House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax

House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax House prices rise 1.9% - Halifax

The Press Association-House prices have recorded their strongest quarterly rise in three years in a further sign that efforts...

Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain

Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain Starbucks tax offer 'too little, too late' for Britain

AFP-Despite pledging to pay millions of pounds in extra tax in Britain, Starbucks faces a battle to restore its reputation...

UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001'

UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001' UBS 'manipulated Swiss franc rates since 2001'

AFP-Swiss banking giant UBS, which last week was slapped with $1.5 billion in fines for manipulating global interest rates,...

No clean bill of health for MoD

No clean bill of health for MoD No clean bill of health for MoD

Auditors have refused to give the Ministry of Defence's accounts a clean bill of health for the sixth year running. The Press...

Britain storms out of recession but cautious on outlook

Britain storms out of recession but cautious on outlook
  AFP- Britain powered out of its longest double-dip recession since the 1950s after its economy returned to growth in the...

Virgin Media gets Olympics lift

Virgin Media gets Olympics lift
  The Press Association- Olympic champions Mo Farah and Usain Bolt helped Virgin Media deliver its biggest quarterly increase...

Bank of England divided over QE

Bank of England divided over QE
  The Press Association-Bank of England policymakers are divided over the benefits of pumping more emergency cash into the economy...

Germany's Schaeuble confident of go-ahead for eurozone pacts

Germany's Schaeuble confident of go-ahead for eurozone pacts
  AFP- Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Monday he was confident the country's top court will not block the...

Adnams gets boost from new beers

Adnams gets boost from new beers
  The Press Association- Brewer Adnams has toasted higher profits after a range of new beers helped it cope with "the most...

HSBC hid $16 bn in Iran transactions: US Senate report

HSBC hid $16 bn in Iran transactions: US Senate report
  AFP-Global banking giant HSBC and its US affiliate concealed more than $16 billion in sensitive transactions to Iran, violating...

German finance minister calls for stronger EU

German finance minister calls for stronger EU
  AFP-German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble called for EU member states to hand more powers to the European Union in "major...

Services sector growth welcomed

Services sector growth welcomed
  The Press Association-A run of dire economic data that has spooked the UK's recovery hopes has been halted with a decent performance...

Payday lender Wonga plans flotation

Payday lender Wonga plans flotation
  The Press Association- Payday lender Wonga is reported to be considering a US stock market flotation that could value the business...

UK recession deepens as official GDP shrinks

UK recession deepens as official GDP shrinks
AFP-Britain's recession is worse than previously thought, as revised official figures showed on Thursday that the economy shrank...

Marks & Spencer profits plunge 19%, slashes target

Marks & Spencer profits plunge 19%, slashes target
  AFP-British clothing-to-food retailer Marks & Spencer on Tuesday announced a drop in annual profits in a "challenging economic...


'Dither and delay' warning on HS2

'Dither and delay' warning on HS2 'Dither and delay' warning on HS2

The Press Associtaion-High speed rail between London and Birmingham might not be achieved in the 2020s because of...

Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest

Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest Wife's plea over man's Greek arrest

The Press Association-An MP has voiced his concerns about the plight of a British national who was imprisoned while...

Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles

Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles Louvre ditches audio guides for Nintendo consoles

AP - The Louvre Museum is used to dealing with antiquities: Nearly all of its thousands of works of art date to 1848...

French Concordia survivors get €2m payout

French Concordia survivors get €2m payout French Concordia survivors get €2m payout

AFP- The owner of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that ran aground off northwest Italy in January has paid more...

Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins

Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins Chicago hotel prices jump as summer begins

(Relaxnews) - Hotel prices in the Windy City soared by 23 percent this month, according to new research by Trivago. Chicago...


Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo

Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo Vettel’s new partner? Raikkonen or Ricciardo

The decision to Sebastian Vettel’s new partner probably falls between Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner...

Mercedes plans new assault on Vettel: Infrared trick and louvers

Mercedes plans new assault on Vettel: Infrared trick and louvers
  Three long years of Silver Arrow lurched past the targets. There was nothing: a measly victory in 58 races. This year it runs better already clear:...

Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season

Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season Barcelona lose first La Liga game of season

AFP-Barcelona suffered their first La Liga defeat of the season on Saturday when they slumped to a shock 3-2 loss at Real Sociedad. Barcelona...

Wiggins may target Tour defence after all

Wiggins may target Tour defence after all Wiggins may target Tour defence after all

AFP-Bradley Wiggins says he is likely to defend his Tour de France title after all next year despite previously nominating the Giro d'Italia as...

Messi in light training after injury scare

Messi in light training after injury scare Messi in light training after injury scare

AFP-Barcelona star Lionel Messi took part in light training on Thursday after being stretchered off with a knee injury during the 0-0 draw at home...

Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope

Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope Benitez tiptoes onto Chelsea tightrope

AFP- Freshly appointed as Chelsea's latest interim coach, Rafael Benitez could be forgiven for wondering whether he has accepted a poisoned chalice. The...

McIlroy makes late charge at Singapore Open

McIlroy makes late charge at Singapore Open
  AFP-World number one Rory McIlroy made a late charge up the leaderboard but still trailed Denmark's Thomas Bjorn by five shots after a marathon day...

Tower of Polish power knocks down Murray in Paris

Tower of Polish power knocks down Murray in Paris
  AFP- Towering Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz upset Andy Murray 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 on Thursday to complete the early exit of the elite from...

Chelsea rage at referee's 'inappropriate language'

Chelsea rage at referee's 'inappropriate language'
  AFP- Chelsea have filed a complaint over "inappropriate language" allegedly used by referee Mark Clattenburg towards their players during their...

Suspended Olympic badminton players appeal

Suspended Olympic badminton players appeal
  AFP-Four South Korean badminton players who were suspended for trying to throw matches at the London Olympics have appealed their penalties, the...


Silvio Berlusconi: Reassuring about the fate of Berlusconi government PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 18:30

Despite the confirmation of the sentence of one year in prison by the Italian Supreme Court for tax evasion, Silvio Berlusconi has sought today to reassure the public about the fate of the government of left-right coalition led by Enrico Letta.

The former prime minister delivered a speech to nearly a thousand supporters gathered outside his residence in Rome. He said that the government “must go forward,” while trying to defuse the tension. We said clearly and directly that the government should move forward, “he said.”The government must continue to adopt economic measures and we said clearly and directly that Parliament should proceed to vote these economic measures,” he continued.

Members of the party of the People of Freedom (PDL) Berlusconi had threatened to resign following the conviction of their leader, calling for a presidential pardon.  For its part, the left denounced the “threats and blackmail” ensuring prepare for any eventuality. The Prime Minister had said Letta wait statements Cavaliere to draw any consequences. But Silvio Berlusconi has preferred to play the card of appeasement and stand as essential for the protection of the government.  Under the slogan “Sunday in the streets for democracy and freedom,” the gathering was organized hastily by the PDL. Given the holiday and the scorching weather that prevails on the Italian peninsula, the event is considered successful.

Julian Assange: a year in the embassy PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 June 2013 21:02

AFP-It is an odd sight: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is wearing a jacket and tie, but no shoes. Then again, if you have not stepped outside Ecuador's London embassy for a year, shoes are largely pointless.

In an interview with AFP to mark this strange anniversary, the man behind the whistleblowing website that unleashed the wrath of Washington insisted diplomats have the potential to end the deadlock that has left him trapped.

Like something out of a spy novel, Assange, a 41-year-old former computer hacker from Australia, walked into the embassy on June 19, 2012 and claimed asylum in a sensational bid to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes.

Ecuador granted his request, accepting his fears that if sent to Sweden he might be passed on to the United States and prosecuted for publishing thousands of classified war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan and a cache of diplomatic cables.

But Britain has refused to grant him safe passage to Ecuador.

For a year, police have maintained a 24-hour guard at the doors of the embassy -- a modest apartment around the corner from the Harrods department store -- and are poised to arrest him if he tries to leave.

The last year, Assange says, has been like living on a space station. He has used a sun lamp to make up for the lack of natural light, and exercises on a treadmill.

He has also been getting on with the business of being a thorn in Washington's side.

"You ask how I deal with the difficulties of being confined. Well actually, my mind is not confined," he said, leaning back in a chair in the embassy's tastefully decorated front room (photo by acidpolly).

"The physical circumstances are difficult. However, I'm working every day."

He spoke as shockwaves reverberated around the world over the biggest US leak since WikiLeaks published the war logs and diplomatic cables in 2010: the exposure of spy agencies' massive electronic surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden, an ex-CIA employee who says from exile in Hong Kong that his conscience drove him to reveal the scale of the government's spying on the public, faces a criminal probe -- and Assange fears he will be treated as harshly as WikiLeaks' leaker Bradley Manning.

"Mr Snowden is as good an example of a hero as any. He has performed an extremely courageous act," said Assange, hailing him for exposing America's "creeping mass surveillance state".

Portugal government condemns court 'no' to 2013 budget PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 April 2013 06:27

AFP-Portugal's centre-right government on Saturday condemned the constitutional court's rejection of several aspects of the country's tough 2013 budget, saying that the decision "makes it difficult" to make budget cuts promised to creditors.

The court's decision would have "a negative impact" on the austerity programme underway, said government spokesman Luis Marques Guedes.

He said that the Portuguese prime minister had requested an emergency meeting with President Anibal Cavaco Silva to discuss the situation (photo by keith2366).

On Friday the court ruled that some measures in the budget were unlawful, including the scrapping of a 14th month of salary for civil servants and retirees, as well as cuts to unemployment and sickness benefits.

The rulings -- at a time of mounting public anger over the deepening austerity -- could compromise the government's need to apply tough budget measures to meet the terms of a 78-billion-euro ($100 billion) EU-IMF bail-out that was granted in 2011.

Clinton's long 'to-do list' for Kerry PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 February 2013 14:38


AFP-Hillary Clinton laid out a bulging agenda for incoming secretary of state John Kerry, warning about Iran's aid to Syria, voicing concern for Afghan women and raising cyber hacking fears.

In her final press interview, Clinton told a small group of journalists including AFP that after four years as America's top diplomat, she was looking forward to getting some rest and taking long walks with her newest dog, a five-month-old labradoodle pup named Maisie.

But in the hour-long roundtable, Clinton also summed up some of the weighty issues that will be weighing down Kerry's in-tray on Monday morning. Here are some of her thoughts:


"The worst kind of predictions of what could happen, both internally and spilling over the borders of Syria, are certainly within the realm of the possible now," Clinton warned, calling the "conflict distressing on all fronts."

She charged that Iran and Russia were both aiding and abetting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with Tehran increasing its support.


"The Iranians have made it clear for some time that keeping Assad in power was one of their highest priorities. We believe they have acted on that by sending in more personnel, not only to help Assad, but to support and advise military security forces," Clinton said.

"We have reason to believe that the Russians continue to supply financial and military assistance in the form of equipment to Assad.

"The crisis deserves all of the efforts that we can bring to it," she added, saying she knew Kerry "intends to pick up where I left off."


Clinton warned that while the United States has "never stopped trying to engage" with Iran over its suspect nuclear program, making numerous approaches to get them back to the negotiating table, time was running out.

"I don't think the window can remain open for too much longer. I'm not going to put days, weeks or months on it," she said, though adding that the Iranian leadership was more preoccupied with the upcoming elections.


"This is a front-burner issue of real concern which I think will be on the desk of the secretary when he arrives," Clinton said, referring to the isolated communist-run state that is threatening to conduct its third nuclear test.

"We thought we were making some headway in dealing with Kim Jong-Il and his administration. Of course he died and was succeeded by a young leader, who we're still taking stock of along with our partners."

Trident replacement 'not realistic' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 02:00

The Press Association-A Government review will provide "credible" alternatives to the like-for-like replacement of Trident, a Cabinet minister has said.

Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander dismissed Tory demands for a new continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent as "not financially realistic".

The junior coalition party insisted on the official review, which is due to report in June, as part of its deal with the Conservatives in May 2010.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Mr Alexander took charge of the study last autumn after Lib Dem defence minister Nick Harvey lost his job in a reshuffle.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Alexander repeated his belief that a like-for-like replacement was not needed.

"Given all the financial pressures across the whole of the public sector, all the things the Government has to do and wants to pay for, and all the pressures in different areas, I just think the idea that somehow, out of thin air, we can carve a multibillion pocket to pay for this, that is not financially realistic," he said (photo by Scott Campbell Photography).

"We are in a position where the costs of the successor have to be paid for from within the Ministry of Defence budget. There is no magic pot of money that is going to be created out of thin air to go on top of that. As a Government, we have been very clear about that. Certainly myself and the Chancellor."

Osborne says UK austerity to last longer PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 December 2012 20:26

AFP-George Osborne warned Sunday that economic recovery will take longer than planned but insisted that abandoning the government's tough austerity measures would be catastrophic.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is to deliver his Autumn Statement before parliament on Wednesday, alongside the latest growth and borrowing forecasts from Britain's Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) fiscal watchdog.

"We had two targets, one was to get debt share falling as a share of national income by 2015/16 and also to balance the current budget," Osborne told BBC television.

"It's clearly taking longer to deal with Britain's debts, its clearly taking longer to recover from the financial crisis than anyone would have hoped but we have made real progress."

Osborne said he wanted the British economy to grow but insisted that cutting debt was the right course.

"Undermining the credibility of our deficit plan, going back on our commitment to deal with our debts, would be a complete catastrophe for Britain," Osborne said (photo by conservativeparty).

He added that doing so would "would put us into the place where some European countries are at the moment and that is not a place Britain wants to be."

Separately in the Sun on Sunday newspaper, Osborne wrote: "There is a lot more to do, but together we are making progress.

"The road ahead may be longer than we thought but it leads to a better future. Let's have the courage to stay the course."

ITV boss: Schofield stunt was wrong PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 November 2012 22:32

The Press Association - ITV's director of television has admitted Phillip Schofield was "wrong" in confronting David Cameron with a list of alleged paedophiles on live TV, adding that the action was "misguided".

In an interview on ITV News, Peter Fincham said that he would be responding to letters from Lord McAlpine and Tory MP John Whittingdale "very quickly".

TV regulator Ofcom has received 415 complaints about last week's incident and has launched an investigation into it.

Mr Fincham said he was "confident this sort of thing won't happen again".

He said: "I think the way This Morning interviewed the Prime Minister last Thursday or that portion of the interview was wrong, was misguided.

"I'm not happy that this happened. We have editorial processes and checks in place and, to be honest with you, they weren't followed so I'm not happy about that but I think the way we have tackled this and responded to this has been quick and decisive."

Mr Fincham said the channel would "co-operate fully" with the Ofcom investigation. He said he was unable to discuss the disciplinary action taken against those involved in the production but the matter had been taken "extremely seriously" (photo by mediaGuardian Edinburgh INternational Television F).

He added: "I've spoken to Phillip Schofield myself. He realises his mistake. He apologised for it extremely fully and extremely quickly and I discussed that with him and I think he's under no illusions that this was a lapse in ITV journalism; this is something we shouldn't have done."

Prince Charles thanks multicultural Australia PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 November 2012 20:33


AFP-Britain's Prince Charles thanked Australians for being "wonderfully kind" Saturday, as he and wife Camilla wrapped up a six-day tour that has taken them from the Outback to Bondi Beach.

Hundreds of people came to see the royal couple at their final destination Canberra, with one woman offering the prince a packet of chocolate Tim Tams -- a type of biscuit he had said he hoped someone would allow Camilla to try.

"You're very kind," Charles told Alyson Richards, 25, as she handed over the biscuits and wished him a happy birthday for next week.

At a lunch at Government House, Charles, 63, said it had been a joy to visit Australia, where the couple met hundreds of community volunteers, and were able to see the local wildlife, including koalas and kangaroos, up close.


"When we finally get back, after a very, very, long journey, if I'm still reasonably compos mentis by then and haven't completely lost my marbles to jet lag, I will report back to her majesty your wonderfully kind thoughts and expressions after our visit," he said.

He added while the tour had not allowed them to visit as many places as they would have liked, it enabled them to "witness so many of the changes that have happened here since I was here last". The prince was last in Australia in 2005.

"And to witness... the extraordinary vibrancy of the multicultural society which Australia is and which of course has stood Australia in such remarkable stead in terms of the richness and diversity which you can see only too well"(photo by The British Monarchy).

Earlier Charles was in attendance as one of the terraces of Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin was named after the Queen, following a tradition of naming the terraces after Australia's monarchs since federation in 1901.

Nobel for EU praised in European, not British, press PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 October 2012 22:11

AFP- European newspapers on Saturday praised the decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, with the notable exception of the British press, most of which poured scorn on the decision.

"EU have got to be joking!" the Sun tabloid said in a headline, quoting Conservative ex-finance minister Norman Lamont as calling Friday's prize "ridiculous and absurd".

"Nobel peace prize for idiocy," declared the right-wing Daily Mail, beside a photo of protesters in Athens dressing as Nazis while demonstrating against European Union-imposed austerity as German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited this week.

Elsewhere the press reaction was much more favourable, despite several commentators pointing out that the European Union, wracked with debt and deficit and struggling to maintain its coherence, is not currently looking its best.

"Good idea, bad laureate," opined German magazine Der Spiegel.

"No one can seriously reproach the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union.

"That's the problem, it's a too-easy decision. It would have been more courageous to highlight someone, Jacques Delors, who embodies what European policy lacks these days," referring to the French former head of the EU's executive commission.

The Belgian Le Soir, in an editorial entitled "60 years of peace despite the crises", said that "European citizens, many of whom have reasons to lose hope today, should take this Nobel Prize as a reminder that Europe has up till now been a major player in the progress of democracy".

The Italian centre-right daily La Stampa took a similar view: "The prize comes as a surprise during the most difficult moments of the process of continental integration, as the crisis hits families incessantly... It is finally a concrete recognition of a path which has afforded the continent 67 years without conflict."

'Missed chances' in abuse scandal PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 September 2012 10:11


The Press Association -Social workers, police and the Crown Prosecution Service "missed opportunities" to stop a child exploitation ring abusing young girls, a report into the scandal has revealed.

"Deficiencies" in the way children's social care responded to the victims' needs in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, were caused by "patchy" training of frontline staff, the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSCB) said in its review into child sexual exploitation.

The review was ordered in the aftermath of a trial which saw nine Asian men jailed for grooming young white girls for sex.

The picture which emerges from the report is one of vulnerable young girls, some as young as 10, who were being targeted for sexual abuse, being written off by those in authority who believed the girls were "making their own choices".

The review comes just days after The Times published a report which alleged that agencies in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, were aware of extensive and co-ordinated abuse of white girls by some Asian men and detailed a range of offences for which no-one has been prosecuted.

Rochdale Council said it has used the review's findings to implement a catalogue of changes and improvements. The report looked at how agencies including the council, police, NHS and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) worked between 2007 and 2012 to safeguard children and young people who were at risk of sexual exploitation (photo by The Laird of Oldham).

The report, which specifically followed the treatment of one 15-year-old victim, says: "While some organisations were consistently supportive in their response, overall child welfare organisations missed opportunities to provide a comprehensive, co-ordinated and timely response and, in addition, the criminal justice system missed opportunities to bring the perpetrators to justice."

RBSCB chairwoman Lynne Jones said: "We have responded to this review and improvements have been implemented. I believe organisations are working better together, sharing information to ensure children are protected and that perpetrators of these crimes are prosecuted."

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