is Kylie Minogue. Kylie beats off fraud fan competition from second placed Westlife with Bryan Adams taking third place in a league compiled by Absolute Customer Management, a company that helps insurance firms detect fraud.

"Our team has learned that these are the ones that fraudsters make up time and time again when they're put on the spot," said Bill Trueman of ACM. "We can only assume that most fraudsters aren't very original."

The message to would-be fraudsters appears to be to develop a more eclectic music taste.


19/07/04
Government Give Crossrail the Go-Ahead
- New line could be ready by 2013

GETTING across London will be easier within the next decade, if Crossrail, as expected, gets the go-ahead tomorrow. Alistair Darling, the government's Transport Secretary, is to make an announcement on Crossrail in Parliament tomorrow, one insiders reckon will be positive.

By 2013 the new rail line would link up east and west London and possibly parts of north and south London, too, taking pressure off both existing rail services and roads.

"It's really good news," said a Crossrail spokesperson. "The idea of a cross-London rail link has been kicking around for decades."

The main snag with the 'good news' is that Crossrail won't be ready in time for the 2012 Olympics if London wins the bid to host the games. Crossrail's first stage would stretch from Heathrow airport in the west to Dalston in the east.

Planners are keen to extend this route eastwards out to Shenfield and add branches to Clapham and Norbiton in the south-west,
south-east of London to Ebbsfleet and to and Watford and Aylesbury in the north-west.


16/07/04
Big Proms Organ Rises to Occasion
- First notes of 2004 BBC event to be heard on restored instrument

THE INFLUENCE of eastern culture on western music is one of the themes of the Proms, which starts this weekend with notes played on a newly restored 1871 organ, Britain's biggest, at the Royal Albert Hall.

The organ, refurbished at a cost of UKP1.7 million, will be heard in the opening ceremony and then off the Proms go; its first evening, on Friday, made up of work by Bach, Elgar and Holst.

The eastern theme kicks off in Prom 6 next Tuesday with Zhou Long's The Immortal. The idea that the theme is a response to the political situation is perhaps dispelled by the fact that here 'east' most often means 'far
east' and not the Islamic tradition.

Other themes this year are Back to Bohemia, dominated by Dvorak and Janacek, and England at the Crossroads: 1934, the year Elgar, Delius and Holst died. Dvorak's Dimitrij is the highlight this Sunday, the 18th. Saturday goes under the banner of The Nation's Favourite Prom, which features highly popular work such as Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and Tchaikovsky's '1812' Overture.

LondonNet's Classical Music Guide
- Previews, News and Tickets


15/07/04
Nurses from Overseas 'Prop Up NHS'
- Up to a quarter of all nurses in London from abroad

LONDON's hospitals are increasingly staffed by foreign nurses, according to a report from the influential King's Fund group.

In a survey of three of London's NHS Trust areas, between 12 and 25 per cent of nurses were found to have been trained outside the UK.

"International recruitment was initially regarded as a quick-fix, but it's now clear this is an integral part of many hospitals' recruitment strategies," said Professor James Buchan, of the King's Fund."

The problem, Buchan implies, is that employing overseas nurses tends to add to the problem of high staff turnover seen in the NHS. But cause and effect of such turnover is not at all clear: "There is a high turnover of nurses in London. We have an acute shortage of staff here and generally the NHS is being propped up by nurses from overseas," said Lucy Hamilton of the Royal College of Nursing.


15/07/04
Christmas Cheer for Congestion Charge Payers
- Mayor plans to drop CC for festive period

LONDON Mayor Ken Livingstone announced that he is to push ahead with his manifesto commitment to scrap the Congestion Charge during the Christmas and New Year period.

It's only for three days and it's the quietest time in town on the roads, but the three day respite from the UKP5 fee could give a boost to restaurants, shops and theatres.

Drivers of 4x4s might have more to gain than most from the Mayor's boundless generosity as it looks like they could be paying double the rate in normal times. Livingstone recently called 4x4 drivers "idiots" and now he has been backed in his anti-off roader campaign by the Liberal Democrats.

The Lib Dems have called for a UKP10 charge to be levied on 4x4s. "4x4 vehicles in city centres are a danger to pedestrians, a potential hazard to other road users, can cause more damage than any other type of car, and take up more road space," said Lib Dem transport spokesperson Lynne Featherstone.

"The Mayor stuck his neck out with the congestion charge but he is burying his head in the sand when it comes to implementing improvements."


13/07/04
London Cruising Made Easier
- New terminal set to triple traffic

CRUISE LINERS could become a common sight on the Thames following the opening of a new customs and immigration terminal.

"Cruising is essential to increase tourism in London," said Geoff Adam, of the Port of London Authority, the body behind the terminal.

Costing half a million pounds, the terminal is a floating structure on the river at Greenwich. The target is to increase cruiser traffic threefold from the 50 liners that have come to London each year. in recent times.

"The fact you can now get a ship in here and get people on and off easily will attract other ships. I think it's great." said James St John, of The World, the ship currently at the terminal.


12/07/04
Ring of Steel set for Parliament
- Spooks say concrete is not enough, as terrorists target Big Ben

STREET-PROTESTS outside the Houses of Parliament could become a thing of the past if a proposed 'ring of steel' gets the go-ahead.

According to reports, Britain's secret services are to recommend the construction of a tough security cordon to replace the concrete blocks that currently guard parliament. One piece of leaked intelligence suggests terrorists have plans to blow up Big Ben, forcing it to collapse on top of the Commons.

The idea seems to be to build a steel fence that would drastically limit access to the seat of British democracy. Concrete is deemed a risk factor as demonstrators might use the blocks for their own purposes.

The road alongside the House of Commons has traditionally been used as a site for protests but the events surrounding the Iraq War has led to a
review of the area which drew first results with the concrete wall and is now set to be taken a step further.


09/07/04
Queen Sent to the Tower
- Royals to commemorate refurbishments

EIGHT-YEARS of work will be rewarded on Friday when the Queen puts her seal of approval on the UKP20 million refurbishments to the Tower of London.

Apart from general repair work, the refurbishments include a new visitor centre, new shop, new public areas and a newly recreated ancient roadway leading up to the Tower.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are to unveil a commemorative plaque and visit the Tower vaults where a few of Her Majesty's ancestor's spent their last days.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, the restoration efforts did not include a comeback for the elephants and lions which used to roam around the Tower grounds, nor the seal which, centuries ago, could be found swimming in the moat.


08/07/04
Met Chief to Quit
- Stevens to retire after four years as London's top copper

SIR JOHN STEVENS is to give up his job as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to concentrate on the investigation into the death of Princess Diana.

London's top copper is a popular figure with most of the people under his command, despite being the man who introduced the anti-racist measures that have caused unrest among the ranks.

Stevens, now 61, took over as Met chief in 2000, just after the McPherson report identified 'institutional racism' in the London police force
following its botched attempt to solve the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

"That took confidence away from the police service five years ago but we've got that back," said Stevens. After retiring from his main job early next year, Stevens will continue his work on the remaining mysteries surrounding the death of Diana.


Nigel Mansell races the Jordan F1 on London's streets07/07/04
London Grand Prix by 2007
- Mayor plans race in capital following success of Regent Street showcase

LONDON's West End hummed to the tune of 1000 horsepower F1 engines Tuesday as Grand Prix racing came to the capital.

500,000 Londoners and tourists squeezed in to impromptu viewing points along Regent Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer exits Regent Street and races down Great Marlborough StreetStreet to witness the eight car spectacle. At times the sheer size of the crowd brought safety fears and the police asked the organisers to finish early to ease crowd pressure. But for those who arrived in good time the chance to see F1 cars speed through red lights with tyres spewing smoke was an event not to be missed.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone claimed that the success of the showcase proved London could stage a fully fledged Grand Prix very soon. He says he has been in talks with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone with a view to staging a race by 2007. "Something like this takes a minimum of 18 months' planning, so you're most probably talking two years away" said Livingstone.

Right to left: Christiano da Matta, Zsolt Baumgartner, Luca Badoer, Nigel Mansell, David Coulthard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jenson Button and Martin BrundleHis enthusiasm is shared by the Grand Prix drivers old and new who took part in the event. Former world champion Nigel Mansell, driving a Jordan for the day, said "they have the infrastructure here, they have the organisation. It could be absolutely sensational.

Williams lead driver Juan Pablo MontoyaWilliams lead driver Juan Pablo Montoya said the race would be 'awesome'. "It would be a good chance for people to appreciate what Formula One is all about," said Montoya. "I've raced in a lot of street circuits in America and they test the teams and drivers more. To bring Formula One to people would be a really good thing."

Were a race to take place in the capital the likely route would take in parts of Hyde Park, Park Lane, The Mall and Piccadilly. Livingstone predicts that a Grand Prix could attract up to 2 million people. After the crowd pressures experienced at Tuesday's Regent Street showcase though, organisers will need to liaise with police to ensure a full scale event passes more safely.

London Sport


07/07/04
Private Schools Claim London Record
- 14 per cent of kids avoid state sector in inner London

NEW figures show a record number of London pupils attending private schools.

Overall 10 per cent of children in London are educated privately. That figure rises to 14 per cent for inner London and some boroughs, such as Kensington and Chelsea, with 50 per cent of its school children outside the state sector, Camden and Richmond, both on 25 per cent, and Wandsworth, 20 per cent, posting far higher numbers.

The take-up of private school places has come despite improvements across the state sector, with billions spent on education by the government.

Nationally, the figure of seven per cent of kids in private education has remained constant for a couple of decades. The difference can perhaps be explained by the far greater inequality of wealth in the capital which contains both Britain's richest and poorest areas.


06/07/04
Queen in Water Tribute to Diana
- Hyde Park Memorial fountain gets Spencer and Windsor lift-off

THE SPENCERS and the Windsors will come together today for the first time since the funeral of Princess Diana for the opening of the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park.

In the intervening seven years, bad blood has been spilt by the two families stemming from the funeral itself in which Earl Spencer, Diana's brother, appeared to part-blame the royal family for Diana's death.

Nevertheless, the Earl will be there today, along with his supposed nemesis Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry.

It is believed the Queen will make a conciliatory speech before she unveils a plaque on the fountain, an impressive oval affair that cost UKP3.6 million to build.


05/07/04
Free Trains for London Olympics
- Coe unveils new transport plans for 2012 bid

SEB COE has bravely decided to make transport one of the key plus points in London's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Earlier this year, London's transport system came in for criticism in a preliminary report on bidding cities but London bid chief Coe is determined to turn the negative into a positive by offering free travel for spectators
and 200 trains an hour to and from the Olympic site.

"Our transport plan for the 16 days of the Olympic Games and 12 days of the Paralympic Games will be the best planned and operated transport system in the history of the Olympic movement," Coe said.

"That is my promise to every athlete who will compete here in London. And for spectators, transport within London will be free."

600,000 spectators, athletes and media corps members are expected to turn up if London wins the right to hold the games and Coe is confident that 10 train lines fielding 24 trains an hour each plus his plans for athlete-only
car and bus lanes, will be more than enough to cope in shifting people from central London St Pancras station to Stratford, east London.


02/07/04
Mandela in Statue Spat
- Mayor and council fight over position of tribute

NELSON MANDELA announced recently that he is to scale back his public appearances, but that hasn't stopped the hammer of apartheid becoming the subject of a public spat in London.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone wants a new statue of Mandela to be placed on the empty fourth plinth on Trafalgar Square, while the local council, Westminster, favour the statue being put outside South Africa House, opposite the square.

The matter has now been handed to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott for adjudication. One thing Prescott won't rule on is the statue itself which features Mandela in a pose that looks like he has come back from a fishing
trip and is saying, "It was this big!"


01/07/04
Slain Police Remembered in Black Wall
- Work starts on memorial on The Mall

THE REVOLVING sign outside New Scotland Yard is to get a new rival as the icon of London's police force.

Work begins today on a UKP2.3 million memorial to police officers who have been killed doing their jobs. The monument, a large and sombre black wall, is being constructed on The Mall from designs by Sir Norman Foster. A space in the wall is to contain the names of all officers slain while on duty.

A large slice of the funds to build the wall has been raised by the Police Memorial Trust, a body set up by film director Michael Winner following the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984.

"Memorials to soldiers, sailors and airmen were commonplace," Winner said. "But the police fight a war with no beginning and no end."

The Queen is due to open the memorial when building is finished towards the end of this year.

LondonNet Archive:
London News Headlines from May 2004
London News Headlines from April 2004

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