TURKISH CARGO: Mexico City added as new freight hub

Ankara – VIJAY SHAH via Avrupa Gazete

Cargo airline Turkish Cargo has announced it will be operating new flights to Mexico City from October this year, according to Anglo-Turkish news site Avrupa Gazete today.

The firm, one of the fastest growing in Turkey, currently operates 84 destinations for the transit of cargo, and the capital of Mexico will become Turkish Cargo’s eighth Latin American hub. Currently the airline delivers to 300 destinations across five continents.

 

The new routes will be serviced with Boeing 777F craft, and will in fact consist of two separate legs due to the distance involved. The first part of the journey will operate from Turkey to Madrid in Spain, and then onwards to Mexico. Returning planes from Mexico will run along the Istanbul-Bogota-Curaçao-Maastricht route or via Houston in the US.

The new route will be a boost in Turco-Mexican economic relations with Turkey keen to import its products, such as fresh flowers, technological products and automobiles to Mexico and to tap into the Latin American’s nations key export markets of vehicles, chemicals, petrochemical products, textiles, fish, medicine, flowers and other perishable items. This forms part of Turkey’s new ambitions to be a global trading power, especially with markets in Africa and Asia, alongside South America.

Turkish Cargo is the freight arm of Turkish Airlines, the flag carrier of Turkey, which began operations in 1933. Its cargo division was sheared off into a separate company in 2000 and specialises in both domestic and international cargoes as well as postal carriage services.

SOURCES:

HEM Businesses, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-businesses

avrupaseriilan.com, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/seriilanlar

“Turkish Cargo, Mexico City’yi kargo uçuş ağına ekledi” – Avrupa/Avrupa Gazete (16 September 2018) https://www.avrupagazete.co.uk/sirket-haberleri/turkish-cargo-mexico-city-yi-kargo-ucus-agina-ekledi-h277842.html

“Corporate Information” – Turkish Cargo https://www.turkishcargo.com.tr/en/about-us/corporate-information

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Turkish Airlines Cargo Airbus A330-243F TC-JDS “Trakya” ” – M.Oertle, Flickr (22 December 2013) https://www.flickr.com/photos/kambui/22046763843/

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WINGLIGHTS360 ON KICKSTARTER: Funding a new revolution in cycling safety

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you are a cyclist, or just happen to know someone who lives and breathes hi-viz, Lycra, and the wind through their hair while getting about on pedals and two wheels, you will know that cycling is a fun, adventurous and healthy sport. But like any sport, cycling comes with risks, and especially for urban cyclists, the roads of our cities are hazardous places where dangers can be unexpected.

 

On any road network, junctions pose the most danger for cyclists. According to the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 75% of the 19,000 bicycle accidents a year in the country happen at junctions, where cyclists are forced to contend with often heavy traffic flows, large vehicles and blind spots. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers not spotting cyclists or being unaware of a cyclist making a turn at a crossroads. Today, a quarter of accidents involving cars and cycles are caused by drivers’ failure to judge cyclists’ paths, especially at night, where hand signals by cyclists may not be noticed by drivers. It is this type of statistic that has also discouraged many from taking up daily cycling. Whilst the number of commuters has increased by 144% over the last decade, 68% of non-cyclists still believe it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, making cycle safety a key issue now more than ever.

Unlike cars, bikes have no way of indicating changes in direction, but a freshly minted technology startup dedicated to producing innovative cycling safety equipment has a solution to help reduce the large numbers of cycling injuries and deaths on Britain’s roads.

CYCL, a London-based cycling technology startup managed by co-founder and chief technology officer, Agostino Stilli, launched a revolutionary new product, WingLights, in 2015, with help from public donations raised via Kickstarter crowdfunding. This simple, yet ingenious, technology involves LED devices attached to the cyclist’s bicycle handlebars, which behave like the turn signals on motor vehicles. Designed to be lightweight, waterproof, shockproof and robust for outdoors use, the product was featured on the BBC programme ‘Dragons’ Den’ in 2017, where it was backed by dragon Nick Jenkins. The gadget was publicised on WIRED, Business Insider and Forbes, and was adopted as the ‘Future of Transport’ by the UK Government.

WingLights began to light the way for cycling safety innovation and in the three years since they were launched, CYCL has fitted 50,000 devices to bikes, including the entire delivery fleet at the British arm of  the takeaway restaurant chain Domino’s Pizza.

Three years after its launch, CYCL has returned to Kickstarter to raise money for the latest iteration of WingLights, inspired by the feedback left by the gadget’s users and the original project’s supporters from Kickstarter. One story in particular stuck out. A cyclist going for a coastal ride in Dorset lost both her front and back lights and retained visibility on her route only by tapping WingLights repeatedly for hours before getting home safely (the original WingLights switch off automatically after 45 seconds). There was a clear need for a steady light mode to provide constant visibility.

 

CYCL’s design team went back to the drawing board, developing an enhanced version of the WingLights with permanent white/red side light functions. They also added an improved utility function where all the cyclist needs to do is snap the gadget on the ends of the bike’s handlebars and switch on: one tap for flashing indicators, and a continuous hold for steady side lights.
The new version, WingLights360, also comes packed with a helpful selection of new key features to help keep cyclists safe. Constructed from CNC aluminium for strength and lack of bulk, the devices are attached to the handlebars using magnets, and when not in use, can be tucked away on the person as a handy keyring. Perfect for the commute, they are now USB rechargeable, with a 3 hours battery operation interval and can be charged in under 30 minutes. The product has already become hot property before its impending launch with Forbes magazine naming WingLights360 their Forbes’ Top Cycling Gadget for 2018.

CYCL is one of a breed of startups catering to previously unexplored and poorly catered-for technological markets and is highly passionate about improving cyclists’ safety on the roads. The firm’s co-founder, Luca, said: “We have created a product based on the concept that motor vehicles have white and red side lights. We wanted to recreate this for the bicycle market, to ensure cyclists’ positioning and intentions are clear to other road users”.

CYCL officially launched the WingLights360 fundraiser to the general public this past Tuesday (11 September 2018). You can donate to the fund at this Kickstarter page. Send enquiries to info@cycl.bike .

cycl.bike

 

SOURCES:

Agostino Stilli/CYCL.

“Compatibility” – CYCL/Indive ltd https://cycl.bike/compatibility/

IMAGE CREDITS:

CYCL

 

HANDGUNS SOLD IN WEST HAM: Persistent gun merchant criminal jailed

London – VIJAY SHAH via LORRAINE KING and Newham Recorder

A West Ham, east London man who was put on licence by judicial authorities after being charged with selling illegal weapons has been sent to jail after he was caught violating his licence terms… by selling weapons.

Lennie St Clare Walters had previously being jailed for ten years for supplying weapons and ammunition, but served half of the sentence before being released on licence, but will now lose his freedom and be recalled to prison after he was caught selling to an associate, local news outlet the Newham Recorder reported this week.

 

The 47-year-old gun dealer is said to have sold two handguns and a total of 73 rounds of ammunition to two separate customers in 2017, it was reported. One customer lived near St Clare Walters, whilst the other customer arranged a stopover to collect the weapon in Leyton, using a taxi cab to help meet up for the purchase.

At his recall trial at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court, his previous conviction in 2010, where he was jailed for a decade for supplying a MAC-10 machine gun. He was released on parole, but was re-arrested in February 2018, where police found him carrying bullets wrapped in plastic bag material.

St Clare Walters admitted to the court that he had supplied the weapons, but that he had not intended to endanger life. The court, convened this past Friday, however found against him and the gun dealer was returned to prison for seven years, according to the Recorder. St Clare Walters’ two customers were also arrested, pleaded guilty to gun offences and were jailed.

Detective Constable Gareth Starr, from the Trident and Area Crime Command section of London’s Metropolitan Police force, told the paper: “Due to an intelligence-led investigation and working alongside our colleagues from the firearms unit, not just one, but three men, who were in possession of firearms, have now been taken off the streets.”.

Many parts of inner London has long experienced problems with illegal and criminally modified weapons used in criminal activities. This year, the city has suffered a wave of shootings and stabbings, mostly involving people under 30, with 89 murder investigations opened by the police so far.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“Jailed: Convicted Mac-10 gun dealer who supplied firearm and ammunition to associate in West Ham” – Lorraine King, Newham Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (9 September 2018) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/gun-dealer-jailed-for-trade-in-west-ham-1-5687267

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:MAC10.jpg” – Mike Cumpston, English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons (13 April 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MAC10.jpg

FLIC-EN-FLAC ACID ATTACK: Mauritian businessman targeted for the second time

Flic-en-Flac – VIJAY SHAH via KENDY ANTOINE and defimedia.info

As attacks involving dangerous chemicals such as acids and ammonia are becoming frequent in the United Kingdom, it seems that, worryingly, the trend for such vicious crimes, has spread abroad. On the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, a local business person made the news there after he was attacked with acid, for the second time.

The man, aged 67, and living in the resort town of Flic-en-Flac on the island’s west coast, was attacked with a corrosive substance by a passing motorcyclist on August 31, his birthday, according to local French-language media Défi Media. He had unlocked the gate outside his home when the assailant rode past and splashed him with acid thrown from a pot. The victim suffered chemical burns to his arm and most of his face and was admitted to the burns unit at Victoria Hospital Candos in the nearby town of Quatre Bornes.

 

It was the second time the businessman, who was not named in the original report, was targeted, according to a statement he gave to Défi Media‘s reporters. He was the victim of a similar attack previously in the town of Rose Hill where a passenger of another motorbike hurled acid at him. That time, the victim managed to escape the brunt of the attack, although some acid struck his arm.

He reported the first attack to the police, but no arrests were made. The business person told media that he was afraid for his life, and he believed the attacks were due to people angered by his refusal to engage in unspecified immoral business practices for them.

The victim’s damaged articles of clothing were sent for analysis at Mauritius’ Forensic Scientific Laboratory (FSL) to establish the type of chemical used in the attack. Local crime investigators are also looking at CCTV footage of the time and place of the crime to prove the identities of the perpetrators.

SOURCES:

Reddy Ashanah.

Radio CONSEIL POLITIQUE . , Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/

Defimedia.info, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/www.defimedia.info/

“À Flic-en-Flac : un homme d’affaires victime d’une attaque à l’acide pour la seconde fois” – Kendy Antoine, Defimedia.info/LE DEFI MEDIA GROUP (8 September 2018) https://defimedia.info/flic-en-flac-un-homme-daffaires-victime-dune-attaque-lacide-pour-la-seconde-fois

IMAGE CREDIT:

“1 bedroom Studio Flat for rent from 2 to 3 people in Flic en Flac” – iha HOLIDAY ADS https://www.iha.co.nz/studio-flat-for-rent-flic-en-flac_1676

GCC BUSINESS: Saudi sovereign fund welcomes new special advisor

Riyadh – VIJAY SHAH via SAEED AZHAR and Reuters


A sovereign fund in Saudi Arabia has appointed a new special advisor formerly associated with the chemicals manufacturer Dow, and who was a chief executive officer there, the Business News desk at news agency Reuters reported this morning.

The state fund, run by the royal government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, appointed Andrew Liveris, who was previously U.S. firm Dow’s chairman and CEO, today in an announcement. In English the fund trades under the name Public Investment Fund (PIF) and manages more than USD 250 billion (GBP 192.8 billion) in state assets. The fund plans to more than double its portfolio to USD 400 billion (GBP 309 billion) by the year 2020, Reuters reported. The PIF is run by the Saudi Council of Economic and Development Affairs on behalf of the kingdom, and in July 2018, bought a 5% minority stake in American electric car maker Tesla.

Liveris’s new role will see him work with the PIF on essential and significant matters, as well as help PIF strengthen its collection of assets and give input on the contribution of PIF companies to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic plan, Vision 2030.

Liveris is an Australian national, currently residing in Midland, in Michigan state of the U.S. He served at Dow for fourteen years before retiring in April this year.

SOURCES:

HEM Newsbreakers, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-newsbreakers

Reuters Business, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ReutersBiz

“Saudi sovereign fund appoints ex-CEO of Dow Chemical as special adviser” – Saeed Azhar & Alison Williams, Reuters – Business News/Thomson Reuters (2 September 2018) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-pif/saudi-sovereign-fund-appoints-ex-ceo-of-dow-chemical-as-special-adviser-idUSKCN1LI0BF?feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FbusinessNews+%28Business+News%29

MEGALODON: An ancient shark of mega proportions

VIJAY SHAH and SUNNY ATWAL

Every year around six people are killed by sharks and dozens more injured, often seriously. Feared for their aggression, speed, size and taste for human flesh, the shark has been the stuff of legends for thousands of years and more recently, have been the subject of Hollywood blockbusters. Forty years ago, cinemagoers queued up for popcorn, ready to be terrified by the protagonist of the Jaws films, a bloodthirsty great white who snacked on sunseekers visiting the beach of sleepy little Amity Island. 

On the 10th of August, 2018, a new movie resurrecting the familiar ‘shark-meets-human, shark-eats-human’ narrative and starring action hero Jason Statham and Chinese actor Bingbing Li, introduced us to a shark that very much made the dreaded great white immortalised in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws series, look like a piddling fairground goldfish in comparison. Swim forward the Megalodon, full name Carcharocles megalodon, but you can call it ‘Meg’.

 

Megalodon was the streamlined bone-crunching stuff of water-borne nightmares. From around 23 to two million years ago, these colossal fish were the apex predators of their day, dominating the world’s temperate and tropical seas, and were capable of literally biting whales and dolphins in half. Flipper’s arch nemesis on steroids.

Scientists believed that the Meg could reach a maximum of 18 metres (59 feet) in length from heavily-armed snout to the tip of its tail. The largest great white shark observed in our time was 6.1 metres (20 feet), half the size of the largest estimated Megalodon adults. Meg’s huge proportions meant it was at the top of the food chain millions of years ago, and it proved its role as ruler of the seas by chomping its way through other large underwater creatures such as prehistoric whales, giant sea turtles and seals. It may have also dined on other sharks as well. A human would have been a service station sandwich in comparison. It has been estimated that an adult Meg would have needed to eat a tonne of flesh a day just to stay alive.

No-one was around back then to have met Meg (and survived to tell the tale), but many believe the shark was a more robust and muscular version of today’s great whites, but with teeth five or six times bigger. Thousands of the Meg’s fossil teeth have been found nowadays measuring up to 180 mm (7.1 inches) diagonally. Meg, just like modern-day cousins, would have had hundreds of these saw-like teeth in its jaws, lined up in rows, which combined with the brute force of its mouth, meant the shark always won every fight it got into. Meg must have been a treat at the dentist’s too when it was asked to say ‘Aaah!’ for its checkup. Its jaw dimensions were 2.7 by 3.4 metres wide, meaning Meg could swallow two adult humans side by side, and still have room for dessert. In fact, Meg has been said to have been the most powerful predator that has ever existed, and had the dinosaurs got around at the same time,  the shark would have owned T-Rex and company like a bunch of soggy dinosaur-shaped breaded turkey pieces.

 

Megalodon’s modus operandi for getting dinner on the table involved attacking prey side on, using its strong jaws to literally sink its teeth into the prey’s heart and lungs, inflicting maximum fatal damage to vital organs. Medium-sized prey would usually rammed with great force, causing severe trauma, with the Meg then chomping through bone and flesh, as evidenced from bite marks etched into the bones of whales found by marine archaeologists. Larger whales were a particular target for when Meg decided to go full hangry meets sadistic. The shark was said to have immobilised such whales by severing their fins from their bodies or by simply ripping them apart. Once the whale was suitably disabled, the Meg would then sit down for supper.

Environmental changes, mainly in prey availability and sea temperatures, as well as increased competition from newer species of sharks, contributed to the eventual demise of the Meg. Some people have claimed that the super shark still persists to this day, hanging out in deep seas and trenches, with several YouTube videos claiming to show sightings of the prehistoric monster. However most scientists are in agreement that the Megalodon is definitely history, pointing out that due its preference for warmer seas, a surviving Meg would have been a very obvious one. That said though, other species of fish, such as its cousin the megamouth shark and also the coelacanth fish, were long considered to be extinct, but have managed to survive undetected for millions of years until recently. In 1918, an Australian naturalist, David Stead, wrote of an incident where a group of experienced and fearless fishermen in his country were terrorised by a white-coloured shark of between 35-90 metres in length which attacked their boats, trashed their fishing equipment and stole their catches. Despite spending many years on the high seas, the fishermen’s encounter with this mystery shark left them scared to continue working. While extremely unlikely, perhaps there could well be an undiscovered group of bloodthirsty Megs out there, far from human eyes, eating whale sushi undisturbed.

SOURCES:

“Megalodon” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalodon

“Megalodon: the truth about the largest shark that ever lived” – Josh Davis, Natural History Museum (6 August 2018) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/megalodon–the-truth-about-the-largest-shark-that-ever-lived.html

“10 Killer Megalodon Shark Facts” – FossilEra https://www.fossilera.com/pages/megalodon

“Megalodon Sightings: Is the Megalodon Shark Still Alive?” – cryptid, Exemplore (19 August 2018) https://exemplore.com/cryptids/Is-the-Megalodon-Shark-Still-Alive

IMAGE CREDITS:

“File:VMNH megalodon.jpg” – Karen Carr via LeGenD, Wikimedia Commons (12 May 2010) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:VMNH_megalodon.jpg

“File:Carcharodon megalodon SI.jpg” – Mary Parrish, Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History via Materialscientist, Wikipedia (8 March 2017) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carcharodon_megalodon_SI.jpg

FANFAN: Pioneering Mauritian musician passes away

Pamplemousses – VIJAY SHAH via Mo Ti News

Louis Gabriel Joseph, one of the pioneers of the national music of Mauritius, has passed away aged 88 yesterday, local news site Mo Ti News reports. Known among his peers and generations of listeners as ‘Fanfan’, Joseph passed on from age-related issues at the Hospice Saint Jean de Dieu in the town of Pamplemousses, in the island’s north.

 

Fanfan was widely revered as one of the signature personalities behind the development of sega music as a popular genre from the 1940s until fairly recently. Sega is a musical style peculiar to Mauritius, sung in Mauritian Creole (Kreol, or simply Mauritian) to the beat of drums, triangles and more recently, keyboards and synthesizers. It was developed by people of mixed African and French origins, most descendants of slaves who used their heritage of African music to get over the drudgery of their lives and enjoy what little spare time they could get.

Joseph was a stalwart and proponent of ‘sega tipik’ (typical or traditional sega), which was in vogue until around the 1980s before it was usurped by other genres, many from outside the island.

During his career, which began after the Second World War, Joseph recorded fifty songs. He cut his first record, titled “Ma Bolema”, in 1949, and released his last production, “Kito Lev Néné”, fifty years later under the Ballerina Music label. Joseph considered himself a guardian of the traditional form of sega, a dying art now, and with contemporaries such as Serge Lebrasse and Ti Frère, tried to actively promote the cultural values of his country.

SOURCES:

Mo Ti News, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/motinews/

“[Vidéo] Musique locale : Fanfan s’éteint à 88 ans” – Mo Ti News (18 August 2018) https://moti.news/video/video-musique-locale-fanfan-seteint-a-88-ans

“The Recording Industry in Mauritius” – Sabrina Quirin and In-House DRC, Music in Africa (30 September 2016) https://www.musicinafrica.net/magazine/recording-industry-mauritius

VIDEO CREDIT:

“Fanfan: «Mo dimann Dieu le Père ramass mwa»” – l’express, YouTube (via Mo Ti News) (28 July 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxMoPmS_dmI

SOUTH LONDON MAYHEM: Four children stabbed

London – VIJAY SHAH via RICHARD HARTLEY-PARKINSON and Metro

The crimewave affecting London now has taken an even nastier turn, as newspaper Metro reported yesterday that four children in the south of the city were attacked during a scuffle, with one harmed so badly that witnesses said they were ‘disembowelled’.

A fight was alleged to have broken out between two groups of teenagers, aged 15 to 16 years, at the Landor House, a block of flats on the Elmington estate in Camberwell. Four children were taken to hospital, with one boy suffering serious injuries and is now fighting for his life. The incident occurred on Thursday at around 5:25 pm.

 

Six of the attackers were arrested by police. Pictures and videos from the scene show police officers huddled around the injured, desperately administering first aid, as they awaited the arrival of an ambulance crew, Metro reported.

One teenager was heard to shout ‘help!’ as he was ambushed. Witnesses to the disorder reported seeing one youth lying on the ground with his intestines spilling out of his torso. Others described the scene of the fight, saying that it was ‘bloodied clothing, trainers and medical equipment’. Locals believed the teenagers were from outside the estate. One witness told Metro: “Ten minutes before the stabbing I saw a whole heap of youths run down… (towards the crime scene)”. Metropolitan police sources gave an update on the conditions of the victims, stating: “One remains critical, one is in a serious but stable condition and the remaining two did not suffer serious injuries.”

‘Then 10 minutes later I heard people shouting and bawling out the back there. When I looked round the back there, I saw the youth come running from the block.’

‘He came to the corner and dropped. He was holding his belly and all of his intestines were falling on the ground.”

Local police superintendent Annmarie Cowley told Metro: “This incident is in its very early stages and at present we cannot speculate on what the nature of it may be. What we can say for certain is if there needed to be an example of the utter senselessness of knife crime, then this is it.

‘Four males are in hospital, and at this stage we cannot say how serious their injuries are. It is beyond comprehension.”

Police have increased their presence around the Elmington estate and surrounding areas. Legislation has been invoked to grant officers powers to deter further trouble overnight, in the likelihood of revenge attacks from associates of the victims.

SOURCES:

Sherrie Bachell/Facebook

Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

“Four children stabbed in south London with one boy being ‘disembowelled’ ” – Richard Hartley-Parkinson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (17 August 2018) https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/17/four-children-stabbed-south-london-one-boy-disembowelled-7850208/?ito=social

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Sears Street, Camberwell” – Nick, Flickr (15 February 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/34517490@N00/3281064251

 

SOCIAL HOUSING: British government launches report on tenant experiences, housing reforms

London – VIJAY SHAH

The UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has unveiled a report detailing the experiences of people living in social housing and the inequalities and stigma they face as social tenants, HEM News Agency exclusively reports.

Ministers with the MHCLG, formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government, launched through their social media outlets a document, the ‘Social Housing Green Paper‘, as part of an ambition to tackle the widespread stigma against families and individuals residing in council-owned and housing association-owned properties and estates. The paper also highlights the government’s intention to give support to ‘thriving communities’ based around social housing in the United Kingdom.

 

The green paper forms part of the governmental open consultation on a ‘new deal for social housing’, which may signal a change of direction for the country’s ruling Conservatives, who have been castigated by liberal sections of British society for enacting policies that have targeted the welfare state , an attack on the poor and deprived, according to critics of government policy.

In it, the MHCLG has proposed ‘fundamental reforms’ in the social housing sector in order to benefit users, give greater rights and voices to renters and to re-balance the relationship between tenants and landlords, as the national housing crisis forces more and more to rent from private landlords and associations.

The paper also proposes changes to the controversial ‘Right to Buy’ policy. Instituted by the late prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, in the 1980s, this policy allowed council tenants to buy their rented homes direct from the council, but has been criticised for causing a explosion in sometimes exploitative buy-to-lets and reductions in the numbers of available social housing. One change put forward is to give local government bodies greater powers to replace homes purchased by former tenants.

The paper was released today on the UK government’s official online portal, along with a promotional video which summed up the main points of the consultation document.

SOURCES:

HEM Businesses, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-businesses

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/mhclg

“Open consultation A new deal for social housing” – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government/GOV.UK (14 August 2018) https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-new-deal-for-social-housing

SCOOTER HATERS: Electric scooters attacked by angry Californians

Santa Monica – VIJAY SHAH via FOX News and other sources

The U.S. state of California is well known for being at the vanguard of revolutionary new technologies, especially if they are environmentally friendly. Its also the birthplace of many a technological trend that has spread across the world. According to Fox News, however, there is one new eco-transport trend that has not only irritated some locals in the Golden State, it’s pushed them to commit vandalism against the objects fuelling that same trend.

Electric two-wheeled scooters, usually popular with youngsters, have become the latest must-have kind to the environment mode of transport. A firm called Bird even has public banks of scooters you can pay to borrow for the day, just like the bicycle docks found in many world cities. But some Californians in the south of the state, sick to death of the new vehicles appearing in random locations and getting in their way, have taken to setting them on fire or throwing them into the Pacific Ocean, Fox News reports.

 

Another report from local paper the Los Angeles Times claims that city hygiene workers in Santa Monica have found several scooters left for dead amidst the spray of the sea and abandoned in public bins. A policeman in the city of Venice even claimed to have seen dumped scooters stacked up high in piles of ten, but the dumping has not been reported to authorities.

Most of the scooters found dumped are branded ones issued by Bird. Marked with the company logo in simple black and white livery, the company rents out the scooters to the public for as little as US $1 a day and the firm currently operates across the United States and in Paris, France. The problem of scooters being dumped and vandalised has become so commonplace that one wit opened up a Instagram account, Birdgraveyard (@birdgraveyard), that chronicles and celebrates the various unfortunate final resting places of the two-wheelers across California.

A spokesperson with the scooter firm told Fox: “We do not support the vandalism or destruction of any property and are disappointed when it takes place,’

‘Nor do we support the encouragement, celebration or normalization of this behavior.”

Bird appealed for people who spot damaged vehicles to report the sightings to the company directly.

Opponents of scooter rental schemes like Bird’s say the vehicles are often carelessly left in public places and they are an eyesore. Some cities in the US originally opposed Bird expanding into their streets but relented and allowed them in, due to their enviro-credentials. The Californian town of Beverly Hills, however voted to ban scooters for six months, citing safety concerns. The town’s council member, Lili Bosse, said last month: “If you imagine just walking on the sidewalk and somebody on a scooter at 15 miles an hour hits you, it can be fatal…”

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Chris, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Chris_1791

“Southern Californians are tossing electric scooters into ocean, burning them: report” – Fox News, Greg Norman and Associated Press, Fox News channel/FOX News Network, LLC. (13 August 2018) http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2018/08/13/southern-californians-are-tossing-electric-scooters-into-ocean-burning-them-report.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

“Bird” – Bird https://www.bird.co/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Bird scooters on the sidewalk in San Jose.jpg” – Grendelkhan, Wikimedia Commons (30 May 2018) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bird_scooters_on_the_sidewalk_in_San_Jose.jpg