The Alternative UK News

Restoration work begins on the Mackintosh building

Leading conservation architect Julian Harrap told the event, hosted by GSA at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, that the art school would be “under international scrutiny” after news of the fire in May raised the global profile of the building. The Grade A listed building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh lost about 10 per cent of its structure in the blaze on 23 May, and 30 per cent of its contents including Mackintosh’s library.

Sections of the roof are lifted into place on the top of the Mackintosh Building.

Sections of the roof are lifted into place on the top of the Mackintosh Building.

Mr Harrap said: “The building was well known before, but the fire has raised its profile still further. Glasgow School of Art is now under international scrutiny; everybody but everybody is going to be looking, talking, asking about the restoration. The school has a major responsibility. If they don’t grasp the complexity of this, they risk ending up with an ephemeral, disappointing recreation. Unless they rise to the challenge, they could undermine the fantastic reputation they have.”

Mr Harrap, an award-winning conservation architect who has worked on buildings such as the Royal Academy in London and the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin, added: “I don’t think GSA has yet grasped the impact of the restored library on the tourist industry which feeds off Mackintosh. The library has become known through this disaster and has become a site of tourist pilgrimage. Plans for the reconstruction need to balance the demands of visitors with the needs of the working art school community.”

The symposium, ‘Building On – Mackintosh’, held on Saturday as part of the ‘Scotland +’ Venice contribution to the Biennale, attracted interest from around the world. It is the precursor to a larger symposium to be held in Glasgow in March.

GSA has invited initial expressions of interest in leading the restoration from architect teams around the world to be submitted by 10 November. A £20 million fundraising campaign is under way, with actors Brad Pitt and Peter Capaldi as trustees. It is hoped that the building could be in use by students within three years, although work on the library could take longer.

GSA director Professor Tom Inns said: “We are opening things up at this stage and wanted to approach an international audience. It has been a very, very useful event. It has made me aware of how many people in Scotland and around the world are interested in what’s happening.”

David Mullane, a former director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, said a replica of the library could be “an embarrassment” and suggested it should be replaced by a modern purpose-built study space.

Mr Harrap, however, said it could be done, adding: “You can’t recreate the library as it was in 1909 but it’s possible to create something that is underpinned by a philosophy and the appropriate craftsmanship.”

Dr Kate Davidson, honorary professor of clinical psychology at the University of Glasgow, warned that the art school needs to take time to go through a grieving process before making important decisions.

She said: “I still detect a state of grief and shock. People need to take time and space to grieve.”

Source: The Scotsman


Prime Minister Cameron hails £9 million funding for Dagenham Ford plant

David Cameron visited the famous Dagenham Ford motor plant to announce a £9million funding grant for work on a new diesel engine.

The Prime Minister was joined by business secretary Vince Cable, and was shown around the historic plant, which will receive £8.9million from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

(From left) Prime Minister David Cameron, president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa, Stephen Odell, business secretary Vince Cable and chairman and managing director of Ford Britain, Mark Overden

(From left) Prime Minister David Cameron, president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa, Stephen Odell, business secretary Vince Cable and chairman and managing director of Ford Britain, Mark Overden

The money will add to an extra £190million invested by Ford into the Dagenham plant for production of its 2.0 litre diesel engine for cars and commercial vehicles.

This money will fund phase two of Ford’s investment in the project, following an initial £287million for phase one, and will provide 318 new jobs from 2017.

Mr Cameron said: “I welcome Ford’s commitment to Dagenham and the UK, which is a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to back business, create more jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain.”

He said the funding would “create more jobs that mean financial security and economic peace of mind for more hardworking families”.

Mr Cable added: “From pencil line to production line, these engines will be fully designed and built in the UK, securing the future of the plant at Dagenham and creating over 300 jobs.”

While at the plant the ministers met with plant manager Martin Everitt and Ford Britain chairman and managing director Mark Ovenden.

Mr Everitt said: “It’s great to welcome the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State to see our work and understand the strategic importance of this place.”


Source: Barking and Dagenham Post



Double yellow lines in lay-by! Is this a first for Wales?

The lay-by in Cwmffrwd with double yellow lines

The lay-by in Cwmffrwd with double yellow lines

One said: “I spoke to one of the workmen and he said he had never put double yellow lines in a lay-by before. Is this the only one in Wales? I was told they will come into force from November 1. I just don’t understand it. It’s a big lay-by. It’s pathetic.”

Carmarthenshire’s executive board member for transport services Colin Evans said: “The double yellow lines have been laid following request from the community council as a result of persistent obstruction and blocking of driveways. The order was subject to consultation and no objections were received.”

Source: South Wales Evening Post



Graham to captain England

James Graham will lead England in the first match of the Four Nations Series against Samoa in Brisbane on Saturday.

 James Graham  Canterbury Bulldogs star skippers England

James Graham Canterbury Bulldogs star skippers England Newly-appointed captain Sean O’Loughlin has been ruled out through injury.

O’Loughlin, who was appointed as the successor to Kevin Sinfield, has failed to recover from a quad muscle injury sustained during Wigan’s Super League Grand Final defeat to St Helens 10 days ago.

England say the loose forward is making good progress in his recovery and should be able to play in England’s second match against Australia in Melbourne on November 2.

Graham, the former St Helens forward who has spent the last three seasons in the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs, will step into the role of captaincy, as he did during England’s 2010 Four Nations campaign in the southern hemisphere, when he replaced the injured Adrian Morley.

“It is a shame that Sean misses the match with a problem with his quad,” said England coach Steve McNamara. “The Samoa match has come too soon but we remain confident he’ll be ready for Australia the week after. James Graham will take over the captaincy for this game. He is a great leader and we saw that with the Bulldogs this season in the NRL where he single-handedly led them to a Grand Final. He leads by example and gives 100 per cent effort in everything he does. He inspires everyone around him to follow his lead.”

McNamara has named four debutants in his 17-man squad – Wigan scrum-half Matty Smith and Hull KR hooker Josh Hodgson in the starting line-up and Joe Westerman (Hull) and Daryl Clark (Castleford) on the bench.

“They are ready,” McNamara said. “They’ve been in our system for a long time. All four have been in great form during the Super League season. There is a slight evolution to the squad this year with some new faces on show. The debutants are exciting and they can prove themselves on the international stage.”

Team: S Tomkins (New Zealand Warriors); J Charnley (Wigan), K Watkins (Leeds), M Shenton (Castleford), R Hall (Leeds);  G Widdop (St George Illawarra), M Smith (Wigan); G Burgess (South Sydney), J Hodgson (Hull KR), J Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs, capt), L Farrell (Wigan), J Tomkins (Wigan), J Westerman (Hull).

Replacements: D Clark (Castleford), B Ferres (Huddersfield), T Burgess (South Sydney), C Hill (Warrington).

Source: The Sporting Life



Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Andy Murray wants his mum Judy to ‘up her game’

Judy Murray

Judy Murray

The British number one keeps telling his mother to improve because he wants her to stay in the competition long enough for him to see her in person.

When it comes to finding the hunger and determination to improve her Strictly Come Dancing performance, Judy Murray has probably the best teacher for the job: her son Andy.

Radio Times’s Strictly columnist reveals in this week’s magazine that her champion sportsman son has told her to “raise her game” so she stays in the competition – and he can eventually see her dance in person.

The 55-year-old says: “Andy and Jamie watch my performance every week from afar and they reckon I’m getting better. Their opinion means more to me than Bruno’s and Craig’s. I would love Andy and Jamie to come to see me dance, but that isn’t going to be possible for another couple of weeks. Andy keeps telling me to ‘up my game’ so that he can come to the studio. Now there’s an incentive! That really would be payback.”

As Judy says, Andy has a very busy two weeks on court coming up as he battles to win qualification for the ATP World Tour Finals with tournaments in Valencia and Paris.

But despite notching up her best score so far in the competition at the weekend – a 22 for her tango with professional partner Anton Du Beke – Judy probably still needs all the help she can get.

She got a roasting from the judges, including Craig Revel Horwood who said she looked like she’d been ‘lobotomised’ on Saturday. And she was only spared from the danger zone thanks to the viewer vote with Bargain Hunt’s Tim Wonnacott the third person to be eliminated after a dance off against former TOWIE star Mark Wright.

However, it sounds like the 2013 Wimbledon champion enjoys ribbing his mum’s dancing style. “Anton and I performed a tango last Saturday and he told me I had to be sexy and sensual and look at him as if I wanted to rip his kit off,” Judy reveals. “In his dreams. When Andy heard what dance we were doing he said I might have finally found a dance I’m good at because it involves stomping around and looking angry – cheers, kid!”


Star Wars Episode VII will finish filming in 3 weeks

 Producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed that the film will have wrapped “within three weeks” so that Star Wars Episode VII will be all tied up earlier than you might have thought with the much-anticipated upcoming film in the Star Wars franchise, directed by JJ Abrams, will wrap filming in three weeks.

Srar Wars

Producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed the news at the launch of special effects company Industrial Light and Magic in London, saying it was “quite remarkable standing here within three weeks of finished filming on Star Wars Episode VII.”

“This studio continues a long tradition of Stars Wars films being made in London, it goes back to 1976. I think Stars Wars aspires to technical excellence and that’s what brings ILM to London today as this explosion of creativity inside the UK has been quite remarkable,” she also said, reports The Guardian.

Star Wars Episode VII will welcome back returning stars from the original trilogy including Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew. They will be joined by new additions Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Daisy Ridley, Max von Sydow and John Boyega.

Star Wars Episode VII will be in cinemas 18th December 2015

Source: Star Wars

Hundreds of pets are being ‘dumped like rubbish’ in Wales, says the RSPCA

The charity has been called out to deal with 2,427 reports of abandoned animals so far this year with hundreds of animals in Wales being abandoned and dumped “like rubbish”, in what the RSPCA describes as an “alarming increase”.

These kittens were found dumped in a suitcase on a footpath in Grangetown, Cardiff, in August

These kittens were found dumped in a suitcase on a footpath in Grangetown, Cardiff, in August

The charity has been called out to deal with 2,427 reports of abandoned animals from January 1 to September 30.

Out of these reports 615 animals had to be removed by the RSPCA while across England and Wales there were 29,770 reports of abandoned animals so far this year – an increase of 33% since 2009.

In one incident, the bodies of the puppies were found at Lloc in Flintshire. It was believed the three-week-old white and black Staffie cross pups died after being dumped in a box on an embankment near the McDonalds restaurant on St Asaph Road.

“The shocking fact is that even in a nation of animal lovers, there are thousands of people out there who don’t care about their pets at all. In fact, some literally treat them like rubbish,” said RSPCA’s Superintendent in Wales, Martyn Hubbard. “Even worse, holidays like Christmas can lead to an increase in abandonments as some people choose to get rid of their pets rather than pay for them to be looked after while they are on holiday. In other cases, money may be spent on holidays and Christmas presents rather than seeking vet attention for ill or newborn animals, so they are dumped. It’s bad enough when we find a box of kittens wrapped in blankets on our doorstep with a note, but now people are deliberately dumping their animals in out of the way places – like bins, skips or on waste ground – and leaving them to die.”

Source: Western Mail


Anti-IS protest stops traffic

Sunday afternoon traffic was briefly halted on the westbound carriageway of the Second Severn Crossing, as protesters staged a demonstration against the militant Islamic State organisation, IS.

Eyewitnesses reported that the group of Kurdish protesters arrived at the tollbooths in a cavalcade of cars – many of which carried banners with anti-IS slogans – which then attracted a large police presence. It was reported that the majority of the protesters were Turkish and Iraqi.

In a statement, Inspector Mikah Hassell of Gwent Police said: “At around 4.20pm on Sunday afternoon, approximately ten vehicles initially stopped for about 15 minutes on the westbound carriageway of the Second Severn Crossing. Our officers engaged with them to find out their plans and agreed a safe place for their protest to minimise disruption to motorists. They moved to an agreed area to the side of the tollbooths to continue their protests, and they had dispersed by 5.45pm. It is important that, in our planning, we balance the rights of protesters with those affected, in this case motorists, all the while ensuring that everybody is kept safe – which is our priority. I would like to thank the public for their understanding and patience.”

Traffic Wales reported that there were severe delays for drivers between junction 22, for Avonmouth, and junction 23 for Chepstow. Police liaised with the owners and staff of the bridge, to ensure that the tollbooths were kept open to facilitate traffic-flow.

Photographs posted on social media websites showed the protester’s cars stationary on the carriageway, while the occupants waved placards and banners.
In statements to the media, the organisers said that they were trying to raise awareness of the plight of the Kurdish people in Syria, and the tyranny of the IS organisation.

Source: The Review

Armed police called to passenger revolt at Heathrow as plane is delayed for ten hours

Armed police surrounded a group of angry passengers at Heathrow Airport after they staged a revolt after a flight to New York was delayed by ten hours.

Hundreds of passengers were furious when a mechanical fault on a British Airways plane left them stuck at a boarding gate in Terminal 5.

When the atmosphere intensified, staff called police and up to ten officers brandishing guns ran in to settle the situation.

Passenger Brenda Baxter, 59, from Nottingham who was travelling to New York with her 26-year-old daughter, told the Mirror: “It was very scary. My first thought was that there had been a terrorist attack. It was awful. There was a big crowd up by the desk and people were getting really irate. The next thing, about ten armed police turned up. Six of them took up positions behind the desk and others stood amongst the seated passengers. It was very intimidating.”

Armed Police at Heathrow [file photo]

Armed Police at Heathrow [file photo]

The passengers had been sitting on the plane for three hours before being disembarked as it was taken out of service.

“It was awful. We were told there was a fault with the hydraulics and they switched off the air conditioning,” said Mrs Baxter, an art festival organiser. “Parents were stripping off little kids because it was so hot. A guy next to us was in a bad way. They were using face wipes to cool him down. It was only after two hours that they gave us refreshments, water and orange juice.”

Having disembarked, passengers were given food vouchers and told to return to the terminal.

Hopes were momentarily lifted an hour later when an announcement informed that the plane was ready to board.

But further complications meant the plane was cancelled and passengers had to wait until 8pm before take-off.

“There was a big cheer when they said we would be boarding in five minutes. An hour later they said it was all off,” said Mrs Baxter. “It was awful. Children were in tears and there was a lot of argument going on.”

A Met Police spokesman said: “Officers were called at 3.30pm to reports of a disturbance in Terminal 5 at Gate 33. “There were no arrests and officers left the location at approximately 4.20pm. No offences were recorded.”

British Airways launched an investigation on Tuesday into the incident.

Source: The Mirror

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