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London’s new Elizabeth Line to finally open on May 24

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The long-awaited Elizabeth Line is officially opening on May 24, Transport for London has announced. Just a week before the Queen’s Jubilee.

It will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield. The £19bn underground railway will be shut on Sundays until Autumn, when it will connect with central tunnels also.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘I’m delighted that our world-class new Elizabeth line will be opening to passengers later this month, helping build a better London – one which is safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all Londoners.

‘This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades, and will revolutionise travel across the capital and the South East – as well as delivering a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy and hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs.

‘Green public transport is the future and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year.

‘I’m so proud of this new line and can’t wait for millions of passengers to start riding on the Elizabeth Line from 24 May.’

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Holidu reveals the top 10 British cities

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Credit: Jackmac34

Rated as cultural attractions, Holidu has shared the best cities to visit in Britain 2022.

Fancying a city break? According to the search engine for holiday rentals, these are the best places to explore!

Edinburgh – Average of 4.61/5 stars

Credit: Jackmac34

Portsmouth – Average of 4.61/5 stars

Newcastle – Average of 4.59/5 stars

Credit: Digihanger

York – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Belfast – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Credit: Endamac

Find out more about these destinations here!

Leeds – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Credit: Northern Punkie

London – Average of 4.56/5 stars

Liverpool – Average of 4.52/5 stars

Sunderland – Average of 4.52/5 stars

Coventry – Average of 4.51/5 stars

Credit: Iankelsall1

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Edinburgh Zoo’s Giant Pandas To Stay in Scotland for Another Two Years

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Scotland’s only giant pandas will remain in the country for another two years after China gave permission to extend their stay.

Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Edinburgh Zoo back in 2011 when they were eight, with the hopes they may have a cub.

The pair were loaned to the RZSS charity as part of a 10-year arrangement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, but will now return to China at the end of 2023.

Tian Tian gave birth to a cub in 2007 before she came to Scotland, but efforts to breed from the pair in Edinburgh have proved elusive.

A natural breeding attempt was made in 2012, with artificial insemination used instead each year between 2013 and 2017. Tian Tian was believed to be pregnant in August 2017, but her hormone levels and behaviour later returned to normal. Phantom pregnancies are common among giant pandas.

She was artificially inseminated again in 2019 and April this year, but both were unsuccessful.

Hopefully the pair will produce a cub before they return back to their furever homes in Asia.

Check out the Zoo’s Live Panda Cam here

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Captain Tom Sculpture Revealed In Yorkshire

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‘A Way Forward’, by sculptor Andrian Melka, pays tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore’s NHS fundraising achievements and his endeavour to inspire others to find a way forward during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bronze figure is temporarily presented at Yorkshire Sculpture Park before relocation to its longer-term home at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.  There it may offer motivation to those attending the Chapel Allerton Hospital, as patients or visitors, through its embodiment of determination and self-belief.

Melka is a Yorkshire-based sculptor but he was born in Albania. He left his country of birth as an adult in 1997 during a period of civil war with a graduate degree in monumental sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. He arrived in London on a Getty funded scholarship, studying at the Building Crafts College to develop his masonry skills. Founded by the Worshipful Company of Carpenters in 1893 to train young people in a range of construction crafts in central London, the College relocated in 2001 to Stratford near to the Olympic Park.  Until recently Melka has worked primarily in marble and stone, which he carves directly into. His past commissions include the Golden Jubilee Fountain at the royal family’s Sandringham Estate, the Figure of Christ on the Cross for Bamburgh Castle War Memorial and the Medici Venus for Chiswick House in London.  More recently Melka has expanded his range of sculptural media to include bronze.

This figurative sculpture of Captain Tom, shaped in clay before casting, captures a distinct likeness of his internationally renowned face in concentration whilst taking each step. His stance here, giving a thumbs-up, became an iconic pose. It can be seen to represent a patriotic and nostalgic inclination towards UK identity and the traits we value at times of national crisis, adversity and struggle – perhaps recalling, for some, experience of the nation coming together during the world wars of the twentieth century.

Captain Sir Tom Moore, fondly known as Captain Tom, was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire in 1920.  He was educated at the local grammar school before starting an apprenticeship in civil engineering. In May 1940, eight months after the start of WWII, Moore was conscripted in the 8th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, stationed at Weston Park in Otley. Though Moore was a war-time veteran who served in India and Burma between 1941-45 before returning to become an instructor at the Armoured Vehicle Fighting School in Dorset, he became a public figure at the age of 99 fundraising in aid of NHS Charities Together. Capturing media attention and consequently the hearts of the nation, Moore set out on 6 April 2020 with a goal of raising £1,000 by walking one hundred lengths of his garden in the days leading to his 100th birthday on 30 April that year. In less than one month, Captain Tom raised almost £33 million.

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