Archive for category News
Foreign Office hoarding 1m historic files in secret archive
Justice secretary signed authorisation to place retention of files – some created in 19th century – on legal footing for 12 months
The Foreign Office has unlawfully hoarded more than a million files of historic documents that should have been declassified and handed over to the National Archive, the Guardian has discovered.
The files are being kept at a secret archive at a high-security government communications centre in Buckinghamshire, north of London, where they occupy mile after mile of shelving.
Most of the papers are many decades old – some were created in the 19th century – and document in fine detail British foreign relations throughout two world wars, the cold war, withdrawal from empire and entry into the common market.
They have been kept away from public view in breach of the Public Records Acts, which requires that all government documents become public once they are 30 years old – a term about to be reduced to 20 years – unless the department has received permission from the lord chancellor to hold them longer. The secret archive is also beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Foreign Office is not the only government department that has been unlawfully hoarding files. This month the Guardian disclosed that the Ministry of Defence was unlawfully holding more than 66,000 historic files at a warehouse in Derbyshire, including thousands of files from the army’s Northern Ireland headquarters.
However, the Foreign Office’s secret archive, which is estimated to hold around 1.2m files and occupies around 15 miles of floor-to-ceiling shelving, is believed to be far larger than the combined undisclosed archives of every other government department. One of Britain’s leading historians describes its size as “staggering”
A long-running feud has pitted protesters from a small town of 2,000 people in the shadows of Australia’s temperate rainforest against one of the world’s most recognisable brands.
Tranquil Tecoma, 35km (20 miles) east of central Melbourne, has become a battleground between McDonald’s and “community” protesters over the construction of a 24-hour drive-through restaurant.
Opponents say the restaurant would be too close to a nursery and primary school, would damage other businesses and disrupt the fabric of a leafy community known for its artists and wildlife.
The plan was initially rejected by the local council, but the fast-food giant won an appeal at a state planning tribunal, and work on the site is under way.
It’s been a two-and-a-half-year fight spanning two continents.
Last month, campaigners delivered a petition containing 97,000 signatures to the company’s global headquarters in Chicago.
Looking for a ‘tree change’
“We knocked on the door of every house in Tecoma and we discovered that nine out of 10 people didn’t want this,” says Garry Muratore, a spokesman for No McDonald’s in the Dandenong Ranges, who denies the group is on an anti-corporate crusade.
“They have the legal right, but they don’t have the moral right.
An Alaskan airport has closed an aircraft access route because of a flaw with Apple’s Maps app.
Fairbanks International Airport told a local newspaper that in the past three weeks two motorists had driven along the taxiway and across one of its runways.
Apple’s app directs users along the taxiway but does not specifically tell them to drive on to the runway.
As the sabers rattle in our nation’s capital and the argument is made for retaliation against the violence perpetrated upon the Syrian people through chemical attack, the pulse of everyday America beats to a different heart. A war-weary nation still struggles to get on its feet from a kind of violence wrought by the greed and corruption in our highest financial sectors. Those crimes against humanity have gone unpunished. Retaliation is best served “profitable,” as in fodder for a military industrial machine or companies with trusted household names like Halliburton.
Meanwhile, back in America’s backyard, food insecurity is directly related to unemployment and poverty and is fueled by hopelessness. A country that allows its seniors and children to go to bed hungry seems to me the greater violence that begs to be addressed by those in power.
Read more on Bread, Bombs and Bullshit.
A 5.7m (19ft) python has been seized after it fell from the ceiling of a charity shop in Australia.
The python, weighing 17kg (37lbs), was recovered by a snake-handler after police investigated a suspected break-in at the shop in Ingham, Queensland.
“Its head was the size of a small dog,” said police spokesman Sgt Don Auld.
The snake fell through a ceiling panel, smashing shop goods. Police said it may have got in through the roof, which was damaged by Cyclone Yasi in 2011.
When police were initially called to the property on Monday, they believed a person had fallen through the ceiling because the roof panel had been cut in half.
Crockery, clothes and other goods were scattered all over the floor.
Police were called back to the shop the following day when a large crowd formed outside.
Sgt Auld said the snake must have been hiding when police went there the first time.
It has been released in nearby wetlands.