Tag Archives: UK

EU threatens UK with astronomical £500BILLION Brexit DIVORCE BILL

THE EUROPEAN Parliament’s top Brexit negotiator has said Britain could face a £500billion (€600bn) Brexit divorce bill – ten times the figure initially expected.

Late last year it was widely reported Eurocrats were planning on slapping the UK with a £50billion (€60billion) exit bill as punishment for voting to abandon Brussels in the June referendum.

The EU defended the demand as it argued Britain had unpaid budget commitments, pension liabilities and loan guarantees to honour.

Continue reading EU threatens UK with astronomical £500BILLION Brexit DIVORCE BILL

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Damien Hirst eco-town gets the green light

damien hirst's sustainable eco-village gets the green light

Local authorities in devon, uk, have approved plans for a eco-town to be built on land owned by artist damien hirst. The 750-home development is designed to stimulate economic growth in the community, expanding its current population by 20%.

The masterplan, which has been draw up by architects mrj rundell + associates and urban design specialists david lock associates, has been hotly debated with some local residents concerned about the impact the expansion will have on the quiet seaside town.

The scheme also incorporates a range of retail outlets, commercial space and a school.it is understood that the project will take between 10 and 15 years to complete.

Bentleys are the least reliable cars, says survey

Bentley Continental GT Speed coupe

Honda is the most reliable manufacturer for the ninth year running, while luxury and prestige marks languish at the bottom of the table

They may be dream cars for many motorists, but Bentleys and Porsches could cause their drivers more headaches than any other make of car a new study has found.

The two prestigious marques carry hefty price tags, but are at the bottom of an annual index ranking cars by their reliability.

At the other end of the 37-strong table of manufacturers, Honda was crowned the most reliable manufacturer for the ninth year in a row.

Japanese and South Korean manufacturers dominate the top of the annual table, which looks at used rather than new cars, with Suzuki and Toyota taking the second and third positions. Chevrolet, Ford, Skoda, Peugeot and Fiat also fought their way into the top 10 compiled by What Car? and Warranty Direct.

What Car? said: “At the opposite end of the scale, luxury and prestige marques Bentley and Porsche are the most likely to break down.”

The Honda Jazz was the most reliable model, according to the survey

Jim Holder, editor, said: “Honda’s success in the reliability index is chiefly down to low failure rates. However, when things do go wrong, the cars are also relatively cheap to fix.

“Reliability is always one of the key attributes buyers look for when considering a used car purchase, so manufacturers that consistently demonstrate durability will always do well with the consumer.”

The list was compiled from 50,000 live insurance policies of cars aged between three and eight years old.

The study ranks manufacturers by taking into account each vehicle’s failure rate, age, mileage and cost of repair.

Overall, the most reliable models were the Honda Jazz and the Mitsubishi Lancer, both of which also had relatively modest average repair costs.

Ford, Skoda, Peugeot and Fiat also fought their way into the top 10 compiled by What Car? and Warranty Direct, providers of the Telegraph Warranty Service

Electrical faults and trouble with the axle or suspension were the most common problems (ALAMY)

The least reliable model was the Audi RS6 which was also the most costly to fix, with an average repair bill of £1,003.

Electrical trouble was the most common gripe across all cars, accounting for more than 22 per cent of visits to garages. Axle and suspension faults also proved troublesome, affecting a similar percentage of cars. Air conditioning was one of the least problematic parts of the car, accounting for only three per cent of trips to the garage.

Luxury marques appear towards the bottom of the table both because they were liable to break down more often, but also because repairs can be expensive and parts difficult and time consuming to source.

The average repair bill for a Honda was £335.87, while the cost for a Bentley was £678.50 and for a Porsche £784.71

David Gerrans, managing director of Warranty Direct, said: “Household budgets continue to be stretched further in the current economic climate; the last thing people need is a car that costs them money they don’t have in unwanted bills.

“It is imperative that consumers research their intended purchases thoroughly before taking the plunge.

He said failing to research a car’s reliability could leave motorists “making the wrong choice and inadvertently landing yourself with a car that causes you nothing but hassle and a financial headache.”

Honda, which manufactures hundreds of cars a day at its plant in Swindon, has dominated the table for years.

This year is not the first time either that Bentley, whose list prices can reach up to £224,700 for the Mulsanne 6.75 V8, has found itself at the bottom of the table.

The firm hit back at the survey, saying it was “not an accurate reflection of the Bentley ownership experience, as it covers less than four per cent of the Bentley vehicles of comparable age on the road in the UK”.

It also said it was skewed against luxury brands.

A spokesman said: “It also fails to include any comparable high luxury brands as a benchmark. Due to the very high quality materials and components used throughout our vehicles, the cost of owning and maintaining a Bentley is never going to be directly comparable with the other cars in this survey.”

Porsche also criticised the rankings, saying they were drawn from just two per cent of similarly aged Porsches on the road.

A spokesman said Porsche models had topped other industry surveys for design and performance.

Here’s What 44 Countries List As The Greatest Dangers In The World

Iraqi Shi'ite

Amid rising conflicts engulfing the Middle East, most of the 44 nations surveyed in a new Pew Research Center study listed the top threat in the world as “religious and ethnic hatred.”

Nations were given the option of selecting between five dangers: nuclear weapons, pollution, AIDS and other diseases, inequality, and religious and ethnic hatred.

map danger larger

At 58%, Lebanon had the highest level of concern of any country and identified religious and ethnic hatred as the single greatest danger to the world, correlating to its diverse religious makeup of Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Lebanese Christians, Greek Orthodox, and Jews.

Meanwhile, severe battles between Hezbollah and Jabhat al-Nusra have brought war to Lebanon. Egypt, Israel, Palestine, and Tunisia also shared Lebanon’s concern.

Meanwhile in the West, “the gap between the rich and the poor is increasingly considered the world’s top problem by people living in advanced economies,” the Pew Research Center says

Americans, and generally most European nations listed “inequality” as the world’s greatest danger. Spain cited this concern at a rate of 54%, the highest level of concern in this category.

global dangers survey pew research

Ukraine and Russia both named “nuclear weapons” as their highest threat, along with Japan, Pakistan, and Turkey. It is estimated that Russia —which leads the world in number of nuclear weapons — along with the US, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea, possess approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons altogether.

Most African countries claimed “AIDS and other infectious diseases” as their most pressing issue in the world today.

Fearing Russia may be arming Argentina, Britain beefs up Falkland Islands defences

A 2013 referendum found that 99.8% of Falkland Island residents want to remain a British territory.

Argentina’s cabinet chief says Britain’s £180m plan to bolster the Falklands’ defences over 10 years is ‘cheap nationalism’ before the 7 May general election

Argentina has branded Britain’s plans to beef up defences in the Falklands a provocation and a pre-election stunt .

The British defence secretary, Michael Fallon, said on Tuesday that the UK would spend £180m over 10 years to counter “continuous intimidation” from Argentina. The two countries went to war over the islands in 1982.

Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

“This business from Great Britain is a provocation, not just to Argentina but also to the United Nations,” Argentina’s foreign minister, Hector Timerman, said on Wednesday.

The UN’s decolonisation committee adopted a resolution last year calling on Britain to negotiate with Argentina on the islands’ status, as Buenos Aires has long demanded.

Britain argues the islanders should decide for themselves which country they want to belong to. In a 2013 referendum, 99.8% voted to remain a British overseas territory.

Timerman said the British defence initiative made “no sense”. “We are committed to dialogue and international law,” he told Radio del Plata.

Timerman said Argentina would file a formal complaint with the decolonisation committee, saying Britain was “expressly violating UN regulations on not altering the situation when there is a state of controversy regarding a territory’s sovereignty”.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s cabinet chief, Aníbal Fernández, said the plan was less about Argentinian threats and more about the campaign for Britain’s general election on 7 May.

BCRA/AFP/Getty Images

“They’re facing elections, so they resort to cheap nationalism to put all of British society on tenterhooks over a military matter,” he told a press conference.

Argentina invaded the Falklands, which it calls the Malvinas, in April 1982, sparking a war that it lost in just over two months.

The conflict claimed the lives of 649 Argentinian soldiers, 255 Britons and three islanders.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Barbados plans to replace Queen with ceremonial president

The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds on their 1966 tour.
The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds on their 1966 tour.

 

Freundel Stuart, the prime minister, tells colleagues that island nation will have its own head of state by 50th anniversary of independence in 2016

It has long been independent from Britain, but the eastern Caribbean island of Barbados looks set to sever links with the Queen, drawing up plans to replace her as head of state with a president.

Freundel Stuart, the prime minister, told supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour party (DLP) that the island was functioning as a republic, according to the Jamaica Observer.

(JOHN STILLWELL / POOL / AFP)

“We respect (the Queen) very highly as head of the Commonwealth and accept that she and all of her successors will continue to be at the apex of our political understanding. But, in terms of Barbados’s constitutional status, we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future,” Stuart said.

George Pilgrim, general secretary of the DLP, confirmed the development and said the change was expected to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Barbados’s independence in 2016.

A draft bill will have to be put before parliament.

Pilgrim said: “We don’t expect any opposition coming from the opposition party.

“This will move the country through to the next major step in the process of nationhood.”

He added that Barbados would remain part of the Commonwealth, of which the Queen is head, thus retaining some links with the crown.

It is not the first time Barbados has considered becoming a republic. In 2005, Owen Arthur, then prime minister, outlined his proposals for dropping the Queen in favour of a locally elected president, but the process was not completed.

The same year, the Caribbean court of justice became Barbados’s final court of appeal, instead of the London-based privy council, which has long served as the highest court of appeal for many former British colonies.

The island became independent from Britain in 1966.

The Queen’s Royal style and title in Barbados is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Barbados and of Her other Realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth. She is represented through the largely ceremonial role of the governor general.

The monarch has made five official visits to the island, including in 1977 when she left by Concorde on her first supersonic flight. In 1989, she visited to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Barbados parliament.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “It is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.” Downing Street appeared to be unaware of the decision, which was announced on Sunday night.

A spokesman for David Cameron, the prime minister, said: “I expect the approach will be consistent with self-determination, decisions around this being a matter for the people involved.”

Portia Simpson Miller, prime minister of Jamaica, pledged in 2012 to replace the Queen as head of state.

The Queen is sovereign of 15 Commonwealth realms in addition to the UK.

Take A Mouth-Watering Tour Of School Lunches From Around The World (And The Embarrassing U.S. Equivalent)

Eating at the school cafeteria could’ve been amazing—if you grew up almost anywhere but the U.S.

For a fourth-grader in Italy, school lunch might include a caprese salad, local fish on a bed of arugula, pasta, and a baguette.

A school cafeteria in France might serve steak, brie, and a plentiful helping of fruits and vegetables. In comparison, a typical school lunch in the U.S. looks fairly embarrassing: Some fried chicken, congealed fruit salad, and a giant cookie.

These images are all from a recent photo series, created by the salad chain Sweetgreen, showing what school lunches look like around the world. Each plate is meant to be representative of a typical lunch and was put together by intepreting local government standards and studying Tumblr photos taken by elementary students.

“We wanted to look at how kids are eating around the world—not in a literal way, not that this is exactly how every plate looks, but as a way to relate to how we eat in this country,” says Sweetgreen‘s co-founder Nic Jammet, who started the company with his friends while in college because they were sick of their school’s own mediocre cafeteria food.

The company says that the photos illustrate the basic fact that we shouldn’t necessarily be eating the same thing in every location. “You should be eating what grows around you,” says Jammet. But they also show how far the U.S. has to go to give kids anything approaching a balanced diet.

Thirty-two million students in the U.S. eat cafeteria food each day. Compared to their peers who bring lunch from home, they’re fatter, eat fewer vegetables, and have higher cholesterol. Only 2% of middle school students actually attend schools that fully meet theUSDA‘s nutritional guidelines.

Sweetgreen, which operates a healthy eating education program in schools, argues that part of the solution is education. “Kids have been marketed unhealthy food in a really big way over the years,” says Jammett. “I think it’s time for healthy food to use the same tools.”

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