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London News Headlines from July 2004
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Teens Banned from the West End
- Night time curfew to hit under 16s, say police
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.
Troops get 'Stay-Awake' Pills
- Afghan and Iraq wars fed by Provigil
BRITISH army has bought thousands of pounds worth of stay-awake
drugs for its troops, a report in The Guardian newspaper has
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.
Provigil pills were bought just before the invasion of Afghanistan
in 2001 and another 4,000 before the invasion of Iraq in 2002.
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.
Trees to Keep London Green
- Mayor backs Woodland Framework
already the greenest of the world's big cities, aims to keep
its lead with the unveiling of the London Tree and Woodland Framework.
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.
are as much a part of London's history as its famous buildings
and monuments," said English Heritage's Philip Davies.
of the Line for Pimbury Clan
- Surname to die with Mike, 73
LONDONER Mike Pimbury is likely to take his surname to the grave,
making it the first recorded case of a British surname to face
"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]
Cattrall in Bed in London
- New role for Sex and the City star
and the City star Kim Cattrall is to tread the boards of the
West End, starting net January.
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.
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
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.
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Showcase for Clapham Common
- Urban Games back for another year of extreme thrills
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.
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.
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.
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.
more info, go to:
Scratch Heads at Crime Rise
- Met is 'perplexed' at shock figures
police have reacted with amazement to new figures that show a
37 per cent rise in violent crime in the capital.
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."
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.
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.
Kids Have Seen Internet Porn, Says Report
- LSE survey says parents don't know what's going on
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.
the Queen of CD Insurance Claims
- Fraudsters 'not very original' say researchers
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.
Give Crossrail the Go-Ahead
- New line could be ready by 2013
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
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
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.
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.
Proms Organ Rises to Occasion
- First notes of 2004 BBC event to be heard on restored instrument
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
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.
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.
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.
- Previews, News and Tickets
from Overseas 'Prop Up NHS'
- Up to a quarter of all nurses in London from abroad
hospitals are increasingly staffed by foreign nurses, according
to a report from the influential King's Fund group.
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
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
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
Cheer for Congestion Charge Payers
- Mayor plans to drop CC for festive period
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
Cruising Made Easier
- New terminal set to triple traffic
LINERS could become a common sight on the Thames following the
opening of a new customs and immigration terminal.
is essential to increase tourism in London," said Geoff
Adam, of the Port of London Authority, the body behind the terminal.
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.
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.
of Steel set for Parliament
- Spooks say concrete is not enough, as terrorists target Big
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
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.
Sent to the Tower
- Royals to commemorate refurbishments
of work will be rewarded on Friday when the Queen puts her seal
of approval on the UKP20 million refurbishments to the Tower
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.
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.
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.
Chief to Quit
- Stevens to retire after four years as London's top copper
JOHN STEVENS is to give up his job as Commissioner of the Metropolitan
Police to concentrate on the investigation into the death of
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
following its botched attempt to solve the murder of black teenager
"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
Grand Prix by 2007
- Mayor plans race in capital following success of Regent Street
West End hummed to the tune of 1000 horsepower F1 engines Tuesday
as Grand Prix racing came to the capital.
Londoners and tourists squeezed in to impromptu viewing points
along Regent Street
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.
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.
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 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."
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.
Schools Claim London Record
- 14 per cent of kids avoid state sector in inner London
figures show a record number of London pupils attending private
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
take-up of private school places has come despite improvements
across the state sector, with billions spent on education by
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
in Water Tribute to Diana
- Hyde Park Memorial fountain gets Spencer and Windsor lift-off
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
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.
Trains for London Olympics
- Coe unveils new transport plans for 2012 bid
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.
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,"
is my promise to every athlete who will compete here in London.
And for spectators, transport within London will be free."
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
in Statue Spat
- Mayor and council fight over position of tribute
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.
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.
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!"
Police Remembered in Black Wall
- Work starts on memorial on The Mall
REVOLVING sign outside New Scotland Yard is to get a new rival
as the icon of London's police force.
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.
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.
to soldiers, sailors and airmen were commonplace," Winner
said. "But the police fight a war with no beginning and
Queen is due to open the memorial when building is finished towards
the end of this year.
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