Entries in Britain (68)


British Police Have New Leads in Case of Missing Girl

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Police in Great Britain said they have identified new leads in the case of Madeleine McCann, the British girl who went missing in Portugal six years ago at the age of three.

Several persons of interest, as well as "both investigative and forensic opportunities" in the case, have been identified by Scotland Yard, authorities said.

Metropolitan Police said they were working with Portuguese police to determine the next steps, even though the missing girl's case is closed in the country.

"Our investigative review is ongoing and we are encouraged by the progress we are making," Metropolitan Police said in a statement, according to the BBC. "We are reviewing a significant number of documents and continue to identify potential lines of inquiry."

McCann was 3 years old when she vanished on vacation with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann and twin siblings in the Algarve region of Portugal. The girl's parents say they found Madeleine missing after having left the children in the home unsupervised while having dinner less than 500 feet away.

The review into the McCann case was opened last year after Prime Minister David Cameron responded to a plea from the girl's parents.

Kate and Gerry McCann have maintained a website and a 24-hour tipline to keep their daughter's case in the public eye.

On May 3, 2013, six years after Madeleine went missing, Kate McCann posted on the "Find Madeleine" website that the family was there "for the long haul."

"We still worry about her, we miss her as much as we ever did," McCann wrote. "We remain as determined as ever to find her and to know what has happened."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Britain to Provide Armored Vehicles to Syrian Rebels

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- While stopping short of offering weapons, Britain has announced its intention to provide non-lethal support to the rebels battling government forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The millions of dollars' worth of support includes armored vehicles, body armor, search and rescue equipment, communications equipment and disease-prevention materials.

Foreign Secretary William Hague told Britain’s Parliament on Wednesday that the aid was a “necessary, proportionate and lawful" response to "extreme human suffering.”

Hague told Parliament the Syrian people were in “dire need” of help and the U.K. could not “look the other way” in the face of the escalating humanitarian crisis.

United Nations figures show two million people have been internally displaced, while another 400,000 have fled abroad since the start of this year.

Some members of Parliament expressed concern that Britain might be drifting towards military intervention in Syria.

Hague stated, “No Western government is advocating military intervention of Western nations into the conflict in Syria.  The discussion is entirely focused on the degree of assistance that can and should be delivered to the opposition.”

Still, he refused to rule out the possibility of military intervention in the future.

“In our view, if a political solution to the crisis in Syria is not found and the conflict continues, we and the rest of the E.U. will have to be ready to move further, and we should not rule out any option for saving lives,” Hague told Parliament.

The leader of the Free Syrian Army, Gen. Salim Idriss, who defected from forces loyal to Assad last year, told the BBC that opposition forces desperately needed weapons and ammunition.  He called on the European Union to lift its current arms embargo

The two-year-long conflict has claimed some 70,000 lives.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


British Company Recalls Frozen Meals over Horse Meat

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- After being shaken by headlines that some ground beef suppliers had been beefing up their products with horse meat and selling to supermarkets and chains like Burger King, U.K. consumers have a new reason to say neigh: an investigation uncovered a company's frozen lasagna recipe was made entirely of horse meat.

Sky News reports Findus is recalling its beef lasagna from store shelves after 11 of the 18 dishes it randomly tested contained anywhere from 60 to 100 percent of the meat.

The company is also trying to determine how much of the veterinary drug phenylbutazone was passed from horses to unwitting human diners. The drug is harmful to humans.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Britain One Step Closer to Allowing Same-Sex Marriage

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Britain's House of Commons voted in support of the Marriage Bill on Tuesday, which would enable same-sex couples to legally wed.

However, while it's endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron, the measure still has to pass another vote in that chamber and faces an uncertain future in the House of Lords.

Many within Cameron's own Conservative Party remain opposed to allowing gays and lesbians to get married.

Since 2001, 11 countries around the world have permitted same-sex marriage, while a handful of U.S. states have also sanctioned the unions.

Cameron believes the Marriage Bill will level the playing field for people of all lifestyles in Great Britain, adding that besides equality, "it's also about a stronger society."

The prime minister also wants to modernize the Conservative Party despite ongoing resistance to the legislation.

British public opinion polls show 55 percent of respondents support same-sex marriage.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Malala Yousufzai and Family to Remain in Britain

Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban in October for arguing that girls should receive an education, and her family will stay in the United Kingdom and will not return to Pakistan, according to a senior Pakistani official.
Ziauddin Yousufzai, her father, has accepted a diplomatic job as education attaché in Birmingham, England, where his daughter is being treated.
Malala recently underwent jaw treatment and will have cranium reconstruction surgery within the next few months, according to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Her recuperation will require extensive outpatient therapy, which could last anywhere from months to more than a year.
While she recovers, Ziauddin will work at the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham. His new job is at the senior level in the Pakistani foreign service, and includes a home and car -- paid for by the Pakistani government -- as well as a stipend.

The job is said to be set for three years, but that term can be extended.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Britain Pulling Large Number of Troops Out of Afghanistan Next Year

ISAF Photo by British Royal Army Sergeant James Elmer(LONDON) -- Britain plans to drawdown nearly half of its forces from Afghanistan next year ahead of the near-complete withdrawal of all U.S. and coalition troops by sometime in 2014.

With 9,000 forces currently deployed mostly in three provinces, Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to announce on Wednesday that he will order 4,000 soldiers back home in 2013 and may go beyond that if the situation on the ground warrants it.

Cameron came to his decision based on assessments from his top officers in Afghanistan's Helmand province and after conferring with his security team in London.

The British leader also informed President Obama about the plan to essentially halve the number of his forces in Afghanistan.  Obama still hasn't revealed what his drawdown plans are for 2013, with about 67,000 American boots still on the ground after more than 11 years of war.

It's also expected that other NATO members with soldiers in Afghanistan could follow Britain's lead and begin an accelerated withdrawal of their forces in the coming months.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has often spoken about having coalition troops leave his country sooner than later as his national army and police are poised to assume all security responsibilities despite some trepidation from the Pentagon that his optimism may be premature.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Search Is On in UK for Unclaimed $100M Lottery Ticket

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Several people in Britain are going through their drawers on Wednesday, looking for an unclaimed lottery ticket worth $100 million.

The drawing was in June but nobody in Stevenage, a small town north of London where the ticket was sold, has claimed it yet.  Lottery officials are using a town crier driving around in a Lamborghini to find the winner.

The deadline is Wednesday night, and if the winner doesn't appear, the jackpot will go to charity.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UK Suspending Aid to Rwanda Amid UN Concerns

Ingram Publishing(LONDON) -- Britain is blocking monetary aid to Rwanda after nearly 20 years as one of the African country's largest foreign donors.

The decision to withhold a $33.7 million aid package came after the United Nations raised concerns that the Rwandan government was providing support to a rebel movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda," said U.K. International Development Secretary Justine Greening, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Greening said the decision to stop the payment, due next month, was because Rwanda had breached partnership agreements conditional to the funds.

"The government has already set out its concerns over credible and compelling reports of Rwandan involvement with M23 in the Democratic Republic of Congo," Greening said, according to a Financial Times report. "This evidence constitutes a breach of the partnership prinicples set out in the memorandum of understanding and, as a result, I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda."

The Rwandan government maintains it is not involved with the M23 or any conflict in the Congo, and called the U.K.'s funding freeze "highly regrettable," the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the Journal's report, this is the second time in a year that the U.K. has suspended Rwandan aid amid the U.N. accusations.

The European Union continues to provide earmarked funds, but has no plans to send any new aid.  In July, the U.S. suspended $200,000 in military funding, a portion of a $160 million package promised for long-term development in Rwanda, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


British Family Lives in Cemetery in Converted Mortuary

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HAMPSHIRE, England) -- Would you go trick-or-treating in a cemetery for Halloween?

Well, Jayne Stead and Mike Blatchford admit that trick-or-treaters steer clear of the converted mortuary chapel in the center of a cemetery where they live with their three teenage children.

"Nobody has ventured down here for trick-or-treating," Stead, of Southampton, a town located in Hampshire in the south of England, said, according to the Daily Mail in Britain.

Unsuspecting visitors have been startled by the family's presence in the cemetery.

"You get people peering in to the windows of the chapel and when they see us watching television, they jump a million miles," Stead told the newspaper.

Stead and Blatchford bought the home -- a former mortuary and graveyard keeper's lodge that dates back to the 1800s -- six years ago because they fell in love with it.

Blatchford, a builder, modernized the interior, but photos of the exterior show the structure doesn't appear to have been changed much from when it was first built.

Despite its appearance -- the gray stone building faces several gravestones -- Stead said her family isn't spooked.

She added that their home has a "nice feeling," although she acknowledged that strange things have happened, the paper also reported.

"I've been sitting on my own in the living room and I've felt like there was someone standing behind me a few times," she said. "I've also found the dog barking at nothing in the corner of the room, but it's not scary."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Britain's Scotland Yard Headquarters to Be Sold? 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Things are getting so bad in cash-strapped Britain that the building housing Scotland Yard headquarters could be sold off.

London's Metropolitan police have been given the task of shedding some $800 million from the various departmental budgets over the next two-and-a-half years. A big part of that solution would be to sell-off Scotland Yard's headquarters and move to a nearby, smaller building.

Currently, there are around 700 premises in the form of police stations, gas stations and traffic garages in use by the force and it's estimated that roughly a third will have to be unloaded if that steep austerity goal is to be met.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio