TIME United Kingdom

UK’s First ‘Poo Bus’ Rides on Human Waste Fuel

Wessex Water/GENeco

It runs from Bristol Airport to Bath City Center

Talk about a gas guzzler: a new bus in Britain runs on biomethane fuel produced by humans sewage and food waste.

The Bio-Bus—or as it’s more affectionately known, “the poo bus”—can travel up to 186 miles on one tank of gas, which takes the annual waste of about five people to produce, the BBC reports. A single passenger’s annual food and sewage waste can fuel the Bio-Bus for 37 miles.

The bus, which emits up to 30% less carbon dioxide than conventional diesel vehicles, will shuttle people between Bristol Airport and Bath.

GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq said, “Gas-powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities but the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself.”

[BBC]

TIME United Kingdom

Why a British Politician Resigned Over This Tweeted Photograph

Then-Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry in 2013.
Then-Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry in 2013. Yui Mok—Zumapress

The image showed a house, a van and English flags. What's so controversial about that?

After all the verbiage expended and hot air vented ahead of the Nov. 20 by-election in a constituency in southeast England called Rochester and Strood, a picture turned out to be worth a thousand words — and then some. On the day of the special election, prompted by the defection of a sitting Member of Parliament from the ruling Conservatives to the insurgent United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a prominent member of the opposition left-of-center Labour Party tweeted a series of photographs as she toured the area canvassing support for her party’s candidate. One apparently innocuous post encapsulated so many uncomfortable truths — about Britain, its old wounds and new fractures, and the global crisis of trust in the political mainstream — that within hours the tweeter, MP Emily Thornberry, had resigned as a member of Labour’s front bench team. The controversy eclipsed a result that in its own way told the same story of fragmentation and tumult: victory for the anti-immigration, anti-European Union UKIP.

Here is Thornberry’s tweet. Look closely. If you even begin to understand why this picture caused offense, you are either from the U.K. or have spent more than the occasional vacation in its temperate, if increasingly distempered, climes.

So why did this tweet do so much damage?

One answer lies in the medium not the message. The digital revolution is transforming not only methods of communication but the world itself. Politicians have barely started to comprehend what this means for the business of politics, much less for wider society.

Such profound changes have left the slow-moving political mainstream floundering. The Labour Party has its roots in the labor movement and purports to be the party of working people. In finding the sight of a modest terraced house festooned with England flags and with a white van parked on the forecourt noteworthy enough to tweet, Thornberry highlighted the gap between the Westminster elite and ordinary voters. As Britain’s largest red-top tabloid, the Sun, put it, she was “seeming to sneer at a White Van Man’s England flags.”

White Van Man is the Joe Six-Pack or Walmart Mom of U.K. politics, representative of a segment of the electorate mainstream parties are eager to court but find increasingly hard to reach. The White Van Man in this case turned out to be a car dealer named Dan Ware who revealed in a brief interview with the Daily Telegraph that he didn’t even know a by-election was taking place. He said: “I will continue to fly the flags — I don’t care who it pisses off. I know there is a lot of ethnic minorities that don’t like it. They [the flags] have been up since the [soccer] World Cup.”

After more than four years of austerity policies imposed by Britain’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition, Labour should be in pole position to win the votes of White Van owners across the nation when Britons elect a new government in May 2015. Instead it is struggling under the hapless leadership of Ed Miliband and a band of metropolitan parliamentarians as apt to flinch from the classes who once were their mainstay as to engage with them.

But this isn’t just a problem of the left. Margaret Thatcher made an easy connection with so-called Middle Britain. Britain’s current Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, posh and urban, has tried unsuccessfully to outsource that job to spin doctors, tabloids and the few members of his team not to come from privileged backgrounds. The Liberal Democrats, who used to attract protest votes that might otherwise have gone to Labour or the Conservatives, sacrificed those potential votes as well as the support of their own well-meaning grassroots by deciding in 2010 to enter coalition with the Conservatives. The outcome of the Rochester and Strood by-election illustrated the scale of their plight: their candidate Geoff Juby got only 349 votes and lost his deposit.

Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system favors big parties and majority governments. When the current coalition took office in 2010 it was the first such arrangement in 70 years. But the weakness of those big parties is making space for others to flourish, such as the Scottish National Party, which came close in September to breaking up the United Kingdom and may yet succeed in that aim; and, in England, UKIP, which is pushing for a break with the European Union. UKIP’s rhetoric on restricting immigration chimes with voters who have seen competition for jobs and housing intensify and the strain on public services increase as the U.K. has battled to reduce its debt and ride out a prolonged period of economic instability.

England’s Cross of St George, the flags that caught Thornberry’s attention with such dramatic consequences, have become symbolic not only of England but England’s struggles — with identity and between increasingly diverse populations. Far-right groups such as Britain First have sought to co-opt the flag, and that may be why Thornberry took the snap. It is often hard to distinguish England flags hung in support of the soccer team from England flags hoisted in anger.

Britain First’s candidate Jayda Franzen took a laughable 56 votes at the Rochester and Strood by-election. By contrast UKIP, which always insisted it is anti-Europe not xenophobic, has shed some of its harder-right elements and has professionalized and broadened its appeal. Mark Reckless, the MP whose recent defection to UKIP from the Conservative Party sparked the by-election, won the ballot comfortably with 16,867 votes (42.1%), compared to the Conservatives’ 13,947 votes (34.81%) and Labour’s 6,713 (16.76%).

Like Thornberry’s tweet, the meaning of the results is open to several interpretations but all of them point in the same direction: to the possibility that the U.K.’s May 2015 elections won’t grant an overall majority to a mainstream party and could leave smaller parties such as UKIP holding the balance of power. The Conservatives have promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s relationship with Europe if they win and to try to renegotiate that relationship. UKIP simply wants out, and across Europe parties with similar messages are growing in strength. It may prove, and in more than one sense, that the center cannot hold.

TIME U.K.

Soccer Club Will Not Let Convicted Rapist Train

The club was criticized for initially agreeing to allow the soccer star to train

British soccer club Sheffield United has withdrawn its offer to let convicted rapist Ched Evans use their training facilities following his release from prison, according to a statement made Thursday.

Sheffield United had agreed to allow Evans to train with them again after the Professional Footballers’ Association argued the soccer star should be free to resume his career.

MORE: Soccer star convicted of rape returns to training amid angry debate

The club has now reversed the decision, citing the unexpected intensity of the public reaction.

A string of patrons resigned from the club and more than 165,000 members of the public signed a petition calling on the club not to allow Evans to play again.

Evans played for Sheffield United for three years before he was convicted in 2012 of raping a 19-year-old woman. He served two and a half years of a five-year sentence and was released from prison last month.

 

 

TIME United Kingdom

First Bus to Run on Human Waste Takes to UK Streets

Gas-powered vehicles are better for the environment

Britain’s first bus to be powered entirely by human and food waste went into service Thursday.

The environment-friendly vehicle can travel up to 186 miles on one tank of biomethane gas, which is produced from the annual sewage and food waste of about five people.

Engineers hope the bus will play an important role in improving urban air quality and in providing a sustainable way of fuelling public transport.

The Bio-Bus seats 40 people and will be a shuttle between Bristol Airport and Bath in South West England.

[Guardian]

 

 

 

 

 

MONEY home prices

The World’s 10 Most Expensive Houses—and Who Owns Them

Feast your eyes on some of the priciest homes on the planet.

The owners of the world’s most luxurious houses can be a mysterious bunch. We all know who owns Buckingham Palace, but does anyone recognize the name Tim Blixseth? Or know the Indian billionaire who built a 27-story apartment building just for himself? We’re guessing not.

Well, the mystery ends here. Using information provided by CompareCamp.com, we’ve got a rundown of the world’s 10 most expensive houses—modern castles, really—and the people lucky enough, and rich enough, to own them.

 

  • 7 Upper Phillimore Gardens

    Location: London
    Value: $128 million
    Details: This 10-bedroom prep school turned mansion has an underground swimming pool, a sauna, gym, cinema, and even a panic room. That’s all in addition to an interior covered in marble, gold, and priceless artworks.
    Owner: Olena Pinchuk—daughter of Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s second president. She is known for being the founder of the ANTIAIDS Foundation and a friend of Elton John.

  • Kensington Palace Gardens

    Location: London
    Value: $140 million
    Details: Located on London’s Billionaires Row, the already tricked-out pad will soon add an underground extension with a tennis court, health center, and auto museum.
    Owner: Roman Abramovich—a Russian billionaire and owner of the private investment firm Millhouse LLC. He’s probably best known in the West as the owner of the English Premier League’s Chelsea Football Club.

  • Seven The Pinnacle

    Yellowstone Club near Big Sky, Montana.
    Erik Petersen—AP Photo/Bozeman Daily Chronicle

    Location: Big Sky, Montana
    Value: $155 million
    Details: The largest property in the Yellowstone Club, a private ski and golf community for the mega-rich, the house has heated floors, multiple pools, a gym, a wine cellar, and even its own ski lift.
    Owners: Edra and Tim Blixseth—Real estate developer and timber baron Tim Blixseth cofounded the Yellowstone Club, but the club’s bankruptcy, a divorce, and other troubles have seriously reduced his wealth in recent years.

  • Hearst Castle

    Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle, designed in style of Roman baths.
    Doug Steakley—Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

    Location: San Simeon, California
    Value: $191 million
    Details: The 27-bedroom castle, used in the movie The Godfather, has hosted John and Jackie Kennedy, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, and other famous figures.
    Owners: William Randolph Hearst’s trustees—The castle, built by the country’s first newspaper magnate, is now a heritage and tourist site and part of the California Park System.

  • Ellison Estate

    Location: Woodside, California
    Value: $200 million
    Details: Less a house than a compound, this 23-acre property is home to 10 buildings, a man-man lake, koi pond, tea house, and bath house.
    Owner: Larry Ellison—Co-founder of Oracle and the third-richest man in the world in 2013, according to Forbes.

  • 18-19 Kensington Palace Gardens

    Location: London
    Value: $222 million
    Details: Another property on Billionaires Row, 18-19 sits alongside the home of Prince William and Kate Middleton. This particular residence has 12 bedrooms, Turkish baths, an indoor pool, and parking for 20 cars.
    Owner: Lakshmi Mittal—The head of Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steel manufacturer, and, according to Forbes, one of the 100 richest men in India.

  • Four Fairfield Pond

    Location: Sagaponack, New York
    Value: $248.5 million
    Details: This 29-bedroom home sits on 63 acres and has its own power plant. Inside, there are 39 bathrooms, a basketball court, bowling alley, squash courts, tennis courts, three swimming pools, and a 91-foot long dining room.
    Owner: Ira Rennert—Owner the Renco Group, a holding company with investments in auto manufacturing and smelting. He also has holdings in metals and mining.

     

  • Villa Leopolda

    Villefranche-sur-Mer, south-eastern France, the villa of Leopolda, property of the widow of businessman Edmond Safra, Lilly Safra.
    Eric Estrade—AFP/Getty Images

    Location: Cote D’Azure, France
    Value: $750 million
    Details: This 50-acre estate includes “a commercial sized green house, a swimming pool and pool house, an outdoor kitchen, helipad, and a guest house larger than the mansions of most millionaires,” according to Variety. The house was famously used as a set in the 1955 Hitchcock classic To Catch a Thief.
    Owner: Lily Safra—A Brazilian philanthropist and widow of Lebanese banker William Safra. Her husband died when another one of the couple’s homes burned down, apparently due to arson.

  • Antilia

    India, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Kemp's Corner, Antilia aka the Ambani building on Altamont Road.
    Alex Robinson/AWL Images Ltd.—Getty Images

    Location: Mumbai, India
    Value: $1 billion
    Details: The Antilia isn’t even really a home in the traditional sense. This 27-story, 400,000-square-foot building has six underground parking floors, three helicopter pads, and requires a 600-person staff just to maintain it.
    Owner: Mukesh Ambani—India’s richest man, with a net worth of $23.6 billion, according to Forbes. Ambani made his money running Reliance Industries, an energy and materials company.

  • Buckingham Palace

    Buckingham Palace
    FCL Photography—Alamy

    Location: London
    Value: $1.55 billion
    Details: Technically still a house, but certainly not for sale, the Queen’s residence was valued at roughly $1.5 billion by the Nationwide Building Society in 2012. The property holds 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 bedrooms, 188 staff rooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.
    Owner: The British Sovereign—Currently Queen Elizabeth II, who has ruled since February 6, 1952.

    See CompareCamp.com’s full graphic, including more images of these home, here

    Read next: 4 Things Millionaires Have in Common, Backed by Research

TIME World War II

Remembering ‘The Few’: Photos of the Young Pilots Who Saved England

Portraits of the young fliers, from many nations, who helped save England during the Battle of Britain.

“The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” — Winston Churchill addressing the House of Commons, Aug. 20, 1940

Of the countless memorable phrases uttered by the indomitable British Prime Minister during the war years, Winston Churchill’s tribute to and celebration of “The Few,” as the airmen of the Royal Air Force have ever since been affectionately known, endures as among his most moving and most heartfelt. (That not all of the pilots were, in fact, British—there were Poles, Czechs, Americans, Canadians, Irish, New Zealanders and others, as well—that fact hardly dilutes the power of the sentiment, or the intensity of Churchill’s and England’s gratitude to those fliers.)

In 1940′s pivotal, four-month Battle of Britain, thousands of these (mostly young) pilots held off fighters from the mighty German Luftwaffe, quite literally saving the Sceptered Isle from defeat at the hands of the Third Reich and proving to a skeptical world that the Nazi military juggernaut was neither inevitable nor invincible.

Here, LIFE.com offers charming, revealing portraits of The Few by photographer William Vandivert. (Most of these photos did not originally appear in LIFE magazine.)

[See all of LIFE's galleries]

As LIFE put it to its readers the following spring, when the magazine ran some of Vandivert’s pictures in the March 21, 1941, issue:

England’s most important young men today are the several thousand youth who fly the Hurricane and Spitfire fighters in the Battle of Britain. They undoubtedly saved England last fall from Nazi invasion. Hitler must knock them all out of the air over Britain before he dares to invade England this spring.

[In these pictures] LIFE takes you to an actual airfield of the RAF’s Fighter Command during the airblitz last fall. Here you see new kind of battle action — what goes on on the ground at a fighter station while the fate of a nation is being fought out in the clouds.

These young British fliers, unlike their German opponents, are elaborately modest. There is little or no brag and swagger about them and they fight the Germans with a sort of casual perfection that is the envy of every other air force in the world. Their job calls for a fit young man of great calm and great optimism, preferably not in love. Very few of these young fighter pilots are married. Their ages range around 23. It takes moral self-confidence and concentration to kill early, often and quickly, without a sense of guilt.

Close to 3,000 RAF fliers took to the skies in the Battle of Britain. More than 500 were killed; around 80 percent of those lost were Britons. The chances of The Few ever being forgotten by the nation they helped save? Zero.

TIME United Kingdom

U.K. Looks to Stop Suspected Terror Fighters from Coming Home

They could be barred from U.K. for two years

The British government outlined new antiterrorism measures Thursday to bar suspected jihadists from entering the U.K. and to prevent would-be fighters from leaving.

British citizens who travel abroad to fight alongside the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) will be prevented from returning to the U.K. for two years and only allowed to re-enter if they consent to face trial, home detention, police surveillance or attend a de-radicalization course, the Guardian reports.

The plans, revealed by Prime Minister David Cameron in a speech to the Australian parliament in Canberra, follow a pledge Cameron made in September to increase counterterrorism efforts after the U.K. raised its terror threat level to “severe.”

Security services believe up to 500 Britons have travelled to Syria, many of whom are aged between 16 and 21.

[The Guardian]

TIME United Kingdom

European Migrants Contribute $32 Billion to U.K. Economy, Study Says

Polish workers on Braeburn apple orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire, England on Aug. 7, 2014.
Polish workers on Braeburn apple orchard at Stocks Farm in Worcestershire, England on Aug. 7, 2014. Joe Giddens—PA/AP

E.U. migrants pay out more in taxes to the U.K. than they receive in benefits

European migrants to the U.K. contribute $32 billion (£20 billion) to British revenues according to new research which rejects claims that new arrivals are a drain on the health and social security system.

The Guardian reported that between 2000 and 2011, migrants from countries such as Germany and Romania contributed far more than they claimed in health insurance and unemployment and other benefits.

Professor Christian Dustmann, co-author of the study, says that one of the greatest concerns in the public debate on migration is “whether immigrants contribute their fair share to the tax and welfare systems,” he said, “This latest study paints a largely positive picture of immigration’s fiscal effects on the U.K.”

European immigrants appear to make the most substantial contributions because of “their higher average labor market participation compared with natives and their lower receipt of welfare benefits,” says the report.

Migrants from the original 15 European Union countries, including France and Germany contributed $24bn more in taxes than they got in benefits while migrants from eastern Europe contributed $8bn more.

The researchers, say their findings showed that the U.K. has continued to attract highly educated and skilled immigrants and immigration’s positive net contribution has helped to reduce the tax burden on native British workers.

[The Guardian]

TIME Hong Kong

British Banker Appears in Hong Kong Court Accused of Killing Two Women

Rurik George Caton Jutting
Rurik George Caton Jutting, right, is escorted by a police officer in a police van before appearing in a court in Hong Kong on Nov. 3, 2014 AP

The case has stunned a city whose young financiers appear to live a gilded life

A British banker charged with murdering two young women in his luxury apartment in Hong Kong, leaving one of the bodies to decompose in a suitcase on the balcony for days, appeared in a local court on Monday.

Rurik George Caton Jutting, a 29-year-old British national, is accused of killing one woman on Oct. 27 and murdering another on Nov. 1, according to court documents. Both women were found dead with cuts to their necks in the banker’s apartment in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong Island.

Jutting, wearing all black and escorted into the courthouse in a police van, did not ask for bail at his brief appearance in court. Martyn Richmond, a duty lawyer representing Jutting, said outside court that his client was cooperating with the police investigation.

“He fully understands the charges against him,” said Richmond.

Police said that Jutting called officers to his 31st-floor apartment in the exclusive J Residence building at about 3:40 a.m. local time on Saturday. Once there, officers found a woman with cut wounds to her “neck and buttock” and pronounced her dead at the scene, according to a police statement.

Outside, on the apartment’s balcony, police later found a suitcase containing a dead woman, with cuts to her neck, who appeared to have been killed days earlier. She was identified in court documents as Sumarti Ningsih. The other victim was not named in court papers. Both women were ages 25 to 30, police said.

The Indonesian consulate in Hong Kong confirmed in a statement on Monday that Sumarti was an Indonesian citizen from the town of Cilacap who had entered Hong Kong on Oct. 4 and had permission to stay until Nov. 3.

Sam Aryadi, a spokesperson for the consulate, tells TIME that the second victim “might also be an Indonesian citizen” and that the consulate is coordinating with the Hong Kong police to learn the victim’s identity.

Jutting, who was arrested at the scene, is identified on his LinkedIn profile as an employee at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s branch in Hong Kong. Paul Scanlon, a spokesperson for Bank of America, said a person named Rurik Jutting was a former employee but had recently left the firm.

The profile says he joined the Hong Kong branch in 2013, after first working for the banking juggernaut in 2010 in London, where he previously had been employed by Barclays. He is a Cambridge graduate.

The Wan Chai area where Jutting lived is highly diverse. Fashionable restaurants and expensive apartment buildings are found in its southern quarter, but just a block or two north, sex workers from all over Southeast Asia and parts of Africa ply their trade, working on street corners or out of Lockhart Road’s notorious bars and dance clubs.

Sex is for sale — but so is everything from breakfast to ballet classes. On weekend mornings, local families tote their kids to music lessons in nearby commercial towers, expats pony up for hangover-friendly brunches, and women in bikini tops and tiny hot pants prop their elbows on bar counters, waiting for customers at any hour of day or night.

A recent listing for a one-bedroom, 608-sq.-ft. apartment in Jutting’s apartment building asks for $4,900 per month rent. A 350-sq.-ft. apartment goes for around $2,800 per month. The building has 381 units in total and includes a “Sky Clubhouse” with a rooftop heated pool, garden and lounge.

On Oct. 15, Jutting posted to his Facebook profile a photo taken on the balcony where Sumarti’s body was found just over two weeks later.

His most recent Facebook cover photo is a screenshot of a Mail Online headline that proclaims: “Money DOES buy happiness: Growing wealth of Asian nations is making their people happier — but woman are more content than men.”

Jutting’s current profile picture is a screenshot of a Guardian article headline that asks “Is 29 the perfect age?”

Bloomberg News reports that an automated email reply from Jutting’s work account said he was out of the office “indefinitely” and that the inquiry should be sent instead to someone who was not “an insane psychopath.”

Hong Kong’s murder rate is low, relative to other big cities, but occasional high-profile and unusually lurid cases have attracted considerable public interest. In 2003, an American woman, Nancy Kissel, was convicted of killing her husband, a Merril Lynch banker. The case was popularly known as the “milkshake murder,” in reference to Kissel’s use of a spiked milkshake to drug her husband before bludgeoning him to death.

— With reporting by Yenni Kwok / Hong Kong

Read next: One Month After Tear Gas, Hong Kong Protesters Ponder Their Next Step

TIME United Kingdom

Watch a Wayward Jogger Collide With the British Prime Minister

Police say runner was merely "in the wrong place at the wrong time"

A British jogger made national news on Monday after his midday run set him on a collision course with Prime Minister David Cameron, prompting the man’s arrest, speculation as to why he did it, and an official review of Cameron’s security detail.

Footage of the incident shows Cameron and his security retinue walking out of the civic hall in Leeds, a city in West Yorkshire, when a dreadlocked jogger runs into the frame, cutting a direct path between the security guards and into the prime minister, appearing to give him a gentle shove.

Security officers seized the man and bundled Cameron into a waiting car. Initial reports identified the jogger as a protester, which local police later denied, calling the incident “nothing sinister.”

‘‘No threats were made, and after the man’s details were checked, he was de-arrested and allowed on his way,” read a statement from the West Yorkshire Police department.

The runner, later identified as Dean Balboa Farley, also took to Facebook (in a post that has since been taken down) to set the record straight on his motives. “So I’m all over the news as ‘the protester that attacked David Cameron in Leeds,’” he wrote. “Yeah, if you call brushing into someone while running then getting assaulted by half a dozen coppers in suits…”

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