All posts filed under: NEWS

At Grenfell Tower Silence is Golden

Grenfell Tower survivors, bereaved and their supporters have staged a peaceful and silent monthly procession around their west London neighbourhood since the tragedy that claimed 72 lives on 14 June 2017. In emotional scenes they continued the tradition with a silent march to a vigil in memory of the victims on the first anniversary of the tragedy. There were emotional scenes close to the base of the tower, as they held up pictures of those who perished in the inferno. Their quiet dignity seemed to have been mirrored across the country as the close-knit and ethnically diverse community held vigils, prayed, released doves and ate together. The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law Meghan, on an official visit to Chester in northwest England, were among those who observed a national silence in honour of the victims at midday. The silence was also observed in the Houses of Parliament and in government buildings. It lasted 72 seconds, one for each of the 71 people who died on the night of the fire, and one for a woman who died in hospital …

Harry, Meghan and Mr Fox Attend Queen’s Birthday Parade

Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan Markle, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, attended the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremony on 9 June, the first time the couple have attended the Queen’s official birthday celebrations together with the surprise appearance of a fox at the start of proceedings. About 1,000 soldiers marched to House Guards Parade in Whitehall, central London, as part of the ceremony, which marked Queen Elizabeth’s 92nd birthday. Watched by large crowds, the newlyweds arrived in a horse-drawn carriage as part of a procession. The event was attended by other senior royals including the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, did not attend the event, having retired from public life last year. Harry and Meghan married in May at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s home to the west of London, in a show of British royal pomp and pageantry watched by millions of television viewers across the world. Meghan was pictured …

Robbie Williams and his wife Flee Knightsbridge Hotel blaze

Robbie Williams and his wife were among 36 guests and 250 hotel staff evacuated from a fire that broke out at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge in west London. One hundred and twenty firefighters and 20 fire engines brought the blaze under control according to the London Fire Brigade. The fire is believed to have spread across a vertical facade for plants and vegetation and into several floors of the hotel but was quickly extinguished. The five -star hotel which provides concierge services to residents of neighbouring One Hyde Park luxury flats is believed to have recently undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment. The hotel has also been visited by the Queen while attending private functions at the venue. Williams, 44, described their dramatic escape on Instagram: “I went on the balcony and looked up and there was just billows and billows of smoke. “I came back in from the balcony and said, ‘The hotel’s on fire,’ and then the next thing a knock at the door came and there was a bellboy there and …

Heathrow Third Runway Gets Green Light

The Cabinet has backed plans for a new runway at Heathrow airport opening the way for a parliamentary vote after decades of delays, although the project could still face challenges before construction starts. Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport but is now operating at full capacity. In the past, plans to expand the airport have faced opposition from local communities and environmentalists but the current £14bn ($18.5bn) expansion plan is making progress. The cabinet gave its blessing to the new runway plan, said transport minister Chris Grayling, and lawmakers should now vote on the issue within 21 days. The decision comes after almost half a century of indecision on how and where to add new airport capacity in densely populated southeast England. If it goes ahead it will be the first full-length runway built in the London area for 70 years. “Expansion at Heathrow presents a unique opportunity to deliver a multi-billion pound boost to our economy, strengthen our global links and maintain our position as a world leader in aviation,” Grayling said in a statement. …

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 …