Friday 26 August 2011

US east coast on hurricane alert

Tropical storm-force winds from Hurricane Irene have begun lashing the US east coast with rain, with the potential to cause billions of dollars in damage
At least 65 million people could be affected along a densely populated arc that includes Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
A hurricane warning is in effect from North Carolina all the way to Massachusetts - including for New York City, where more than a quarter of a million people have been ordered to evacuate ahead of Irene's approach. It was the first hurricane warning issued for New York City in more than two decades.
Officials declared emergencies, called up hundreds of National Guard troops, shut down public transport systems and begged hundreds of thousands of people to obey evacuation orders. Airlines cancelled more than 2,000 weekend flights.
Speaking from Martha's Vineyard Island where he is on holiday, President Barack Obama said all indications point to the storm being a historic hurricane.
"Don't wait. Don't delay," said Mr Obama, who decided to cut short his summer holiday by a day and return to Washington. "I cannot stress this highly enough: If you are in the projected path of this hurricane, you have to take precautions now."
The latest forecasts showed Irene crashing into the North Carolina coastline, then churning up the Eastern Seaboard and drenching areas from Virginia to New York City before a weakened storm reaches New England.
Rain and tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph were already pelting North and South Carolina as Irene trudged north, snapping power lines and flooding streets.
Thousands were without power. In Charleston, South Carolina, several people had to be rescued after a tree fell on their car, trapping them.
In addition to widespread wind and water damage, Irene could also push crude oil prices higher if it disrupts refineries in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, which produce nearly 8% of US petrol and diesel fuel.


Hundreds, possibly thousands of celebrities have had their names permanently banned from the new .xxx adults-only internet domain.

El Reg can reveal that everyone from Justin Bieber to Piers Morgan has had their .xxx address placed into a permanent "reserved" status by the registry manager, ICM Registry.

This means that cybersquatters or crafty porn webmasters will not be able to register domains such as or to drive traffic to their sites.

It also means that many celebrities will not have to pay to protect their personal brands in the forthcoming .xxx "sunrise period" or take cybersquatters to court in future.

ICM has not published its list of reserved names, nor will it reveal how long the list is or how it decided which celebrities were worth including.

However, it's possible to reverse-engineer parts of the database using Whois tools provided by ICM and third parties.

The threshold for inclusion appears to be based on fame, rather than sex appeal. While Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt can rest easy, so can Donald Trump and Verne Troyer.

As a useful guide, the only current member of the Celebrity Big Brother cast on the list appears to be Tara Reid. In the unlikely and frankly terrifying event that somebody cybersquats their .xxx names, Jedward and Kerry Katona will have to lawyer up.

You don't even need to be alive to be included. is blocked, as is,, and

From the world of politics, Barack Obama and David Cameron have both been protected. But while is also blocked, is not.

ICM says that it has reserved roughly 15,000 domains from registration, but this includes names that have been blocked on cultural grounds (the world's capital cities and half a dozen spellings of Mohammed, for example) and thousands of "premium" names that the company plans to auction later.

There are no corporate trademarks on the reserved list. Companies that want to make sure their brands do not appear with a .xxx extension are expected to pay between $200 and $650 to to make sure they are removed from the pool of available names.

ICM says that trademarks, which often match dictionary words, make less clear-cut cases than personal names, and that it is also harder for celebrities to obtain a registered trademark on their name.

It has also created a new anti-cybersquatting policy, the Rapid Evaluation Service, that promises to turn off obviously infringing domain names in as little as three days after a complaint is made.

ICM's trademark protection period runs from 7 September until 28 October. It plans to start accepting registrations from everyone else in December, with registrars such as Go Daddy expected to charge $100 a year.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Comic Billy Connolly has confessed he used pages of the Bible to make a roll-up cigarette - and joked that he may go to hell as a result.

The 68-year-old star revealed he and old friend Gerry Rafferty - the late chart-topping musician - resorted to the holy book after they ran out of "skins".

The pair, friends from their days on the Scottish folk scene, tore out pages from the Book of Revelations to concoct a ciggie in a remote spot.

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Connolly made his confession as he launched a forthcoming travel show for ITV1, in which he travels down America's famous Route 66 highway.

He described his visit to hear gospel music at a chapel in St Louis where a member of the congregation gave him a hug and offered him a Bible.

"The last time I held a Bible I was smoking it - it's true," he said.

Connolly said he and Baker Street singer Rafferty were in the north of Scotland, and - inspired by a prison film he had seen - Connolly decided to make up for a lack of cigarette papers by using a Bible.

"We were near John O'Groats, it isn't like 'skin-o-rama'. You ask for a skin and they give you a sheepskin.

"It was a drunk guy who put us up for the night and he was up in bed. And I said 'You wouldn't have a Bible?', and he says 'Yes, I do, would you like it?'.

"I said, 'Just a couple of pages...'. He said 'Any particular book?', and I don't know where it came from, I said 'Revelations'.

"My idea was to read a verse then smoke it. And I think I'm going to hell."

Billy Connolly's Route 66, in which he travels from Chicago to Santa Monica, will be on ITV1 next month.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Record numbers of police officers will be on duty across London during the Notting Hill carnival, Scotland Yard has said.

The carnival, which attracts crowds of 1 million people, is taking place this year in "unusual and exceptional" circumstances, said Commander Steve Rodhouse of the Metropolitan police.

Rodhouse, the Met's spokesman for the Notting Hill carnival, confirmed that police numbers would be around 16,000 throughout the Bank Holiday weekend across the capital. The Met is continuing to receive help from outside forces to maintain policing at this figure.

The number of officers on duty at the carnival on Sunday and Monday will be more than ever before. In addition, it is understood police will use Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which gives officers powers to stop and search individuals in a designated area without reasonable suspicion that they are about to commit an offence.

On Sunday, the children's carnival, 5,500 police will be on the streets. On Bank Holiday Monday, which attracts the biggest crowds, 6,500 police will be at the event, Rodhouse said.

A reserve of 4,000 additional officers will be available across London to cope with any disturbances in other areas. They will also be complemented by the usual number of borough officers on duty, maintaining the total available at 16,000.

Rodhouse said there was some intelligence from social networking sites and elsewhere that gangs were intent on causing trouble during the carnival.

But this was not on a different scale to previous years and there was no intelligence to suggest gangs of looters were going to target the event, he added.

"Some people believe that we will be diverted from the rest of London due to the carnival, leaving the rest of London without a police presence. This is not the case," said Rodhouse. "To those who want to come and corrupt this magnificent event I would say you are not welcome. The Metropolitan police will do everything in our power to make it as hard as possible for you."

Carnival organisers have decided the street party will start and finish earlier this year to avoid any potential trouble as darkness falls. Chris Boothman, director of the Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, said he supported the policing plans. He said the aim was to finish the parade at 6.30pm so that people would start to clear the area after 7pm.

Pubs and other venues in the area have been asked to close at 9pm and Rodhouse said there had been a positive response.

Thirty-five people have been arrested as part of Operation Razorback, a four-week operation which police say is aimed at clamping down on troublemakers ahead of the event.

Officers from the force's territorial support group have been executing search warrants across the capital as part of the operation.

There had been concerns that this year's carnival would be cancelled because of the unprecedented disorder and looting which took place over four days in London and across the country.

But the acting commissioner of the Met, Tim Godwin, made clear when he appeared before the home affairs select committee that he wanted the carnival to go ahead.

Facebook riot invitation sentence 'too lenient

four-month sentence on a man who posted an invitation on Facebook to start a riot has been criticised by a Tory assembly member as too lenient.

David Glyn Jones, 21, of Bangor, Gwynedd, was convicted by Caernarfon magistrates after admitting a charge under the Communications Act.

At a similar case in Chester two men were each jailed for four years.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar said: "The public will want to see individuals made examples of."

Jones posted an invitation to friends in the form of a Facebook event for 9 August, which said: "Let's start Bangor riots... given the chance I'd love to smash up a police car, wouldn't you?"

The message was online for 20 minutes and no riot took place in Bangor.

Defence solicitor Deborah Tennant-Davies said Jones did not think it would be taken seriously and regretted his "moment of stupidity".

At least six individuals around the UK have been identified and dealt with for using social networks to encourage disorder.

The toughest sentences to date have been in Cheshire where two men were charged with inciting rioting under the Serious Crime Act and were jailed for four years at Chester Crown Court.

Mr Millar said he believed Caernarfon magistrates should have been tougher on Jones.

"There needs to be consistency - I don't know why he was charged under a different act," he said.

"I'm disappointed that he only got four months - I do think the public context overrides other concerns.

"I was very pleased with the tough sentences - the public will want to see individuals made examples of.

"These are very serious matters - if you look at the destruction that was caused and could have been caused it seems quite a lenient sentence."

However, David Banks, a media law consultant and co-author of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, told BBC Wales the cases in Cheshire were very different.

He said they faced more serious charges and were being dealt with by a higher court.

"The other men gave specific times and places for people to gather," he said.

"It's possible the Crown Prosecution Service supposed there may have been a far greater likelihood that something would happen."

Clive Coleman, the BBC's legal affairs correspondent, said the difference in the cases would not be apparent to the public at large.

"If you're not in court you don't hear the full facts of the case," he said.

"But people are going to feel that a group of people who are involved in similar activity are prosecuted under different acts and are receiving different punishments.

"It's going to be a difficult thing for the public to understand."


Sham groom only knew fiancee was 'big, black and liked chicken burgers

Mojeed Bello, an illegal immigrant, had arranged to marry Dutch national Carina Merselina at a parish church in Gloucester so that he could continue living in Britain.
But the lack of romance between the couple rang alarm bells with Rev Robert Simpson, vicar of St James, Gloucester, when they met him to arrange the ceremony, Gloucester crown court.
The vicar was not satisfied that the relationship between Bello and Merselina was a genuine one and he reported his concerns to the police, said prosecutor Martin Steen.
He then went to check on the address the couple had given in nearby Barton street, Gloucester.
"When he got to the flat he found it had all the appearances of student digs," said Mr Steen.
"He saw no evidence that it was the couple's home, as claimed. His visit did nothing to reassure him that this was a genuine marriage.
"However, he did see the couple at that address but again saw nothing between them to confirm their asserted closeness.
"He determined them marriage was a sham and he reported it to the police."
Mr Steen said officers questioned Merselina, who admitted she had been recruited at a pop festival in Holland and agreed to travel to the UK and go through a marriage with Bello for a payment of £3,000.
She then travelled to Gloucester with her sister Loreen to 'add verisimilitude' to the sham marriage.
Mr Steen said Bello continued to claim it was a genuine relationship and told police he had first met Carina at Notting Hill Carnival.
"But he appeared to know little about her except that she was 'big, black and liked smoking and chicken burgers,'" Mr Steen said.
Bello, a 31 year old father of two, of Kelly Avenue, Peckham, London, Carina Merselina, 25, of no fixed address, and her sister Loreen, 35, also of no fixed address, all admitted conspiracy to secure the avoidance of Bello being deported from the UK.
Judge William Hart jailed Bello for 14 months, Carina for a year and Loreen for 300 days.
The court heard that another man who had also been involved in the scam, Aderojo Babatunde, had been sentenced at an earlier hearing to 300 days imprisonment after he admitted a similar offence.
Mr Steen told the court that Bello had lived in the UK since 2006 and a previous attempt by him to marry an EU national in 2008 had failed.
In February this year he went to Rev Simpson's church with Carina, who holds a Dutch passport, and they were with two other black Africans, Loreen and Babatunde, said Mr Steen.
They asked if they could marry on 19th Feb but that was too soon for Rev Simpson and he set 3rd March as the marriage date.
"He noticed then that there didn't appear to be anything of a real relationship between the woman and her fiance and they did not give out that they were properly enaged to each other," said Mr Steen.
They were arrested when they went to the diocesan registrar's office on Feb 24th to get the marriage licence.
Stephen Thomas, for Bello, said he was simply desperate to stay in this country with his partner so their two children could have a better life than he had in Nigeria.
He realised he had been foolish and he bitterly regretted his behaviour, Mr Thomas said.
Bello's two children, aged 6 and 7, are pupils at Peckham junior school and have been writing affection letters to their dad in jail, he added.
For Carina, David Billingham said she was a student in Holland and was tempted to take part simply because she needed the money.
Judge Hart told Bello and Carina that they had 'engaged in a cynical commercial arrangement to try to flout UK immigration law."
He said "This sort of offence is becoming somewhat prevalent - it strikes at the very heart of the UK system for regulating the population."
He went on "This was a particularly bad example of this type of offending in my judgement. It only failed due to the intervention and vigilance of others."


Sunday 21 August 2011

How can you afford that £8m home, Mandelson

Lord Mandelson is poised to buy an £8 million home after taking up a lucrative post with an investment bank that is advising the Greek government on its financial crisis.
The purchase would be the first indication of the multi-million-pound fortune amassed by the former business secretary, who left office last year.
While he has made money over the years with shrewd property investments, the source of much of Lord Mandelson’s wealth remains shrouded in secrecy.
Yesterday it emerged that he plans to purchase a four-storey Gothic revival house, complete with wine cellar, in one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. The property, on the market for just under £8 million, would represent a remarkable acquisition for a man who a decade ago was living in a one-bedroom £250,000 flat.
The Labour peer, who once said the Labour government was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”, is banned from lobbying government officials. But he is said to be in demand as a consultant for his extensive global contacts, built up over more than a decade as one of Tony Blair closest advisers and a European trade commissioner.


Court tells private investigator he must identify 'News of the World' executives who asked him to intercept voicemails

Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the phone-hacking affair, will be forced this week to reveal the identities of the News of the World employees who hired him to intercept the voicemails of public figures.

Mulcaire will have to submit to the court the names of the people who engaged him to hack the phones of model Elle McPherson, publicist Max Clifford, football agent Sky Andrew, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association Gordon Taylor, and one of its legal advisers, Jo Armstrong.

The order came about as the result of a civil case brought against the investigator by Steve Coogan, whose lawyers argued in February that if it were proved that the paper had instructed Mulcaire to hack into the phones of six public figures, it would show the hacking had been taking place on an industrial scale.

Mulcaire applied to the Court of Appeal to try to overturn the order, but was refused permission by Lord Justice Toulson. He is also suing News International, publisher of the News of The World, in an attempt to force the company to pay his legal bills.

James Murdoch, who has managerial responsibility for News International, told the House of Commons media select committee currently investigating phone hacking on Tuesday that News International had paid "approximately £246,000" to Mulcaire's lawyers before cutting off payments in July.

Evidence provided to the committee also shows that News International paid Mulcaire £80,000, plus £5,000 in legal costs, in June 2007 to settle an employment tribunal action he launched against the company.

The publisher also had to pay out a "healthy six-figure sum" last week in an out-of-court settlement with the actress Leslie Ash and her husband, Lee Chapman. Although they have not disclosed the exact figure, a statement released by the couple says they have received "an appropriate sum by way of compensation".

Meanwhile, concerns are growing at New York-based News Corporation, the owner of News International, that emails uncovered during the 2007 phone-hacking investigation might expose the American business to litigation.

Thousands of News of the World emails were assembled after the scandal erupted four years ago, when the reporter Clive Goodman and Mulcaire admitted intercepting royal aides' phone messages.


Saturday 20 August 2011

Three More Arrests in Murdoch Paper Phone Hacking Scandal

Three more arrests were made in connection with the phone hacking scandal that came to light on July 4, when the Guardian reported that staff from the News of the World tabloid, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, had hacked into the voicemails of a murdered 13-year-old school girl, Milly Dowler. One of the three arrested this week was former News of the World Los Angeles editor James Desborough — a sign that, as Emily Bell writes in the Guardian, it’s possible that phone hacking has occurred in the US.

Desborough was the 13th to be arrested in the scandal; he has been charged with “suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.” On Friday, an unnamed detective with London’s Metropolitan Police was arrested on suspicion of leaking details about the phone hacking investigation by Scotland Yard. The Guardian also reported that a 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of phone hacking. Sky News reports that the man is former News of the World reported Dale Evans, who was suspended by the paper over a year ago after he was named in a civil case against News Group Newspapers (a subsidiary of News International), brought by interior designer Kelly Hoppen.

In a further development, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire has been ordered by a court to reveal who directed him to hack into the phones of model Elle Macpherson and five other public figures including the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes; Mulcaire is to provide the information by the end of next week. He has also sued News of the World publisher News International, to force the company to pay his legal bills. While News International had announced on July 20 that it was no longer paying his legal bills, earlier this week the company was revealed to have paid “approximately £246,000″ (about $405,000) to lawyers acting for Mulcaire, according to evidence provided on Tuesday by James Murdoch, chief of News International, to the parliamentary culture select committee.

According to Emily Bell, the phone hacking scandal will only explode in the US as it has in the UK if “a human story or dynamite revelation of the magnitude of a US Milly Dowler” emerges. So far, there is no sign of such happening. But Bell suggests that some other signs suggest that Murdoch is losing his grip on US media, albeit in a more gradual way than in the UK:

Fox News is still the US’s number one cable network but in July it was the only network which actually lost viewers over 2010. It’s triumvirate of rightists, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren, all saw declines and the furthest right commentator, Glenn Beck, has gone from the schedules.

This is symptomatic of another reason why Murdoch is in trouble. Fox News practically invented the Tea Party, and therefore to some extent is to blame for the political eccentricities list of GOP candidates now scrapping to take on Obama and the fracturing at the heart of the Republican party. Fox’s own tone has been back-pedaling from its more extreme positions, but the CEOs and the GOP grandees who would naturally be Murdoch’s constituency are no longer in thrall to his power in quite the same way.

It seems hard to imagine, but is it possible to imagine a Fox News -less media landscape?


Friday 19 August 2011

Big Brother wasted no time in getting mean last night by telling Kerry Katona she had to act like a diva for a secret task.

Once all the housemates had made their grand entrances, Big Brother ordered one of them to the diary room.
Katona volunteered and was given a secret mission to be chosen as the house's biggest diva.

Big Brother told her she had to throw a tantrum before returning to the diary room for further instructions.

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Katona was told housemates would tomorrow vote on who was the biggest diva and if she was not chosen, a punishment would be given.

"I'm not a diva. Why couldn't I let someone else come in?" she said.

William Hill tonight installed Childs and Jedward as the joint favourites to win with odds of 3/1. Laviscount is just behind on 9/2.

The bookmaker gave the longest odds of 25/1 to Lyons.

Last night's show from the house in Elstree, Hertfordshire, ended weeks of speculation about the line-up.

Viewers can expect to see sparks fly, friendships form and various humiliations for the stars who have agreed to take part for fees which will total hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Many will also be keeping a keen eye on the fortunes of the programme itself, to see how it will fare in the ratings following its switch from Channel 4 to 5.

Other shows which have moved to the station from various networks - including Neighbours and Home And Away - have seen a near instant drop in viewers.

Channel 4 axed Big Brother last year after 11 series of the main show and a number of celebrity versions.

It was a key priority for media tycoon Desmond when he acquired Channel 5 last year, although the deal to secure the programme took many months.

As soon as the celeb series is over, the regular Big Brother begins. Members of the public who have made it through the audition process will enter the property for several weeks until a winner is crowned.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Leslie Ash settles with NoW but may sue other papers Actor and her husband, Lee Chapman, understood to have accepted 'healthy six-figure sum' over alleged phone hacking

Leslie Ash and her husband, Lee Chapman, have reached an out-of-court settlement with News International over alleged hacking of their phones by the News of the World, but are now considering legal action against other newspapers.

The level of damages paid by News International was undisclosed, although Ash is understood to have received a "healthy six-figure sum", thought to be more than the £100,000 News of the World owner paid to actor Sienna Miller earlier this year in another out-of-court settlement of a civil action over phone hacking.

Ash and Chapman began a civil action against News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers, which published the now-defunct News of the World, over allegations that their voicemail messages were intercepted by Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective formerly employed by the paper.

"We are pleased to say that our and our sons' claims against News Group Newspapers (NGN) Ltd and Mr Mulcaire have been resolved," the pair said in a statement.

"NGN has agreed to pay our family an appropriate sum by way of compensation and costs and it has apologised for the harm and distress it has caused us," they added.

"However, we remain concerned that the practices complained of against NGN are likely to have been prevalent within a number of other media publishers, and we will be instructing our lawyer, Charlotte Harris of Mishcon De Reya, to take action against other newspapers in due course."

A News International spokesman said: "News International is committed to reaching swift and fair settlements with victims of illegal voicemail interception and has unreservedly apologised to those affected


Tuesday 16 August 2011

British man has died in the Seychelles following what locals say was a shark attack.

The Foreign Office confirmed Ian Martin Redmond, from Lancashire, had died in the Indian Ocean archipelago and it was offering assistance to his family.

The Daily Telegraph reported the victim was 30 years old and on his honeymoon, but this has not been confirmed.

Police said he was killed off Anse Lazio beach, on the island of Praslin, the scene of a recent similar attack.

It must be the same shark that attacked 16 days ago”

Jeanne Vargiolu
Local restaurant owner
A French national was reportedly killed by a shark off the same beach just over two weeks ago.

Local restaurant owner Jeanne Vargiolu said she went to the beach on Tuesday after hearing sirens and that police told her Mr Redmond had severe arm and leg injuries.

"I saw his wife talking to about five people, I think one was English, that she still had hope he was still alive," she said. "They were trying to help him but they could not get him alive."

Ms Vargiolu said her family had lived on the beach for 36 years and the two shark attacks this month were the first she had seen.

"It must be the same shark that attacked 16 days ago," she said.

Police had said they would close the beach from Wednesday morning and were going "to put out a net to try and catch the shark tomorrow", she said.

Director for tourism Alain St Ange told the Daily Mail the Seychelles authorities were taking the attacks very seriously.

"If there is a rogue shark out there, we will try to catch it," he said. "We have requested shark experts from South Africa to come over to Seychelles to help us identify the type of shark it could be, but this kind of thing has never ever happened in Seychelles before."

An employee at the La Reserve hotel told the Press Association the man and his wife had been guests there.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge honeymooned in the Seychelles on North Island earlier this year.

Monday 15 August 2011

Prime Minister, facing unprecedented criticism from the police,

Prime Minister, facing unprecedented criticism from the police, will say he has the strength to “take on and defeat” social problems caused by a weak and “demoralised” state.
Mr Cameron will use a speech in his Oxfordshire constituency to underline his personal leadership in dealing with the root causes of last week’s violence.
Both police and politicians faced criticism for the slow initial response to the riots, but Mr Cameron will declare: “I will not be found wanting.”
The aftermath of the disturbances has seen relations between the Government and the police sink to a new low. Four police chiefs yesterday made public attacks on Mr Cameron’s law-and-order agenda.
One chief constable told The Daily Telegraph that the Prime Minister had been “disrespectful” and risks losing the support of the police.

Thursday 11 August 2011

68-year-old man who was critically injured as he tried he tried to stamp out a fire during riots in west London has died

68-year-old man who was critically injured as he tried he tried to stamp out a fire during riots in west London has died, Scotland Yard has said.

Richard Mannington Bowes suffered head injuries in a violent attack in Ealing on Monday night and was left in a coma.

Police said he was violently assaulted and knocked to the ground.

They have issued a CCTV image of a suspect they want to speak to about the assault on Mr Bowes. A murder investigation has begun.

Speaking on Thursday when her brother was in a critical condition, his sister Anne Wilderspin, 73, from Derbyshire, said: "It was sort of unreal because you don't think anything like that happens to a relative of yours.

"I mean we've been horrified by the reports of the riots and what's been going on.

"It was a shock and it's still a bit unreal in a way."

She had been hoping to be reunited with Mr Bowes, whom she had not seen for 30 years.

'Terrible price'
She said she was travelling to London to see her brother, who gave her away at her wedding. It is not known if she saw him before he died.

Also speaking on Thursday, Mayor of London Boris Johnson paid tribute to him: "There are many villains in this story but also many heroes and I want to pay particular tribute to Mr Bowes.

"But he has paid a terrible price. I am desperately sorry for him and his family."

Police have identified a "strong suspect" they wish to speak to
Mr Bowes, of Haven Green, Ealing, is believed to have remonstrated with some teenagers who were setting fire to two industrial bins on Spring Bridge Road.

Police officers were then pelted with missiles as they came to his aid.

Det Ch Insp John McFarlane said Mr Bowes had been "violently assaulted and knocked to the ground".

He added: "Through CCTV we have identified a strong suspect.

"I know that on seeing these images of him people will be able to identify him.

"He had been in close proximity to the attack, recording the events on a mobile device.

"If you are the suspect in the CCTV, do the decent thing and give yourself up."

From an arrest for stealing a charity box to an 11-year-old who admits she threw stones, the roll call of riot accused begins

Although his mother insisted he was sorry, the 12-year-old found guilty of taking a bottle of wine from Sainsbury's during the Manchester riots looked far from contrite. He giggled when asked why he had committed the crime. "He's already been shouted at," interjected his 33-year-old mother.

The boy was given a nine-month referral order, which is a non-custodial penalty to be decided by a young offenders panel.

His was one of dozens of cases dealt with over a busy day at Manchester magistrates court, yards from the scene of much of the city's devastation.

In what deputy district judge Alan Berg branded an "act of breathtaking wickedness", Daniel Bell, 30, of Stockport, pleaded guilty to stealing a Macmillan cancer charity collection box containing £50.

Bell, who the prosecution said had an "appalling record", was arrested at 3.30am on 10 August while leaving a looted branch of Maplins carrying the collection box. He will appear in the city's crown court on 1 September.

Berg said: "Of all the crimes I have dealt with today, yours is the most contemptible and despicable."

Defendants appeared on charges ranging from the theft of a £4,500 plasma TV and a £40 T-shirt from Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green boutique, to jewellery looted from the Links store in St Ann's Square and a camcorder from Maplins. All but a handful were sent for sentencing at the crown court.

Berg repeatedly said he wanted to make an example of the rioters. He said: "This is intolerable lawlessness which no civilised society should be expected to put up with."

Helen Clifton


An 11-year-old girl, who left primary school last month, admitted taking part in riots in Nottingham, pleading guilty to criminal damage and attempted criminal damage.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had thrown stones and smashed the window of a clothes shop in the city centre. She received a nine-month referral order, which is a non-custodial penalty to be decided by a young offenders panel. She told district judge Morris Cooper she thought she would not be caught.

Cooper told Nottingham magistrates court that the sentence of nine months was "longer than normally given for breaking windows" but reflected the serious nature of the disturbances that gripped the city on Tuesday night.

Nottingham's riots saw a police station firebombed and pubs and shops attacked by mobs of young people. More than 100 people have been arrested and 42 charged in connection with the two nights of disturbances in the city.

The girl, who was about to begin secondary school next term and is in foster care, had been in McDonald's that evening when a group of "30 or 40 boys walked past". She decided to join them, saying in court that "everyone was egging me on".

The district judge asked her: "Do you know how serious this is?" She replied: "Yes, I realise it was more than just messing about."

Her father told the judge that his daughter was "easily led on". He had urged her to apologise in court and her solicitor said she wanted to plead guilty to acknowledge wrongdoing. She had previously been cautioned for criminal damage last year.

In a neighbouring courtroom, judge Tim Devas said that many of the cases brought before him featured "silly, stupid children".

In a case that saw a 15-year-old convicted of a minor disorder offence for running amok in the city centre, he said: "[These are] silly, stupid children taking up police officers' resources while people were looting shops.".

Other teenagers faced more serious charges: one 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty to throwing rocks and bricks at police. He was finally picked up by officers from the roof of a local school.

Devas told one man that he should sort his life out and asked him if he felt ashamed because the public regarded people involved in the riots as scum.

Devas fined Craig Cave, 26, of Beeston, Nottingham, £60 after he admitted obstructing police during disturbances in the city on Tuesday.

Addressing Cave, Devas said: "Let me give you a piece of worldly advice. Get a life, sort yourself out. Don't you feel ashamed that you are now counted among the hundreds of yobbos arrested and now considered as scum by the public?"

Randeep Ramesh


West Midlands Police have arrested about 389 people since the disturbances broke out earlier this week, with some already jailed for their offences.

Ryan Kelly, 20, was imprisoned for six months after he admitted looting £3,500 worth of cigarettes from a Birmingham newsagent. Justinder Douglas, 24, admitted stealing almost £5,000 worth of perfume from House of Fraser and has been remanded in custody until September, when he will be sentenced at Birmingham crown court.

They were just two of the 26 people dealt with at Solihull magistrates in an all-night sitting – which ran from 7.30pm until 6am – to deal with disorder suspects. The court jailed 20 people during the session.

Six of the overnight defendants were juveniles, including a 16-year-old who was remanded into secure accommodation after pleading not guilty to looting rings from a Wolverhampton jeweller.

One of the younger people in the custody of West Midlands police was a 14-year-old girl, who was escorted to a local police station by an uncle who suspected her of coming home with stolen clothing. She was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of theft.

At Birmingham magistrates court a father of two became one of the first people in the country to be jailed for disorder offences. Imran Khan, 23, attacked a police officer in Saltley on Tuesday. He admitted using threatening words and behaviour and assaulting a police constable and was jailed for 10 weeks.

Five youths aged 14 to 17 also appeared in court, accused of burgling JD Sports in the Bullring. Their cases were put back until 21 September.


Wednesday 10 August 2011

61-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking.

 The man is believed to be former News of the World newsdesk editor Greg Miskiw.

Scotland Yard said the man has remained in custody after visiting a London police station by appointment.

Channel 4 News filmed Mr Miskiw in Florida just over a fortnight ago saying he would voluntarily return to the UK from the US.

He had been mentioned in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the phone hacking scandal.

Mr Miskiw was an editorial executive at the newspaper until 2005, during the time when private investigators are alleged to have intercepted voicemail messages on behalf of the News of the World.

When Mr Miskiw was approached by reporters in Palm Beach, Florida, he told them he had plans to fly back to London to answer any questions police might wish to ask him.

"I'm returning to the UK voluntarily," he said.

"My solicitor has been talking to the police for some time now, so I have in effect been in touch with the police. They know where I am, and they know I'm returning - that's all I'm saying."

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Twenty-five officers from Dorset Police are to be sent to Bristol after disorder broke out in parts of the city on Monday night.

One inspector, three sergeants and 21 police constables will be drafted into the city after a mutual aid request from Avon and Somerset Police.

About 150 people are said to have been involved in the trouble in several areas, including in the city centre.

Avon and Somerset Police said five arrests were made in the city.

More are expected as CCTV is reviewed.

Police said the Stokes Croft and St Werburghs areas of Bristol were also affected in what the force described as a "volatile situation".

Police chiefs said there had been "sporadic and violent incidents" in the city
Windows at the Tesco Express store in Stokes Croft, which was targeted during disturbances in April, were damaged but the store was open for business.

The violence came as trouble spread across London for a third day and was replicated in cities across England.

A Dorset Police spokesman said contingency measures were in place if disorder occurs in the county.

He said: "Safer neighbourhood teams have been monitoring community tensions and our partners and communities are telling us they are appalled by the events they have seen in the news.

"There is nothing to indicate any copycat disorder will take place in the county of Dorset."


TORY politicians accused broadcasters of excusing the violence yesterday by repeatedly bringing up the impact of Government cuts on the rioters.
The BBC and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone used what some claimed was an “excuse-heavy narrative”.
The BBC focused heavily on the possibility of cuts leading to the explosion of violence.
Mr Livingstone also said: “The economic stagnation and cuts imposed by the Tory Government inevitably create social division.”
But Tory MP Patrick Mercer dismissed such claims as “crass”.
He said: “Now is not the time for political opportunism. This is clearly a very serious situation which our police officers need to deal with. Once it has been resolved then there may be questions to be asked, but not until.”


Retailers must resist exodus from riot hot spots

There has been a simple rule of thumb to rioters’ attacks on shops. If its goods are desirable and portable (shoes, clothes, electrical goods), you nick them. You may even pause to check that your stolen trainers fit. If stock is too heavy to carry (carpets, furniture), you torch the place.
Such calculated criminality damages interpretations of the riots as a cri de coeur from the inner city. But while deprivation is no excuse for the unrest, it is one root cause. Businesses should resist the temptation to withdraw from poor neighbourhoods where rioters have attacked outlets of companies such as Carpetright, Dixons, JD Sports, and Boots. The problem will otherwise worsen. Staying on to rebuild, as Carpetright founder Lord Harris plans to do, is a better test of corporate social responsibility than attending conferences on that slippery subject.


photographer was kicked to the ground and beaten by four youths on the Pembury Estate in Hackney on Tuesday, while in Birmingham two photographers were mugged,

Photographers covering the London riots appear to be bearing the brunt of violence against journalists, with several serious incidents of beatings and muggings over the last three days.

Photojournalists covering conflict and civil disorder often find themselves in the worst danger, as they have to get close to the story to do their job and stand out because of their equipment.

One war reporter, who has just returned from the frontline in Libya, was mugged by three hooded looters outside Currys in Brixton on Sunday night with £2,500 of video equipment stolen.

Another photographer was kicked to the ground and beaten by four youths on the Pembury Estate in Hackney on Tuesday, while in Birmingham two photographers were mugged, one suffering a vicious attack by an angry mob of more than a dozen.

A videographer in Tottenham, Ben Stockman, needed 10 stitches after an angry mob broke into his home and started bashing him with bottles left in his hallway for recycling.

Two Matrix picture agency photographers working for the Mail on Sunday had £8,000 of equipment robbed and smashed by a gang during what was described as a "lawless" scene near Bruce Grove in Tottenham.

"We got the commission from the Mail on Sunday and nobody knew at that point what was happening. It wasn't until the two snappers got into the thick of things, did they realise how dangerous it was and they were at the centre of a full-on riot," said Trevor Adams of Matrix.

"They got separated and one of them had his stuff smashed by a gang but he wasn't roughed up. The other beaten to the ground with gangs kicking him. He literally feared for this life. One of the gang members stopped and said 'OK, he's had enough.' If it wasn't for that I dread to think what would have happened."

The Guardian's reporter Paul Lewis, who has been covering riots late into the night since Saturday, said photographers and journalists are being set upon despite their best efforts not to stand out.

Anyone even taking pictures with mobile phones was liable to be confronted and asked if they were "Feds", said Lewis.

Fil Kaler, a photojournalist, who had been filming less than a month for the BBC, lost five hours of video footage from Sunday when he decided to leave the protection of the police line on Effra Road in Brixton and get closer to the looting that had started after midnight in Currys.

"The police line was 500 metres or more from Currys and it was impossible to get any usable material from that position. It was dark, the lighting was poor so I made a conscious decision to go into the crowd," Kaler said.

"I was fully aware of the risk I was taking. I had been up in Enfield earlier where I had been with other journalists but here I was on my own.

"Once I got in, I knew it didn't feel safe to film. I had my camera down by my side and took some shots on my phone and sent a few tweets and then out of nowhere I got punched in my face, my glasses were knocked off and my camera was nicked," said Kaler.

He said although he had lost all the days footage, it was a calculated risk and he would be back out tonight.

However a lot of photographers, including those working for agencies, are now trying to remain as inconspicuous as possibly by using high definition flip cameras that look like mobile phones but take professional quality images. The Canon G11 is an example of one used by quite a few agency photographers.

Friday 5 August 2011

RBS is planning to lay off thousands of investment bankers over the next eighteen months

RBS is planning to lay off thousands of investment bankers over the next eighteen months as it concludes its integration of ABN Amro.

The bank could lay off some 2,000 people by the end of 2012 in its global banking and markets division.

But a source told City A.M. that it is not clear exactly where the axe will fall within the business and the final numbers have not yet been decided, so there is unlikely to be a definitive announcement on jobs during its results statement on Friday.

Analysts are expecting a slump in profits for RBS’s investment bank when it unveils its half-year earnings, with some suggesting that it could fall back into the red.

The job cuts at RBS come as rival investment banks also shed thousands of workers due to over-hiring last year followed by a slowdown in trading volumes in 2011.

Credit Suisse is downsizing its workforce by 2,000, with cuts likely to fall most heavily on fixed income and equities. Barclays is expecting to lay off 3,000 people by the end of the year, while Goldman Sachs will reduce its headcount by 1,000. HSBC has said it will cut 30,000 roles over the next two to three years, and thousands of job cuts are also expected at UBS.

At the same time, banks are having to contend with higher fixed costs due to pay regulation on bonuses. Instead of varying bonus pay-outs, banks have had to compete for staff by raising base salaries, making it harder to adjust their costs without lay-offs.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Protester Jonathan May-Bowles, 26, was jailed for six weeks at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court today

Mr May-Bowles, 26, pleaded guilty last week to assaulting the 80-year-old media tycoon as he gave evidence to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee about the phone hacking scandal.
May-Bowles, also known by his comedy stage name "Jonnie Marbles", disrupted proceedings by launching a paper plate of shaving foam at Mr Murdoch.
The incident came towards the end of the media mogul's appearance alongside his son, James, before MPs in the Wilson Room in Portcullis House on July 19.
Prosecutor Malachy Pakenham said May-Bowles smuggled the foam pie into the building hidden in an old shirt, which he discarded in bins in the men's toilets.
The protester got into the committee room as a member of the public but seemed to show little interest in the Murdochs' evidence, even appearing to doze off at several points, the court heard.


Stuart Kuttner is latest NoW exec to be arrested Former managing editor and one-time public face of the News of the World taken into custody

Stuart Kuttner, the public face of the News of the World and its most vocal public defender for 22 years, has been arrested by police investigating allegations of phone hacking and of bribing police officers to leak sensitive information.

As managing editor until his resignation in July 2009, Kuttner was in charge of finances at the now-defunct tabloid.

Kuttner, 71, was described at the time of his resignation by the last editor of the newspaper, Colin Myler, as a man whose "DNA is absolutely integrated into the newspaper which he has represented across the media with vigour".

Kuttner reportedly did not know he was going to be taken into custody when he arrived by appointment at a police station in London on Tuesday at 11am for questioning over the phone-hacking scandal.

Police from both Operation Weeting (the investigation into phone hacking) and Elveden (the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police), are understood to have arrested Kuttner, who is suffering serious health problems and recently returned from treatment in the US.

Kuttner is believed to have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977, and on suspicion of corruption contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

They are the same allegations that Rebekah Brooks, the former News of the World editor and ex-News International chief executive, faces since her arrest last month.

When Brooks faced a Commons culture, media and sport select committee hearing last month she told MPs that payments to private investigators were the responsibility of the paper's managing editor's office.

Brooks admitted using private investigators during her time as editor of the tabloid between 2000 and 2003 for, she claimed, "purely legitimate" purposes.

When asked whether she had ever discussed individual payments to private investigators with Kuttner, she admitted that "payments to private investigators would have gone through the managing editor's office". But, she added: "I can't remember if we ever discussed individual payments."

Kuttner's role as the public face of the News of the World proved to be key to the tabloid under the editors, Rebekah Brooks – then Rebekah Wade – and her replacement, Andy Coulson, both of whom were reluctant to talk to the media.

When Brooks's "Sarah's Law" campaign caused public hysteria in some towns and cities across the UK, prompting strong protests against suspected paedophiles by some Portsmouth residents, during which cars were burned, it was Kuttner who faced the cameras.

He also played a role in the paper's dealing with Sara Payne in the years after her eight-year-old daughter, Sarah, was abducted and murdered in July 2000.

The Guardian revealed last week that Payne's mobile phone had been targeted by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire at a time when key members of the newspaper's executive staff were working hard to forge what Payne believed to be a close and genuine friendship. Kuttner was one of those who attended the funerals of her parents.

No reason was given for Kuttner's departure from the newspaper two years ago, shortly before the Guardian exclusive that blew the phone-hacking story wide open.

At the time, News International said he would continue to work on "specialised projects", including its Sarah's Law campaign.

In February 2008, he appeared on Radio 4's Today programme and claimed the News of the World was a "watchdog" which guarded against corruption among those in positions of power.

"If [the use of private investigators] happens, it shouldn't happen," he said.

"It happened once at the News of the World. The reporter was fired; he went to prison. The editor resigned."

He went on to argue that British journalism is "a very honourable profession" and that newspapers such as the News of the World had to act as watchdogs because "we live in an age of corrosion of politics and of public life – degradation".

His role as the public face of the News of the World continued when he visited Soham in 2002, following the disappearance of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, to defend the tabloid's decision to offer a reward of £150,000 in conjunction with the Sun newspaper for information that could lead to their safe return.

He also appeared on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost, responding to criticism of the reward and saying the man leading the investigation into the girls' disappearance, Detective Superintendent David Hankins, had welcomed it.

The managing editor was also an influential presence behind the scenes. When Gordon Brown and Tony Blair gave their first joint newspaper interview for more than 10 years to the tabloid in April 2005, Kuttner's byline was on the story, along with that of Ian Kirby, the paper's long-serving political editor.

The arrest of Kuttner, who was news editor at the London Evening Standard before moving to the NoW in 1987, is the 11th by Operation Weeting police.

After being questioned by police – a process that lasted 12 hours in the case of Brooks – he is expected to be released on bail until October.

Others arrested and bailed have included Brooks, ex-NoW editor Andy Coulson, ex-NoW assistant editor Ian Edmondson, ex-NoW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, senior ex-NoW journalist James Weatherup, freelance journalist Terenia Taras, an unnamed 63-year-old man and ex-NoW royal editor Clive Goodman.

Operation Elveden was also involved in Kuttner's arrest. Officers from Elveden are being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.


IT firm deleted News of the World emails nine times

The India-based enterprise said the requests included wiping more than 200,000 delivery failure messages, pruning old emails from the archives to stop the system crashing, and deleting duplicate emails after users were moved on to new software.
In a written response to MPs, HCL said such requests were ‘not at all unusual or untoward’.
It did not store any emails or other data for NI but confirmed it managed the company’s computer systems.
HCL’s lawyer, Stuart Benson, wrote: ‘It is of course a matter entirely for NI, the police and your committee as to whether there was any other agenda or subtext when issues of deletion arose.’

Keith Vaz, chair of the committee of MPs, said he was 'surprised' by the deletions and added that the MPs would be seeking further details.
The revelation comes just a few weeks after police investigating the phone hacking scandal reportedly uncovered evidence that a company executive may have erased millions of email exchanges from an archive dating back to January 2005.
The evidence was said to have 'high value' to officers probing the scandal.
While some critics have suggested it could have been a deliberate attempt to obstruct the investigation, News International insist they have a good relationship with the police.
NI, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp group, closed down the News of the World paper in response to the hacking scandal.