Archive for June, 2011

Easy ride ending for California hybrid drivers

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The fast, easy ride is about to end for owners of hybrid cars in California.

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California proposes delaying carbon market a year

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) – California’s top climate change regulator on Wednesday said that the state planned to delay the start of a market for greenhouse gases by one year until 2013 but would not…

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EPA to finalize power plant air rule next week

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a rule next week that would force power plants in the eastern half of the country to slash pollutants linked to asthma and…

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Prince William and Kate welcomed

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The Duke and Duchess of CambridgeThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge board their plane at Heathrow Airport in London
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to touch down in Canada on their first official overseas tour.

Prince William and his wife Kate left London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday morning on a Royal Canadian Air Force jet bound for Ottawa, due to arrive at 1400 local time (1900 BST).

The Duchess wore a navy dress by French designer Roland Mouret and a blazer by Canadian label Smythe les Vestes.

The couple will visit seven Canadian cities before heading to the US.

Their first official duty will be to lay a wreath at Canada’s National War Museum, before being officially welcomed and attending a barbecue hosted by Canada’s governor general, David Johnston.

Canada is a member of the Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth II is its head of state.

On 1 July, the Duke and Duchess will celebrate Canada’s national day. Thousands of people are expected to gather on Ottawa’s streets to glimpse the royal couple.

Royal flagThe new royal flag created by Canada for the visit

The pair will also visit Quebec, Prince Edward Island – where they are to participate in a dragon boat race – and Calgary.

In Calgary they will open the Calgary Stampede – an annual rodeo and festival dubbed the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.

Canada has created a new royal flag for the visit. It features three maple leaves – from Canada’s national tree – at its base.

The flag will be flying from the cockpit of the jet carrying the royal couple when they touch down on Thursday afternoon. It will also fly from their cars and buildings they are visiting or staying in.

2011 itinerary highlights30 June: Arrival in Ottawa.1 July: Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa2 July: Visit to a cookery school in Montreal3 July: Freedom of the city ceremony in Quebec City4 July: Prince William takes part in Sea King helicopter training session on Prince Edward Island5 July: Visit to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories7 July: Arrival in Calgary8 July: Attend Calgary Stampede. Leave for US

The visit will be closely followed by the media, with nearly 1,400 journalists – including about 100 from Britain – accredited to cover the visit.

BBC Royal Correspondent Peter Hunt says Canada is a safe first visit for a royal spreading her new wings, while US residents continue to be fascinated by Britain’s royalty.

The cost of the visit to the Canadian government, not including security, is estimated to be 1.4 million Canadian dollars (£958,580).

A poll commissioned by the Toronto Star newspaper found that more than half the 18 to 34 year-olds questioned about the visit were indifferent about the trip.

Canadian secretary to the Queen Kevin MacLeod, who has co-ordinated the tour, said: “I think, given the dynamism of this couple, (they) continue to reaffirm the important role the Crown plays in this country.”

The Duke and Duchess will travel to the US state of California for two days from 8 July, attending a black-tie Bafta reception and dinner in Los Angeles on 9 July. William is Bafta’s president.

Map showing the itinerary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Canada

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Solicitor ‘tried to smear Ford’

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

David FordDavid Ford wants the Law Society to investigate Mr Winters’ behaviour

The justice minister has written to the Law Society urging them to investigate the behaviour of a leading Belfast solicitor, described as an attempted smear of David Ford.

Mr Ford disclosed the move to the assembly’s justice committee after details emerged of a leaked e-mail.

It is said to have been written by solicitor Kevin Winters.

Mr Winters said as the issue was the subject of a complaint and counter-complaint he could not comment on it.

DUP MLA Jim Wells said the e-mail, apparently sent to a Law Society representative, referred to an alleged relationship between Mr Ford and another solicitor who said he was prepared to accept reduced legal aid payments.

The Law Society has been campaigning against the new payments.

Mr Ford said he had been contacted by two journalists asking about an alleged friendship with the Antrim solicitor Gary Bell or his wife.

Mr Ford told the committee he had described those claims, and a suggestion that Mrs Bell had signed his election papers, as “utter rubbish”.

He said he did not know the couple and to the best of his knowledge had never met them and had subsequently written to the president of the Law Society suggesting this was perhaps an issue concerning the professional behaviour of one of its members.

Mr Wells claimed that Kevin Winters’ firm has received £16.5m in legal aid in the past five years.

Another DUP committee member Peter Weir said it was a “disturbing development” and appeared to be an “attempted smear” against the minister.

The committee chairman Paul Givan said he was meeting the Law Society on the issue in mid-July and suggested the committee formally writes to the society and call on it to carry out a full investigation.

In a statement, Mr Winters said: ”The Gary Bell issue is the subject of a complaint and a counter complaint to the Law Society and as such it would be entirely inappropriate of me to comment.

“All parties involved should recognise the need for extreme accuracy on those issues. Any erroneous statements will be the subject of litigation.”

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Deadly blast strikes Afghan bus

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

At least 13 people are killed after a passenger bus in southern Afghanistan strikes a roadside bomb, police officials say.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Fulham 3-0 NSI Runavik

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Goals from Damien Duff, Danny Murphy and Andrew Johnson give Fulham a three-goal lead after the first leg of their Europa League qualifier against NSI Runavik at Craven Cottage.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Row over impact of pension strike

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

A teacher on a picket line outside Stretford High School in ManchesterMore than 12,000 schools in England and Wales were affected by the strikes

Thousands of UK schools have closed on a day of strikes by public sector workers over pension changes.

But the government said action by civil servants had “minimal” impact with fewer than 100,000 on strike at midday.

The Public and Commerical Services union said it was the best supported strike it had ever held, with 200,000 civil servants striking.

Jobcentres, border controls and passport offices were also affected by the industrial action.

Thousands of schools were closed across England and Wales as teachers from three unions walked out.

The government says the proposed pension changes are “fair to taxpayers” and other unions are continuing with negotiations.

It condemned the strike, as did the opposition, although Labour leader Ed Miliband accused ministers of mishandling negotiations with the unions.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Our border controls are in place and Jobcentres and pension offices are open for business.

“Indicative figures from every government department show that as of 12 noon today, over 75% of civil servants were not on strike. Just fewer than 100,000 civil servants were on strike – around one-fifth of the workforce.

“This shows that less than half of PCS members decided to take strike action today.”

Analysis

Long running and often bitter disputes often end with a clear winner. But the apparent success of a one day strike is often determined as much by spin, as by the numbers who take to the streets.

The unions see today as a show of strength – the government want to suggest it was really a sign of weakness. Hence the claim that most civil servants went to work, essential services weren’t disrupted, and that the borders remained secure.

The unions, on the other hand have been arguing that while perhaps only a handful of courts closed, some cases had to be postponed – and while a small number of job centres shut, far more weren’t able to provide a full service to their customers.

There seems little doubt, though, that the disruption to parents and school children alike was extensive – with a majority of schools in England closed, or partially closed.

Today was only the opening salvo in a longer running battle – one which will take place largely behind closed doors, in detailed negotiations, rather than on the streets.

Many of the unions who will sit round the table with government ministers next week weren’t on strike today. If they feel the government isn’t flexible enough in these talks, much more widespread disruption is possible in the autumn.

Q&A: Public sector strikes Nick Robinson: Unaffordable pensions?

Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services union, said up to four million workers could strike in the autumn if the bitter row is not resolved.

He also said 85% of his members had been on strike, MPs had refused to cross picket lines and staff in Downing Street had taken action.

“The government has been rumbled, and ministers are either badly briefed – or they are lying,” he said.

The action by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the University and College Union (UCU) affected England and Wales.

The unions say the proposals would mean more work and contributions for a reduced pension.

At least 12,000 schools in England and Wales are known to have been closed or partly closed. Unions say the total is even higher.

Department for Education data suggests that 11,114 of the 21,500 state schools in England were hit by the walkouts – the department based its calculations on data from 80% of schools.

It said in total, 5,679 schools were shut, and another 4,999 were partially closed. Some 201 academies and city technology colleges were also shut, while 235 remained partially open.

In Wales, according to local authority figures, more than 1,000 out of 1,800 schools were either closed or partially closed.

The NUT estimated 85% of schools in England and Wales were affected.

Kevin Courtney, the union’s deputy general secretary, said the union realised the action was “very disruptive for parents,” and said that “we do regret that”.

He added: “We had hoped to reach a settlement before the industrial action, but the government isn’t serious about talks.”

The PCS also includes police support and border staff and some UK Border Agency staff walked out from 1800 BST on Wednesday.

However, airports and ports reported few difficulties.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said his members were left with no choice but to take action as the government was not prepared to “compromise on any of the central issues of the strike”.

“While they are talking, they are not negotiating,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

The walkouts by the PCS, which has around 260,000 members, were staged across the UK.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson says 90% of police staff who handle calls from the public had not turned up for work and as a result officers were responding more slowly to requests for helpAbout 30,000 workers went on strike in Scotland, including staff at the Scottish parliament, the passport office in Glasgow and civilian employees at defence establishments such as HMS Naval Base FaslaneIn Wales, all national museums were closed to the public and the DVLA operated a reduced serviceHome Office employees were among 3,000 people striking in Northern Ireland. Belfast International Airport warned of possible flights delays as immigration and customs officers join the actionThere were PCS pickets outside the Old Bailey but the courts still opened. At Inner London Crown Court, there were no trials sitting with juries and the PCS union says other Crown, magistrates and coroners’ courts were disruptedThe Maritime and Coastguard Agency said there have been some walkouts but all coastguard stations are “operational and appropriately manned”The Department of Work and Pensions said 18 of the 750 Jobcentre Plus offices across the country were closed, and 40% of staff were on strikeIn London, where police leave has been cancelled, union leaders and activists marched to Westminster for a rallyIn Liverpool, some 537 out of the 550 staff at the passport office were on strike. Most civil servants at Ministry of Defence and Criminal Records Bureau offices in the city also walked out

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said: “What today has shown is that the vast majority of hard-working public sector employees do not support today’s premature strike…

“Reform of public sector pensions is inevitable, but we will ensure that public sector pensions will still be among the very best, with a guaranteed pension which very few private sector staff now enjoy. But they will be paid later because people live longer.”

Writing on Twitter, Mr Miliband said: “These strikes are wrong at a time when negotiations are going on. People have been let down by both sides – the Govt has acted recklessly”.

Some striking workers spoke of their “anger” at Mr Miliband’s refusal to back their walkout. PCS union members on the picket line outside the House of Commons said the party should stand up for their rights.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Talkback King David Dunseith dies

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Veteran journalist David Dunseith whose career in broadcasting spanned four decades has died.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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Crowds greet Duke and Duchess

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The Duke and Duchess of CambridgeThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge board their plane at Heathrow Airport in London
Related Stories

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to touch down in Canada on their first official overseas tour.

Prince William and his wife Kate left London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday morning on a Royal Canadian Air Force jet bound for Ottawa, due to arrive at 1400 local time (1900 BST).

The Duchess wore a navy dress by French designer Roland Mouret and a blazer by Canadian label Smythe les Vestes.

The couple will visit seven Canadian cities before heading to the US.

Their first official duty will be to lay a wreath at Canada’s National War Museum, before being officially welcomed and attending a barbecue hosted by Canada’s governor general, David Johnston.

Canada is a member of the Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth II is its head of state.

On 1 July, the Duke and Duchess will celebrate Canada’s national day. Thousands of people are expected to gather on Ottawa’s streets to glimpse the royal couple.

Royal flagThe new royal flag created by Canada for the visit

The pair will also visit Quebec, Prince Edward Island – where they are to participate in a dragon boat race – and Calgary.

In Calgary they will open the Calgary Stampede – an annual rodeo and festival dubbed the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.

Canada has created a new royal flag for the visit. It features three maple leaves – from Canada’s national tree – at its base.

The flag will be flying from the cockpit of the jet carrying the royal couple when they touch down on Thursday afternoon. It will also fly from their cars and buildings they are visiting or staying in.

2011 itinerary highlights30 June: Arrival in Ottawa.1 July: Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa2 July: Visit to a cookery school in Montreal3 July: Freedom of the city ceremony in Quebec City4 July: Prince William takes part in Sea King helicopter training session on Prince Edward Island5 July: Visit to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories7 July: Arrival in Calgary8 July: Attend Calgary Stampede. Leave for US

The visit will be closely followed by the media, with nearly 1,400 journalists – including about 100 from Britain – accredited to cover the visit.

BBC Royal Correspondent Peter Hunt says Canada is a safe first visit for a royal spreading her new wings, while US residents continue to be fascinated by Britain’s royalty.

The cost of the visit to the Canadian government, not including security, is estimated to be 1.4 million Canadian dollars (£958,580).

A poll commissioned by the Toronto Star newspaper found that more than half the 18 to 34 year-olds questioned about the visit were indifferent about the trip.

Canadian secretary to the Queen Kevin MacLeod, who has co-ordinated the tour, said: “I think, given the dynamism of this couple, (they) continue to reaffirm the important role the Crown plays in this country.”

The Duke and Duchess will travel to the US state of California for two days from 8 July, attending a black-tie Bafta reception and dinner in Los Angeles on 9 July. William is Bafta’s president.

Map showing the itinerary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visit to Canada

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Source

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