Saturday, November 1, 2008

Brand target of bitterness at BBC

By Charlotte Groves Saturday, 1 November 2008

The full scale of the management breakdown at Radio 2 began to emerge yesterday, as a traumatic week for the BBC ended with internal recriminations about the basic failure to follow editorial guidelines.
The chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, said that neither he nor the director-general, Mark Thompson, knew about the lewd phone calls made by the Radio 2 presenters Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross until they read about the row in last Sunday’s newspapers, eight days after the original broadcast.
Sir Michael suggested that the failure of managers to inform him and Mr Thompson of the matter was a reason why Radio 2’s controller, Lesley Douglas, had quit. He said: “That is itself an issue, of which I’m absolutely clear, and that is why people have acknowledged their responsibility in that failing.”

BT to axe thousands after shock profits warning

By Amanda Andrews Last Updated: 7:36PM GMT 31 Oct 2008

BT is expected to cut thousands of jobs worldwide in its Global Services division following a disappointing performance in the second quarter, forcing the telecoms group to sound a shock profits warning and raising doubts about the dividend.
BT Group Chief executive Ian Livingston has drafted in group finance director Hanif Lalani as Global Services chief executive with a remit to cut costs, following the resignation of Francois Barrault. BT has still to find a replacement for Mr Lalani, who will be assisted by Ray Leclercq, the chief executive of BT's Openreach and an experienced cost-cutter. Mr Leclercq will become chief financial officer of the troubled division.

Barclays' shareholders angry at generous terms of £7bn Middle Eastern fund raising

By Katherine Griffiths, Financial Services Editor Last Updated: 10:21AM GMT 01 Nov 2008

Barclays has angered shareholders by offering new Middle Eastern investors a more generous than expected package in return for capital which will see the UK bank raise £7bn from the private sector.
The deal will mean Barclays is the only major British bank which will not have to take money from the taxpayer, keeping it free of the constraints the Government has said it will impose on dividends, bonuses and lending levels.
But that freedom has come at a high price. Analysts yesterday estimated the financing will cost Barclays at least £1bn more than if it had used the Government’s bail-out package, which is being taken up by Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and HBOS.
Sandy Chen, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “The terms of this capital raising are expensive, especially compared to the financing terms that had been on offer from the UK Government.” Alex Potter at Collins Stewart said: “Government intervention is being avoided at a very high cost.”

Exclusive: SAS chief quits over 'negligence that killed his troops'

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:42AM GMT 01 Nov 2008

The commander of Britain's SAS troops in Afghanistan has resigned in disgust, accusing the Government of "gross negligence" over the deaths of four of his soldiers.
Major Sebastian Morley claims that Whitehall officials and military commanders repeatedly ignored his warnings that people would be killed if they continued to allow troops to be transported in the vulnerable Snatch Land Rovers.
As a result, he says Cpl Sarah Bryant – the first female soldier to die in Afghanistan – and three male colleagues, the SAS soldiers, Cpl Sean Reeve, L/Cpl Richard Larkin and Paul Stout were killed needlessly.
All four died when their lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover split apart after hitting a landmine in Helmand province in June.
In his resignation letter, Major Morley, the commander of D Squadron, 23 SAS, said "chronic underinvestment" in equipment by the Ministry of Defence was to blame for their deaths

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Five men arrested over plot to 'blow up government buildings'

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent Last Updated: 12:19AM BST 22 Oct 2008

Five men have been arrested by counter-terrorism police in connection with an alleged plot to blow up government buildings.
A police officer leaves the home of one of those arrested Photo: PA
The men are being held in connection with an investigation into activities which date back more than a year and are no-longer considered active, the Daily Telegraph has learned.
Their arrests follow an investigation into a man called Parviz Khan from Small Heath, Birmingham, who was jailed for life earlier this year after pleading guilty to plotting to kidnap and execute a British soldier, sources said.
West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit said they had conducted a "long and complex investigation" before making the arrests in raids at 6am on Tuesday morning.

The five men, aged between 29 and 36, were detained under the Terrorism Act and police searched their homes along with three other properties.

Britain faces threat from radicalised Muslims for 30 years, says security minister

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 7:19AM BST 22 Oct 2008

Britain will face a threat from radicalised young Muslims for another 30 years, the Security Minister Lord West has said.
Lord West warned that it will take decades to win the argument against terrorism and extremism in some sections of British society.
"To stop this radicalisation of extremists is going to take about 30 years," the minister told MPs on the Commons Defence Committee.
He added that no matter how much work the Government puts into improving Britain's ability to detect and thwart terrorist plots, the threat will only be overcome by persuading Muslims not to engage in violence.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

UK is in recession, says Bank of England Governor Mervyn King

By Edmund Conway and Angela Monaghan Last Updated: 7:41AM BST 22 Oct 2008

Britain is now in recession after the banking system came closer to collapse than at any time since the beginning of the First World War, according to the Governor of the Bank of England.
Mervyn King has become the first major UK economic policymaker to warn explicitly that Britain is heading into technical recession, but he said that history was likely to judge the Government’s £37bn banking recapitalisation as the turning point in the sector’s crisis.
In an unusually frank speech in Leeds last night, Mr King laid bare the devastation left by the worst financial crisis in living memory, predicting that house prices would fall further and that economic hardship would last for years.
He said: “The combination of a squeeze on real take-home pay and a decline in the availability of credit poses the risk of a sharp and prolonged slowdown in domestic demand. It seems likely that the UK economy is entering a recession.”