Monday, 30 May 2011

James Brown abused Ben Douglas at the Bafta Television Awards ceremony which was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Mr Douglas, 31, wrote in a national newspaper that he was called “nigger” by a fellow guest at the award show but did not name him.
However, Mr Brown, who has his own haircare range and reality television show entitled Great British Hairdresser, has admitted that he was the person in question.
He said: “I’d like to make a public apology to Mr Douglas, to his friends and to Bafta for my offensive and stupid comments. The simple truth is that I had drunk far too much on the evening and my behaviour was totally unacceptable.
“Everyone who knows me knows I am not racist in any way whatsoever but this incident has shown me that my drinking is way out of control and I need to take urgent measures to deal with it. I have been in touch with Mr Douglas and will be writing to him and to the Bafta organisers to apologise personally. I am very sorry and very embarrassed.”

If you are a salad eater in Germany or Spain, beware of the perverse ways by which this 'healthy' food might put you at greater risk when compared to those who consume oily junk.

A salad of locust and mealworm. Marcel Dicke, a food scientist and heal of entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, argues that bugs provide a healthier, more economic and green source of protein.

As the e-coli outbreak spreads through organic cucumbers imported from Spain, statistics shows that women are the worst affected. Scientists attribute the healthier eating habits of women as a reason for this unusual trend. Diseases spread through raw food and undercooked food are more likely to affect women, since they tend to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Under normal circumstances a bowl of salad or raita would be the best thing to eat, but if you happen to be in the e-coli prone area, keep away from raw stuff until the epidemic is contained, advise doctors and scientists. Health officials in the affected areas of Europe have requested the public to refrain from consuming cucumber, tomato and lettuce until the origin and carrier of the malicious e-coli is detected.

In disease affected Hamburg, restaurants have removed cucumber from their salads and other raw dishes while cooked version retained its place in the menu. Restaurants have been notified by authorities to put up warning signs against the consumption of cucumber even though the orders remained to be executed in most of the eating joints. The German public remains ambiguous about the dangers of e-coli even as government officials continued to warn about the risk form the spreading bacteria.

The outbreak has been identified as hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), caused by a malicious and contagious strain of e-coli known as Shiga toxin-producing e-coli (STEC). The epidemic is one of the largest outbreaks of HUS in the history of Europe and the largest ever reported in Germany.

Despite the e-coli attack cucumbers continue to be sold in Spain. In countries like France, Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria officials have ordered to withdraw cucumbers, tomatoes and aubergines from shelves, which are delivered from Germany and grown in Spain.

The overwhelming number of e-coli affected patients reportedly caught some of the clinics in Germany off guard. Doctors and hospital officials are working round the clock to reassure people scared by real disease or imaginary symptoms.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

TV chef outs father-in-law’s secret family

How do you fire your father-in-law and stay married?

Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay, famous for his televised temper and foul mouth, did it by hiring a private eye to find out if his wife’s dad has as many mistresses as Ramsay has shepherd’s pie recipes.

The Daily Mail, like most tabloids across the pond, has been all over the story.

It seems Ramsay, the host of multiple reality TV shows, including “Kitchen Nightmares,” had a falling out with his father-in-law and business partner, Chris Hutcheson, and hired a private eye to figure out how the 62-year-old was spending company time and money.

The F-bombs must have been flying when Ramsay learned Hutcheson had maintained a separate family with another woman, Frances Collins, since 1976.

The information became public this week when a gag order was lifted to show Hutcheson’s “misappropriation of corporate funds.”

The chef waited almost two years to tell his wife, Tana, 36, that she has a 31-year-old half-brother, Christopher, and 29-year-old half-sister, Victoria.

Christopher Hutcheson Jr. allegedly worked at Ramsay’s company without his knowledge, but he now runs a computer company.

Victoria has cooking in her blood; she runs a catering company in Boston. If Ramsay’s TV crew dropped by it might stew up a real kitchen nightmare.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale

The severed head of a man said to be the patron saint of genital disease will go on auction in County Meath on Sunday.

The skull is allegedly that of St Vitalis of Assisi, an Italian Benedictine monk from the 14th century.

It belonged to an Anglo-Irish family from County Louth, and is housed in a Queen Anne case dating from the 17th century.

There has been no official verification of the claim.

St Vitalis was born in Umbria, Italy, and is said to have lived an immoral and licentious youth.

In an attempt to atone for his early sins, he later undertook pilgrimages to shrines throughout Europe, eventually entering the Benedictine monastery at Subiaco.

After leaving the monastery, he lived the remainder of his life as a hermit near Assisi.

It is said that he wore only rags and shunned all material wealth, with the exception of a basket which he used to fetch water from a nearby stream.

He died in 1370, and word of his sanctity soon spread due to reports of numerous miracles performed on those with bladder and genital disorders.

Grand tour
It is unclear exactly how his head may have ended up in Ireland.

Auctioneer Damien Matthews, who is selling the macabre item on Sunday, said that the family think an ancestor brought it back from the grand tour of Europe in the 18th century.

The grand tour was an educational rite of passage for wealthy Europeans from the 17th until the 19th century, intended to provide insight into the great cultural symbols of Europe.

The head sat for many years in the family hall in County Louth, but was recently uncovered in an outhouse.

Mr Matthews said that although he couldn't be certain it was the head of a saint: "It's certainly ancient, and it's certainly the head of somebody."

The Holy Cross Monastery, a Benedictine order in Rostrevor, County Down, did not even know who St Vitalis was, and after an internet search, declined to comment further on the matter of his or anyone else's severed head.

The auction takes place at Annesbrook House in Duleek, County Meath, on 29 May at 1500 BST.

The head, holy or otherwise, is valued at between 800 and 1,200 euros (between £698 and £1,047).


Friday, 27 May 2011

Former IMF chief swaps Rikers Island jail for $50,000-a-month apartment in New York's trendy TriBeCa

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was yesterday ensconced in plush new accommodations in a smart lower-Manhattan neighbourhood. But the legal challenges facing him intensified as New York prosecutors beefed up their team, while the hotel maid he is accused of trying to rape enlisted two prominent civil-liberties attorneys ahead of a possible civil lawsuit against him.

The new abode of the former International Monetary Fund chief is a detached four-bedroom townhouse, complete with a gym, home theatre and steam spa bath, for sale at an asking price of $14m (£8.6m) and renting for $50,000 a month.

Mr Strauss-Kahn moved in on Wednesday evening, smiling to reporters as he left the apartment. He was released on bail of $1m on 20 May.

His temporary new home in the Tribeca district – just a short walk from the courthouse where he will appear on 6 June – is a gilded cage, but it is also a very tightly barred one.

Mr Strauss-Kahn is considered a flight risk and his movements are monitored by armed guards and cameras around the clock. Although he is allowed out for court dates, doctors' visits and religious services, he must give prosecutors six hours' notice each time he plans to leave.

The security arrangements are being handled by the same company, Stroz Friedberg, that managed the house arrest of the financier Bernard Madoff, at an estimated cost to Mr Strauss-Kahn of $200,000 a month.

According to one of his lawyers, the former IMF director and one-time French presidential aspirant was "doing fine" under house arrest. But there was "not much he could do" and he was "very bored", William Taylor said .

Mr Strauss-Kahn, who spent several days in jail on Rikers Island after his arrest on 14 May, has been indicted on seven counts, four of them felony charges of criminal sexual acts, attempted rape and sexual abuse, and three misdemeanour offences, including unlawful imprisonment.

But he has denied all wrongdoing, saying in his statement of resignation from the IMF that he rejected "with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me". On 6 June he is expected to plead not guilty, claiming that what occurred in his luxury suite at the Sofitel Hotel, close to Times Square, was consensual.

The court battle is set to be fierce. The Manhattan district attorney's office has assigned two female prosecutors, with experience of high-profile rape and murder trials, to join prosecutor Artie McConnell. They will take on Mr Strauss-Kahn's high-powered defence team of Mr Taylor and Benjamin Brafman.

Under New York law, any civil case by the maid, a 32-year-old immigrant from the West African country of Guinea, has to be filed within a year of the original incident. But it would almost certainly not go ahead until the criminal case was concluded.

Lawyer Jeffrey Shapiro has now been joined by two prominent civil-rights lawyers: Kenneth Thompson, an ex-federal attorney who successfully prosecuted the 1997 Abner Louima police-brutality case, and Norman Siegel, a former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Mr Thompson and Mr Siegel took part in a meeting with the woman and her family on Wednesday afternoon. "They decided that they should have enhanced representation," Mr Shapiro said. One reason for adding the attorneys was to decide whether "there is a civil case going forward".


Thursday, 26 May 2011

THEIR booze-swilling party lifestyle has turned the spotlight on Tyneside.

But while Geordie Shore has become an overnight reality TV sensation, not everyone has been impressed with the show’s hard-partying style.

The MTV programme features a host of wild characters drinking, flashing and boasting their way into the limelight – and Tuesday night’s first instalment drew a record number of viewers.

Yet the so-called “glamorous lifestyles” of the characters – dubbed “weekend millionaires” – has also prompted a flurry of criticism from anti-alcohol campaigners and others who feel the show is misrepresenting the North East.

The eight cast members, including 21-year-old Sophie Kasaei, who brands herself a “complete slut”, seem set on shocking their audience.

In the first 15 minutes alone, the show’s 320,000 viewers were faced with a staggering 31 sexual references.

Sophie, from South Shields, was shown drunkenly crawling through vomit within hours of entering the house.

The episode, peppered with foul language throughout, then culminates in a vicious club brawl.

Creators of the US version of the reality TV sex show, which sees young women filmed stripping off on camera, are hoping to bring the format to Britain.

UK MPs are opposed to Girls Gone Wild, which 'exploits' drunk women (PA)
However, MPs in the north-east are adamant the show shouldn't come here; fearing Newcastle and other areas with a party-loving reputation could be targeted.
The politicians have approached the Home Office in a bid to ban the filmmakers from operating this side of the pond.
In the States, the Girls Gone Wild phenomenon, created by Mantra Films, has sparked widespread controversy, as drunk women are given merchandise in exchange for flashing for the camera.
MP for Gateshead Ian Mearns has tabled an early day motion which states: 'This House is deeply concerned that US pornography production company Mantra Films Inc is filming Girls Gone Wild in the UK, which approaches young women, many of them intoxicated, in public places, and encourages them to expose their breasts, simulate sex acts and have sex on camera in exchange for Girls Gone Wild merchandise.'
The motion calls the programme a 'form of demeaning, exploitative and casualised prostitution', which should not be brought to the UK.
Mr Mearns' motion comes after the first episode of MTV reality show Geordie Shore aired in the UK this week.
Newcastle residents were said to have been 'embarrassed' by the show, setting up Facebook pages calling for the programme to be axed.


As the shock waves spread over the Cheryl Cole's departure from the US X Factor, reportedly because of her Geordie accent, some are asking: was it a conspiracy?

The singer has not yet commented on the reports of her being fired, but already showbiz experts are looking at what went wrong.
Sky News entertainment editor Jon Bennett believes that it’s likely that the former Girls Aloud singer’s face simply didn’t 'fit' with the show's image.
"It’s easy to see why cynics can argue this is simply yet another publicity stunt," Bennett said.
Read more on the claims the singer was dropped because of her "thick accent".
"But the fact that Cheryl has already been filming for a couple of weeks makes this seem unlikely to me."
The producers now face the difficult task of working out what to do with the footage of auditions with Cole on the judging panel.

"Do they show that material or do they have to cleverly edit around it?"
"Surely if this was a publicity stunt, Simon Cowell, who is hardly an amateur at media manipulation, would have thought of something less troublesome."
Reports have variously cited Cole's Geordie accent, being homesick for Britain, and image problems for the fickle US market, as the reason for her exit.
PR expert Phil Hall says with so many different explanations being offered there is a smell of the dark arts of showbiz publicity wafting around.

Cheryl Cole is known on X Factor for her compassion
"There is a lot of PR spinning going on out there and i don't think it is necessary," Mr Hall told Sky News.
"I don't think Cheryl needs to play the victim here because she has only been given two weeks."
Mr Hall believes Cole's key charm for British fans has not yet emerged during filming on the American equivalent.
Read what Geordies think of claims the singer's accent is "too thick".
"Everybody knows Cheryl's brand is to be the warm, human shoulder to cry on for contestants and that doesn't happen at the rehearsal stage, it happens as the competition goes on," he said.
Fellow UK judge Dannii Minogue offered her sympathy and tweeted: "Judging roles should come with a life jacket, drop down oxygen and a life raft!"
Meanwhile, Sky's Bennett believes there are possible problems with how Cole appeared to fit in with other judges.

"Shots of Cheryl at public appearances with fellow judge Paula Abdul have seemed to show an uneasy relationship between the pair," Bennett said.
"If that is the case then Cowell needed to act. And if he had to choose between Cheryl - a virtual unknown in the States - and Abdul, who is a huge star and favourite with viewers, then he would have a very easy decision to make.
"I’d bet that this was far more important than any issues over Cheryl’s accent or her supposed homesickness".

The famous singer was married to footballer Ashley Cole
Different perspectives as to what lies behind Cole's departure will always remain. However, the star still has a huge following in her homeland.
"I don't think Cheryl is a loser here, I think she should come back to Britain," Mr Hall said.
"I know that she is being replaced but I'm sure she will bounce straight back."

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Thousands of Brits were celebrating last night after the power of their voice unmasked the footballer they had already named on Twitter in connection with the injunction farce.

Thousands of Brits were celebrating last night after the power of their voice unmasked the footballer they had already named on Twitter in connection with the injunction farce.

Site users - including an array of stars - tweeted their views. Chat show host Piers Morgan posted: "RIP super-injunctions, no flowers please."

TV presenter Lizzie Cundy said: "The beauty of Twitter is to be able to say what you feel. So to be told you could be imprisoned for saying a name is crazy.

"This is a farce! 75,000 people have named this footballer on Twitter! Can't imprison them all. World gone mad!"

A fellow user logged on as AndyMcGurk said: "How do you feel now then #Giggs? Trying to silence the press and media isn't on."

A Salvation Army officer was twice stabbed in the back yesterday by a thief who tried to steal his donation tin

A Salvation Army officer was twice stabbed in the back yesterday by a thief who tried to steal his donation tin at Tweed Heads.

The 53-year-old man was leaving the Tweed City Shopping Centre, where he had raised money for the charity’s annual Red Shield Appeal, shortly after 5pm when he was attacked in the carpark.

Police said the volunteer was pushed from behind and then stabbed in the back with a box cutter as he tried to fight off the thief, but he managed to hold on to the donation box.

Monday, 23 May 2011

One of the biggest insurance companies in the world held a party for salesmen where they were rewarded with the services of prostitutes.

Munich Re is the world's biggest re-insurer - in other words, the company acts as an insurance company for other insurance companies.

One of its divisions, Ergo, told the BBC that the party had taken place to reward salesmen in 2007.

A spokesman said the people who organised it had since left.

The gathering was held at a thermal baths in the Hungarian capital Budapest as a reward to particularly successful salesmen.

'Whatever they liked'
There were about 100 guests and 20 prostitutes were hired.

A German business newspaper said the prostitutes had worn colour-coded arm-bands designating their availability, and the women had their arms stamped after each service rendered.

According to Handelsblatt, quoting an unnamed participant, guests were able to take the women to four-poster beds at the spa "and do whatever they liked".

"After each such encounter the women were stamped on the lower arm in order to keep track of how often each woman was frequented," the paper quoted the man as saying.

"The women wore red and yellow wrist bands. One lot were hostesses, the others would fulfil your every wish.

"There were also women with white wrist bands. They were reserved for board members and the very best sales reps."

A spokesman for Ergo told the BBC that the party had happened, but said it was not the usual way of rewarding their employees.

The company said it had introduced a new code of conduct.

"We've taken all the right steps to prevent it happening again," he said. "It was a mistake but we are very sure that it was a unique event.

"The new people of the sales organisation introduced a very personal commitment that these things should not happen again."

Ryan Giggs has been named by an MP in the House of Commons as the person identified on Twitter in the context of injunctions.

Birmingham MP John Hemming used Parliamentary privilege (protection) to name the Premier League star during a debate on the use of injunctions.
Later, an attempt by The Sun newspaper to overturn an injunction protecting a married footballer's identity was rejected for the second time in a day by the High Court.
The injunction bans the naming of a Premier League footballer who is alleged to have had a "sexual relationship" with a reality TV star.
The Sun had first tried to overturn the order following the publication of the footballer's name and photograph in a Scottish newspaper, the Sunday Herald.
It returned to the High Court after the naming of a footballer in the House of Commons.

The original judge, Mr Justice Eady, had left for the day but one of the country's leading privacy judges, Mr Justice Tugendhat, was persuaded to sit for the hearing.
Mr Tugendhat upheld the previous decision not to overturn the injunction, despite the argument by The Sun that the footballer no longer had any privacy left to protect.
The judge said it was not a case about secrecy, but a case about intrusion.
The footballer, referred to as CTB in court documents, is alleged to have had a "sexual relationship" with Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn: DNA samples confirm sperm traces on maid's dress

DNA samples taken in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case have confirmed traces of sperm on the maid's dress, according to reports.

Mr Strauss-Kahn has been indicted on seven charges. If he is convicted, he would face up to 25 years in prison 

The New York Police sent the test results to French authorities on Sunday where they allegedly confirmed the trace. The results are expected to be made public shortly.
Mr Strauss-Kahn, 62, who is accused of trying to rape a maid last week in his suite at the Sofitel hotel in New York, was released from Rikers Island jail on Friday.
His lawyer has already indicated he plans to argue that there was consent.
The latest revelations, published on the French website, came amid reports the former IMF chief sought the company of two female hotel members of staff after he checked into the Sofitel one day before his alleged sexual assault on the maid on May 14. Both receptionists declined the offer of a drink.
Mr Strauss-Kahn has been indicted on seven charges, including forcing the maid to perform oral sex on him and attempted rape. If he is convicted, he would face up to 25 years in prison.

In a farewell email to IMF staff released yesterday, he said: "I deny in the strongest possible terms the allegations which I now face. I am confident that the truth will come out and I will be exonerated."
The new allegations emerged as his wife, heiress Anne Sinclair, was spotted leaving the New York apartment building where he is under house arrest today.
She put down $1 million (£600,000) to bail her husband out and is paying an estimated $200,000-a-month to cover security costs for his court-ordered home confinement.
Meanwhile, a New York assemblyman has said he wants the state to require hotels to provide their housekeepers with an emergency "panic button" that would help protect them from sexual assaults on the job.
Rory Lancman, a Democrat from Queens, said he intended to introduce the bill on Monday.

A woman who sued a plastic surgeon who "played God" with her life has been awarded more than £6m in damages.

Penny Johnson, 49, claimed Le Roux Fourie carried out experimental surgery during a facelift in August 2003 that caused nerve damage to the right side of her face and led to her financial and IT consultancy business going into administration.

At a trial in February at the high court in London she asked Justice Owen to award her a proportion of the £54m she says was her potential loss, as a 50% shareholder, when her company, Bishop Cavanagh, failed in 2009.

During the hearing, Johnson, of Godstone, Surrey, said: "My face is constantly contracting, I don't sleep and I have a permanent buzzing around my eye, which can be so intense that I can't think about anything."

The judge gave his ruling in the case on Monday and awarded her £6,190,884.92.

Alain Choo Choy QC, defending, accepted liability but put the potential business loss at £9m. He did not accept the surgery had been experimental. The claim that Bishop Cavanagh lost out on a series of lucrative contracts was unrealistic and deluded, he said.

He accepted that her injuries restricted her ability to work but the business had failed for unrelated commercial and economic reasons. The court was told that during her absence the company was run by her husband, Peter, with whom she now owns another business, BC Direct. The bulk of the award relates to lost earnings, both past and future.

In his ruling, the judge said Johnson had been a confident, happy and outstandingly successful woman with a full and rewarding family and social life. But the negligent surgery had serious consequences – both physical and psychological – and resulted in a prolonged adjustment disorder with features of anxiety and depression. As he observed during the trial, the facial twitching she suffered was "virtually constant".

He said it was clear her injuries from the facelift and the replacement of breast implants, which was carried out at the same time, had harmed her relationship with her husband. "Their marriage has survived, but the claimant said in evidence that she is no longer a wife to her husband. He says that she is now a completely different person and that their marriage is not what it used to be."

He awarded £80,000 for the facial disfigurement, the asymmetry and pain caused by the breast surgery and the psychological consequences of the injuries.

Assessing Johnson's claim for loss of earnings, the judge said her projections were the product of her intense disappointment at the "devastating" consequences to the business. "She has understandably become preoccupied by what might have been, which has affected her judgment as to what could and would in reality have been achieved," he added.

As to her residual earning capacity, the judge said Johnson functioned intellectually at a high level and continued to have the potential to deploy her outstanding abilities at work. But account had to be taken of the uncertain prognosis for her psychiatric symptoms. He said: "Unless she makes a full recovery ... recovers some vestige of her former self-confidence, the prospect of engagement in business activities that involve face-to-face contact with others is limited."

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sir Fred Goodwin's mistress promoted twice when he was RBS boss

SHAMED banker Sir Fred Goodwin's high-flying lover was promoted twice while he was Royal Bank of Scotland boss.
The married dad-oftwo had an affair with a senior colleague as the bank lurched towards financial disaster and a £45.5billion bailout funded by taxpayers.
Politicians have called for an urgent probe into whether the relationship breached business guidelines after Goodwin used a gagging order to try to stop details of the affair being published.
Lib Dem MP John Hemming, who revealed Goodwin's injunction to the House of Commons in March, said: "The question about Fred Goodwin's management of RBS is whether it was managed in the stakeholders' interests or run as a personal fiefdom.
"That his mistress was promoted twice while he was chief executive is something the Financial Services Authority need to look at."
Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott used the right of parliamentary privilege to reveal more details of the gagging order on Thursday.
Later that day, Mr Justice Tugendhat, in the High Court, allowed reporting of Goodwin's name but not of relationship details.
The FSA said: "We have contacted RBS in relation to this matter."
RBS said they will "co-operate fully".


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Lawyers representing 'CTB', a footballer who allegedly had an affair with ex-Big Brother star Imogen Thomas, have clarified they are not suing Twitter

Lawyers at Schillings, representing CTB, confirmed he has obtained a High Court order requesting Twitter to reveal details of users who had divulged his identity in contravention of a super-injunction.
They said the Premiership star was not suing Twitter but had made an application 'to obtain limited information concerning the unlawful use of Twitter by a small number of individuals who may have breached a court order'.
But since news of the disclosure order became public, hundreds of Twitter users have tweeted information revealing the player's identity on the social network.
One message, which has been re-tweeted a number of times on the micro-blogging site, states: 'XXX is suing Twitter. I can't Imogen why'
Twitter has not issued a reaction but hundreds of users have repeated his name on the site in an apparent show of defiance.
The order against Twitter requires the US-based website to disclose the requested information within seven days - or within the appropriate time required by the law in California, where its headquarters are based.
However, many critics have questioned the legal action, including several users of the site.
One tweeted: 'Why XXX gets the right to interrogate Twitter over who releases these tweets is beyond me. It's out. I'd be concentrating on my marriage.'
The latest development comes two weeks after a Twitter user tried to reveal details of privacy injunctions obtained by celebrities.
The Twitter user tried to 'out' a number of UK public figures using an anonymous account.


Friday, 20 May 2011

PREMIERSHIP footballer is suing Twitter and several of its users after information that was supposed to be covered by a super-injunction was published on the micro-blogging site.

PREMIERSHIP footballer is suing Twitter and several of its users after information that was supposed to be covered by a super-injunction was published on the micro-blogging site.
The player has lodged papers in the High Court in London against "Twitter Incorporated and persons unknown" in a landmark case that is likely to have massive repercussions for how social networking sites operate.

The footballer, who is referred to as CTB, is also known to be taking action against the Sun newspaper and the ex-Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, with whom he is alleged to have had an affair.

Last night, Twitter refused to comment about the legal action. However, papers filed in court show that the footballer is taking action to find out the names of individuals behind some Twitter accounts.

Lawyers representing the player will attempt to prove that in publishing details of his gagging order, Twitter and the individual responsible, breached the terms of the injunction and should be punished.

Ultimately, if found guilty of contempt of court, the US-based company and the "persons unknown" could be fined, have their assets seized or could even go to jail.

The footballer was one of a number of celebrities who were identified by an anonymous user on Twitter earlier this month as having obtained super-injunctions to hide alleged affairs. The list of celebrities has since been forwarded to an estimated two million people. Earlier this month, socialite Jemima Khan was at the centre of what she described as a "nightmare" after it was claimed she had been the subject of a gagging order.

A Twitter account user alleged she had a gagging order preventing "intimate photos" of her with Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson being published. But she refuted the claims, saying the they were "untrue and upsetting".

The account was set up claiming to expose celebrities who were involved in superinjunctions obtained through the courts.

The legal action came to light on the same day that eminent legal figures, under the leadership of Lord Neuberger, published a major review into super-injunctions.

Lord Neuberger warned that modern technology was "totally out of control" and society should consider other ways to bring Twitter and other websites into line with the law.

Should the unnamed married sportsman succeed in his legal action then it would have a dramatic knock-on effect for the site that has 200 million users.

Given the site's popularity and the enormous number of posts that Twitter hosts, policing all contributions for potentially defamatory comments would be an impossible undertaking. Communications experts believe this latest legal action could have a profound effect on Twitter.

Richard Hillgrove, a publicist who represents clients including Duncan Bannatyne, said: "They are going to have to introduce a delay mechanism so that stuff can be checked before it goes up. There will have to be a completely different structure, which will be difficult when the whole thing about Twitter is its spontaneity.

• Analysis: There's no legislating for the internet, I'm afraid

"It is a whole new ball game now for Twitter, and it will have to become responsible just like traditional media. The party is over as far as Twitter is concerned."

But there are a number of difficult hurdles to clear before the case can get to that point.

One of the main difficulties lies in the fact that Twitter is based in the United States and is therefore outside of the jurisdiction of the UK courts.

Jennifer McDermott, head of media and public law at Withers LLP, said the case could become a battle between protection of privacy in the UK and America's protection of free speech.

Maybe when President Obama's hors d'oeuvre plate is whisked away he will find a bill for £5.5m

BORIS Johnson is set to go into battle with President Obama - demanding he pays back £5.2MILLION in congestion charge fines owed by the US Embassy.
American diplomats refuse to pay the charge for driving in London claiming they are exempt from local taxes.

But the London Mayor claimed the £10-a-day charge, which rises to £120 if unpaid, is not a tax but a "charge for services".

Several embassies refuse to pay the toll - and the current bill for outstanding fines is a whopping £51MILLION.

Mr Johnson revealed his plans to confront Mr Obama during his visit to London later this month on Vanessa Feltz's BBC London radio show today.

The gaffe-prone politician said: "Maybe when President Obama's hors d'oeuvre plate is whisked away he will find a bill for £5.5m.
He continued that he may be "shepherded away" from the president but added: ""If I get the chance to I will remind him that the US owes us £5.5m in congestion charge.
"I think if they are going to have the representation here in London then they should pay the charge for driving and using our streets. So 'No representation without a congestion charge' is the slogan."

The mayor continued: "It is not a tax, it is a charge for services and I think we should test this in the courts.

"The only way we could do this is if the foreign office gets a grip on the situation and actually takes the American government to court and gets this adjudicated in the international court."

TfL confirmed the US Embassy owes £5.2m in unpaid Congestion Charge.

A US statement said: "The US Embassy in London conscientiously abides by all UK laws, including paying fines for all traffic violations, such as parking and speeding violations.

"Our position on the direct tax established by Transport for London in 2003, more commonly known as the congestion charge, is based on the 1960 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which prohibits the direct taxation of diplomatic missions.

"Our position is wholly in accordance with that agreement to which the United States and the United Kingdom are both signatories, and it is a position shared by many other diplomatic missions in London."

A spokesman for TfL said: "Around two thirds of embassies in London do pay the charge, but there remains a stubborn minority who refuse to do so, despite our representations through diplomatic channels".

Embassies with payments outstanding include the US, Russia, Japan, Germany, Nigeria, India, Sudan, Ghana, Poland and Spain.

Mr Obama will visit the capital, from 24 to 26 May.

Lord Judge, warned that "modern technology was totally out of control" and called for those who "peddle lies" on the internet to be fined.

Attempts to identify a famous footballer hiding behind a privacy injunction have spiralled into an online battle over freedom of speech, as internet users responded to high court action by repeatedly naming him on Twitter.

The high court granted a search order against the US-based microblogging site on Friday as the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, warned that "modern technology was totally out of control" and called for those who "peddle lies" on the internet to be fined. The attempt to compel Twitter to identify those responsible for the breaches comes after a number of its users earlier this month purported to reveal the name of the player who allegedly had an affair with the model Imogen Thomas.

The footballer's legal team began its action in London on Wednesday. There is a suspicion that a media company may be linked to the postings on Twitter, which were put up nearly two weeks ago.

But the name of the footballer was spreading even more rapidly across Twitter in defiance of the court injunction, setting the stage for a confrontation between the judiciary and cyberspace.

Earlier Lord Judge – welcoming a juridical report on superinjunctions – said readers placed greater trust in the content of traditional media than those "who peddle lies" on websites.

He urged that ways be found to curtail the "misuse of modern technology", in the same way that those involved with online child pornography were pursued by the police.

"Are you really going to say that someone who has a true claim for protection perfectly well made has to be at the mercy of modern technology?" he asked.

The lawsuit lists the defendants as "Twitter Inc and persons unknown".

The "persons unknown" are described as those "responsible for the publication of information on the Twitter accounts".

Lawyers have applied for a court order that could force Twitter to hand over the name, email address and IP address of the person behind the account, the Guardian understands.

The orders – known as a Norwich Pharmacal orders – are commonly used in illegal filesharing cases.

The Guardian understands that the claim form, filed to the high court by the footballer's legal team, will not be made public until next week. Earlier this month, an unknown person or individuals published on a Twitter account the names of various people who had allegedly taken out gagging orders to conceal sexual indiscretions.

The account rapidly attracted more than 100,000 followers.

Twitter said: "We are unable to comment." The London-based law firm representing the footballer had also not responded to a request for comment at time of publication.

Twitter and other social networks were accused of making "an ass of the law" by the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and politicians after a number of celebrities with injunctions were allegedly exposed online.

The socialite Jemima Khan was among those alleged on Twitter to have obtained an injunction.

Khan described as a "bloody nightmare" rumours suggesting falsely that she had obtained a gagging order to prevent publication of "intimate photos" of herself and the TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Twitter has in the past said that it "strive[s] not to remove tweets on the basis of their content", but that it would remove "illegal tweets and spam".

Previous defamation claims against the search engine Google failed on the grounds that it is not a publisher and not responsible for the contents of the blogs and articles listed in its search results.

Richard Hillgrove, the owner of Hillgrove PR, which provides advice to celebrities, said that Twitter needed to be made as accountable as any other medium.

"It has gone from 'the back bedroom' to mainstream medium.

"Celebrities are being held to account if they Tweet commercial interests. It works both ways," he said.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's scheduled animated project 'The Governator' has been cancelled following recent revelations in the Hollywood actor's personal life

Arnold Schwarzenegger's scheduled animated project 'The Governator' has been cancelled following recent revelations in the Hollywood actor's personal life, reports Arnold Schwarzenegger had been working on the comic book and animated series with Stan Lee, but the project appears to have been binned.
The character of 'The Governator' was inspired by Arnold's role in the 'Terminator' movies and his time spent as Governor of California. The action-hero was tipped to fight crime with the help of his wife and four children. Following Schwarzenegger's highly-publicised infidelity, a representative for the project said, "In light of recent events, A Squared Entertainment, Pow, Stan Lee Comics, and Archie Comics, have chosen to not go forward with the Governator project". The rep did not specify whether the project was completely dead or just postponed until the media frenzy surrounding Arnold's personal issues had blown over. Earlier this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child with a member of his household staff 10 years ago. The actor also confirmed that he had split from his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver.
Arnold Schwarzenneger is scheduled to begin filming the forthcoming drama film 'Cry MACho', although it is unclear whether the project will still go ahead.

An author linked to Dominique Strauss-Kahn today claimed he 'loved sex',

An author linked to Dominique Strauss-Kahn today claimed he 'loved sex', but dismissed the sexual assault allegations against him.

Spanish-born writer Carmen Llera, 58, is said to have had a two-year relationship with Strauss-Kahn between 2003 and 2005 and a picture has been circulated of the two of them walking in Paris.

In 2008 she published a book of poems in French and Italian called Gaston, which is said to have hinted at the relationship she had with the former IMF chief.

Since Strauss-Kahn's arrest Ms Llera has gone to ground and has not been seen at her Rome apartment and she has also switched off her mobile and not returned messages.

Aides to the former IMF chief had expressed concerns of potential revelations about their relationship if Ms Llera decided to publish a book.

But today, a letter from her was published in Italy's leading Corriere Della Sera newspaper, in which she appeared to defend him.

It said: 'After days of silence I am writing to you, it is a mistake to use my book Gaston, which is pure fiction, to illustrate a real event, Gaston has nothing to do with Dominique Strauss-Kahn who I have known for many years.

'I have never been one of his victims as has been written, he is not a primitive, cruel, sadistic man, violence is not part of his culture, he likes sex (so what?) that is not a crime, sometimes bodies can express more than words.

'But I do not wish to be literary at this moment because literature does not save anyone, it won't save him and it won't save me.

'I have no idea what happened in the suite at the Sofitel, probably there was a consensual relationship, but I would exclude sexual violence, I would not want Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be a made a scapegoat for American, anti-European, or anti-French puritanism.

'I would not want him to pay for the failed extradition of (Roman) Polanski or for dirty political and economic games.

 Strauss-Kahn believes he was victim of Russian plot to have him sacked as head of IMF, French politician reveals
Out, thanks to his wife: 'Rape' banker released on $6m bail deal - and his loyal missus is picking up the massive bill
'I would just like that his innocence be demonstrated and that he will return to the be the free and smiling man that I saw days ago.'
A source close to Ms Llera said: 'She has had a pretty colourful love life and has been linked to several powerful men in Italy and elsewhere.

'She is a bit of a free spirit and she did have a soft spot for Dominique.
Complaints: French socialist deputy Aurelie Filippetti, left, described Strauss-Kahn's 'very, very insistent' attempts to chat her up while Piroska Nagy said 'he has a problem' after having a one night stand

'They were lovers very briefly and she visited him in Paris a few times and she told me that he did have a very active and imaginative sex life which she found very exciting.'

Ms Llera married Italian author Alberto Moravia four years before his death in 1990, when she was 33 and he was 79.

It comes after a book by a member of Strauss-Kahn's inner circle suggested his dealings with Rome-based Ms Llera could be damaging if revealed.
Secrets Of A Presidential Contender, published last year under the pseudonym Cassandre, said: 'Our worst nightmare would be if she wanted to write a book.'

The woman, named in the book as Carmen, is believed to be Ms Llera.

The methods Strauss-Kahn employed to carry out his alleged philandering were underlined in the 'DSK' book, which described him identifying his 'prey' with an 'eye for women (as) sharp as a laser'.

Berrien County native Steven Carter, a preacher who now ministers a church in Athens, was arrested Tuesday in Jamaica where his family was vacationing, after officials found a single .22 caliber bullet in his travel bag.

Family spokesperson Rhett Partin tells WALB that Carter will return home soon. Partin says that Carter will pay a $3,000 fine for "illegal possession of ammunition."

His passport is being held for 24 hours.

Under Jamaican law, only the authorities are allowed to possess firearms or ammunition, and violation of The Gun Law lands you in Gun Court. Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

"The Gun Court Act and the Suppression of Crime Act were passed in special simultaneous sessions of the Senate and House of Representatives, and immediately signed into law by Governor-General Florizel Glasspole on April 1, 1974. The new court had several extraordinary features. Most trials were to be conducted in camera, without a jury and closed to the public and the press, in order to avoid problems of intimidation of witnesses and jurors."

"There was no provision for bail, either pre-trial or during appeal, since all defendants were considered dangerous. Most offences carried a single, mandatory sentence: indefinite imprisonment with hard labour. A convicted offender could be released only upon special decision of the Governor-General, advised by an appointed review board."


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Two British students were gang raped by six men after being attacked on an isolated beach on the Caribbean island of St Lucia.

The women - aged 31 and 24 - were taking part in an environmental study and had been preparing to leave when they were confronted by their masked attackers.
Police on the island, popular with British tourists and honeymooners, have arrested six men in connection with the assault.
The names of the women, who are in their early 30s, have not been released by detectives investigating the attack on the Grand Anse beach, where they were camping.
British High Commissioner Karl Burrows described the attack on two women as a “dreadful crime” but said the island remains a “friendly and welcoming country”.
Burrows advised British nationals visiting the island to exercise caution, as they would anywhere else, and pointed out that crime against UK tourists was not widespread.

The alleged assault took place on May 10 when the women were packing up their belongings and preparing to move to another campsite.
The women returned from a field study and noticed their belongings had been tampered with but were attacked by the masked men before they could leave.
The assault only ended when the headlights of an approaching car disturbed the attackers who fled.
Officials with the island's Ministry of Agriculture are also involved in the police investigation as it is believed the women were involved in a project on their behalf.
Police arrested six men within 24 hours of the assault.
"We are pleased with speed at which the officers were able to apprehend the suspects in this case, and we are very thankful to members of the public who might have provided information leading to their arrests,” Police Commissioner Vernon Francois said.
The men are due to appear in court later this week charged with rape.
Grande Anse, on the north side of the island, is one of St Lucia's most secluded beaches, known for its rougher waters and unspoiled coastline.
It attracts small groups of nature-lovers who camp during the turtle-nesting season.
Around 67,000 Britons visited St Lucia last year.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm an incident involving two British nationals in St Lucia. We have offered consular assistance."


gang of Romanian gypsies flew in and out of Britain to defraud taxpayers out of more than £800,000 through a series of benefit scams

The gang commited the "sophisticated and professional" scam from various Government departments, in a "flagrant" breach of the system, Southwark Crown Court, in London, heard.
The fraud was made by the claimants using forged home office documents and job references to illegally obtain national insurance numbers, which they used to claim a range of state handouts.
The gang, the majority of whom are originally from Tandare, in the country's west, were jailed yesterday for a total of 10 years.
Telus Dumitru, 36, of Nottingham, admitted conspiracy to defraud and his wife Ramona Dumitru and the seven other members of the gang to various counts of obtaining a money order by deception, fraud and theft.
The court heard that Dumitru, who masterminded the fraud, entered the UK in August 1999, and was removed in 2001, only to return again soon after.
From 2003 until they were caught in 2009 Dumitru would supply his gang with fraudulent Home Office documents, passports and fake Romanian birth certificates as well as fraudulent work references so they could claim the benefits.
Christopher Hehir, prosecuting, told the court that one of the gang, Claudia Radu, even flew in from Romania every few months just to claim her state benefit.
She was stopped at Stansted airport with 13,000 euros and £1800 stashed in her bag
Dumitru also obtained fake work reference from British citizen Abdellatif Lemsatef, who admitted to supplying articles for use in fraud, so his gang could get National Insurance numbers and fraudulently claim tax credits.
Judge Gregory Stone said the fraud was professionally planned and committed over a significant period.
"This was a major undermining of the UK benefits system.
"It was a professional fraud that occurred over a significant time frame and resulted in a very serious loss to the UK authorities. "
While Telus wife Romana, 33, "was not capable of professionally planning the fraud" she did benefit to the tune of £800,000.
She had also had a money order for more than 20,000 euros.
"You have flown in and out of Romania to make your claims and commit your fraud. This shows a flagrant and persistent approach to offending which is an aggravating feature in your case," he said.


A man who was convicted of gunning down his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in 1984 was scheduled to be put to death Tuesday morning, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene.

A man who was convicted of gunning down his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend in 1984 was scheduled to be put to death Tuesday morning, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene.

Daniel Lee Bedford, 63, has said he doesn't remember the slayings. His lawyers have argued that he has dementia and a mild mental disability that keep him from fully understanding the meaning and purpose of his death sentence.

They had sought a stay of execution to allow more time for the courts to consider that issue and others, and a federal judge in Columbus granted the request Monday. Hours later, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati lifted the stay, and the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down Bedford's appeal without comment.

A state prisons spokesman said Bedford told mental health staff early Tuesday morning that he understood he would die and was preparing himself.

The spokesman said Bedford became emotional during morning visits with friends and spiritual advisers. He also laughed, cried and prayed with his daughter, and a priest conducted a personal Mass for him.

Bedford's attorneys also had argued that Ohio courts unreasonably applied established law and denied Bedford legal proceedings to which he is constitutionally entitled.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Grisly remains found after police launch audit of body parts across the land

A 'breakdown in communication between the coroner's office and NHS Trust' led to the scandal
Grisly remains found after police launch audit of body parts across the land
The body parts of 44 murder victims have been secretly stored in labs and mortuaries for up to fifteen years, unknown to grieving relatives.

They should have been returned to families for burial or cremation, or be properly disposed of, but a breakdown in communication meant they were left on the shelves.

West Mercia Police has been visiting the bereaved relatives to explain the mix-up, and arrange the return of the organs. Last night a spokesman admitted it was distressing.

West Mercia Police, pictured, have been found stashing the body parts of dozens of murder victims

It is not clear which body parts were kept in storage but they are believed to range from tissue samples to entire organs.

'Only an inner circle of people seems to know about this scandal,' a source told Midlands newspapers The Birmingham Mail and the Birmingham Post.

'It appears that there has been a breakdown in communication between the coroner's office and Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust.

'Instead of the organs being disposed of properly, or being returned to families for cremation or burial, the body parts have been kept in a secret lab.

'You can only imagine how the families will be feeling when they are told the news.

'It's shocking and deeply disturbing. That these organs should be kept for years is simply a disgrace.'

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Blinded woman gets to put acid in attacker's eyes

Iranian man found guilty of using acid to blind a woman who refused to marry him now will have the same done to him as punishment — and she'll be the one who carries out the sentence, her lawyer says.
The lawyer said that at noon Saturday, Ameneh Bahrami would drop acid in both eyes of Majid Movahedi, 30, after he is rendered unconscious at a judiciary hospital in Tehran, The Guardian newspaper reported, citing Iranian media.
Bahrami was disfigured and blinded in 2004 when Movahedi threw acid in her face as she returned home from work, the Guardian reported. After Movahedi admitted to the attack, Bahrami asked a court to order an eye-for-an-eye retribution, under the Islamic law system of "qisas."
The court did so in November 2008, calling for five drops of sulfuric acid to be placed in each of his eyes.

Iranian officials have endorsed the sentence, hoping to stop an increase in acid attacks, the Guardian said.
The Washington Post reported that human rights groups and the British government had asked Bahrami to pardon Movahedi but that she had refused.
“I have been receiving numerous phone calls from Iranian human rights organizations based abroad,” Bahrami told the Post in a phone interview Friday. “They are pressuring me to pardon him. But I won’t do that.”
Iran's government helped Bahrami, who has an electronics degree and worked in a medical engineering company before the attack, moved to Spain, where she underwent a series of unsuccessful operations.
She briefly recovered half vision in her right eye in 2007 but an infection blinded her again, the Guardian said.
Bahrami, now in her 30s, wrote a book about her ordeal, “Eye for an Eye,” which was published in Germany.


Miners' union takes legal action to evict Arthur Scargill from his £1.5m luxury apartment

He was never known for compromise and neither were the men he led into one of the most epic industrial battles.

So when Arthur Scargill and the National Union of Mineworkers found themselves at loggerheads the struggle was always going to be drawn out and messy.

Embarrassingly for a radical socialist who long railed against the perks and privileges of the elite, the new confrontation is over a £1.5million luxury flat in the City of London.

The retired union chief, who was defeated by Margaret Thatcher in the miners’ strike of 1984 and 1985, claims his members have to fund his pied a terre until he dies.

But the union disagrees and is taking legal action to remove the perk.

The spacious three-bedroom flat, in the fashionable Barbican centre, costs the NUM £34,000 a year in rent and bills, and was first provided for Mr Scargill, 73, in 1982, when he regularly had to visit the capital.

By the time he retired as president of the NUM in 2002, a clause had found its way into his contract guaranteeing him free use of the flat for the rest of his life.

Yet the NUM, which boasted more than 400,000 members in the days when coal was king, now has fewer than 1,700 miners on its books.
The issue centres around a £1.5 million luxury flat in the Barbican

That means each of them is paying £20 a year out of their subs to provide the flat for their former leader, who owns a detached cottage in his home town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Mr Scargill, who remains honorary president of the NUM, has refused to compromise.

Last night NUM general secretary Chris Kitchen said he had no option but to take action.

Funds are so low that last year the union, based in Barnsley, even decided to do without a president to cut costs.

Mr Kitchen said: ‘We’ve never before had a retired official who’s got his own home, but still wants the union to rent him a second home in London. It’s regrettable we’re having to wash our dirty linen in public, but unfortunately Arthur isn’t known for backing down and compromising. But neither is the NUM.’

He added: ‘The union is now seeking through the courts to determine its legal obligations with regard to providing Arthur with a flat in London for the rest of his life.

‘Myself and the rest of the national executive committee are accountable to the members for expenditure of their money.

‘While the way Arthur obtained the flat in 1982 was all above board, some time along the line it turned into a contractual term for life. I’m sure we’d all like a weekend flat in London, but we’re not convinced that’s legally binding on the NUM.

‘He’s got his interpretation and he won’t compromise. So we’ll have to decide it through the courts, we’ve no option.’

Mr Kitchen, 44, who pays out of his own pocket for the ‘ordinary’ house he shares with his wife in Castleford, near Leeds, continued: ‘Relationships are now strained between me and Arthur.

‘But we’re paying £34,000 for his flat in rent, rates, electricity, telephones, car parking and storage costs. Our responsibility to pay that for the rest of his life somehow manifested itself into the last contract of employment he worked under, produced a couple of months before he retired in 2002.

‘The question is whether the people who put it in the contract – and it involves some who have since died – had the authority to do that without the knowledge and agreement of the national executive committee.’

Heyday: Arthur Scargill, left, led the miners' strike against Mrs Thatcher's Tory government in 1984. The workers eventually went back to work with nothing to show for their action

Last night Mr Scargill did not appear to be at his Barnsley residence. A woman who answered the intercom at his Barbican flat said he was not in, and refused to comment further.

Mr Scargill’s long-term companion is his former press officer Nell Myers, now in her sixties. He and his wife Anne separated in 1998 and divorced in 2001.

When the flat issue was first raised last year, Mr Scargill said: ‘Every one of my predecessors has been allowed to remain in their properties following retirement.
‘There are many people who have two homes.

‘I have a rented property which I shall cease to have when I die and a property which I bought with my own money in Yorkshire.’


Friday, 13 May 2011

The provocative documentary about the death of Princess Diana, screened Friday in Cannes, depicts Prince Philip, the queen's husband, as a psychopath and the British royal family as racist "gangsters in tiaras."

The provocative documentary about the death of Princess Diana, screened Friday in Cannes, depicts Prince Philip, the queen's husband, as a psychopath and the British royal family as racist "gangsters in tiaras."

"Unlawful Killing'' deals with claims that Princess Diana was murdered by the British establishment and the crime covered up.

An inquest held 10 years after Diana's 1997 death in a Paris car crash deflated claims of a conspiracy, blaming her driver and pursuing vehicles.

But the movie by actor Keith Allen, father of singer Lily Allen, revisits the theories and was reportedly funded by Mohammed el Fayed, owner of Harrod's, whose son Dodi was killed in the crash with Diana.

It has already been criticized in Britain for showing a picture of the dying Diana moments after the crash. And its harsh criticisms of Britain's "feudal" monarchy are sure to cause further furor.

The film was screened Friday on the fringes of the film festival for buyers and journalists.

British actress Sienna Miller has accepted $153,000 in damages from the News of the World after they made a full admission of phone-hacking.

As well as the money, Miller will have her legal costs paid and has also received an unreserved apology from the newspaper.

The 29-year-old actress has become the first celebrity to have accepted a payout by Rupert Murdoch's weekly tabloid on the grounds that reporters and/or a private investigator listened in on her voicemail messages.

Miller's lawyer issued a statement on Friday (local time) saying: "Ms Miller's primary concern has never been how much money would be awarded by way of compensation but to know exactly what the extent of the hacking was."

"She has now obtained an order which requires the newspaper to give her the information and documents she wants and that meets all her requirements from this action."

News International said: "We are pleased that we have managed to bring this case to a satisfactory conclusion. Several weeks ago we admitted liability in certain cases and offered a genuine and unreserved apology."

"We hope to resolve other cases swiftly."

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Pete Doherty will not face criminal prosecution over the death plunge of partygoer Mark Blanco.

Relatives of Mr Blanco, 30, were said to have reacted with fury as the Crown Prosecution Service told them there was "insufficient evidence" to bring any charges over the actor's death in 2006.

The family, which has already vowed to launch private proceedings, was told by prosecutors that it could not be established that a criminal act had taken place.

Pete Doherty: Last of the Rock RomanticsMr Blanco - an actor friend of comedian Jimmy Carr - was involved in a confrontation with Doherty, the star's minder Johnny Jeannevol and Paul Roundhill at a party shortly before his death, investigations showed. But the three denied any wrongdoing.

The family, which said it had evidence that Mr Blanco was unlawfully killed, launched a lengthy campaign for justice after two police reports and an inquest failed to establish exactly what triggered his fall from a balcony in Whitechapel, east London.

But in a meeting at the CPS' central London headquarters, Jenny Hopkins, head of the organisation's complex casework, said: "None of the evidence is capable of establishing to the required standard that Mr Blanco was thrown or pushed from the balcony or that any other individual was present at the time he fell.

"If any further evidence does come to light, we will, of course, review our decision in accordance with our normal practices.

Mother Sheila Blanco accused police of staging a cover-up as she said she was "disappointed but not surprised" by the CPS decision.

"It is a police cover-up - I really did not expect anything better," she said.

"What we do in the future is not yet clear."

The Sun and Daily Mirror are facing contempt of court proceedings over the way they reported the hunt for the killer of Jo Yeates last December.

Daily Mirror Wed Dec 10 1980 - John Lennon Dead Art Print

The High Court has granted the attorney general permission to bring a case against the publishers of the tabloids.

The allegations concern stories about the arrest of the Bristol landscape architect's landlord, Chris Jefferies, who was later released without charge.

Miss Yeates's body was found on 25 December after an eight-day search.

She had vanished after returning to her basement flat in Bristol's Clifton area on 17 December. Her body was found on a grass verge about three miles away in Failand on Christmas Day.

Case 'arguable'
BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said it was extremely rare for contempt of court proceedings to be brought against newspapers.

It only happens when the reporting is thought to have created a "substantial risk" of seriously prejudicing a fair trial.

In this particular case it is especially unusual as Attorney General Dominic Grieve is acting in respect of someone who was not charged, our correspondent added.

Andrew Caldecott QC for the attorney general told judges that two Daily Mirror articles and one in the Sun article might have prejudiced a trial.

Judge Lord Justice Moses said there was clearly an "arguable" case against the newspapers and adjourned the proceedings so that a date for a hearing could be fixed.

The newspapers could be fined or individuals at the papers imprisoned if the case is proved.

The Sun said it was not commenting on the proceedings while the Daily Mirror is yet to respond to an inquiry from the BBC.

It comes after lawyers for Mr Jefferies launched separate libel and privacy claims against the Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Star.

RECENT RUSH of so-called super injunctions in the UK has driven traffic up at Twitter by 14 per cent.

Super injunctions are used to stop newspapers from printing information about some people we can't name doing some things that we can't mention, sometimes in other people's bedrooms.
Because of a court approved blanket ban on reporting and public comments many people have turned to the internet to voice their opinions and theories on who is involved, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with Twitter, according to Experian Hitwise, has seen its traffic shoot up as a result.
"Twitter had its highest ever peak in UK Internet visits [on] 9 May 2011 due to the extraordinary revelations of the super injunction scandal, which exposed the identities of several high profile celebrities," wrote research director Robin Goad.
"Visits to Twitter increased by 14 per cent on 9 May, accounting for 0.49 per cent of total internet visits that day. Twitter also became the 17th most popular website in the UK, up from the rank of 19th on 8 May 2011."
Twitter is not the only web site to have benefited from increased interest, and in the last week Experian has seen 500 unique search terms, all including the words super injunction typed into internet search engines at Google, Bing and Yahoo.
All told, searches for the controversial term have increased by 5,000 per cent in the UK in the last month.

LADY GAGA has kicked off festivities at this year's Cannes Film Festival in jaw-dropping style

Born This WayThe eccentric star bucked the sophisticated trend of the plush movie convention while preparing for a performance of her new single dressed only in a bra, pants and tights.

GaGa gave spectators an up-close view of her largely bare body and bicep tattoo before changing into a Spanish matador-inspired outfit for the airing of Judas, which broadcast on French TV.

The singer - sporting punky black and blonde locks - pulled out all the stops for her typically extravagant display at the south of France event.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A well-known blogger has alluded on Twitter to several celebrities whom he claims have obtained super-injunctions to prevent the media from publishing stories on their private lives.

A well-known blogger has alluded on Twitter to several celebrities whom he claims have obtained super-injunctions to prevent the media from publishing stories on their private lives.

A day after Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the microblogging site was ‘making a mockery’ of privacy laws, a high profile user today named a number of personalities whose names have been circulated online as the row over super-injunctions grows.

The Twitter user, who has one of the most popular blogs in his field of expertise, mentioned several footballers, entertainment personalities and businesspeople in a series of tweets that could have large legal ramifications

Today’s tweeting by the blogger again showed the futility of privacy laws to prevent celebrities’ private lives being discussed online.

While personalities have been able to gag the press from reporting personal matters, the super-injunctions have little effect on social networking sites.

Between 30 and 40 privacy injunctions and super-injunctions are in force.

There has been public outrage over privacy injunctions, some of which, so-called super-injunctions, are so draconian that it is a crime even to mention that they exist.

Premier League club officials are understood to have held a meeting last week to discuss the impact on football’s reputation of the large number of privacy gags given to players.

The flurry of tweets came after TV presenter Gabby Logan admitted her frustration over false rumours about her private life being circulated on Twitter.

The 38-year-old host of the BBC's Final Score said: 'My name was brought into this mess with someone else, accusing me of something which is clearly not true and the newspapers knew this and they published a story saying it wasn't true, but it is happening because super-injunctions are in place and people are trying to guess who is involved.'

British Airways pilot killed his wealthy wife and buried her in Windsor Great Park

He believed their pre-nuptial agreement was a “stitch-up”, the jury was told.
He believed their prenuptial agreement was a “stitch-up”, the jury was told. Robert Brown, 47, smashed Joanna Brown around the head and face with a hammer or mallet at her £3 million mock-Tudor mansion in Ascot last October.
Once she was “incapacitated” he wrapped her body in plastic and bundled it into his car boot, Reading Crown Court heard.
She was buried in a grave which had already been dug, in a large plastic crate modified with plastic sheeting to prevent blood leaking out, Graham Reeds QC, prosecuting, told the jury.
Their two children, now aged 11 and nine, had been in a different room but saw blood on the carpet. It was their presence which would eventually “cause his plan to unravel”, it was claimed.

The couple’s eight-year marriage had irretrievably broken down in 2007 and divorce proceedings were “acrimonious and bitterly contested”, the jury heard.
A prenuptial agreement to protect her family wealth had caused her husband continuing resentment.
Mr Brown felt that he had been “cheated” and “manipulated” by his estranged wife who he believed was conducting divorce proceedings with “lies, exaggeration and aggression”, to leave him as little as possible.
During one day’s bitter exchange of text and email messages he called her a “self righteous, spoilt brat” and accused her of concealing the true extent of her wealth to spite him.
He said his wife’s finances had been “insulated” by her father’s trust fund and a loan from Coutts Bank, and accused her of an affair and of telling “lies” to a court over access arrangements.
At one point he told her: “Soon your world will fall apart. What goes around comes around.”
In July 2007 he threatened her with a knife, the court heard. Legal bills after three years were “huge” on each side, Mr Reeds said.
The final High Court hearing for financial applications had been due on November 8, a matter of days after Mrs Brown was killed.
“The difference between what the defendant wanted and what Jo’s lawyers had offered was considerable,” Mr Reeds said.
“He was concerned that when he had paid his bills he would be left with little or nothing from any settlement while, to his mind, she would remain wealthy.”
Mrs Brown, 46, known as Jo, had owned the family home, Tun Cottage, before she met her second husband.
But when they married, he ploughed £200,000 into the house which was extended and renovated and later used by Mrs Brown as an upmarket bed and breakfast.
According to the prenuptial agreement, he had no claim on the house or a trust fund set up by her father on his death in 2001.
“It was an agreement that the defendant referred to later as a ‘stitch up’,” Mr Reeds said.
The couple’s two children, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had stayed with their father at his rented house in Winkfield, Berks, during October half term last year, the court heard.
He took them back to Tun Cottage on Sunday October 31 shortly before 4pm.
Mr Reeds told the court: “There, he attacked Jo with a weapon, hitting her about the head and face repeatedly until she collapsed.
“Such was the severe force used on her by the defendant that finally she was able to defend herself no more. She suffered extensive fractures to her skull and facial bones with attendant brain injury from which she had no prospect of surviving.”
Mr Brown dropped the children at his home, where his girlfriend was staying, and was not seen again until 5am.
After she told Mr Brown’s family that something had happened, he asked his brother not to call the police but Kenneth Brown did so and half an hour later, Robert Brown followed suit, reporting a “domestic argument” with his wife.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder when police officers found blood on the driveway at Tun Cottage.
Mr Brown initially refused to talk to police and said he had “a block”. A statement later handed to detectives by his solicitor suggested he had killed his wife accidentally, having “lost control” after a row over the children’s schooling.
He said he had intended to take her to hospital but realised she was dead and panicked. He later took police to the dense woodland where he had buried her.
Mr Brown denies murder and obstructing the coroner. The jury heard that he maintains that he was suffering mental illness caused by stress and that his judgement was impaired.


documentary that shows a graphic photograph of a dying Princess Diana

A  documentary that shows a graphic photograph of a dying Princess Diana— a film that contends there was a coverup about her death — is coming to the Cannes Film Festival in a cloud of controversy.

Unlawful Killing, directed by British actor and filmmaker Keith Allen (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) includes paparazzi photos that were banned in Britain. They show a close-up of the dying princess after her car crashed in a Paris underpass in 1997.

The film, which says the there were suspicious circumstances surrounding Diana's death, was funded by businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, father of Dodi Fayed, Diana's partner, who also died in the crash. Al-Fayad is to arrive in Cannes in time for the premiere of the movie on Friday, May 13.

In a statement, Allen said: "Screening this film in Cannes for the world's media will be both exhilarating and terrifying for me." He called the movie an inquest of the inquest into Diana's death and said it is being shown here because British lawyers demanded 87 cuts before a release in the U.K. Instead, it is being released in France and then in the U.S., with worldwide distribution possible.

A trailer for the movie on the website says Diana wrote a letter to a friend in 1993 alleging, "My husband is planning 'an accident' in my car."

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A frog-obsessed con woman used unwitting celebrities including Princess Diana to run up massive debts with banks.

A frog-obsessed con woman used unwitting celebrities including Princess Diana to run up massive debts with banks. 

Lynda Smith, 63, gave T-shirts and sweatshirts bearing a frog logo to a string of stars - then used pictures of them to cheat high-street lenders, lovers and friends out of more than £1million. 

The sum included £460,000 in loans and overdraft facilities from high-street banks who thought Smith was running two successful businesses called Les Frogs Partnerships and Les Frogs Promotions.

Con: Lynda Smith, left, gave her Les Frogs clothes to celebrities, including Princess Diana, pictured right wearing the brand, to pull off the scam

In reality, she was using the cash to pay off personal debts and fund a luxury lifestyle that saw her mixing with celebrities and living in a £1.2m Wilmslow mansion.

Smith, who was arrested after a probe by government fraud investigators, has now been jailed for three and a half years.

She was convicted of two counts of deception and three of fraudulent trading after a five-week trial at Manchester Crown Court. 

The jury heard how the Les Frog brand started as a legitimate enterprise - before Smith began using it as a way of defrauding creditors to fund her lavish lifestyle.  


Lonely PA who tried to 'buy friendship and affection' jailed for £33,000 expenses scam
The key 'selling point' for the business was that Princess Diana and Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson were both once photographed wearing tops bearing a Les Frogs logo. 

Smith also kept letters of thanks for t-shirts and other garments on behalf of Victoria and David Beckham, and even former US president Bill Clinton. 

None of the celebrities knew she was using their good names to rip people off. 

The court was told how Smith obtained credit by lying about the standing of her business, used bank loans to pay off personal debts, and cheated a number of friends - and two romantic partners - out of cash.  

Scam: The Les Frogs clothing brand started as a legitimate enterprise - before Smith began using it as a way of defrauding creditors to fund her lavish lifestyle

Mr Justice Christopher Clarke, sentencing, told her she had 'left a trail of havoc' in her wake.

He added: 'I am wholly satisfied that these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified. 

'You have fought this case to the bitter end and it has taken a considerable expenditure of time and resources to establish your guilt.' 

Smith was living in Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, when she was arrested.

The frauds took place between 2003-2009. 

The court heard how her frog businesses were 'without commercial substance', despite her boasts - and some astonishing, well-meaning celebrity endorsements. 

Investigators who raided her offices discovered albums containing photographs of celebrities wearing Les Frogs clothing - as well as a letter from St James's Palace thanking Smith for baseball caps she had sent to Prince William and Prince Harry. 

Smith has also been disqualified from acting as a company director for seven years.

Her son-in-law Ian Goss, who promoted Les Frogs, was convicted of one count of fraudulent trading.

Goss, 33, of Gwynant, Colwyn Bay, was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 150 hours' community service.

Smith was so successful posing as a top businesswoman that she featured on a documentary about the rich and famous - eyeing up a luxury yacht. 

The programme, called That's Rich, also showed Smith at a glitzy charity event at a premiere of the Keira Knightley film Pride and Prejudice.

To friends and investors, she was every inch the company director - even if she was seen as a little eccentric. 

Her Wilmslow home was littered with dozens of soft-toy frogs and frog ornaments, as well as expensive frog-shaped jewellery.

But investigators from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills discovered that behind her lavish spending lay a web of lies and deception. 

The judge at Manchester Crown Court accepted Smith's Les Frogs brand had enjoyed a 'considerable measure' of early success.

But from the middle of 2003, Smith embarked on a series of bids for funding from banks, in which the jury had found she acted dishonestly.

Smith had painstakingly compiled a portfolio that included celebrity endorsements and pictures of some of the world's most recognisable figures wearing her clothes. She used it to deceive people into believing that her business was thriving.

An analysis of company bank accounts showed outgoings of more than £1,080,000, with an income - excluding bank loans - of just £167,000. 

Even romantic partners found themselves out of pocket. On one occasion she fleeced a retired merchant seaman lover out of thousands of pounds investment, which produced little in return. 

When one of her firms, Les Frogs Promotions, reached its £10,000 overdraft with a bank in 2002, she never repaid it and instead passed it on to another bank. In August 2003 she obtained another overdraft of £10,000 and loans of £70,000. 

As Smith's problems spiralled, the overdraft was increased to £40,000. By 2005, the bank was demanding £150,000.  None of it was repaid. Instead, Smith went to another bank with a 'seriously misleading' business plan and secured an £80,000 overdraft that was later extended to £120,000.

Smith also borrowed £15,000 from a friend that was never repaid and obtained a loan of £40,000 from a finance company in May 2006. She later set up a business in north Wales and was given loans from two men totalling £300,000.

Another lover, a caricaturist, gave her £115,000. The jury was told at the end of the case that she had previously been jailed for 18 months for fraudulent trading in 1993.

Princess Diana death photo that has never before been seen in the United Kingdom is featured in a new documentary film that will be shown at Cannes Film Festival to the outrage of many Britons.

Princess Diana death photo that has never before been seen in the United Kingdom is featured in a new documentary film that will be shown at Cannes Film Festival to the outrage of many Britons. The graphic image is part of a documentary by Keith Allen, Unlawful Killing.

Uber left-wing film maker and actor Keith Allen (and father of Lily Allen) has made a documentary on what he calls a conspiracy by the British establishment to cover details of the Princess Diana death on August 30, 1997 in a horrific car crash in Paris. Allen says his film doesn’t assert that there was a conspiracy leading up to her death as much as there was one after her death.
The photos of Princess Diana that were made by paparazzi that were following her car when it crashed can be seen on the internet and have been published in papers in other countries, but not in the United Kingdom.
Keith Allen and Mohammed Al Fayed have worked on the film together. Al Fayed is the father of Dodi al Fayed who died in the car crash with Princess Diana and subsequently accused Prince Phillip (and implied Prince Charles) might have orchestrated her death to prevent her from marrying his son.
Allen says his film is a ‘antidote’ for the aftermath of the recent royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The antidote being for the ‘Republicans’ (not the same as the Republican Party in the United States. In Britain the Republicans are the anti-Monarchists who want England to become a Republic rather than a Monarchy).
Prince William and Prince Harry have resolutely refused to comment on the whole issue as it is a ‘private matter’ and about this film in particular as they are said not to want to fuel any publicity for Keith Allen.
To say that the film is in poor taste is to say the very least. To say that it is an opportunistic effort to make some money off the current good feelings about the royalty, following the royal wedding, seems obvious to some of us.
Showing the Princess Diana death photo at the Cannes Film Festival in the movie ‘Unlawful Killing’ is nothing if not just despicable. What’s the point? Princess Diana was hounded by paparazzi in life and still is 12-years after her death. Leave her in peace!

Today's ruling by the European court of human rights in Max Mosley's privacy case is a victory for the British government

Today's ruling by the European court of human rights in Max Mosley's privacy case is a victory for the British government, which argued at the hearing in January that countries were entitled to a wide "margin of appreciation"- in other words, discretion - in deciding how to strike the balance between freedom of expression and respect for an individual's private life.

James Eadie QC for the government (no relation to Mr Justice Eady) argued that there was no need for the media to pre-notify people before writing about them in the media.

"The government's judgment is that the imposition of such a positive duty would be likely to have - and would undoubtedly risk - a serious chilling effect on the freedom of the media and the freedom of the public to express themselves," Eadie told the court.

His arguments were broadly supported by written submissions from the Media Lawyers Association, the Media Legal Defence Initiative and Guardian News and Media. For the Guardian, Lord Lester QC argued that the legal duty sought by Mosley was not required by article 8 of the human rights convention - the right to privacy - and was inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression in article 10. The availability of injunctions and the right to sue for damages after the event amounted to an effective domestic remedy, he claimed.

"In practice," said Lester, "injunctive relief is usually available and will in itself be an effective remedy." These arguments have found favour with the court today.

What seems to have tipped the balance in favour of the media was the court's conclusion that any requirement to pre-notify an individual would have been subject to a public interest exception. A newspaper could opt not to notify the person concerned if it believed it could defend its decision subsequently on the basis of the public interest, the court said.

A reasonable belief in a public-interest defence would have to be sufficient to justify non-notification, the court said, even if it was found later that no such public interest arose. Otherwise, there would be a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

The Strasbourg judges also said that a pre-notification requirement would only be as strong as the penalties for non-compliance. Newspapers might be willing to risk a fine if they believed publication was justified. It would be possible to set penalties at a punitively high level, but these would be inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression.

The court said that the threat of punitive fines and criminal sanctions might create a "chilling effect" on political reporting and investigative journalism.
The conduct of the News of the World was "open to severe criticism", the judges said. But they had to look beyond the Mosley case to the wider public interest across Europe.