Friday, 30 September 2011

Police warn they may not be able to afford Tesco's £3m riot compensation bill


In total, the retailer has asked for nearly £3m in compensation from police forces around the country, following the riots that tore through some high streets in August. It is likely that this is the biggest request from a single retailer. The company is claiming under the Riot Damages Act, a piece of Victorian legislation that allows businesses and individuals affected by riot damage to claim directly from the police, rather than their own insurer. In the immediate aftermath of the civil disturbances, the British Retail Consortium urged small retailers to put in their claims to make sure their businesses were not harmed. However, the Greater Manchester Police Authority, which has been hit with 280 claims totalling £4.4m, has criticised Tesco for using the Act, saying there was no guarantee the police force would be able to afford all of the compensation. The force faces £134m budget cuts in the next five years. It added that J Sainsbury was one of a number of large companies that had chosen not to submit any compensation claims. Tesco has submitted more than 20 claims for compensation to Manchester police, including one for £40-worth of looted stock.

Brussels threatens to sue Britain to let in 'benefit tourists'


Ministers fear the move could leave taxpayers handing out as much as £2.5  billion to EU nationals, including out-of-work “benefit tourists”, a new cost that could wreck Coalition plans for welfare reform. The commission’s threat, on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, has raised the political temperature on Europe still further. In an outspoken attack today, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, says the commission’s move is part of a “wider movement” by the “unelected and unaccountable” European authorities to extend their power over the UK. “This kind of land grab from the EU has the potential to cause mayhem to nation states, and we will fight it,” he writes in The Daily Telegraph. The commission is objecting to Britain’s rules on welfare, claiming they discriminate unfairly against foreigners. To claim benefits in Britain, EU nationals must pass a “right to reside” test. The commission says the test is too tough, and wants Britain to apply more generous EU-wide rules.

Legal warning to UK over benefits for EU nationals


The European Commission has threatened legal action against the UK, saying a test of eligibility for benefits discriminates against foreigners. It says it is easier for UK citizens to prove their "right to reside" - a test imposed by the UK for certain benefits - than EU nationals. The commission says it may refer the case to the European Court of Justice. Ministers say it is a "fundamental challenge" to the UK's right to decide its own social security arrangements. The Commission says it has been in talks with the UK for several years over the issue and is responding to a "huge number" of complaints from EU citizens living in the UK. Residence tests On Thursday it announced that it was giving the UK two months to explain how it was going to bring its legislation into line with EU law - prompting UK Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to accuse it of a "land grab" and to pledge to fight it. A range of entitlements - including child benefit, child tax credit, state pension credit, jobseekers' allowance and employment and support allowance - are given only to those with a "right to reside" in the UK. Continue reading the main story WHAT BENEFITS ARE INVOLVED Child benefit Child tax credit State pension credit Jobseekers' allowance The Commission says there are already an EU-wide "habitual residence" rules which are strict enough and the UK is imposing an additional test, which indirectly discriminates against non-UK EU nationals. While UK nationals can easily prove their "right to reside" based on their UK citizenship, other EU nationals have their applications heard on a case-by-case basis, which it says breaches EU social security co-ordination rules giving all citizens equal rights. The Commission gives the example of a woman who moved to the UK and worked from April 2007 to April 2009 when she was made redundant. It says she had paid taxes and National Insurance but was refused claims for jobseekers' allowance. 'Very sound' It says UK citizens in other EU states do not have to meet similar tests and get non-contributory benefits. Laszlo Andor, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, said the EU's legal position was "very sound". Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote We are talking here.. about people who are inactive, people who are looking to come to the UK who are not going to work here” Chris Grayling Employment minister "The EU insists on the right of mobile workers to move from one country to another and, in certain places, they are entitled to benefits," he told the BBC. "We want to protect the rights of all EU citizens." Most people moving abroad already had offers of work or were looking for it, he said, rather than primarily wanting to take advantage of more generous benefits. "It may happen that some of them do not a find a job immediately. It is very important that, in these cases, the rights should be respected." He added that some people might choose to move to a country where benefits were higher but "since we have a European Labour market we have to accept this as a fact". But UK ministers fear taxpayers could be forced into handing out more than £2bn to EU nationals - including so-called "benefits tourists" - if the UK has to comply. 'Difference of opinion' Employment minister Chris Grayling, who met EU officials this week to discuss the issue, said there was a "very definite difference of opinion" between the UK and the Commission. "We are talking here, not about active citizens, not about people who are working but people who are inactive, people who are looking to come to the UK who are not going to work here." He said European law was "all over the place at the moment" and the UK had separately been told by the European courts to make disability benefit payments to a British citizen living in Spain. He said 13 EU states had proposed a "comprehensive review" of policy in the area in June and talks were continuing. Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, which campaigns for Britain's exit from the EU, said: "It is not discrimination but simply a system to ensure that benefits are only paid to those who are entitled to them."

Fake death pensioner 'was greedy'


Anthony McErlean, 66, was jailed for six years for faking his own death in Honduras in 2009 to get a life insurance claim worth £520,000. He also admitted two counts of theft from a pension fund from the Port of London Authority of £27,000 pounds and £40,658 pounds from the Department of Work and Pensions. The pensioner had impersonated his wife to claim he himself had died after being hit by a truck as he was changing a tyre on a road in the Central American country. A fake witness statement was produced to back up story which said farm workers took his body away to the village of Santa Rosa De Aguan. Suspicious officials at the insurance company contacted the Insurance Fraud Bureau, who alerted the Police.

Thurlbeck to fight sacking claim


The News of the World's former chief reporter has broken his silence over the phone-hacking scandal to insist he played "no part" in the matter that led to his sacking. Neville Thurlbeck, 49, was fired by News International earlier this month after being arrested in April on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemails while working at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid. He issued a strongly-worded statement in which he vowed to fight his unfair dismissal claim against his former employers "to the end". Mr Thurlbeck's alleged role in the scandal has been closely scrutinised since details emerged of a June 2005 email headed "for Neville" which contained transcripts of illegally intercepted voicemail messages. The email, which surfaced in April 2008, appeared to contradict News International's previous stance that phone hacking was confined to a single "rogue reporter". Speaking out for the first time since his name was linked to the scandal through the "for Neville" email, Mr Thurlbeck said: "At the length, truth will out. I await that time with patience, but with a determination to fight my case to the end." The Sunderland-born journalist alleged that his former employers withheld the reason for his dismissal for nearly a month. He said he found out why he was sacked from Scotland Yard but did not reveal any details for legal reasons. In a statement issued by his law firm DWF, he went on: "I took no part in the matter which has led to my dismissal after 21 years of service. I say this most emphatically and with certainty and confidence that the allegation which led to my dismissal will eventually be shown to be false. "And those responsible for the action, for which I have been unfairly dismissed, will eventually be revealed." Mr Thurlbeck has lodged employment tribunal papers against his former employers. A hearing in his case planned to take place at the East London Tribunal Service was cancelled on Friday.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Rio hit with £500k bill after losing court battle

The England and Manchester United star will now be saddled with paying the estimated £500,000 legal bills incurred by the Sunday Mirror in defence of the lawsuit.

Ferdinand sued the newspaper for misuse of private information after they published details of his 13-year relationship with interior designer Carly Storey, who accepted £16,000 for telling the tale of her liaisons with the defender.

But Mr Justice Nicol dismissed the case at London's high court on Thursday, and refused Ferdinand's legal team permission to appeal.

"Overall, in my judgment, the balancing exercise favours the defendant's right of freedom of expression over the claimant's right of privacy," he said.

The judge was not swayed by Ferdinand's claims that he had not tried to meet Storey after being made England captain, despite claims in the newspaper that he had snuck Storey into the team hotel.

"I did not find this answer persuasive. In his evidence the claimant said that (Fabio) Capello had told him to be professional, not only on the pitch but 'around the hotel'," the judge said.

"In the past, the Claimant (Ferdinand) had not behaved in a professional manner around the hotels into which he had tried to sneak Ms Storey.

"Whether or not he had done that in the few weeks since he had been made the permanent captain of England, his relative recent past failings could legitimately be used to call into question his suitability for the role."

Former England captain Ferdinand, who has three children with wife Rebecca, had told the judge at an earlier hearing that, "I do not see why I should not be entitled to a private life just because I am a famous footballer."

Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver hailed the judge's decision.

"The Sunday Mirror is very pleased that the court has rejected Rio Ferdinand's privacy claim," she said.

"The judge found that there was a justified public interest in reporting the off-pitch behaviour of the then England captain and discussion of his suitability for such an important and ambassadorial role representing the country.

"We are pleased the judge ruled that Mr Ferdinand had perpetuated a misleading public image and the Sunday Mirror was entitled to correct this impression.

"There has never been greater scrutiny of the media than now, and we applaud this ruling in recognising the important role a free press has to play in a democratic society."

Paramedics Who Tried To Save Singer's Life Give Evidence


Alberto Alvarez was in charge of back stage during Jackson's final rehearsal on June 24, 2009. He described Jackson as "happy and in good spirits" during the performance. "He was doing very well for the most part," he told the Los Angeles court. He explained that he later drove Jackson back to his rented Holmby Hills home and saw Dr Murray's car parked there. He said the last time he saw Jackson alive was when he said "good night" to the singer. Mr Alvarez was the first person who went into Jackson's bedroom after Dr Murray telephoned for help as he was trying to resuscitate the singer. He said Jackson was lying on his back, with his hands extended out to his side, and his eyes and mouth open. "When I came into the room, Dr Murray said 'Alberto, hurry, we have to get to hospital, we have to get an ambulance'." Jackson's logistics director Alberto Alvarez He then described how Jackson's children Paris and Prince entered the room behind him. "Paris screamed out 'Daddy' and she was crying. "Dr Murray said to me 'Don't let them see their dad like this see'. "I ushered the children out and told them 'Don't worry, we will take care of it, everything is going to be OK'." Mr Alvarez asked what had happened, to which Dr Murray replied: "He had a bad reaction". Two paramedics who tried to save Jackson's life are also due to give evidence on day three of the trial. Martin Blount and Richard Senneff are expected to say that Jackson already appeared to be dead when they arrived at his home on June 25, 2009. The court will also hear from another key witness - Jackson's personal chef Kai Chase. Sky's US correspondent Greg Milam, who is at the court, said: "There are fewer demonstrators, fans of Michael Jackson, and supporters of Dr Murray here today - but they are still being very vocal in their support of both sides in the case." On Wednesday, Jackson's security chief revealed how the star's children crumpled in shock, as they saw their apparently dead father being given heart massage in his bedroom. The court also heard that Dr Conrad Murray, accused of involuntary manslaughter over Jackson's death two years ago, asked aides if any of them knew how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). "Paris was on the ground balled up crying, and Prince was standing there, and he just had a real shocked, you know just slowly crying type of look on his face," bodyguard Faheem Muhammad, referring to two of Jackson's three children, said. "I went and gathered them together, and I kind of talked to them for a second, got the nanny... and we walked downstairs and put them in a different location," he said. He was describing the scene after he was called up to the master bedroom of Jackson's rented Los Angeles mansion where the star died after an overdose of a powerful sedative. The defence team for the doctor insists Jackson self-administered other sedatives, prompting the overdose while his physician was outside the bedroom. Dr Murray, 58, faces up to four years in jail if convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering the overdose of Propofol.

Raids in 7 countries in $200M investment fraud


Dutch authorities say raids have been conducted in seven countries in connection with an alleged $200 million investment fraud scheme, and four men have been arrested. The country's financial crime prosecutors say they suspect hundreds of investors were conned into fraudulent investments in U.S. life insurance policies by a firm called Quality Investments BV. Prosecutors said Wednesday four Dutch men have been arrested, two in the Netherlands and one each in Switzerland and Turkey. Raids were also conducted in Spain, Dubai, England and the United States, in which millions of euros in assets were seized in hopes of recovering some money for duped investors.

Motorway speed limit to be raised


The speed limit on Britain’s motorways is set to rise to 80mph but with a big expansion in the number 20mph zones in cities and towns, The Independent has learnt. As part of a deal negotiated with the Liberal Democrats the Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond is expected to announce the Government’s intention to bring in the new speed limit at the Conservative conference. Ministers will then consult on the proposal later in the year along with plans to significantly expand the number of areas in Britain covered by 20mph zones.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Dr. Conrad Murray spent 45 minutes on the phone as Michael Jackson lay dying,


Dr. Conrad Murray spent 45 minutes on the phone as Michael Jackson lay dying, according to the prosecution in his involuntary manslaughter case. The medic was accused of making five calls to friends and for business purposes after administering a 25mg dose of anesthetic Propofol to the singer at 10.40am on June 25, 2009. Michaels' family, including parents Katherine, 81, and Joe, 82, his siblings Janet, 45, La Toya, 55, Tito, 57, Randy, 49, and Jermaine, 56, looked on as the prosecution and defense gave their opening statements in Dr. Murray's trial yesterday (27.09.11). Prosecution lawyers told the court in Los Angeles the doctor was speaking to cocktail waitress Sade Anding when he first noticed something was wrong with Michael at 11.51am. Deputy District Attorney David Walgren told the jury: "This phone call is likely the time Conrad Murray first noticed Michael Jackson's lifeless body. It won't reveal to you the time of Michael Jackson's death but it may reveal to you when Conrad Murray first noticed he had died. "Sade Anding was speaking on the phone when she realized there was no response on the other end.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Tony Blair is unaccountable over business interests, adviser says


More questions have been raised over Tony Blair's lucrative business activities after an adviser in his role as a Middle East peace envoy said the former Prime Minister continued to operate outside a defined code of conduct. Channel 4's Dispatches, due to be broadcast tonight, claims that Mr Blair is not required publicly to disclose his commercial interests as he would if he were an MP. Mr Blair combines a £2m-a-year consultancy with the US investment bank JP Morgan with his unpaid post in Jerusalem, where he is heading international efforts in preparation for a future Palestinian state. He also advises the insurance group Zurich Financial, while his company Tony Blair Associates signed a reported £27m-deal advising the Kuwaiti government. They are among a string of globetrotting business interests that have seen him build an estimated personal fortune of £20m since leaving office in 2007. But a senior French diplomat Anis Nacrour, who advised Mr Blair on security for three years, has fuelled doubts over the former Labour leader's public accountability.

mass grave containing 1,270 bodies has been found in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, according to the National Transitional Council (NTC).


The remains are believed to be those of inmates who were killed by security forces in 1996 in the Abu Salim prison.

The uprising against Col Muammar Gaddafi began as a protest to demand the release of a lawyer who represented families of the Abu Salim inmates.

Excavation at the site is expected to start soon.

The NTC said it had discovered the site - a desert field scattered with bone fragments within the grounds of the Abu Salim prison - by questioning prison guards who had worked there when the prisoners were killed after protesting against their conditions.

Several bone fragments and pieces of clothing have already been found in the top soil.

'Grenades and gunfire'

Some family members visited the site, among them Sami Assadi, who lost two brothers in the incident.

He was told they had died of natural causes only five years ago. He told the BBC how it felt to be at the place where his brothers may be buried.

"Mixed feelings really. We are all happy because this revolution has succeeded, but when I stand here, I remember my brothers and many, many friends have been killed, just because they did not like Muammar Gaddafi."

Until recently, little was known about the circumstances in which the prisoners died, says the BBC's Jonathan Head who went down to the site.

A few eyewitnesses have talked about the fact they were killed in their jail cells by grenades and sustained gunfire after a protest.

Officials in the new government say they will need foreign forensic help to determine exactly what happened there.

Missourian, "soldiers ... shot Crips gang members; in retaliation Crips has asked its members to shoot any soldiers on sight.


Missouri National Guard soldiers and airmen were still on "alert" Saturday afternoon to "avoid wearing a military uniform in public" because of a "direct threat" in retaliation to a gang-related shooting around Fort Sill, Okla., earlier in the week. The cautionary warning  was issued Friday. According to an internal memo leaked to the Columbia Missourian, "soldiers ... shot Crips gang members; in retaliation Crips has asked its members to shoot any soldiers on sight." MoreStory Related Articles Oklahoma shooting leads gang to threaten Missouri National Guard According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Crips is a collection of gangs throughout the U.S. with an estimated membership between 30,000 and 35,000 operating out of 221 cities in 41 states. Missouri is one of those states. Lt. Col. Levon E. Cumpton, who issued the memo, said the message "came out through Army channels"; Fort Sill is an Army base in Lawton, Okla. He called the action a "precautionary measure." According to Cumpton's memo, National Guard troops were instructed not to "wear a military uniform out for evening dining, shopping, and other personal matters." Full-time members were cautioned to "consider commuting to/from work in civilian clothes — specifically, if they need to make personal stops between home and work." Spokesmen for the Missouri National Guard and Fort Sill declined to elaborate on the incident, saying the investigation is in the hands of the Lawton, Okla., Police Department. Yet as of Saturday afternoon, "the alert has not been rescinded," said Maj. Tammy Spicer, the public affairs officer for the Missouri National Guard.  The decision to call off the alert will come from the Joint Operations Center in Jefferson City.  "As far as we know, and even the Lawton Police Department know," the gang’s threat is "just an unsubstantiated rumor," said Fort Sill Public Affairs Officer Keith Pannell during a phone call late Friday night. KSWO-TV 7 News in Lawton reported two Air Force bases in Oklahoma, Tinker and Altus, issued similar orders to enlisted soldiers. The Altus Air Force Base Facebook page commented Friday night on receiving "information on a criminal threat to military members in the Lawton-Fort Sill area." The incident that sparked the direct threat seems to be tied to a "brutal” home invasion in Lawton earlier in the week, with the four main suspects in the invasion being Fort Sill soldiers. They are believed to be responsible for shooting four people and injuring two others early Tuesday morning who, according to rumors circulating in the city, were gang members with ties to the Crips. The Missourian was unable to reach the chief of police who is handling the case.

Saudi women given right to vote


Saudi Arabia will allow women to stand for election and vote, the king announced on Sunday, in a significant policy shift in the conservative Islamic kingdowm. In a five-minute speech, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud said women will also take part in the next session of the unelected, advisory Shura Council, which vets legislation but has no binding powers. "Because we refuse to marginalise women in society in all roles that comply with sharia, we have decided, after deliberation with our senior ulama (clerics) and others... to involve women in the Shura Council as members, starting from the next term," he said in a speech delivered to the advisory body. "Women will be able to run as candidates in the municipal election and will even have a right to vote." Women's rights are regarded as a litmus test for the government's appetite for social and political reform. Saudi Arabia adheres to a strict version of Islamic law that enforces the segregation of the sexes. "This is great news," said Wajeha al-Huwaider, a Saudi writer and women's rights activist. "Women's voices will finally be heard. "Now it is time to remove other barriers like not allowing women to drive cars and not being able to function, to live a normal life without male guardians."

Settling in Britain is a privilege not a right


THE following is the summary of a speech delivered on September 15, 2011, by Britain’s Immigration Minister Damian Green at the Centre for Policy Studies [see full speech]. The speech is an indicator of the possible policy changes that will come out of the consultation currently underway into the reform of family migration. The consultation opened on July 13, 2011, and will close on October 6, 2011. It is important that as migrants to this country, we take time out to respond to this consultation as judging from Green’s speech it will have far reaching consequences for immigrants . Some of the proposals on the table include the following: # Whilst recognising that marriage is a personal decision, it is argued that it has implications on the wider society and therefore the spouse seeking settlement will be expected to demonstrate that they have integrated into British society. It is proposed to increase the probationary period for a non-EEA spouse or partner to apply for settlement from two to five years. It is argued that, this will allow additional time to integrate into British life and give authorities a longer period in which to test the genuineness of the relationship before permanent residence in the UK is granted on the basis of it. Ministers also believe this will also make the route less attractive to those whose sole purpose is to gain settlement in Britain. It is also argued that extending the probationary period will reduce the burden to the taxpayer by postponing access to non-contributory benefits like income support. # Immediate settlement for adult dependents will be stopped. Currently under paragraph 317 of the immigration rules, a sponsor who is settled in the UK can sponsor adult dependents in certain circumstances. Instead, a probationary period of five years will be introduced before they can apply for settlement. As a result, their in-country application for settlement will be subject to meeting the English language skills requirement. # In fact the English language test is to be extended to all adult family migrants under 65 as well as dependents aged 16 and 17. The justification Green uses for this is the rather shock data that in one year, 2009-10, the Department of Work and Pensions spent £2.6 million on telephone interpreting services and nearly £400,000 on document translation. # The outcome of the consultation is likely to come up with a minimum maintenance threshold. Presently, it has been safe to argue that if the income meets the income support threshold then it demonstrates sufficiently that they can be accommodated and maintained without recourse to public funds. The Migration Advisory Committee has been tasked to come up with a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of dependents for maintenance and accommodation. The new threshold will take into account the number and age of the dependents sponsored. # It looks like third party support is on its way out except in compelling and compassionate circumstances. Presently, it has been possible to show that a third party will assist with the maintenance requirements. But Green argues that it is not easy for the UK Border Agency to verify this. # The dependents of points-based migrants are to face a probationary period increase of two to five years before settlement. # For some time now, there has been an expression of dissatisfaction by the UK Border Agency about the right of appeal in family visit visa matters. It will come as a surprise given what appears to be routine refusals from the Pretoria entry clearance team that a staggering 73% of the family visits applications are granted. Green argues that the tax payer has to foot the bill for the right of appeal where people produce better evidence than they could have produced at the initial application stage. His argument is reinforced by the statics that family visit appeals made up 40% of all immigration appeals and that it cost the taxpayer around £40 million a year. About 63% of the family visits matters are allowed on appeal. The consultation proposes to end the right of appeal and argues that one can submit a new application instead. As I stated above, it is a good idea to read the consultation and respond to it. At first blush, the 77-page consultation document can appear daunting but it does provide a useful insight into where this government intends to take its immigration policy

Saturday, 24 September 2011

UBS CEO Gruebel resigns over rogue trading loss


UBS chief executive Oswald Gruebel has resigned over a $2.3 billion loss caused by rogue trading at its investment division, which is to be restructured now to prevent similar incidents in future, the Swiss bank said Saturday. Gruebel, who had come under heavy pressure from shareholders over the scandal, said he hoped his resignation would allow the bank to restore its reputation in the eyes of clients and investors. Article Controls EMAIL REPRINT NEWSLETTER SHARE "As CEO, I bear full responsibility for what occurs at UBS ( UBS - news - people )," he said in a memo to staff. "From my first day on the job I placed the reputation of the bank above all else. That is why I want to and must act according to my convictions." UBS Europe chief Sergio P. Ermotti will take over immediately as interim chief executive until Gruebel's replacement is appointed. Gruebel's departure caps 10 days of speculation over his future following the bank's announcement that a single London-based trader had evaded internal control systems and gambled away $2.3 billion. The trader, 31-year-old Kweku Adoboli, was arrested Sept. 15 and charged with fraud and false accounting. A judge ordered him Thursday to be held in jail until a hearing next month.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Tech Savvy Street Gangs Take On Social Media


The fight against Indiana’s gangs isn’t always waged on the street. School officials, social workers and probation officers said the newest battle ground in gang warfare is social media. According to Indianapolis anti-crime advocates who attended a gang awareness seminar on Friday, Indy gang members are younger, more mobile, and they’re using social media networks to recruit and plan. An Indianapolis Metro Police Department gang unit detective said he carries out most of his investigations online and undercover, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported. "I have a Facebook account. My alter-ego has over 210 gang member friends. I have a completely fictitious account,” the IMPD detective said. IMPD have identified more than 300 street gangs in Indianapolis, all of them engaging in various levels of assaults, thefts, robberies and even murder. Lt. Marshall DePew said that because of the gangs’ expansive territory, police have expanded their base of operation, too. "We've expanded our detectives in the unit, and we’ve expanded the number of deputy prosecutors. We have a great liaison with the U.S. attorney’s office. I think more so than ever before, I think we're doing a better job of connecting the dots," DePew said. Police said that every school district in every Indiana county has a gang presence. In Hagerstown in Wayne County, school officials have banned bandannas, sagging pants and cellphone use in school. Officials said they're also contemplating a uniform dress code for students. Dave Land, assistant principal at Hagerstown High School, said he warns parents about the dangers of social media. "I tell parents that if you allow your kids to be on Facebook or do the texting, you're probably going to get into a bullying situation with your son or daughter,” Land said. Police and gang experts agreed that the best deterrent in gang involvement begins at home.

Media group faces new hacking blows


New allegations about the phone-hacking scandal have hit News International, with claims of more victims and fresh legal rows. It was revealed tonight that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson is suing News Group Newspapers, the publishing arm of the media giant. Papers were served at the High Court on Thursday "regarding the termination of the payment for his legal action". A spokesman for law firm DLA Piper, which represents Mr Coulson, said: "We can confirm that proceedings have been issued." News International declined to comment. It had been reported earlier this month that News International was paying DLA Piper for their legal advice to Mr Coulson following his arrest. Mr Coulson resigned from his position as Prime Minister David Cameron's spin chief in January and was later arrested on suspicion of corruption and phone hacking. He is on police bail. It has also emerged that the family of Jade Goody fear the late celebrity could have had her phone hacked and are reportedly set to contact Scotland Yard. The police force said it would not comment on individual cases. Publicist Max Clifford told The Guardian that Ms Goody's mother Jackiey Budden also believes she was targeted. He said: "She will be going to the police. She believes her phone was hacked by the News of the World, and Jade's. Jade told me, 'I'm convinced my phone is being hacked'." News International also declined to comment on the allegations. In addition, it has been alleged tonight that Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of News of the World was paid more than £25,000 by News International while working at Scotland Yard as a police consultant. A Scotland Yard spokesman said that Mr Wallis's contract with the police force included confidentiality, data protection and conflict of interest clauses, all of which would have prohibited him from selling on any information while employed by them.

This is the buff soldier who exchanged numbers with Cheryl Cole.

Andy Baker plans to meet up with the former X Factor judge after the pair met during her morale-boosting trip to Afghanistan.

The pair were introduced at an award presentation at Camp Bastion and met again a barracks dinner.

New man? Soldier Andy Baker caught Cheryl Cole's eye during her moral-boosting trip to Afghanistan and he hopes to take her out for dinner

New man? Soldier Andy Baker caught Cheryl Cole's eye during her moral-boosting trip to Afghanistan and he hopes to take her out for dinner

They posed for several photos together and once Cheryl returned home, she said she planned to give her 'gorgeous soldier' a call.

Buff: It's easy to see what attracted the singer to Andy, known as Bagsy to his friends

Buff: It's easy to see what attracted the singer to Andy, known as Bagsy to his friends

Andy, 25, who is known as Bagsy to his peers, plans to meet up with her once he returns home.

His brother-in-law Graham Peck told the Daily Mirror yesterday: 'Andy would love to take Cheryl out for dinner when he’s back in the UK.

'He thought she was absolutely lovely, and really gorgeous – I think all the guys did.



“Andy contacted me through Facebook, raving about Cheryl and even made a photo of them his profile picture.

'They met up a couple of times during her trip and hit it off.'

But the Girls Aloud star may have to wait until next month as Andy has no mobile phone service until October 1.

Graham added: 'When Bagsy read that Cheryl was planning on ringing her mystery soldier, he panicked because he’s not allowed to have his phone on for another nine days – it’s military rules.

'He wants her to know that he’ll be in touch the moment he lands, and wants her to wait for him. Andy’s a great guy and keeps himself fit in the gym.'


Popstar to soldier: Cheryl was seen wearing army fatigues with her surname embroided on the pocket of her shirt

Popstar to soldier: Cheryl was seen wearing army fatigues with her surname embroided on the pocket of her shirt

Andy, of Colchester, Essex, sports an enviable six-pack and has a tattoo sprawling from his left wrist and across his chest.

He serves with the tough 3 Commando Brigade, the Royal Navy’s amphibious infantry and has been in the Marines for four years.

Andy is currently based in the Marines’ Logistics branch and earns about £29,000 a year, compared with Cheryl's ex husband Ashley Cole's £90,000 a week.

He is also apparently a keen footballer.

One of the troops: Cheryl with a group of servicemen

One of the troops: Cheryl with a group of servicemen during her visit to Afghanistan

After her trip, Cheryl said: 'Not only are the soldiers incredibly brave, a few were incredibly cute. There was a bit of banter with a couple of the lads and yes, a few flirted I think.

'I came back with a phone number from one lad, although I think his talking to me was a dare.

'I think I am going to call him this week and let’s see what happens. I’m sure he’s not expecting us to, but that’s why it’ll be funny.'

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas makes UN statehood bid


Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has submitted his bid to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state. To rapturous applause in the General Assembly, he urged the Security Council to back a state with pre-1967 borders. He said the Palestinians had entered negotiations with Israel with sincere intentions, but blamed the building of Jewish settlements for their failure. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he was reaching out to Palestinians and blamed them for refusing to negotiate. "I continue to hope that President Abbas will be my partner in peace," he said in his speech in New York. "Let's meet here today in the United Nations. Who's there to stop us?" Mr Netanyahu added that the core of the conflict was not settlements but the refusal of the Palestinians to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. Hours after receiving it, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon transmitted the Palestinian request to the Security Council. Israel and the US say a Palestinian state can only be achieved through talks with Israel - not through UN resolutions. 'Come to peace' President Barack Obama told Mr Abbas on Thursday that the US would use its UN Security Council veto to block the move. Continue reading the main story Analysis Jeremy Bowen BBC Middle East editor, New York Some delegations here at the UN in New York gave Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas a standing ovation - they were clapping and even whistling in support. That is significant because if it comes to a vote in the Security Council - and if the Americans veto it - Palestinians have a Plan B. That Plan B is to go to the General Assembly - where there are no vetoes - and get enhanced status, not full membership but something better than they have now. The Palestinians say they want to negotiate but not in the way they have negotiated before - there has to be clear parameters and a timetable. The Palestinian point is that since 18 years of negotiation has not worked, let's try something new. "I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to vote in favour of our full membership," he told the General Assembly, in what was for him an unusually impassioned speech. He added that he hoped for swift backing. Many delegates gave him a standing ovation. "I also appeal to the states that have not yet recognised the State of Palestine to do so." "The time has come for my courageous and proud people, after decades of displacement and colonial occupation and ceaseless suffering, to live like other peoples of the earth, free in a sovereign and independent homeland," he said. He urged Israel to "come to peace". And he said the building of Jewish settlements was "the primary cause for the failure of the peace process". A spokesman for the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, criticised the speech. Salah Bardawil said Mr Abbas had deviated from the aspirations of the Palestinian people by accepting the 1967 borders, which he said left 80% of Palestinian land inside Israel. 'Future and destiny' Meanwhile in the West Bank, crowds roared their approval as Mr Abbas demanded UN acceptance of a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders. Continue reading the main story Middle East viewpoints Analyst Yezid Sayigh argues that US and Israeli policies have forced the Palestinians to resort to requesting full UN membership. Israeli commentator Yossi Klein Halevi argues that the Palestinians need to convince the Israelis that any state would not be a threat. "With our souls, with our blood, we will defend Palestine," they said. Mr Abbas had called for peaceful marches in support of his initiative, but some clashes were reported: One Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli troops during clashes in the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, Palestinian sources say At the Qalandiya checkpoint, Israeli troops fired tear gas on stone-throwing Palestinian youths In the village of Nabi Saleh, protesters burned Israeli flags and pictures of President Obama The process began with Mr Abbas presenting a written request for a State of Palestine to be admitted as a full UN member state to the UN secretary general. The BBC's Kim Ghattas at the UN says that until the last minute Western diplomats tried and failed to stop the Palestinians making the request. Even now, efforts are under way to restart direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians in an attempt to defuse tensions, our correspondent says. The Security Council will examine it and vote on the request. In order to pass, it would need the backing of nine out of 15 council members, with no vetoes from the permanent members. A Security Council vote could take weeks to come about and the US may not even need to exercise its veto - Washington and Israel have been lobbying council members to either vote against the Palestinian plan or abstain. Continue reading the main story Palestinian UN membership bid Palestinians currently have permanent observer entity status at the UN They are represented by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Officials now want an upgrade so a state of Palestine has full member status at the UN They seek recognition on 1967 borders - in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Enhanced observer member status could be an interim option Q&A: Palestinians' UN statehood plans Why Obama has turned towards Israel French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged a compromise, suggesting the General Assembly give the Palestinians enhanced status as a non-member state to allow a clear timeline for talks - a month to start negotiations, six months to deal with borders and security and a year to finalise a "definitive agreement". A vote on enhanced status - enjoyed by others such as the Vatican - would not require a Security Council recommendation but a simple majority in the General Assembly, where no veto is possible. Currently the Palestinians have observer status at the UN. The "Quartet" of US, European, Russian and UN mediators has been working on reaching a framework agreement to restart talks, based on Mr Obama's vision of borders fashioned from Israel's pre-1967 boundary, with agreed land swaps.

Dowler lawyer pursues US legal action against News Corp


The solicitor who represented the family of Milly Dowler in their phone-hacking claims against News Corporation on Friday announced he has teamed up with US lawyers with a view to initiating proceedings targetting Rupert Murdoch and his son James. Mark Lewis of Taylor Hampton has instructed Norman Siegel, a New York-based lawyer who represents 20 9/11 families to seek witness statements from News Corp and directors including the Murdochs in relation to allegations that News of the World staff may have bribed police. He says he intends to assess whether he can launch a class action against News Corp using American foreign corruption laws, which make it illegal for US companies to pay bribes to government officials abroad. "There is a provision within US law, before you start an action to seek depositions from individuals, in this case, such as James Murdoch and Rupert Murdoch and other directors of News Corp," said Lewis. He added Siegel would examine allegations of not just police bribery but also phone hacking and "foreign malpractices." The move will be a fresh setback for News Corp which has been trying to insulate itself against contagion from the UK phone-hacking scandal that has engulfed its British publishing empire. Separately, it emerged that this week US prosecutors at the Department of Justice have written to Murdoch's News Corporation requesting information on alleged payments made to the British police by the News of the World. The DoJ is looking into whether the company may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Under FCPA laws, American companies are banned from paying representatives of a foreign government to gain a commercial advantage. The decision to co-ordinate legal efforts on both sides of the Atlantic comes just days after News International confirmed it was in settlement talks with the parents of the murdered 13-year-old schoolgirl. News International is discussing a total package of around £3m including a personal donation from Rupert Murdoch of £1m to a charity of the Dowler's choice. News Corp declined to comment but it is understood that senior executives question whether there is any basis for Lewis's actions.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Scottish supermarkets face extra tax on selling alcohol


Plans to hike business rates for major retailers of alcohol and tobacco in Scotland could see supermarkets pay around £110 million in tax over the next three years.   Finance Secretary John Swinney announced the new levy yesterday, as part of the Scottish government’s Spending Review.   Swinney said the review contained “tough choices, because of the cuts from Westminster that go too far, too fast”.   “We have had to restrict pay costs, reluctantly implement pensions increases on public sector staff, and maximise the income gained from asset sales,” he said.   He outlined that part of the extra revenue brought in would come from a tax on major retailers who sell alcohol and tobacco.   The measure was a surprise announcement, as during the last parliament a proposal to introduce a “Tesco tax” was voted down and it was not included the SNP’s manifesto.   Scottish Retail Consortium director Ian Shearer said: “This new tax is a blatant fund-raising exercise which is illogical and discriminatory. It targets a part of the retail sector which funds Drinkaware, rigorously prevents under-age sales with Challenge 25 and has led the way on clear alcohol labelling, giving it an exemplary record on the sale of alcohol and tobacco.   “Supermarket margins are already cut to the bone as stores compete to offer the best deals to cash-strapped consumers. The UK already has some of the highest alcohol taxes in Europe. This tax would make it harder for food retailers to keep prices down for customers, and makes Scotland a less attractive place to do business, invest and create jobs.”   The WSTA's Jeremy Beadles said he was "disappointed" the meaure had been announced with no consultation.   "The tax on large retailers will place an additional burden on Scottish businesses and push the price up for all consumers regardless of whether they consume alcohol at all,” he added.   “At a time of financial constraint, when many businesses in Scotland are already feeling the pinch and paying increase rates, we do not believe that punishing responsible consumers in Scotland with another tax is either fair or justified.”     Minimum alcohol unit pricing could become as reality north of the border by next summer, although the price has not yet been set. The Scottish government claims it is the “most effective and efficient way” of reducing consumption and alcohol related harm.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A top surfer has been killed after a quick and brutal shark attack on the French-owned island of Reunion.


Surfing generic - 0

Mathieu Schiller, 32, was dragged off his surfboard on Boucan Canot beach in the Indian Ocean by a man-eating tiger shark and quickly killed in an attack that lasted less than 30 seconds.

Schiller, who was a European team body boarding champion in 1995, was one of a large group surfing in the area when the attack happened.

Fellow surfers searched for the Frenchman's body but police later said it had been carried away by the waves.

"There were around 20 people in shallow water and about five surfers out deeper when it happened," a witness told a local news agency.

"We saw the shark’s nose emerge and then the man just vanished. It was very sudden, then the animal just swam off.

"Some of those nearby tried to reach him but his body was dragged away by the current."

Schiller is the second person to be killed by a shark on the island this year while three further people have been injured - including one man who had his leg bitten off.

Briton Ian Redmond, 32, was also killed by a shark while on his honeymoon in the Seychelles last month.

Who needs The X Factor when you have your own shoe line?

Credit: Mike Marsland/


Cheryl Cole was all smiles at the Olivier National Theatre in London on Monday night, where the ousted X Factor judge was celebrating her newest venture -- fabulous footwear!


To celebrate her partnership with U.K. fashion website,, the 28-year-old Brit showed off her amazing figure through the sexy cutouts in her scarlet mini dress. She styled her hair into a voluminous bouffant accessorized with a gold headband and sported smoky eye makeup.


The stylish star finished off her look with a pair of sparkling, sky-high heels. But despite their fabulous appearance, weren't such a walk in the park.

"Girls..Don't you just love taking your foot out of a heel and into your slippers..The best! Feels like my feet are having a cuddle.. X," the Girls Aloud singer tweeted after the event.

Cole's limited-edition footwear collection is due to hit stores in December just in time for the holiday season.


"Cheryl is the style icon and is amazingly warm -- a quality that has made her the nation's sweetheart," Stylistpick's CEO, Juliet Warkentin, said. "We believe that the launch will have a huge fashion impact, establishing fashion's greatest influencer as a major force in fashion design."

Cole will also curate her own picks on the site as well as give style tips to users.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Scotland Yard drops Official Secrets Act bid against Guardian


Scotland Yard had intended to take the Guardian newspaper to court on Friday in an attempt to force the newspaper into revealing how it obtained information that missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone had been hacked. However, following discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the force has abandoned its application for production orders against the newspaper. The decision comes following heavy criticism of the force’s attempt to make the Guardian, and one of its journalists, hand over information which would have revealed the source of many of the newspaper’s phone hacking stories. Various MPs, including the shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis, questioned the Yard’s attempt. While many national newspapers carried leading articles condemning the Metropolitan Police’s apparent attack on press freedom. And today the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith told the Daily Telegraph that the force’s decision to invoke the Official Secrets Act was “unusual” and could threaten press freedom.

Jonathan Dimbleby has admitted he tried cocaine and marijuana in his 20s.

Jonathan Dimbleby
 Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian

Veteran broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby has admitted that he tried cocaine once and called on middle-class people dabbling in drugs to think again about the misery they are causing in south America.


The host of long-running BBC Radio 4 show Any Questions? said he has a "contempt for cocaine sniffers in this country who are intelligent middle-class people but do not realise that they are fuelling a drugs war that is leading to misery for millions".


He revealed he took the drug when he was in his early 20s and also tried marijuana but did not enjoy either.


"I had cannabis twice in my early 20s. And once, in America [at around the same age], I did a line of cocaine. I sneezed it all over the place much to the dismay of people around who saw it as this precious substance," Dimbleby said. "It tickled my nose, and then it blocked my nose. And I had no experience from it at all."


Dimbleby, 67, made his remarks in an interview with the Daily Telegraphto publicise his new BBC2 series A South American Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby.


He was shocked by the effects of the cocaine trade in Colombia. "By our criminalising the use of cocaine, of people stuffing their noses with coke, we are causing mayhem to the lives of millions of people in South America," he said.


He did not go as far as calling for the decriminalisation of the drug but said "we should take the matter more seriously".


He added: "I think the criminalisation of drugs globally has produced far greater trouble for everyone than it if were not criminal."


He said it was "ridiculous" to attack public figures such as politicians for having taken drugs when they were at university.


"I think it is ridiculous to lay into adults who happen to have responsibility on the basis of what they did or didn't do at university," Dimbleby said.

Charlie Sheen to pocket $25 million from settlement over ‘Men’ firing

Charlie Sheen to pocket $25 million from settlement over ‘Men’ firing   	Washington: Looks like Charlie Sheen is close to settling his 100-million-dollars legal dispute with Warner Bros. over his firing from the hit sitcom ‘Two and a Half Men’.



A person familiar with the talks, has revealed that the studio is wrapping up a deal to end the litigation.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Sheen is expected to receive about 25 million dollars from the Hollywood studio. The figure represents Sheen’s participation in profits from the show.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Warner Bros. denied there is a settlement and declined to comment further. 


NAVY recruit flipped and killed an officer in a gun rampage on a nuclear sub after he was told off for his cleaning work.

Ryan Donovan, 23, fired his SA80 semi-automatic rifle after his hopes of a voyage on a surface ship were dashed as punishment for his shoddy work.

He was also obsessed with violent video games and told a friend he wanted to carry out a Grand Theft Auto-style "kill frenzy".

Yesterday the HMS Astute able seaman was jailed for life by a judge who heard he opened fire on two superiors he blamed — only to miss.


Victim ... Ian Molyneux with wife Gill
Victim ... Ian Molyneux 
with wife Gill


The shots were heard by Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, who rushed to tackle him during a goodwill visit by the sub to Southampton in April.

Donovan murdered him with a bullet to the head, then stepped over his body to the control room.

There he wounded Lt Cdr Christopher Hodge, 45, in the stomach before being wrestled to the ground by Southampton council leader Royston Smith and chief executive Alistair Neill — who were touring the sub.

Three days earlier Donovan of Dartford, Kent, disobeyed a direct order to clean a section of the sub after it failed inspections, Winchester Crown Court heard.


Hero ... Royston Smith, right, on sub visit
Hero ... Royston Smith, right, on sub visit


Gangsta rap fan Donovan — who called himself Reggie Moondog — told a fellow sailor hours before his rampage: "I'm going to kill somebody. I'm not f****** kidding, and then watch the news."

He admitted murder and attempted murder and was caged for a minimum of 25 years. The widow of the dead officer — a dad of four — wept just feet away.

Outside court Gill Molyneux paid tribute to her Weapons Engineer Officer husband, describing him as "my hero and true love".


Clegg condemns 'grotesque' hacking


No amount of money can absolve News International from hacking in to the phone of Surrey murder victim Milly Dowler, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said , following the disclosure that the company was about to settle its case with the teenager's family. Rupert Murdoch is set to donate £1 million to charity from his own pocket, while the Dowlers themselves will receive in the region of £2 million in a separate payout from News International, the publishers of the now-closed News of the World. The company has confirmed it is in "advanced negotiations" with relatives of the 13-year-old, who was abducted and killed by Levi Bellfield in 2002. On Tuesday Mr Clegg said no amount of money could absolve the company for what happened. He said: "It is not for me to decide what money News International offer the Dowlers. I think it is very, very important we now give the Dowler family the time and space they need to rebuild their lives and move on. "I think the reason why people were so outraged by the invasion of the privacy of the Dowler family is that they weren't celebrities, they weren't politicians, they hadn't asked to be put on the front page of the nation's newspapers. I have met them and they are a lovely, strong, every-day family who lost their daughter and were dealing with that terrible tragedy and even then these journalists - it's just grotesque - were invading their privacy. "In a sense I think, and I am sure the Dowlers feel the same, that no amount of money can absolve people for what they did." News International is reported to have set aside £20 million for payments to phone hacking victims, but a source said the size of the expected compensation for the Dowlers reflected the "wholly exceptional circumstances" of their case. Sources close to the Dowlers have said any agreement will feature a donation to charity. It is not yet known which cause, or causes, would benefit. A News International spokesman said: "News International confirms it is in advanced negotiations with the Dowler family regarding their compensation settlement. No final agreement has yet been reached, but we hope to conclude the discussions as quickly as possible."

Monday, 19 September 2011

Iran arrests six 'BBC Persian film-makers'


The Iranian authorities have arrested a group of film-makers and accused them of working for the BBC Persian service, which is banned in the country. State TV reports that the group of six were paid to make secret reports for the Farsi-language service. The BBC says no-one works for the Persian service inside the country - either formally or informally. The arrests came a day after the service showed a documentary on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The BBC's James Reynolds says the channel's signal, which is sometimes accessible inside Iran, was disrupted during the broadcast. Increasing pressure The corporation said the documentary on the ayatollah was an in-house production and none of the six film-makers had been involved with it. "The individuals in question are independent documentary film-makers whose films have been screened in festivals and other venues internationally," said the statement. "As is common practice for the channel's documentary showcase programme, BBC Persian television bought the rights to broadcast these films." The BBC's language service chief Liliane Landor said BBC Persian had done nothing unusual in buying the rights to independent films. She said the arrests were part of the "ongoing efforts by the Iranian government to put pressure on the BBC" to influence its impartial and balanced coverage of its Farsi-language TV broadcasts. The corporation said BBC Persian has been subject to increasing and aggressive jamming from within Iran. The channel has suffered deliberate attempts to interfere with its signal intermittently since its launch in 2009.

UK Home Office considering gender-neutral passports


The Home Office has said it is considering the possibility of not displaying gender on passports. The proposals follow changes to Australian passport rules, which mean that intersex people who identify as neither gender can be listed as ‘X’, rather than having to choose between male or female. A Home Office spokesman said: “We are exploring with international partners and relevant stakeholders the security implications of gender not being displayed on the passport.” Currently, transgender people can obtain passports in their new gender. But intersex people – those born with chromosomal or genital ambiguity – must pick whether they are male or female. Supporters of gender-neutral passports say there is little need for passports to list gender and argue that other forms of ID do not state the information. Intersex rights campaigner Jennie Kermode told last week that the change would be easy to implement. She said: “The passport offices in the UK will not issue passports with the ‘X’ option now, although they could do so without, as I understand it, any necessary change in UK laws.” Another campaigner, Jane Fae, said: “The issue of documenting gender goes much wider than the ‘feelings of trans and intersect people’. In fact many in the trans community would oppose the removal of gender as its inclusion on passports is vital to ensure safety when travelling abroad. “Many non-trans individuals would be happier not declaring gender for all sorts of reasons. It should be optional for all.”

Ms Moran, 56, looked a shadow of her former self as she arrived to face 21 charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London.


One count alleges that she falsely claimed £22,500 for dry rot on a home in Southampton more than 100 miles from her constituency.

The former Labour member for Luton South sobbed throughout the brief hearing and was passed a tissue by a court official.

No plea was entered and jurisdiction in the case was declined by District Judge Daphne Wickham on the grounds of the nature and complexity of the charges and sums involved.

They allegations consist of 15 counts of false accounting and six of forgery.

Moran, of Ivy Road, St Denys, Southampton, was remanded on unconditional bail to appear at London’s Southwark Crown Court on October 28 for a plea and case management hearing.

The former politician spoke only briefly, in a faltering voice, to confirm her name and date of birth.

Moran looked almost unrecognisable as she arrived at court this morning with a dark grey beret over her head, wearing glasses, and clutching a handkerchief to her mouth.

The auburn tresses and bright clothes seen in previous photographs were replaced by a sober dark suit and blonde hair.

In court she continued to sob into a handkerchief as she waited for the hearing to start.

The criminal probe into Moran began after an investigation by The Daily Telegraph.

Margaret Moran in May 2009 and arriving at Westminster Magistrates Court today (PA/NICHOLAS RAZZELL)

Six held in major anti-terror probe


Six men have been arrested in connection with one of the most significant intelligence-led counter-terrorism operations this year. The men were detained at or near their homes in Birmingham on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK following a joint investigation by both police and MI5. It is understood the investigation relates to suspected Islamist extremism, but it is not thought that an attack or threat was imminent. A seventh person, a 22-year-old woman, was arrested on suspicion of failing to disclose information contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000, police said. West Midlands Police said the "large-scale operation" had been running for some time and had been subject to regular review, adding that the action was necessary "in order to ensure public safety".

Dale Farm residents celebrate court victory


Dale Farm residents have won a last-gasp injunction restraining Basildon Council from clearing structures from the site pending a further hearing at London's High Court on Friday. Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart granted the order at London's High Court on the basis that there was a realistic apprehension that the measures to be taken - while genuinely believed in by the council - "may go further" than the terms of the enforcement notices. Travellers and their supporters had barricaded themselves behind newly built brick walls and chained themselves to fences as officials prepare to evict them from an illegal site in southeast England at the end of a decade-long battle. Supporter Jake Fulton said: "This is really great news but this isn't over yet. It makes us feel we have a really good shot at defending travellers in a way that has never happened before." The showdown between the bailiffs, travellers and a variety of protest groups who have joined their cause marks the climax of one of Britain's most contentious and bitter planning rows in recent years. Basildon Council said last-ditch talks had broken down on Monday morning after the travellers asked for the eviction to be delayed until November 22.

Milly Dowler's family have been offered a multimillion-pound settlement offer by Rupert Murdoch's News International,

Milly Dowler
Phone hacking: Milly Dowler's family are understood to have been offered a seven-figure settlement. Photograph: Surrey Police/PA

Milly Dowler's family have been offered a multimillion-pound settlement offer by Rupert Murdoch's News International, in an attempt to settle the phone-hacking case that led to closure of the News of the World and the resignation of the company's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks.

It is understood that News International has made a settlement offer estimated by sources at close to £3m, a figure that include a £1m donation to charity. But the publisher has not yet reached agreement with the Dowler family, whose lawyers were thought to be seeking a settlement figure of closer to £3.5m.

The seven-figure sums under negotiation are far larger than other phone-hacking settlements reached, reflecting the fact that the phone-hacking case affected a family who were victims of crime. Thirteen-year-old Dowler went missing in March 2002 and was later found murdered.

It emerged in July that Milly Dowler's mobile phone had been hacked after her death. Voicemails were accessed on behalf of the News of the World, and messages left for her were deleted to make room for more recordings. This gave the family false hope that she was still alive, because messages were disappearing.

On Monday afternoon there was growing speculation that a deal is close, although other sources familiar with the negotiations indicated that there are still enough matters unresolved to mean that an agreement in principle had not yet been reached behind the scenes.

Sienna Miller accepted £100,000 from News International after the publisher accepted unconditional liability for her phone-hacking and other privacy and harassment claims in May. A month later Andy Gray accepted £20,000 in damages plus undisclosed costs.

Other lawyers bringing phone-hacking cases are privately indicated that they would be advising many of those bringing actions to try and reach a settlement rather than take their cases to lengthy and expensive trials. A handful of cases have been taken forward as lead actions by Mr Justice Vos, to establish a benchmark for settlements in future lawsuits.

Murdoch met with the Dowler family in July, shortly after the original story about hacking into her phone broke, making what the family's lawyer, Mark Lewis, said was a "full and humble" apology. The News Corporation chairman and chief executive "held his head in his hands" and repeatedly told the family he was "very, very sorry".