daily: man with dogs
Friday, 14 March 2014

The Daily: March 14

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Nayha Tandon
Tony Benn dies aged 88
Former Labour politician and cabinet minister Tony Benn has died at his home after being seriously ill, family has said. The 88-year-old became an MP in November 1950 and severed in the cabinet under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. In 1981, the popular public speaker and anti-war campaigner narrowly missed out on the deputy leadership. He first entered Parliament aged just 25 and consequently rejected his peerage, which he inherited on his father's death, in order to remain in the House of Commons. Mr Benn served as an MP for over 50 years, and became secretary of state for industry in 1974 under Harold Wilson. He went on to become secretary of state for energy, and kept this post when James Callaghan became PM in 1976. In 2001 he retired from Parliament, famously announcing he wanted to "spend more time on politics". His children announced that their father died peacefully early this morning surrounded by his family. Arrangements for his funeral will be announced in due course.

The White Tree House: Incredible 17-storey apartment block to be built on French Mediterranean
A 17-storey apartment block resembling a tree is to be built in Montpellier, France next year. The building will be called The White Tree (L'Arbre Blanc), with balconies and shade decks hanging off the tower to resemble the branches. It will also include a rooftop penthouse bar with ocean and mountain views, an art gallery and restaurant. Residents will have the choice from 120 units offering a range of different floor plans. Its design will allow vegetation on balconies to blossom because of the open plan, which is ideal for plants. The aim is to make residents feel as if they are outside when they are indoors by mixing the two settings. The building will be created between Montpellier's new and old districts, standing tall halfway between the newly built Odysseum and Port Marianne and the city center. The 10,000 square metre French-designed building will be built by Japanese architects and will consist of a blend of influences from both countries. Construction is to start in July 2015 and expected to finish in December 2017.

What does your pet reveal about you?
Research conducted by UK pet insures Petplan revealed that dogs are the most popular pets for animal lovers. Cat owners made up 21% of the respondents, with only 2% owning rabbits. Each participant was asked to describe themselves in three words. The poll revealed that more than half of dog owners described themselves as hardworking, a third said they were outgoing and logical, and a fifth thought themselves as neat. The most common description amongst cat owners was introvert, followed by messy and couch potato. The majority of rabbit owners described themselves as creative, laid back and scatterbrains. The study also showed that married men who live in the countryside are most likely to own a dog, whereas single women in their twenties are most likely to own a cat.

British soldier's dying wish carried out by his enemy
A British soldier fighting in the Battle of Passchendaele clutched onto a picture of his family while dying from a fatal would. On the back of this photo Sergeant Percy Buck had written his dying wish for someone to return the photo to his wife. To much surprise, it was his enemy who killed him who had done so. This incredible story has only come to light after the soldier's granddaughter discovered the photograph amongst her father's belongings. Christina Reynolds, 58, revealed the black and white photo of the soldier and his wife, Bertha, and son (the father of Mrs Reynolds) Cyril, nearly 100 years after it was taken. Mrs Reynolds also found the telegram her grandmother had received of her husband's death, along with a letter from the German solider, explaining the journey of the family photograph. The German soldier, Gefreiter Josef Wilczek – Gefreiter, sent the photo to the Red Cross in Geneva along with the letter. However, by carrying out Sgt Buck's final wish, this may have deprived him of a war grave - as the photo would have been a key item to identify his body. It is though Sgt Buck was buried in an unmarked grave in Flanders. Sgt Buck was aged 26 when he was killed and his widow died in 1962. Gefreiter Wilczek did not survive the First World War either, and was killed on October 31, 1918.

Gay couples can now register for first same-sex marriages
Same-sex couples who wish to hold weddings in England and Wales on 29 March – the day gay marriage becomes legal – can register to do so as of today. Those who married overseas will also be legally recognised as a married couple today. However, actions for gay couples who are currently in a civil partnership and want to 'upgrade' to marriage have yet to come into effect. Scotland has also passed a same-sex marriage bill, but these changes in the law have not been introduced in Northern Ireland. Gay couples need to give 15 days' notice of their intent to marry at a register office, and will need to do so today if they want to be amongst the first to benefit from the new Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act. The terms of the bill states that religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offer weddings.

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