Posts by Benjamin Higgs

Editor in the St Ambrose Barlow BBC School Report.

Attacks in Westminister – What went on and why?

 

attacks-in-westminster

Attacks in Westminster – What went on and why?

On Wednesday the 22nd March a terrorist attack took place where a man named Khalid Masood killed four people in a mere 82 seconds. The police said the attack began at 14:40:08 when the hire car Khalid Masood rented mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge, weaving along the footpath and road for 30 seconds until he crashed into the perimeter fence of the Palace of Westminster, he then left the car at 14:40:51 and 39 seconds later was shot by a police firearms officer, who was part of the close protection team of the defense secretary, Sir Michael Fallon. Police are trying to establish whether he had been inspired  by terrorist propaganda or if others encouraged, supported or directed him.

After crashing his hired Hyundai SUV into the railings in front of Parliament Yard, he burst through the gate to the Palace of Westminster with two large knives where he stabbed an unarmed police officer named PC Keith Palmer who was just 48 years old. He later died from his injuries.

The consequences of the attack are five deaths (including Khalid Masood himself) and fifty people were injured. Also, 15 people are still being treated in hospital.

Three members of the public died following the car rampage on Westminster Bridge. They were: mother-of-two Aysha Frade from London; US tourist Kurt Cochran from Utah and Leslie Rhodes, 75, from Streatham, South London.

PC Palmer and Khalid Masood also died despite attempts by paramedics to save them both.

Before the attack he had a string of criminal convictions including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences, but he had not been convicted of any terrorism offences.

Masood’s first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife. He was investigated by MI5 some years ago over concerns of violent extremism but was no longer deemed to be a threat.

Police have seized 2,700 items in searches about the attack, including “massive amounts of computer data.” Approximately 3,500 witnesses – including 1,000 from Westminster Bridge and 2,500 from with the Parliamentary estate, have contacted police about the attack and their view on it.

By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for General News section

Are your eggs really free range?

image

Where have my free range eggs gone?

Recently eggs have been losing their free range status due to a virus which means that they have to be kept indoors. The virus is called H5N8 and it has killed nine swans already.

Abbotsbury Swannery which is in Dorset has seen 80 birds die in winter 2016, compared to a normal 30 to 40 birds that die normally.

Nine birds have been tested positive for the H5N8 strain of bird flu. Official figures show this is the highest number of wild birds tested positive for avian influenza in the UK.

Why could they lose their free range status?

Birds that are not in a Higher Risk Area can be allowed outdoors into fenced areas provided the areas meet certain conditions.

If they are in a Higher Risk Area then keepers must either keep their birds housed, in permanent or temporary sheds; or allow birds outdoors but only into a fenced run which is fully covered by netting.

Most egg producers in England can now let birds outside if they observe follow disease prevention measures. All eggs from birds that remain housed, from both inside and outside higher risk areas, are no longer considered to be free range and can’t be labelled as free range.

In addition to being found in poultry, the same strain of the virus has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales.

Here is a short video by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs explaining all you need to know about the bird flu:

How many cases have they been of the virus H5N8?

The H5N8 strain of the disease has been confirmed at a farm in Northumberland, a poultry farm in Suffolk, in three linked premises on a commercial game farm in Lancashire, in three separate poultry farms in Lincolnshire, and in backyard flocks in North Yorkshire and Carmarthenshire.

What is the risk of the disease?

Public Health England advises “the risk to public health is very low and the Food Standards Agency has said there is no food safety risk for UK consumers.”

By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for General News section

Why are my trains being delayed?

Trains – Why are they being delayed?

Northern, Southern rail and Merseyside rail staff have gone on strike because certain rail companies are considering only having the driver as the staff on the train to save costs. However, this would mean that at least one person per train would lose their job and it would mean the driver, as well as driving the train, would have to do the conductor’s job. The rail employees are going on strike for 24 hours in a row over keeping guards on trains 100 managers were drafted to do conductor duties to allow some trains to run.

Transport bosses have appealed for people to work from home in order to minimise delays. It is said that 60% of Northern rail services will be cancelled as guards and drivers walk out for 24 hours over keeping guards on trains. The strike is happening between 12:01 am and 11:59pm on Monday 20th of March.

Arriva North West showed they wanted to help with the traffic when they tweeted:

“Northern Rail train tickets will be valid on Arriva buses in the North West to help passengers during RMT industrial action.” – 13th March

Andy Heath of Merseyrail said “It is unfortunate that many drivers took the decision not to work today.”

While Southern rail said it aimed to run most of its 2,200 trains, more than half of Arrivals services were cancelled because of the strike.

The RMT strike on southern is the 30th since a row over if a conductor is needed almost a year ago. Unions have argued that the changes mean conductor’s will be sacked but rail operators have vowed that this is not the case.

Northern rail said it plans to run 980 services during the strike (which is about 40% of Northern rail services normal timetable.)

We asked the public about their opinions on the rail strike and this is what we got:

“I understand why the railway workers went on strike and I agree with them.”

“If they went on strike again for similar reasons I would go with them as I agree with them.”

“Everyone has their right times to go on strike and this is not one of them this strike is very inconvenient for the public and any train users.”

The train strikes, although seen as an inconvenience by some people, are mainly respected and appreciated.

By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for General News section


Article 50 – What is it and why is it significant?

what-is-article50.jpg

When will Theresa May trigger Brexit?

Article 50 is the article that will mean the UK leaves the EU. It is a one page agreement for all EU member states.

Over the next couple of years, Theresa May and the government will negotiate with several world leaders about Britain and it’s exit with the European Union (Brexit). They will have to come up with many trade agreements and new laws that will be put in place instead of our current EU laws. EU law makes up 13% of our current laws and plays a part in 62%. The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in April 2018 which could change the way we travel, work and trade.

Here is an explanation of the article that decides the requirement to leave the EU.

The first point in the article expresses that any member state of the European Union which decides to withdraw does so with it’s own constitutional requirements and that secondly any members state that wishes to leave shall notify the European Council of its intention.

Thirdly, the treaty will cease to apply to the state in question 2 years after the notification to leave the European Union is sent.

Finally, a majority vote must be defined in accordance with the Article 238 which states “The qualified majority shall be defined as at least 72% of the members of the Council, representing Member States comprising at least 65% of the population of the Union.”

Once Article 50 is put in place it can not be stopped, extended unless by unanimous consent and any deal must be decided by a majority vote. The UK will not take part in any internal EU discussions in the period after the article has been invoked.

The Conservative party predicts this article will be triggered by Theresa May before the end of March 2017.

Here we have an interview with a few members from the general public about what they think about Brexit and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

by Ben and Jack – Correspodents for the General News section