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Friday, July 8th 2005 - 21:00 UTC
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Falklands' support for bombed London; Boys run, row and cycle for veterans' charity; Fishing investigation.

Falklands' support for bombed London

FLAGS are flying at half-mast in the Falklands Islands after a series of bomb attacks yesterday rocked central London. Four blasts tore through trains and a bus during London's busy rush hour, killing as many as forty people and injuring hundreds. Prime Minister Tony Blair branded the attacks, which police suspect to be the work of terrorists, "barbaric". Falklands Governor, Howard Pearce, sent a message of support to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with a request that it be conveyed to Her Majesty The Queen. In it Mr Pearce expressed the deep shock and outrage felt by Islanders at the attacks on London. He said, "On behalf of all Falkland Islanders I convey our sympathy to those who have suffered injury or trauma as a result of these events and our deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. "While we may be many thousands of miles away in distance, we feel very close to all Londoners in spirit, and we know that they will respond with courage and fortitude." After learning of the attacks, Penguin News contacted the Falkland Islands Government Office in London; FIG representative, Sukey Cameron, said three of her staff had managed to get to the office while one had been forced to return home after the transport system shut down. Ms Cameron said she only learned of the attacks when she arrived at work: "I knew something was wrong as it took me two hours to do a half hour journey, but we were told that was just because the Northern Line was down. "First rumours were that the tube had suffered a ?power surge' which had caused an explosion at Kings Cross; we then heard about the bus being blown up in Russell Square and then the other explosions, fatalities and injuries." She said none of her staff had left Falkland House but through the morning, "...we could hear the constant sound of sirens and helicopters around us but now there is just an eerie silence as there is no traffic moving at all." Ms Cameron and her team were unsure if they would be able to get home last night due to the closure of the public transport system. However, she added, "...we are in a much better position than most as we do, of course, have the flat (above the office) that we can use if needs be." Ms Cameron said she and her team were grateful for, "...all the kind messages we have been getting from our friends and colleagues in the Islands ? it's nice to know that people are thinking of us." Legislative Councillor Jan Cheek was at a private business meeting in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) when news of the attacks broke. She said security in the building was immediately tightened: "we were asked not to use mobile phones and had to be escorted if we wanted to visit the lavatory - that sort of thing." She described the city as she left the FCO: "Armed police and police vehicles were swarming around Whitehall and the surrounding area. "All the buses are gone - I guess they have been recalled to their depots to be checked - and all the underground stations are closed." When Penguin Newscontacted Mrs Cheek, she had just arrived at her hotel, having walked the seven-mile distance from the Falkland Islands Government Office near St James' Park. She said there were many people on the streets: "Most seemed pretty determined not to be scared of being out on the streets and lots were trying to figure out how to get home." It was announced yesterday that a joint churches service of prayer will take place in Christ Church Cathedral tonight at 5.15pm. His Excellency the Governor will attend this service, described by the Reverend Paul Sweeting as, "... a simple service to pray for all those affected." He added, "Everyone is welcome, from any church or none."

Boys run, row and cycle for veterans' charity

FOUR boys who spent hours on exercise machines in an effort to raise money for the Falklands branch of the South Atlantic Medal Association (SAMA82) have handed over a cheque to the charity's Chairman. The boys from the Falkland Islands Community School decided to fundraise for the charity by recreating the epic yomp British Forces endured in 1982, through running, rowing and biking the equivalent distance as that from Port San Carlos to Stanley in the gym at Stanley Leisure Centre. Lucas Berntsen, Keiran Morrison, Tristan Giudicelli-Smith and Aaron Clarke collected £228.01 through sponsorship from their families and friends. They handed over a cheque to the Chairman of SAMA82's Falklands branch, Mr Gary Clement, on Wednesday. Mr Clement praised the boy's efforts saying, "For youngsters to pick SAMA82 as their chosen charity is really nice as, obviously, they didn't live through the conflict." A number of people have embarked on fundraising efforts for SAMA82 in recent weeks, possibly motivated by the proposed pilgrimage of veterans planned for 2007, the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War. Mr Clement said he was grateful to all who have donated money to the charity. From collections taken on Liberation Day, Christ Church Cathedral donated £280.18 and the Globe Tavern donated £310; the Victory Bar donated £145 raised through a pool competition.

Fishing investigation

THE owners and captain of the longliner In Sung 66face charges related to alleged illegal fishing in the Falkland Islands Conservation Zone. A Fisheries Department spokesperson confirmed the In Sung 66entered port on Monday following a request to assist with the enquiry. The court hearing will begin at 2pm today.

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