London

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Students to Fight University of London Union Closure

Students at universities in London are facing a battle to keep the city's student union after senior academics decided it was to close next year. The University of London Union (or ULU) represents the students from all of the 18 different institutions that make up the University of London, including LSE and UCL. However, facing tougher and tougher cuts, the university's collegiate council decided that from 2014 the individual colleges would cease paying the current £750,000 a year each to ULU.

Social & Political Hub

In its current form, ULU is the largest association of its kind in Europe and is central to the social and political life of 120,000 students in the Bloomsbury area and throughout London. The new plan will maintain the social facilities "including the swimming pool, gym, shops, cafes, bars, venues and the administrative support for intercollegiate sporting events".

However, it is the political side of the union that many fear losing. ULU has traditionally been the hub for student politics and activism, uniting all students across London in events such as the fees protests over the last few years. In the new plans, there will be no elected officers and therefore no student representation.

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Life at the University of East London

French student Manuela Constantini is one of the newest members of the ForeignStudents.com writing team. Here she gives a view of her life studying for a degree in Communication Studies at the University of East London.

"I have been observing and analyzing people from my university since last September when I first moved in. It was love at first sight as I was simply amazed by the view from my kitchen window, as I could see the planes taking off and landing from a distance. Planes from London City airport and the DLR did not sound so noisy back then. Maybe I was way too excited to learn in a new environment, explore the city and make new friends.

I moved in to university halls mainly because it was close to my gym, and close to the uni library open 24/7. Other than that, it is in the middle of nowhere, and the simple thought of going food shopping or central is painful. Food shopping is not even a necessity when I compare French food to English food. I don't get the beans on toast concept? No offence. Oh and please do not assume that French food revolves around frog legs and snails. Although my world revolves around French baguettes and pastries.

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A London Underground Story

"Greater London is served by 12 Tube lines, along with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and an interconnected local train network. Trains generally run between 5am and midnight, Monday to Saturday. Operating hours are reduced on Sunday." (VisitLondon.com)

Bank station was voted as the most hated station by Londoners.

I personally don't agree. Let me explain why.

I live in the East End and therefore have to travel on the DLR pretty much everyday. I have my reasons to complain as the DLR has shut down numerous times on the weekends. So I'd say if I had to complain it would not be about the station, but about the whole line instead. But then again, why always consider the negative aspects of public transport?

Other hated stations include Oxford Circus, Elephant and Castle and King's Cross- the busy ones obviously. The London Underground system can become very crowded at peak times and, therefore, is difficult for those with mobility problems. Sometimes you even have to wait to get on the next train as carriages are packed. But this is LONDON!

The Positives of the Tube

There are positive aspects to the London Underground, which provides many advantages such as the following:

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An Unexpected Conversation

Earlier this week, Bank was voted the most hated tube station in London. Possibly because of the general loathing against bankers- the station is always full of them because of the direct service to London City Airport and Canary Wharf.

But for one Wednesday last week, the busiest station must have been St Paul's. It was there that I met a businessman who was rushing to do business somewhere around Greenwich.

I was waiting for a tube, just coming back from Margaret Thatcher's funeral, when joined by several well dressed gentlemen. One of them, nearing his 50s, approached the traffic warden with a question about the connection to North Greenwich - business interest, obviously.

Later he boarded the train and spent the journey engaged in conversion with a ‘peer'. I only overheard that one word 'peer' while reading paper, business news.

Upon leaving, I left the paper on the seat. The well dressed gentleman took it. I meant to leave it for other travellers to read, I apologized for what might be seen as leaving rubbish.

"That's all right', he said "I'll read it on my next train".

He asked me whereabouts I was from.

"Slovakia", he reacted to my country of origin. "I have a friend from there, Bruno, makes good guns".

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London Marathon 2013: ‘The Calm after the Boston Storm’

London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news from Boston". After the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, were you present at the London marathon to show your support or were you concerned about your own safety?

The media have concentrated their focus on the Boston Marathon in the last week. The news came to me on the many social networks. The web community seemed really affected, and has sent their prayers to the family and friends of the victims and injured.

Were the runners of the London Marathon scared? What about the hundreds of thousands of spectators? I do not know. One sure thing is that the Marathon did not get cancelled. The race from Greenwich Park to the mall (a 26 mile run) is a celebration for all running amateurs, passionate sportspeople and talents who take part in the event. It is a day of enjoyment planned every year.

Security was rearranged for the event as London mayor Boris Johnson had spoken to police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe "about the possibility of extra security for the London Marathon" for prudence. No less than 36,000 runners participated in the event.

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