Search for London car-bombers continues..

The UK government’s emergencies committee, Cobra, has been meeting again as police continue to search for those responsible for the unsuccessful car bomb attacks in London early on Friday morning. Slate has a round-up of blog links and there are unconfirmed reports that a clear image of a suspect has been identified from CCTV footage. Meanwhile worrying events in Glasgow too, where the airport has just been evacuated after a Jeep Cherokee, reportedly in flames, was driven at speed at … Read more

“he’s not exactly a safe pair of hands..”

The new cut-price Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward, will be appearing on Sunday’s Politics Show for what’s being billed as his first major interview.. but while we wait to see how he feels about being, at best, Gordon’s second choice for the job, over at Comment is Free Mick has put together some initial thoughts on the role Mr Woodward will play – extracts below the fold.A couple of paragraphs, with links, worth highlighting from Mick’s post … Read more

The Vikings are coming [back]!

Fascinating story, flagged up in a BBC report. A reconstructed Viking longship, based on one of five deliberately scuttled wrecks found in 1962 at the village of Skuldelev, near Roskilde, Denmark, will set sail on 1st July from Roskilde heading for Dublin.. where dendrochronological analysis showed that the original ship was built around 1042. The longship, named Havhingsten fra Glendalough [the Sea Stallion from Glendalough] has been built by hand using the materials and methods of the original builders, it … Read more

Royal Navy Warship to Occupy Belfast Port

Just as you thought demilitarisation was the name of the game, the Royal Navy is sending a warship into Belfast…for this weekend’s Maritime Festival. Seven Tall Ships are also sailing into port. Get your fill of fresh seafood, too, at the Odyssey’s fish & food festival. Rusty Nail

“only 21 ministers can receive salaries”

In the Irish Times, Gerry Moriarty helpfully explains the circumstances [subs req] in which our new Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, will not be in receipt of his ministerial salary.. as noted yesterday. Mr Woodward is forgoing his ministerial salary because the new British prime minister Gordon Brown has 22 ministers in his government and according to cabinet rules only 21 ministers can receive salaries. He will hold on to his MP’s salary of £60,000 (€89,000) but must forgo £76,000 … Read more

Compensation ruling

The High Court has ruled in favour of the claim for compensation made by former RUC and PSNI officers who suffer from trauma. Lee Reynolds

SNP’s drugs ambitions

O’Neill highlights what the DUP’s new mates are up to now they have their hands on power – they want to import class A substances. Will we have a similar statement from a DUP minister soon? Michael ShillidayI used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t. Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday

“…institutionalising prejudice”

NIO Minister Paul Goggins has revealed it will be 2011 before the government expects to reach the Patten target of 30% Roman Catholic membership using the discriminatory 50:50 rule. This may involve the extension of the rule for a further year. This would mean the “temporary” measure will have been in operation for 11 years. The rule was partially to address the lack of RC applicants but the latest round showed a jump in RC applicants to 41%, only a … Read more

All those useful NI Tories

Iain Dale highlights the Tory campaign website for the Sedgefield and Ealing Southall by-elections. That website calls on Tories from all over the country for support: If you can help with either of these campaigns – whether on the ground or from afar – please let us know. The map is clickable for each area of the UK, and they are listed in the drop down box. Except not ALL areas of the UK are included. It seems the help … Read more

Spaced out Irish police…

HAT tip to the Beeb’s Will Crawley for spotting this rather amusing YouTube prank call in which two calls were put in to two Garda stations on mobile phones – and then the two phones talked to each other. “Listen out for the meteorite,” says Will. Heh! Belfast Gonzohttp://sluggerotoole.com

Did MP’s letters to Secretary of State help nobble developer..?

THE Sheridan Group’s High Court judicial review of the Government decision to block its development plans for the Queen’s Quay site close to the River Lagan should be worth watching. After the DUP’s Peter Robinson used parliamentary privilege to accuse the company of a connection to “IRA dirty money” (which it denies) the company’s bid was subject to a “due diligence” accounts review process. Sheridan’s lawyer says the company charged with carrying this out for the Government was “pressured”, but, … Read more

UDA victim’s brave father dies…

IN July 2001, paramedic Michael Brett was called to the scene of a shooting in Newtownabbey. He had been called to numerous scenes of terrorism in the past, including the Omagh bomb, but he couldn’t have guessed that this time it would be his own teenage son Gavin who would end up cradling in his arms as his life ebbed away. Tragically, this brave man passed away today, aged just 51. The murder, carried out under the UDA’s cowardly flag … Read more

Parades Commission determines on Drumcree parade

As highlighted by the Belfast Telegraph report, the Parades Commission today issued a determination on the 8th July Drumcree Parish Church Annual Parade by Portadown District LOL No 1 The Parades Commission re-affirms its desire to see a long-term resolution of parading in Portadown. The Commission is clear in its view that the only appropriate and sensible resolution is agreement between all parties involved. That agreement may be that a parade takes place on the Garvaghy Road. It may be … Read more

“we have demanded that all information is brought to City of Derry Airport Committee”

The Independent Review of the decision by the CAA to suspend the publicly-owned City of Derry Airport’s licence, during 4-day period in May, has reported back to Derry City Council.. and they’ve issued a press release after passing a resolution – the report doesn’t seem to be online. is available here[pdf file – thanks jone] There’s a BBC report on the moves here. But watch the short online video report by Mike McKimm [RealPlayer file] which contains the key details; … Read more

Is it dead yet?

The BBC’s man in Washington, Jamie Coomarasamy, says that the Z Visa Immigration Bill, previously thought to be pining for the fjords.. is now officially an ex-Bill after the Senate voted 46-53 against moving on the proposals – “It could try to resurrect legislation, but Thursday’s vote was probably the last serious attempt to get immigration reform through Congress under this presidency”. Meanwhile, although agreeing that it’s a huge defeat for Bush, Slate’s Mickey Kaus is predicting that the House … Read more

Blair’s next role takes shape

Been a busy few days for the erstwhile Prime Minster, Tony Blair. Not content with stepping down as Prime Minister [to a standing ovation – Ed] he also stepped down as the MP for Sedgefield – double by-election, in two safe labour seats, on 19th July. He’s also been appointed as the Middle-East Envoy for some heavy-weight political interests – not the Imperial one though.. and he joins the [Foundation] board of the World Economic Forum. Oh, and while preparing … Read more

Harbinson loses his latest ‘Alamo’…

AS expected, the Parades Commission has banned loyalist provocateur Mark Harbinson’s Pride of the Village Flute Band (see above) from entering two mixed areas of Stoneyford. The Commission noted that intimidated residents of Stonebridge Meadows and “that an illegal parade took place through Stonebridge Meadows and The Beeches on the evening of Tuesday 26th June 2007″. The determination continued: “The Commission is deeply disappointed that this incident occurred and may have a detrimental effect on community relations. The Commission notes … Read more

Woodward to be new Northern Ireland Secretary

Looks like the former Tory and former NIO Minister, Shaun Woodward, is to return in upgraded form as Northern Ireland Secretary.[added link] Worthwhile recalling that he has been prone to clarifying his comments.. or, rather, having them clarified for him. And a reminder of one of my favourite Woodward quotes [didn’t he used to work for Esther Rantzen? – Ed] – “If I fail, sack me. Ministers should be accountable.”.. We would if we could, minister Secretary of State.. Adds … Read more