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Warning Over Heathrow and Gatwick Expansion Plans

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Adding a runway to either Heathrow or Gatwick airports would cost far more than previous estimates, according to a Whitehall body.

Heathrow Runway

Runway expansion plans at Heathrow and Gatwick would cost billions more than estimated and result in big increases in passenger charges, according to the Airports Commission.

The Whitehall-appointed body, which was set up to recommend the site for a new airport runway, said a third runway to the northwest of Heathrow in west London would cost around £18.6bn.

The figure is almost £4bn higher than the airport’s estimate of £14.8bn.

A new runway at Gatwick Airport would cost around £9.3bn, almost £2bn more than the initial estimate of £7.4bn.

The third option shortlisted by the commission – an extension of the existing northern runway at Heathrow – would cost approximately £13.5bn.

This is more than £3bn higher than the £10.1bn estimated by the scheme’s promoters, Heathrow Hub.

According to the commission, airport charges at Heathrow could go up from £20 at present to between £28 and £29 with peak charges of up to £32.

At Gatwick it believes charges could increase from the current £9 to between £15 and £18 per passenger with peak charges of up to £23.

The figures came as the commission published its latest assessments of the three schemes for public consultation.

The commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, is due to make its recommendation on which scheme should go ahead when it delivers its final report in summer 2015.

Launching the consultation, Sir Howard said: “We have not yet taken a view on which proposal strikes the most effective balance between the assessment criteria.

“It is important first that we provide an opportunity for this evidence to be examined, challenged and improved. This consultation gives everyone with an interest in the issue of airport expansion that opportunity.”

The plan put forward by Heathrow Airport Ltd involves building a 3,500m runway which could see the estimated number of passengers rising to between 132 million and 149 million a year by 2050.

It could lead to as many as 112,400 more jobs in the area by 2030, but 784 homes might have to be demolished and aircraft movements would rise from the current 480,000 a year to 740,000.

The commission said the expansion would result in noise and air quality problems and there would be a negative impact on landscape, heritage, biodiversity and water.

But it concluded: “Expansion at Heathrow is likely to result in improvements in quality of life at national level, due to the improved connectivity and its attendant economic and social benefits.”

The commission said the Gatwick scheme would involve the demolition of 168 homes and “may produce a worse passenger experience than is currently the norm”.

However, it considered the delivery risks to be relatively low and it considered the proposed 2025 opening date “achievable”.

On the Heathrow Hub plan, the commission said the delivery risks were “substantial” but “could be managed”.

Under the plan the number of annual flights would go up from 480,000 to 700,000.

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The Ultimate American Road Trip: Route 66

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route 66

If you’re looking for the omega American road trip then you’ve got to hit the Mother Road, otherwise known as Route 66. From Chicago to LA, it’s a journey that’ll provide the experience of a lifetime, showing you the heart of a great nation.

Start in Chicago & Chase the Sun

In reality, the best always head west. Would you rather end the trip in the Windy City, or just in time to catch a gorgeous L.A. sunset on the beach? There’s just something deeply spiritual for folks when we head west. It becomes an adventure. It becomes a vehicular voyage to the sea. Here are some of the highlights you can expect in order:

Illinois: It’s a pretty straight shot through the state from Chicago through Springfield (which has some stretches of restored Route 66) and southwest to St. Louis. There’s a bit of the bright lights of big cities, but also a good calm stretch of rural to cruise through as well; vast fields of corn and farmland for close to 300 miles.

Missouri: Once you hit East St. Louis you’ll again be greeted by sky scrapers, industrial areas and the mark of modernity but then it’s another SE straight shot through the entire belly of the state.

Kansas: You’re only going to spend a little time in the good’ol Kansas heartland. And by little we mean a whopping 14 miles far down in the bottom south east corner. You’ll go through two towns: Galena and Baxter Springs but rest assured there’s great classic restaurants and places that’ve been open as long as Route 66 has been around. In fact, it’s because of road tripper like you just passin’on through that keep’em goin.

Oklahoma: You’re going to go through two huge metropolises that have “country” written all over’em: Tulsa first and then into Oklahoma City before heading directly west towards the Pan Handle. Of all 8 states, it’s here that they take Route 66 the most seriously. It’s got the most preserved still-drivable miles and you’ll be able to see the remnants of Kiowa, Apache and Comanche Native American land. And, you’ll get to take the same route as families long ago in the Dust Bowl took to escape.

Texas: You’re going to go through the upper tip of the Texas Pan Handle that takes you through Amarillo. It looks short on a map but the 200-mile stretch of plains is a sight to behold like none other. If you can time it so you cut through here in the afternoon on a sunny day your spirit will be recharged. Just try not to pay any attention to all the truckers!

New Mexico: Welcome to the Land of Enchantment where you’ll pass through Sun Belt city and Albuquerque. These days, it can be a bit challenging to stay strictly on the old road but with all the sandstone mesas and pine forests it’s definitely worth it.

Arizona: In Arizona you’ll stay in the northern plains rather than heading down into the really hot areas around Phoenix. Instead, you’ll pass directly through Flagstaff which is a mountain town and where Northern Arizona University is located. The sights here are like a completely different world from everything you’ve seen so far, especially once you begin to head south right before passing into California. Oh, and because of the high speeds on the I-40, this will feel like one of those awesome car track days.

California: Once you reach this point get ready to cruise through rolling hills, vineyards, orchards, stunning landscapes and then at Barstow you should begin smelling the sea. From San Bernardino and Pasadena to Santa Monica it’s simply breathtaking.

This is only a taste of the experience really. You’ve just got to get out and do it. There’s plenty of great resources online to keep you on track and if you have the time you don’t have to miss a thing. Enjoy!

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Key Moments from Trump’s Impeachment Hearing

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Trump's Impeachment
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Heartbreaking; Another School Shooting Santa Clarita, CA

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Santa Clarita School SHooting

Santa Clarita, California, high school shooting leaves 2 students dead, multiple injured

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) — A 16-year-old boy shot five fellow students, two fatally, Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita before turning the .45-caliber handgun on himself, authorities said.

A Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson said multiple 911 calls prompted firefighter-paramedics to respond about 7:40 a.m. to the school at 21900 Centurion Way.

Six students, including the gunman, were found in the quad suffering from gunshot wounds, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference. All six were transported to hospitals, where two of them, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, were later pronounced dead.

The surviving victims were described as two girls, ages 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy.

In a tweet, Henry Mayo Hospital said it had received four patients.

Their names were not immediately disclosed. The sheriff said the deceased girl’s parents were at the hospital. He was notified of the second fatality during a press conference at the school.

Gunman turns .45 caliber on himself

According to sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener, surveillance video “clearly” shows the suspect pulling a semi-automatic handgun out of his backpack in the quad and shooting five classmates before shooting himself in the head.

Thursday was the gunman’s 16th birthday, the captain said.

He was listed in grave condition at a hospital, according to Villanueva.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, authorities released a description of the suspect as a manhunt got underway. Heavily armed deputies and an armored SWAT vehicle were seen at a home near the school, but it was unclear if the house was connected to the investigation.

The high school remained on lockdown for hours after the incident. Shortly before 11 a.m., lockdowns were lifted at all campuses in the district, as well as Rosedell and Highland elementary schools.

Central Park, at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, was being used as a reunification point for parents and students, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Undersheriff Tim Murakami tweeted an apology to parents, saying investigators need to interview “every student at Saugus HS” before they can be released.

In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump was monitoring ongoing reports about the shooting.

“The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders,” the statement said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted an expression of gratitude to the emergency responders.

“We simply should not have to fear for our kids’ lives when we drop them off at school,” the governor said. Addressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Newsom asked: “How many more lives will be lost? How many more shootings will we have to endure? We need commonsense gun reform. NOW.”

Amid the chaos at the scene, the number of reported victims fluctuated throughout the morning. The sheriff later confirmed that six people were shot, including the gunman.


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