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Half a century on; we still live with the concequences of the Beeching Reports.

True to my word about a year ago, I’ve written an article about Beeching! We’ve celebrated quite a number of milestones in the last 12 months, and another is looming; it is 50 years since Dr Beeching published his enquiry into Britain’s railways which lead to the systematic dismantling of the vast majority of the branch lines across this country. The Reshaping of British Railways and it’s sister report, the snappily titled The Development of the Major Railway Truck Routes published two years later set in motion the eradication of nearly 55% of all of Britain’s railways. The loss was felt across the nation and at a time when demand for rail travel is at a level that hasn’t been seen since the 1920s and our road network has reached saturation, we now suffer the consequences of those rather short-sighted actions. It has been widely accepted since the 1960s that the methods of obtaining the numbers used within the reports was underhand; choosing days to visit the stations when the number of passengers was going to be disproportionately low compared with peak times.

Britain's railway network is now less than half the size it was in the 1960s, yet demand for rail travel is higher than ever.

Britain’s railway network is now less than half the size it was in the 1960s, yet demand for rail travel is higher than ever.

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Will the demise of a tyrant cause stability or uncertainty in Asia?

Kim Jong-Il died at the age of 69 on 17th December; an autopsy confirmed that he had suffered from a fatal heart attack. The “Dear Leader” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was reputed to have had a taste for cigars, cognac and gourmet cuisine and it was also believed that he had suffered from diabetes and heart disease.   It was also reported that he had suffered from a stroke in 2009.

The news of his death was announced on North Korean state television on the 19th December.  It was also announced that Kim Jong-Il’s third son, Kim Jong Un, will take over as his father’s successor.

The sudden death of such a powerful leader has had an impact around the world and there are many different opinions about the effects of his demise.  Many people think the death of an oppressive dictator, who reportedly had an appalling human rights record and a nuclear arsenal at his command, will cause stability within the country and throughout the region and rest of the world.  However the fact is that his death has caused extreme uncertainty regarding North Korea.  Kim Jong Un is due to take over as Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).  However, there is a possibility of a power struggle and a large amount of uncertainty about how Kim Jong Un will act as leader if he does in fact become leader. READ THE REST OF THE ENTRY

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