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Energy firms facing gas and electricity price review

In Prime Time News on November 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm

26 November 2010 Last updated at 12:02

Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan 

chanan: ‘We’re very concerned, on behalf of consumers’

Ofgem is to investigate recent energy price rises, as it says they have significantly widened suppliers’ profit margins.

The watchdog said that the net profit margin of £65 per typical customer in September was now £90, a 38% rise.

The calculations take into account price rises announced by three of the “big six” suppliers in recent weeks.

Energy UK, which represents the major energy suppliers, said it had “nothing to hide” during a review.

Ofgem will review the domestic energy market to see if more action is needed to protect consumers.

A previous investigation of the market in October 2008 found no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour in the sector.

Review

The work will be completed by March 2011, and will study the “effectiveness of the retail market“.

The regulator said it was asking if “companies are playing it straight with consumers” after the latest figures showed a 38% rise in profit margins from the typical dual-fuel customer in the last three months.

“The energy retail market can only be fully effective if consumers have confidence that the market is transparent and easy to take part in,” said Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan.

“So we will go beyond our usual quarterly reports on prices and do a comprehensive review of the retail market and our recent reforms from the consumers’ perspective.

“Greater transparency in the market is good for consumers, investors and for the energy industry as a whole.”

Last week, Scottish Power said its customers’ electricity bills would rise by an average of 8.9% while prices for gas customers would increase by an average of 2%.

This came after Scottish and Southern Energy said it would put up its domestic gas tariffs by 9.4% at the start of December.

British Gas customers also face a 7% rise in gas and electricity bills this winter.

Competition?

The review will not immediately make any change to customers’ bills.

Fuel costs graph

However it was understandable that consumers be reassured that companies were not “lining their pockets”, Mr Buchanan told the BBC.

Ofgem had the power to make some changes to the way companies operated, he added.

But they could also ask for more legislative support from the government or go to the Competition Commission.

Adam Scorer, of watchdog Consumer Focus, said that there was no cartel among the big energy suppliers.

“What the Ofgem review will not show is that the CEOs [chief executives] of the six major suppliers are huddling around a park bench with a calculator,” he said.

The problem was the structure of the market, he said, that prevented it being competitive, and it was impossible for a new entrant into the sector to challenge the major suppliers’ dominance.

“They do not feel the hot breath of competition on their necks,” he said.

But Energy UK, which represents the major suppliers, said that energy pricing was a complex business.

“The energy companies have been working closely with Ofgem for some time to implement an array of reforms that should bring significant benefits to customers,” said Christine McGourty, director of Energy UK.

“We welcome this review as an opportunity to explain energy pricing. We have nothing to hide and believe in transparency in this complex marketplace.

“The review is the latest in a long line of investigations into the energy market in recent years and no previous investigation has found anything to concern the competition authorities.

“Ofgem’s own analysis of profits across the sector shows that energy supply businesses have operated at a loss for many years of the last decade.”

The spokesman added that the latest profit margin will be eroded as wholesale prices rise.

How are you coping with your energy bills? How much confidence do you have in the energy retail market?

 

 

Ronni Scotts

In Being In The Moment, Business, Daily Meditations, Media Dailies, Music For Pleasure, Prime Time News, Readers Choice, The Flying Muse, The Master Class, The Vitriolic Potical Corner, This Day In History, To Deal or Not on September 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm


Ronnie Scott (originally Ronald Schatt) was born in Aldgate, east London, into a family of Russian Jewish descent on his father’s side, and Portuguese antecedents on his mother’s.[1] Scott began playing in small jazz clubs at the age of sixteen. he toured with Johnny Claes, the trumpeter, from 1944 to 1945, and with Ted Heath in 1946, as well as working with Ambrose, Cab Kaye, and Tito Burns. He was involved in the short-lived musicians’ co-operative Club Eleven band and club (1948–1950), with Johnny Dankworth and others, and was a member of the generation of British musicians who worked on the Cunard liner Queen Mary (intermittently 1946–c. 1950) in order to visit New York and hear the new music directly. Scott was among the earliest British musicians to be influenced in his playing style by Charlie Parker and other bebop musicians.

In 1952 Scott joined Jack Parnell‘s orchestra, then led his own nine-piece group and quintet featuring among others, Pete King, with whom he would later open his jazz club, Victor Feldman, Hank Shaw and Phil Seamen from 1953 to 1956. He co-led The Jazz Couriers with Tubby Hayes from 1957 to 1959, and was leader of a quartet including Stan Tracey (1960–1967).

During this period he also did occasional session work; his best-known work here is the solo on The Beatles‘ “Lady Madonna“. He was said to be upset at the amount of his saxophone that made the final cut on the original record. In subsequent recordings Paul McCartney restored greater sections into the song.

From 1967–69, Scott was a member of The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band which toured Europe extensively and which also featured fellow tenor players Johnny Griffin and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, at the same time running his own octet including John Surman and Kenny Wheeler (1968–1969), and a trio with Mike Carr on keyboards and Bobby Gien on drums (1971–1975). He then went on to lead various groups, most of which included John Critchinson on keyboards and Martin Drew on drums.

Ronnie Scott’s playing was much admired on both sides of the Atlantic. Charles Mingus said of him in 1961: “Of the white boys, Ronnie Scott gets closer to the negro blues feeling, the way Zoot Sims does.”[2] Despite his central position in the British jazz scene, Scott recorded infrequently during the last few decades of his career. He suffered periods of depression and, while recovering slowly from surgery for tooth implants, died at age 69 from an accidental overdose of barbiturates prescribed by his dentist.[3]

He was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium.

The author Joel Lane is Scott’s nephew.

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club at 47 Frith Street, Soho, London.

Main article: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Scott is perhaps best remembered for co-founding, with former tenor sax player Pete King, the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, which opened on 30 October 1959 in a basement at 39 Gerrard Street in London’s Soho district, with the debut of a young alto sax player named Peter King (no relation), before later moving to a larger venue nearby at 47 Frith Street in 1965. The original venue continued in operation as the “Old Place” until the lease ran out in 1967, and was used for performances by the up and coming generation of domestic musicians.

Scott regularly acted as the club’s genial Master of Ceremonies, and was (in)famous for his repertoire of jokes, asides and one-liners. A typical introduction might go: “Our next guest is one of the finest musicians in the country. In the city, he’s crap”.

After Scott’s death, King continued to run the club for a further nine years, before selling the club to theatre impresario Sally Greene in June 2005.

Selected band line-ups

As well as participating in name orchestras, Scott led or co-led numerous bands featuring some of Britain’s most prominent jazz musicians of the day.

Alan Dean’s Beboppers

1949

Ronnie Scott (ts), Johnny Dankworth (as), Hank Shaw (tp), Tommy Pollard (p), Pete Chilver (g), Joe Muddel (b), Laurie Morgan (d), Alan Dean (vocal).

Ronnie Scott Orchestra

– 1954, 1955

Ronnie Scott (ts), Derek Humble (as), Pete King (ts), Hank Shaw (tp), Ken Wray (tb), Benny Green (bs), Victor Feldman (p), Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).

Ronnie Scott Quintet

– 1955

Ronnie Scott (ts), Hank Shaw (tp), Victor Feldman (p), Sammy Stokes/Lennie Bush (b), Phil Seamen (d).

Ronnie Scott Big Band

– 1955

Ronnie Scott, Pete King, (ts), Joe Harriott, Doug Robinson (as), Benny Green (bs), Stan Palmer, Hank Shaw, Dave Usden, Jimmy Watson, (tp) Jack Botterill, Robin Kaye, Mac Minshull, Ken Wray (tb), Norman Stenfalt (p), Eric Peter (b), Phil Seamen (d).

The Jazz Couriers

Ronnie Scott (ts), Tubby Hayes (ts, vib), Terry Shannon (p), Phil Bates (b), Bill Eyden (d).

(On 7 April 1957, The Jazz Couriers co-led by Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott, debuted at the new Flamingo Club in Wardour Street, Soho. The group lasted until 30 August 1959).

Ronnie Scott Quartet

(1964)

Ronnie Scott (ts), Stan Tracey (p), Malcolm Cecil (b), Jackie Dougan (d).

Ronnie Scott Quintet

(1990)

Dick Pearce (tp), Ronnie Scott (ts), John Critchinson (p), Ron Mathewson (b), Martin Drew (d).

Selected discography

  • 1948: Boppin’ at Esquire (indigo)
  • 1958: The Couriers of Jazz! (Carlton/Fresh Sounds)
  • 1965: The Night Is Scott and You’re So Swingable (Redial)
  • 1965: When I Want Your Opinion, I’ll Give it to You (Jazz House)
  • 1969: Live at Ronnie Scott’s (Columbia)
  • 1977: Serious Gold (Pye)
  • 1990: Never Pat a Burning Dog (Jazz House)
  • 1997: If I Want Your Opinion (Jazz House)
  • 1997: The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Jazz House)
  • 2000: Boppin’ at Esquire (Indigo)
  • 2002: Ronnie Scott Live at the Jazz Club (Time Music)

See also

References

  • Clarke, Donald (Ed.). The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Viking, 1989.
  • Kernfeld, Barry Dean (Ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Macmillan Press, 1988.
  • Kington, Miles; Gelly, Dave. The Giants of Jazz, Schirmer Books, 1986.
  • Larkin, Colin. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd edition, Macmillan, 1998.
  • Ruppli, Michel; Novitsky, Ed. The Mercury Labels. A discography, Vol. V., Record and Artist Indexes, Greenwood Press, 1993.
  1. ^ The Man Behind The Club (Retrieved March 10, 2010)
  2. ^ “Ronnie Scott”, Brian Priestley, in Carr et al.
  3. ^ Jazz and death: medical profiles of jazz greats By Frederick J. Spencer. University Press of Mississippi. Page 2010
This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations where appropriate. (January 2010)

[Reprinted from Wikipedia]

Vocalist – General, Vocalist – Bass, Vocalist – Baritone, Vocalist – Tenor, Vocalist – Soprano, Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums, Other Percussion, Violin, Trumpet, Saxophone, Keyboard, Piano, Background Singer, Harmonica, Flute, Other, Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle, Dobro.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AfObIgI%5D

John Francis Anthony Pastorius III (December 1, 1951 – September 21, 1987), better known as Jaco Pastorius, was an American jazz musician and composer widely acknowledged for his skills as an electric bass player.
His playing style was noteworthy for containing intricate solos in the higher register. His innovations also included the use of harmonics and the “singing” quality of his melodies on fretless bass. Pastorius suffered from mental illness including a Substance-related disorder, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982. He died in 1987 at age 35 following a violent altercation at a Fort Lauderdale drinking establishment.
Pastorius was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1988, one of only four bassists to be so honored (and the only electric bass guitarist). He is regarded as one of the most influential bass players of all time.

Listen Now…

School sends home 200 pupils in uniform crackdown!

In Business, Prime Time News on September 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm
Walkden High headteacher Elaine Hilton said parents and children had received fair warning of the hard-line approach
Walkden High headteacher Elaine Hilton said parents and children had received fair warning of the hard-line approach

Hundreds of pupils were sent home from just one school in a blitz over uniforms.

Around 200 children were turned away from Walkden High for failing to meet the tough dress code.

Teachers lined up children on the playground for an inspection before allowing them into lessons.

Headteacher Elaine Hilton said parents and children had received fair warning of the hard-line approach .

She said: “A letter outlining our approach to uniform concerns, together with a copy of the policy on standards of personal appearance and uniform, was posted to all parents.”

But one mum, whose 13-year-old girl was sent home, said: “My daughter wasn’t let in because of her shoes. They are plain black pumps with a tiny bit of a heel.

“Hundreds of children were being looked over and sent back home if they didn’t fit the bill. “There were kids were milling outside the gates and parents were fighting to get through to pick them up again. It was mayhem.”

In keeping with many schools, blazers and tie must be worn at all times and jewellery is banned.

In addition, children at the Salford school, which has 1,200 pupils, are ordered not have their ears pierced during the school term.

Mrs Hilton, who has been in charge the school for the last 11 years, said:

“The majority response from parents has been supportive and led to a swift resolution of most uniform concerns.

“Walkden High remains committed to ensuring that students adopt the highest standards in all aspects of school life”

She said she believed the majority of those sent away would now stick to the ‘business-like’ dress requirements.

The clothing blitz comes as thousands of students returned from their summer break for the new academic year.

The Birch Road school was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted two years ago. Staff and pupils a

School sends home 200 pupils in uniform crackdown – Manchester Evening News.

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Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s, which has outlets in Manchester’s Spinningfields and the Trafford Centre, has agreed to a £90.3m takeover by Middle Eastern retail giant Landmark Group.

Dubai-headquartered Landmark has offered 142p a share in cash for Carluccio’s, which has 47 restaurants and food shops in the UK.

Carluccio’s – founded by celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio and his wife Priscilla in 1991 – said the deal “represents an attractive premium, in cash, at a time of macro-economic uncertainty”.

Landmark – which recently upped its stake in Carluccio’s to more than 5 per cent – already holds the franchise for Carluccio’s Middle Eastern operations and has opened three restaurants in Dubai, with another in the pipeline.

Shares in Carluccio’s leapt 44 per cent on news of the recommended offer.

Mukesh Jagtiani – the billionaire owner and chairman of Landmark – said Carluccio’s was a “strong business and brand”.

He added: “We are encouraged by Carluccio’s resilient performance during a turbulent economic period and are confident that Carluccio’s should benefit from more favourable macro trends in the future.”

Carluccio’s grew profits by 8% to £2.7 million in the six months to March 28 as its affordable dining appealed to consumers.

But Carluccio’s recently raised concerns over its outlook, warning on releasing interim results in May that Government austerity measures had cast a shadow over trading prospects.

The group has long been the centre of takeover speculation, with mooted suitors being private equity and Richard Caring – the owner of top London restaurants including celebrity haunt The Ivy.

David Bernstein, Carluccio’s senior independent director, said the Landmark takeover “represents an excellent opportunity for all those involved”.

“For our employees, it represents the opportunity to benefit from belonging to an international organisation of enlarged scale and breadth. Our customers will, however, see no change in our focus on quality, value, authenticity and the highest standards of service.”

Carluccio’s launched with the aim of offering quality, authentic Italian food at reasonable prices – its average spend is around £13 per customer.

Its founder has been a regular face on television cookery programmes, but is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the restaurant business.

Garfunkels and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group today said it had halted a slide in sales after a hit from the volcanic ash crisis and slower trade during the World Cup.

The firm – which owns more than 40 restaurants in airports – was impacted by the air travel woes in the first six months of its year, while the World Cup added to pressure on the rest of its estate.

Interim like-for-like sales fell 0.5 per cent, but it said it had seen more resilient recent trading since then, with like-for-like sales flat in the 35 weeks of the year so far.

Cost cutting helped the group deliver a 13 per cent hike in underlying pre-tax profits to £24.6m in the 27 weeks to July 4, or up 10 per cent on a 26-week comparable basis.

This came despite the troubles at its airport eateries, where sales plummeted by around 90 per cent over the week-long ash cloud crisis, knocking more than £500,000 off earnings.

Its Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito businesses were then impacted by weaker trade during the World Cup.

This left interim earnings below a year earlier at Chiquito, although Frankie & Benny’s grew sales and earnings in a “creditable” performance.

The Restaurant Group, which also owns the Brunning & Price pub restaurant chain, said it had maintained its programme of restaurant openings, with eight new outlets launched in the half-year and a further four since then.

It also aims to open another 20 to 25 by the end of its financial year.

The group is already eyeing a handful of new sites next year for the Garfunkel’s business, which performed “superbly” in the half-year thanks to significant growth in revenues and profits.

Shares rose more than 2 per cent.

The Restaurant Group owns 375 restaurants, including more than 50 concessions and 42 pub restaurants.

As more and more people travel either on holiday or on business there is an increasing demand for comfortable accommodation in most parts of the country. Bed and breakfasts satisfy this need and are ideally suited to locations where the demand could not support a hotel.

A bed and breakfast is the ultimate home business – your home is your business. Bed and breakfasts provide their customers with a service that’s half way between hotel and staying with a friend.

How much can you make running a bed and breakfast

There is a wide range of potential earnings in the industry. How much you can expect to make running a bed and breakfast will depend on your location, the market you target, the number of rooms you have available and your ability to market the business.

A typical Bed and Breakfast in London might be able to offer 10 rooms, achieving 90% occupancy and averaging £40 per night per room, thus generating a turnover of £131,400 per year. However the size of the bed and breakfast and the high occupancy will probably mean that staff are required to help run it and the overall profit achieved is only around 10% or £13,140.

On the other hand a sleepy country bed and breakfast in a summer tourist location might have 5 rooms achieving 50% occupancy and averaging £100 per night per room, thus generating a turnover of £91,250 but due to lower overheads such a bed and breakfast might be able to achieve around 30% profit margin or £27,375 per year.

On top of that, if you’ve started the bed and breakfast from scratch, or built a failing bed and breakfast back up, then when you decide to sell the business you should be able to realise a sizeable capital gain, achieving a premium over the value of the property alone. So a property that originally cost you £400,000 on which you spent £50,000 converting it to a bed and breakfast might sell a few years later for around £800,000 taking into account a growth in house prices and a premium for the business.

How much does it cost to start a bed and breakfast

The cost of starting a bed and breakfast business will vary hugely ranging from a few thousand pounds if you’re going to covert your current home (and your home is suitable), to over a million pounds if you’re looking for a larger property in a premium location.

Starting a bed and breakfast from scratch will involve buying a suitable property which is likely to cost anywhere from a few hundred thousand to over a million pounds depending in the size and location.

As well as purchasing the property you may need to invest in adapting it, fitting it out and marketing the business. All of which will required a budget of anywhere from a few thousand pounds to tens of thousands of pounds depending on the level of work that needs to be done.

As an alternate option you can buy a bed and breakfast that is already trading in which case your start-up costs will be the cost of buying the business and financing the purchase.

How to start a bed and breakfast business

Once you’ve made the decision to become a bed and breakfast owner your next step is to decide whether you are going to buy an existing bed and breakfast – you’ll need more cash, but it already has an income – or start your own bed and breakfast from scratch. I’ll deal with buying a bed and breakfast later in this article so first lets look at the steps involved in starting a bed and breakfast business.

Firstly you’ll need to decide what type of bed and breakfast you would like to start. Be that the simple boarding house catering to travelling businessmen, the boutique weekend getaway or something in between. Then be clear about your goals, is this a full time business to support your family or a business you’re running to provide supplemental income during your retirement? Your goals will impact the market you should be aiming for and you’ll need to focus on one particular market to succeed. Trying to be all things to all people is likely to be a costly mistake and you’ll probably do everything badly rather than one thing well. There is a balance to be struck on the size of your bed and breakfast, the bigger it is the more potential income, however with that comes more work which may mean employing people which introduces more overheads and the bureaucracy of having employees.

Once you’ve chosen your market you’ll then need to find a suitable property in a suitable location. As with opening a shop, one of the keys to starting a successful bed and breakfast is the location. If you’re going to aim at the holiday market then you need to be in or near a holiday destination, if you’re aiming at business travellers then being near to local business districts and good road and rail connections will be essential.

It’s then worth spending some time on market research and competitor analysis – is there enough demand to support another bed and breakfast in that location and can you offer something that competes with the existing businesses.

When it comes to finding a property you’ll need to factor in how many bedrooms you’d like to use for the business and how many rooms you’d like to maintain as a family home. When looking for a property you might find some bargains in old nursing homes or disused pubs. When considering residential property do keep in mind that changing the use of a residential property to a bed and breakfast will require planning permission so you’d be well advised to talk to the local planning authority and find out if it’s going to be possible to obtain the relevant planning permissions before you buy the property. Then speak to them again once you own the property to obtain the relevant planning permissions.

When it comes to buying a bed and breakfast or buying a property to convert into a bed and breakfast you’ll need to speak to specialist finance brokers – an ordinary high street mortgage is unlike to cover it. As such you’ll need to present a business plan explaining how you’re going to operate the business, why it’s a good investment and what experience you have that will enable you to make it a success. Expect the costs of purchasing the property and arranging finance to be around 5% of the cost of the property.

Once you’ve brought a suitable property for your bed and breakfast you should also talk to the local environmental health officers and ensure that you comply with the relevant rules and regulations. In particular they will want to ensure that your kitchen is up to scratch. You should also book yourself on a food hygiene course. The Pink Booklet provides full guidance to the legal issues you need to be familiar with as an accommodation provider.

Whilst you’re getting the building and legalities sorted be sure to spend some time putting in place a marketing plan and the systems and processes you’ll need to keep your marketing plan in action, take and manage bookings and manage the smooth running of your bed and breakfast.

In particular sort out your terms and conditions and make sure that your booking process will ensure that guests are aware of them. Make sure you have all the relevant insurances in place – speak to a good insurance broker to find out what is on offer.

Then set a date for opening and make sure you’re able to hit it.

Writing a business plan for a bed and breakfast

Due to the capital intensive nature of a bed and breakfast, I strongly suggest you write a proper business plan before spending a single penny on starting a bed a breakfast.

When preparing the financial sections of your business plan try to ensure that your break even point is no more than 40% occupancy, as at best you’ll achieve only around 75% occupancy and you need some margin to generate a profit. Equally make sure you’ve factored into your financial plans sufficient working capital to see you through the first year as building a customer list and a marketing process can take time. For the same reason you should plan to keep costs low during the early years by doing a lot of the work yourself and if possible keep a part-time job on the go too.

Buying a bed and breakfast

Buying a bed and breakfast allows you to enter the bed and breakfast business without having to go through the hardship of starting from scratch. On the other hand you’ll pay a premium to cover the hard work and investment that someone else has already put it.

When it comes to looking for a bed and breakfast for sale, as web as looking on the business for sale websites consider approaching the bed and breakfasts in the area that you wish to buy one and asking them if they are interested in selling. There’s a good chance you’ll find one that is and you may well be able to negotiate a lower price with a business transfer agent’s commission to cover or the over-inflated prices they advise their clients to ask for. If you need help determining a value for a bed and breakfast you’re buying then please read the post How To Value A Small Business.

Marketing a bed and breakfast

The success of a bed and breakfast rest heavily on it’s ability to attract repeat custom. There are therefore two areas you need to focus your marketing on:

  1. Winning new customers.
  2. Retaining existing customers.

Let’s look at each in turn.

Winning new customers for your bed and breakfast

Unless you’re going to create something more than a bed and breakfast, i.e. you’re going to offer so sort of packaged holiday such a guided walks, finding new customers for your bed and breakfast will be all about making it easy for customers to find out about your bed and breakfast. Basically new customers aren’t going to be looking for you by name, instead they’re going to be looking for ‘a bed and breakfast in central Bath’ and the like. Your job then is to indentify all the possible places that a customer could look in order to satisfy their requirement and make sure that your bed and breakfast is listed there. Then once listed make sure you stand out.

So where will new customers look? Well online using search engines and directories such as findmeabnb.co.uk, and offline via: the tourist board, printed bed and breakfast directories and guidebooks.

Network with the local community and local businesses can help too. Whilst few of them are likely to need a bed and breakfast near their own home, they are likely to be asked to suggest places to stay near them so could become a good source of referrals. You could therefore consider joining some of the local networking organisations.

Also consider membership of local and national tourist associations include things like the ramblers association and the AA guidebooks – talk to other local bed and breakfast owners about what works for them and network with them to help each other by providing referrals when you/they are full.

Always track what works – find out from every guest how they heard about you and measure the ROI of each bit of marketing.

Retaining your bed and breakfast’s existing customers

Repeat business is a key driver of success in the bed and breakfast industry. There are two aspects of repeat business:

  1. Making customers want to return, the secret to this is getting the basics right:
    • good comfortable beds
    • a high level of cleanliness
    • excellent breakfast
    • a warm welcoming attitude
  2. Making sure customers remember you and can find you again. Printed leaflets and business cards as will creating a strong brand and continually marketing yourself to past customers.

Running a bed and breakfast business

Once up and running your main costs will be breakfast, marketing and finance. Managing these costs will be important if you want to succeed. And no matter how well you’re doing never stop marketing. It’s better to have too much business than too little and if you have too much business you can always up your price a little until the demand levels off. You might also like to consider variable pricing can be profitable – raise prices at peak times and lower them in the offseason.

Once you’re up and running and have gained a few years worth of experience, you can use the free time in the afternoons and evenings to expand the business by offering training to other would-be bed and breakfast owners.

Useful books on starting a bed and breakfast

Mother shows two-year-old how to smoke weed

In Prime Time News on September 19, 2010 at 1:51 pm
Mother shows two-year-old how to smoke weed [VIDEO]
CHARGED: Jessica GambleA MOTHER faces up to 11 years in jail after giving her two-year-old daughter a marijuana joint and filming the tot smoking it on a mobile phone.

Jessica Gamble, 21, is heard off camera advising the young girl how to smoke the joint.

The youngster then puts the class B drug to her lips and puffs and refuses to hand it back when Gamble requests it in the 90 second clip.

Single mum Gamble, from Cincinnati, Ohio is charged with endangering and corrupting a child.

The authorities were alerted after she sent the clip to her friend, who then circulated it.

Gamble is also charged with tampering with evidence by deleting the video from her phone.

Prosecutor Joe Deters said of the film: “It’s beyond disgusting.”

The 21-year-old has been denied bail and the child has been placed in foster care.

Voice Online :: Mother shows two-year-old how to smoke weed [VIDEO].

GIRLS Aloud beauty Nadine Coyle‘s new fiancé is a thug with a history of violence – and here’s the picture to prove it.

Ex-American Football star Jason Bell bottled innocent bar-goer Peter Marosi so badly he needed plastic surgery to repair the horrific wounds to his face.

Last week Nadine gushed how happy she was that Bell had proposed, saying: “Jason was really nice. He got down on two knees.”

But the hard-hitting ex-New York Giants star was far from nice when he confronted Peter in the Sutra Lounge bar in Costa Messa, California.

NEWLY ENGAGED: Yob Bell and Nadine

Witnesses claimed the pair exchanged brief words before Bell, 32, inexplicably flew off the handle.

He rammed a bottle into Peter’s forehead and scraped the broken edge down his face

Then he threw him to the floor and pounded his blood-soaked head for at least another minute.

Peter was rushed to hospital and needed more than a dozen stitches.

When the case came to court he said: “There was a tremendous amount of blood on my clothes. I was covered.

“A flap of skin was detached from my face and hanging. The pain was tremendous.” Since the attack in February 2005, Peter has paid more than £10,000 for plastic surgery to fix the scar tissue, from the £50,000 compensation Bell gave him.

Bell was sentenced to three years’ probation and 300 hours’ community service.

He was also ordered to pay £3,300 to a victim and witness assistance programme.

But it wasn’t his only brush with the law.

Divorce papers from Bell’s then wife Kimberley, 31, in 2008 reveal he has faced two lawsuits for assault. The other one was against a teammate, which Bell settled by paying £49,000 compensation.

And he has also had run-ins with cops for firearm offences.

Parole reports in court files show he was reported for having a concealed weapon in his car and possessing a firearm.

It’s not known if Bell has confessed his ugly past to Nadine, 26, or if she is just finding out now.

But on Wednesday the singer spoke of her delight as she announced they were getting hitched.

Asked about the huge sparkler on her wedding finger, Nadine said: “Yes it is an engagement ring.

“It was last week. I’d just got back from London and he surprised me with a ring while I was in my pyjamas.”

SLICED UP: Peter Marosi

SLICED UP: Peter Marosi

[Reprinted from the News of the World.] – News of the World

Democratic candidate Jeff Greene was none too happy about a series of stories that ran in the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald, two of which alleged that he had coke and stripper filled parties aboard his yacht with none other than Mike Tyson. Apparently rumors like that don’t really help a guy’s chances of getting elected to the Senate. Greene’s legal counsel threatened a whole bunch of repercussions last week and now it looks like the complaints may have actually had merit. Both the Times and the Herald printed corrections in today’s papers.

The original stories stemmed from a Sports Illustrated interview with Tyson that dealt with the former boxer’s drug problems. Greene and Tyson are good friends (Tyson was actually the best man at Greene’s wedding) and the articles reported that the drug fueled parties that Tyson discussed were from his time hanging out on Greene’s yacht, the Summerwind, something Greene has vehemently denied, stating that there is a “drug-free policy” on his yacht.

Today, the Times printed this correction (on their front page!):

CORRECTION: Boxer Mike Tyson’s July interview with Sports Illustrated described his travels in Europe during the summer of 2005, not 2007 when he served as Jeff Greene’s best man. In addition, Tyson has since made clear that the 2005 events he described to Sports Illustrated involving a drug dealer from Amsterdam did not occur aboard Greene’s yacht and that he “didn’t do drugs on the boat.” An earlier version of this story was incorrect.

The Herald published a similarly worded retraction.

Interestingly enough, only a day before Greene’s counsel sent a letter to the Times complaining about the Tyson article, they had sent another one complaining about an earlier story detailing some of Greene’s real estate transactions. The letter demanded a retraction of equal size to the original report or legal action would follow. As far as we can tell, that has not yet happened.

BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant Date January 1, 2009 (2009-01-01)
Time 2:15 AM PST (10:15 UTC)
Location Oakland, California, United States
Casualties
1 killed

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police shooting of Oscar Grant refers to the fatal shooting of unarmed civilian, Oscar Grant, by BART officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, United States, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009.[1][2] Responding to reports of a fight on a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco,[3] BART Police officers detained Oscar Grant and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. Officer Johannes Mehserle and another officer were restraining Grant, who was prostrate and allegedly resisting arrest.[4][5][6] Officer Mehserle stood, drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back. Grant turned out to be unarmed. During his court testimony, Mehserle said that Grant then exclaimed, “You shot me!”.[3][4][7] Grant was pronounced dead the next morning at Highland Hospital in Oakland.[7]

The events were captured on multiple digital video and cell phone cameras. The footage was disseminated to media outlets and to various websites, where it was watched hundreds of thousands of times.[8] The following days saw both peaceful and violent protests.[9]

The shooting has been variously labeled an involuntary manslaughter and an execution. On January 13, Alameda County prosecutors charged Mehserle with murder for the shooting. He resigned his position and pleaded not guilty. The trial began on June 10, 2010. Michael Rains, Mehserle’s criminal defense attorney, has claimed Mehserle intended to fire his Taser, but mistakenly shot Grant with a pistol when he thought Grant was reaching for a gun. Pretrial filings argue that his client did not commit first-degree murder and asked a Los Angeles judge to instruct the jury to limit its deliberations to either second-degree murder or acquittal.

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART on behalf of Grant’s family.

On July 8, 2010, the jury returned its verdict: Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Initial protests against the ruling were peacefully organized; however, looting, arson, destruction of property, and small riots broke out after dark. Nearly 80 people were eventually arrested. The sentencing date was set for August 6, 2010. Los Angeles Judge Robert Perry will decide on a sentence for Mehserle in November 2010.

On Friday, July 9, the U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights case against Mehserle; the federal government can prosecute him independently for the same act under the separate sovereigns exception to double jeopardy. The Department of Justice will be working with the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco and the FBI.
Contents

Oscar Grant had been celebrating New Year’s Eve with his friends on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, and was returning to the East Bay in the lead car of a BART train bound for Fruitvale. BART offered extended service and a special “Flash Pass” for the New Year’s Eve holiday. At approximately 2:00 a.m. PST, BART Police responded to reports that up to 12 people were involved in a fight on an incoming train from the West Oakland BART Station and the participants were “hammered and stoned.”

Officers removed Grant and several other men suspected of fighting from the train and detained them on the platform. Grant and another man ran back onto the train after being detained, but Grant voluntarily returned to the platform when officer Tony Pirone grabbed the other man and dragged him from the train. Pirone handcuffed Grant’s friend, angering other riders. Pirone then lined up Grant and two other men against the wall. According to Mehserle’s motion for bail, Pirone confirmed with the train operator that the men detained were involved in the fight. When five other officers, including Johannes Mehserle, arrived at the Fruitvale station, they found the situation chaotic. Mehserle’s partner on duty, Officer Jon Woffinden, said the “incident was one of the most frightening he had experienced in his 12 years as a police officer.”

Mehserle’s motion for bail, citing the police investigation, stated:

“Officer Pirone directed Officer Mehserle to arrest two of the individuals who had not been handcuffed. One of the individuals to be arrested was Oscar Grant, and Officer Pirone’s direction to Mehserle was overheard by Grant. Grant, upon hearing that he was under arrest, attempted to stand up, but was forced to the ground face first. Both Officer Mehserle and Officer Pirone attempted to restrain Mr. Grant and to seek his compliance by ordering him to put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed, but Mr. Grant resisted and refused to submit to handcuffing. Officer Mehserle was pulling at Mr. Grant’s right hand and arm, which remained under his torso near his waistband. Mr. Grant had not been searched by any officer for weapons, either prior to his initial detention or after being seated near the wall.”

A cell-phone video broadcast on local television station KTVU on January 23 showed what appeared to be Pirone rushing towards Grant and punching him in the face several times two minutes before he was shot. Grant’s family alleges in their civil claim against BART that an officer threw Grant against a wall and kneed him in the face. Pirone’s attorney stated that Grant provoked Pirone by trying to knee the officer in the groin and by hitting Officer Marysol Dominici’s arm when she attempted to handcuff one of Grant’s friends. Witnesses testified that Pirone was the aggressor during the incident. Burris also disputes Pirone’s account and claims that Grant and his friends were “peaceful” when the train stopped. Grant then raised his hands while seated against the platform wall.[28] Additional footage from a cell phone was presented in court showing Pirone standing over the prone Grant before the shooting and yelling: “Bitch-ass nigger.” Pirone and his attorney say he was parroting an epithet that Grant had said to him.

BART police had been on edge before the shooting because two guns had been recovered in separate incidents along the rail line over the previous hour. Immediately before he arrived at Fruitvale, Mehserle was involved in an incident at the West Oakland station where a teenage boy with a semi-automatic pistol had fled from police and jumped off the station platform, breaking several bones.
Fatally shot

While dozens of people shouted and cursed at officers from the stopped train, Mehserle and Pirone positioned Grant face-down. According to Pirone, Grant was disobeying instructions and cursing at officers. Witnesses stated Grant pleaded with BART police not to shock him with a Taser. Pirone then knelt on Grant’s neck and told him that he was under arrest for resisting an officer.

Mehserle’s motion for bail, citing the police investigation, stated:

Pirone said he told Grant “Stop resisting, you’re under arrest, put your hands behind your back.” At that time Pirone said he heard Mehserle say, “Put your hands behind your back, stop resisting, stop resisting, put your hands behind your back.” Then Mehserle said, “I’m going to taze him, I’m going to taze him. I can’t get his arms. He won’t give me his arms. His hands are going for his waistband.” Then Mehserle popped up and said, “Tony, Tony, get away, back up, back up.” Pirone did not know if Grant was armed. Mehserle had fear in his voice. Pirone had never heard Mehserle’s voice with that tone. Mehserle sounded afraid.

The motion also states that the man sitting next to Grant also told police he heard Mehserle say “I’m going to taze him.”

Mehserle then stood up, unholstered his gun, a SIG Sauer P226, and fired a shot into Grant’s back. Immediately after the shooting, Mehserle appeared surprised and raised his hands to his face; according to Michael Rains, Mehserle’s criminal defense attorney, several eyewitnesses described Mehserle as looking stunned. Witnesses say Mehserle said “Oh my god!” several times after the shooting. and many saw him put his hands to his head.

The .40 caliber bullet from Mehserle’s semi-automatic handgun entered Grant’s back, exited through his front side and ricocheted off the concrete platform, puncturing Grant’s lung. According to one witness, Grant yelled, “You shot me! I got a four-year-old daughter!” Grant died seven hours later, at 9:13 am, at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

There is disagreement whether or not Grant was handcuffed before he was shot. The day after the shooting, BART spokesman Jim Allison said that Grant was not restrained when he was shot. Court filings by the district attorney’s office say that Grant’s hands were behind his back and that he was “restrained and unarmed” but do not say he was handcuffed. The attorney for Grant’s family claimed that Grant’s hands were restrained by Mehserle immediately prior to the shooting. The family’s claim against BART alleges that Grant was handcuffed only after he was shot.

Oscar Juliuss Grant III, (February 27, 1986[37] – January 1, 2009), lived in Hayward, California.[21] Grant had worked as a butcher at Farmer Joe’s Marketplace in Oakland’s Dimond District after previous jobs at several Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets. He attended both San Lorenzo and Mount Eden High Schools in Hayward until the 10th grade and eventually earned his GED.

Related Articles

Afghans go to polls despite killings and earthquake

In Prime Time News on September 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm

The nation suffered an earthquake yesterday that measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and lasted approximately 15 seconds.

Security forces were on duty as the nation went to the polls. (PA) Security forces were on duty as the nation went to the polls. (PA)

Its epicentre was approximately 165 miles northeast of Kabul, 45 miles southeast of Faizabad.

It came just a day before the population were due to vote in a parliamentary election that was marred by at least 14 killings and a number of kidnappings.

However, some 40 per cent of Afghans are believed to have defied those who tried to put a stop to the vote.

More than 2,500 candidates are in the running for the 249 seats in the Wolesi Jigra – the Afghan houses of parliament.

It will also test the strength of current president Hamid Karzai‘s position and is the first election since 2009’s fraud-mired presidential vote.

Despite the best efforts of the Taliban and other groups opposed to the democratic process, a large proportion of Afghans registered their support for their respective candidates.

Due to the fact that votes are counted by hand and some polling stations can only be reached by donkeys, the results are not expected until the end of next month.

According to Independent Election Commission boss Faizal Ahmad Manawi, preliminary data showed that more than 3.5 million votes had been recorded, but it is still difficult to judge the total turnout.

Some polling stations did not open or report back after experiencing security problems.

Afghans go to polls despite killings and earthquake | Metro.co.uk.

Britain goes halal… but no-one tells the public: How famous institutions serve ritually slaughtered meat with no warning

By Simon Mcgee and Martin Delgado
Last updated at 11:04 PM on 18th September 2010

A Mail on Sunday investigation – which will alarm anyone concerned about animal cruelty – has revealed that schools, hospitals, pubs and famous sporting venues such as Ascot and Twickenham are controversially serving up meat slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic law to unwitting members of the public.

All the beef, chicken and lamb sold to fans at Wembley has secretly been prepared in accordance with sharia law, while Cheltenham College, which boasts of its ‘strong Christian ethos’, is one of several top public schools which also serves halal chicken to pupils without informing them.

Even Britain’s biggest hotel and restaurant group Whitbread, which owns the Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, among many others, has admitted that more than three-quarters of its poultry is halal.

Manchester United fan eating a burger at the new Wembley Stadium, during the FA Cup Final Chelsea v Manchester UnitedA Manchester United fan tucks into a burger at Wembley Stadium, which serves only halal meat

Animal welfare campaigners have long called for a ban on the traditional Islamic way of preparing meat – which involves killing animals by drawing a knife across their throats, without stunning them first – saying it is cruel and causes unnecessary pain.

Sharia law expressly forbids knocking the animal out with a bolt gun, as is usual in British slaughter­houses. Instead, it must be sentient when its throat is cut, and the blood allowed to drip from the carcass while a religious phrase in praise of Allah is recited.

The extent of halal meat consumption, even in areas of Britain with a very small Muslim population, was revealed as the Pope, on his first visit to Britain, expressed fears that the country was not doing enough to preserve traditional Christian values and customs.

In a strongly worded speech to Parliament, he said: ‘There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none.’

But it is animal rights groups which have been most vociferous in their opposition to halal slaughter. Campaign organisation Viva!, whose supporters include Heather Mills and Joanna Lumley, said in a statement: ‘Other practices which may be undertaken for religious reasons, such as polygamy or the stoning of adulterers, are not permitted in the UK.

‘Religious freedom does not override other moral considerations and the suffering caused by this form of slaughter is so severe that it cannot be allowed to prevent action to be taken. Consumers can do their bit by boycotting places that persist in selling meat from unstunned animals.’

Race-goers indulge in some fast food at AscotRace-goers indulge in some fast food at Ascot where meat is slaughtered in accordance with strict Islamic law

An RSPCA spokesman added: ‘The public have a right to know how their meat is produced. Many people are extremely concerned about animal welfare. What The Mail on Sunday has discovered shows that people are not being kept informed. The key to a more humane death for these animals is that they are stunned before slaughter.’

A spokesman for Twickenham, which sells only halal chicken despite not advertising the fact, insisted that the lack of transparency ‘had never been an issue’ and said: ‘Our consideration is more for those who want halal, to ensure they get it.’

Other institutions secretly serving up meat that is halal – or ‘permissible’ – include Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and one of London’s ­biggest NHS Trusts, Guy’s and St ­Thomas’. A spokesman for the London hospitals admitted: ‘The only way ­people using the canteen would know they were ­eating halal chicken would be if they asked a member of staff directly.’

Whitbread, which also owns Table Table restaurants, Costa Coffee shops and Premier Inn hotels, admitted last night that 80 per cent of the chicken it served comes from halal poultry ­suppliers, including some in Muslim-dominated Turkey.

A Whitbread spokesman said: ‘We don’t specify halal as a requirement in our procurement. We base our ­decision on quality and price.

‘It just turns out that we source that amount of chicken from suppliers that happen to be halal.

‘It is not mentioned on any of our menus because we don’t think there is customer demand for that information. But if people started asking, then we would definitely provide it.’

Marlborough College in Wiltshire Marlborough College in Wiltshire has admitted that while halal chicken is usually only served to Muslims, it had ‘occasionally’ served it to all pupils

Rival operator Mitchells & Butlers, which owns the Harvester, Browns and Toby Carvery restaurant chains as well as pub chains All Bar One and O’Neill’s, was even more opaque about the source of its meats.

A spokesman said it had a ‘broad range of suppliers’ but declined to say how many were halal-certified.

Ascot racecourse said it was easier to store and cook only one type of meat. ‘All our chicken is halal. This is not advertised as the menus are kept as simple as possible,’ said a spokesman.

A Football Association spokesman confirmed: ‘All the beef, chicken and lamb sold at Wembley Stadium is halal which means a large proportion of the meat on offer to our customers falls into this category.’ Pork, which is ­forbidden to Muslims, is also served at the stadium.

Cheltenham College boarding school in Gloucestershire admitted: ‘We have not sent a letter, nor is there any note on menus that informs parents and pupils that the chicken served in the canteen is mostly halal.’

Marlborough College, in Wiltshire, admitted that while halal chicken is usually served only to Muslims, it had ‘occasionally’ served it to all pupils. The school refused to say whether parents and pupils had been informed.

Britain’s Muslim community is exempt from regulations that require animals to be stunned before death, as is kosher meat prepared for the Jewish market.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, said: ‘I don’t object to people of different religious groups being catered for but it’s not something that should be imposed on everybody else.

‘The vast majority of people in this country would not want meat of this origin. The outlets have a duty to let their customers know because some will object very strongly, not least because of the animal welfare implications of halal.’

Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, said: ‘We suspected that meat killed by the halal and kosher methods was being used for general consumption but we never imagined it was so widespread. It is disgraceful that ­people aren’t being told if the food they are being served is from meat that has not been stunned prior to slaughter.’

In 2003, Government advisory body the Farm Animal Welfare Council published a report declaring that the halal method of killing ‘would inevit­ably trigger a barrage of sensory information to the brain in a sensible (conscious) animal’.

Experts who contributed to the report concluded that ‘such a massive injury would result in very significant pain and distress in the period before insensibility supervenes’.

Muslim leaders insist that animal welfare measures are observed during slaughter. Guidelines issued by the Islamic Cultural Centre in London state that ‘no stress or discomfort’ should be inflicted on the animal and that the knife must be sharp and clean.

Brutal reality of the ritual that allows animals to be slaughtered without being stunned first

More than 40 million cattle, calves and sheep and more than 850 million poultry are slaughtered every year in Britain.

The vast majority are stunned before slaughter but UK law allows the Jewish and Muslim communities to kill animals by religious methods without any form of stunning.

A number of requirements have been put in place, however, in an attempt to reduce animal suffering.

The rules state that the throat must be cut with one rapid, uninterrupted movement of the knife. Both carotid arteries and both jugular veins must be severed.

In addition, the knife must be inspected before each animal is slaughtered to ensure that it is of sufficient size and sharpness.

But welfare campaigners say the rules are not enough.

The Government’s independent advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, says sheep may lose consciousness within five to seven seconds of the cut.

But research has shown that some calves remain brain-responsive for up to two minutes. This is because the carotid arteries can contract after the cut has been made, effectively sealing the severed ends and maintaining blood pressure in the brain.

The RSPCA says all meat produced from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter should be clearly labelled so that it can be easily identified by consumers.

Sharia law states that the abattoir involved in the process must be under the ‘close and constant supervision’ of an Islamic religious organisation.

Under these rules, the cut must be made to the right side of the neck by cutting the two carotids, the two jugulars, the windpipe and the gullet, but without breaking the spinal cord.

The carcass must empty of blood and a specific time should be allowed until the animal ceases to move before the next stage of the production process – de-skinning and removing the internal organs – may begin.

[Reprinted from the Daily Mail, Uk]

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313303/Britain-goes-halal—tells-public.html#ixzz0zvCnl6De

A sex GCSE is soon to be included on the national curriculum.

In Prime Time News, Readers Choice on September 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Schools to teach ‘sex GCSE’

A new government-funded qualification in sex education, run by the Northern Council for Further Education (NCFE), is to be piloted in nine schools across the country for the first time this year, with plans to extend it throughout the UK.

Students will be able to gain a D-grade equivalent should they sign up to the course, which has been designed to raise awareness of concerns such as sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), relationship problems and contraception.

A sex GCSE equivalent could soon be taught in all schools in the UK A sex GCSE equivalent could soon be taught in all schools in the UK

Suzanne Cant, spokeswoman for the NCFE, noted that such education should be featured on the curriculum for all young people.

‘The latest figures show teenage pregnancy rates are falling, but not falling at a fast enough rate to meet government targets,’ she remarked, going on to add that diagnoses each year for STDs are in the hundreds of thousands, a figure that is constantly increasing.

This module takes nine hours to teach and is being aimed at teenagers not yet ready to take their GCSEs, quizzing them on the names of sexual organs and asking them to detail two suitable methods of contraception for young people.

It follows reports that British girls as young as 13 are to be offered the contraceptive pill in an attempt to reduce underage pregnancy rates, with pharmacies Boots and Lloyds involved in the scheme.

A sex GCSE is soon to be included on the national curriculum. | Metro.co.uk.

Street cleaners held in Pope probe | News

In Prime Time News on September 17, 2010 at 6:35 pm

News

Five men have been arrested by police investigating a suspected plot to harm the Pope

Five men have been arrested by police investigating a suspected plot to harm the Pope

Street cleaners held in Pope probe

Counter-terrorism detectives have been questioning five street cleaners suspected of plotting to attack the Pope.

The men were arrested at gunpoint as armed officers swooped on their central London depot as they prepared to start their shift.

They are employed by for Veolia Environmental Services, a contractor which employs 650 on-street staff to keep the streets of Westminster clean.

Searches of the depot, and their homes in north and east London, did not reveal any weapons or suspicious materials but senior detectives said they were compelled to act after a tip-off about suspicious activity.

The security alert led to a review of the huge police operation surrounding the visit of Benedict XVI, but his itinerary went ahead as planned. His spokesman said the Pope was informed of the arrests but remained “totally calm” and will continue to enjoy his trip.

The police operation began shortly before 6am on Friday at Veolia’s Chiltern Street depot, in Marylebone, where staff are responsible for cleaning surrounding streets.

The suspects, aged 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50, were held on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000. It is understood all five are of North African origin, including several from Algeria.

Senior officers said there was no information ahead of the visit to suggest any “specific group” wanted to attack the Pope. But they warned people not to underestimate the “passion and the fervour” the visit would bring.

Police also interviewed mentally unstable people who they feared may pose a threat to the Pope.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “The policing arrangements for the Papal visit were reviewed and we are satisfied that our current policing plan remains appropriate. The itinerary has not changed. There is no change to the UK threat level.”

Street cleaners held in Pope probe | News.

Data Select set to lose key Vodafone contract

In Prime Time News on September 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Key web fulfilment contract set to go in New Year as Vodafone centralises logistics costs, B2B fulfilment to remainDistributor Data Select is expected to lose its key Vodafone web filfilment contract in the New Year as Vodafone takes a greater part of distribution in-house and looks to make further cuts in operational expenditure from its UK business.Vodafone refused to comment. Data Select maintained it had a contract in place with Vodafone for web fulfilment through 2010, and expected to see it out.Data Select’s contract to serve Vodafone’s dealer and distributor base in the UK goes unaffected, Mobile News understands, including supply to its core Vodafone Partner Services (VPS) unit in Manchester.But well-placed sources last week said Data Select has been served notice Vodafone will run web sales from 2011 via other sources. Unipart Technology Logistics (UTL), which supplies its retail estate and has run default bulk storage and distribution for it in the UK since 1999, is expected to pick up the slack.But it was also suggested, in a greater consolidatory move, Vodafone will centralise all of its European handset distribution so it distributes to its satellite markets from a core base on the continent, tailoring SIM-free kit to meet country standards as required and shipping them to UTL in the UK for redistribution.The move on Data Select is expected as Vodafone UK continues to review all its divisions as part of chief executive Guy Laurence’s (pictured left) new regime to make the business nimbler in the UK market, and also as part of a broader £2 billion Group cost-cutting exercise by 2012.Group chief executive Vittorio Colao said in November procurement savings will be achieved by channelling more spend via its core procurement company, a centralised purchasing team based in Luxembourg.Handset manufacturers have been informed of the change in Vodafone’s distribution.It is unclear if PJ Media, which was sold in a £38 million reverse takeover to online retailer Expansys in July along with SIM distribution business Data Select Network Solutions, will retain its contract with Vodafone for design and maintenance of its online engine.PJ Media retains a common stakeholder with Data Select, in the shape of Phones International Group, headed by Peter Jones (pictured right).

via Data Select set to lose key Vodafone contract.

Voice Online :: Who is making all the money from carnival?

In Prime Time News on September 6, 2010 at 12:46 am

Who is making all the money from carnival?

MONEY-SPINNER: Notting Hill Carnival brings in millions of pounds each year

CARNIVAL BRINGS in 93 million (GBP) a year. Those are the official figures. It funds a lot of households who rely on the takings from their little curried chicken and curried goat stalls as ‘supplementary benefit’ to see them through to next summer. At a time of unprecedented austerity, Britain needs the carnival, which I suspect is why last week the police were engaged in dawn raids at the homes of suspected gang members planning on turning the Carnival streets into a Gaza ‘strip’. The Chancellor and Prime Minister are not going to allow anything to get in the way of that much cash.

But who is really making all the money? So lucrative is the carnival that this year they were pointing tourists in its direction all the way from Heathrow Airport, because the airlines make money from the increased traffic carnival brings. Not to mention the other transport services (imagine how much extra revenue London’s underground and bus services make with an estimated two million carnival passengers a day over two days).

Then there are the local shops and other businesses within a square mile of the carnival. They’re laughing all the way to their bank manager come Tuesday after carnival.

But ask carnival lead director Chris Boothman (who deserves a knighthood for his services to carnival) how much these services and businesses contribute to the carnival, and the answer is “Zilch!”

So they expect carnival participants to work for nothing? They expect us to pay to have costumes made and be part of a mas band, and traipse up and down the highways and byways of Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park all day for absolutely nada. Year after year after year!

No wonder we get little respect in this country. No wonder the Chancellor and the Bank of England and all the other people who depend on us to work our nuts off for this country rub their hands with glee every carnival.

It’s time to make the carnival pay. If the local businesses of west London don’t want to contribute to the carnival, then it’s time to move it elsewhere. As I say to Chris Boothman every year, bring the carnival to Tottenham; we could do with the business down here, and we would pay for the privilege.

Now is the time to use carnival’s power to make some demands. It holds all the cards. Olympic organisers and the Government are depending on us to put on the biggest and best carnival in 2012 for the world to see. Carnival organisers, carnivalists and revellers – black and white – should start considering boycotting carnival next year until Lord Coe and the Coalition see that carnival means business and needs to be funded accordingly.


CIA Torture: Indifference is not an option

In Prime Time News on September 5, 2010 at 11:07 pm

What a world that we live in.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Wooden Pew

In Prime Time News on September 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm

The Wooden Pew.

Confessions of the great survivor: Jack Straw talks about what he really thought when Blair sacked him

In Prime Time News on September 3, 2010 at 10:51 pm

By Jenny Johnston
Last updated at 11:42 PM on 26th February 2009

Justice might traditionally be symbolised by a set of scales, but a teaspoon can be a handy stand-in when you are on the move.

Jack Straw, on a train from London to Blackburn, balances one on his forefinger, explaining the delicacies of law-making.

Tip too far one way or the other and the whole thing, he demonstrates, has an awful habit of clattering down around you.