Entries in United Kingdom (37)


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


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


The UK May Soon Recognize Syrian Rebel Group

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- So far, France is the only Western nation to formally recognize the Syrian opposition group, but the United Kingdom may soon join the French.

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague is scheduled to meet Friday with leaders of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

According to a BBC report, Hague wants to ask the leaders of the Syrian rebel umbrella group about “their way forward.”

The United States and the U.K. have both expressed support for the umbrella group, but have stopped short of recognizing it as a government in exile.  Hague has stated the rebels need “to win over the middle ground of opinion in Syria to work effectively together, to be inclusive, to respect human rights, to have a clear plan for political transition in Syria.”

British officials are also discussing the possible lifting of the European Union embargo that prevents the shipment of arms to the rebels fighting in Syria.  The French government has already called on its fellow EU members to ease the arms embargo on Syria in order to enable “defensive arms” to reach those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

An estimated 35,000 people have died since the uprising began 20 months ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pakistani Girl Nearly Killed by Taliban 'Stable' After First Night in UK

Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- The 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was targeted and nearly killed by the Taliban for supporting education for girls has made some progress after her first night in a British hospital.

Malala Yousufzai was transported in an air ambulance donated by the United Arab Emirates to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, on Monday.

In a statement Tuesday, the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said, "Malala spent a comfortable night in the Queen Elizabeth hospital and her condition this morning is described as ‘stable.’"

Yousufzai was shot in the head and neck last Tuesday while on her way home from school in Mingora, triggering an unprecedented wave of condemnation of the Taliban.  The assailant reportedly approached her school bus and asked those on board to identify the young girl.  He then shot her and two classmates before fleeing.

Since the shooting, the young girl has been kept under medical sedation and required a ventilator to breathe.  Doctors reportedly removed her briefly from the ventilator late Sunday night, after the girl showed a positive response to treatment.  Sometime afterwards, her medical team made the decision to fly her abroad.

Yousufzai's medical expenses are being handled by the Pakistani government.  A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital said on Monday there's a chance for her to make a good recovery.

She will have to undergo MRIs, CT scans and other procedures necessary before doctors can begin to try to reconstruct her skull.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, the hospital announced that there was "more than one" security incident there overnight involving people asking to see Yousufzai, claiming to be her family members.

Birmingham Police later issued a statement saying two well-wishers "were stopped in a public area of the hospital and questioned by police" before being turned away.  

"No arrests were made and at no point was there any threat to Malala," police said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Possible Royal Remains Discovered in England -- The search for the body of England’s King Richard III may finally be over. A team of archaeologists from the University of Leicester has announced that they have exhumed a set of remains that are believed to have belonged to the late English King.

“This is an historic and perhaps defining moment in the story of Leicester,” Richard Buckley, the University of Leicester archeologist who led the team said in a statement. “From the outset, the search for Richard III was a thrilling prospect but it has involved many hours of dedicated research by our team that has led to the astonishing finds we have disclosed today.”

Although the bones have not definitively been confirmed to be those of Richard III, there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence linking them to the King, who was immortalized in the Shakespearean tragedy that bears his name.

The team has not yet officially confirmed the remains to be those of Richard III.

King Richard III, who ruled England from 1483 to 1485, was the last King of the House of the York and the Plantagenet Dynasty. His death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, viewed by many historians as the end of the Middle Ages in England, marked the beginning of Tudor rule in England.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Prince William and Kate Middleton Set to Embark on Asia Tour

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Kate Middleton and Prince William are preparing to take their glamour and goodwill from England to the Far East in a nine-day trip that will mark a series of firsts for the young couple.

After enjoying a mini four-day vacation together at a secluded chateau in the south of France, William and Kate are now on their way to Singapore for a continuation of the Diamond Jubilee World Tour celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year of reign.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 30, will travel to four countries in just nine days, traveling from Singapore to Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and, finally, Tuvalu.

Crowds are expected to match the thousands that lined the streets for a glimpse of the couple in their first official overseas tour last June and July in North America.

One of the first stops for the couple, who celebrated their one-year anniversary in April, will be an orchid-naming ceremony at the Singapore Botanic Gardens where each will have an orchid named in their honor. They’ll also be able to view an orchid named after William’s late mother, Princess Diana, shortly before her death in 1997 and before she had a chance to view the flower herself.

On Thursday Kate will make her first official overseas speech when she addresses staff and patients at the Hospis Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

Much of the couple’s wide-ranging itinerary was said to have been personally selected by William’s grandmother, the queen. That itinerary will include William and Kate visiting a rainforest, embarking on a war canoe journey, visiting a local school and university and attending a youth conference, among other things.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks Founder Says Swedes May Drop Case

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In a South American television interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says that he thinks he could be living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for up to a year, and that the Swedish government could drop its sexual assault investigation.

Assange, 41, has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy since June, when he fled there after British authorities approved his extradition to Sweden. The Swedish government wants to question Assange about allegations of assault made by two women. The Ecuadorean government officially granted Assange asylum earlier this month, but British authorities have said they will arrest him if he leaves the embassy.

Assange told Telesur, a channel seen in Ecuador and neighboring countries, that he thinks it will take six to 12 months for a resolution of his situation, and that he expects the standoff will be solved via diplomacy or through "an unusual world occurrence that we can't predict."

He said war with Iran, the outcome of the U.S. election or the "Swedish government dropping the case" could end the impasse. "I think this is the most likely scenario," said Assange. "Maybe after a thorough investigation of what happened [Swedish authorities] could drop the case."

In the interview, he also asserted that both he and his organization were the subject of political persecution. "Ecuador has been correct in showing its values in this case," said Assange.

Assange has said that he sought asylum because he feared the Swedish government could deliver him into U.S. custody. WikiLeaks has released thousands of State Department cables and other sensitive U.S. government information. The Ecuadorian government cited the threat of Assange's extradition to the U.S. in granting Assange's asylum request.

The Ecuadorean government has claimed that the U.K. has threatened to invoke a national law that would allow it to revoke the embassy's protected diplomatic status and take Assange from the embassy, an apartment in Knightsbridge, by force.

British foreign minister William Hague has denied that the U.K. has issued any threat to storm the embassy. This week, Hague said that "given Ecuador's position on what they call diplomatic asylum and our very clear legal position, such a solution is not in sight at the moment."

In August 2010, police in Sweden began investigating accusations of sexual assault against Assange made by two women. According to British police documents, one of the accusers claims Assange pulled her clothes off, pinned her arms and legs and refused to use a condom. She told a friend that the act was both violent and the worst sex she'd ever had. A British attorney representing Swedish prosecutors told the court earlier this year that Assange had raped the second woman while she was sleeping.

In May, the U.K. upheld the validity of the Swedish prosecutor's arrest warrant, making him subject to extradition to Sweden by the end of June. He had been living under house arrest at the mansion of a supporter in the English countryside. He sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy on June 19.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


God Save the Phone Booth: UK Removing Famous Red Phone Boxes?

Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Never mind the queen, there’s another British icon that could use a little help from above: the famous red telephone booth. It seems like they’re on every corner, but don’t be fooled. Their days could be numbered.

“The problem with these red phone boxes is, they were first installed in the 1930s, so they’re quite old,” Richard Coltman, a phone box enthusiast, said. “They are endangered to an extent, especially in some of the more rural areas of the country.”

Thirty years ago, there were more than 80,000 telephone kiosks -- the proper term, but everyone calls them boxes -- across the United Kingdom. Now there are fewer than 11,000. Who needs a phone box when just about everyone has a cellphone?

“People were a bit shocked seeing these icons they grew up with being removed,” Coltman said. “So there’s been a bit of an outcry.”

To save their phone boxes, the Brits had to get creative. A few years ago the government began letting towns adopt them, for one pound each (about $1.50). Some have been turned into churches, a library, even a pub.

“Some people have converted them into shower cubicles,” Coltman said. “I’ve seen them converted into a fish tank.”

In honor of the queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, British Telecom started BT ArtBox, a project in which leading British artists transform the iconic box into new creations to be auctioned off, the proceeds going to ChildLine, a charity for children.

Watch the full story Friday night on Nightline at 11:35 ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


2012 Olympics: Host Britain Wins Its First Two Gold Medals

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- On a day that began with a scandal over thrown badminton games, Britain collected its first two gold medals of the 2012 Olympics with wins in rowing and cycling.

On Dorney Lake, rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover dominated the women's coxless pairs for the host's first gold medal. Stanning and Glover quickly opened a wide lead that never closed as New Zealand took silver and Australia took bronze.

The pair were the first women rowers ever to win a gold medal for Britain.

The British were expecting cyclist Mark Cavendish to deliver the host country's first medal on the first day, but a Kazakhstani cyclist beat him in an upset victory.

British cyclist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, though, did not disappoint in the men's time trial, cruising to victory for his country's second gold medal.

Earlier in the day, U.S. cyclist Kristin Armstrong won her second gold medal in the women's time trial.

The women's badminton scandal cast a shadow on the rest of the day's events. After Chinese players were noticed deliberately losing a preliminary match to earn a favorable seed in the competition's next round, six of their South Korean and Indonesian counterparts followed suit, leading to the disqualification of eight players. The badminton federation rejected the appeals of the South Korean players, and the Indonesian players quickly dropped their appeals.

In tennis, Novak Djokovic handily beat Australian Lleyton Hewitt, while Venus Williams slogged along against German Angelique Kerber.

Both Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte qualified for the semifinals in the men's 200-meter individual medley, setting up a dramatic race for later today.

U.S. swimmers Cammile Adams and Kathleen Hersey will compete this afternoon in the women's 200-meter butterfly final.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seven Men Arrested in UK on Suspicion of Terrorism

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Seven men with suspected ties to terrorism were arrested this week in Britain following a routine vehicle stop, police said on Friday.

The men, ranging in age from 22 to 43, were detained between Tuesday morning and Thursday evening on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.  The news of their arrests comes one day after British police announced they had arrested five men and one woman as part of a months-long international terror probe.

The latest arrests, however, were not part of that ongoing investigation.

"The arrests followed a routine stop of a vehicle by police on the M1 motorway in South Yorkshire on Saturday (June 30th)," West Midlands Police said in a statement.  "The car was impounded on suspicion of having no insurance.  Firearms, offensive weapons and other material were later found hidden inside, prompting police to take action to trace and arrest the driver, passenger and others suspected of being involved."

Authorities are analyzing the materials found in the car and are carrying out searches of the suspects' homes.  All seven are being held in the West Midlands area.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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