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Mass demonstration in London against brexit: ‘best deal is not a brexit’

Hundreds of thousands of people are on the move in central London to demand a new referendum on the Brexit. They carry banners with texts such as “The best deal is not a Brexit” and “Let the people speak.” The demonstrators walk from Park Lane to the parliament building. There are speeches by, among others, Scottish Prime Minister Sturgeon, Deputy Labor leader Watson and London Mayor Khan. According to the organizers, there are around one million demonstrators. It is unknown whether that is true, but it is clear that resistance to the Brexit is growing. An online petition for the withdrawal of the Brexit has been signed more than 4 million times. “We are here today because we feel we are being robbed of our future,” an 18-year-old demonstrator told Reuters news agency. “Our generation has to live with the consequences of this disaster. It will be harder to find a job.” The demonstration comes a few days after the European Union has given the United Kingdom a few weeks’ delay to arrange the Brexit. According to the campaigners, it is therefore now the right time to launch a referendum and reverse the brexit. If the lower house next week agrees with the draft agreement May has concluded with the EU, the United Kingdom will get until May 22 before it leaves the union. If the House of Commons says ‘no’ again and there is no other plan, the British will leave the EU on 12 April.

0525 – Royalty

Charity founded by Prince Charles in ding dong over maker of Big Ben’s bells

BigBen

The silencing of Big Ben’s bongs caused protests in the streets and now the the original maker of its bells has found itself at the centre of another ding dong. A battle has commenced to stop the struggling home of the famous clock’s bells, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, from turning into a luxury hotel. The UK Historical Preservation Trust, originally founded by Prince Charles, is fighting its owner, a US investor who helped fund Soho House for council approval to transform the business to fit the modern age. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry has been operating since the 1740s, having made some of the most famous bells in the world including the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, bells in Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. But despite its extraordinarily long history the fourth-generation bell-founder Alan Hughes and his wife Kathryn decided to sell the site last year.

big ben 

The decision was due to financial pressures as the industry is in decline, Mr Hughes told the FT, as orders had dried up so badly in late 2016 that “we literally couldn’t pay the wages”, he said. Now the UK Historical Preservation Trust has teamed up with Factum Arte, a high tech art business, to fight to stop the site’s owner, US investor Raycliff, building a hotel at rear of the building while restoring the most vital parts of the grade II listed structure as a public attraction. Its owner, Bippy Siegal, is investing in a plan to preserve the parts of the building with historic value as well as building a 95-room hotel, with a shop selling hand bells produced by Kathryn Hughes. The design also features a grand public café which would aso be bell themed, with bell-making equipment on the walls. Customers would be able to sit and admire a three metre deep glass-covered bell pit, in which the Liberty Bell was cast.

bells

Factum Arte produces sculptures and uses cutting edge digital scanning and 3D-printing techniques to create art and replicate ancient artifacts. It is most well known for making a copy of the burial chamber of Egyptian pharoah Tutankhamun, which is now installed at the Valley of the Kings. It wants to turn the building into a high-tech art business and historical site which aims to maintain the foundry as a functioning business. Factum has partnered with the UK Historic Building Preservation Trust in a bid to turn its vision into a reality. It has already proved how it can turn a struggling historic business into a thriving tourist attraction through its involvement in the £9m regeneration of Middleport Pottery, a historic industrial site in Stoke-on-Trent. The business was on its knees but was revived by the scheme, which will serve as inspiration for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry revivial, according to a trustee of the charity. According to British cultural historian Saumarez Smith, the revival of the site’s bell making facillities is absolutely crucial to retailing its full historic value. “My view is that the historical fabric of the building is meaningless without its use,” he told the FT. “As an 18th-century building it’s not of architectural significance. What’s important is its role as an example of industrial heritage.” The Factum Arte faces a major spanner in the works, however. It does not own the building and its owner has its own plans in motion, meaning it does not wish to sell. Its success is now riding on the local council siding with its view that maintaining the site’s historical value is most important for its future. It also provides creative education and training, which is thought to be likely to appeal to the council. Bell-making could be up and running within a year, once emergency repairs to the roof have been carried out. But as the battle between corporate investor and charity-backed artist continues, Mr Hughes is concerned that the £7.9m site, which requires rennovation, will be left to further deteriorate.

0419 – Royalty

Prince Harry arrives at London Mara-thon after Queen starts it off.

Harry poses with the wheelchair winnersPrince Harry has been spotted at the London Marathon, where he will be cheering on the runners who are still going.

The Queen, pressed the starting button, sending a tide of more than 40,000 runners through the capital. She looked bright and cheerful in a coral pink outfit, and as usual matched her hat to her jacket.

The Prince met the volunteers who make the marathon happen, organising the runners and handing out water. He also shook hands with First Aiders from St John’s Ambulance, who are there in case participants face any medical issues. Prince The Queen officially started the marathonHarry will be handing out trophies to all the winners, and has already congratulated the wheelchair winners. Familiar faces were seen at the starting line, including the Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon, who is running in her underwear alongside Jada Sezer in order to raise money for mental health charity Heads Together. BBC Radio 2 DJ and former Top Gear host Chris Evans grinned as he posed for a picture before the marathon, as did television presenter Jenni Falconer.

Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah has been seen leading the pack, as he hopes to win this year. He has been training for the race in Ethiopa for the last few months. The 38th edition of the world-famous race may well be the hottest on record, with sweltering highs of 23C possible throughout Sunday. Runners have been advised to drop their goal-times and organisers have added more ice, water and run-through shower stations along the 26.2-mile course. Among this year’s runners are firefighters who tackled the Grenfell Tower blaze, a police officer stabbed in the London Bridge terror attack and members of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. Sunday marks 25 years since the murder of the teenager, who was a keen runner. Meanwhile almost 100 runners will attempt Guinness World Records – dressed variously in suits of armour, as mythical creatures, and wearing stilts and ski boots. Hundreds of police officers will be on duty to keep around 800,000 spectators and runners safe.

Competitors will start from Blackheath, south east London, running a snaking route along both sides of the Thames, finishing on The Mall near Buckingham Palace.

Last year, the event raised £61.5 million for charity, a world record for an annual one-day fundraising event, making the total raised since 1981 around £890 million, organisers said. A record 386,050 people applied for this year’s race – almost a third more than last year and the highest number for any marathon in the world.

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A futuristic train that could on day become the future of underground rail travel has been unveiled. A full-size concept model of Inspiro – a driverless train that is more energy efficient than current models in use with more creature comforts for commuters, will go on show at an exhibition in London. Siemens, the company behind the concept, has hinted that next generation Tube trains like Inspiro, which costs a whopping £1million a carriage, could be built in Britain if the mayor placed an order for the new trains.

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London underground causes more hearing damage than rock concert

Westminster station in Londen

The London metro makes so much noise that travelers are wise to use earplugs. That is the conclusion of the University College London (UCL) that researched the number of decibels that ‘the Tube’ produces. The scientists discovered that people are exposed to more noise during a subway ride in the British capital than during a rock concert. The noisiest route is the Victoria Line. Between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green stations. The measuring equipment gave no less than 109 decibels. A drill or standing next to a rising helicopter is less harmful to the hearing. “It is worrying,” writes UCL researcher Joe Sollini. “Hearing loss builds up with the passing of the years.”
Employers are obliged to offer people who spend longer periods of time in workplaces with more than 85 decibels of hearing protection, Sollini knows. “Now it turns out that someone who travels with the metro every day for a long time runs the risk of tinnitus and hearing loss.” The British Institute for Acoustics calls on the London transport company to develop quieter subways. ,, That has already happened with trains. Less noisy subways provide passengers with a better journey. ”

Previously, American audiologists were alarmed by the noise in the New York subway. For example, the iron-on iron on the Times Square station proved to be between 92 and 102 decibels. The city council then decided to tackle the noise. For example, employees regularly lubricate the rails in sharp turns and the wheels and braking systems of the metro sets have been adapted.

In the Netherlands, residents of the Rotterdam metro net filed objections to noise pollution. Among other things, in Spijkenisse and Capelle aan den IJssel, the complainants asked for the slower passing of the subways, so that the noise diminished.

0315

Donald Trump cancels UK visit, blaming Barack Obama for a ‘bad embassy deal’, as Sadiq Khan says he ‘finally got the message’

US president Donald Trump has confirmed he will not travel to the UK to open the new American embassy next month, blaming the decision to relocate the building to an “off location”. Hitting out at former US leader Barack Obama, Mr Trump wrote on Twitter early on Friday that he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, in a 1.2 billion dollar (£886 million) project was a “bad deal”. He wrote: “Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts’, only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” Prime Minister Theresa May was the first world leader to visit Mr Trump in the White House and the US president accepted at the time an invitation for a state visit. But that idea was fairly swiftly pushed into the long grass, given the scale of expected protests and opposition within the UK. A petition against a state visit gained more than a million signatures last year. Mr Trump was then reported to be considering a “working visit”, with some publications reporting that a date had been set for the end of February. The visit was due to coincide with the opening of the new US embassy. Writing on Twitter at 4.57am on Friday, Mr Trump said he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square was a “bad deal”.

Despite Mr Trump publicly blaming his predecessor Obama, the US announced its plans to move to the new embassy site in October 2008 – when George W Bush was in the White House. The new building will open on January 16. On the embassy web page about the project, it said: “The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other US Government properties in London, not through appropriated funds.”

The new US Embassy in Nine Elms in Wandsworth

Mr Trump had also been scheduled to hold talks with Mrs May in No 10, with February 26 and 27 marked in the diary. Downing Street had hoped to confirm the dates this week. The president was not due to meet the Queen until a full state visit at a later date. But now Mr Trump has decided to postpone even the scaled-down February visit. Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, will instead represent the US at the embassy opening. In December, US Ambassador Woody Johnson said he was looking forward to welcoming the president when he visited, adding: “I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it.” He said the new embassy was a “signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better”. Mr Trump’s decision not to head across the Atlantic comes despite Mrs May saying that a future visit was still on the cards last week. A Downing Street spokesman said: “Our position is that an offer for a state visit has been extended and accepted.” Sources claimed that the lack of “bells and whistles” and royal involvement in next month’s planned visit might have discouraged Mr Trump.

One of the interior gardens that is filled with cacti to evoke the south west American desert landscapes

Mrs May controversially extended the offer of a state visit – officially on behalf of the Queen – when she became the first world leader to meet Mr Trump in the White House following his inauguration last year. Since then, however, the president has indicated he does not want to take up the invitation if he is going to face mass demonstrations and it had been expected he could make a low-key working visit rather than a trip which involved all the trappings of a state occasion.

‘Trump has thrown his toys out of the pram’: Reaction to cancelled visit

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said that it appears Trump has “finally got that message” that “many Londoners” would not welcome the US President to the capital.  He said: “Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message. “This reinforces what a mistake it was for Theresa May to rush and extend an invitation of a state visit in the first place.”

Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, suggested on Twitter that planned protests had dissuaded the president from visiting the UK, saying: “Nobody wanted you to come.”

Others, including David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, was clearer in his views on Twitter:

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jo Swinson said: “News that Trump has thrown his toys out of the pram and cancelled his trip to the UK will be welcomed by all of us who reject his abhorrent views. “But it’s a disappointing sign of how weak May’s leadership is that she wasn’t brave enough to call the visit off herself. “The Prime Minister should be ashamed that she was so keen to roll out the red carpet to a man who spreads hate and division at every turn, and goes out of his way to undermine British values.” Labour MP Stephen Doughty said on Twitter that Trump “wanted the red carpet treatment and cheering crowds”, but was instead facing “big protests”.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, suggested that Mr Trump was more aware of opposition in the UK than in other countries he had visited because it was expressed in English. “I think it’s a great shame; the United States is very much one of our closest allies, but the alliance isn’t based on who lives in the White House and who lives in Number 10, it’s based on shared values, common interests and absolute commitment to the international rules-based system which we have both spent the best part of 70 years upholding through Nato, through the United Nations and through various other treaty organisations around the world,” he told Today. “While I think it’s a shame, I think – if I’m honest – it more reflects the fact that other people criticise in French, Italian, Korean and other languages and we criticise in English, and it’s much easier for him to read English.”

Other MPs line up to react to news

Nigel Farage suggests ‘mass protests’ behind Trump’s decision

Nigel Farage Donald Trump

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, an ally of the US president, suggested that concerns about protests might have been the real reason for the visit’s cancellation. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “Well, he is the real estate guy. I can’t comment on that. He has made rather a lot of money over the years doing it. “It is disappointing. He has been to countries all over the world and yet he has not been to the one with whom he is closest. “I would say it is disappointing. Maybe, just maybe, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party planning mass protests, maybe those optics he didn’t like the look of.” Speaking on the same programme, Labour MP Chuka Umunna said it was “very welcome he is not coming any more”, adding: “He runs counter to British values.”

How May and Trump fell out over anti-Muslim videos

Mrs May and Mr Trump fell out spectacularly in November over his retweeting of anti-Muslim videos posted online by the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group, Jayda Fransen. At the time, the PM said Mr Trump was “wrong” to retweet the videos, and the US president hit back at Mrs May on Twitter by telling her to focus on “destructive radical Islamic terrorism” in the UK, rather than on him.

Donald Trump asks why US accepts immigrants ‘from s——- countries’

Donald Trump has reportedly expressed frustration at the United States’ immigration policy, asking a White House gathering of politicians why the US accepted people from “s——- countries”, reports Harriet AlexanderMr Trump convened Thursday’s meeting to discuss reforming immigration policy, and one of the politicians inside the Oval Office suggested that a deal could be reached if Mr Trump agreed to restore protection for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. “Why are we having all these people from s——- countries come here?” the president responded, according to two people who spoke to The Washington Post. The paper said he was referring to African countries and Haiti. He then reportedly suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met on Wednesday. The White House did not deny his remark, which triggered widespread outrage, but issued a statement saying Mr Trump supports immigration policies that welcome “those who can contribute to our society.” His remarks reportedly left the assembled politicians “taken aback”, the paper said, with Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator for South Carolina, and Richard Durbin, Democratic senator for Illinois, among those in the room.

Trump claims to have developed positive relationship with Kim Jong-un

Mr Trump also claimed that he has developed a positive relationship with North Korea’s leader. “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un,” Mr Trump told The Wall Street Journal, despite there being no formal contact between US and North Korean officials in decades. “I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.” Asked if he has spoken with Mr Kim, Mr Trump replied: “I don’t want to comment on it. I’m not saying I have or haven’t. I just don’t want to comment.” The president has called the nation’s leader a “maniac,” a “bad dude,” mocked him as “short and fat,” and referred to him repeatedly as “rocket man.”  Mr Kim in response has warned he would “tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire”. Mr Trump told the paper, however, that his Twitter insults were simply part of his game plan. “You’ll see that a lot with me,” he said about combative tweets. “And then all of the sudden somebody’s my best friend. I could give you 20 examples. You could give me 30. I’m a very flexible person.” The president said he approved of North Korea’s participation in next month’s Olympic Games, and acknowledged that Pyongyang may be trying to separate Washington and Seoul. “If I were them, I would try,” he said. “The difference is I’m president, other people aren’t. And I know more about wedges than any human being that’s lived.”

0242

New London underground map redesigned for people with anxietyTransport for London

A London Underground map has been published to help passengers with claustrophobia or anxiety conditions. The new design highlights routes they can take to avoid long stretches of tunnels. More than half of the Tube’s 270 stations are above ground, with only the Victoria and Waterloo & City lines wholly underground. Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of charity Anxiety UK, said: “For those with anxiety conditions such as panic attacks and claustrophobia, we know that travel by the Underground can be problematic and challenging.

 Transport for London

“This new map is an excellent resource for those wishing to avoid journeys where there are tunnels, serving as a great pre-journey planning aid and increasing access to public transport. “I sincerely hope that the map will encourage those with claustrophobia and/or panic attacks who have previously avoided this form of public transport out of fear to reconsider their use of the Tube”. Transport for London (TfL) director of customer strategy Mark Evers said: “Making the Tube network accessible for everyone is one of our top priorities. “This new map is just one of the tools we have created in response to feedback from our customers on how we can make the transport network more accessible, making travelling easier and more comfortable for all our customers.” In April TfL announced that badges for people with hidden health conditions who needed a seat on trains and buses were to be permanently available. They follow the popular “Baby on Board” badges for expectant mothers.

0190

Venice Simplon Orient Express Full Experience from Venice to London.

A work of art in itself and a true Art Deco icon, the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is one of the world’s most famous luxury trains. Step aboard and experience truly elegant travel, wrapped in timeless romance. Adventure and style are all intimately bound in journeys that crisscross Europe, rolling through sublime scenery to some of the continent’s most alluring cities. Delightful vintage cabins, gastronomic cuisine and lively onboard entertainment make a journey on this luxury train one of the world’s finest travel experiences.The golden age of travel may have been in the Roaring Twenties, but the art of journeying in style is still alive and well today.

That sense of wonder can still be felt with the variety of journeys offered aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. UK to France and Italy on overnight trips, extended voyages to Istanbul and Budapest… Whichever the destination, your time on the rails is guaranteed to provide unforgettable memories.Savour the beautiful surroundings. Marvel at the opulent interiors, sparkling crystal, plush fabrics and polished woods. Relax in your own cabin as you look out over stunning landscapes. Connect with fascinating people—like-minded adventurers who share your joy for travel.