BUSINESS BOOK AWARDS: Authors in business invited to contribute to inaugural event

London – VIJAY SHAH via journalism.co.uk

Authors of books geared towards business are being invited to submit their work to the first ever Business Book Awards in the United Kingdom, journalism.co.uk reports.

The awards, which take place for the first time at London’s Grange City Hotel on the 16th of March, 2018, were founded by long established mentor and publisher for hundred of UK entrepreneurs, Lucy McCarraher. She will be working with event organisers ThinkFest on the event. McCarraher is also a prolific author, with eleven books under her name, and is also the co-founder and managing editor of publishing firm Rethink Press. She has seen stints as a writing coach, journalist and a public speaker in a varied and exciting career that has taken her from the UK to Singapore and Australia.

 

The Business Book Awards aim to celebrate business book authors and the expertise, life experiences and knowledge they help bring to a wider audience, as well as increase public awareness and appreciation of the work business writers do, in a world of niche publishing that is largely ignored by the mainstream reading economy. The role of business authors has been slowly thrust into the limelight thanks to the popularity of business-oriented TV programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, as well as the UK’s government’s encouragement of entrepreneurship and small/medium enterprises as a whole.

Many major ‘celebrities’ in the business book publishing world have pledged their support, including one of the UK’s most successful business authors, Shaa Wasmund MBE, and co-founder of Dent Global, Daniel Priestley, author of four bestselling business books. Other key attendees expected are Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking, and Bridget Shine, the Chief Executive of the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG).

A panel of top judges has also been selected, including head judge Alison Jones,  founder of Practical Inspiration Publishing, a partnership publishing company. She is also the host of The Extraordinary Business Book Club, a podcast and community for writers and readers of extraordinary business books, and author of This Book Means Business. She worked for twenty-five years with leading book companies such as Chambers, Oxford University Press and Macmillan and was director of innovation strategy at Palgrave Macmillan. Joining Jones at the judge’s table will be John Williams – founder of The Ideas Lab and accomplished business author, and Sian Prime – coach and facilitator in innovation and creative entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Founder Lucy McCarraher told journalism.co.uk: “Every business author should enter for these awards. The high profile ambassadors, the well qualified judges and the integrity of the judging process means the Business Book Awards carry high kudos in the business world and further afield. Short-listed and winning authors will be able to take advantage of the publicity and promotion.

‘The Business Book Awards welcomes every good book and every method of publication. I want to recognise business book publishing and authorship in all its forms, and bring the best authors to public recognition. This is a truly egalitarian initiative, we welcome those who self-publish and have a broad outlook.”

The awards are open to authors with work published in 2017, and the deadline for submissions is 31st December 2017. The shortlist of nominees will be announced on 17th January, with one business author being selected for Business Book of the Year 2018, the highest honour to be bestowed at the ceremony.

Authors or publishers wishing to enter the awards can do so through the website: https://www.businessbookawards.co.uk/enter/.

SOURCES:

“Call for business authors to enter the Inaugural Business Book Awards” – Famous Publicity Ltd, journalism.co.uk/Mousetrap Media Ltd (16 November 2017) https://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/call-for-business-authors-to-enter-the-inaugural-business-book-awards-/s66/a713322/

“Business Book Awards – Celebrating the Best in Business Books” – The Business Book Awards/Lucy McGarraher/ThinkFest https://www.businessbookawards.co.uk/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free stock photo of books, business, coffee” – Pixabay via Pexels (8 March 2015) https://www.pexels.com/photo/books-business-coffee-computer-259162/

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ROGUE LANDLORDS: Newham council raid; man found living in meter cupboard

London – VIJAY SHAH via Newham Council

In yet another sign of the housing crisis gripping London, council officials in the east of the city found a man forced to sleep in a room no bigger than a store cupboard after conducting a raid on an overcrowded home in Beckton, Newham Council wrote on its website on Friday.

Housing officers from Newham Council, which administers the Beckton area, were tipped off that the house in the south of the borough was inhabited by more people than was allowed legally. The council’s private housing team sector entered the property, with the borough’s mayor, Sir Robin Wales and representatives of the GMB workers’ union, Warren Kenny (London Regional Secretary), and Tim Roache (General Secretary) in attendance.

Credit: speedpropertybuyers.co.uk

 

What they saw shocked them. In the Beckton house, one man was found to have been paying hundreds of pounds in rent per month to live in a store cupboard no bigger than 1 metre by 2 metres in area, with enough room for a single mattress only. The man’s living situation was made more dangerous by the presence of a gas meter and pipes directly above his bed. The raid also discovered a total of eleven sleeping spaces in the property, including bunk beds crammed into single rooms. The team also uncovered fire and electrical safety hazards, according to Newham Council.

The mayor and GMB leadership attended the raid to discover the day-to-day operations of those involved in enforcing Newham’s landlord licensing scheme, which requires all private housing landlords in the borough to purchase a five-year licence which requires them to obey certain regulations such as on overcrowding and fire safety. Newham was the first London borough to introduce such a scheme, which is now under threat of non-renewal due to central government financial cutbacks.

The housing officers also paid a visit to another suspect property in Upton Park, in northern Newham. They stumbled across a shed being rented out as a living space. Three people were found living in the shed, paying £200 a month each to live in sub-standard and cramped spaces. The house itself was split into eight rooms over three floors, which were being shared between four different families.

The rogue landlords responsible for renting out the properties raided by the officers will be subject to financial penalty notices, which could see them paying fines of up to £30,000 per offence committed, Newham Council said.

Mayor Wales said: “It cannot be right in the 21st century, in one of the world’s wealthiest cities, a young man is being forced to pay hundreds of pounds to rent a cupboard under the stairs, sleeping alongside the gas metre [sic].

‘The scenes we saw on this visit are a timely reminder that, while by tackling bad landlords we are driving up standards, there is still much to do. That is why it’s imperative that the government allow us to continue with this work, and stop the exploitation of tenants.’

‘The scheme aims to improve the quality of property in the private sector, to make the experience of renting homes in the borough safer and more secure for our residents.

‘The GMB union leadership was keen to come down and see our licensing scheme in action, to understand why it’s so important.”

The GMB’s general secretary, Tim Roache added: “Our visit to Newham was a real eye-opener, we all know the housing market is broken, but finding people living in cupboards marks a new low.

‘It’s fantastic to see how Newham’s licensing scheme is forcing this kind of chronic exploitation of tenants into the light, and how its effective enforcement by dedicated workers on the front line is bring the guilty landlords to book.

‘I would appeal to the government to act quickly and allow Newham to continue this critically important work.”

London has a whole has become notorious for its overheated housing market, with often sky-high rents, coupled with a low level of new houses being built, enabling unscrupulous landlords to take advantage of desperate renters priced out of the buying market, as well as new settlers in the city. Several landlords in outer London boroughs were prosecuted recently for renting out converted outbuildings and garden sheds, overcrowding family homes and letting out properties with numerous healthy and safety violations. The housing market problem has now spread far beyond the borders of Greater London, with the South East of England reporting some of the UK’s highest house prices.

SOURCES:

Newham London, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/newhamcouncil/

“Man found sleeping in under the stairs cupboard in rogue landlord raid” – Newham London/Newham Council (3 November 2017) https://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/News/Man-found-sleeping-in-under-the-stairs-cupboard-in-rogue-landlord-raid.aspx?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn&utm_source=Facebook&utm_content=News

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Renting Property” – Jeff Djevdet, Flickr (22 February 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffdjevdet/24568649014

MANOR PARK SURGERY: Failing Newham medical centre shuttered by CQC

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALEX SHAW and Newham Recorder

A poorly performing doctor’s surgery in the London Borough of Newham’s Manor Park area, east London, was ordered to close down after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) ruled it as inadequate, reported local newspaper Newham Recorder.

The Manor Park Medical Centre, in Romford Road, was responsible for 1,300 local patients. It’s closure came after it failed three inspection reports in a row, the last one carried out in July 2017, the Newham Recorder stated. The CQC, which ensures standards of medical facilities in the UK, was scathing in its appraisal of the Manor Park Medical Centre, rating it as ‘inadequate’ in five key areas. A notice was pinned to the surgery’s house-like varnished wooden door announcing its closure, and offering a map and address of an alternative medical facility in nearby Church Road. The notice was issued by the Newham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

 

The Medical Centre, headed by Dr Surendra Kumar Dhariwal, appealed against the closure decision, but the CQC and a court at a first-tier tribunal had the upper hand. The centre’s registration was terminated this past Monday, which meant the practice no longer is open to patients.

“I was very concerned about patient care at Dr Surendra Kumar Dhariwal’s practice and the lack of response or improvement we have witnessed since previous inspections,” said Prof Ursula Gallagher, CQC deputy chief inspector of GP practices.

The regulator was “left with no option” but to close the practice “in the interests of patients,” she added.

The Medical Centre had been running into trouble since November 2016, and later inspections revealed no improvement in the situation. CQC inspectors were shocked by the poor levels of staff appraisal and training, unclear staffing arrangements and there were noticeable gaps in background checking of new staff.

The inspectors also raised concerns about the physical state of the centre and its medicine stocks. The Newham Recorder stated that the premises were covered in dust and some pharmaceutical items were also dusty or expired.

A significant amount of medicines and equipment were not fit for use and there were no effective systems in place to address this,” read the report.

It stated there was “no evidence” of the duty of candour, the legal duty of health centres to inform and apologise to patients if mistakes in their care have led to harm.

Dr Dhaliwal was not available for comment at the time of the Recorder’s report, but previously he claimed that improvements were made to the Manor Park Medical Centre after the earlier inspections and it was a “really good practice”. He had been a member of medical staff at the centre for fifty years. The CQC said that the failings at the centre posed a great risk of harm to its patients. It is not known if or when the centre may reopen.

SOURCES:

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

“Three strikes and out for Manor Park GP surgery” – Alex Shaw, Newham Recorder/Archant (6 October 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/health/three-strikes-and-out-for-manor-park-gp-surgery-1-5225987

IMAGE CREDIT:

Google Maps https://maps.google.co.uk/

STRATFORD CENTRE: Six people hurt in fight and acid attack near shopping mall

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALIA ROPUN, ALAN MCGUINNESS, IAN FRANCIS and Sky News

Six men were reported injured after a ‘noxious substance’ was thrown in a street fight near the Stratford Centre shopping arcade in Stratford, east London yesterday at around 8 pm, Sky News said today.

The incident occurred near to a Subway restaurant on the Broadway, close to Stratford’s bus station and the Westfield Stratford City retail complex. Three of the individuals needed hospital treatment after having a chemical thrown on them during the mêlée between two separate groups of males, Sky News reported. A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

 

Shoppers saw one man in agony as friends called for help by shouting “it is an acid attack, his skin is burning”. People rushed to the scene with water to ease the man’s chemical burns, according to the broadcaster.

One eyewitness, an assistant manager of a local Burger King restaurant who only gave his name as Hossen, told Sky News that he saw a victim and another male believed to be the victim’s friend, run into his restaurant and then to its washroom, desperate to wash off the corrosive chemical. Hossen said “There were cuts around his eyes and he was trying to chuck water into them”

The area where the fight took place was quickly cordoned off and treatment offered to the victims. Police, paramedics and fire crews all attended within 10 minutes. Paul Gibson, an assistant director of operations with the London Ambulance Service, said: “We treated six patients in total  and took three to London hospitals”.

Stratford administratively falls under the London Borough of Newham, and the borough’s police chief superintendent, Ade Adelekan, said: “I would like to be very clear concerning this incident.

“What initially may have been perceived as a number of random attacks has, on closer inspection, been found to be one incident involving two groups of males”.

Sky News reports that none of the men suffered serious harm in the street fight.

Attacks on people by assailants with chemicals such as sulphuric acid, bleach and drain cleaner were once associated with honour attacks in places like South Asia, but have become increasingly common in London, due to the ease of buying and carrying around dangerous chemicals, and the punishment for such attacks is less severe than assaults with knives or guns.

In June, 21-year-old student and model Resham Khan was travelling in Newham’s Beckton area with her cousin, Jameel Mukhtar, when an assailant flung acid in their faces while they were waiting at traffic lights. Even as far as back as 2011, a mother had acid splashed at her while walking her two children home from school in Upton Park. Latest figures published by the Evening Standard suggest a quarter of all acid attacks in London this year have occurred within Newham’s boundaries.

SOURCES:

Alia Ropun.

upday for Samsung UK http://www.upday.com/en/

“Six hurt in ‘acid attack’ at Stratford Centre in London” – Alan McGuinness and Ian Francis, Sky News/Sky UK (24 September 2017) http://news.sky.com/story/six-hurt-after-being-sprayed-with-noxious-substance-at-westfield-in-stratford-11050889

“Acid attack on school-run mother in Newham” – BBC News/BBC (4 May 2011) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13282439

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Stratford Centre, Stratford” – N. Chadwick, geograph (20 January 2009) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1128397

 

UBER: Disruptive taxi app firm stripped of licence by London’s TfL

London – VIJAY SHAH via SARAH BUTLER, GWYN TOPHAM and The Guardian

San Francisco-based taxi app company Uber has had its application to renew its public carriage licence turned down by Transport for London (TfL) after its business practices and safety record were called into question by critics, the Guardian newspaper reported today.

The company, founded by Travis Kalanick in 2010, operates in 400 cities around the world and is well known for its cheap prices, its large pool of contracted drivers and its ease of use. But the company has come under fire in London its ‘lack of corporate responsibility’, and its disruptive effect on the city’s indigenous ‘black cab’ licensed minicab trade. Uber has been accused of not properly vetting its drivers’ criminal records and for not doing enough to investigate alleged sexual assaults by contracted taxi drivers.

The move by TfL has created a massive shock in London, with many customers and drivers of Uber condemning the decision not to renew the firm’s licence, which enables it to operate on the city’s streets. Black cab drivers and motoring safety groups however, have expressed support for the decision, blaming Uber for increasing traffic and stealing trade from established cab firms.

 

TfL is said to have rejected Uber’s licence renewal on the basis that it is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator, according to the Guardian newspaper. The current Uber licence will expire on the 30th of September and the company’s UK arm plans to launch an appeal against TfL’s decision.  Uber works with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million users, called ‘riders’ in London alone.

Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi in a message to the app’s staff issued yesterday said: “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation,” he wrote. “It really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours.

“It’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do, and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles – we will vigorously appeal TfL’s decision – but rather building trust through our actions and our behaviour. In doing so, we will show that Uber is not just a really great product, but a really great company that is meaningfully contributing to society, beyond its business and its bottom line.”

TfL was supported by London’s city Mayor, Sadiq Khan, employment rights campaigners and a federation of black cab firms. Uber has in the past been slated for not giving its drivers full employment status and not paying them a living wage, according to its critics. Uber’s customers and drivers have expressed dismay, along with Trade Minister  Greg Hands.

TfL said it had rejected the company’s application to renew its licence because “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility” in relation to reporting serious criminal offences, obtaining medical certificates and driver background checks. TfL has also accused Uber of employing special cloaking software to make it difficult for authorities to access the app and records for such purposes as law enforcement.

Khan said he fully supported TfL’s decision, saying all companies needed to “play by the rules”.

He said: “I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.

“However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.”

But Hands, who is also minister for London, said: “At the flick of a pen Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5 million users of Uber stranded.

“Uber must address safety concerns and it is important there is a level playing field across the private hire market.

“But a blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, all while showing that the Mayor of London is closed to business and innovation.”

Sam Gyimah, a Conservative justice minister and MP (Member of Parliament) for the East Surrey political constituency, said it was “possible to have effective regulation of Uber without penalising the consumers who benefit from more choice and lower prices”.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents London’s black cab drivers, said the mayor had made the right decision.

“Since it first came on to our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers. This immoral company has no place on London’s streets,” he said.

Uber said in a statement the decision would “show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies”.

“3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision,” the company added.

Uber’s maverick business model have caused it to get in hot water in numerous world cities. There were protests against the app in places as far apart as Rio de Janeiro and Paris. Last year, its founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick was forced to step down after allegations of sexual harassment at the company’s headquarters and a fiery exchange with one of his company’s drivers, caught on camera. Many observers say that the decision by TfL could deal a fatal blow to Uber.

SOURCES:

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

“Uber stripped of London licence due to lack of corporate responsibility” – Sarah Butler and Gwyn Topham, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (23 September 2017) https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/22/uber-licence-transport-for-london-tfl

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Uber app” – freestocks.org, Flickr (12 January 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/freestocks/23707913564

 

EU FLAG PROMS: ‘Brexiteers’ angered by Royal Proms pro-EU flag distribution

London – VIJAY SHAH via JEFF FARRELL and The Independent

As the United Kingdom heads for its possible withdrawal from the European Union in two years’ time, supporters of EU withdrawal, informally known as Brexiteers, have hit out at a pro-EU campaign group who distributed EU flags to visitors at a music festival, The Independent reports.

The campaign group, EU Flag Proms Team, a previously unknown collective which favours UK remaining part of the European Union, had planned to distribute EU flags and banners outside the Royal Albert Hall in London, which plays host to a televised classical music festival, the Proms, which is specially promoted by the national public service broadcaster BBC. 

 

During the final day of the festival, known as the Last Night, EU Flag Proms team members planned to give out the 10,000 blue and yellow flags free to concertgoers to support EU closeness, while wearing t-shirts with the slogan “thank EU for the music EU”. EU Flag Proms explained the unusual stunt was to highlight how music is a universal language” that transcends borders.

It is a tradition among audiences at the Proms to wave national flags when national anthems are played, so for example the Union Flag (Union Jack) is waved when the song “Rule Britannia” is performed. As many classical composers featured at the Proms are from mainland Europe, it was hoped that the Proms’ visitors would be more supportive of Europe as a whole. The BBC’s own symphony orchestra featured music by the late composers Jean Sibelius and Richard Wagner, from Finland and Germany respectively.

A spokesman for EU Flags Proms Team told The Telegraph paper: “During the Age of Enlightenment Mozart, Handel and Bach all lived and worked for part of their lives in London.

“Presumably under the Brexit dark ages, they would not be welcome. What an appalling backward step for our country.

“We hope that the EU flags will remind the audience, the musicians and those watching from all over the world that music is a universal language that unites people, breaking down barriers and promoting communication, understanding, and peace.”

Leading supporters of Brexit, however have condemned EU Flag Proms, claiming that music can also be a signifier of national identity. Vociferous and controversial Brexit supporter, Nigel Farage, former leader of the right-wing nationalist UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), said to the Independent that he hoped Brexiteers would stage a similar counter-campaign distributing UK flags to Proms visitors. He said, referring to EU Flag Proms explanation for their campaign: “As for this airy fairy ‘music crosses all borders’ nonsense, music is also an important part of national symbolism in every part of the world.”

Farage said he planned to contact a former UKIP donor, Aaron Banks to possibly bankroll the counter-campaign, but due to the donor being abroad, the UKIP Union Flag giveaway did not take place for the Proms this year.

EU Flags Proms Team last year staged a similar Brexit protest outside the Royal Albert Hall, and handed out 2,500 EU flags to members of the public who turned up for Last Night of the Proms 2016.

British politicians are currently in negotiations with the European Union over the terms of withdrawal from the Union, which the UK was one of the first members of since it joined in 1973. The UK Brexit negotiation team has been slammed at home for heading into the talks unprepared and the EU has also been criticised for demanding a £50 billion ‘divorce settlement’ from the UK, for various projects and commitments made during the UK’s membership of the union. The United Kingdom plans to withdraw completely in 2019 after the two-year notice period after it triggered the Article 50 clause this year. There have been calls for a second referendum, either on the terms of Brexit or the withdrawal itself.

SOURCES:

Sarah Harness.

We Are The 48% – #StopBrexit, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1586336064998120/

“Brexiteers furious over thousands of EU flags handed out at Last Night of the Proms” – Jeff Farrell, The Telegraph (9 September 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/eu-flags-brexit-last-night-proms-bbc-royal-albert-hall-london-a7938206.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Flagging Support” – Dave Kellam, Flickr (24 February 2007) https://www.flickr.com/photos/davekellam/414918350

GRENFELL TRAGEDY: Police confirm 58 residents missing, possibly dead

London – VIJAY SHAH via Twitter

This week, a devastating fire tore through the Grenfell Tower, a residential block located in Kensington, London, causing major loss of life and homelessness in the early hours of June 14, 2017. A fire believed to have originated from an exploding fridge in a fourth-floor flat then spread rapidly through the 1970s tenement, housing mainly poorer Londoners. Aluminium cladding fixed to the outside of Grenfell Tower, which sits on the Lancaster West housing estate, and which was intended to smarten the structure’s appearance, may have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, trapping families and others behind thick smoke and burning debris.

According to the latest reports coming off of Twitter, London’s police authority, the Metropolitan Police service, believe that 58 Grenfell Tower residents are still missing, presumed deceased. The police force’s commander, Stuart Cundy, announced the figures via the social media website in the past hour. So far around 30 people are known to have died, but Cundy has warned that the figure is expected to rise, as firefighters comb through the gutted tower block.

Searches for the missing and dead were taking place yesterday, but were halted temporarily for safety reasons, but are resuming today. The Met have also promised families of the missing that “…. as soon as we can, we will locate and recover their loved ones”, according to tweeter Molly Hunter.

The government of British prime minister Theresa May has found itself under increasing pressure over its regulations governing safety provisions for the country’s, 4,000 or so tower blocks. Protests have taken place in Kensington itself and in central London demanding answers and justice for the victims.

SOURCES:

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

Rupert Rivett‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/rupephoto

“Police confirm 58 missing and presumed dead in Grenfell Tower tragedy” – Twitter Moments, Twitter Inc. (17 June 2017) https://twitter.com/i/moments/876088325739757568

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Grenfell Tower fire (wider view).jpg” – Natalie Oxford,  Twitter, Twitter Inc. via Wikipedia (14 June 2017) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grenfell_Tower_fire_(wider_view).jpg

 

LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK: Van steered into pedestrians, several killed

London – VIJAY SHAH via BBC News

Six people have been murdered and at least 48 have been injured after a terrorist atrocity on the world-famous London Bridge and Borough Market late yesterday, the BBC reports. Police gunned down the three attackers, all men, after a white van was deliberately crashed into pedestrians out and about on the bridge at 10.00 pm. The vehicle was then said to have proceeded to nearby Borough Market, where the three attackers got out and began stabbing random people, including one identified as a police officer.

Little is known about the assailants at this point, but eyewitnesses reported that they were wearing fake bomb vests.

The UK’s prime minister Theresa May described the events as ‘dreadful’, while opposition party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who heads the Labour party, condemned the incident as ‘brutal and shocking’, the BBC reported. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan said that the attack was a “deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners”.  The mayor also said that London would always be a safe global city and that Londoners would not be cowed by terrorism.

 

 

The country is still recovering from a suicide attack in Manchester last month that saw 22 people killed by a lone bomber at a Ariana Grande pop music concert at the city’s Manchester Arena. Many of the victims were children. In March this year, six people died in London after a lone wolf terrorist rammed his car into bystanders at Westminster Bridge, before stabbing a brave police officer to death as he tried to attack the UK’s parliament in central London.

London’s Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said it was believed there were only three attackers involved and the explosive vests they were wearing were “hoaxes”.

One of the dead terrorists was reported by an eyewitness lying on the ground near a Borough Market drinking establishment, the vest visible in the body’s vicinity.

The BBC also reported that eighty medics were sent to the scene of the attacks, which were closed off and swarming with police and ambulances, according to television news coverage witnessed by the author of this article at around 11.00 pm last night.

A reporter working for the BBC, named as Holly Jones, saw a van being driven at 50 to 60 miles per hour head across the bridge just before the incident. She told the BBC: “He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind”

Another eyewitness, identified only as Robbie, was sitting in a taxi opposite the Barrowboy and Banker pub on London Bridge. He told BBC Radio 5 Live, a national radio station: I saw about 20 or 30 people rushing to get back into the pub and five seconds later a big white van came screeching down the pavement,” 

“Two or three people jumped out. Initially, I thought it was a road traffic incident and the people had jumped out to see if anyone was injured, but I could tell immediately, they looked very aggressive.”

His friend Josh came out of the pub a few seconds later and saw people running up to the bridge from Borough Market.

“A chap (man) ran up and I heard him shout, ‘He’s got a knife, he’s stabbing people.'”

Another witness, Gerard, told the BBC: “They were running up shouting, ‘This is for Allah.’ They stabbed this girl maybe 10 times, 15 times. She was going, ‘Help me, help me.'”

Gerard said he chased the attackers, who were running into pubs and bars, and threw bottles, chairs and other items to try to stop them.

Steven Gibbs, who was drinking in St Christopher’s Inn, just metres from the scene, told the BBC: “A black cab drove past and the driver shouted, ‘Terrorist attack, run!’

“I stood up to take a look and then all of a sudden there were gunshots. Lots of people were screaming.”

Many of the injured, some in ‘critical condition’, have been sent to five nearby hospitals. The city’s police have set up hotlines and a casualty bureau for people to check up on loved ones. The bureau can be reached by calling 0800 096 1233 and 020 7158 0197 (+44 20 7158 0197 from outside the UK).

The area around Borough Market and the bridge was hastily placed on lockdown, with local pubs, bars and restaurants remaining closed. A police bomb disposal team was drafted in for fear the attackers had explosives with them. London Bridge itself and nearby Southwark Bridge are closed, along with major local thoroughfares such as Borough High Street and Lower Thames Street. Trains have been barred from stopping at the nearest Underground station, also called London Bridge.

Police investigations are still ongoing.

SOURCES:

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

“London attack: Seven killed in vehicle and stabbing incidents” – BBC News – UK (4 June 2017) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40146916

IMAGE CREDIT:

tabi3live, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/6_basharrdp

A BEACH IN LONDON?: Rooftop Beach to return to Brixton this May

 

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

For Londoners, a trip to the seaside usually means a forty-plus minute drive through heavy traffic and with screaming friends/kids/radios to the Essex coast or Brighton, but from this May, you can be beside the seaside on a rooftop in south London, courtesy of Brixton’s Rooftop Beach. This event brings together sand, sun, buckets, spades, street food and seasonal cocktails for a fun day out without having to book the coach.

The Rooftop Beach, organised by fresh pop-up bar maestros Brixton Rooftop, takes place from May 26 to 29, 2017 over the Bank Holiday weekend. The event is a reincarnation of Brixton’s hugely successful Brixton Beach, a 1980s Miami themed occasion held in 2016 by the same people behind local events South Pole Saloon, Brixton Beach Boulevard and Big Apple Brixton. South Pole Saloon was rated “Best Pop-Up London 2015” by Design My Night. As the clocks turn back and the summer cranks up, the Rooftop Beach will feature bars and music, all on a few tonnes or so of imported sand for that squishy sandy feeling between your toes, minus getting tangled up in seaweed or a lost jellyfish. The beach’s massive interest among people looking for their next eclectic social fix can be gauged from their Facebook page alone, where 5,700 people have planned to attend with another 35,000 interested in visiting, so this promises to be a roadblock

The beach is part of a contemporary pop-up trend of temporary entertainments and establishments that have become a hallmark of city life in London. In the past years, temporary beaches have become a feature on the banks of the River Thames, for instance, drawing in thousands of tourists, office workers and locals looking for an easy way to enjoy the beauty of the coast without having to travel far or book off two weeks from work.

The Brixton Rooftop Beach is tickets only (see sources below) and takes place at Brixton Rooftop’s HQ at Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH London, United Kingdom.

 

SOURCES:
“The Rooftop Beach is back in Brixton!” – Brixton Rooftop, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/events/292095127872148/
“RA: Brixton Rooftop” – Brixton Rooftop, RA/Resident Advisor Ltd. https://www.residentadvisor.net/promoter.aspx?id=68709
“About” – Brixton Rooftop, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/pg/BrixtonRooftop/about/
“BRIXTON BEACH BOULEVARD” – designmynight London https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/pop-up/brixton-beach-boulevard
Sevim Tonbul.
IMAGE CREDITS:
“Ruislip Lido” – diamond geezer, Flickr (2 June 2013) https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgeezer/9061773614

TOP DOCS: GP surgery in Forest Gate rated ‘outstanding’

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London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH and PHOEBE COOKE via Newham Recorder

A doctor’s surgery located in the Newham, east London district of Forest Gate has been rated ‘outstanding’ despite having a caseload of 13,000 patients and at a time when the National Health Service (NHS) is under strain from government cutbacks and pressure on services, local newspaper the Newham Recorder reported yesterday.

The Woodgrange Medical Practice, located on Woodgrange Road in the north of Forest Gate, was recently rated ‘outstanding’ in an inspection report issued by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), an independent regulator of health and social care services in England. Staff at the practice were overjoyed to receive the Commission’s rating, which they ascribed to a ‘team effort’.

 

Woodgrange was particularly commended for its ‘clear vision and leadership’, and CQC inspectors were impressed by its high levels of positive patient feedback and its work with residents with diabetes, asthma and mental health conditions – as well as its use of ‘innovative and proactive methods’ to improve patient outcomes. The surgery, located near Forest Gate rail station, was also lauded for its efficiency and excellence in staff leadership, and also received a secondary ‘good’ rating from the CQC for its record on safety, care and response to patients’ needs.

One of the senior general practitioners (doctors) at Woodgrange Medical Practice, Dr. Muhammad Naqvi, said “I think we are really responsive to the patients’ needs,

“We are working in a difficult climate from a financial perspective but also from the demand – in a borough like Newham the population always in flux.

“We have got a great team and the practice is really well led, we are very conscientious and try to leave no stone unturned.”

Naqvi’s partner GP, Dr. Yusuf Patel added It’s a wonderful acknowledgment and it’s good for Newham,

“This shows a lot of the hard work and team-work that our staff have put in. We just wanted to do our best and show what work our team can do – this is a fantastic surprise.”

The CQC inspection visit in May 2016, also gave special praise to the practice nurse Noreen Gilhespy, whose work at the surgery was also described as outstanding. Gilhespy runs some community group geared towards Forest Gaters’ general health, social interaction and exercise routines.

The surgery currently has 13,000 people on its books, a massive increase from the 1,300 it began with when it opened in 1993. It has been rated four out of five on the NHS Choices patient website.

SOURCES:
Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/
“Forest Gate GP practice with 13,000 patients rated ‘outstanding’” – Phoebe Cooke, Newham Recorder – News/Archant Community Media Ltd (3 February 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/forest_gate_gp_practice_with_13_000_patients_rated_outstanding_1_4875910
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Child at Doctor – Kid at Doctor’s Office” – Wellness GM, Flickr (23 January 2015) https://www.flickr.com/photos/130100316@N04/16162536809