Full Feeds Service Discontinued

Unfortunatly the time has come for this scraper to come down (seemingly it may come as a shock to some that this is not provided by the BBC). I wrote this back in 2005 and have modified it a couple of times since mainly so that I could more easily consume RSS on the move. In short, I no longer use it, I find consuming live news is not actually something an RSS reader does very well and I face a constant battle against sites trying to use these feeds to monetize BBC content and failing to pay any attention to etag or last modified headers (hello palin-pedia.com et al). Please update your RSS subscription as the last remenants of this will be removed soon , the official BBC RSS feed you are looking for is: http://newsrss.bbc.co.uk/rss/newsonline_uk_edition/front_page/rss.xml

Olympic security tests launched

Police on a search exercise at the Olympic StadiumSearching: Police on an exercise at the Olympic Stadium

Police, emergency services and other agencies are to be tested on how they would deal with crises at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Home Office will run at least 10 exercises in the run-up to the 2012 games, testing preparedness at venues.

The exercises will test how well different agencies work together in a variety of emergency situations.

Eleven police forces and the military are involved in the security effort, which has a budget of up to £600m.

The exercises are being prepared as the final phase of the security plan for the games and will examine not just how organisations work with each other but how they are able to communicate with the public.

Olympic security chiefs have already carried out a series of tests with specialists looking at the experience of other Olympic cities, including Beijing and Vancouver.

A wide range of scenarios are expected to be covered, including terror threats.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I want to reassure everyone that with a year to go we will leave nothing to chance in our plans to deliver a games that London, the UK and the whole world will enjoy.”

The Home Office has been working on the security plans for the games ever since the government made a series of commitments to the International Olympic Committee on how they would manage events.

Officials say that although the police forces involved all have experience of dealing with major public events, the Olympics is expected to create unprecedented challenges.

The digital radio system used by the police in London has had its capacity increased because up to 10,000 officers will be policing events at peak times.

The Metropolitan Police has also established the National Olympic Co-ordination Centre, based at Scotland Yard.

During the games, it will be staffed by senior figures from each emergency service or agency involved in the security operation, communicating with similarly-organised teams in the different games’ locations.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Bombardier cuts 1,400 Derby jobs

Bombardier sign at factoryBombardier is the UK’s last train-making factory
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Train-maker Bombardier, which recently missed out on the £1.4bn Thameslink contract, is expected to announce job losses on Tuesday.

Last month, the Derby firm lost out to Siemens, which was named preferred bidder to build 1,200 carriages for the route between Bedford and Brighton.

Unions described the news as a “hammer blow” for British manufacturing.

Bombardier, which employs 3,000 people in the city, subsequently announced a full review of its UK operations.

Securing the Thameslink contract was regarded as crucial for Derby’s Litchurch Lane plant – the UK’s last rolling stock manufacturer – as most of its current orders will soon be completed.

Speaking on Friday, the leader of Derby City Council, Philip Hickson, said he expected the “full scale of the disaster” to be revealed this week.

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said the Siemens-led venture represented the best value for money for taxpayers.

But shadow business secretary John Denham and shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to review the decision.

After losing out on the contract, Bombardier said it was working with unions and would keep employees informed, while the union Unite has pledged to put pressure on the firm and the government to keep the factory open.

Mark Young, co-ordinating officer of Unite, said: “The country that invented the railways is at risk of losing its ability to manufacture trains unless the government urgently rethinks its decision to award preferred bidder status to Siemens instead of Bombardier.

“The government can reverse this decision and get UK train manufacturing back on track.

“It is simply unsustainable for the government to claim to support UK manufacturing with one hand and then with the other hand take decisions which potentially wipe out an entire manufacturing sector.”

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Milly hacking claims ‘dreadful’

Milly DowlerSchoolgirl Milly Dowler went missing nine years ago

Police are to meet News of the World executives to discuss allegations that a private investigator working for the paper hacked into the mobile phone of murdered girl Milly Dowler.

Labour has demanded a full inquiry into claims Glenn Mulcaire hacked into her voicemail while she was missing.

The Guardian has claimed he intercepted messages left by relatives and said the NoW deleted some.

NoW parent firm News International said the development was of “great concern”.

A lawyer for the Dowler family, Mark Lewis, said the alleged hacking dated from 2002 when the NoW was under the editorship of Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade) – now News International’s chief executive.

In a statement, he said: “Sally and Bob Dowler have been through so much grief and trauma without further distressing revelations to them regarding the loss of their daughter.

“It is distress heaped upon tragedy to learn the News of the World have no humanity at such a terrible time.

“The fact that they were prepared to act in such a heinous way that could have jeopardised the police investigation and gave them false hope is despicable.”

Mark Lewis

Solicitor for the Dowlers, Mark Lewis: “It is distress heaped upon tragedy”

He also said the Dowlers had been told their own phones were targeted.

The Guardian claims that after Milly’s voicemail facility became full, the NoW deleted messages it had already listened to.

It quotes one source as saying that this gave false hope to friends and family, who mistakenly believed that Milly herself had cleared her message inbox and that therefore she was still alive.

By that time, she had been murdered by a nightclub doorman, Levi Bellfield, who was convicted of the killing last month.

The Guardian also alleges that the NoW employed another private investigator, Steve Whittamore, to illegally obtain ex-directory numbers for families called Dowler living in Walton-on-Thames, where Milly and her family lived.


This is a watershed in a phone hacking scandal which has hitherto focused largely on the plight of celebrities whose phones were hacked. They’re entitled to privacy as much as anyone, but there’s been a limit to the public’s sympathy.

Not so with Milly Dowler, the 13-year-old victim of a hideous crime; the messages said to have been hacked were the frantic enquiries of family and friends desperate to know of her whereabouts. It will turn most people’s stomachs.

It’s more trouble for News International, long criticised for allegedly failing to come clean about the extent of the phone hacking by its journalists. Andy Coulson resigned twice because of it; first as NoW editor, then as Downing Street’s director of communications.

Rebekah Brooks was editor of the NoW at the time of the Milly Dowler abduction. She’s long denied knowledge of phone hacking. Today she’s chief executive of News International. But for how much longer?

A News International spokesman said it had been co-operating fully with the police inquiry into hacking since News International’s “voluntary disclosure in January restarted the investigation into illegal voicemail interception”.

He said: “This particular case is clearly a development of great concern and we will be conducting our own inquiries as a result.

“We will obviously co-operate fully with any police request on this should we be asked.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband described the alleged hacking as a “cruel and immoral act” and said the police inquiry had to “get to the bottom of who was responsible for this and who was complicit in it”.

The claims about Milly Dowler are significant in the overall phone hacking inquiry, which has until now focussed largely on the intrusion into the private lives of celebrities.

Nick Davies, the special correspondent from the Guardian who wrote the story, told the BBC: “The editor of the News of the World at the time that this particular episode took place was Rebekah Brooks, who is now Rupert Murdoch’s chief executive in the UK.

“This is one of the very few episodes that happened when she was editing the paper, and she’s clearly going to have to answer some questions about what she knew about what was going on.”

The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson said the allegations had “changed the character, if not the nature, of the hacking saga” and “moved many in Westminster who previously regarded the story as a question of interest only to those excited by media ethics or the privacy of celebrities”.

In January, the High Court will hear claims from five test cases involving public figures who say their phones were hacked into.

They are former footballer Paul Gascoigne, actor Jude Law, sports agent Sky Andrew, interior designer Kelly Hoppen and MP Chris Bryant.

The cases arise out of the disclosure of information by the Metropolitan Police relating to material forfeited by Mulcaire.

He and former NoW royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed in 2007 over tapping the phones of members of the royal household.

Five alleged victims have reached out-of-court settlements with the newspaper, including celebrity publicist Max Clifford, who received a reported £1m.

Five journalists have been arrested over the allegations.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Fire warning over fridge freezers

Fire at flat in Lupin PointLast week’s fire was in a tower block

Up to 500,000 fridge freezers could be posing serious fire risks in homes and businesses across the country, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned.

The LFB said a fire in London last week, which was originally thought to have been caused by a lightning strike, was caused by a Beko appliance.

Beko has been alerted to the problem which the LFB says has caused 20 fires and one death in London since 2008.

The company said it was contacting customers to fix the problem for free.

Over the last three years the LFB’s investigation team has been working to establish a link between a faulty defroster timer switch on the appliances and a number of house fires.

Fridge freezers affectedFire chiefs are urging people to check if they own particular models manufactured between January 2000 and October 2006. A full list can be found hereAnyone with concerns should contact Beko by calling their free phone number on 0800 009 4837 or visiting www.beko.co.uk

The problem occurs when water gets into the defrost timer switch, which can lead to an electrical malfunction resulting in plastic components and other highly flammable insulation inside the appliance catching on fire.

The brigade formally alerted Beko to the problem in June 2010 and the manufacturer has been trying to locate the products so that the fault can be corrected.

Last Tuesday, a fire broke out at a 21-storey tower block in Bermondsey, south-east London.

Initially, it was blamed on a lightning strike but investigators later said it had started due to the faulty appliance.

Steve Turek, assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, said: “Any fire can be lethal but the LFB is particularly concerned about this because fires involving any sort of fridge freezer develop rapidly and produce an enormous amount of toxic smoke.

“Having established this link, we have worked closely with Beko to ensure the public is kept safe.

“However, the brigade urges everyone who has a Beko fridge freezer to check it is not one of those highlighted by the company as potentially faulty.”

A Beko spokesman said: “We have contacted all retailers who sold these products to seek their help in identifying affected customers from their sales records.

“This has allowed us to mail these customers to make them aware of the issue and to urge them to contact our freephone number to arrange the modification.

“As a result of this ongoing activity we have mailed over 100,000 owners and have successfully located and modified 11,000 units.”

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Wife killer Webster to learn fate

Claire Morris and Malcolm WebsterA jury ruled Claire Morris was murdered by Malcolm Webster

A man who murdered his first wife and tried to kill his second, both for life assurance money, is set to learn his fate.

Former nurse Malcolm Webster, 52, was earlier found guilty of murdering Claire Morris in an Aberdeenshire crash in 1994.

Webster, from Surrey, had also denied attempting to kill Felicity Drumm in New Zealand in 1999.

He is set to be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Webster was found guilty in May after Scotland’s longest-lasting single accused criminal trial, which began on 1 February at the High Court in Glasgow.

The jury, of nine women and six men, took less than four hours to find Webster guilty of all the charges, as part of frauds to obtain hundreds of thousands of pounds in life assurance.

The fatal crash in 1994, in which Ms Morris died, was originally treated as a tragic accident.

Webster said he had swerved to avoid a motorcyclist.

However, the crash was later reinvestigated, after concerns were raised in the wake of the second crash, in Auckland.

New tests showed Ms Morris had traces of drugs in her system.

Webster, of Guildford, was also found guilty of intending to bigamously marry Simone Banarjee, from Oban, Argyll, to gain access to her estate.

He pretended to have leukaemia, and during the deception he shaved his head and eyebrows.

Ms Morris’s family have described Webster as a “monster”.

Meanwhile, police are also investigating concerns over the deaths of three children at a hospital in Abu Dhabi where Webster worked in the 1980s.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Missing UK soldier is found dead

British troops in AfghanistanThe MoD launched an extensive operation to find the soldier

A British soldier who went missing in Afghanistan has been found dead, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The soldier, from the Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was found with bullet wounds by a patrol.

An “extensive search” had been launched after he left the base in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan alone in the early hours of Monday morning.

The soldier’s next of kin have been informed of his death.

Taskforce spokesman, Lieut Col Tim Purbrick, said: “He had suffered gunshot wounds. His exact cause of death is still to be established and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance and death are currently under investigation.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, in Kabul, said a local Taliban fighter told the BBC that insurgents had captured a foreign soldier in the Babaji area and, after a firefight, the soldier was killed.

But our correspondent said the Taliban often made exaggerated claims for propaganda reasons.

The international mission in Afghanistan, Isaf, denied that any gun battle took place.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who is visiting Afghanistan, said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of the soldier.

His schedule had to be revised as the helicopters which were due to take him on a tour were being used to search for the soldier.

The number of British military deaths in operations in Afghanistan since 2001 now stands at 375.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.