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.”

George Osborne fighting for his political life

By Andrew Porter, Robert Winnett and Andrew Pierce Last Updated: 7:24AM BST 22 Oct 2008

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, was fighting for his political future after he admitted discussing a substantial donation to the Conservative Party from a controversial Russian oligarch.
Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire who is banned from the US, is alleged to have offered to donate £50,000 to the Tories despite not being eligible to vote in this country.
The money was supposedly to be "channelled" via a British company that he owns, as foreigners are banned from donating to British political parties under electoral law.
The donation was offered following four meetings between the shadow chancellor and the aluminium tycoon in Corfu.

Friday, October 17, 2008

OECD report attacks British failure to tackle corporate bribery and corruption

By Russell Hotten Last Updated: 12:01PM BST 17 Oct 2008

Britain's failure to tackle corporate bribery and corruption allegations was severely criticised in a report started after the Government blocked an investigation into a huge arms deal between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said it was "disappointed and seriously concerned about the UK's continued failure to address deficiencies in its laws on bribery of foreign public officials and on corporate liability for foreign bribery".
Compiled by the OECD's anti-corruption working group, the report said that British law makes it "very difficult for prosecutors to bring an effective case against a company for alleged bribery offences".
And the Government was slated for its failure to successfully prosecute a single firm for bribery, despite ratifying the body's anti-bribery convention 10 years ago

Financial crisis: David Cameron blames Gordon Brown for Britain's 'broken economy'

By Jon Swaine Last Updated: 12:45PM BST 17 Oct 2008

David Cameron has broken an uneasy truce over the financial crisis blaming Gordon Brown for breaking Britain's economy with policies that now "lie in ruins".
In a blistering criticism of the Prime Minister the Conservative leader accused Mr Brown of "complete and utter failure" in his management of the economy.
While defending his decision to approve Mr Brown's rescue package for Britain's banking sector, Mr Cameron added that he wanted to make "crystal clear" that this was as far as his party's support would go.
"This crisis has highlighted just how mistaken Labour's economic policy has been," Mr Cameron said in a speech in the City of London.
Accusing the Prime Minister of spending and borrowing "without restraint", Mr Cameron said: "The economic assumptions that Gordon Brown made in the last decade now lie in ruins."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Councils trapped in £1bn black hole

By Martin Hickman and Ben Russell Friday, 10 October 2008

Council tax payers are facing increased bills or cuts in services to pay for a £1bn black hole in Britain's town hall finances caused by the sudden collapse of Iceland's banks.
One by one, 127 public bodies owned up yesterday to having multimillion-pound sums frozen with Icelandic financial institutions that have gone bust. Gordon Brown, threatened to retaliate against Iceland's "unacceptable behaviour" by taking legal action to seize its assets in the UK.

Terror trial: 'Bombers shouted God is great as they smashed Jeep into Glasgow airport'

By Duncan Gardham Security Correspondent Last Updated: 5:23PM BST 10 Oct 2008

Two alleged terrorists threw petrol bombs and shouted "Allahu Akbar" - meaning God is great - as they drove a flaming Jeep into Glasgow airport, a court heard.
The vehicle, driven by Kafeel Ahmed, a PhD student from India, smashed into the airport at 3.13pm on June 30 last year.
Ahmed, 28, who died a month after the attack, had prepared a will addressed to Osama bin Laden and the leaders of jihad [holy war] in Iraq, Woolwich Crown Court was told.
The alleged suicide attack was only launched after Ahmed and his associate, Bilal Abdulla, a doctor from Iraq, failed to blow up two Mercedes cars packed with gas canisters, petrol and nails a day earlier outside the London night club Tiger Tiger, it is claimed.
After leaving the cars, the two men fled by catching separate rickshaws to Marble Arch, before meeting up on Edgware Road and returning to Scotland, the court heard, stopping at Stoke-on-Trent to meet Mohammed Asha, a Saudi-born doctor who was on-call at the local hospital.
The next morning they drove to Loch Lomond to prepare for their attack on the airport.

BBC radio presenters suspended after mocking disabled people

By Nicole Martin, Digital and Media Correspondent Last Updated: 4:40PM BST 10 Oct 2008

Two BBC radio presenters have been suspended for using a derogatory term to describe disabled people live on air.
Andrew Hawes and Ian Hart have been taken off the airwaves at BBC Southern Counties after using the term "window licker" during a football phone-in show.
Action was taken after Mr Hart told a football fan to "go and lick a window" during a row about Mickey Adams the manager of Brighton and Hove Albion.
His comment was followed by Mr Hawes urging "any window lickers out there" to call the show.
A Mencap spokesman said the charity was "appalled" that such "offensive language" was still being used.
"People with a learning disability are a valuable part of our society and it is a disgrace that they are treated as objects to make fun of," he said.

FTSE 100 slumps to worst week ever

By Graham Ruddick Last Updated: 7:17PM BST 10 Oct 2008

The FTSE 100 has slumped to its worst week in history, slashing the value of Britain’s top companies by a fifth, as global stock markets endured another traumatic day on mounting fears of recession.
The FTSE 100 plunged more than 10pc this morning after dramatic overnight falls in stock markets around the world. The index of leading UK shares closed down almost 9pc today on 3932.06 points, meaning that the FTSE has fallen 1047.9 points this week, the biggest ever fall. In percentage terms the decline is 21pc , the most since the 28.2pc fall in the week of Black Monday in 1987.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sir Ian Blair to quit Scotland Yard

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent Last Updated: 3:33PM BST 02 Oct 2008

Sir Ian Blair will quit as Britain's top policeman today. The Scotland Yard chief, who has been dogged by a series of controversies, will announce his departure this afternoon.
Despite intense scrutiny and renewed calls for him to resign in the past few months, the timing of his resignation has come as a shock to Scotland Yard colleagues and thrown the leadership of British policing into crisis.
The Daily Telegraph understands that Sir Ian was facing possible suspension from office over an investigation into the awarding of £3 million worth of lucrative Met police contracts to a friend and skiing companion.
It is believed that Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, was considering a vote of no confidence in Sir Ian, forcing the Home Secretary into a decision about his future.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Teenager stabbed 'in £20 debt row' is 27th killed in London this year

By Chris Irvine and Richard Edwards Last Updated: 5:15PM BST 26 Sep 2008

A 19-year-old man has been stabbed to death after an alleged row about a £20 debt - taking teenage killings in London this year to a record level.
Craig Marshall staggered into a nearby police station after he was attacked in Acton Photo: PA One in four murder victims in the capital this year have been teenagers, as police struggle to cope with a surge in youth and gang violence.
The toll reached 27 with the death of Craig Marshall, who staggered into a nearby police station after he was attacked in Acton. Two men, aged 20 and 21 and believed to be Sri Lankan, were arrested and are being questioned by police.

Nine-year-old Midlands girl rescued from forced marriage

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 1:57AM BST 28 Sep 2008

British children as young as nine are being forced into marriage by their families, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
The disclosure comes as official figures show that nearly 60 children aged 15 or under have been rescued by the Government's Forced Marriage Unit in the past four years.
The cases are feared to be the tip of the iceberg. They will fuel concerns, first raised earlier this year, that large numbers of children are disappearing from British schools to be forced into wedlock overseas.

North London terror arrests linked to controversial Muslim book

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter Last Updated: 8:48PM BST 27 Sep 2008

Four people were arrested in London yesterday over an alleged terror attack on the publisher of a controversial book on the prophet Muhammad.
The arrests are connected to a fire at a property in Islington, north London, which is used as the home and office of Martin Rynja, a publisher.
His company, Gibson Square, recently bought the rights to a novel which is considered by some to be more controversial than Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. The new book, about the prophet Muhammad and his child bride, is entitled The Jewel of Medina.
The blaze yesterday, which led to people being evacuated from the house, may have been started by a petrol bomb pushed through the letter box.
Initially, three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were detained at around 2.25am yesterday after a fire broke out at a property in Lonsdale Square, Islington. Two were stopped by armed officers in Lonsdale Square, and the third was seized when a car was stopped by armed police near Angel underground station.

Financial crisis: Bradford & Bingley likely to be nationalised by Treasury

By Edmund Conway and Katherine Griffiths Last Updated: 2:17AM BST 28 Sep 2008

Taxpayers face a multi-billion-pound bill as part of a plan to rescue the stricken mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley, it has emerged.
The biggest buy-to-let operator is on the verge of being nationalised by the Government as time runs out on attempts to find a private buyer.
B&B’s shares will be suspended when the stock market opens on Monday. By that point, the Government will either nationalise the bank or announce a deal to sell it.
Senior Treasury officials are working on a plan to take B&B into public ownership. That could be followed by a swift sale to a bank, with Santander of Spain – which also owns Abbey – seen as the favourite.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Financial crisis: Stamp duty threshold has little impact on housing market, say Rightmove

By Myra Butterworth, Personal Finance Correspondent Last Updated: 12:26am BST 22/09/2008

Gordon Brown’s stamp duty initiative is appears to have had little impact on the housing market as new figures shows it is on its knees.
The latest gloomy property market survey reveals that house prices are continuing their down ward spiral, with the average asking price falling 1 per cent to £227,438 during the five weeks to September 13, according to property website Rightmove.
It brings further misery to home owners who are set to see the cost of mortgages soar following the deepening of the banking crisis last week and the increase in Libor – the rate at which banks lend to one another.

Labour conference: Gordon Brown given nine months to save his job by Cabinet loyalists

By Andrew Porter, Political Editor Last Updated: 6:02AM BST 22 Sep 2008

Gordon Brown has been given until next June by senior Cabinet ministers to prove himself capable of saving Labour from a general election meltdown or face being unseated.
For the first time those loyal to Mr Brown have put a time limit on the Prime Minister's survival.
Mr Brown pleaded for more time to turn around Labour's problems but admitted he had made mistakes. "I will do better," he said.
In Manchester for the Labour party conference, the Prime Minister refused to entertain the idea of stepping down in an attempt to revitalise the party under a new leader. He said he would be letting down the British people if he decided to "bail out."
But one Cabinet minister told the Telegraph he has nine months to improve Labour's standing in the polls.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Channel Tunnel reopens, but where are the passengers?

From Times OnlineSeptember 13, 2008

Restricted services to France and Belgium have begun, but many travellers appear to have made alternative arrangements.
The Channel Tunnel reopened to passenger trains this morning with the first Eurostar train leaving St Pancras station just before 7am.
Eurostar staff said a reduced timetable was running, but because many passengers due to travel today had not shown up they were hopeful most who did would get a train.
One group of holidaymakers heading for Lake Garda in Italy were told to check in early, only to discover they would be travelling around 45 minutes after their original scheduled time.

Nick Clegg faces conference tax rebellion by Liberal Democrat MPs

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 3:56PM BST 13 Sep 2008

Nick Clegg is facing a conference rebellion by left-wing Liberal Democrat MPs and activists trying to block his plans to commit the party to tax cuts.
Mr Clegg wants the Lib Dems to fight the next election promising to cut Government spending by £20 billion.
A senior left-wing Lib Dem MP has openly urged party delegates to reject the cornerstone of Mr Clegg's new economic policy in a vote on Monday.
Mr Clegg wants the Lib Dems to fight the next election promising to cut Government spending by £20 billion and use some of the savings to reduce taxes for poorer families.
The tax plan is part of a shift to the right to defend against David Cameron's Tories. It will be debated at the Lib Dem annual conference on Monday in Bournemouth, with delegates given the final say.

XL holiday firm collapse: Stranded tourists tell of relief at coming home

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter Last Updated: 2:32PM BST 13 Sep 2008

Holidaymakers stranded abroad by the collapse of XL Leisure Group have told of their relief at finally arriving home.
Holidaymakers stranded abroad are beginning to make their way home. A massive airlift was under way to bring some of the 85,000 tourists who were caught out by the shut-down of Britain's third largest tour operator.

This morning, passengers flew into Gatwick Airport on a specially-chartered Monarch Airlines flight from Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, and spoke of their joy at getting home. Alison Hill, 37, said she was left in tears as she worried she would not be able to find a flight back to the UK.

Labour MPs Joan Ryan and Janet Anderson join open revolt against Gordon Brown

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter Last Updated: 4:00PM BST 13 Sep 2008

Gordon Brown is facing a growing revolt from Labour MPs who want to force a leadership election.
Gordon Brown could be facing a coup. An alliance of Labour MPs, including former Ministers, are thought to be seeking a leadership election. At least five more MPs joined the growing clamour against the Prime Minister by calling for a debate and a vote on whether he should continue as party leader.
Joan Ryan, the Labour MP for Enfield North, a vice chair of the party and a former minister, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there should be a "multiplicity" of challengers to compete for the leadership. "I have written to the party and asked for nomination papers to be issued," she said.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Compulsory fasting for all

The Times 1 September 2008

Tower Hamlets has asked non-Muslims to observe aspects of Ramadan

Stephen Pollard

Later this month it's Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It's one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar, so I'd be obliged, please, if you'd all stay at home, turn off the TV and refrain from your usual activities. Ten days after that it's Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jews fast and spend the day in synagogue. So I've also asked my Times colleagues not to work then. And I will be mightily offended if I learn afterwards that any of them have been eating.
You might not think I am being serious. But if I was Head of Democratic Services at Tower Hamlets Council in East London, I would be. Last week John Williams e-mailed each of the borough's 51 councillors with a similar instruction.
For the duration of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, they are, he told them - every one of them, Muslim, Catholic, Jew or atheist - to behave during council meetings as strict Muslims. They are not to eat or drink; they are to break for Muslim prayers; they are to do as they are ordered by the Muslim religion.
Strict Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise or sunset during Ramadan. Because sunset will fall during the meetings, there will be 45-minute adjournments so that councillors can break their fast and pray. And to make things easier, there will only be seven council meetings during the month.
This is, let me remind you, happening not on Karachi borough council but in Tower Hamlets in London. As far as I am aware, the United Kingdom has not yet been absorbed into the Caliphate. The last time I checked, we allow citizens to practise all religions and none. If I wish to stuff my face with chocolate during the fasting hours of Ramadan, I will. And if you wish to go out for a slap-up lunch on Yom Kippur, you can feel free.
Yet Mr Williams - he's the man with the “democratic services” label, a title so Orwellian that his existence simply had to involve promoting the opposite of democracy and service - appears to have concluded that Islamic practices must take precedence over any other practices. Instead of individual councillors being allowed to decide for themselves how they wish to behave during Ramadan, he is deciding for them.
It should come as no surprise that it is not the borough's Muslim councillors who are demanding that their non-Muslim colleagues obey Islam. As almost always, it is a caricature liberal-left non-Muslim idiot who thinks he is being racially aware who does the real harm to race relations. Respect for religious practice can only be given voluntarily. Mr Williams's prescription leads only to anger.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tony McNulty: 'blindingly obvious' that crime and extremism could rise in recession

The Times 1 September 2008

Siobhan Kennedy and Nico Hines

Ministers today said it was "blindingly obvious" that violent crime, burglaries and far-right extremism could rise in Britain as the effects of the economic downturn took their toll.
Tony McNulty, the Home Office Minister, said that the contents of a leaked document by Jacqui Smith [Home Secretary], containing the warnings about ramifications of such a slowdown, showed that the economic decline would have a profound social and criminal impact.
The leaked document, not cleared for release by the Home Secretary, sets out a series of warnings. She writes that Britain also faces a “significant increase” in alcohol and tobacco smuggling, hostility towards migrants and even a potential rise in the number of people joining terrorist groups.
He added: “This really is a statement of the blindingly obvious - people would be astonished if the Home Office weren’t looking at how the relationship between crime and the criminal justice system and the economy interact and relate with each other. . . What the letter also says, albeit a draft, is that we are better placed now than we were with equivalent problems in the ’70s and ’90s to tackle them.”
Ms Smith's briefing note tells Gordon Brown that violent crime is set to grow at a rate of 19 per cent while theft and burglaries could rise by up to 7 per cent this year and 2 per cent in 2009.
The report reveals that the Home Office has allocated £300 million for security for the 2012 Olympics and that there could also be a rise in people turning to extremist groups and racism because of “a real or perceived sense of disadvantage held by individuals. . . Grievances based on experiencing racism is one of the factors that can lead to people becoming terrorists." The report highlights Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities as those most vulnerable to such effects because of low employment rates and having the highest percentage of children living in households with income 60 per cent below the average.
A tightening in the economy is also expected to bring a significant rise in fuel, alcohol and tobacco smuggling and illegal-working migrant numbers could swell as job opportunities fall.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Race row policeman told to ''shut up'' and get on with his job

The Times 29 August 2008

Sean O Neill, Crime Editor

The country’s most senior Asian policeman was told by his superiors last night to “shut up” and get on with his job after publicly announcing that he was suing Scotland Yard for racism.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur was rebuked after appearing before TV cameras in full uniform to accuse Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, of subjecting him to years of racial discrimination.Within two hours the Met’s Deputy Commissioner responded angrily. Sir Paul Stephenson said: “I think it is long past time that we all shut up, stop making public statements about private disputes and get on with the job we are paid to do.”

The Times understands that the Yard’s lawyers are examining whether Mr Ghaffur’s behaviour amounts to insubordination. Questions are also being asked by his colleagues about whether he can continue to sit with them on the Met’s senior management board, which directs police strategy in the capital.

Yesterday’s bitter exchanges followed months of backbiting and infighting at Scotland Yard and made the internal civil war a public affair.

Mr Ghaffur, a police officer since 1974, opened hostilities by confirming speculation that he was taking the Met to an employment tribunal. Accompanied by his lawyer, he held a press conference at a West End hotel to announce that he was taking his legal action with “deep regret”. His central grievance is that his contract has not been renewed beyond March and he is being removed from the job of devising security arrangements for the 2012 Olympic Games. Mr Ghaffur said: “My current case is essentially to do with my treatment at the highest levels of the Met, in particular the discrimination I have been subject to over a long period of time by the present Commissioner.”

Sir Paul responded with his stinging rebuke. The Deputy Commissioner said that he had advised Mr Ghaffur on Wednesday night against making a public show of his dispute with his boss but that advice had been ignored. Sir Paul added: “That is a matter for him to reconcile with what he considers to be his proper responsibilities as one of this country’s most senior police officers.”He added: “We do not accept the charges of discrimination against us ’’

The high-profile dispute will further undermine Sir Ian’s position. One senior officer told The Times: “The whole situation simply serves to sap the morale of the men and women who do the real work of policing London.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dead baby found at recycling centre

August 27, 2008
Nico Hines The Times

The body of a newborn baby was found amongst the rubbish at a recycling plant in Cambridgeshire today.The grim discovery was made by a member of staff at the site in Fengate, Peterborough.

Cambridgeshire police have sealed off the area.The spokeswoman said the baby had yet to be identified. It is not yet known if the body was that of a boy or a girl.

A council spokesman said: “The materials recycling facility will remain closed while police continue their investigation following the tragic discovery.There will be no disruption to bin collections during this time.''

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bank account details sold on eBay for £35

The (London)Times

August 26, 2008
Heath Aston
Personal bank account details of up to one million Natwest and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) customers have been found on a computer that was sold for £35 on eBAY, the online auction site. The information on the computer is believed to include names, addresses, mobile phone numbers, bank account numbers, sort codes, credit card numbers, mothers' maiden names and even signatures.
The computer, which was "inappropriately" sold by an employee at Graphic Data, an Essex-based company, also contained sensitive balance transfer information about American Express credit card customers. An IT expert who bought the computer discovered the data in the hard drive of the computer.
"Graphic Data has confirmed to us that one of their machines has been inappropriately sold on via a third party," RBS said in a statement. "As a result, historical data relating to credit card applications of some of our customers and data from other banks were removed. We take this issue extremely seriously and are working to resolve this regrettable loss of Graphic Data as a matter of urgency."
It is unclear if the customers whose details were exposed will be forced to change their credit cards and bank accounts.
The companies involved in the blunder could be forced to pay a fine. Last year, the Financial Services Authority fined Nationwide £980,000 after it lost a laptop containing customer information.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

UK economic growth shudders to a halt

By Telegraph staff
22 August 2008

The UK economy ground to a standstill last quarter, putting to an end the country's longest stretch of growth in more than a century.
Britain's gross domestic product failed to expand in the three months to the end of June, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed today. The figure was worse than economists had expected and weaker than an initial estimate for the period.The news delivers a huge blow to Gordon Brown whose popularity is plunging as the economy heads toward its first recession since the early 1990s.It will also add pressure on the Bank of England to put aside its concern about the inflation threat and deliver the cuts in interest rates signalled in the Inflation Report earlier this month.
Britain emerged from its last recession in 1991.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Home Office loses data on all UK prisoners

Daily Telegraph
By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
22 Aug 2008

The Home Office has lost confidential information on every prisoner in the country and more than 40,000 serious criminals sparking yet another Government data crisis. It has led to fears that the taxpayer may now face a multi-million pound compensation bill from criminals whose safety may be compromised. The home addresses of some of Britain's most prolific and serious offenders - including those who have committed violent and sexual crimes - are understood to be among the data now missing. They were on a computer memory stick used by Home Office consultants which has gone missing over the past week. A full investigation has been launched and the police have been informed.
The latest data scandal follows the loss of 25 million child benefit records last year and details of millions of learner drivers and army recruits earlier this year. Whitehall departments were ordered to tighten procedures in the wake of the previous crises and the latest loss has stunned insiders.
It is understood that PA Consulting were employed by the Home Office to track and analyse serious and prolific offenders as part of the JTrack programme. The Home Office sent confidential personal details on the criminals to the consulting company on a secure encrypted email which was then transferred in an unencrypted form onto a computer memory stick. The stick is now missing.
The Home Office said that the missing data included information - such as home addresses - on 33,000 individuals who have committed at least six offences in the past year. There is also data on about 10,000 people regarded as "prolific and other priority offenders" by the Government. Details of every prisoner in England and Wales - 84,000 people - including their expected release date and date of home detention curfew - is also on the stick along with information about drug treatment programmes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

British Submission

By Douglas Stone | Thursday, August 21, 2008

Foot baths for Muslim students at Michigan universities? Muslim cabbies in the Twin Cities who refuse to carry seeing-eye dogs? The FBI and other government agencies taking sensitivity training from radical Muslim organizations? You think we’ve lost the plot over here? Take a look at British submission to Islamofascist demands and threats, as that once great nation succumbs to creeping dhimmitude.
It has reached the point that in mid-April, the British Foreign Office instructed the Royal Navy not to return pirates to jurisdictions sporting sharia law (such as Somalia) for fear that their human rights will be violated. They have even been discouraged from capturing pirates, because the freebooters might ask to be granted asylum in Britain, a request with which the UK might have to comply under international and European Union human rights law. This for a Navy that almost singlehandedly defeated piracy in the early 19th century, and a nation that retained the death penalty for this scourge of the high seas until the late 20th century.
Welcome to Britain today.
Another recent outrage involves special handling of a traffic violation. Seems that a Muslim driver was stopped by police while speeding between two homes in the north of England. When he appeared in court, he explained his high speed (over twice the speed limit) was necessary to accommodate his two wives. His explanation was accepted, and he was allowed to keep his license.
That comes fast - very fast - on the heels of a decision by the British government to grant full spousal benefits to multiple wives. It won’t affect more than an estimated 1,000 individuals. And it mercifully won’t affect the indigenous Christian, Hindu or Jewish population, as traditional bigamy laws apply. Britons may rest easy, as it will only cover multiple wives married in a jurisdiction that practices Sharia law, such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.
These are not isolated instances; there are a myriad more: Swimming periods at pools restricted to Muslims only; the establishment of a BBC Arabic language station staffed by Arab broadcasters and managers with track records of being anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Western; the refusal of female Muslim medical students to wash their arms as that practice might reveal the forbidden flesh between wrist and elbow; an attempt by a national union of university lecturers to call for a boycott of Israeli academics; and, a local Council ban on pig-themed toys, porcelain figures and calendars on workers’ desks because it might offend Muslims.
No comment from the Home Office or No. 10 Downing Street. No comment from the government, because it has been their policy to appease Britain’s large Muslim population in response to menacing behavior up to and including the bomb outrages of July 7, 2005.
It’s no coincidence that Muslims constitute a substantial portion of the Labour Party’s electoral support in London and in much of its heartland in northern England. In the expected close election for Parliament that will be held by mid-2010, an increasing Muslim population may be the difference between victory and defeat for the Labourites.
But Labour’s bien pensant hardly needs convincing. Like most on the left today, they fancy themselves champions of the underdog and the oppressed, and sympathy for Islam, and Arab and Muslim causes fits neatly into their intellectual program. Along with America and Israel-bashing, it goes to the very heart of how liberals view themselves and, more important, how they wish to be viewed by others. It supplies them with the appearance of a self-abnegation that is supposed to relieve their Western, middle-class guilt with a cleansing humility but is nothing but moral exhibitionism; and, as always, involves other people’s money, other people’s freedom, and other people’s comfort – never or very rarely their own.
A classic of political correctness run amok, wonderful as a burlesque if it weren’t slowly undermining Britain’s way of life and its will to oppose extreme Islamism.
Worse is that acceding to this nonsense gives Islamofascists confidence that they are on the winning side of history. That if they just shout a little louder and push a little harder, they may expect more of the same that becomes increasingly normative until it convinces the longer-settled among the UK’s population that they have no power to stop, let alone reverse, the process.
One might have become inured to the gutless behavior of France or Italy, but many in the U.S. are still under the impression that, like other countries in the Anglosphere, the British remain clear-eyed, realistic and most importantly resolute about the threats with which the West is confronted. But they aren’t; and while these cultural changes are in the realm of the comical right now, they are beginning to affect British public policy, domestic as well as foreign.
Why is this important to us? Because the ZaNuLabour Party,s tendency to pacifism and appeasement, and its devotion to political correctness, victim ideology, cultural relativism and liberal guilt is shared by our own Democrats.
Look for more of it in Britain, and don’t be surprised when it arrives full force here in America.

BBC's Children in Need funded 7/7 terrorist propaganda, says Newsnight

Daily Telegraph 20 August 2008
By Christopher Hope and Duncan Gardham

Thousands of pounds raised by Britons for the BBC’s Children in Need charity could have been used to recruit and train the homegrown terrorists involved in the 7/7 terror attacks on London. Some of the cash could also have been used to fund the propaganda activities of the suicide bombers who killed 52 people in July 2005, according to an investigation by BBC 2’s Newsnight.
The programme reported that £20,000 from Children in Need was handed over to the Leeds Community School, in Beeston, Yorkshire between 1999 and 2002. The school, which also received large sums from other public bodies, was run from premises behind the Iqra Islamic bookshop which the gang used as a meeting place and an opportunity to radicalise others. Both Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the bombers, and Shehzad Tanweer, the Aldgate bomber, were trustees of the bookshop and Sidique Khan also worked for a Saturday club at the associated Leeds Community School.
Both the bookshop and the school were registered charities, the bookshop claimed, on Charity Commission submissions, that its aim was the advancement of the Islamic faith, while the school’s aim was said to be to advance the education of Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils. They also produced a leaflet in the wake of September 11 blaming the attacks on a Jewish conspiracy.
Glyn Gaskarth, policy analyst at the TaxPayers Alliance, added: It beggars belief that a charity promoted at licence fee payers’ expense paid money to dubious organisations without ensuring they did not have extremist links. People imagine their money goes to genuine good causes, not to organisations apparently frequented by fanatics. There needs to be proper checks and balances in place to make sure no other grants are being given to places peddling extremist views.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

UK warned of imminent recession

The Sunday Times
August 17, 2008
UK warned of imminent recession by British Chambers of Commerce
David Smith
THE British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will this week become the first leading business group to predict a recession in Britain.
Its quarterly economic forecast, to be published tomorrow, is expected to say that Britain is heading into a “technical” recession of two or more quarters of declining gross domestic product over the next six to nine months.
It will say that a deep recession, of the kind last experienced by Britain in the early 1990s, remains unlikely, but that the risks to the economy have grown significantly over the past quarter and unemployment is set to climb by up to 300,000.
The BCC believes recession is now a more serious threat to the economy than inflation and the Bank of England should start cutting interest rates as soon as inflation peaks in two to three months. It thinks Bank rate will be reduced to 4.75% by the end of the year and that there will be scope for a further cut next year.
The monetary policy committee cannot ignore the fact that recession threats have worsened,” said David Kern, the BCC’s economic adviser. “Limiting the threat of a deep recession must be the priority.”
The centrepiece of the forecast is very weak consumer spending, partly as a result of falling house prices. But the BCC, which represents Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses, also expects investment spending to be hit.
It will warn the government that, while the public finances are in a bad way, the Treasury should not make things worse for firms by raising business taxes. However, it will predict a significant widening of the budget deficit and a breach of the so-called sustainable investment rule, which aims to keep government debt below 40% of GDP.
The BCC’s forecast follows a gloomy assessment from the Bank of England, which said last week that the economy would be “broadly flat” over the next 12 months. Figures released showed inflation at a 16-year high of 4.4% and the biggest monthly rise in unemployment since late 1992. Both the eurozone and Japan reported declining GDP in the second quarter, hitting hopes that strong export demand would help offset the squeeze on the domestic economy.
In the past few days there have been significant shifts in global markets, with gold dropping below $800 an ounce, oil continuing to fall and the dollar gaining ground against all currencies, pushing the pound down to a two-year low of $1.86.
Whether sterling continues to fall against the dollar depends partly on the Bank’s interest-rate moves. Minutes of its August monetary policy committee meeting will be released this week and are expected to show a 7-2 vote in favour of leaving Bank rate unchanged at 5%, with David Blanchflower voting for a cut but Tim Besley favouring a rise.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

British Muslims 'fighting with Taliban in Afghanistan'

By Con Coughlin, Duncan Gardham and Thomas Harding Last Updated: 12:25PM BST 02 Aug 2008

British Muslims are helping the Taliban in their war against UK soldiers in southern Afghanistan, according to the former commander of Britain's forces in Afghanistan.

Brig. Ed Butler: 'There are British passport holders who live in the U.K. who are being found in places like Kandahar.' Brig. Ed Butler, who spent six months commanding British forces in Afghanistan, also revealed fears that militant Islamic groups in south-east Asia are supporting terrorist plots in the UK.
The brigadier, a former head of the SAS, spoke exclusively to the Daily Telegraph in the week when the British death toll in Afghanistan reached 114, with 17 fatalities in the last two months.
UK forces have uncovered evidence that British Muslims are actively supporting the Taliban and al-Qa'eda in attacks on coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, Brig Butler said.

July 7 terror attacks: Bomb plot trial collapses

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent Last Updated: 9:03PM BST 01 Aug 2008

The trial of the three men accused of helping the July 7 bombers plan their attack has collapsed after the jury failed to reach verdicts.
Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem, 28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, are the only people ever to be charged in connection with the bombings which killed 52 people.
The three men, all from Beeston in Leeds, were accused of conducting a "hostile reconnaissance" mission for the bombers seven months before the attacks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BBC fined £400,000 by Ofcom for deceiving viewers and listeners

By Nicole Martin, Digital and Media Correspondent Last Updated: 2:24PM BST 30 Jul 2008

The BBC has been fined a record £400,000 by the broadcasting watchdog for faking competition winners and deceiving viewers on a string of radio and television programmes including Children in Need and Comic Relief.
Auntie's been handed a £400,000 penalty for misleading viewers and listeners in competitions.
Ofcom handed down the largest ever fine on the corporation after viewers and listeners were invited to enter phone-in competitions on eight different radio and television shows which they had no chance of winning.

British Gas bills to rise by 25pc for millions

By Emma Thelwell Last Updated: 3:36pm BST 30/07/2008

Millions of British Gas customers will have their energy bills hiked by 25pc this winter, with some seeing a rise of up to 35pc, as the company grapples with the rising cost of energy in the UK.
Soaring wholesale energy prices means that between 8.5m and 9m British Gas customers will see large increases in their bills over the next six months.
Centrica, the owner of British Gas, plans to pass on wholesale gas and electricity prices which have seen its profits plunge by 68pc in the six months to the end of June.

You must be nicer to Muslims, Britain is told by UN human rights chiefs

By Mail Foreign Service Last updated at 8:34 AM on 25th july 2008

Britain was told yesterday by a United Nations committee to take firm action to combat 'negative public attitudes' towards Muslims.
The nine-member human rights committee also criticised some of the UK's antiterror measures.
The body, which is composed of legal experts, said it was concerned 'negative public attitudes towards Muslim members of society' continued to develop in Britain.

A third of Muslim students back killings

The Sunday Times July 27, 2008

ALMOST a third of British Muslim students believe killing in the name of Islam can be justified, according to a poll.
The study also found that two in five Muslims at university support the incorporation of Islamic sharia codes into British law.
The YouGov poll for the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) will raise concerns about the extent of campus radicalism. “Significant numbers appear to hold beliefs which contravene democratic values,” said Han-nah Stuart, one of the report’s authors. “These results are deeply embarrassing for those who have said there is no extremism in British universities.”

Islamic 'Bugs Bunny' programme 'spreads extremism'

Last Updated: 6:31PM BST 23 Jul 2008

An Islamic television station is using a Bugs Bunny lookalike in a programme for children, who vote whether to chop off his hands when he breaches Sharia law.
Palestinian children's show Tomorrow's Pioneers with Assud, the Jew-eating rabbit
Assud the rabbit vows to "kill and eat Jews" and glorifies the maiming of "infidels" on the Palestinian children's show Tomorrow's Pioneers.
In one episode, Assud admits stealing money and is seen begging for mercy after young viewers and parents phone in demanding to cut off his hands as punishment.
At that point, Saraa, the 11-year-old presenter, intervenes and rules that the bunny should only have his ears severed because he has repented.
The rabbit, played by a costumed actor, is one of the main characters on the show broadcast in Gaza by the al-Aqsa channel, which is otherwise known as Hamas TV.
Religious leaders in Britain, where the channel can be viewed via satellite, criticised the programme, amid fears British children could be affected by the radical Islamic message.'Bugs-Bunny'-programme-'spreads-extremism'.html

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone 'squandered millions of pounds'

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 9:16AM BST 16/07/2008

Ken Livingstone squandered tens of millions of taxpayers money on pet projects that he set up on a whim while mayor of London, an audit of his spending has concluded.
A panel tasked by his successor, Boris Johnson, to carry out a forensic audit of Mr Livingstone's eight years in power has found that the London Development Agency, responsible for jobs and business in the Capital, was used as the mayor's personal "cheque book".'squandered-millions-of-pounds'.html

BBC staff attack executive pay rises as 'obscene'

By Nicole Martin, Digital and Media Correspondent Last Updated: 8:49PM BST 15/07/2008

BBC staff have publicly criticised as 'obscene, obscene, obscene' the pay rises awarded to the corporation's executive directors last year.
They used Ariel, the BBC's in-house magazine, to attack the salaries of Mark Thompson, the director-general, and the nine other members of the executive board.
They said it was unacceptable that the board had accepted a pay rise of 17 per cent when staff had to put up with an increase of only four per cent.

OFT slams high street banks over 'complex' current accounts

By Paul Farrow Last Updated: 8:40am BST 16/07/2008

The Office of Fair Trading has attacked Britain's high street banks for generating more than £8bn a year from current accounts that are too complex and fail to offer customers transparency.
The OFT said that banks are raking in £8.3bn a year from complex current accounts which customers do not understand.

Christian doctrine offensive to Muslims, says Archbishop of Canterbury

By Ben Farmer Last Updated: 8:48AM BST 16/07/2008

Key elements of Christian doctrine are offensive to Muslims, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said in a letter to Islamic scholars.
Dr Rowan Williams also spoke critically of the violent past of both religions and Christianity's abandonment of its peaceful origins.
His comments came in a published letter to Islamic leaders, intended to promote closer dialogue and understanding between the two faiths.,-says-Archbishop-of-Canterbury.html

Schools closed as thousands strike over pay

From Times Online July 16, 2008

Thousands of council workers and civil servants have gone on strike.
The biggest bout of industrial unrest for years has seen tens of thousands of council workers and civil servants go on strike in bitter disputes over pay.
A walkout by members of three unions has led to the closure of schools, libraries, museums and civic offices across England, Wales and Northern Ireland this morning, while refuse collections have also been cancelled and a host of other services disrupted

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We need tougher sentences for knife crime, says Britain's top judge

By Christopher Hope and James Kirkup Last Updated: 4:21PM BST 09/07/2008

The independent body which advises judges and magistrates on sentencing has failed to keep pace with the scale of Britain's knife crime crisis, the Lord Chief Justice has said.
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers told peers in the House of Lords that the Sentencing Guidelines Council had failed to react fast enough to what has been described as Britain's knife crime epidemic.

British Airways and BAA were warned of Heathrow Terminal 5 chaos

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 5:36PM BST 09/07/2008

British Airways and airport operators were warned by staff about the impending chaos at Terminal 5 but did nothing to avert the crisis, MPs have heard.
Union leaders told members of the House of Commons Transport Committee that no consideration was given to the views of those working at the terminal, who were well aware of the potential glitches in the system.

Queen's property empire beats credit crunch to make record profit of £211m

By Nick Allen Last Updated: 5:34PM BST 09/07/2008

The Queen's property portfolio has bucked the credit crunch and made record profits of £211 million.
Turnover for the Windsor estate was up 5.5 per cent to £5.8 million with its value up 1.8 per cent to £173 million.
The Crown Estate's profits rose 5.6 per cent over the last financial year fuelled by a series of canny deals in London.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Knife crime overtakes terrorism as number one priority for police

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent Last Updated: 1:41PM BST 05/07/2008

Fighting the knife crime epidemic has overtaken terrorism as the top priority for police in London, a senior officer disclosed as details emerged of the 18th teenager murdered in the capital this year.
Shakilus Townsend, 16, pleaded for his mother and said "I don't want to die" as he bled to death near his home in south London after being stabbed at least four times with two knives.
At a Metropolitan Police committee meeting yesterday, Sir Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner, admitted that "clearly the message is not getting through" for youths to stop carrying weapons.

Government asks stores to stockpile food to overcome hauliers strike

Isabel Oakeshott, Deputy Political Editor The Sunday Times July 6, 2008

Ministers are in talks with supermarkets about emergency food reserves in case fuel protests lead to shortages at shops.
The government wants to ensure retailers and suppliers can continue to sell basics such as meat, bread and milk if hauliers bring the country to a halt.
They have asked supermarkets to make contingency plans “in case the infrastructure of the country breaks down”.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Row over sale of Nazi memorabilia from unit which murdered British soldiers

Last Updated: 5:47PM BST 03/07/2008

War veterans are outraged after memorabilia from an infamous Nazi unit which massacred nearly 100 British prisoners of war was put up for auction.
Uniform patches from the 3rd SS division Totenkopf - the notorious "death's heads" regiment - are expected to fetch £300 when they go under the hammer.
The Totenkopf division, made up of former concentration camp guards, slaughtered 97 soldiers of the Royal Norfolk Regiment who had surrendered to them in France in 1940.

Russia poses biggest security threat to Britain

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent Last Updated: 6:04PM BST 04/07/2008

Russia now poses its biggest threat to Britain since the Cold War, according to security sources.
MI5 fears that Britain has been swamped with spies since the breakdown of relations over the tit-for-tat accusations over the poisoning of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko.
With an increasing number of high-profile Russian expats using Britain as a base, the number of Russian espionage agents has risen accordingly.

Muslims in Britain should be able to live under sharia, says top judge

By Christopher Hope and James Kirkup Last Updated: 3:46PM BST 04/07/2008

Muslims in Britain should be able to live according to Sharia, the country's most senior judge has said.
Suggestions that Sharia law can be used to help govern issues like family disputes and the sale of financial products have drawn criticism.
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, strongly backed Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over his suggestion earlier this year that aspects of sharia should be adopted in Britain.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stars like Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty 'eroding children's moral values'

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor Last Updated: 1:45AM BST 30/06/2008

The celebrity culture in Britain is eroding children's moral values, a report claims.
The behaviour of pop stars such as Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty and Lilly Allen is fuelling bad behaviour and promoting materialism, according to the report.
A survey of almost 1,200 adults found the majority of parents were concerned abut the values children were learning from those around them.

Labour no longer trusted on NHS reforms

By James Kirkup Last Updated: 2:16AM BST 30/06/2008

Labour is no longer the party trusted to bring in the health reforms that are needed to safeguard the NHS for future generations, a poll for The Daily Telegraph shows.
Barely one in five people believe the Labour party will deliver a better health service over the next ten years, the You Gov poll shows.

Queen to buy £10 million private jet

By Andrew Pierce Last Updated: 4:06PM BST 29/06/2008

Buckingham Palace, which has a £32 million backlog of essential repairs because of a shortage of cash, is pressing ahead with plans for a small private jet for the Queen.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blond, white schoolboy is al-Qa'eda extremist, say police

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent Last Updated: 8:06PM BST 25/06/2008

A schoolboy aged 12 has been identified as an al-Qaeda inspired extremist after sending beheading videos to his classmates, police have disclosed.
Anti-terrorism chiefs have said the example revealed how violent extremism is spreading “like a virus infecting young minds”.
The blond, white schoolboy from West Yorkshire is among 120 people being dealt with by police in a new anti-terrorism scheme targeting al-Qa’eda inspired youths.,-white-schoolboy-is-al-Qaandrsquoeda-extremist,-say-police.html

Fuel could hit £1.47 a litre after Opec oil price warning

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor Last Updated: 4:08pm BST 26/06/2008

Motorists could see fuel prices rise to £1.47 a litre over the summer after a warning from the head of Opec that the cost of oil is to increase sharply to between $150 and $170 a barrel.
Chakib Khelil, the Algerian Energy Minister and president of the Opec group of oil-producing nations, made the prediction today during an interview with French television.
He warned that the oil price will continue rising from their current level of $135. Mr Khelil believes that prices may fall later in the year although some investment banks forecast it will hit $200 a barrel next year.

Extra security at train stations amid terror attack fears

By David Millward, Transport Editor Last Updated: 2:46PM BST 26/06/2008
Teams of police with sniffer dogs and bomb detecting equipment are to patrol the rail network amid fears over a transport system terror plot.
Police sniffer dogs at Waterloo railway station during a terrorist alert
The move, announced by Tom Harris, a transport minister, will see passengers facing tighter checks at a number of stations around the country.
Police will also use their powers under the Terrorism Act to stop and search anyone who arouses suspicion.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A million patients battle against polyclinics

By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent Last Updated: 7:11AM BST 12/06/2008

More than one million patients have signed a petition protesting against plans to close hundreds of GP practices to make way for polyclinics.
The BMA is concerned that the new clinics will destroy the relationship between patients and their family doctor.
The signatures, collected by the British Medical Association (BMA) in just three weeks as part of its "Support Your Surgery" campaign, will be presented to Gordon Brown at Downing Street today.

Secret intelligence dossier on al-Qa'eda 'left on commuter train' in latest data breach

By Robert Winnett and Christopher Hope Last Updated: 3:20AM BST 12/06/2008

Top secret documents containing the security services' latest intelligence on the al-Qa'eda terror network have been left on a commuter train, raising renewed fears over the Government's handling of sensitive data.
The two documents include the latest assessments from the Joint Intelligence Committee on al Qa'eda and the situation in Iraq.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Islamic extremists should get therapy, Home Office tells local councils

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 6:11PM BST 03/06/2008 |

Police and councils have been told to avoid putting some Islamic extremists through the criminal justice system.
Members of extremist groups have have not “clearly” committed a crime would receive therapy and counselling under new Government plans to “deradicalise” religious fanatics.
The Home Office is to announce an extra £12.5 million to support new initiatives to try to stop extremism spreading,-Home-Office-tells-local-councils.html

Murder plot mastermind deported asylum seekers for Home Office

By Caroline Gammell Last Updated: 1:31PM BST 02/06/2008

A man who masterminded a murder plot ran a firm which was employed by the Home Office for more than two years deporting asylum seekers, it has emerged.
Critics accused the Government of not carrying out proper checks on Mark Ayres who - under the name Mark Heaver - was jailed in 1995 for 13 years for arranging the killing of boxing manager Michael Donovan.
Released early from prison, Heaver changed his identity and set up the security group ITA (Overseas Escorts), which was established in 2005 primarily to manage a Home Office contract to "remove and deport failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants from the UK".

Mothers Against Violence campaigner Pat Regan: Grandson held over death

Paul Rogers The Times June 3, 2008

Statistically, she was just another victim of violent Britain, but the bleak irony of Pat Regan’s death will be lost on no one. The 53-year-old mother of five made it her mission to wipe guns and knives from the streets. On Sunday, she was found stabbed to death.
Mrs Regan’s campaign, which started after the fatal shooting of her own son in 2002, led to her being courted by Cabinet ministers, praised by royalty and photographed with Tony Blair.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ofsted says 700 nurseries are inadequate

By Nick Allen Last Updated: 12:11AM BST 29/05/2008

Thousands of children are being left in independent nurseries that have been deemed inadequate by inspectors.
Almost 700 establishments failed to meet the standards required by Ofsted, the education watchdog, last year, prompting fears that children could be at risk of injury or neglect.

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali: Radical Islam is filling void left by collapse of Christianity in UK

By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 1:47AM BST 29/05/2008

The decline of Christian values is destroying Britishness and has created a "moral vacuum" which radical Islam is filling, one of the Church of England's leading bishops has warned.
Dr Nazir-Ali faced death threats earlier this year after he said some parts of Britain had become "no-go areas" for non-Muslims.
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, claimed the "social and sexual" revolution of the 1960s had led to a steep decline in the influence of Christianity over society which church leaders had failed to resist.

Britain endures vicious Bank Holiday

From Times Online May 27, 2008

Amar Aslam’s horrifically beaten body was found in a walled garden in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Six people were in custody today after the death of Amar Aslam, 17, in a "sustained and brutal attack" in the walled garden of a park in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Two of those being held were aged 12 and 13, and three were aged 15.
The upsurge in violence prompted Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, to call on parents to ask their teenage children if they were carrying a knife. In this month alone London has also seen the fatal stabbings of Jimmy Mizen, 16, in Lee, and Lyle Tulloch, 15, in Peckham. The 14 young deaths in the capital since the start of the year is the worst toll on record.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Millions of BT internet users 'open to hackers'

By John Bingham Last Updated: 12:15AM BST 26/05/2008

Millions of internet users with a BT system may be vulnerable due to a security flaw well known to hackers, it has been claimed.
Criminals could use software easily downloaded from the internet to crack passwords and change settings on the company's popular Home Hub system in as little as five seconds, experts warned. One specialist stated that customers could be living in a "false paradise".

West Country plots prompt calls for redrawing terror map

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent Last Updated: 1:29AM BST 26/05/2008

Counter terrorism investigators say a map of terrorism "hot spots" must be redrawn following the discovery of plots in the West Country.
The attempted attack on a shopping centre restaurant in Devon last week and the raid on an alleged "bomb factory" in Bristol have forced investigators to admit that their net needs to be spread more widely.

Murdered actor's family call for end to knife crime epidemic

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent Last Updated: 11:03PM BST 25/05/2008

The family of Robert Knox, the murdered young actor, has called for an end to the knife crime epidemic as they paid tribute to a teenager they had thought was "invincible".
The family of a teenager stabbed to death is Sidcup have urged people to stop knife violence.
His father, Colin, told how the last conversation he had with his 18-year-old son was about the danger of knives. He said: "There's a lot of fear out there and someone has to change the way we think."

Cocaine overdose cases quadruple at hospitals

By Richard Edwards Last Updated: 11:27PM BST 25/05/2008

The number of cocaine users being admitted to hospital has quadrupled in eight years, it has emerged as concerns grow that it has become the drug of choice for middle-class men.
An average of more than two people a day are admitted to accident and emergency units for "cocaine-induced health emergencies", official Government data showed.
There were 740 incidents in 2006-07 compared with 161 in 1998-99.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails

Richard Ford The Times May 20, 2008

A massive government database holding details of every phone call, e-mail and time spent on the internet by the public is being planned as part of the fight against crime and terrorism. Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies would hand over the records to the Home Office under plans put forward by officials.

School standards stalling, says Ofsted

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor Last Updated: 2:31AM BST 20/05/2008

Education standards in England have "stalled" as too many pupils leave school with a poor grasp of the three Rs, the chief inspector of schools has said.
Despite government claims that classroom performance was improving year on year, Ofsted said England's state schools would not be able to compete with the best in the world without radical reform.
Christine Gilbert, the chief inspector of schools, said it was "unacceptable" that one in five children aged 11 was "not fully functional" in literacy and numeracy.

Labour Lord Ahmed faces police probe over death crash on motorway

John Bingham Last Updated: 2:24AM BST 20/05/2008

Britain's first Muslim peer, Lord Ahmed, is being investigated over a motorway crash in which a man was killed.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it was examining a police file following an investigation into the accident on the M1 in South Yorkshire on Christmas Day last year.
The 50-year-old Labour peer was at the wheel of his gold-coloured X-Type Jaguar when he hit a stationary red Audi A4 in the fast lane of the motorway at Thorpe Hesley, near Rotherham.

Two million Britons emigrate in 10 years

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 12:59AM BST 20/05/2008

Two million British citizens have left the UK in a decade, the greatest exodus from this country in almost a century, new figures will show.
Some historians say the departure of two million Britons in a decade is almost unparalleled in the country's history
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will release figures showing that more than 200,000 Britons emigrated during 2006. That will take the total number who left the country between 1997 and 2006 to 1.97 million. Another 1.58 million foreign nationals resident in Britain left during the same period.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Glum Gordon Brown's power is slowly ebbing

By Andrew Gimson at the Prime Minister's press briefing Last Updated: 8:40PM BST 15/05/2008

Gordon Brown cannot abide gossip, by which he means speculation about his own future.
Asked at yesterday's press conference whether he will imitate John Major and tell his critics to "put up or shut up", the Prime Minister replied: "I think I was elected unopposed and I'm not going to be disturbed by this gossip."

Housing crisis: Mortgage rates at 8-year high

By Harry Wallop and Edmund Conway Last Updated: 12:57AM BST 16/05/2008

Fixed-rate mortgage rates for new customers have hit the highest level since the start of the decade, figures have showed.
The average rate for a two-year loan, the most popular mortgage, have reached 6.64 per cent. This is the highest rate since 2000 and compares to an average rate of 4.34per cent two years ago.
This means people who took a typical home loan of £150,000 on this rate two years ago would be faced with the shock of seeing their average repayment climbing by £206 a month to £1,025 when they take out a new deal.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Food and fuel prices rising faster than ever

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 1:14PM BST 12/05/2008

Food and fuel prices are rising at their fastest pace ever, official figures confirmed today.
The cost of all goods leaving factories jumped by 7.5 per cent in the year to April, the Office for National Statistics said. Month-on-month, prices jumped 1.4 per cent.

Gordon Brown dismisses Labour critics

By Robert Winnett and Rosa Prince Last Updated: 12:31PM BST 12/05/2008

Gordon Brown insists he will not be distracted by the ongoing speculation over his leadership following criticism over his personality and behaviour by people close to Tony Blair.
The Prime Minister has faced an onslaught from three different memoirs released over the past few weeks written by Cherie Blair, John Prescott and Lord Levy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Home repossessions expected to hit 45,000

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 2:34AM BST 09/05/2008

The number of home owners who have had their properties repossessed has increased substantially since last year, figures are expected to show.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders has estimated that repossessions will reach 45,000 this year against 8,000 four years ago.
Statistics recording the number of court repossession orders issued in the first quarter of 2008 will give the first proper indication of the impact of the global credit crisis on mortgage holders.

Labour hits lowest ever rating

By Andrew Porter, Political Editor Last Updated: 2:57AM BST 09/05/2008

Labour has slumped to its lowest rating since opinion polls began.
The poll, which put the Tories 26 points ahead, added to the pressure on Gordon Brown a week after Labour suffered a devastating set of local election results and saw Boris Johnson become Mayor of London.
A YouGov survey put the Tories on 49 per cent and Labour on 23. The Liberal Democrats are on 17.

Islamic preacher Abu Qatada is bailed

By Christopher Hope, Home Affairs Editor Last Updated: 1:13AM BST 09/05/2008

A firebrand preacher once described as “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe” is due to be freed within days after being granted bail by an immigration tribunal.
Abu Qatada, who last month defeated the Government’s efforts to deport him to Jordan on terror charges, will be subject to a 22-hour curfew when he is released from Long Lartin high-security prison.

NHS shake-up to axe hospital services

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor Last Updated: 1:47AM BST 09/05/2008

Scores of hospital departments such as maternity units and cancer clinics will be closed or merged across the country under plans for a radical shake-up of the NHS.
Ministers are preparing for a summer of protest as residents campaign against proposals that could mean local hospitals losing specialist services to large regional centres.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Boris Johnson's Tory revolution plan revealed

By Melissa Kite and Patrick Hennessy Last Updated: 3:51PM BST 04/05/2008

Boris Johnson will launch a Conservative revolution in London this week, introducing a series of reforms as a test-bed for a future Tory government.
Boris Johnson's victory has given the Conservatives the first chance to wield real political power for 16 years.
The new Mayor, who defeated Labour's Ken Livingstone, will within days pour more police on to the capital's crime-hit streets, and plans to introduce hand-held weapon scanners and knife-detecting "arches" at Tube and railway stations.

Gordon Brown faces up to election losses

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent Last Updated: 2:27PM BST 04/05/2008

Gordon Brown today took personal responsibility for Labour’s disastrous election losses, but rejected reports that a leadership challenge is in the offing.
Gordon Brown has been undertaking his first interviews since Labour's losses in the local elections, with the PM promising he felt voters hurt.
The Prime Minister used a string of broadcast interviews to argue that Labour can recover from last week's elections, which saw the party score its lowest share of the vote for 40 years and lose control of London to Boris Johnson, the new Conservative mayor.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

UK is Europe's top terror centre, arrests show

Last Updated: 10:55pm BST 26/04/2008

Britain has become the main focus of Islamist terror in Europe, according to official figures. More Muslim extremists were detained in Britain last year on terror-related charges than in the rest of Europe added together.
The number of arrests rose steeply and involved "young, radicalised British citizens", sparking fears that the threat of an attack is growing.
The report by Europol, the European police force, said that terrorist plots linked to groups in Pakistan had been "almost exclusively focused on the UK".

Tony Blair said Gordon Brown 'cannot defeat' David Cameron, claims Lord Levy

By Melissa Kite, Deputy Political Editor Last Updated: 10:07am BST 27/04/2008

Tony Blair believes David Cameron has "major strengths" and that Gordon Brown "cannot defeat him", Lord Levy claimed last night. Lord Levy, a close friend of the former PM, revelled in his nickname of 'Lord Cashpoint'
Lord Levy revealed in his memoirs that the former prime minister told him on a number of occasions that he was convinced he could win a fourth term if he had stayed on as Labour leader.
"'But Gordon? He can't defeat Cameron,' Tony told me. Blair believed Cameron had major strengths - political timing, a winning personality and a natural ability to communicate to Middle England that Gordon would be unable ever to match."

Grangemouth oil refinery strike begins as petrol tankers set sail

By Andrew Alderson, Jasper Copping and Richard Gray Last Updated: 10:45am BST 27/04/2008

Staff at the Grangemouth oil refinery began their 48 hour strike this morning, as preparations were made to ship fuel from Europe to prevent pumps from running dry.
Operators Ineos have already shut down the plant - Scotland's main fuel supplier - in preparation for the strike by Unite union members.

Friday, April 25, 2008

UK teachers, civil servants stage 1-day strike over pay

LONDON (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of teachers and civil servants staged a one-day strike in England and Wales Thursday, protesting government proposals for pay raises below the inflation rate.
The first national teachers' strike in 21 years disrupted about a third of schools across Britain. Teachers picketed schools and thousands marched in London.
All the main political parties condemned the strike, which saw about 400,000 teachers and civil servants stay away from their jobs for the day. Prime Minister Gordon Brown called it "unjustifiable."
The National Union of Teachers threatened to make the walkout the first move in a long campaign.

Jails are so cushy criminals want to break IN to them, says prison boss

By MATTHEW HICKLEY - Last updated at 10:45am on 25th April 2008

Drug dealers are breaking into jails to sell their wares to inmates, a prison officers' leader has claimed.
And prisoners are passing up the chance of escape because they prefer to be behind bars where drugs are cheaper and life is easier.
Savaging Labour's prisons policy, Glyn Travis told how inmates benefit from satellite television, free telephone calls, breakfast in bed and officers who treat them with kid gloves for fear of breaching their human rights.

July 7 plotter's video farewell to daughter

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent Last Updated: 7:41pm BST 24/04/2008

The leader of the July 7 bombers is shown saying an emotional goodbye to his baby daughter in a home video made public for the first time.
Mohammed Sidique Khan, wearing a white t-shirt, had apparently propped the video camera up as he held his daughter, aged six-months, in his arms and kissed her head.

Police 'have foiled 15 terror plots since 7/7'

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent Last Updated: 1:54am BST 23/04/2008

Fifteen terrorist plots have been foiled in the three years since the London bombings, police chiefs have disclosed as they called for an extension to the time limit that suspects can be held without charge.
The country's most senior police officers said publicly for the first time that Britain was the primary target for Muslim extremists, ahead of America and other European countries.

Jemima Khan receives death threats from Muslim extremists

By Sophie Borland Last Updated: 2:43am BST 24/04/2008

Jemima Khan has received death threats from Islamic extremists for supporting a Muslim group which preaches tolerance of other religions.
Jemima Khan and her former husband, Imran, left, protested against the Pakistani president's London visit in January
Mrs Khan, 34, is a patron of the Quilliam Foundation, a think tank that was recently set up by two reformed members of the extremist organisation Hizb ut Tahrir.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BAA 'failing passengers and airlines'

By Sophie Borland Last Updated: 1:08pm BST 22/04/2008

The dominance of BAA, which runs seven of Britain's biggest airports, may not be serving the interests of passengers or airlines, the Competition Commission (CC) has warned in a report which could pave the way for the break-up of the company's operations.

Teenager quizzed after Bristol terror arrest

From Times Online April 18, 2008 Alexi Mostrous

A British teenager believed to be a Muslim convert was being questioned today over a suspected terrorist bomb plot.
The 19-year-old was being probed about the "significant" amount of alleged bombmaking materials found in his Bristol home.

Two-day tube strike to cause chaos for millions

By staff and agencies Last Updated: 3:02am BST 21/04/2008

Thousands of London Underground workers are to stage a two-day strike in a row linked to the collapse of maintenance giant Metronet, it was announced today.
The Rail Maritime & Transport union said the walkout on April 28 and 29 will cripple Tube services, causing travel chaos for millions of commuters and other passengers.

A million children 'mentally ill' through stress

Last Updated: 1:56am BST 22/04/2008

More than a million children have disorders ranging from depression and anxiety to anorexia, a report is expected to claim this week.
The fifth in a series of six reports by the Children's Society into the state of childhood is expected to disclose that pressures on the young to grow up too quickly are leaving increasing numbers with mental health problems.
Binge-drinking, drug-taking and pressure to look fashionable and attractive are all said to be contributing to the trend.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cathedral bans popular hymn Jerusalem

By Sophie Borland Last Updated: 2:36am BST 14/04/2008

Jerusalem, one of the country's best-loved hymns and the favourite of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has been banned from services at one of Britain's foremost churches.
The verses, which were written by William Blake more than two centuries ago, cannot be sung by choirs or congregations at Southwark Cathedral because the words do not praise God and are too nationalistic, according to senior clergy.

Brown under pressure to re-open Saudi arms inquiry

By Christopher Hope and James Kirkup Last Updated: 2:37am BST 14/04/2008

A bribery investigation into the biggest arms contract in British history could be reopened after the High Court condemned the Government's "abject surrender" to pressure from Saudi Arabia in blocking the inquiry.
Gordon Brown must decide whether he will uphold the decision of his predecessor, Tony Blair, and block a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) inquiry into BAE's £43 billion contract to sell warplanes and weapons systems to the Saudis.

Glasgow Airport bombers 'planned nightclub terror campaign'

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent Last Updated: 2:38am BST 14/04/2008

Islamic extremists planned to carry out a series of spectacular terror attacks against British nightclubs, the Old Bailey has heard.
Hundreds of people at one club in London escaped death last June only because two car bombs packed with improvised explosives and gas cylinders failed to go off.

Pirates can claim UK asylum

Marie Woolf, Whitehall Editor

THE Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights.
Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain.

Communities declining at 'fastest rate ever'

By Christopher Hope, Home Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 6:36am BST 14/04/2008

The hastening decline of community life in the countryside is highlighted today in a new Government report.
Nearly half of all neighbourhoods have lost key amenities such as surgeries, post offices, shops and schools in the past four years, figures from Oxford University show.

Inflation surges as Tories attack Gordon Brown's economic record

By Ben Farmer and Rosa Prince Last Updated: 1:21pm BST 14/04/2008

Gordon Brown's economic woes have been compounded by figures showing that the costs of raw materials are climbing at a record pace.
Rising prices faced by businesses are likely to be passed on to consumers and will also make it harder for the Bank of England to justify aggressive cuts in interest rates.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

BBC forced to apologise on-air over foul language on Live Earth

By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor Last Updated: 7:08pm BST 09/04/2008

The BBC has been ordered to broadcast a statement admitting that it failed to protect viewers from a stream of foul language during last summer’s Live Earth concert, in one of the toughest sanctions ever imposed on the Corporation by media regulator Ofcom.
Television audiences were subjected to “the most offensive language” on six separate occasions as performers at the Wembley Stadium event.

Max Mosley loses fight to suppress sex video

By Nick Allen Last Updated: 6:59pm BST 09/04/2008

Motor racing boss Max Mosley is facing fresh embarrassment after failing in a legal bid to stop a newspaper putting video footage of him consorting with five prostitutes on its website.
Mr Mosley did not dispute that the events occurred. Details of his five hour sadomasochistic encounter with the prostitutes were published in the newspaper last month.

Osama bin Laden 'aide' wins deportation fight

By Andrew Porter, Political Editor Last Updated: 3:07am BST 10/04/2008

The Home Office's plans to deport terrorist suspects were dealt a blow when Abu Qatada, the preacher once described as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe", won his fight against being sent back to Jordan.
Qatada, 45, is in a British prison awaiting deportation but could now be released after the Court of Appeal ruled that the evidence that convicted him in his absence had been obtained by torture.

SFO illegally dropped Saudi arms inquiry, judge rules

By Christopher Hope, Home Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 10:50am BST 10/04/2008

The Serious Fraud Office's decision to drop a probe into alleged bribery and corruption involving arms deals between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia was overturned by the High Court today.
The news will bring fresh pressure on the Government to reopen the probe which was controversially dropped after pressure from then prime minister Tony Blair 16 months ago.
The ruling is an extraordinary victory for anti-bribery pressure group Corner House Research and the Campaign Against Arms Trade.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Airline plot suspect 'carried US flight schedules'

By Richard Edwards and Duncan Gardham Last Updated: 12:23pm BST 08/04/2008

One of the alleged jet bombers was carrying a "bomb making manual" and schedules of flights when he was arrested, a court heard today.
Abdullah Ali, allegedly one of the key members of a gang of suicide bombers plotting to blow up seven transatlantic flights, was found with an address book and a computer memory stick when he was detained at a car park in east London.

New highly skilled migrant rules 'unlawful'

By Christopher Hope, Home Affairs Correspondent Last Updated: 2:35pm BST 08/04/2008

The Government's tough line on migrant workers has been dealt a blow after new rules for skilled immigrants who want to remain in the UK were declared unfair and unlawful by the High Court.
The decision torpedoes plans by the Government to target highly skilled migrants who came here before a new points based immigration system began at the end of last month.

Muslim sex offenders may opt out of treatment

By Ben Farmer Last Updated: 3:06pm BST 08/04/2008

Muslim sex offenders may be allowed to opt out of a prison treatment programme because it is against their religion, it has emerged.
Muslim sex offenders who do not take part in the course may spend more time in prison, experts say.
The Prison Service's Muslim advisor has said there is a "legitimate Islamic position" that criminals should not discuss their crimes with others.
Under the Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP), which treats more than 600 prisoners including rapists and sexual killers each year, offenders must discuss their crime, sometimes in groups.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Terror gang plotted to blow up transatlantic planes

David Byers, Woolwich Crown Court

Eight Islamist terrorists with the “cold-eyed certainty” of fanatics plotted to blow up several transatlantic airliners in mid-air in what would have brought about a death toll of “almost unimaginable scale”, a court was told today.
The alleged suicide mission, “in the name of Islam”, would have involved the suspects boarding seven flights leaving London for the United States and Canada with explosives disguised as soft drinks. Once on board, homemade bombs would explode on each aircraft, killing all the passengers and causing casualties on an “almost unprecedented” scale.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ben Elton: BBC scared of Islam jokes

By Sophie Borland Last Updated: 10:56am BST 02/04/2008

The BBC is too scared to make jokes about Islam, the comedian Ben Elton has claimed.
Elton, who is also a scriptwriter and author, accused the corporation of being too concerned with political correctness for not allowing jokes about imams but allowing ones vicars.
He said: "I think it all starts with people nodding whenever anyone says 'As a person of faith...'

Speaker Michael Martin to be investigated over wife's taxi expenses

Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor Last Updated: 2:19am BST 02/04/2008

Michael Martin, the speaker of the House of Commons, is to be officially investigated by the Parliamentary sleaze watchdog after admitting he used public money to fund taxis for his wife's shopping trips.
The Speaker's wife, Mary Martin, spent more than £4,000 on taxis for grocery shopping which has led to allegations that Parliamentary expenses have been abused.

Teachers to strike for first time in 21 years

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor Last Updated: 1:00pm BST 02/04/2008

Millions of children will be turned away from school as teachers confirmed their first national strike in 21 years.
Pupils aged five to 16 will be locked out on Thursday, April 24, after members of the National Union of Teachers voted for industrial action.

UK consumer borrowing hits five-year high

By Nick Allen Last Updated: 2:58pm BST 02/04/2008

The amount that Britons borrowed through credit cards, overdrafts and loans has soared to the highest level in more than five years, signalling that cash-strapped consumers are feeling the pinch.
Consumer credit rose to £2.35bn in February, the highest level since October 2002, according to figures released today from the Bank of England.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Salon sued by Muslim hairdresser in headscarf

Last Updated: 1:45am BST 01/04/2008

A Muslim hairdresser has accused a salon owner who objected to her Islamic headscarf of "blatant" religious discrimination.
Bushra Noah, 19, told an employment tribunal that she was "devastated" after being turned down for a job as a stylist at Wedge salon in King's Cross, north London.
She claimed that she could have fitted in at the salon, which specialises in "urban, edgy and funky" cuts, even though she insists her headgear is essential to her beliefs.

Heathrow Terminal 5 debacle 'damages UK'

By David Millward, Transport Editor Last Updated: 1:45am BST 01/04/2008

The fiasco at Terminal 5 has dented the nation's pride, the aviation minister said yesterday as he disclosed that double the number of bags were now stranded at Heathrow.
Mr Fitzpatrick said passengers using the £4.3 billion terminal had suffered an "unacceptably poor experience" and delivery had fallen "well short of expectation".

Limit immigration, warns House of Lords

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor Last Updated: 2:03am BST 01/04/2008

The number of immigrants entering Britain should be capped, an influential House of Lords committee has warned.
Its analysis concludes that record levels of immigration are bringing no economic benefit to the country.
The House of Lords report says that immigrants are not needed to fill labour market shortages
The report says that ministers should urgently review immigration policies as plans to increase the population by 190,000 a year threaten to have "major impacts" on public services and housing.