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  1. Updates from Wednesday 4 February 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Good evening

That's all from BBC Local Live today. Join Rebecca Cafe tomorrow at 08:00 for all the latest news, sport, travel and weather for London.

Rain, sleet, snow

There will be outbreaks of rain, sleet and even snow on hilltops throughout the night.

Ice is likely on untreated roads and pavements.

The temperature will drop to 1C (34F).

Drug raid uncovers starving parrot

A malnourished parrot has been rescued by police officers searching for drugs in a house in Surbiton,

reports the Kingston Guardian.

Metropolitan Police

Officers attended an address in Saint Andrew's Square last week to execute a drugs warrant but found no one home and no drugs on the premises. The RSPCA was called.

Coming up

BBC London News


At 18:30 on BBC One: Charities claim the true extent of homelessness in London is much worse than government figures suggest.

And a London MP calls for increased security for the Jewish community - four weeks after the Paris attacks.

MP calls for counter-terrorism fund

A north London MP has asked David Cameron to look into creating a counter-terrorism fund for faith schools and community buildings.

Mike Freer

Mike Freer, the Conservative member for Finchley and Golders Green, said there were 120 buildings now at risk of a terrorist attack of the type seen in Paris.

At Prime Minister's Questions earlier, he asked: "Will you commit to looking at creating a counter-terrorism fund to help meet security measures at these community buildings?"

Mr Cameron said he had met the Jewish Leadership Council to discuss the issue in the aftermath of the French atrocities. He also told MPs Education Secretary Nicky Morgan would be meeting the Community Security Trust to see what more could be done to help Jewish independent schools.

Croydon Visitor Centre to close

The Croydon Visitor Centre, which has provided help and information to more than 700,000 people, is to close in May,

the Croydon Advertiser reports.

Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) is taking the decision after being served notice by developers Stanhope/Schroder's, which is using the land next to East Croydon Station for its major Ruskin Square development.

Did Winston's words win the war?

Do you think Sir Winston Churchill was the greatest ever public speaker? That's the question

Colonel Tim Collins tries to answer by looking at the way Churchill used words and the power of his speeches.

BBC Graphic of Churchill

The guide assesses how public speaking didn't come naturally to Churchill and how he had to overcome ridicule and a speech impediment to transform himself into a great orator.

Pioneering leg brace helps man to walk again

A Wimbledon man unable to walk unaided since he contracted polio as a child will become the first person in the UK to be fitted with a life-changing

computer-controlled leg brace - which he has described as a "revolution".

The lower-limb bionic exoskeleton brace has been launched in the UK to help people living with partial paralysis, spinal injury, post-stroke and post-polio syndrome to walk naturally again.

John Simpson, 63, said: "It's going to change my life."

Edmonton incinerator consultation begins

The first part of a consultation into

a half a billion pound project to replace an incinerator has been completed,
reports the Enfield Independent.

The North London Waste Authority, in Advent Way, Upper Edmonton, will replace its waste site with a new 'energy recovery facility' in the same area by 2025, if given consent.

Watch: Doctor found not guilty in FGM case

An NHS doctor accused of performing female genital mutilation on a young mother has been found not guilty.

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena

Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, was accused of carrying out the illegal procedure when stitching the woman after she gave birth at the Whittington Hospital, north London, in 2012.

Monet and Matisse record Sotheby's sales

Sotheby's - one of London's most famous auction houses - has achieved a record total of sales for any auction held in the capital.

The 271-year-old auction house recorded evening sales amounting to £186.44m during the sale of a collection featuring impressionist, modern and surrealist art including works by Claude Monet and Matisse.

TfL issues bus strike travel advice

TfL have warned of "significant disruption" to services ahead of a planned 24-hour bus strike over pay tomorrow.

The action is set to begin at 04:00 and TfL have

published travel advice to help people get around London.

Doctor 'relieved' at court's verdict

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena


being found not guilty of performing female genital mutilation, Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena said: "I am extremely relieved with the court's verdict and I am grateful to the jury for their careful consideration of the facts.

"I have always maintained that FGM is an abhorrent practice that has no medical justification; however I cannot comment further on the details of this case due to patient confidentiality."

"I would like to thank my family, friends, legal team and all those who supported me through this difficult time and I look forward to putting this matter behind me."

News on the Hour

BBC London 94.9


The headlines

this hour include:

  • An NHS doctor has been found not guilty of carrying out female genital mutilation while working at the Whittington Hospital in north London
  • The jury trying former rock star Gary Glitter on 10 charges of historical sexual offences has been sent home for the night

Ocean liners docking in London?

The Daily Mail

London could soon become a popular destination for giant cruise ships if plans for a new passenger terminal in Greenwich move forward,

the Daily Mail reports.

Getty Images

It is hoped the mooring at Enderby Wharf would open in 2017 and become the capital's first new terminal since the closure of the Royal Docks in 1981.

FGM trial: Second man cleared

A second man, Hasan Mohammed, has been cleared of aiding and abetting Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena in performing female genital mutilation in the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.

Dr Dharmasena was found not guilty of carrying out the illegal procedure when stitching a woman after she gave birth at the Whittington Hospital, north London, in 2012.

Doctor accused of FGM 'hung out to dry'

An NHS doctor cleared of performing female genital mutilation (FGM)

in the first British case of its kind had been "been hung out to dry", according to his defence barrister.

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, was accused of illegally stitching a young mother up after she gave birth - re-doing the FGM she had as a six year-old in Somalia. A jury acquitted him after less than half an hour of deliberations.

Defence barrister Zoe Johnson QC said Dr Dharmasena had been forced to pay the "ultimate price" for hospital failings.

Metropolitan Line delays

BBC London


There are minor delays on Metropolitan Line between Baker Street and Aldgate due to signal failure at Aldgate.

For more travel news visit the

BBC London Travel website.

BreakingFGM case doctor found not guilty

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena has been found

not guilty of female genital mutilation.

Today's top stories

Duncan Smith

BBC News Online

The key stories making the headlines in London today include:

Lifting the lid on the House of Commons

BBC iPlayer

If you missed the first episode of

Inside the Commons last night you can catch it on BBC iPlayer now.

Robert Rogers in the House of Commons

The four-part documentary series presented by Michael Cockerell takes an unprecedented look at the heart of British democracy.

'How many ex-pats speak the native language?'

via Facebook

In response to the

Met Police's new Polish twitter account,
Rik Ramsden writes: I can see arguments for and against however someone made a valid point how many Brits living in Spain, Cyprus, France and many other countries speak the language, personally if I lived abroad I would learn the language but not everyone had the same ethics.

News on the Hour

BBC London 94.9


The headlines

this hour include:

  • Bus drivers go on strike across the capital tomorrow - with a further two strikes planned on the 13 and 16 February
  • Plans to build two new cycleways across London have been given the go ahead

London filling its empty shops

London has

fewer empty shops than anywhere else in England, new research suggests, whilst Highgate has the lowest vacancy rate of any borough in the city of 0%.

empty shop


the Local Data Company, which monitors 3,000 town and shopping centres and retail parks, 8.7% of London shops are empty. The average vacancy rate was 13.3% in the second half of last year, down 0.8% on the same period a year earlier, and well below February 2012's 14.6% peak.

Man sentenced after cigarette row murder

Alex Scott

A youth has been

sentenced to at least 18 years behind bars for stabbing a man to death in an act of street violence sparked by a row over a cigarette.

Kai Steele, 18, was detained indefinitely in a young offenders' institution after being found guilty of

murdering 26-year-old Alex Scott (pictured) in an alleyway in south-east London on the evening of 10 August.

Judge Timothy Pontius said: "This is yet another example of an utterly needless and unjustified waste of a human life resulting from a senseless decision by a teenage boy to put a knife in his pocket before leaving home."

Harrow PC in parade proposal

via Facebook

A PC at the Met's training centre in Hendon asked his girlfriend Geraldine to marry him in front of 286 new recruits, the Commissioner, the Band of the Welsh Guards and more than 500 guests.

PC proposes on one knee
Metropolitan Police

The Met police report Geraldine said "yes".

More than 3,000 children suspended or expelled

Children were suspended or expelled from their school more than 3,000 times in Enfield Borough over the past two years, according to latest figures.

The Enfield Independent has revealed that between 2012/13 and 2013/14 academic years, there were 3,369 cases of children being given fixed term suspensions, including one child as young as four years old.

The figures were released following a Freedom of Information request to Enfield Borough Council.

A cold and breezy night

This evening will remain cloudy, cold and breezy with scattered wintry showers continuing.

The BBC weather

There is also the risk of patchy ice developing between the showers.

The temperature will drop to 1C (34F).

News on the Hour

BBC London 94.9


The headlines

this hour include:

  • Plans to build two new cycleways across London have been given the go ahead.

Sherwood is frontrunner to replace Redknapp

BBC Sport

Tim Sherwood has emerged as a frontrunner to become the next Queens Park Rangers manager.

Tim Sherwood
Getty Images

Derby boss Steve McClaren and Real Madrid assistant coach Paul Clement are also in the frame to replace Harry Redknapp, 67, who resigned on Tuesday.

Missing rowing coach

Josephine McDermott

BBC News Online

The search continues for a

rowing coach who went missing on Monday. Martin Garside of the Port of London Authority (PLA) says this morning police boats and Chiswick lifeboats were used to search between Chiswick and Wandsworth bridges.

The PLA began an investigation yesterday into the cause of the incident working with British Rowing and Thames Regional Rowing Council.

Chief Rabbi receives freedom of Barnet

The Chief Rabbi said he was "moved" to receive the freedom of the London borough of Barnet,

reports This Is Local London.

A ceremony was held last night at Middlesex University's Rickett Quadrangle in The Burroughs, Hendon, to bestow the honour upon Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who has held the post since September 2013.

Rabbi Mirvis previously served as Chief Rabbi of Ireland from 1984 to 1992, and Senior Rabbi at Finchley United Synagogue.

Hodge out of London mayoral race

London Evening Standard


Margaret Hodge

Labour MP Margaret Hodge has bowed out of the battle to become London Mayor, with a call for Boris Johnson's successor to be someone from the city's black and minority ethnic community,

reports the London Evening Standard.

In an exclusive interview Barking MP Mrs Hodge, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, signalled that she will back either ex-minister David Lammy or shadow London minister Sadiq Khan.

News on the hour

BBC London 94.9

Our top local story this hour:

A London Conservative MP is to repay more than a thousand pounds after he was found to have put in more than 700 "inaccurate" mileage expense claims.

Birthday for tiger trio

Sumatran tigers

Nakal, Budi and Cinta, London Zoo's trio of Sumatran tiger cubs, have celebrated their first birthday at ZSL London Zoo in Regent's Park, north London.

Cycle superhighway welcomed

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Group, has welcomed TfL's decision to support the planned cycle superhighways.

She said: "I am certain that in a few years' time we will look back in amazement at the fuss that has been created over the cycle superhighways.

"The debate over the cycle superhighways is now over. TfL must now get on and build them as soon as possible."

Baroness Jones calls for more cycle superhighways

Green MLA Baroness Jones has called for more super highways across London following the decision of the TfL board to support

the current plans.

She said: "London is now starting to get the cycle infrastructure it needs, but the pace of change is painfully slow and the lack of ambition is criminal."

TfL approves cycle superhighway plans

BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards

reports via Twitter that both the north-south and east-west cycle superhighways have been approved by the
Transport for London board.

Cycle superhighway plans
Transport for London

London First, London Travelwatch, City of London, Canary Wharf and the London Taxi Drivers Association all previously voiced concerns.

Coming up

BBC London News


Just after 13:30 BBC One: The Mayor's plans to introduce the longest urban segregated cycle route in Europe have been approved by the Transport for London Board.

News on the Hour

BBC London 94.9


The headlines

this hour include:

  • A teenager who stabbed a man to death during an argument sparked by a row over a cigarette has been detained for at least 18 years
  • Workers on the London Midland line between London Euston and Tring are to be balloted for strikes in a dispute over disciplinary action against a colleague.