#Ban zeez hashtags: French bid to outlaw English phrases

The French language gendarmes have decreed the nation must now refer to the global social network icon as mot-diese In a continuing battle to stop English words violating their mother tongue, the language gendarmes have decreed the nation must now refer to the global social network icon as mot-diese. Teachers and the media are under orders to adopt it – and steer clear of using the English word. The outlawing of hashtag is the latest in a stream of desperate bids by the nation’s stuffy Académie française authority to keep the language pure. Already, the French culture ministry has a huge list of English words on its website which it fears are in danger of slipping into common French usage. These include: email, blog, supermodel, take-away, parking, weekend and low-cost airline. The site also features obscure terms that nobody would want to steal, such as detachable motor caravan and multifunctional industrial building. The blacklist of vocabulary runs for 65 pages. Scientists are told to no longer refer to “serial analysis of gene expression” and “suppression subtractive hybridization”. Television sports commentators are even urged to stop using the words coach or corner during football matches, despite the fact that all its terms were invented in English by English speakers. They should instead say entraineur and coup de pied de coin. The Official Journal, which publishes the French edicts, now says: “The English term hashtag should wherever possible be replaced with the French term mot-diese.” Officials went into meltdown after a government report said Anglo-Saxon culture’s trend towards global domination had caused a “deep crisis”. For the list see http://franceterme.culture.fr and...

Chicago Warehouse Covered In Ice After Fire

About 200 fire-fighters battled to put out a massive fire at an empty warehouse in Chicago as glacial temperatures turned water to ice. Fire department officials said the blaze on Tuesday evening was among the biggest in recent years. About a third of the city’s fire-fighters were at the scene at one point or another. The cause of the blaze in the vacant building is still being investigated. The efforts to tame the fire, which threatened an adjacent building, were made difficult by temperatures that were well below zero, encasing fire trucks and the building into ice. Water froze on the fire fighters’ uniforms and gloves. After several hours, the fire was put out, with ice sheets covering the remains of the building. The American Midwest has been experiencing a cold snap since the weekend, with freezing Arctic air coming from Canada....

Pub loses its late licence

A pub that has regularly broken its licensing conditions and been accused of “not caring less” has had its late licence removed. The White Hart Hotel, based in Ampthill town centre, will now be forced to stop selling alcohol and playing music at 11.30pm, and to close at midnight. It was previously allowed to stay open until 2.30am on Fridays, 1.30pm on Saturdays and midnight on Sundays. The decision was taken at a meeting of the licensing sub-committee of Central Beds Council on Tuesday where a review of the licence was discussed. Members also took the decision to remove the designated premises supervisor (DPS) Salik Miah from post as licensee. The pub is run by company Punch Taverns Ltd. Technical officer in the public protection department at Central Beds Council Alan Stone called for the review following numerous complaints from residents over the last few years, and the meeting was packed out with frustrated neighbours. One resident Alexander Pelling told the committee: “There is a great deal of evidence of serious breaches of conditions by the licensee. You have the report that states not just this, but one particular incident that despite repeated complaints, he simply did nothing. “He could not care less about the council’s own public protection officer, so it is very hard to imagine he care about local people. “It is my experience that locally people are mindful of this kind of thing, but this is an example of a landlord that could not care less.” His wife Jenny added that she had suffered from sleep deprivation due to the loud music coming from the venue...

Archaeologists believe no Spitfires buried in Burma

  Archaeologists hunting for World War II Spitfires in Burma believe there are no planes buried at the sites where they have been digging, the BBC understands. The archaeologists have concluded that evidence does not support the original claim that as many as 124 Spitfires were buried at the end of the war, the BBC’s Fergal Keane reports. Wargaming.net, the firm financing the dig, has also said there are no planes. But project leader David Cundall says they are looking in the wrong place. He told the BBC that he still believes Spitfires are buried at Rangoon airport and other sites. An initial survey of the site began in early January, with excavations due to begin after that. A scheduled press conference was cancelled on Friday morning by Wargaming Ltd, with a spokesman saying he hoped to give more details later. When pressed, the spokesman said there are no Spitfires, our correspondent says. Muddy waters David Cundall has spent the last 17 years trying to discover the truth of claims that unused, unassembled Spitfires were packed into crates and buried by the RAF at sites in Burma on the orders of Lord Mountbatten at the end of the war in 1945. He has collected eyewitness accounts from American and British service personnel as well as local people. One of them, British veteran Stanley Coombe, had travelled to Burma to witness the excavation. The dig got the go ahead after it secured funding from Belarusian video games firm Wargaming.net, and received permission from Burmese President Thein Sein during a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron last year. Mr Cundall...

Central Bedfordshire agrees up to 130 new traveller pitches

Up to 130 new traveller pitches are needed over the next 20 years, Central Bedfordshire Council has decided. The sustainable communities committee approved the number after considering the county’s gypsy and traveller area assessment which evaluates pitch needs. The number of pitches needed will be reviewed every five years. In February, councillors will identify 13 sites, out of the 34 existing sites in the county, which will each get 10 extra places. Some residents in the proposed areas have shown concern but the council said it has a “statutory obligation” to provide accommodation or sites for gypsies and travellers. ‘Going to listen’ Figures for the numbers of pitches used to be imposed on councils by central government, but since the regional government bodies were abandoned by the coalition two years ago, councils have been responsible for their own targets. Councillor Nigel Young, executive member for sustainable communities, said the council would consider the views of both the settled community and the gypsy and traveller community. “We are going to give everybody every opportunity to be consulted, we are going to listen but we are going to act within the statutory obligation that we have,” he said. Mr Young said if residents said they did not want the pitches, the council would “put those observations to the Secretary of State”. Central Bedfordshire Council will decide the final list of 13 suitable sites on 28 February and inform the Secretary of State of its decision. A full consultation will follow with a final decision and the adoption of the sites due in 2014.  ...

New jet terminal for business users at Luton Airport

A new passenger terminal and hangar are being built at Luton Airport for business users and private jets. Signature Flight Support says its hangar will be able to house two jets and could be finished by the autumn. The new passenger terminal, which could open by the end of next year, will include conference and catering facilities. Signature said the new terminal and hangar would replace its existing facility, which it bought in 2000. Maria Sastre, president and chief operating officer, said the new services would provide a “world-class travel experience”....