Author: WLT NEWS DESK

Grenfell: Anatomy of a Catastrophe

Grenfell Tower residents should have been told to get out quickly rather than stay put in their flats as flames engulfed the building and killed 71 people, the public inquiry into the fire in west London almost a year ago has heard. The blaze, Britain’s deadliest on domestic premises since World War Two, shocked the nation and raised questions about the maintenance of its social housing, building regulations and fire safety protocols. The fire started just before 1 a.m. on 14 June 2017, in the kitchen of a flat on the fourth floor. It broke out of that apartment, ignited the cladding around the outside of the building, and reached the 23rd floor within half an hour. Expert reports released on the first day of oral hearings into the causes of the fire, pointed to a combustible external cladding installed during a 2012-2016 refurbishment as the main cause of the rapid spread of the fire. Residents who called the London Fire Brigade in the early stages were advised to stay put in their apartments, in …

Chelsea Put £1bn Stadium on Ice

  Chelsea Football Club have shelved plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge just as owner Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich faces a glitch in renewing his work visa. In a terse statement on its website, the west London club stated it was putting the new stadium project on hold and that further preparatory design and planning work will also cease. The statement read: “Chelsea Football Club announces today that it has put its new stadium project on hold. No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur. The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision. The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate.” Political observers are however linking the decision with Abramovich’s unexplained inability to secure the renewal of his investor’s visa. The business magnate who lives on Britain’s most exclusive street, Kensington Palace Gardens, was also inexplicably absent from the Blues’ recent victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup at Wembley. Relations between Russia and the United Kingdom has worsened since the Skripal poisoning. Britain has vowed tougher …

Factbox: Royal Baby, All you Need to Know

The Duchess of Cambridge, the wife of Prince William, gave birth to a boy at St Mary’s Hospital  in west London on Monday [23 April], the third child for the royal couple. HOW IS THE BIRTH BEING CELEBRATED? Bells rang and guns were fired in London on Tuesday [24 April] in celebration of the birth of the royal family’s latest addition. The bells tolled at Westminister Abbey while the Honourable Artillery Company, a reserve regiment, fired a 62-round salute from the Tower of London and Hyde Park. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery rode out from Wellington Barracks into Hyde Park for a 41-round salute. WHAT HAS KENSINGTON PALACE SAID? “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 1101hrs. “The baby weighs 8lbs 7oz [3.8 kg]. “The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth. “Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well. “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed …

Harry and Meghan Letter ‘Race Hate Crime’ —Terror Police

Scotland Yard has said a package containing a mysterious substance, addressed to Prince Harry and his US fiancee Meghan Markle, was harmless. But counter-terrorism officers are treating a letter which accompanied the package as a racist hate crime, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The package was sent to St James’s Palace on Monday (19 February) and police later confirmed the substance it contained was non-suspicious. “Officers are also investigating an allegation of malicious communications which relates to the same package, and it is being treated as a racist hate crime,” the police statement said. The London Evening Standard reported that the package had been addressed to Harry and Markle, his fiancee and former Suits actress who he is to marry in May. A spokeswoman for the prince, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, said they had no comment on the reports. In a rebuke from his office to the media in 2016 over intrusion into his then-girlfriend’s private life, Harry referred to the racism that had been directed at Markle, whose father is white and mother is …

What We Learnt: Prince Harry’s Takeover of The Today Programme

Prince Harry’s stint as guest editor on BBC 4’s flagship news programme did not disappoint for its variety and top-draw interview subjects; They don’t come any bigger than the erstwhile occupant of the White House, President Barack Obama and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles [Pa] who has “bored him to tears” banging on about the devastating impact of climate change. And the easy bit? Getting Obama to do his first candid interview since leaving Pennsylvania Avenue last year told us he had friends in high places and an “outsize” voice according to Obama. RELATED STORY: Meghan Markle’s £56,000 Ralph & Russo Engagement Gown He hinted how fiancee Suits actress Meghan Markle had fared well with the in-laws at their Sandringham Christmas get-together, “running around with the kids” of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. He however let his guard down when he let slip: “She’s done an absolutely amazing job, she’s getting in there and it’s the family that I suppose she’s never had.” Now that told us volumes about Markle’s private family …

Queen Lauds Grenfell Spirit in Milestone Christmas Broadcast

Grenfell Tower victims and the firefighters who battled the fatal blaze which claimed 71 lives headlined the Queen’s 60th Christmas Day broadcast. The 91-year-old monarch also praised the resilience of London and Manchester after “appalling attacks”. The “powerful identities” of the capital and the northern English city had shone through after militant attacks as well as the devastating fire that destroyed the residential tower block in west London in June, the Queen said. The 91 year-old monarch, whose televised address is a Christmas staple in Britain, recounted how it had been a privilege to visit victims of the bomb attack at a pop concert in Manchester, as she was able to witness the bravery and resilience of survivors first-hand. On the 60th anniversary of her first televised Christmas address, she said her reflections on the year had made her “grateful for the blessings of home and family”, and praised her husband and his “unique” sense of humour. The Duke of Edinburgh, 96, has been at the queen’s side throughout her 65 years on the throne, …