The Syrian civil war has resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000 people. In more than two years diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict have failed. Now the U.S. and U.K have committed to supplying direct aid to the Syrian rebels. Sunday, "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the British government of bullying and naivety in its approach to the conflict in his country", reports the BBC. Assad, in an interview in The Sunday Times said "Britain is determined to militarise the situation".
At a Friend's of Syria meeting in Rome, Thursday, William Hague
, the British foreign secretary, said "military help was possible in the future". Currently the UK government claim to support the rebels but have not provided weapons.
The BBC carries part of The Sunday Times interview which says, "Mr Assad, in a rare interview with a Western newspaper, accused UK Prime Minister David Cameron's "naive, confused, unrealistic" government of trying to end an EU arms embargo so that the rebels could be supplied with weapons. "We do not expect an arsonist to be a firefighter," he said. "To be frank, Britain has played a famously unconstructive role in our region on different issues for decades, some say for centuries. "The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlights this tradition of bullying and hegemony." He added: "How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role when it is determined to militarise the problem? "How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better, more stable? How can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supply to the terrorists and don't try to ease the dialogue between the Syrian(s)."
The Assad family has had a grip on Syria for more than 40 years.
Hague's response later Sunday as reported by the BBC
was, "Britain cannot rule out providing arms to the Syrian opposition in the future. The situation in Syria now is "too dangerous to the peace and security of that entire region, and thereby to the world, to ignore it"." Hague maintains that Assad is "delusional". Opinion
Assad needs to remember that it is the British government playing these games and not the British people. Politicians formed the U.K. coalition government out of a failed election attempt. British people were so disillusioned with U.K politicians that no party returned a majority vote. This resulted in deals done, behind closed doors, to form a government.
Such a coalition government can never be called the people's choice.
So the British government, which many people would refute is truly legitimate, is attacking a foreign leader over his right to power. Assad does well to offer a nod to history. Colonial Britain had power in many countries in the past including those in the Middle East. In 1916 diplomats from France and Great Britain drew up an agreement to carve up the Middle East into 'zones of influence' after the expected defeat of Ottoman Turkey in World War I. France would get the northern zone, including what are now Syria and Lebanon, while Britain would oversee the south, including Palestine, Jordan, and the Iraqi oil fields
.(Full timeline here
This week UK foreign secretary Hague
silenced the Tory's coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, from discussing the Iraq war. That war may have ended but its terrible legacy lives on. The conclusion is that free speech in the coalition is not welcome. Some politicians are trying to silence claims that the Iraq war was all about the removal of Saddam Hussein. Too close for comfort as the U.K. looks to Syria and Assad?
The west, including the U.K. interfered in Iraq for its own ends. It has done so recently in Libya and Egypt.
Bashar al-Assad's father seized power in 1970 in an internal Ba'ath Party coup. Until 2010 or 2011 that situation suited the west.
If you believe the west and countries such as the U.K. and the U.S. are stepping up their involvement in Syria for humanitarian reasons I would say that you are mistaken.
Look at the broader picture to understand the civil war. It is surprising that it has taken Syrians this long to revolt. However, it is a civil war and surely the west has interfered once too often in this region already?
To William Hague and his political allies I say, no more conflicts, and certainly not in my name. The British people have neither the resources nor the will for trumped-up conflicts. It will be time enough when a real war cannot be averted.
Sources and resources BBC The Sunday Times Timeline Syria and the Assads Syria, the U.K., the U.S. and WOMD John Kerry, chemical weapons and Syria
When a person has a disability often others can not see past it. The person is almost non-existent. This is a personal tale which hightlight's what some people sadly experience. My late mother's life changed after she suffered a series of health problems, including and a cerebral hemorrhage
, when she was just 55 years old. Now that I have passed that age I fully realise just how young she was to experience such problems.
Mum's health obviously had a huge bearing on my life also, especially as I was only 20 years old when she started to be so ill. This article is not aied at wallowing in any sort of self pity but rather to try and explain just how hard it is for many people to treat a person the same once they have a disability.
We all seem to forget that a disability could strike any of us at any time. The statistics on disabilities
should be a wake up call to us all.
What is it that they say about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions? How very true.
It was early Autumn 1972. My Mum had been widowed for three years. I still lived at home but was to be married at the Christmas. I had only met my husband that same January and despite warnings that such a short courtship would mean that the marriage would not last, I could not wait to marry him. We are still together almost 38 years later by the way
Mum had spent about three months during the summer in hospital. A previously undiagnosed thyroid problem had finally been pinpointed and she had lost a great deal of weight. It is fair to say that she was half the woman she had been.
Mum was still sad from my father's early and unexpected death. Basically she had endured a rotten few years. Her health
, however, seemed so much improved that we were all hopeful. Having only been discharged from hospital a few weeks earlier Mum began to complain of headaches. I will not labour the events but with the doctor refusing to visit Mum's health deteriorated over a few days.
By the Thursday a cerebral hemorrhage was diagnosed and we were told that Mum would not live more than ten days. After sleeping at the hospital
with my future husband for two weeks the medical team reassessed Mum's prognosis.
Mum remained very ill but it seemed she would survive. At least for now. Our new life
When a person suffers such major health problems
their life changes completely. Life changes for their loved ones also but not in such a terrible way. The period of adjustment is always hard for all concerned. If money is tight it will usually be more difficult. For example, extra help will not be possible and the carer may have to try and combine paid work with caring. This can mean that the individual needing care is left alone more than is ideal. Losing your speech, senses, identity and talents.
My Mum was left hardly able to speak. She had a few stock words and phrases which were: Yes, No, Don't Know. Why and Bloody bloody
. Actually these were very useful. The swear words were much needed when she had to vent some of her frustration out. She would often ask WHY
but unfortunately we could not always answer her question. However, these few stock phrases, with the odd drawing and mime often would suffice. Thankfully Mum had retained some of her previously full sense of humour.
My Mum used to love to knit. In fact she knitted many garments for customers and shops. She could no longer do this. She was never active but loved chatting, TV, reading, crosswords and writing. None of these were possible.As she still had a sense of humour some TV viewing was possible but we had to be careful. She had gone from a person that loved gruesome horror films to someone who was to frightened to watch the Planet of The Apes.
Although Mum had been instantly able to write well with her left hand, having previously been right handed, it was not that simple. As the mood took her she could write long poems, my name and address, nursery rhymes and so much more. However if you asked her to write the word Maintain
she could not. Her brain just would not work to order. If you are a genuine friend the disability should make no difference to your relationship.
After Dad had died Mum had grown close to a few friends. One in particular would pop around the odd evening. Mum would reciprocate. They would have a fish supper, a chat and a giggle. After Mum's stroke this all stopped. Friends were reluctant to visit Mum during any of her many times in hospital or at home. After all, as one of them so clearly put it, She hated to see her like that.
I was furious. Didn't she realise how much we did and how much Mum hated to be, like that, as she put it. This was Mum now though. She was the same person and needed friends and support more than ever. Imagine going through all of that and losing your contacts also. Perhaps had they been maintained it would have helped her recovery who knows.
All I would like to add is do not be selfish, think of the person and their fears. If the person can adjust to their new life, mind, and, or body then it should be a doddle for you to. Disabled people are not necessarily deaf and dumb.
I could never quite understand why everyone seemed to think that Mum was deaf. After I married hubby would help me with Mum sometimes. Pushing the old fashioned wheelchair with Mum in it was hard for me. Hubby however took us to the local fair, into the town and all over the place.
As he pushed her alone long standing neighbours and acquaintances would stop us to see how Mum was. Some would simply ask us and ignore Mum as if she was not there. This is when the Bloody Bloody would come in useful. Others would talk very slowly to her in an extremely loud voice as if she were deaf or stupid. She would look at us and pull a face, usually behind their backs. I guess she was kinder than they.
I have to say that I am glad that the swear word she had retained was nothing worse. She was still as strong a woman as ever and would have loved to blast them with something stronger. Never patronize.
This is such an important point. In my Mum's case so many people thought she was now stupid. Mum had been a bright woman with many interests but because she was now disabled it was assumed that this was no longer the case. Fair enough she had lost much of her power of thought, comprehension and talents but she was never stupid.
Some people would simply avoid her. Those that did not would talk to her as if she was an idiot. I was glad she had retained some humour which she would use occasionally to take the mickey out of such people. Of course the swearing helped yet again.
As I was trying to hold down a full time job Mum was booked in to attend a local day centre a few days a week. Here she would have company, a good lunch and be able to try her hand at a few things. Her previous love of arts and crafts meant that she was soon making crochet blankets, covered coat hangers and knitting squares for a patchwork blanket. None of this was up to her previous talented knitting but she enjoyed it.
Then all of a sudden she would no longer go. She was not happy so it was not fair to make fer. When I finally got to the bottom of it the problem seemed to lie with the other patients. Ever sociable Mum would try in her own way to talk to them. She would get up, with her tripod stick to steady and her and try to converse with them. They would look away or move. They did not know how to take her and it upset her badly. She had always loved people, been a jolly soul and liked to be loved but they did not understand. A disabled person and their nearest and dearest may need help sometimes.
After I had looked after Mum a couple of years I was admitted to hospital. I had a burst appendix. I had an emergency appendectomy and was not discharged for 6 days. I was frantic wondering how Mum was getting on. We lived in a terrace opposite each other. This left her some independence and us some freedom. We were newly weds after all.
Hubby looked after her as well as he could.He also visited me daily in hospital. I was seven miles away in a hospital in Beverley, Yorkshire. This was because I had been an emergency admission. There were no cell or mobile phones back then. I would ring Mum from the ward on the pay phone to see how she was. I would get a yes, no or don't know to my enquiries with an occasional Bloody thrown in. She was so confused and had no idea where I was really.
With no offers to help transport Mum to see me we had little choice. I think that anyway seeing me in hospital may have frightened her. We needed help but we did not receive any. It was Christmas time and everyone was far too busy ensuring that they would have the perfect Christmas.
We did however have some help via social services. This is not so readily available these days though. Finally.
Mum lived three years after her initial Stroke. She had further bleeding in her brain, thyroid problems, cerebral fits, kidney failure and so much more. In the end it was bronco-pneumonia that killed her during one of her hospital stays. It was July 3rd 1975 when she died and a boiling hot day. So to round up I guess I would like to convey that a disabled person is just a person with a different set of problems and challenges to you. They are not from another world. Disability is not catching. A disabled person is not always deaf and very rarely stupid. A disabled person still needs people and love. Perhaps they need it more than you can realise.
Try to put yourself into the place of a disabled person. Life can be so hard for such a person without you adding to their problems. You are a grown-up, try acting like one.
Bees are amazing little creatures that busily help keep our world alive. If bees vanished the Earth would be in deep trouble.
Scientists study much of our world. Research into living creatures can help us understand the planet better and help us learn how to protect it. The next time you swat a bee consider how important this tiny creature is to mankind and the environment. As bees busily buzz from one plant to another they pollinate at a rate which would be difficult for humans to achieve.
The latest scientific research into Bumblebees, officially named "bombus terrestris", has shown that they can detect flowers' electric fields, reports the BBC
. The study found that flowers have electric fields which the bees use to discriminate between flowers. Clever little Bees. Flowers use various "cues" to attract bees. This has been known for sometime. Just as an advertising guru will try to entice you to buy, by using sophisticated methods to suck you in, flowers tempt the bees to pay a visit. The colour and scent of flowers are prime examples. The latest study of electric fields adds one more cue.
The study was undertaken by researchers at Bristol University
in the UK. According to Prof Daniel Robert who led the study, "This doesn't throw away any of the previous work on cues that flowers are using, it adds another layer on top of that. What the pollen needs to 'know' is when to 'jump' onto the 'vehicle' - the bee - and when to get off it. So it's a selective adhesion type of question.
We looked at [existing] literature and realised that the bees were being positively charged when they fly around, and that flowers have a negative potential. There's always this electrical bias around. As a sensory biologist, suddenly I thought: can the bees sense that?"
Apparently the answer is, Yes they can. The study involved the use of "fake" electric flowers which the bees soon realised were not the "Real McCoy".
Discovering that bees use these electric fields is just the start of the research. The scientists know that there is still a lot to learn and understand about bees. The population of bees in declining but with an increase in our knowledge of bees perhaps that can be halted.
Full details of the research and its findings can be found at the online publication the Science Express
, in this week's issue.
Benefit cheats undermine the system and their actions result in misuse of public money. It is not a victimless crime, as some people may claim, because everyone loses.
Welfare reform in the UK is hitting the most vulnerable in our society. The coalition government have committed to a period of austerity and Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith
is rolling out a series of reforms. People with disabilities, the elderly and the unemployed face tightening their belts as less money is available for the welfare budget.
Allegations of benefit fraud highlight the amount of money which could be available for genuine claimants.
There are many reports online of UK benefit fraud and the latest is from Kingston-upon-Hull in Yorkshire, this writer's hometown. It involves tenants living on a "council estate", that is living in social housing, and a benefits scam. A major investigation resulted in the first court cases this week.
Police charged 28 people with offences, some dating back to 2011. The charges include "fraud by false representation and supplying articles intending them to be used in fraud and money laundering", reports the Hull Daily Mail
The fraud involved benefit cheques, perhaps for as little value as a few pounds. For a fee an unnamed man, on the Preston Road Estate in East Hull, would alter cheques. A cheque for £10 could be amended to £390 for a £50 fee.
This "service" became common knowledge on the estate. One person arrested during the major fraud investigation told police: "Everyone on the estate is doing it."
In court this week 21 people admitted defrauding the Department for Work and Pensions out of thousands of pounds. Reasons given for the fraud included,
- Money was tight in the run up to Christmas
- A sick dog and a large veterinary bill
- A broken relationship
- Job loss
- And "everyone is doing it".
Although some of the charges involved relatively small sums of money one woman paid to have 14 cheques altered and made a profit of £5,000.
Sentences handed out included community-orders, unpaid work and court costs. The Work and Pensions department will recoup the money fraudulently received by reducing each defendant's benefits.
Other defendants will appear in court in due course. Opinion
Whilst some of the fraudsters may have been desperate others may have been just plain greedy. Benefit fraud cases create, in some people, a desire to abolish the welfare state. That must not happen. There are times when many of us need a financial safety net.
The best course of action is to tighten loopholes and investigate fraud properly. Appropriate sentences following convictions are also needed to deter fraudsters.
This fraud investigation was lengthy and no doubt costly but it showed widespread fraud, albeit in one area. The people involved in this case did not act as part of a conspiracy. The "cheque changing man's" reputation spread by word of mouth. Individuals then sought him out.
Was this an isolated case or is it happening in other areas of the UK? Note:
No details of the unnamed, cheque changing man are available at this time.
Source Hull Daily Mail
Tuesday it was the 20th Anniversary of the murder
of two-year-old James Bulger. This murder shocked the nation and still has the power to do so. The details of how James was taken, almost from under his mother's nose, walked away and then beaten to death are shocking. They were all the more shocking as they were committed by two ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.
The crime happened on February 12, 1993, and the two boys received life sentences. They were both released on parole in 2001. Feelings still ran high against the boys and the decision to release them was widely condemned. The fact that they were children, when they committed their heinous crime, was their only saving grace.
In 2010 Jon Venables had his parole licence revoked. He received a jail sentence.
He had been caught downloading and distributing indecent images of children. He is now making a new bid for release.
This time Denise Fergus the mother of James will address the parole board. On Tuesday she was reported in the Mirror as saying, "Don't release Jon Venables-he was born evil"Thursday Jon Venables has been in the UK news again
The only images in the media of Venables and Thompson were as children. A blanket ban on revealing any images or information about these two men is in force. A gagging injunction prevents any publicity, anywhere in the world. That has been broken.
The Attorney General has launched an investigation after an image purporting to be of adult Jon Venables was shown online, we believe on twitter. A spokesman for the Attorney General Office (AGO) said he could not confirm or deny whether the pictures were of Venables, reports the BBC.
The images posted this week have now been removed from the Internet. It is claimed that they showed Venables, now a man, posing with others.
Many people in the UK, either close to the Bulger family or strangers, feel justice has not been served in this case. If the adult identity of either boy is revealed it is not difficult to imagine what could happen. Vigilantes though do not always 'get their man'
Thoughts with the Bulger family as another anniversary passes. RIP James.
We have received more information. According to the source images of the adult Venables were printed online, unintentionally, after he was arrested in 2010. The media source reporting at the time did not know that the images included Jon Venables. It was pointed out that a "world-wide" injunction against publication would not be workable.
We will update if we recive more information
(Note information reported in good faith)
British actor Michael Le Vell, 48, plays Kevin Webster in long running UK soap, Coronation Street. He has been a firm favourite in The Street for a fair few years. Today he was charged with a string of sex offences.
There have been many cases of celebrity arrests in the UK, relating to sex offences, since the death of Jimmy Savile. A real can of worms was opened. Many well known UK celebrities have been investigated and some are due to appear in court during the coming months.
reports that Le Vell is"facing a total of 19 charges relating to crimes allegedly committed between 2001 and 2010". He will appear before magistrate's in Manchester on February 27. The charges include raping a child.Opinion
The news is breaking. Updates will follow. Allegations against Le Vell were reported in 2012 but details are only now being revealed.
Actors in Coronation Street often bob in and out of the series. Currently Le Vell's character is active in Corrie. The shows aired each week are filmed around six weeks earlier. We shall have to wait and see how the show's producers will react It could be that no matter what the verdict of the trial is the character of Kevin Webster wil be written out either temporarily or for good.Friday update
The charges against Mr Le Vell were first reported in the UK press in 2011. No charges were brought at that time. According to the Guardian
"a review of evidence by lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) led to a decision yesterday to arrest and charge Le Vell.
ITV, the channel that airs Corrie, have confirmed that the actor will not be appearing in the show, at least until the trial is over. If he is convicted that could be a permanent scenario.
The actor is a father of two. He and his wife separated last year. He strongly denies all allegations. He was charged under his real name, Michael Robert Turner.
Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, had reviewed a file of evidence in relation to allegations of sexual offences and looked again at a decision previously made not to prosecute.
Levitt said: "I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Michael Robert Turner with a number of sexual offences.
"I have authorised Greater Manchester police to charge Mr Turner with 19 offences, including rape of a child.
"Mr Turner has now been charged with criminal offences and has a right to a fair trial. As proceedings are now active, it would be inappropriate to say anything further at this stage."
February 12, 1993, Liverpool, the murder of two-year-old James Bulger. February 12, 2013, the nation remembers and mother of James, Denise Fergus, speaks about the two ten-year-old killers, and her search for justice.
In February 1993 people in the UK read details of the shocking murder of two-year-old James Bulger. Revelations of the details of his horrific murder, by two children, sent shock-waves around the world.
James Patrick Bulger was born on March 16, 1990. He was 'snatched' by two 10-year-old boys whilst shopping with his mother, in the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool, England, on February 12, 1993.
Grainy CCTV images of the two 10-year-olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, sends chilling shivers down the backbone. The boys initially appeared as if helping little James find his mother. The truth was that they were leading him on a long journey, one that led him to his death.
The shocking details of how James was treat and then murdered are grim. The details need handling with sensitivity. However, they need noting. As SkyNews
reports, "They took him to a railway embankment in Walton, Liverpool, where they tortured him, inflicting 42 injuries before leaving him dead on the tracks where a train severed his body". There were reports of a 'sexual element' to this murder but that was never proven.
Prior to his death the little boy was walked, dragged or marched a long distance. According to Wikipedia
it was a meandering 2.5-mile (4.0 km) walk across Liverpool to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, where he was dropped on his head and suffered injuries to his face. At least 38 people witnessed the children's journey, yet no person intervened. James was killed on February 12, 1993, but his body was not located for two-days.
The killers had stolen various items before they took James. Their original plan was to abduct a child and lead him 'to the busy road alongside the mall'. They would then push the child into the path of oncoming traffic. CCTV footage of the boys lurking in the shopping centre, before coming across James, is chilling. The boy's mother momentarily lost sight of her young son and he was gone.
As the 20th anniversary of this terrible murder rolls around there remain many questions unanswered. Opinion
How do a family come to terms the murder of a small child? When the murder is about as horrific as it could be, do they have any chance of moving on?
The murder of James is back in the news as it is the 20th anniversary. Once again though, it is the sentencing of killers Venables and Thompson which is causing debate.
Was the sentence fitting for a 10-year-old found guilty of the murder of a child? Not an accidental murder but a cruel, horrific murder.
Denise Fergus, the mother of James, told SkyNews
that "despite fighting for two decades she feels she has still not achieved justice".
Convicted of murder and given life sentences in November 1993, Venables and Thompson were released back into society in 2001. Both were given new identities and their new location was not known.
Too short a sentence? Appropriate sentencing due to the age of the boys? You tell me.
The mother of James believes that the UK needs tougher sentencing. Denise Fergus has now gone on record saying, "They should make them realise what they've done is wrong. If they give them a hard enough time maybe they'll think again before they go on to commit another crime. "What I'm saying is stop giving them stupid sentences like five or 10 years or if they get a 10-year sentence stop dropping it to five years because of good behaviour. "They've done bad in the first place to be there. Start giving them proper sentences, sentences that fit the crime and stop being so lenient on them."
In the UK the age of the killers was an important factor in their sentences. The fact that two boys were already damaged enough to commit such a heinous crime is a slur on us all. Surely society has let down the killers, James, his mother and his family? Sometimes though, two children are just a lethal combination. Jon Venables received a jail sentence again in 2010.
He was downloading and distributing indecent images of children. He is now making a new bid for release.
This time though Denise Fergus will deliver a victim statement in person to his parole board.
20-years-on the murder of James Bulger still can bring tears to your eyes and your heart. What can the UK do to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again? Final note: According to the Mirror Denise Fergus has said, "Don't release Jon Venables-he was born evil"
Sources SkyNews Wikipedia The Guardian The Mirror
Sellafield, formerly known as Windscale, Britain's largest nuclear facility is being decommissioned. The cost continues to escalate with the latest estimate reaching £67.5 billion.
Sellafield in the north west of England is a nuclear reprocessing site. Work undertaken at the site includes a process which separates the uranium, plutonium, and fission products from spent nuclear fuel. The site is located close to the Cumbrian village of Seascale, which lies on the coast of the Irish Sea.
Decommissioning work is ongoing but Monday the BBC
reported that the cost for this work had risen to a staggering £67.5bn. That may sound a huge sum of money but the bad news is that is not a final total. The costs continue to rise.
In November the BBC
reported that the decommissioning work at Sellafield was to undergo a 'value for money' investigation. The UK National Audit Office (NAO) early in November reported it had found run-down storage buildings at the facility and had assessed the cost as already over budget. Costs were 'spiraling' out of control and work was behind schedule. Importantly there were safety concerns.
Safety and cost continue to raise concerns.
The UK coalition government is keen to invest in nuclear energy. As a small country, likely to get smaller if the Scots vote for independence
, Britain has nowhere near enough natural resources to sustain and supply the country's energy needs.
The UK government gave the green light for the controversial practice of fracking
to re-start in December. Fracking had been put on hold following earthquakes in the Blackpool area and safety concerns. Fracking alone though will not be enough to solve the UKs energy problems, even if it is successful.
Many countries turned away
from nuclear development after the devastating Fukushima plant earthquake problems. They highlighted
all too clearly what can go wrong.
Tuesday a House of Commons, Committee of Public Accounts, published an updated report. It is available to purchase at TSO
. It begins with background information,
'Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Managing Risk At Sellafield (HC 746)' examines the work of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (the Authority) which was set up in 2005 with the specific remit to tackle the UK's nuclear legacy; and confirms that the Authority believes it now has a credible plan for decommissioning Sellafield.
Sellafield is run for the Authority by Sellafield Limited; in November 2008, the Authority contracted with an international consortium, Nuclear Management Partners Limited, to improve Sellafield Limited's management of the site, including the development of an improved lifetime plan; Sellafield Limited are due to start retrieving hazardous waste currently held in legacy facilities in 2015. Over several decades, successive governments have been guilty of failing to tackle issues on the site. Deadlines for cleaning up Sellafield have been missed, while total lifetime costs for decommissioning the site continue to rise each year and now stand at £67.5 billion.
Basic project management failings continue to cause delays and increase costs, while doubts remain over the robustness of the plan, in particular whether the Authority is progressing the development of the geological disposal facility as quickly as possible.
The Committee also remain unconvinced that taxpayers are getting a good deal from the Authority's arrangement with Nuclear Management Partners. Taxpayers currently bear the financial risks of delays and cost increases.
As the UK continues to experience a range of problems regarding the decommissioning of Sellafield
Tuesday there was more news on its latest nuclear development plans. The BBC
reports that Centrica is pulling out of a deal to build four new nuclear reactors in the UK, leaving EDF, the French state-owned utility, in control. The bad news is that EDF will now have to look to other investors. It has already approached.
OPINIONWe all know that China cannot be trusted. Harsh words? Yes but true. So many health and safety issues in Western products stem from China. Broken or inappropriate parts are the tip of the iceberg. Are we mad or just totally desperate to even consider trusting China with UK nuclear safety?The fact that the project is French orientated should cause concerns. It once again proves that Cameron's promise of an EU referendum is meaningless. We have been tied hook, line and sinker to the EU, like it or lump it folks. If you believe there will be a fair unbiased referendum held then you are a fool.It is nothing more nor less than an election ploy. What would make you believe that in the event of such a referendum any Tory government would abide by the result? They are after all a Party littered with broken promises.
Southwark Crown Court, London:
Chris Huhne was accused of asking his wife to take penalty points, following a driving offence. Caught on a speed camera his now former wife insistd that Huhne put marital pressure to bear on her, insisting that she take the points. If he had held his hands up and accepted the points he may have lost his driving licence. Now he has lost a great deal more.
Huhne dramatically changed his plea Monday, at the start of the trial. He was due to be tried alongside his former wife Vicky Pryce. She will still face a trial but her defence is likely to be that Huhne 'forced her' to take the penalty points.Mr Huhne had initially denied the charges. He had insisted that he was innocent and various MPS had offered support. As a senior liberal democrat minister, in the UK coalition, Huhne was once even tipped as a future leader of the Lib Dems. Today the judge warned he could be facing a jail term.If that is what his offence warrants then so be it. MPS should lead by example and be treat in the same way as the rest of society.His resignation now poses a problem for politicians, especially Nick Clegg. It will force a by-election in Huhne's constituency of Eastleigh. In February 2012 when the scandal broke he resigned from his ministerial post but continued as MP for Eastleigh. Huhne resigned from the Cabinet on February 3, 2012, and resigned as MP for Eastleigh February 4, 2013.The Tories will be hoping to gain political advantage, running a close second to the Lib Dems in the last election in Eastleigh. The result could however be a surprise to all.
The incident dates back to 2003. TEK reported in 2012
, 'An acrimonious divorce from his wife, economist Vicky Pryce, directly led to this case. In an apparent fit of anger she claimed that Chris had asked someone to take his penalty speeding points, on his behalf.'In the end when the proverbial hit the fan it splattered Vicky Price. Update on Huhne's sentence and his former wife will follow in due course,
When the remains of a skeleton were discovered under a council car park in Leicester foul play was not suspected. Not recent foul play that is. The skeleton was belived to be that on King Richard III of England.Monday the news is that archaeologists and scientists have concluded that,
"beyond reasonable doubt", the skeleton is of King Richard. It solves a 500-year-old mystery as to the whereabouts of King Richard's grave.In Britain and beyond many people with little knowledge of English History know the name of Richard the Third.
In Shakespeare he is the evil uncle locking the two young princes in the Tower of London. His final words 'my horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse', may be a misquote but they are famous. A small man with a reportedly
crooked spine the skeleton has Richard's fanous features.An announcement about the skeleton's identitiy, made at the University of Leicester, received rapturous applause. The story of the discovery of the bones made world headlines.A planned three-week dig at what was believed to be the site of
the choir of Greyfriars Church, led to the discovery. The skeleton was unearthed on the first day of the dig, exciting archaeologits working there and others further afield. Modern science has played a crucial part in identifying the skeleton. Yes historical data was used to support the claim but DNA was essential.
Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born furniture
maker was the DNA link. He is a direct descendant of Richard's sister, Anne of York. provided further certainty.
Dr Turi King, the project geneticist, said: "There is a DNA match between the maternal DNA from the descendents of the family of Richard III and the skeletal remains we found at the Greyfriars dig. In short, the DNA evidence points to these being the remains of Richard III." reports SkyNews.
History has not been kind to King Richard III. He was maligned by the Tudors after he was defeated in battle by Henry VII. Now some believe that was just 'bad propoganda' of the day.In UK rhyming slang a Richard the Third is perhaps telling!
More on Richard III and the skeleton here.