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Rail talks stall - strike action looks likely

First Great Western action remains on as planned as last-minute talks fail to reach agreement.

RMT members at First Great Western are set to take action between 18:30 hours on Wednesday 8th July 2015 and 18:29 hours on Friday 10th July 2015.

At the present time, the company still feel that the configuration of the new Super Express Trains is out of their control and that it would be in their best interests to have Driver Only Operation and to remove the buffet cars.

That position is totally unacceptable and the union is clear that the design of the new fleet of trains is a matter for First Group and that there is still time to modify the rolling stock. Exactly as has happened on East Coast who will be operating the same units.

We were also unable to reach agreement on the future of the Fleet/Engineering Grades and FGW would not provide this union with assurance that the Transfer of Undertakings regulations will be adhered to.

Therefore, the 48 hour strike remains on as follows;

– RMT General Secretary Mick Cash,


MPs from the south react to Heathrow decision

Members of Parliament from the south given their reaction to a report recommending Heathrow is given the go-ahead to expand.

The findings were published by the Airport Commission which took three years to reach its conclusion which looked at the best way to increase the country's airport capacity.

Reaction below from: Phillip Lee (Bracknell), Adam Afriyie (Windsor), Boris Johnson (Mayor of London), Harriet Harman (acting Labour leader), Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion), Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs), Henry Smith (Crawley), Carwyn Cox (Windsor and Maidenhead Council), Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire) and Patrick Mcloughlin (Transport Secretary).

MPs from the south east react to Heathrow decision

Members of Parliament from the south east have expressed their reaction to a report saying a third runway at Heathrow is the best option to increase the country's airport capacity.

The findings were published by the Airport Commission which took three years to reach its conclusion.

Reaction from: Henry Smith (Crawley), Jeremy Quinn (Horsham), Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling), Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne), Nus Ghani (Wealden), Adam Afriyie (Windsor) and Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood)

  1. Phil Hornby

The real political battle starts now

Any hopes that the Davies Report would resolve the airports issue once and for all were dashed within minutes of it being published.

Boris Johnson led the attack - saying an extra runway at Heathrow is undeliverable, will never happen, and is the sort of scheme you'd have got in 1950s Communist China.

Would-be Mayor of London Zac Goldsmith says Davies had made up his mind on Heathrow before the process began. Davies has accused him of "lying".

How much easier, politically, it would have been for the Government if Davies had agreed with those adverts saying it obviously had to be Gatwick. Some MPs in Sussex, Surrey and Kent would have been outraged, but Mr Cameron could have lived with that.

The political opposition to Heathrow will be on a dramatically different scale. It could lead to a Tory revolt at Westminster, at least one parliamentary by-election and it could dominate next year's Mayoral election in London: some people want to turn that into a referendum on Heathrow.

The history of big infrastructure projects in the country is one of almost endless delays and indecision. It looks like this one will be no different.


"False Dalai Lama, stop lying" - protestors chant to Tibetan spiritual leader

Hundreds of people are protesting against the Dalai Lama's visit to a community centre in Aldershot.

The Shugden community claim they have been shunned and persecuted by the Dalai Lama. The dispute stems from a difference in religious beliefs.

The Tibetan spiritual leader used to adhere to the same practices as the Shugden but rejected them in 1975.

Hundreds protest Dalai Lama visit

Hundreds of demonstrators are protesting the arrival of the Dalai Lama in Aldershot.

The members of the Shugden Buddhist community say they are being persecuted by the Dalai Lama in places like India and Tibet.

More than 700 protestors are expected at the Buddhist community centre throughout the day.

The Shugden community are Tibetan Buddhists that worship a specific controversial spirit. The Tibetan spiritual leader used to follow Shugden practices but distanced himself from them in 1975.

Members of the Shugden community are protesting the visit Credit: Divya Kohli

Dalai Lama arrives to colourful reception in Aldershot

The Dalai Lama, has arrived in Aldershot to mark the opening of a new Buddhist community centre.

The Tibetan spiritual leader in exile will speak about Buddhism in the '21st Century' and lead prayers for the victims of the recent Nepalese earthquakes

Aldershot has a large Buddhist community Credit: Divya Kohli

The Dalai Lama, who turns 80 next week, is being welcomed by the Buddhist Community Centre UK in Aldershot. The town has a large Nepalese Buddhist community. Tibetan Buddhism is widely practised in Nepal.

A protest has been planned in opposition to the visit by members of the Shugden Buddhist community, who claim to be persecuted by the Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama to visit Aldershot

He's known around the world for spreading a message of peace and today the spiritual leader of Nepal is to visit Aldershot later.

The Dalai Lama has been invited by the expats from Nepal now living in the UK.

In 2012, he addressed the village, speaking about his mutual respect and religious harmony.

The 79-year-old, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, will meet with members of the community during today's visit.

The Dalai Lama during his visit to Hampshire three years ago Credit: ITV Meridian
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