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.