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USA UK and Malta News
21/02/2008 - 00:02

UK today Editoweb, 20 feb. 2008

Aspiring UK citizens to be put on probation - British nationalisation plans clear first Lords hurdle - Arctic Monkeys land two Brit Awards - London shares close lower - Deregulation gets green light.

Aspiring UK citizens to be put on probation
Aspiring British citizens will be put on probation for at least one year to show they can speak English, pay their taxes, abide by the law and have integrated into local life, the government proposed on Wednesday. The move is the latest to try to control immigration and ease public fears that schools, hospitals and transport networks are being swamped by foreign nationals, especially since European Union enlargement. The proposals also seek to encourage migrants to integrate locally, rather than living in segregated areas and speaking their own languages -- a trend that can lead to intolerance.

British nationalisation plans clear first Lords hurdle
British government plans to nationalise troubled bank Northern Rock cleared their first hurdle in the upper house of parliament on Wednesday. A bill which would allow the government to take the lender into public ownership was given a second reading in the House of Lords without a vote, though opposition peers warned that they will seek to make changes during the next stage of debates. Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced on Sunday that the bank would be nationalised, a decision that drew vocal criticism for both him and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Arctic Monkeys land two Brit Awards
The Arctic Monkeys and Take That were the big winners at the Brit Awards. The Sheffield band won the coveted Best British Group award. They also walked away with the Best British Album award for Favourite Worst Nightmare. Take That won Best British Live Act and Best British Single for Shine, voted for by commercial radio listeners and The Sun Bizarre column readers. Gary Barlow described it as "unbelievable".

London shares close lower
UK blue chips closed lower as Wall Street remained weaker after disappointing inflation data with Alliance & Leicester down after reporting a fall in core operating profit, held back by large scale write-downs. At close, the FTSE 100 index was off 73.3 at 5,893.6, off the session low of 5,847.4, and having fallen from a high of 5,966.9, while the FTSE 250 index was down 84.2 points at 10,124.4. Volume was light, with 2.6 bln shares changing hands in 699,312 deals.

Deregulation gets green light
The UK broadband market is now sufficiently competitive for BT to be allowed to set its own wholesale prices in some areas of the country. Until now, the incumbent supplier has been required to offer its wholesale product to ISPs at a rate fixed by regulator Ofcom.
But rivals infrastructure investment, under the local loop unbundling scheme, has created enough competition for plans to deregulate about two-thirds of the country to receive European Commission approval.

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