LONDON: Polish is the second-most spoken language in England and Wales, new figures from the 2011 census revealed yesterday, followed by Punjabi and Urdu. Over 92 percent of residents spoke English as their main language, and the majority of the rest spoke it well, although 138,000 residents — less than half a percent — did not speak English at all, the Office for National Statistics said. One percent of the population, or 546,000 people, listed Polish as their main language, a reflection of the wave of eastern European migrants who moved to Britain after the enlargement of the European Union in 2004. Nationwide, Punjabi was the third-most spoken language, spoken by 273,000 people or half of one percent, concentrated in the West Midlands, where it is the second most popular language. Urdu was in fourth place, spoken by 269,000 people, followed by Bengali (221,000), Gujarati (213,000), Arabic (159,000), French (147,000), Chinese excluding Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese (141,000), and Portuguese (133,000).
Senate confirms Kerry as Secretary of State
WASHINGTON: The US Senate confirmed that Senator John Kerry will be the next secretary of state, approving President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Hillary Clinton as America’s top diplomat. Kerry — a senator from Massachusetts — was nominated last month to take over the foreign affairs portfolio in Obama’s second term team. The Senate voted 94-3 in favor of the veteran Democratic lawmaker after the chamber’s Foreign Relations Committee, which Kerry chairs, approved the nomination. Clinton, 65, is expected to leave her post tomorrow, amid speculation about whether she will run for the presidency in 2016.
Elections on September 14: Australian PM
SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday said the nation would go to the polls on September 14, announcing the date early to give “shape and order” to the year. Australians usually know only weeks before when an election will be held, but the Labour leader, whose minority government holds power by only a narrow margin, surprised pundits by giving close to nine months’ notice. “I do so not to start the nation’s longest election campaign, quite the opposite,” Gillard told the National Press Club in Canberra. Parliament will be dissolved on August 12.
Couple held for locking daughter in cage
LOS ANGELES: A US woman and her boyfriend have been arrested for leaving their 8-year-old adoptive daughter locked in a cage while they went out to see a movie, police said. Cindy Patriarchias, 33, and Edmond Gonzales, 37, were both charged with child negligence after the girl, who has a developmental condition, was found in the homemade wooden cage in their mobile home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The cage measured roughly 29 inches wide, 60 inches long and 49.5 inches tall (74 cm wide, 152 cm long, and 126 cm tall), had two latches on the door and a baby crib’s mattress inside on the floor, said police. Agencies