Coral Triangle Day

IMG_4685Coral Triangle Day is observed annually on June 9, to celebrate and raise awareness of the ocean conservation and protection, especially on the Coral Triangle, the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity. Intended as an open-sourced event, the day is celebrated by individuals, organizations, and establishment concerned on the Coral Triangle. Coral Triangle is a geographical term that refers to a vast ocean expense located along the equator and the confluence of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. The region covers the exclusive economic zones of six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste (the “CT6” countries). It is even considered as one of the 3 mega ecological complexes on Earth, together with Congo Basin and the Amazon Rainforest.

There is a broad scientific consensus that the region represents the global the global epicenter of marine life abundance and diversity—with 76% of all known coral species, 37% of all known coral reef fish species, 53% of the world’s coral reefs, the greatest extent of mangrove forests in the world, and spawning and juvenile growth areas for the world’s largest tuna fishery. Moreover, the biogeographical conditions within the CT may also enable the region to maintain its exceptional productivity in the face of future impacts of climate change, making it potentially the world’s most important “refuge” for marine life. These unparalleled marine and coastal living resources provide profound benefits to the 363 million people who reside within the six countries that compose the Coral Triangle, along with benefits to many millions more outside the region.

Today, the coastal and marine ecosystems in the Coral Triangle are under significant and increasing threat by the warming, acidifying and rising seas. Coral reefs have experienced mass bleaching, which threaten to degrade the important ecosystems. Over half the coral reefs are at high risk primarily from coastal development, overfishing, and unsustainable fishing practice. Since the marine resources are a principal source of income for the population, the downstream effects of losing these critical coastal ecosystems are enormous.

The Coral Triangle Day was first held on June 10, 2012, as a regional interpretation of World Oceans Day. During the 8th Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (a multilateral partnership to safeguard the Coral Triangle’s marine and coastal biological resources) Senior Official Meeting, member countries declared to designate the Coral Triangle Day to be held annually. It is, ever since, simultaneously celebrated by all Coral Triangle countries every year. It is celebrated through numerous activities including but not limited to beach clean-ups; sustainable seafood dinners and exhibitions; bazaars; and beach parties, among others. The intention is to carry the message of ocean conservation under the overall banner of the Coral Triangle Day.

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Rik Mayall

English comedian, writer and Actor Richard Michael “Rik” Mayall sadly died on 9 June 2014. He was described as a truly brilliant comedian with a unique stage presence whose “Fireball Comedy” and comic approach to sitcom had inspired a generation. born 7 March 1958 Mayall attended The King’s School, Worcester, After which went to the University of Manchester in 1976 to study drama, where he befriended his future comedy partner Ade Edmondson. There he also met Ben Elton, a fellow student, and Lise Mayer, with whom he later co-wrote The Young Ones. His comedy partnership with Adrian Edmondson, and over-the-top, energetic “post-punk” portrayal of characters, made him a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s. He appeared in numerous cult classic sitcoms, including The Young Ones, Blackadder, The New Statesman and Bottom, and on the big screen in the comedy films Drop Dead Fred and Guest House Paradiso.

Edmondson and Mayall gained their reputation at the Comedy Store, from 1980. Apart from performing in their double act, 20th Century Coyote, Mayall developed solo routines, using characters such as Kevin Turvey and a pompous anarchist poet named Rick. This led to Edmondson and Mayall, along with Comedy Store compere Alexei Sayle and other upcoming comedians, including Nigel Planer, Peter Richardson, French and Saunders, Arnold Brown and Pete Richens, setting up their own comedy club called “The Comic Strip”. Mayall’s Kevin Turvey character gained a regular slot in A Kick Up the Eighties, first broadcast in 1981. He appeared as “Rest Home” Ricky in Richard O’Brien’s Shock Treatment, a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He played Dentonvale’s resident attendant as the love interest to Nell Campbell’s Nurse Ansalong. There was also a mockumentary based on the character entitled Kevin Turvey – The Man Behind The Green Door, broadcast in 1982. He also appeared in a bit role in An American Werewolf in London. His stage partnership with Edmondson continued in”The Dangerous Brothers”, hapless daredevils whose hyper-violent antics foreshadowed their characters in Bottom. Channel 4 offered the Comic Strip group six short films, which became The Comic Strip Presents…, which became known for its anti-establishment humour and parodies suchas Bad News on Tour, a spoof “rockumentary” starring Mayall, Richardson, Edmondson and Planer as a heavy metal band.

The Young Ones, was a sitcom written by Mayall and then-girlfriend Lise Mayer, in the same anarchic vein as Comic Strip. Ben Elton joined the writers. In it Mayall played Rik, a pompous sociology student and Cliff Richard devotee. Despite the sitcom format, Mayall maintained his double-act with Edmondson, who starred as violent punk Vyvyan. Nigel Planer (as hippie Neil) and Christopher Ryan (as “Mike the cool person”) with additional material written and performed by Alexei Sayle. The show owed a comic debt to Spike Milligan. In 1986 Rik Mayall played the Detective in the video of “Peter Gunn” by Art Of Noise featuring Duane Eddy.

Mayall returned to stand-up comedy, performing on Saturday Live—a British version of the American Saturday Night Live—first broadcast in 1985. He and Edmondson had a regular section as “The Dangerous Brothers”, and in 1985, Mayall debuted another comic creation -Lord Flashheart in the Blackadder II episode entitled “Bells”. A descendant of this character, Squadron Commander Flashheart, was also in the Blackadder Goes Forth episode “Private Plane” in which he was reunited with Edmondson, who played German flying ace Baron von Richthofen the “Red Baron”, Mayall also appeared in Blackadder: Back & Forth as Robin Hood. In 1986, Mayall joined Planer, Edmondson and Elton to star as Richie Rich in Filthy Rich & Catflap, which highlighted the “has been” status of light entertainment. 1987 saw Mayall co-star with Edmondson in the ITV sitcom Hardwicke House and score a number one hit when he and his co-stars from The Young Ones teamed with Cliff Richard to record “Living Doll” for the inaugural Comic Relief campaign. Mayall played Rick one last time in the stage-show and supported the Comic Relief and also gave a memorably crazed portrayal in Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine.

In 1987, Mayall played fictional Conservative MP Alan Beresford B’Stard in the sitcom The New Statesman and, in 1989 Mayall starred in a series of bit shows for ITV called Grim Tales, in which he narrated Grimm Brothers fairy tales while puppets acted the stories. In 1991, Edmondson and Mayall co-starred in the West End production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, with Mayall playing Vladimir, Edmondson as Estragon and Christopher Ryan as Lucky. This inspired Bottom, which they said was a cruder cousin to Waiting for Godot and featured slapstick violence taken to new extremes. In 1993, following the second series, Mayall and Edmondson decided to take a stage-show version of the series on a national tour, Bottom: Live.

In 1991 Mayall starred alongside Phoebe Cates in Drop Dead Fred as a troublesome imaginary friend who reappears from a woman’s childhood. He also appeared in Carry On Columbus (1992) with other alternative comedians and provided the voice of the character Froglip, the leader of the goblins, in the 1992 animated film adaption of the 1872 children’s tale The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. In 1993, he appeared in Rik Mayall Presents, for which he won a Best Comedy Performer award at that year’s British Comedy Awards, He also provided the voice for Little Sod in Simon Brett’s How to Be a Little Sod. In the early 1990s, he auditioned for the roles of Banzai, Zazu and Timon in The Lion King (1994); but the role of Zazu finally went to Rowan Atkinson.

In 1995, Mayall featured in a production of the play Cell Mates alongside Stephen Fry. Not long into the run, Fry had a nervous breakdown and fled to Belgium, Edmondson later poked fun at the event during the stage tours. Bottom Live: The Big Number Two Tour, And Bottom Live 2003: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts Tour. From 1999, Mayall was the voice of the black-headed seagull Kehaar, in the first and second series of the animated television programme, Watership Down.In 2000, Mayall lent his voice to the PlayStation and Windows PC video game Hogs of War and appeared in the video production of Jesus Christ Superstar as King Herod. In 2001 Mayall gave an excellent dramatic performance as Lt Daniel Blaney in the episode “The White Knight Stratagem” from the series “Murder Rooms: The Mysteries of the Real Sherlock Holmes.” In 2002, Mayall starred as Professor Adonis Cnut in the ITV sitcom, Believe Nothing. Following 2003’s Bottom: Live tour, Bottom 5: Weapons Grade Y-Fronts, Edmondson told the Daily Mail that he no longer wished to work on Bottom claiming they were “too old” to continue portraying the characters. Edmondson added that since Mayall had recovered from his coma, he was slower on the uptake and it had become more difficult to work with him, citing as well that due to taking medication Mayall had been advised to stop drinking alcohol. However, Edmondson said that the pair remained very close friends.

Mayall voiced Edwin in the BBC show Shoebox Zoo. In September 2005, he starred in a new series for ITV, All About George. In 2006, Mayall reprised the role of Alan B’Stard in the play The New Statesman 2006: Blair B’stard Project, In which B’Stard leaves the floundering Conservatives and become a Labour MP. In 2007, following a successful two-month run in London’s West End at the Trafalgar Studios, a heavily re-written version toured theatres nationwide, However, Mayall succumbed to chronic fatigue and flu in May 2007 and withdrew from the show. Alan B’Stard was played by his understudy, Mike Sherman during his hiatus.

Mayall was cast as the poltergeist Peeves in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone And Played Winston the Butler in the film Evil Calls: The Raven (2008). Mayall also provided the voice of the Andrex puppy in the UK Andrex TV commercials and narrated the UK Domestos adverts. He performed the voice of King Arthur in the children’s television cartoon series, King Arthur’s Disasters, alongside Matt Lucas from Little Britain who plays Merlin. In September 2009, Mayall played a supporting role in the British television programme Midsomer Murders, In April 2010, Motivation Records released Mayall’s England Football anthem “Noble England” for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which features an adapted speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. In September 2010 he narrated an audio book, Cutey and the Sofaguard written by Christ Wade and In November 2010, Mayall provided narrative for five different characters for CDs accompanying children’s books published by Clickety Books. Then On 5 March 2011, Mayall appeared with Ade Edmonson on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief then In April 2011, Mayall again revived the character of Alan B’Stard to make an appearance in a satirical television advertisement for the No2AV campaign prior to the 2011 voting reform referendum in the UK. On 23 August 2012 the BBC announced that Edmondson and Mayall’s characters of Richie and Eddie returned in 2013 in Hooligan’s Island. In September 2012 Mayall starred in The Last Hurrah, and In November 2012, Mayall narrated several children’s books on the Me Books app, such as The Getaway and Banana! by children’s illustrator and author Ed Vere. In October 2013 he also appeared in Channel 4 sitcom Man Down,

Iain M.Banks

Prolific Scottish author Iain Banks sadly died 9 June 2013 . He was born 16 February 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife, to a mother who was a professional ice skater and a father who was an officer in the Admiralty. An only child, Banks lived in North Queensferry until the age of nine, near the naval dockyards in Rosyth where his father was based. his family then moved to Gourock due to the requirements of his father’s work.After attending Gourock and Greenock High Schools, Banks studied English, philosophy and psychology at the University of Stirling (1972–1975). he wrote his second novel TTR during his first year at university.Following graduation Banks chose a succession of jobs that left him free to write in the evenings. These posts supported his writing throughout his twenties and allowed him to take long breaks between contracts, during which time he travelled through Europe, Scandinavia and North America. He also worked s an expediter analyser for IBM, a technician (for British Steel) and a costing clerk for a Chancery Lane, London law firm .

Banks decided to become a writer at the age of 11 and completed his first novel The Hungarian Lift-Jet at 16. Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write full-time. His editor at Macmillan, James Hale, advised him to write one book a year and Banks agreed to this schedule. Banks’s first science fiction book Consider Phlebaswas released in 1987. The Crow Road (1992) was adapted as a BBC television series and Espedair Street (1987) was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.Banks cited Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, M. John Harrison and Dan Simmons as literary influences. Banks published work under two names. His parents had intended to name him “Iain Menzies Banks”, but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and “Iain Banks” became the officially registered name. Despite this error, Banks continued to use his middle name and submitted The Wasp Factory for publication as “Iain M. Banks”. Banks’ editor enquired about the possibility of omitting the ‘M’ as it appeared “too fussy” and the potential existed for confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a romantic novelist in the Jeeves novels by P.G. Wodehouse; Banks agreed to the omission. Following three mainstream novels, Banks’s publishers agreed to publish his first science fiction (SF) novel Consider Phlebas. To create a distinction between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the ‘M’ to his name and the author’s second title was consequently confirmed.

He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. his first successful novel was The Wasp Factory and following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write on a full-time basis. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, was released in 1987, marking the start of the popular The Culture series. His books have been adapted for theatre, radio and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″.in April 2013. By his death in June 2013 Banks had published 26 novels. His twenty-seventh novel The Quarry was published posthumously. Banks was also the subject of The Strange Worlds of Iain Banks South Bank Show (1997), a television documentary that examined his mainstream writing, and was also an in-studio guest for the final episode of Marc Riley’s Rocket Science radio show, broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music. a radio adaptation of Banks’s The State of the Art was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2009; the adaptation was written by Paul Cornell and the production was directed/produced by Nadia Molinari. in 1998 Espedair Street was dramatised as a serial for Radio 4, presented by Paul Gambaccini in the style of a Radio 1 documentary. In 2011 Banks was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live. Banks reaffirmed his atheism during his Saturday Live appearance, whereby he explained that death is an important “part of the totality of life” and should be treated realistically, instead of feared.

Banks also appeared on the BBC Political television programme Question Time, and captained a team of writers to victory in a special series of BBC Two’s University Challenge. Banks also won a 2006 edition of BBC One’s Celebrity Mastermind; the author selected “Malt whisky and the distilleries of Scotland” as his specialist subject. His final interview with Kirsty Wark was broadcast as Iain Banks: Raw Spirit on BBC2 Scotland on Wednesday 12 June 2013. Banks was involved in the theatre production The Curse of Iain Banks which was written by Maxton Walker and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 1999. Banks wrote the music for some of the songs that were featured in the production and collaborated with the play’s soundtrack composer Gary Lloyd, who also composed the score for a musical production of the Banks novel The Bridge.

Patricia Cornwell

Prolific Crime novelist Patricia Cornwell was born 9 June 1956 in Miami, Florida. Her father was one of the leading appellate lawyers in the United States and served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. In 1961, Cornwell’s family moved to Montreat, North Carolina, where her mother was hospitalized for depression. Cornwell and her brothers, Jim and John, were placed in the foster care system. Cornwell attended King College in Bristol, Tennessee, before transferring to Davidson College, where she graduated with a B.A. in English. In 1979, Cornwell started working as a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and soon began covering crime. Her biography of family friend Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering (renamed Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham in subsequent editions), was published in 1983. In 1984, she took a job at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia. She worked there for six years, first as a technical writer and then as a computer analyst. She also volunteered to work with the Richmond Police Department. Cornwell wrote three novels that she says were rejected before the publication, in 1990, of the first installment of her Scarpetta series, Postmortem, was published, which features Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Sarpetta.

One of the latest Patricia Cornwell crime thrillers I have read is Dust in which Scarpetta investigates the murder of a missing computer engineer named Gail Shipton, who appears to have been been murdered, shortly before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy. Scarpetta suspects that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Scarpetta begins to suspect that certain people in the government, including her boss, don’t want the killer caught and discover a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.”. Scarpetta soon finds herself involved in the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.

Another Gripping and suspenseful Patricia Cornwell novel Which I have read is Red Mist, which again features chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, who is on a quest to find out exactly what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, who was murdered six months before , so against the advice of her FBI criminal intelligence agent husband, Benton Wesley, Scarpetta meets a convicted sex offender and the mother of a vicious and diabolically brilliant killer, who may have information not only on Fielding, but also on a string of grisly killings. Then when more inexplicable deaths begin to occur. Scarpetta, discovers that what she thought ended with Fielding’s death and an attempt on her own life is only the beginning and discovers conspiracies and terrorism on an international scale.

In addition to the Scarpetta novels, Cornwell has written three pseudo-police fictions, known as the Trooper Andy Brazil/Superintendent Judy Hammer series, which are set in North Carolina, Virginia, and off the mid-Atlantic coast. Besides the older-woman/younger-man premise, the books include discomforting themes of scatology and sepsis. Cornwell has also been involved in a continuing, self-financed search for evidence to support her theory that painter Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper. She wrote Portrait of a Killer—Jack the Ripper: Case Closed, which was published in 2002 causing much controversy, especially within the British art world. She believed Sickert to be responsible for the string of murders and had purchased over thirty of his paintings and argued that they closely resembled the Ripper crime scenes, and also discovered a letter written by someone purporting to be the killer.

John Lord (Deep Purple)

 

English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player John Douglas “Jon” Lord was born June 1941. He was an known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men. In 1968, Lord co-founded Deep Purple, a hard rock band of which he was regarded as the leader until 1970. Together with the other members, he collaborated on most of his band’s most popular songs.

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the “unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as “the globe’s loudest band” for a 1972 concert at London’s Rainbow Theatre,and have sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Deep Purple have had several line-up changes and an eight-year hiatus (1976–1984). The 1968–1976 line-ups are commonly labelled Mark I, II, III and IV. Their second and most commercially successful line-up consisted of Ian Gillan (vocals), Jon Lord (keyboards, backing vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums), and Ritchie Blackmore (guitar). This line-up was active from 1969 to 1973, and was revived from 1984 to 1989, and again from 1992 to 1993. The band achieved more modest success in the intervening periods between 1968 and 1969 with the line-up including Rod Evans (lead vocals) and Nick Simper (bass, backing vocals), between 1974 and 1976 (Tommy Bolin replacing Blackmore in 1975) with the line-up including David Coverdale (lead vocals) and Glenn Hughes (bass, vocals), and between 1989 and 1992 with the line-up including Joe Lynn Turner (vocals). The band’s line-up (currently including Ian Gillan, and guitarist Steve Morse from 1994) has been much more stable in recent years, although keyboardist Jon Lord’s retirement from the band in 2002 (being succeeded by Don Airey) left Ian Paice as the only original Deep Purple member still in the band.

Deep Purple were ranked number 22 on VH1’s Greatest Artists of Hard Rock programme and a poll on British radio station Planet Rock ranked them 5th among the “most influential bands ever”. The band received the Legend Award at the 2008 World Music Awards. Deep Purple (specifically Blackmore, Lord, Paice, Gillan, Glover, Evans, Coverdale and Hughes) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

He and drummer Ian Paice were the only continuous presence in the band during the period from 1968 to 1976, and also from when it was reestablished in 1984 until Lord’s retirement from Deep Purple in 2002. On 11 November 2010, he was inducted as an Honorary Fellow of Stevenson College in Edinburgh, Scotland. On 15 July 2011, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree at De Montfort Hall by the University of Leicester. Lord died 16 July 2012 and was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 8 April 2016 as a member of Deep Purple.

George Stephenson

English civil engineer and mechanical engineer George Stephenson was born on 9 June 1781. He is credited with building the first public railway line in the world to use steam locomotives. Renowned as being the “Father of Railways”, the Victorians considered him a great example of diligent application and thirst for improvement, with self-help advocate Samuel Smiles particularly praising his achievements. His rail gauge of 4 feet 81⁄2 inches (1,435 mm), sometimes called “Stephenson gauge”, is the world’s standard gauge. George Stephenson was born in Wylam, Northumberland, 9.3 miles (15.0 km) west of Newcastle upon Tyne.At 17, Stephenson became an engineman at Water Row Pit, Newburn. George realised the value of education and paid to study at night school to learn reading, writing and arithmetic. In 1801 he began work at Black Callerton colliery as a brakesman’, controlling the winding gear of the pit. In 1811 the pumping engine at High Pit, Killingworth was not working properly and Stephenson offered to fix it. He did so with such success that he was soon promoted to enginewright for the neighbouring collieries at Killingworth, responsible for maintaining and repairing all of thec olliery engines. He soon became an expert in steam-driven machinery.

In 1815, aware of the explosions often caused in mines by naked flames, Stephenson began to experiment with a safety lamp that would burn without causing an explosion. At the same time, Cornishman Sir Humphry Davy, the eminent scientist was also looking at the problem. Despite his lack of any scientific knowledge, Stephenson, by trial and error, devised a lamp in which the air entered via tiny holes. Stephenson demonstrated the lamp himself to two witnesses by taking it down Killingworth colliery and holding it directly in front of a fissure from which fire damp was issuing. This was a month before Davy presented his design to the Royal Society. The two designs differed in that, the Davy’s lamp was surrounded by a screen of gauze, whereas Stephenson’s lamp was contained in a glass cylinder. For his invention Davy was awarded £2,000, whilst Stephenson was accused of stealing the idea from Davy. A local committee of enquiry exonerated Stephenson, proved that he had been working separately and awarded him £1,000 but Davy and his supporters refused to accept this. They could not see how an uneducated man such as Stephenson could come up with the solution that he had. In 1833 a House of Commons committee found that Stephenson had equal claim to having invented the safety lamp. Davy went to his grave believing that Stephenson had stolen his idea. The Stephenson lamp was used exclusively in the North East, whereas the Davy lamp was used everywhere else. The experience with Davy gave Stephenson a life-long distrust of London-based, theoretical, scientific experts. There is a theory that it was Stephenson who indirectly gave the name of Geordies to the people of Tyneside. By this theory, the name of the Geordie lamp attached to the pit men themselves. By 1866 any native of Tyneside could be called a Geordie.

Cornishman Richard Trevithick is credited with the first realistic design of the steam locomotive in 1802. Later, he visited Tyneside and built an engine there for a mine-owner. Several local men were inspired by this, and designed engines of their own. Stephenson designed his first locomotive in 1814, a travelling engine designed for hauling coal on the Killingworth wagonway, and named Blücher after the Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. This locomotive could haul 30 tons of coal up a hill at 4 mph (6.4 km/h), and was the first successful flanged-wheel adhesion locomotive: its traction depended only on the contact between its flanged wheels and the rail. The new engines were too heavy to be run on wooden rails, and iron rails were in their infancy, with cast iron exhibiting excessive brittleness. Together with William Losh, Stephenson improved the design of cast ironrails to reduce breakage; these were briefly made by Losh, Wilson and Bell at their Walker ironworks. According toRolt, he also managed to solve the problem caused by the weight of the engine upon these primitive rails.He experimented with a ‘steam spring’ (to ‘cushion’ the weight using steam pressure), but soon followed the new practice of ‘distributing’ weight by utilising a number of wheels. For the Stockton and Darlington Railway, however, Stephenson would use only wrought iron rails.

Stephenson was hired to build an 8-mile (13-km) railway from Hetton colliery to Sunderland in 1820. The finished result used a combination of gravity on downward inclines and locomotives for level and upward stretches. It was the first railway using no animal power. In 1821, a parliamentary bill was passed to allow the building of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR). This 25-mile (40 km) railway was intended to connect various collieries situated near Bishop Auckland to the River Tees at Stockton, passing through Darlington on the way. The original plan was to use horses to draw coal carts on metal rails, but after company director Edward Pease met Stephenson he agreed to change the plans. Stephenson surveyed the line in 1821, assisted by his eighteen-year-old son Robert. That same year construction of the line began. A company was set up to manufacture locomotives for the railway, It was named Robert Stephenson and Company, and George’s son Robert was the managing director. In September 1825 the works at Forth Street, Newcastle completed the first locomotive for the new railway: originally named Active, it was soon renamed Locomotion. It was followed by “Hope”, “Diligence” and “Black Diamond”.

The Stockton and Darlington Railway opened on 27 September 1825. Driven by Stephenson, Locomotion hauled an 80-ton load of coal and flour nine miles (15 km) in two hours, reaching a speed of 24 miles per hour (39 km/h) on one stretch. The first purpose-built passenger car, dubbed Experiment,was attached, and carried dignitaries on the opening journey. It was the first time passenger traffic had been run on a steam locomotive railway. Although Richard Trevithick had demonstrated the idea back in 1808 using catch-me-who-can on a circular track which was situated near the present day Euston Station.The rails used for the new line were wrought-iron rails which could be produced in much longer lengths than the cast-iron ones and were much less liable to crack under the weight of heavy locomotives and The gauge that Stephenson chose for the line was 4 feet 81⁄2 inches (1,435 mm), and this subsequently came to be adopted as the standard gauge for railways, not only in Britain, but also throughout the world. Stephenson had also ascertained by experiments at Killingworth that half of the power of the locomotive was consumed by a gradient as little as 1 in 260 & came to the conclusion that railways should be kept as level as possible. He used this knowledge while working on the Bolton and Leigh Railway, and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), executing a series ofdifficult cuts, embankments and stone viaducts to smooth the route the railways took.

As the L&MR approached completion in 1829, its directors arranged for a competition to decide who would build its locomotives, and the Rainhill Trials were run in October 1829. Entries could weigh no more than six tons and had to travel along the track for a total distance of 60 miles (97 km). Stephenson’s entry was Rocket, and its performance in winning the contest made it famous. The opening ceremony of the L&MR, on 15 September 1830, was a considerable event, drawing luminaries from the government and industry, including the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington. The day started with a procession of eight trains setting out from Liverpool. The parade was led by “Northumbrian” and included “Phoenix”, “North Star” and “Rocket”. The railway was a resounding success and Stephenson became famous, and was offered the position of chief engineer for a wide variety of other railways.1830 also saw the grand opening of the skew bridge in Rainhill as part of the grand opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The bridge was the first to cross any railway at an angle. This required the structure to be constructed as two flat planes (overlapping in this case by 6′) between which the stonework forms a parallelogram shape when viewed from above. This has the effect of flattening the arch and the solution is to lay the bricks forming the arch at an angle to the abutments (the piers on which the arches rest). This technique, which results in a spiral effect in the arch masonry, provides extra strength in the arch to compensate for the angled abutments.

Britain led the world in the development of railways and this acted as a stimulus for the industrial revolution, by facilitating the transport of raw materials and manufactured goods. George Stephenson cannot claim to have invented the locomotive. Richard Trevithick deserves that credit. George Stephenson, with his work on the Stockton and Darlington Railway and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, paved the way for the railway engineers who were to follow, such as his son Robert, his assistant Joseph Locke who went on to carry out much work on his own account and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. These men were following in his footsteps. Stephenson was also farsighted inrealising that the individual lines being built would eventually join together, and would need to have the same gauge. The standard gauge used throughout much of the world is due to him.

UK General Election Results

On 18 April 2017, the Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap General election on 8 June, despite previously ruling out an early election. A House of Commons motion to allow this was passed on 19 April, with 522 votes for and 13 against, a majority of 509, meeting the required two-thirds majority. The motion was supported by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens while the SNP abstained Nine Labour MPs, one SDLP MP and three independents (Sylvia Hermon and two former SNP MPs, Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson) voted against the motion.

The general election took place on 8 June 2017. However British Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election on backfired in spectacular fashion as she lost the Conservatives’ majority as Labour made significant gains. Now a Hung parliament has been confirmed after ‘no Tory majority’. As things stood on Friday morning, the Conservatives had won 318 seats, a loss of 12, while Labour had won 261, a gain of 29 And with 649 of the 650 seats now declared, no single party can enough seats for an overall majority as Mrs May failed to secure the 326 seats she needed to form another majority government. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party increased its tally by 31 seats. SNP lose 21 seats, end up with just 35, However an anti-Tory coalition is still not viable without the Democratic Unionist Party.

Each of the 650 parliamentary constituencies elected one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament. In line with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, an election had not been due until 7 May 2020, but a call by Prime Minister Theresa May for a snap election received the necessary two-thirds majority in a 522-to-13 vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017. The Conservative Party, which has governed since 2015 (and as a senior coalition partner from 2010), was defending a majority of 12 against the Labour Party, the official opposition. May had hoped to get a larger majority for the Conservatives to “strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations”.

She will now form minority government backed by DUP(Democratic Unionist Party under The Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster. The DUP is socially conservative and enthusiastically pro-Brexit. Arlene Foster is The former First Minister of Northern Ireland and has served as the leader of the DUP since December 2015. She became First Minister in January 2016 and served until Martin McGuinness resigned in protest at her “cash for ash” scheme in January 2017. Ms Foster also faced accusations of mishandling over an ill-conceived renewable energy scheme which overpaid businesses for using green heating systems, costing taxpayers in excess of £490m.

Some of the opinion polls had shown a twenty-point lead over Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn before the election was called, but this lead had narrowed by the time of the election. In fact, the Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority and the election resulted in a hung parliament. Following the result, the Conservatives entered into talks with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland, whose additional 10 seats could allow for the formation of a Tory–DUP coalition government. Despite remaining in opposition for its third election, Labour saw its greatest share of the popular vote since 2001, and was the first election since 1997 that saw the party with a net gain of seats.

The third largest party, the Scottish National Party, had won 56 of the 59 Scottish constituencies in 2015 but returned with 21 fewer seats. Several of these seats went to the Conservatives, in a reversal of a general trend in other parts of the UK. It was suggested part of the reason was a backlash against Scottish independence. The Liberal Democrats won several seats from the Conservatives and SNP, increasing their seat count. In Northern Ireland, the DUP and Sinn Féin both gained additional seats, capturing all the seats won at the last election by the UUP and the SDLP. Support for the UK Independence Party, which enjoyed a significant portion of the popular vote in 2015, was largely wiped out.

Negotiation positions following Britain’s invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union in March 2017 to leave the EU featured in the election campaign, as did the regular major issues of the economy, education, jobs and the NHS. Following a bombing in Manchester and a terrorist attack in London, leading to temporary campaign suspensions from 23 to 24 May and on 4 June respectively,

National security also became a particularly prominent election issue following Two major terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, which took place during the election campaign, with parties arguing about the best way to prevent such event. May, after the second attack, campaigns focused on global co-operation to tackle Islamist ideology and tackling the use of the Internet by terrorist groups. After the first attack, Labour criticised cuts in police numbers under the Conservative government. Corbyn also linked the Manchester attack to British foreign policy. The Conservatives stated that spending on counter-terrorism for both the police and other agencies had risen. May said that police budgets for counter-terrorism had been maintained and that Corbyn had voted against counter-terrorism legislation.

The Conservative manifesto proposed more government control and regulation of the internet, including forcing internet companies to restrict access to extremist and adult content. Following the London attack, Theresa May called for international agreements to regulate the internet. Conservative stances on regulation of internet and social media have been criticised by Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron, the Open Rights Group and some academic experts on radicalisation, Farron likening them to North Korea and China state surveillance and censorship. On 6 June, May promised longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorism and restrictions on the freedom of movement or deportation of militant suspects when it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them, stating that she would change human right laws to do so if necessary.

The UK’s nuclear weapons, including the renewal of the Trident system, was also prominent during the campaign. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats favour Trident renewal. The Labour manifesto commits the party to Trident renewal, but Corbyn declined to speak in favour of the renewal. He also declined to answer whether, as Prime Minister, he would ever use nuclear weapons if the UK were under an imminent nuclear threat.

Social care became a major election issue after the Conservative Party’s manifesto included new proposals, which they subsequently changed after criticism. The previous coalition government had commissioned a review by Andrew Dilnot into how to fund social care.

The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union was another key issue in the campaign. May said she called the snap election to secure a majority for her Brexit negotiation. UKIP support a “clean, quick and efficient Brexit” and, launching his party’s election campaign, Nuttall stated that Brexit is a “job half done” and UKIP MPs are needed to “see this through to the end. Labour had supported Brexit in the previous parliament, but proposed different priorities for negotiations. The Liberal Democrats and Greens have called for a deal to keep the UK in the single market and a second referendum on any deal proposed between the EU and the UK. The Conservative manifesto committed to leaving the single market and customs union but seek a “deep and special partnership” through a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement. It proposed seeking to remain part of some EU programmes where it would “be reasonable that we make a contribution” and stay as a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights over the next parliament and maintain the Human Rights Act during Brexit negotiations. Parliament would then be able to amend or repeal EU legislation once converted into UK law, and have a vote on the final agreement. Senior Conservatives pro-Brexit MPs including The Brexit secretary, David Davis, were instrumental in pressing for May to call an early poll. Steve Baker, chair of the influential pro-Brexit European Research Group of backbench MPs, also threw his weight behind conservative Prime Minister Theresa May.

With 649 of 650 seats declared, the Tories had 318 seats – eight short of the figure needed to win outright – with Labour on 261, the SNP on 35 and Liberal Democrats on 12. Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson and Nick Clegg lost their sears. However Ben Gummer, the architect of the Tory manifesto, and Jane Ellison, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury Remain. Home Secretary Amber Rudd clung onto her Hastings and Rye seat as did Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes and chair of the Commons health committee. Paul Nuttall, resigned as Ukip leader on Friday.The party has appointed Steve Crowther to the top job on a temporary basis. Mr Arnott, Ukip MEP in the North East of England, praised the job done by party leader Paul Nuttall. Meanwhile The Liberal Democrats made four gains, securing 12 seats in all. However, Nick Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat while Vince Cable took back his old Twickenham seat. Following the General Election Ryan Shorthouse, the director of the liberal Conservative thinktank Bright Blue, which is backed by 140 Tory MPs, has called for May to step down immediately.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn supported the early election, as did Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and the Green Party. The SNP stated that it was in favour of fixed-term parliaments, so abstained in the House of Commons vote. UKIP leader Paul Nuttall and First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones criticised the timing of the election as opportunistic by May, motivated by the then strong position of the Conservative Party in the opinion polls. Former Tory strategist Steve Hilton said Theresa May should be “resigning not seeking re-election”, because her police cuts and security failures had led to the attacks. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backed calls for May to resign, but said she should be removed by voters .The government announced it intends for the next parliament to assemble on 13 June with the state opening on 19 June. Meanwhile Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council, said in a letter to Mrs May that there is now “no time to lose” on Brexit negotiations after other senior figures suggested talks could be delayed. Brexit negotiations begin in just 10 days