The incident occurred on an Airbus A330 operated by a British-based airline. The CAA declined to identify the airline. The pilots had slept just five hours each over the previous two nights, the Daily Mail reports. They voluntarily reported the incident to the CAA and are not expected to face serious disciplinary action. Virgin Atlantic, which operates a fleet of 10 A330 planes, declined to comment to the Daily Mail on whether or not the incident involved one of its planes. ARCHIVE: FAA issues landmark rules on pilot fatigue (Dec. 21, 2011) Spokesmen for Thomas Cook Airlines and Monarch Airways, which also have A330s, told the Daily Mail that the plane did not belong to them. The incident came to light as Balpa, the UK pilots’ association, is fighting proposed European changes to flight time regulations, the Guardian reports . The proposed rules would let pilots land an aircraft after having been awake for 22 hours, operate longer-haul flights with only two crew members vs. the current three, and work up to seven early shifts in a row. The CAA said today, according to the Guardian: “We understand that Balpa are not happy with the proposals but we think overall it is a good package and not much different to what we have now.” Pilot fatigue has also been a problem with U.S. carriers The Federal Aviation Administration approved a new rule in 2011 setting a 10-hour minimum rest period before a shift, a two-hour increase over the previous rule.
“We take our responsibilities very seriously which is why we will make a sizable donation to Mind.” Tesco also issued an apology, saying in a statement: “We’re really sorry for any offense this has caused and we are removing this product from sale.” Mental health charity Mind welcomed the withdrawal of the costumes, saying the retailers had shown themselves to be “extremely misguided” by offering them for sale. Slept in. Have @asda withdrawn their ‘mental patient fancy dress’ costume or are we going to organise a protest at HQ? #timetochange Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) September 26, 2013 Alastair Campbell “It is staggeringly offensive to the one in four of us affected by mental health problems and our families and friends, and troubling that some businesses are still so out of touch with the public mood,” spokeswoman Sue Baker said in a statement . However, Baker said the outcry the costumes provoked on the social media site Twitter was encouraging. “We hope this will urge Asda, Tesco and other retailers and manufacturers to review their processes and consider taste and decency on mental health grounds, to avoid fueling stigma and discrimination that are so damaging for large numbers of the population,” she said. Mind and the group Rethink Mental Illness run the Time to Change campaign to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. One of the campaign’s supporters is Alastair Campbell, who was former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s media chief and who has publicly spoken of his battle with depression . Campbell was among those who tweeted his displeasure at the “brutally stigmatizing outfits.” “@asda and @tesco should sign up for one of the @mindcharity @Rethink_ @TimetoChange mental health training courses,” he tweeted . Campbell alleged that Amazon still carried mental health patient costumes and called for people to tweet the company, asking it to withdraw them. But in response to an inquiry from CNN, an Amazon spokesperson said: “The item you refer to is not available on Amazon.co.uk.” Soccer player and broadcaster Stan Collymore who has also spoken out on depression, also took to Twitter to criticize the stereotype he said Asda and Tesco’s costumes had promoted. Collymore tweeted: “Do you actually realise how many people are hanging themselves because of being frightened of the stigma?
UK’s Royal Mail privatization subscribed in hours: sources
Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville By William Schomberg and Estelle Shirbon LONDON | Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:57pm EDT LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s prime minister launched a critical week for his party’s run-up to the 2015 elections by unexpectedly bringing forward the launch of a mortgage guarantee program that critics say risks stoking a housing bubble. Conservative leader David Cameron said on Saturday that the plan would be up and running next week, three months earlier than previously planned. The “Help to Buy” plan is aimed at people who have been frozen out of the property market by the soaring size of deposits required to get a mortgage. “Young people who’ve got a decent job and have got decent earnings – they cannot buy a house or a flat, because they have to have a 30,000-pound ($48,400), 40,000-pound or 50,000-pound deposit,” Cameron said in a statement. “Now, if you haven’t got rich parents, you can’t get that sort of money. So we’re going to launch the Help To Buy Scheme – it’s not coming in next year, it’s coming in next week, because I’m passionate about helping people who want to own their own flat or home.” The initiative involves the government providing 12 billion pounds in guarantees to encourage lenders to provide mortgages of up to 95 percent of the value of properties being bought. It had been due to launch in January and key details such as the fees banks will pay to participate have yet to be announced. Cameron’s announcement comes on the eve of the start of the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Manchester. Such occasions are used by British political parties to make eye-catching announcements and this year offer the chance for them to set out their programs before a general election due in 2015. Earlier this month, opposition leader Ed Miliband said a government run by his center-left Labour Party would freeze energy bills for 20 months, a move aimed at winning over British voters, many of whom have seen their living standards fall during the slow economic recovery from the financial crisis. Signs that Britain’s economy is on the mend had boosted the Conservatives’ standing among voters, but Labour’s support has risen in opinion polls since the announcement by Miliband. A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times puts Labour at 42 percent, with the Conservatives at 31 percent. Cameron’s coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, languish at 9 percent.
UK’s Cameron speeds up launch of controversial housing plan
The latest sale effort has been criticized by the current opposition Labour party and unions, who on Friday sent out ballot papers for strike action. The ballot will close on October 16, five days after Royal Mail is scheduled to make its stock market debut, with the earliest possible strike date being October 23. UNDER PRESSURE Labour, which polls show is the frontrunner to win the next election, has come under pressure from its union backers and party activists to pledge to renationalize Royal Mail. While it has not ruled this out, Labour said it would be irresponsible to do so without knowing how much it could cost. The head of equities at a UK fund manager said Labour leader Ed Milliband’s promise earlier this week to freeze energy prices for 20 months if his party wins power in May 2015 may have made Royal Mail more attractive to some investors. “The income fund managers are quite intrigued by it (Royal Mail),” said the manager, who declined to be named. “If our friend Ed is going to make things difficult for utilities … this is potentially quite a nice thing coming through.” The government said it planned to pay a final 2014 dividend totaling 133 million pounds, equating to a full-year payout of 200 million had the group been listed for the full year. Based on the offer price range, that full-year payout gives Royal Mail an implied dividend yield of between 6.1 percent and 7.7 percent – making it attractive at a time when a regular UK savings account is yielding less than 3 percent. Britain has also agreed to hand 10 percent of Royal Mail’s shares to staff in the largest share giveaway of any major UK privatization. If distributed equally among the eligible 150,000 UK-based workers, each could receive 2,200 pounds worth. The government said it expected around 30 percent of the shares on offer would go to individual members of the public, who must spend a minimum of 750 pounds to invest in the company. Royal Mail, which no longer includes the Post Office services and retail business, has annual revenue of more than 9 billion pounds.