No one in Britain much under the age of 40 can recall a time when bus services were owned by the state and run as a public service with little reference to profitability. Presumably, unless he was even more precocious than we thought, even Ed Miliband can have but a dim recollection of such a world. In any case, Mr Miliband’s plan to break up the bus cartel run by the likes of Stagecoach and First Group is not driven by nostalgia for the good old days so much as a simple appeal to voters’ prejudices, which are firmly hostile to privatised utilities.Read More
Lawyers representing the Comoros on Thursday asked International Criminal Court judges to order its chief prosecutor to reconsider her decision not to probe Israel's deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. The Comoros, which has referred the case to the ICC, "asks the Chamber to request the Prosecutor to reconsider her decision not to open an investigation," its lawyers said in papers filed before the Hague-based court. Ten Turkish activists died after Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on the six-ship flotilla seeking to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010.
Heavy snowfall forced two British airports to temporarily suspend flights and shut down roads, train lines, and schools on Thursday. East Midlands Airport and Manchester Airport, Britain's third busiest, both shut down for several hours to clear snow from their runways. "Following the poor weather experienced this morning, flights have now resumed but are subject to delays," a Manchester Airport spokesman said. Mobile phone operator EE said there was a loss of coverage in zones affected, and trains between Manchester and Yorkshire were cancelled as the wintry blast hit the north west of England.
British author Salman Rushdie's first novel in seven years will be released in September, his publishers said Thursday. The title, "Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights", is a reference to the collection of folk tales known as the Arabian Nights. It "blends history, mythology and a timeless love story to bring alive a world that has been plunged into an age of unreason," publishers Jonathan Cape said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring an end to "mindless austerity," President Barack Obama called for a surge in government spending Thursday, and asked Congress to throw out the sweeping spending cuts both parties agreed to four years ago when deficits were spiraling out of control.
The US military will no longer divulge facts and figures about its costly effort to assist Afghan security forces, declaring the information top secret, officials said Thursday. The move marks an about-face for the Pentagon, which for the past six years has reported a range of data about the $65 billion program to build up the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). "The decision leaves SIGAR unable to publicly report on most of the $65 billion US-taxpayer-funded efforts to build, train, equip and sustain the ANSF," Sopko's office said in its latest report. The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, defended the move, saying the information -- which includes an assessment of the combat readiness of Afghan units -- could prove helpful to Taliban insurgents and needed to be kept secret.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice on his door and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won't get them vaccinated.