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.