Ken Livingstone Plans Two New Underground Lines If Elected Mayor


The Labour candidate wants to bring in Crossrail 2 and 3 if he wins the May vote, having backed Crossrail 1 going from Berkshire to Essex.

Crossrail 2 would connect Wimbledon to Epping via Chelsea and Hackney, Mr Livingstone said.

Work would start on the route once the £16billion Crossrail 1 – Europe’s biggest construction project – ends in 2018, he added.

Crossrail 3 would allow passengers on High Speed Rail trains from Scotland and the north to reach the south via London on the same train.

Mr Livingstone told Metro that London mayor Boris Johnson was not doing enough preparation to ensure the projects go ahead.

‘If you are going to spend billions on a new transport project, it’s vital it is properly planned,’ he said.

‘Rather than spend £20billion on High Speed Rail 2 that simply terminates at Euston, there needs to be a link so that high-speed trains can continue on to the south of England via Waterloo, and to Heathrow.

‘It’s vital that we plan now so our transport network doesn’t fall even further behind the growth in demand from passengers.’

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said the mayor has ‘already set out how he intends to secure the investment in rail services required to serve London’s increasing population’.

Routemaster ‘Boris Bus’ Has Begun Its First Day Of Service


The first new Routemaster has begun its first day of service in London, Transport for London (TfL) said.

The launch of the new bus, which will run between Victoria Station in central London and Hackney in the east, was delayed for a week by paperwork.

TfL said a software glitch meant the bus had to be run with its distinctive rear platform shut, calling it "teething problems".

The mayor called the bus "stunning" and "tailored to the London passenger".

Mr Johnson announced plans for the new buses, which run on a hybrid diesel-electric motor, in his 2008 election manifesto.

In total, eight buses with an open "hop-on, hop-off" platform at the rear, costing £11.37m, will run on route 38. They will be staffed with conductors and will not run at night or during the weekends.

The last of the popular, open-platform Routemasters was withdrawn from regular service in December 2005, although some still run on tourist routes.

UK Mobile Users Could Have Access To 4G Broadband In Six Months


Ofcom is set to approve plans to allow mobile network operator Everything Everywhere to roll out 4G broadband to its customers in the last quarter of 2012.

Everything Everywhere, the largest UK mobile network with 27million users, has revealed it expects its customers to have access to the technology by October.

It means Orange, T Mobile and Virgin users will be the first to benefit from the latest technology.

Industry regulators Ofcom is reviewing the plans this spring and are fully expected to give Everything Everywhere permission to launch 4G mobile technology later this year.

'We really need it. By the end of the year, the UK will be back in line with other countries,' said EE chief Olaf Swantee.

'The UK has been ahead in this industry for many years and we need to get that back.

'As we are the largest in this market we believe it is our duty to lay the groundwork for a future digital Britain.'

Everything Everywhere has already set aside £1.5bn for the network upgrade following a successful trial in Cornwall.

The UK, traditionally considered a global market leader in mobile technology, has fallen behind the US, China and the rest of Europe in launching 4G internet services.

4G is the next step in mobile internet data and allows users access to superfast, broadband-style internet on the move.

It means it will be possible to download films, videos and other files at the same speed as on home laptops and computers.

A spokesman for the regulator said: 'Ofcom has received an application from EE to vary its licence for 4G use.

'Ofcom is considering that application and, once it arrives at a view, it will consult with stakeholders.'

Britain’s Largest Burrito


The current record of 65ft for the Mexican dish was broken as it took 15 people less than 30 minutes to make the 77ft long burrito.

Instead of making one long flour wrap students at Mission Burrito in Bristol's Park Street joined 110 tortillas together.

The massive burrito, which contained 45kg of ingredients, was so big it stretched round two lengths of the restaurant.

Proving that variety is the spice of life, the burrito was divided into sections of slow-cooked pork, tinga chicken and sautéed vegetables.

Punters could sample any one of the 100-plus sections of the burrito by making a donation to a host of rag week charities, including the Jessie May Trust, Caring at Christmas, Shopmobility South, Priority Youth Housing, the Alzheimer's Society and Holidays.

In true student style, however, the monster burrito was polished off in just 15 minutes.

Classic: Mercedes Benz 600


Stuttgart's gigantic saloon became the greatest car in the world when it was launched in the Sixties. Fifty years later, it can still teach the industry a thing or two

People perceive luxury to be technology. The more gadgets your latest car has, the more luxurious it is. It's true, to an extent, but it needs to be matched by the age-old perception of luxury: materials and craftsmanship.

A luxury car also needs to innovate and lead the field and, fittingly, Mercedes' S-Class was the first model with ABS disc brakes, pretensioner seat belts, airbags, and a host of other ‘gadgetry'.

In the Sixties though, you couldn't very well rely on circuitry, liquid crystal displays or inflating sacks. Electronics were still a black art, engines were still fed by carburettors, and if you wanted a fancy abbreviation starting with ‘Automatic something something', you needed to apply the fluid science of hydraulics.

Hydraulics helped make the 1963 Mercedes-Benz 600 — it's safe to call it an early S-Class — a groundbreaking car, even if the basic principles of its liquid technology dated back to ancient Greeks and Egyptians.

It was the most luxurious car in the world at the time, when you take all the luxury variables into the equation: it had the technology, it had the company's first V8 engine good for 250bhp from 6.3-litres, it could reach 200kph, it was the size of a totalitarian state, and it weighed as much too — over 2.6 tonnes.

Mercedes also offered limitless options so that each Grosser, or Pullman for the long-wheelbase limousine model, left the factory unique. You could spec a fridge, a minibar, TVs, telephones, armour plating… And if you were a royal, a dictator or the Pope, you probably went for the Landaulet model.

But the big, shouty facet of the 600 was always its maze of hydraulic equipment — which is what weighed the car down to that kerb figure, too — powering the adjustable self-levelling air suspension, the self-closing doors and boot, the automatically adjustable seats and windows, AC vents, central glass divider in the Pullmans, sunroof, and even the suspension dampers. Nothing at the time could come close to claiming such opulence. In fact, it would be an impressive equipment list even today, which is why used Pullmans and Grossers fetch ridiculous money in the classic car market. The smaller Grosser — which funnily enough means ‘big' — will cost you as much as a nice, new S-Class, but the Pullman or Landaulet will command seven figures. If it's a good one, of course. And many aren't…

Thankfully Mercedes built them exceptionally well, using the best-quality steel, while the M100 engine almost never gives up. This unit is also fuel injected, and the transmission can handle its 250bhp and the weight for hundreds of thousands of klicks. The killer is the hydraulics, and the pump can be very expensive to replace. It almost always needs replacing, so make sure that headache went to the last owner. The height control valves (three of them) on the air suspension also frequently die, and that's a 10-grand fix, each.

Find a good one though, and you have an impeccable machine, engineered to be fast, comfortable, and even handle. There's also the added bonus of nothing else on the road ever being able to match the presence of your Grosser.

Voltels Electric Car By Philipe Starck


Legendary designer Philippe Starck is to launch an electric vehicle at next month’s Geneva Motor Show (March 8-18).

The designer, famed for furniture and interior design projects, will unveil a new electric car project on the show’s Green Pavilion, organizers confirmed last week.

Although the model remains tightly under wraps, it is believed to have been developed in conjunction with electric vehicle manufacturer Volteis.

In a statement on the Volteis website, Starck said that the ‘V+ by Starck’ model “returns to the minimalist definition of a vehicle”.

An obscured image of the V+ appears to suggest a similar shape to the Volteis X2 and X4, small-wheeled ‘buggy’ type models which are designed to manage 60 kilometers between charges and feature a removable softtop.

Man With 134 Drug Capsules In Stomach Arrested At Oman Airport


A daring suicidal attempt to allegedly smuggle narcotics into Oman has been foiled by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) at Muscat International Airport.

According to a ROP press release Monday, a Pakistani national appeared uncomfortable on his arrival at the airport from an Asian country.

Not satisfied with his reply when the police questioned him, he was arrested.

The police did not find anything objectionable in his bags or on his person but he was taken to the ROP hospital in Qurum where an X-ray revealed 134 capsules of narcotics, police said.

This modus operandi of swallowing capsules filled with drugs is becoming common and police have increased vigilance against this method.

Tesco Offers Paid Placement And Jobs To People On Work Experience Scheme


Tesco will offer paid placements with a guarantee of a job to all those people it will be taking on for work experience through a government scheme, after claims that it was using benefit claimants as unpaid labour led to a consumer backlash and in-store protests.

Tesco said the 1,500 unemployed people on jobcentre work experience schemes referred to the company over the next six months would now be given a choice of staying on benefits and completing the placement unpaid, or accepting a four-week paid placement with a guaranteed offer of a job at the end if the trial goes well.

Tesco said it was still signed up to the government's work experience scheme but would continue its dialogue with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to make sure the scheme was voluntary and that no jobseeker was penalised for withdrawing from it.

Currently access to the scheme is voluntary, but if participants leave without "good reason" after the first week, they can lose two weeks' jobseeker's allowance. A Tesco spokesperson described the negotiations with the government as "constructive".

The move comes as Superdrug and the electronics retailer Maplin, along with the mental health charity Mind, said they were withdrawing from the work experience programme and similar schemes.

A Tesco supermarket in central London was forced to close on Saturday after it was invaded by members of the Right to Work campaign protesting against a job advert looking for permanent workers in exchange for expenses and jobseeker's allowance only.

Campaigners from the group said they planned to hold protests on Wednesday at a number of Tesco stores, including two in London and one in Kingston upon Thames.

Richard Brasher, chief executive of Tesco UK, said: "We know it is difficult for young people to give up benefits for a short-term placement with no permanent job at the end of it. So this guarantee that a job will be available, provided the placement is completed satisfactorily, should be a major confidence boost for young people wanting to enter work on a permanent basis."

He added: "Tesco committed 3,000 work placements under the government's work experience scheme. To date around 1,500 have been delivered. We will offer the choice of paid work and the jobs guarantee to all of the remaining placements we will deliver under the scheme. Three hundred young people undertaking work experience with Tesco have already found work with us and we are confident that many more will through this approach."

The DWP does not think Tesco's improved offer will mean the supermarket takes on fewer unemployed people. On Monday, Iain Duncan-Smith, the work and pensions secretary, had defended Tesco, saying it was caught in the crossfire of an undignified row, but on Tuesday DWP ministers said they were relaxed about Tesco's decision.

Chris Grayling, the employment minister, has insisted that no one is forced on to the work experience scheme and that the use of penalties is limited.

Grayling said the scheme, aimed at 18- to 24-year-olds who are unemployed for more than three months, had been over-subscribed. "So far, half the people who go through the scheme come off benefits very quickly afterwards and many stay with the company with which they had work experience," he said.

However, it is not clear yet from government figures if those who have come off benefits have done so because they have found a job.

Officials figures show that more than 34,000 young people have been on the work experience scheme. A further 24,000 have been referred to the government's mandatory work activity scheme, which lasts for four weeks and is unpaid.

"No payment goes to any employer. They do it entirely at their own expense and any induction or training is an investment funded by the employer," Grayling said.

He accused some organisations targeting the scheme of pushing their own political agenda. "There seems to be a culture among some of the pressure groups that hate big companies. Do they really want young people to get no work experience? There should be no division about trying to tackle youth unemployment," he said.

Chisora Apologizes ‘Wholeheartedly’ For Brawl With Haye After Loss To WBC Champion Klitschko


Dereck Chisora apologized “wholeheartedly” Monday for the brawl with David Haye that followed his loss to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.

Haye blamed Chisora for the clash that followed his fellow Londoner’s defeat in Munich and the beaten challenger has acknowledged that the violence at the post-bout news conference marred the biggest night of his career.

“Whilst my behavior was inexcusable, there were many things that went on behind the scenes that ultimately caused my frustrations to boil over,” Chisora said. “Despite all of this, the bottom line is I have let my family, my team and — worst of all — the sport I love down.

“I acknowledge that my actions were totally unprofessional, with or without provocation. Now, with a cool head and the benefit of hindsight, my actions at the weekend were regrettable to say the least and I am deeply embarrassed.”

Chisora, who was questioned for seven hours by German police and is being investigated by the British Boxing Board of Control over the incident, did not say what provoked him to descend from the top table and confront Haye.

Former WBA champion Haye had been at the news conference trying to taunt Klitschko into agreeing to a bout later this year. Haye also waved three fingers at Chisora, indicating that his compatriot had just suffered the third loss of his 18-fight professional career.

“I cannot go into the specific details at the moment as, quite rightly, the British Boxing Board of Control will be investigating this matter,” said Chisora, adding that he was struck by a bottle during the brawl.

“I have a duty as a professional boxer to conduct myself properly at all times, especially with boxing being a sport of controlled aggression. I have let lots of people down on Saturday night, including myself, and for that I am truly sorry.”

German police released Chisora without charge and want to speak to Haye, who left the country before being apprehended but released a statement Monday in which he alleged that Chisora and his entourage were wholly to blame.

“Chisora climbed down from the top table, removed his robe and then walked towards me, entourage in tow, in an aggressive manner,” Haye said. “I held my ground, but unfortunately he caused a serious disturbance to occur, something which threatened to damage the reputation of the sport we both love.”

Haye said he was at the bout as a commentator and had only become involved in the news conference dialogue by Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente.

“(I) have been thinking about what happened ever since, as well as replaying the incident many times via YouTube,” Haye said. “I am bitterly disappointed to have been a part of what transpired on Saturday evening.

“I realize I am no angel and don’t mind a bit of professional trash-talk to help raise boxing’s profile, but during my 21 years in the sport I have never been involved in or even witnessed such a serious fracas.”

Boente told Sky Sports News that he had turned down a request from Haye’s camp for ringside seats and that his fighter was not interested in being part of a comeback by Haye.