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.