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Monday, August 5th


Lloyds bank in profit and promising bail-out refund

THE big news in the City of London is the leap back into profit of Lloyds Bank and the prospect of taxpayers getting a refund following the £20 billion bail-out of the bank during the banking crisis.

Shares in the bank shot up after it was announced it had made a £2.1 billion pre-tax profit to June 30. This compared with a loss in the first six months of last year.

The bank has slashed costs faster than expected and there has been a substantial reduction in bad debts. Lloyds will now talk to bank regulators about a timetable to start paying dividends to shareholders for the first time since 2008 and has said it is ready for the Government to sell its 39 per cent stake.

The bank has also confirmed that 631 branches will be re-branded as TSB from next month prior to flotation next year.

Lloyds chief Antonio Horta-Osorio has been credited with a remarkable turnaround at the bank, but there have been substantial job losses.


Land Rover’s link to the Royal family

THERE was more than a little nostalgia as the Queen visited the Jaguar Land Rover pavilion at the Coronation Festival recently.

Held to celebrate British excellence in engineering, Jaguar Land Rover was proud to announce at the event that it was the only automotive manufacturer to hold all three Royal Warrants.

While Jaguar showcased its latest hybrid supercar prototype, it also displayed a collection of heritage vehicles that demonstrated Jaguar Land Rover’s sixty years of service to the Royal family.

Among them was a 1953 ceremonial vehicle Land Rover that accompanied Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh on a six-month Commonwealth tour soon after the Coronation. Also on display was the Jaguar the Queen Mother used from 1955 to 1973.


Police target abuse on internet sites

AMID extensive newspaper publicity over abuse on Twitter, the Crown Prosecution Service in Britain has said that hundreds of internet “trolls” were prosecuted last year.

More than 1,700 cases went to court involving abuse sent on line or by mobile ‘phone text, and a further 600 have been charged this year so far.

A second man has been arrested on suspicion of sending Twitter rape and death threats to a Member of Parliament and journalist.

Twitter has promised to do more to control unacceptable behaviour.


Cider drinkers hit out at tax escalator

A NEW campaign was launched to get a better deal for cider drinkers at the Bristol Cider Festival over the weekend, where it was announced that almost a quarter of the price you pay for the drink goes to the taxman.

They are calling on the Chancellor to abolish the Cider Duty Escalator, which increases the cost of cider every year above the rate of inflation, amid concerns over job losses at cider makers.

A petition has been raised and it will be presented to the Chancellor George Osborne. The campaign has the support of the number of MPs, including Ian Lidell-Grainger, chairman of the All-party Parliamentary Cider Group.


Mick Jagger in swimming trunks

SIR Mick Jagger is having a little trouble forgetting he is 70 it would seem. His girlfriend L’Wren Scott has posted on the internet a picture of him in bathing trunks during the Stones’ first US tour in 1964.

She says he still looks as fetching in his swim wear. Sir Mick reputedly trains up to six days a week to maintain his 28-inch waist and can cover 12 miles on stage during a typical show.


Ryanair pilots to slow down

BRITISH airline Ryanair has told it pilots to fly a little slower to save fuel. If aircraft stay below 600 mph it will add two minutes to every hour of flying but slash the fuel bill by 15 per cent.

The airline says fuel makes up nearly half of the airline’s costs and blames a six per cent rise in fuel costs for a decline in first quarter profits to £67-million.


Violinist to get her Stradivarius back

A VIOLINIST with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has had her £1.2-million Stradivarius violin recovered. It had originally been stolen by thieves at Euston Station in London in 2010.

The violin was discovered by the police intact, with some very minor damage but in its original case. They know who stole it, but not who handled it.

Min-Jin Kym, 32, who made her debut with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra at the age of 13, had received a six-figure settlement from an insurance company and she has indicated that she wants to buy the violin back from the insurers.


Police cannot recover caravan

A COUPLE who had their caravan stolen by travellers have been told by the police that the travellers now living in it cannot be removed because it would breach their human rights.

The police said they had no lawful powers to get it back and the only option open to the couple was costly civil proceedings against the family now living in it.

Michael Curry and his partner Kathleen McClelland had spent £30,000 on the caravan and had fitted it with a wide screen television.

Mr Curry, 53, was diagnosed with diabetes and had to give up his job as a long distance lorry driver. The couple are still making payments on the caravan.