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Feb 8, 2011

UK ups tax on banks ahead of lending/pay deal

LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Britain slapped an extra 800
million pound ($1.3 billion) tax on banks for this year, taking
a harder line with the industry as it tries to strike a deal to
curb employee bonuses and encourage business lending.

Finance minister George Osborne said he hoped making the tax
position plain would hurry along the deal under the government’s
so-called Project Merlin.

Feb 8, 2011

Extra £800 million tax slapped on banks

LONDON (Reuters) – The government slapped an extra 800 million pound tax on banks this year, taking a harder line on the sector as it seeks to strike a deal to curb bonuses and free up business lending.

Chancellor George Osborne said he hoped that making the tax position plain would aid a possible deal with banks on increasing the amount they lend to businesses and limiting bonuses — known as Project Merlin.

Feb 7, 2011

Charity head adds to “Big Society” woes

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron’s flagship “Big Society” project is being undermined by deep council spending cuts that are “destroying volunteering,” the outgoing head of a training charity said on Monday.

The comments add to a growing chorus of disapproval for the Cameron project, which aims to reduce the role of the state and get volunteers to step in at a local level to provide services.

Feb 7, 2011

Police could seize iPods in war on yobs

LONDON (Reuters) – Yobs could have personal items such as iPods confiscated under new plans to stamp out anti-social behaviour in the wake of the now discredited Asbos.

Police will also be forced to follow up complaints by victims who are persistently targeted, the government said on Monday.

Feb 7, 2011

UK’s ancient secrets may be buried with old bones

By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – Top British archaeologists are urging the government to rethink a law requiring human remains be reburied, warning it risks undermining years of research into the island’s ancient peoples and study of their DNA.

The row stems from the reinterpretation of a law introduced in 2008 by the Ministry of Justice. The rule states human bones discovered in England and Wales since that time, regardless of their age, must be re-interred after two years.

Feb 2, 2011

Revealed: Britain’s first celebrity stalker

By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A 19th Century intruder sat on Queen Victoria’s throne, slept in one of her servant’s beds, hid under her sofa, read her private letters and even stole a pair of her voluminous silk knickers.

Yet he was just an ordinary 14-year-old boy — one of Britain’s first celebrity stalkers.

Jan 26, 2011

Floating walkway to open up London’s hidden past

By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A mile-long floating walkway on London’s River Thames is being planned in the heart of the capital, allowing views of the city’s hidden alleys, wharves and landmarks dating back to medieval times.

The pontoon, known as the “London River Park,” will connect Blackfriars Bridge, on the western edge of the ancient city, and the Tower of London in the east.

Jan 17, 2011

Unions slam “disastrous” NHS shake-up plans

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron vigorously defended radical government plans to overhaul the NHS on Monday as a necessary modernisation after health unions said the plans, being unveiled this week, were “potentially disastrous.”

The Health and Social Care Bill, to be published on Wednesday, will pave the way for the biggest shake-up of the health service in England for 60 years, experts say.

Jan 12, 2011

Government aims to save more cancer patients by 2015

LONDON (Reuters) – The government said on Wednesday it wants to save 5,000 more cancer patients a year by 2015 and outlined 750 million pounds worth of extra spending on care over the next four years to improve survival rates.

The plan, Improving Outcomes — A Strategy for Cancer, focuses on early diagnosis, screening more people and enhancing treatment and support for sufferers.

Jan 9, 2011

Cameron says strikes are futile

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday he was prepared to talk to trade unions, but striking was counter-productive and the government would not be bullied into ditching deep spending cuts.

“I hope that people don’t go on strike because it never achieves anything,” he told BBC TV’s Andrew Marr show.