Hillingdon children are presenting a petition against the Government’s High Speed Rail (HS2) plans today.
Nine-year-old Max, the oldest of the four youngsters, wanted to send a message to the Prime Minister that it is unfair children don’t have a say in the government’s proposal for the HS2 line between London and Birmingham.
Max will deliver the ‘Save Us From HS2’ petition to Downing Street along with Caitlin, 8, Eve, 6 and Sian, aged 5, accompanied by local Conservative MPs Nick Hurd and John Randall. The petition has been signed by hundreds of children worried the development will ultimately threaten their gardens, schools, scout huts and a play park.
Keri Brennan, Chairman of Hillingdon Against HS2, said: “We have been amazed and humbled by children’s grasp of the facts about HS2.”
She said six Hillingdon schools will be closed in the plans and more will be affected by noise and construction. Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre is also under threat.
“Local children understand just how much their neighbourhoods and environment could be affected if HS2 is built,” added Mrs Brennan.
Hillingdon Council is among 14 councils opposed to HS2 and it backs Ruislip Against HS2.
Pro-HS2 MPs cite the economic benefits and improved links between north and south. HS2 will reduce the journey from London to Birmingham to a commutable 49 minutes while construction of the line over the next 7-10 years is expected to create more than 40,000 jobs. Half of the jobs created will be in London.
Director of Consultation and Communications for HS2, Miranda Carter, said: “It can’t stop in Hillingdon because that is where it picks up the high speed but it is a national project. The benefits of economic growth for the whole country will trickle down.”
The main petition against the project, with 108,000 signatures, was presented to Downing Street last month. The Government will make its final decision on the line in mid-December.
A murderer who fled across the world to evade justice has been jailed for 24 years for murdering a tourist and dumping her body in a suitcase.
He stabbed Fatima Kama to death in July 1999, on the day before the 28-year-old was due to fly home to Montreal. A post-mortem examination revealed that she was also sexually assaulted.
Walid was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey on Monday, with a minimum tariff of 24 years. The fugitive was eventually traced to Bahrain after continued police appeals. Following the combined efforts of British MPs and Bahraini police, he was caught after a carefully planned operation and extradited back to the UK.
Fatima’s body was found in a suitcase at a Heathrow Terminal 3 car park on 17th July 1999. Originally from Morrocco, Fatima had been a Canadian citizen for two years prior to her murder and was a regular visitor to London. Her family realised she was missing when she failed to arrive at Montreal airport.
Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command (HSCC), officer leading the investigation, said:
“This was a callous and shocking murder which left a family grieving the loss of a beloved daughter.
“Wahid spent twelve years evading police and refused to face up to what he had done. I am pleased that Fatima’s family have finally got justice and that Wahid is behind bars, where he belongs.”
This case also represented the first extradition of a UK fugitive from Bahrain.
Ex-Olympic ambassador Chelsea Ives faced fresh charges at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court today after new allegations emerged.
Ives, 18, was previously charged with violent disorder in Enfield during the London riots in August, as well as two counts of burglary against mobile phone shops. Today she faced a further count of taking part in more violence the following night in Hackney.
Highbury magistrates committed Ives for trial at Wood Green Crown court on two charges of violent disorder. She will appear at Wood Green to enter a plea on September 21st, with the actual trial likely to take place in 2012.
The new allegation relates to looting of the Somerfields supermarket in Lower Clapton Road.
Meanwhile, the former athlete has been remanded back into custody until her next court appearance later this month.
A second youth has been charged with the assault and mugging of an injured Malaysian student in an attack during the riots of last month. The shocking attack was videoed and put on the internet which sparked a fundraising campaign for the student.
Ashraf Rossli (Ashraf Haziq), 20, who studies at Kaplan University in Angel Square, Islington, was robbed on August 8th in Barking by two people who had initially appeared to ‘help’ him.
Reece Donovan, 21, of Romford, has already been charged with robbery.
Now a 17-year-old has been charged in connection to the attack and will appear at at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of grievous bodily harm, robbery, burglary and violent disorder.
A portable Sony PlayStation and Nokia mobile phone were taken from Rossli who was left in hospital with a broken jaw.
After the attack, the student said he wanted to stay in Britain and claimed to ‘pity’ is attackers.
In an interview, he said: ‘Britain is great. Before I came here I was very eager and I haven’t got any ill-feelings about what happened.
‘My family are worried about me and my mother would like me to go home. But I am determined to stay. I feel very sorry for the people who did this.
‘It was really sad because among them were children.’
He added that he had been helped by two girls and a woman who lived nearby who saw the incident.
The Let’s Do Something Nice for Ashraf Haziq group has raised around £25k in aid of the student who is now fully recovered.
New figures released by the Metropolitan Police show that Lambeth was the borough with the most firearms-related arrests last year.
The Freedom of Information request to the Met disclosed the number of arrests for unlawful possession of a firearm and broke down the number of arrests by ethnicity. The data covers arrests made over the last ten years.
134 firearms arrests were made in Lambeth in financial year 2010/11. Across the capital some 1,500 people were arrested for unlawful possession of firearms.
Afro-Caribbean people were the most likely to be arrested for possession of a firearm, with 759 people from that ethnic group being arrested last year, followed by 526 white Europeans who were arrested. In contrast, just 11 Chinese and Japanese people were arrested for firearms possession.
The borough with the least number of arrests was Richmond-upon-Thames, which had just five firearm-related arrests last year.
Over the last ten years Lambeth was the ‘top’ borough for firearms arrests in every year except 2002/03. That year Hackney had a total of 109 arrests, compared with 105 arrests in Lambeth.
Arrests for firearms-related offences in London peaked in 2006/07 with 2112 arrests being made.
Image via Smarterlan, Flickr.
A survey of 5,000 people for Hotels.com has rated London’s iconic taxis as the best in the world. Travellers from 23 countries around the world rated the black cab top for the 4th time running, with 28% of the vote.
The other top five cities were New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.
Taxis are often a tourist’s first introduction to a country as they leave the airport and set off to their hotel. 70% of Australian tourists quizzed said they would take a taxi straightaway after arriving in a foreign city; well above the international average of 54%.
Over a third of Australians claimed their pet hates were taxis being too smelly, along with cab drivers being too distracted (27%). Smoking at the wheel is frowned upon across the globe with exactly a third of British tourists and half of the French contingent naming it as a pet hate.
Image via Garreth Wicock, Flickr.
London’s Organising Committee for the Olympic Games has retracted its previous statement regarding free tickets for schoolchildren to watch the shooting events.
In a very brief statement published on the National Smallbore Rifle Association’s website, LOCOG said:
“Shooting tickets are included in the Ticketshare programme;
The Ticketshare programme includes a range of groups – schools, BOA/BPA and Tickets for Troops;
There are a small number of shooting tickets in the Ticketshare programme, and we planned to issue the tickets where the demand was greatest;
Our initial consultation with schools suggested that there wasn’t a demand for shooting tickets;
However, if schools request shooting tickets, we will provide them, subject to availability.”
The West Londoner has yet to receive a formal reply from Mayor Boris Johnson’s office regarding the Ticketshare scheme.
Ticketshare is the scheme whereby 125,000 tickets to Olympic events will be handed out to schoolchildren, servicemen and their families,and the disabled. It is not known whether LOCOG has decided to deny tickets to any other sporting events.