ENGLAND ““ (CNN) The Routemaster bus first appeared on London’s streets in the 1950s and quickly became one of the city’s most recognizable icons. Now, six years after it was phased out, English artist/designer Thomas Heatherwick is taking inspiration from the famous Routemaster to redefine the look of London buses. In collaboration with vehicle manufacturer the Wright Group, the double-decker bus with a twist is becoming a reality. Improving the passenger experience was a critical consideration in the design process, including changing the lighting, doors, and staircases within the vehicles. Heatherwick says the new bus is greener, too, with a hybrid engine that will prove to be 40% more energy efficient than a standard bus. “It’s going to be much quieter and calmer,” Heatherwick said. Passengers can look forward to boarding these buses early next year, just in time for London’s Olympic Games.
FRANCE ““ (CNN) A French TV correspondent said Friday she thought she was going to die as a crowd of 70 men violently assaulted her near Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where Egyptians have staged days of demonstrations against the interim government. Caroline Sinz, a reporter for France 3, was allegedly assaulted Thursday, her network said. The network reported her male photographer, Salah Agrabi, had been struck while in the crowd and the two became separated. “I found myself with 70 people around me, men young and older who were pulling my hair, who tore my clothes apart, who sexually assaulted me,” she said in an interview on France 3. “And it was terrible, because it was in broad daylight, in the morning, in front of everybody, and some people were applauding as we were beaten up.” France 3 said that Sinz was being flown out of Egypt to be reunited with her family in France. The French Foreign Ministry condemned the alleged attack, calling it “cowardly and barbaric.” It urged Egyptian investigators to identify those responsible and bring them to justice. It recommended that journalists not get too close to areas of conflict.
NORWAY ““ (BBC) For the first time, Norwegians have heard the voice of self-confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik after his first call to police was broadcast. Introducing himself as a “Norwegian anti-communist resistance commander,” he says he wants to surrender, but hangs up when asked to give his number. After the call was placed, he resumed shooting people at the island summer camp of Norway’s ruling Labour Party. Breivik killed 77 people and injured 151 in the attacks on July 22. The carnage, which he sought to justify as “necessary” for the salvation of Norway and Europe from Muslims and multiculturalism, traumatized the nation. Breivik is due to go on trial on April 16, pending psychiatric tests.
SPAIN ““ (BBC) The center-right Popular Party (PP) won Spain’s general election promising to lead the country out of economic crisis and restore investor confidence in its solvency. Uncertainty over how precisely it plans to do so continues to rattle financial markets. The mystery surrounding PP policy in other areas is proving equally unsettling for some Spaniards. Gay rights groups are concerned about the fate of the same-sex marriage law, while feminists worry a new conservative government will reverse the new abortion law. Both were Socialist Party initiatives and the PP lodged immediate appeals against both in the Constitutional Court. In Spain’s current climate, the PP will be forced to make economic recovery its priority. Less urgent ““ highly divisive ““ issues will likely be left hanging. The Popular Party will not take over until the end of December, but there are a large number of inquiries regarding the status of these social policies.
WALES ““ (BBC) Wales football manager Gary Speed has died at the age of 42. Sources have said Speed, the national manager for nearly a year, was found hanged. Cheshire Police confirmed he was found dead at 7:08 GMT at his home in Huntington, Chester. They said there were no suspicious circumstances. In a statement, Cheshire Police said: “At 7.08am on Sunday 27th November Cheshire Police was informed of a sudden death at an address in Huntington in Chester. Officers went to the scene where a 42-year-old man was found dead. The next of kin have been informed and have confirmed the identity of the man as Gary Speed.” Speed leaves a wife and two children.