The firm, which now offers “local” drivers, took over the rival Eagle Taxis in 2009, which had employed the drivers involved in a scandal.
Stephen Campbell, manager of Car 2000, said the demand for white taxi drivers was a direct consequence of the scandal.
“We have had quite a lot of customers requesting what they call a ‘local’ driver. A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale,” said Campbell.
He further pointed out that “it’s a business,” and said “we have got a duty to do what the customer asks us to. I don’t think we can discriminate against the customer in the same way. It is a business at the end of the day. We have a large bank loan to pay back.”
According to Mark Widdup, director for Economy and Environment at Rochdale Borough Council, the policy of offering white drivers is perfectly legal and does not breach the minicab firm’s license.
“This is the first the council has heard of this company’s policy. However, this appears to be a decision made by the company and there is currently nothing in the conditions of their license which states that they cannot operate such a policy, just as some firms choose to offer customers only female drivers,” Widdup said.
The majority of drivers for Car 2000 are of Asian origin, but the company reportedly has up to 60 calls per week asking for ‘local’ drivers.
Campbell said that the Asian drivers were in “a terrible position” after their treatment by customers. He praised the drivers for being harder-working than their British counterparts, claiming “[the Asian drivers] do what they are asked and they don’t complain about it. They have a much better work ethic.”
This disclosure comes amid growing racial tensions in Rochdale and neighboring Heywood. Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, said the effects of the affair were “extremely worrying” and expressed concern at the level of hostility toward Asian minorities.
Heywood was at the center of the grooming scandal, which saw a sex trafficking gang of mainly Pakistani origin prey on at least 47 girls. Two of the nine men jailed were taxi drivers with Eagle Taxis.
Mohammed Amin, 45, of Fallinge, who was a driver for the firm for 14 years, was given a five-year jail sentence for sexual assault. Abdul Aziz, from Rochdale, and also a driver for Eagle Taxis, received a nine-year term for trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Heywood and Rochdale police and social services were condemned for “shocking” failures in protecting victims.
Speaking to RT, Nick Ryan, advisor to the anti-racism group Hope Not Hate, said: “It’s very sad that tensions still exist following the ‘grooming’ scandals and tragedy of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale.”
Ryan believes more work needs to be done to build the relationships in areas affected by the grooming scandal.
“There will be all too many on the political extremes looking to exploit this situation for purely political ends - or to stir up further hatreds”
The scandal has provoked further political ramifications. In the Heywood and Middleton by election of October 9, the UK Independence Party, which takes a harder stance on immigration restriction, polled 617 votes short of the incumbent Labour Party.
The canopy was installed by TEPCO, the plant’s operator, in 2011 to mitigate the damage done to the plant in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which led to one of the worst nuclear disasters in human history.
On October 22 it started to take the construction apart using a crane-mounted drill to make 30sq cm holes in one of the structure’s six panels, The Asahi Shimbun reports.
After the holes were drilled, the workers coated the inside of the building with special anti-scattering resin to ensure that radioactive materials still lingering after reactor meltdown would not be agitated.
The inside of the building contains a significant amount of debris left after a hydrogen explosion following the disasters. The operation will therefore require the installation of cameras inside to survey the area.
The dangerous next step in the decommissioning process comes in 2016-2017, when the workers will proceed to remove the rubble and garbage, followed by an extremely delicate process for the removal of spent nuclear fuel rods from cooling pools.
Watch our brief explanation below of what this entails.
TEPCO can’t complete some of its objectives at this time, as it has other more pressing matters to deal with – the erection of frozen soil walls under and around Reactor 1 to keep the escaping radioactive water from seeping into the Pacific Ocean.
The plant was plagued by numerous faults, both natural and man-made, which led to a number of leaks and consequent structural damage, releasing massive amounts of radiation into the water.
One such incident was in August 2013 and involved Reactor 3, where the removal of debris led to contamination of workers as far as 500 meters away.
TEPCO has also faced a massive backlash from the government, foreign observers and Japanese citizens for its unsatisfactory handling of the crisis resulting out of the 2011 tragedy.
As though human error weren’t enough, it turned out in early October that the level of radioactivity in water around the plant has risen to record highs, following a typhoon that passed through the Japanese coastline.
Specifically, levels of the radioactive isotope cesium are now at 251,000 becquerels per liter, three times higher than previously recorded levels.
Cesium, which is highly soluble and can spread easily, is known to be capable of causing cancer.
The scary part about the escaping radioactive material all this time later is that no one truly knows the scope of the problem and how best to approach it. Some other measures apart from constructing frozen soil walls involved pumping off groundwater. They all had varying levels of success.
The incident happened in the town of Lobnya on Tuesday night, the press service of Moscow Railways told the local media.
“An unidentified man penetrated into the train driver’s cab at Lobnya Railway Depot, started driving the train and then disappeared,” the company’s statement said.
The hijacker then lost control of the train and the moving vehicle crashed into another train, according to a preliminary investigation.
Ночная вечеринка в депо Лобня. Одни говорят, что хотели угнать, а другие - что это просто хулиганство. pic.twitter.com/6HdiGqtETS
— Александр Марьянович (@Sanya6213) October 21, 2014
The first carriage of the hijacked train was badly damaged and the train which was ‘rammed’ was derailed and slightly damaged.
“The person then disappeared from the crime scene,” added Moscow Railways.
Nobody was killed or injured in the incident, which didn’t affect train operations.
Transport police are currently searching for the ‘train driver’ with police dogs.
On January 1, 2013, a 30-year-old man decided to hijack a train while intoxicated in the city of Mytishchi, Moscow Region. He crashed into another train carting gasoline. The damage bill ran to more than 2 million rubles ($48 837).
— Elena Mikhailova (@ElenaMikhailova) October 21, 2014
— Долгопрудный (@InfoDolgoprudny) October 22, 2014
RT:Studies show that migration within the EU is beneficial to the British economy. So why are the British opposed to it so much?
Petros Fassoulas: I think the issue of migration has been used as a scapegoat to conceal certain structural faults within the British economy. The question here has to do more with the lack of skills in Britain which has attracted people from other parts of Europe to come and work [in the UK]. There are certain shortages in the labor market that cannot be filled domestically and that is why people from abroad are coming over to fill them. But in some cases there has been pressure locally on public services, on housing, and schooling because of the arrival of immigrants from other parts of the European Union. And the government rather than addressing the shortages in schooling, housing etc., investing in infrastructure, prefers to blame immigration not least to accommodate and address the xenophobic rhetoric used by the UK Independence Party.
RT: What impact will it have to the British economy if the UK limits migration?
PF: The Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent body set up by the government to monitor expenditure by the UK government, calculated that if migration from other EU [member-states] was completely cut, it will lead to the ballooning of the UK national debt. When people come over to work and they pay taxes, those taxes are used to pay for public services. If these people were not in the UK, the UK will have to borrow more in the markets to pay for social services, healthcare, and other things that the taxes of EU immigrants are paying for.
RT: At the same time, millions of UK citizens live and work in the EU. If Britain limits migration, might not the same be done to its citizens?
PF: I wouldn’t speculate how other member states might retaliate in the case of such a move. But it is true that over 2 million Brits live around the EU, some of them work, some of them receive benefits, and some others are just retiring now in the other countries. So they would indeed be hurt if other member states chose to impose similar restrictions on British citizens in case the UK government imposes such restrictions to EU citizens coming over here.
RT: The British are considered to be very hospitable and open-minded. So why are they so unhappy about the increasing flow of the immigrants?
PF: There is misunderstanding about the benefits of immigration in the UK economy mostly because our political leaders and, to some extent, our business leaders haven’t explained, haven’t taken the time to appease the fears people have of immigration. As a result, people feel a little bit reluctant to be as welcoming as they should be. But the British in general are a very open-minded nation, they are traders, travelers, they understand the benefits of free markets and open borders. And that is why they appreciate the opportunity to work and live anywhere they want around the EU. I think if we had an informed conversation about the benefits of immigration we would see a change of opportunity in the UK, and people will be much more welcoming, because at the end of day the British are indeed very hospitable nation.
RT: Why do Brits think they should be entitled to work and travel in Europe while at the same time denying this privilege to others?
PF: I think there is a problem in perception here. There is a feeling that far too many people have come to the UK, and at the same time not enough British have gone around the EU. People overestimate how many EU citizens live in the UK and underestimate how many British citizens live around the EU. And this is why there is feeling that it is ok for us to go out there and live and work in other member states. But we should limit the amount of people that come over here because far too many of them have come. We do explain that in fact the number of EU citizens living and working in the UK is very small and the vast majority of them contribute significantly in the economy.
RT: What can you say about freedom of movement around the EU? Do Brits really benefit from it?
PF: It is a significant issue. The free movement of people is one of the greatest achievements of the process of the European integration. The ability to travel across the EU, set up shop, build your life, study, and retire if you want in any member state - is significant indeed. It contributes massively in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) not just of the UK but of the EU as a whole. So it is important to ensure that this fundamental freedom is not compromised because it will have economic as well as political consequences. And it is important that leaders deal with it, address concerns that people might have, resolve the areas where the problems might arise and ensure that we continue to enjoy this fundamental freedom.
There are a growing number of smartphones capable of shooting 4K ultra HD video. But there’s really not much reason to watch 4K video on a phone. You wouldn’t be able to see most of the detail on a pocket-sized screen. So chip maker Qualcomm is developing a device that could make it easy to […]
Eben was speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in London yesterday, where he had a display board and HAT to show off, and some other bits of news. You’ll get to see a PiTop (a laptop kit that’s currently going great guns on Indiegogo), be tantalised with some details about the A+, and learn about what we think is important if you’re growing a hardware business: enjoy!