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Tag Archives: Iceland

Man who raped girl outside Barrhead supermarket jailed

Samuel Ciornei
Image caption Samuel Ciornei attacked the girl after threatening her with a piece of glass

A man who raped a 14-year-old girl outside a supermarket has been jailed for nine years.

Twenty-year-old Samuel Ciornei attacked the victim in a car park behind an Iceland supermarket in Barrhead.

The Romanian national had been in Scotland just three weeks when he committed the offence on 7 August 2016.

Sentencing Ciornei at the High Court in Glasgow, Judge Kenneth Maciver called the attack “disgusting and pre-planned”.

During the trial, the court was told the victim had cycled to a nearby Asda to buy sweets and chained her bike outside, when she saw Ciornei sitting nearby.

Piece of glass

When she returned, she noticed her bike had a flat tyre. She walked it to a car park behind an Iceland supermarket to inspect it.

When Ciornei approached her, she assumed he was there to help fix the tyre.

Instead, he threatened her with a piece of glass, which he held to her throat, grabbed her hair and told her to go into the bushes.

Jurors heard how Ciornei sexually assaulted the child then later “gestured for money” using his hands.

She said she was able to escape from him after he grabbed her bag when they emerged from the bushes.

CCTV footage played to the court had captured Ciornei “directing or pushing” the girl into the bushes before disappearing after her.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register after being found guilty at the trial last month.

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‘Lonely swan’ reunited with flock at RSPB reserve

Hula with two other whooper swansImage copyright RSPB
Image caption Hula, pictured in the foreground, was seen “hanging out” with two other whooper swans earlier this week

An injured swan which was abandoned when its herd migrated to Iceland in March has been reunited with some of its former companions.

The whooper swan, named Hula, damaged a wing and was unable to join the annual 2,000-mile round trip from Frampton March Nature Reserve in Lincolnshire.

The cob has been waiting patiently for the other birds to return, staff at the centre said.

“The lonely swan is lonely no more,” Chris Andrews, from the reserve, said.

More on this and other stories from across Lincolnshire

“About 20 swans arrived back from Iceland this week and are spending their days eating sugar beet tops in nearby fields before returning to the reserve at night.

“Hula spotted two other whoopers close to the reserve and went over to join them,” he said.

“Since then he seems to have spent a lot of time hanging out with them.”

Mr Andrews said it is not known if they are simply friends or potential mates.

Whooper swans – so named because of the noise they make – migrate to breeding grounds in Iceland in the spring. A group of up to 60 return to the reserve each year for winter.

Mr Andrews said the others are expected to return over the next few days.


Image copyright Neil Smith
  • Whooper swans are the same size as the more familiar mute swans, which live in the UK all year round
  • The two species can be told apart by the colour of their bills: mute swans’ are orange, whooper swans’ are black and yellow
  • Whooper swans arrive in the UK for winter in October and before returning to Iceland in March

Source: Frampton Marsh Nature Reserve


Scotland at ‘new low’ in international football

Scotland were 1-0 up at half time in Slovenia but had to settle for a damaging 2-2 draw

Former first minister Henry McLeish says Scotland have “exhausted” all excuses after hitting “a new low” on the international football scene.

McLeish led a review into Scottish football in 2010 but says things are even worse now after Scotland’s latest failure to reach a major tournament.

He insists a major part of the problem is the balance of power between club sides and the national team.

“I think we have reached a new low,” McLeish told BBC Scotland.

“In 2010 when we did the review, we thought we had really reached the nadir of our fortunes but look, if we’re slipping past 20 years of not qualifying in Europe or globally, if we go to 25 years or 30 years at its most pessimistic, this is deeply damaging to the national psychology of the game and to the inevitability of us ever getting there.”

Henry McLeish, who played for East Fife, led the review into Scottish Football in 2010

A 2-2 draw in Slovenia on Sunday evening denied Scotland second place in Group F and a possible World Cup qualification play-off spot.

The Scots have now failed to qualify for the last 10 major international tournaments, and McLeish believes the problems lie with the balance of power in the game.

“We’ve virtually exhausted all the excuses we can have and I don’t believe for a minute that talent doesn’t exist in Scotland, but I do believe that the current structure of the game is still preventing us getting the best, nurturing them and putting them through,” he added.

“When I talk about excuses, people say that young people have distractions, well, they have them in Iceland. Here, we have stripped bare all of the excuses you could possibly put forward, we’re simply not good enough and that should be the wake-up call that all those who love the game and want Scotland to be successful.

“I have no doubt there needs to be a rebalancing of power, priorities, and objectives within the game. That really means that the SFA have got to become a much more influential part of the footballing establishment. There needn’t be a conflict between club and country, but I fear at the present time there is.

Gordon Strahcan said after the Slovenia match that genetics were a major part of Scotland’s problem

“I think the tentacles of the club game are so intertwined now with the ambitions of the country game, and that is not what I would like to see. We need clear demarcations of responsibility and I put it quite boldly to say that the SFA must now become the dominant political institution in Scottish football. The two institutions of the SPFL and the SFA have got to rearrange and reprioritise what their objectives are and the country, in my view, must overcome the power of the club.”

McLeish, who pointed to the women’s team and the under-21s as “bright embers” for the Scottish game, also felt national boss Gordon Strachan’s comments about genetics being part of the problem, were misunderstood.

“Clearly in the aftermath of his bitter disappointment and reflections, I think Gordon used the wrong word,” McLeish added.

“I think what he was talking about was physicality, this is the size and stature of our players, but with the greatest respect to Gordon, that’s not the start and finish of the difficulties we face. We have to do a great deal more.”

Swedish woman wins World Porridge Making Championships

PorridgeImage copyright Fergus Thom Photography

A Swedish woman has been crowned the winner of the 24th World Porridge Making Championships in Carrbridge.

Ellinor Persson won the Golden Spurtle trophy, with fellow Swede Per Carlsson taking the Speciality title.

Competitors came from the USA, Russia, Switzerland, Holland, Iceland, Sweden and across the UK and Ireland.

In the main competition, only oatmeal, salt and water can be used, with the porridge judged on consistency, taste and colour.

Ms Persson, who works in the steel industry, has won the Swedish Traditional Porridge Making Champion title two years in a row. In her spare time she runs food tours in the woods and fields around her local town of Halmstaad in south west Sweden.

‘Jumping up and down’

She said: “It’s a real honour just to compete in the competition, never mind to win. I can’t really put how I’m feeling into words, it’s just a fantastic feeling.

“I was very excited when Per won the Speciality title and when the judges called out my name as World Champion I couldn’t believe it – I was jumping up and down, it was very exciting.”

In the “Speciality” competition, oatmeal must be the main ingredient in any sweet or savoury porridge-based dish.

Mr Carlsson impressed judges with his dish Nordic Porridge – Caramel Sweet and Sour, a porridge made with oatmeal, cloudberry liqueur, orange peel and whipped cream, topped with flambéed cloudberries and whipped cream.

Mr Carlsson describes himself as “an extremely devoted porridge maker”.

The event is organised by Carrbridge Community Council.

Organiser Michelle Green said: “It’s been a fantastic day for the competitors, judges, visitors and villagers alike, and we’re already looking forward to the 2018 competition, when the Golden Spurtle will be celebrating 25 years as one of Scotland‘s favourite culinary events.”

Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington and Rose Leslie to wed

Kit Harington and Rose Leslie in Game of ThronesImage copyright HBO/SKY
Image caption Kit Harington plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones and Rose Leslie played Ygritte

Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington and Rose Leslie have got engaged, it has been confirmed.

After a huge amount of speculation, an official announcement has been published in the Times newspaper.

The couple met on the fantasy show in 2012, where they played on-screen lovers Jon Snow and Ygritte.

Leslie left the cast two years later while Harington has become one of the show’s biggest stars – appearing in all seven series of the popular TV drama.

Image caption The couple’s engagement was announced in the Times newspaper

They only made their public debut as a couple at last year’s Olivier Awards.

Harington told L’Uomo Vogue last year it was “easy” to fall in love with Leslie.

He said his best ever memory of the show were the three weeks in Iceland when they filmed the second season in 2012.

“Because the country is beautiful, because the Northern Lights are magical, and because it was there that I fell in love,” he said.

“If you’re already attracted to someone, and then they play your love interest in the show, it becomes very easy to fall in love.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Harington and Leslie appeared on the red carpet at the 2016 Olivier Awards

Leslie is currently starring in US television series The Good Fight.

Harington will next be seen in the BBC’s drama Gunpowder, about the gunpowder plot, before he starts filming the next and final series of Game of Thrones.


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Stranded British rowers rescued from Norwegian island

Polar Row crew membersImage copyright Polar Row
Image caption The Polar Row crew were taken to mainland Norway by the Norwegian coastguard

A group of rowers has been rescued by the coastguard from a remote Norwegian island, where they had been stuck for more than two weeks.

The crew, including British Olympian Alex Gregory, had been stranded on Jan Mayen since 19 August, a month after starting to row from Norway to Iceland.

The group, who were taken to the Norwegian mainland, sought refuge on the island because of ill health.

Despite not completing the row, they say they achieved 11 world records.

In a post on the group’s Polar Row Facebook page, they said: “The Polar Row crew and boat is now on mainland Norway!

“Thanks to the great hospitality of the Norwegians on Jan Mayen and the Norwegian coastguard who gave us a lift to the mainland.

“It’s been an extremely successful trip, although some amendments due to the circumstances, we are extremely happy to have accomplished the expedition.”

They said the group’s injuries were better and Gregory’s “infamous” hands – which he pictured on social media on 30 August – were healing and “looking less like he should be in a morgue every day”.

The crew of nine, which included four Britons and men from Iceland, India, the United States and Norway, are now due to fly home.

They were looked after by the Norwegian military on the island while they awaited rescue.

In a Facebook post, Gregory said it had been “one extraordinary month, something unexpected and interesting at every turn”.

“Hopefully now the flights are simple and straightforward because I need to get home in time for my daughter Daisy’s first day of school tomorrow!”

On 20 July, the group set out from Tromso, Norway and headed north towards Svalbard, a group of islands which lie midway between the mainland and the North Pole.

In nine days the crew completed the 521 nautical miles (965 km) and achieved eight world records.

They spent two nights in Svalbard making changes to the crew and preparing for the second leg of the row to Iceland.

On 7 August, the group began the next part of their expedition, and three days later they reached the Arctic sea ice, becoming the first recorded rowing boat to reach such a northerly latitude.

But soon after, the weather became overcast, and after five days of no visible sun the boat’s solar-powered batteries had drained.

Eight days after leaving Svalbard, the power had stopped all electrical equipment from working.

Image copyright Alex Gregory
Image caption Alex Gregory said it had been an “extraordinary month”

The crew had to resort to manual steering and without navigational aids decided to head towards the island of Jan Mayen – 370 miles (600 km) from Iceland.

In a post on 18 August, while still at sea, the group said they had had a “phenomenally tough 72 hours”.

“I’ve never been so wet and cold. It’s seeping into my bones, there is absolutely no escape from it. Two degrees, 99% humidity [so] nothing will dry,” said Gregory.

A day later they reached the island. Its only inhabits are Norwegian Armed Forces personnel, and a small number of people working for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

Due to ill health, four members of the crew then decided they would not continue to Iceland.

Image copyright Polar Row
Image caption The rowers set out from Tromso, Norway, on 20 July

Fiann Paul, captain of Polar Row, said that despite his attempts, he was unable to get a new crew in to complete the row.

“Regardless of that, the project was a spectacular success,” he said.

“We missed one record but we got 11.

“Looking at the entire project I can proudly say that there will be no other ocean row that successful ever again.”

British rowers ‘stranded for another week’ on Norwegian island

Alex Gregory and Carlo FacchinoImage copyright Alex Gregory
Image caption Alex Gregory says he was “happy to be alive and on dry land”

A group of British rowers say they are “extremely happy and healthy” despite being stuck on a remote Norwegian island for more than a week.

The men, including Olympic gold medallist Alex Gregory, say they do not expect to be rescued for at least another week.

The group sought refuge on Jan Mayen on 19 August, a month after starting their expedition from Norway to Iceland.

Despite not completing the row, they say they achieved 11 world records.

Drained batteries

On 20 July, the group of nine, which included men from Iceland, India, the United States and Norway, set out from Tromso, Norway.

They headed north towards Svalbard, a group of islands which lie midway between the mainland and the North Pole.

In nine days the crew completed the 521 nautical miles (965 km) and achieved eight world records.

They spent two nights in Svalbard making changes to the crew and preparing for the second leg of the row to Iceland.

On 7 August, the group began the next part of their expedition, and three days later they reached the Arctic sea ice, becoming the first recorded rowing boat to reach such a northerly latitude.

But soon after, the weather became overcast, and after five days of no visible sun the boat’s solar-powered batteries had drained.

Eight days after leaving Svalbard, the power had stopped all electrical equipment from working.

Image copyright Polar Row
Image caption The skipper of the boat is trying to replace crew members to continue the row to Iceland

The crew had to resort to manual steering and without navigational aids decided to head towards the island of Jan Mayen – 370 miles (600 km) from Iceland.

In a post on 18 August, while still at sea, the group said they had had a “phenomenally tough 72 hours”.

“I’ve never been so wet and cold. It’s seeping into my bones, there is absolutely no escape from it. Two degrees, 99% humidity [so] nothing will dry,” said Gregory.

“I have to wait for land.

“It’s getting worse though, the colder I get, the more I have to work during my shift, the sweatier I get, the wetter I get, the colder I get.”

A day later they reached the island. Its only inhabits are Norwegian Armed Forces personnel, and a small number of people working for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

Due to ill health, four members of the crew then decided they would not continue to Iceland.

The group had experienced several “difficult and dangerous” days, with some struggling to keep food down.

Another crew member, Danny Longman, said even though the decision to change course was the correct one it was “framed with disappointment”.

But he said he did feel relieved to reach dry land.

‘Not over yet’

The Polar Row team is currently being looked after by the Norwegian military while they await rescue but say they are “all extremely happy, healthy and enjoying our [their] time here on Jan Mayen”.

After days at sea in the cold and wet, they said they “couldn’t be warmer” on the island.

Image copyright Polar Row
Image caption It is not clear whether the expedition will be able to continue once the group are rescued

Being supported by the military, the crew said they were “keen to do our [their] bit” and not disturb the workings of the island.

One morning the men took over the cleaning duties, adding “this is a busy working place, we want to be helpful while we are here!”

Mr Gregory said Skipper Fiann Paul was “still pursuing options” to bring new crew members to the island to complete the expedition.

Asked when they will be able to return home, he said a boat visiting the island next week “may be the best opportunity”.

Despite missing their families, the crew said they are not going without anything on Jan Mayen except perhaps running short on clothes.

Mr Gregory said he was looking forward to telling his children about the whales, waves, ice and birds he had seen.

Flying home: The longest flight delays revealed

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How different airlines serving your route compare Average delay for each flight, ordered by total delay

Outbound Return

Summer holidaymakers returning to the UK from the world’s busiest airports have suffered the longest average delays from Rome, BBC analysis shows.

Passengers waited an average of nearly 29 extra minutes to travel back to the UK from Rome Fiumicino Airport.

Venice, Nice and Barcelona were next on the list of longest UK-inbound delays among the 50 airports with the most flights on these routes.

The data comes from figures collected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Worst routes

The analysis, by the BBC’s data journalism team, is based on the last two years of CAA data for all flights from or to UK airports during June to August.

Earlier analysis showed that, on flights leaving the UK, holidaymakers heading from Gatwick Airport and on Easyjet flights suffered the longest delays.


Flight calculator: At the top of the page you can enter your UK departure city, and your destination, to find average delays for the airlines serving this route in the last two summers.


Now, data on the routes used by UK residents returning home, show that six of the 50 airports with the most flights back to the UK had typical delays of more than 25 minutes.

This even included internal flights from Gatwick.

If the less frequently flown routes are included in the data, then flights to UK airports from Kingston, Jamaica, had the longest average delay of nearly 53 minutes.

Six airports on this list recorded average delays of more than 45 minutes in the last two summers.

On specific routes, travellers flying from Keflavik Airport in Iceland to Glasgow saw the longest average delay of 55 minutes, followed by Malaga in Spain to Heathrow (54 minutes) and Kingston, Jamaica, to Gatwick (53 minutes).

Among the 50 busiest airports for flights to the UK, the worst delays were from Barcelona to Gatwick (31 minutes), followed by Chicago O’Hare Airport to Heathrow (30 minutes) and Palma de Mallorca Airport to Gatwick (30 minutes).

Image copyright PA

Travellers flying from the EU or on European airlines do have a right to compensation. This means:

  • If your flight departed the European Union or was with a European airline, you might have rights under EU law to claim if the delay or cancellation was within the airline’s control
  • If your flight’s delayed for two or more hours the airline must offer food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight – including transfers between the airport and the hotel
  • If you arrive more than three hours late in a journey of less than 1,500km (932 miles) you are entitled to 250 euros (£225) in compensation from the airline
  • If you arrive more than three hours late in a journey spanning more than 1,500km, but within the EU, you can get 400 euros in compensation from the carrier
  • Journeys to non-EU destinations more than 3,000km away that arrive between three and four hours late put you in line for 300 euros in airline payouts, while delays longer than four hours to these destinations are due 600 euros in compensation

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionFlight delay compensation: When can you claim?

Methodology

All data used on this page is compiled and made available by the Civil Aviation Authority, which publishes aggregated statistics on punctuality for all flights taking off or landing at major UK airports.

The BBC has combined the CAA’s data for June, July and August of 2015 and 2016 and used this to calculate the average (i.e. mean) delay per flight across these months for all routes listed in the data.

Routes with fewer than 50 flights over this period were excluded, as were airlines that registered no flight data for the summer months of 2016 (even if they had been active in 2015). Chartered flights were not distinguished from scheduled flights in the calculations for airlines that fly both categories on the same route.

The data for outbound delays is based on the time the aeroplane takes off from the UK runway, and the data for return delays is based on the time the aeroplane arrives back on the UK runway.

Flights that take off or land early are recorded as having a delay of zero minutes.

Produced by Ryan Watts, Ed Lowther, Nassos Stylianou, Ransome Mpini, Daniel Dunford, Gerry Fletcher, Becky Rush, Joe Reed, and Kevin Peachey.

Photographic gallery looks back at a decade in Bradford

A PHOTOGRAPHIC gallery is this week celebrating the 10th anniversary of its move to Bradford, and 45 years since it was first founded.

Impressions Gallery opened in City Park in 2007, and since then has hosted the work of photographers from around the world, attracting around 55,000 visitors a year.

Tomorrow the gallery celebrates its decade in Bradford with a civic reception in City Hall, an evening event in the gallery, and a celebration in The Bradford Club. The Victorian members’ club has been transformed into a pop up gallery filled with photographs that have been displayed in the gallery since 2007.

Impressions started in a room above a shop in York in 1972, and was founded at a time when photography was, for the most part, shunned by major museums.

In the last 45 years, over 630 artists have exhibited in the £1.2 million gallery, including many well-known names such as Bill Brandt, Cecil Beaton, Dorothea Lange, and Imogen Cunningham.

After outgrowing a succession of buildings in York, Impressions moved to Bradford at the invitation of Bradford Council, opening the first purpose built public funded photography gallery in the UK in August 2007. The gallery hoped to make the most of the centre’s burgeoning re-generation.

When opened, the gallery looked out over the developing City Park project, and due to its location in the heart of the city centre, the Impressions has made photography much more accessible to the people of Bradford.

As well as its exhibitions, the gallery hosts events for families, children, and older people’s groups, school visits and even hosted the announcement of the Tour De Yorkshire route in December.

Exhibitions have included images of Iceland, a photographic journey along the Yangtze River in China and photographs of young athletes, which coincided with the London Olympics and Paralympics.

It’s current exhibition is of work by Liza Dracup, a Bradford based photographer whose images were part of the gallery’s first exhibition in 2007.

The gallery recently secured £809,124 in Arts Council funding between 2018 and 2022 as part of its status as a National Portfolio Organisation. And it has been named a finalist in the Arts & Culture category of the White Rose Awards 2017, which recognise tourist attractions in Yorkshire.

Anne McNeill, Director of Impressions since 2000, said “Impressions has always been visionary, and never afraid to take creative risks.

“More than ever, photography plays a huge part in our lives, and people continue to look to Impressions to be captivated, informed and inspired. I’m delighted to be celebrating this important double anniversary, and would like to thank all the visitors, artists, funders and supporters who have been part of the Impressions story over the last 10 years in Bradford and 45

years in Yorkshire.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said “Impressions has mounted significant exhibitions, bringing artist of international renown to our city. The gallery has forged strong community links, and provides excellent experiences for both our residents and visitors.”

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “I’d like to congratulate Impressions Gallery as they celebrate these milestones. Since its launch 45 years ago, it has earned itself an impressive reputation in the UK and Europe and I’m proud Yorkshire is home to such a pioneering centre for photography.”

Fracking: Shale rock professor says UK gas reserves ‘hyped’

Cuadrilla exploratory drilling siteImage copyright AFP

The gas reserves in shale rocks in the UK have been “hyped”, a geology professor has warned.

Prof John Underhill from Heriot-Watt University said UK shale deposits were formed 55 million years too late to trap substantial amounts of gas.

He said the government would be wise to formulate a Plan B to fracking for future gas supplies.

But the fracking firm Cuadrilla said it would determine how much gas was present from its test drilling.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale, a sedimentary rock found worldwide.

The amount of shale gas available in the UK is acknowledged to be a great unknown.

Cuadrilla said estimates from the British Geological Survey (BGS) indicated a large potential gas reserve.

But Prof Underhill said his research on the influence of tectonic plates on the UK suggested that the shale formations have been lifted, warped and cooled by tectonic action.

These factors make shale gas production much less likely.

“The complexity of the shale gas basins hasn’t been fully appreciated so the opportunity has been hyped,” he told the BBC.

Big US deposits

This is very different from the US, where big deposits of shale gas were created in the continental heart of America, far from the movement of tectonic plates.

Prof Underhill’s comments are based on an unpublished paper on tectonics. He said he deduced the impact on shale formations by chance.

He said: “I’m neutral about fracking, so long as it doesn’t cause environmental damage. But the debate is between those who think fracking is dangerous and those who think it will help the economy – and no-one’s paying enough attention to the geology.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prof Underhill said UK shale basins had been partly formed by magma under Iceland

Prof Underhill said: “For fracking to work, the shale should be thick enough, sufficiently porous, and have the right mineralogy. The organic matter must have been buried to a sufficient depth and heated to the degree that it produces substantial amounts of gas or oil.”

Iceland magma

Professor Underhill said the UK had been tilted strongly by tectonic movement caused by an upward surge of magma under Iceland.

This subsequently led the shale gas basins to buckle and lift, so areas that were once buried deep with high temperatures which generated oil and gas, were then lifted to levels where they were no longer likely to generate either.

The basins were also broken into compartments by folds which created pathways that have allowed some of the oil and gas to escape, he said.

A spokesman for the BGS said it could not comment formally on Prof Underhill’s comments as it had not done the research.

‘Very large potential’

Cuadrilla’s technical director Mark Lappin told the BBC: “We have noted the BGS estimates for gas-in-place and consider that volume to be indicative of a very large potential reserve.

“It’s the purpose of our current drilling operations to better understand the reserve, reduce speculation from all sides and decide if and how to develop it.

“I expect Professor Underhill would be supportive of the effort to understand the resource including geological variation.”

The government’s opinion tracker showed public support for fracking has fallen to 16%, with opposition at 33%. But it also reported a lack of knowledge of the technology, with 48% of people neither supporting nor opposing it.

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin