Argyll and Bute is one of 32 unitary authority council areas in Scotland and a lieutenancy area. The administrative centre for the council area is in Lochgilphead. Argyll and Bute covers the second-largest administrative area of any Scottish council; the council area adjoins those of Highland and Kinross, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire. Its border runs through Loch Lomond; the present council area was created in 1996, when it was carved out of the Strathclyde region, a two-tier local government region of 19 districts, created in 1975. Argyll and Bute merged Bute district and one ward of the Dumbarton district; the Dumbarton ward, called'Helensburgh and Lomond', included the burgh of Helensburgh and consisted of an area to the west of Loch Lomond, north of the Firth of Clyde and east of Loch Long. The council area can be described by reference to divisions of the counties which were abolished in 1975; the council area includes most of the county of Argyll, part of the county of Bute and part of the county of Dunbartonshire.
Thirty-six representative members make up the council, since 2007, by single transferable vote and, before that, by the first-past-the-post system. The 2017 election saw; this was the first time since the creation of the modern authority that the representatives of a political party had outnumbered Independents in holding the largest number of seats on the council. In February 2012, the council was criticised for setting up "spy" accounts on social media; as a result of the investigation, a council employee was suspended for setting up "fake social media accounts to monitor what was being said about the council". The council's own investigation confirmed it had "found no evidence of any form of spying or covert surveillance having been carried out by any employee within the council's communication team." In June 2012, the council was criticised for banning a local primary student, Martha Payne, from taking photographs of her school dinners for her online blog. The blog, NeverSeconds, had been praised by the celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, had attracted over two million visits, at the time of the ban had raised nearly £2,000 for a food charity.
On the day the story broke, the blog had raised over £40,000. After an initial statement from the council defending the decision, the ban was subsequently overturned by council leader, Roddy McCuish. In November 2012 a book written by David Payne, father of Neverseconds blogger Martha Payne, revealed the background to the council's attempt to censor and bully a 9-year-old girl; the book states about the council: "My anger and frustration at Argyll and Bute Council was not being soothed by time. Thinly veiled attacks on our parenting on national radio and an abusive phonecall stood out as examples of a public body sick to the top. Complaints via the proper procedures and through elected councillors had brought no visible changes. Far from being contrite they seemed to take a pride in being untouchable." The main railway line in Argyll and Bute is the West Highland Line, which links Oban to Glasgow, passing through much of the eastern and northern parts of the area. From the south the line enters Argyll and Bute just to the west of Dumbarton, continuing north via Helensburgh Upper to the eastern shores of the Gare Loch and Loch Long.
The line comes inland at Tarbet to meet the western shore of Loch Lomond. At the northern end of the loch the lines leaves Bute to enter Stirling council area; the Oban branch of the West Highland Line re-enters the area just west of Tyndrum, heads west to Oban: stations on this section of the line include Dalmally and Taynuilt railway station. The majority of services on the line are operated by ScotRail: as of 2019 the summer service has six trains a day to Oban, with four on Sundays. In addition to the ScotRail service is the nightly Caledonian Sleeper, although this does not run on the Oban branch. Helensburgh has a much more frequent service into Glasgow and beyond via the North Clyde Line, which has its western terminus at the town's central railway station; the main trunk roads in Argyll and Bute are: The A82, which runs along the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, providing the main route between Glasgow and Fort William. The A83, which leaves the A82 at Tarbet, heading west and south to reach Campbeltown by way of Inveraray and Lochgilphead.
The A85, which leaves the A82 at Tyndrum and heads west to Oban via Dalmally. The A828, which leaves the A85 at Connel and north through Appin to join the A82 at Ballachulish. Due to its indented coastline and many islands, ferries form an important part of the council area's tranport system; the main ferry operator in Argyll & Bute is Caledonian MacBrayne, which operates services from the mainland to most of the inhabited islands. Several other routes are operated by commercial operators on contract to the council, although the Western Ferries service across the Firth of Clyde is run on a commercial basis. Bute is served by a route across the Kyles of Bute between Rhubodach and Colintraive in Cowal, as well as a route between Rothesay to Wemyss Bay in Inverclyde. Both routes are operated by CalMac. Coll and Tiree are each served from Oban, via a CalMac service that provides links between the two islands, a once-weekly link to Barra
San Marino participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö, selected their entry through an internal selection, organised by the Sanmarinese broadcaster San Marino RTV. Valentina Monetta represented San Marino with the song "Crisalide", which failed to qualify from the second semi-final of the competition, placing 11th and scoring 47 points. On 30 January 2013, SMRTV held a press conference where they revealed that Valentina Monetta and the song "Crisalide" were selected as the official entry for San Marino; the Sammarinese broadcaster received various proposals, but a jury panel of music professionals assisted in selecting the entry. Valentina Monetta represented San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song "The Social Network Song", failing to qualify to the final and placing 14th with 31 points in the first semifinal. In August 2012, Valentina Monetta and Ralph Siegel collaborated to prepare an entry which resulted in the Italian pop ballad "Crisalide"; the song was composed by Siegel with lyrics by Mauro Balestri.
An English version of the song titled "Chrysallis" has been recorded with lyrics by Timothy Touchton."Crisalide" was presented to the public in a television special on SMRTV on 15 March 2013. San Marino was allocated to compete in the second semi-final on 16 May for a place in the final on 18 May. In the second semifinal, the producers of the show decided that San Marino would perform 2nd, following Latvia and preceding Macedonia. San Marino failed to qualify from the second semi-final of the competition, placing 11th and scoring 47 points. In San Marino, the semi-finals and final were aired on SMtv San Marino and Radio San Marino, with commentary by Lia Fiorio and Gigi Restivo; the national vote in the second semi-final and the final consisted of Massimiliano Messieri, Fabio Guidi, Viola Conti, Monica Moroni and Boris Casadei. The Sammarinese spokesperson in the grand final was John Kennedy O'Connor. San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest Eurovision Song Contest 2013 SMRTV's official Eurovision site
Reading Buses is a bus operator serving the towns of Reading, Newbury, Windsor, Wokingham, Didcot, Henley-on-Thames and the surrounding areas in the counties of Berkshire and Hampshire, England, as well as parts of Greater London. The operating company is known as Reading Transport Limited, is owned by Reading Borough Council; the origins of Reading Transport can be traced back to the 19th century, when the owned Reading Tramways Company was formed. The company was authorised to construct and operate a horse tram route on an east–west alignment from Oxford Road through Broad Street in the town centre to Cemetery Junction; this route formed the core of. Construction started with the entire line open by May. A fleet of six single-decked cars were used, with 31 horses, providing a 20-minute frequency; the cars operated from a depot on the south side of the Oxford Road to the east of Reading West railway station. By the 1890s the whole fleet had been replaced by double-decked cars operating at a 10-minute frequency.
The company made several proposals to add routes and electrify the system, but none of these were implemented, in 1899 the borough corporation decided to purchase the system. The purchase deal was completed on 31 October 1901, Reading Corporation Tramways came into being; the corporation set out about first extending, electrifying the system. The extensions were completed by December 1902, the last horse cars ran in July of the following year; the new electric trams started operating in July 1903. Extensions were constructed to the Wokingham Road and London Road, new routes added to Whitley, Caversham Road, Erleigh Road and Bath Road; the trams operated from a new depot in Mill Lane, a site, to remain Reading Transport's main depot until it was demolished to make way for The Oracle shopping mall in 1998. The electric tram services were operated by 30 four-wheeled double decked cars supplied by Dick, Kerr & Co. In 1904, six bogie cars and a water car were added from the same manufacturer. No further trams were acquired, a planned extension from the Caversham Road terminus across Caversham Bridge to Caversham itself was abandoned because of the outbreak of World War I.
The war led to a significant maintenance backlog. In 1919, Reading Corporation started operating its first motor buses; these ran from Caversham Heights to Tilehurst, running over the tram lines and beyond the tram termini. Because of the state of the track, the Bath Road tram route was abandoned in 1930, followed by the Erleigh Road route in 1932, it was decided that the tramways should be abandoned and replaced by trolleybuses, operating over extended routes. The last tram ran on the Caversham Road to Whitley route in July 1936, the last car on the main line ran in May 1939; the first trolleybus wiring erected was a training loop on Erleigh Road, which opened in early 1936. This loop was never used in public service, was subsequently dismantled. Public service commenced on 18 July 1936, on a route replacing the tram route from Caversham Road to Whitley Street. In May 1939, the remaining tram routes from Oxford Road to Wokingham Road and London Road were converted to trolleybus operation, with a short extension from Wokingham Road to the Three Tuns, a much longer extension from the Oxford Road through the centre of Tilehurst to the Bear Inn.
The extended main line, from the Three Tuns to the Bear, still exists today as bus route 17, the town's busiest and most frequent route, the first to be designated a premier route. During World War II a trolleybus branch was constructed from the Oxford Road to Kentwood Hill, enabling trolleybuses to replace motor buses with a consequential saving in precious oil-based fuel. In 1949 the Whitley Street line was extended to Whitley Wood and Northumberland Avenue, a short branch was built to Reading General station. Subsequent short extensions took the system to its full extent, with the Kentwood route running to Armour Hill and the Northumberland Avenue line running to the junction with Whitley Wood Road. By 1965, most UK trolleybus systems had closed, the manufacturers of the overhead equipment gave notice that they would cease production. At the same time the trolleybuses were criticised in the local press because they cost more to operate than motor buses and were inflexible though the trolleybuses were profitable and less polluting.
Reading Corporation decided to abandon the trolleybus system, the routes were phased out between January 1967 and November 1968. The UK's first contra-flow bus lane was instigated along Kings Road, when that road was made one-way in the early 1960s; the trolleybuses continued to operate two-way, as it was considered uneconomic to erect wiring on the new inbound route, London Road. The concept of the contra-flow bus lane was proved successful, adopted in other places for motor buses; the Transport Act 1980 deregulated long distance bus services. Reading Transport took advantage of this new freedom to start a service from Reading through London to Southend; the service was run jointly with Southend Transport. In 1982 the X1 was shortened to run from Reading to Aldgate in East London, under the Goldline brand, joint operation ceased; as a result of the legislation that accompanied the deregulation of local bus services in 1986, the operations of Reading Transport were transferred to Reading Transport Limited, an "arms length" company whose shares were held by Reading Borough Coun