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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ms Sandiford to be executed for drug trafficking.

A British grandmother has been sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling almost 5kg of cocaine into Bali.

Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May last year after she tried to enter the Indonesian holiday island with illegal drugs worth £1.6 million hidden in her suitcase.

Local prosecutors had called for the 56-year-old housewife to be jailed for 15 years. But today there were gasps in the Bali courtroom when a panel of judges announced Ms Sandiford would be executed for drug trafficking.

As the shock verdict was announced, Ms Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, slumped back in her chair in tears before hiding her face with a brown sarong as she was led out of the courtroom.

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Friday, 6 July 2012

Bankers face the prospect of jail as Serious Fraud Office launches criminal probe into interest-rate fixing at Barclays

Hearing: Former chief executive Bob Diamond left Barclays over the matter, before appearing before MPs this week

Hearing: Former chief executive Bob Diamond left Barclays over the matter, before appearing before MPs this week

A criminal investigation has been launched into alleged rigging of the Libor rate within the banking industry, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed today.

SFO director David Green QC formally accepted the Libor issue for investigation after Barclays was fined by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) last week for manipulating the key interbank lending rate which affects mortgages and loans.

The claims ultimately led to the resignation of Barclays boss Bob Diamond and have become the focal point of a fierce political debate over ethics in the banking sector.

The investigation could ultimately lead to criminal prosecutions and bankers facing charges in court.

The SFO's update came after it revealed earlier this week that it had been working closely with the FSA during its investigation and would consider the potential for criminal prosecutions.

The Government department, which is responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious and complex fraud, said on Monday the issues surrounding Libor were "complex" and that assessing the evidence would take time.

Under fire: Barclays former chairman Marcus Agius (right) with former CEO Bob Diamond (centre), and former chief executive John Varley (left)

Under fire: Barclays former chairman Marcus Agius (right) with former CEO Bob Diamond (centre), and former chief executive John Varley (left)

As the SFO prepares its investigation, Labour leader Ed Miliband continued to push for an independent inquiry into the banking scandal despite MPs rejecting the demands.

The Labour leader said that while the party would cooperate with a parliamentary investigation, its remit was too "narrow" and a judge-led probe was still needed.

Mr Miliband also defended the conduct of Ed Balls after the shadow chancellor engaged in a bitter war of words with his opposite number George Osborne in the Commons.

 

 




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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Assange seeks political asylum

On Tuesday night WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange applied for political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after failing in his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sex crime allegations. The 40-year-old Australian is currently inside the building in Knightsbridge, having gone there on Tuesday afternoon to request asylum under the United Nations Human Rights Declaration. The country's foreign minister Ricardo Patino told a press conference in the South American country that it was considering his request. In a short statement last night, Mr Assange said: "I can confirm that today I arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum. This application has been passed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Quito. I am grateful to the Ecuadorian ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application." The computer expert, who was on £200,000 bail after failing in several attempts to halt extradition, attracted several high-profile supporters including Ken Loach and socialite and charity fundraiser Jemima Khan, who each offered £20,000 as surety. Other supporters included Bianca Jagger and veteran left-winger Tony Benn. The Swedish authorities want him to answer accusations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010 while on a visit to give a lecture. Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses, says the sex was consensual and the allegations against him are politically motivated. The Supreme Court last month ruled in favour of a High Court ruling that his extradition was legal. Last week the Supreme Court refused an attempt by him to reopen his appeal against extradition, saying it was "without merit". He had until June 28 to ask European judges in Strasbourg to consider his case and postpone extradition on the basis that he has not had a fair hearing from the UK courts. A statement issued on behalf of the Ecuadorian Embassy said Mr Assange would remain at the embassy while his request was considered.

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Monday, 18 June 2012

Police study Murdoch's 'secret' iPhone account

Scotland Yard detectives investigating phone hacking at the News of the World are examining the call records of four newly discovered Apple iPhones issued to senior executives at News International. The smartphones, issued by O2 in a contract beginning in October 2009, included a handset given to James Murdoch, the former chairman and chief executive of News Corp Europe. Despite billing for the phones totalling nearly £12,000 between June last year and May this year, neither Operation Weeting nor the Leveson Inquiry was told of the existence of the smartphone accounts. Phone text messages and emails sent and received by News International executives and advisers have provided some of the most controversial evidence heard by Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into press practices and ethics. It had been assumed that the email and text traffic from key News International executives was centred solely on their company BlackBerry account with Vodafone. In accounts seen by The Independent, issued through 02's corporate customer services at Arlington Business Park in Leeds, Mr Murdoch's iPhone account is listed as "active". Mr Murdoch is said to have told 02 that he specifically wanted a "white iPhone" when the smartphone was issued to him in the summer of 2009. Katie Vanneck-Smith, listed as News International's chief marketing officer, also has an active account. Two other NI executive numbers are described as disconnected. Between June last year – just before The Guardian revealed in July that the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had been hacked into – and the beginning of the Leveson Inquiry in November, the NI iPhone accounts were billed for £9,650. Last night, Labour MP Tom Watson said people would be "shocked" to learn that the smartphones had been issued to key NI executives, while the company's disclosures focused only on the BlackBerry Vodafone accounts. Mr Watson said he hoped that News Corp's Management and Standards Committee, which is responsible for all matters relating to phone hacking, would enforce its own promise of full transparency and appropriate disclosure, by revealing all the data and logs held on the discovered phones to both the police and the Leveson Inquiry. Last night, a spokeswoman for News International, said: "Mr Murdoch fully co-operated with the Leveson Inquiry. It is ridiculous to suggest that James Murdoch keeps or kept a 'secret phone'." Meanwhile sources close to the Leveson Inquiry have denied that Lord Justice Leveson threatened to quit his judicial investigation following comments made in February by Michael Gove. The Education Secretary told a gathering of political journalists that the inquiry into press ethics and practices was creating a "chilling atmosphere" towards press freedom. During Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons the day after Mr Gove's lobby speech, David Cameron appeared to back his cabinet colleague's view. Concern that Mr Gove might be the Prime Minister's advance messenger prompted Lord Justice Leveson to call the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. Whitehall sources say Lord Justice Leveson wanted to learn directly from Mr Cameron whether his inquiry was wasting public money on an ultimately futile exercise or whether his initial remit stood. Although the reassurances from No 10 took two days to arrive, sources claim there was no threat from the judge to resign from his own inquiry.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

shooting a cop dead is now legal in the state of Indiana.

Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican, has authorized changes to a 2006 legislation that legalizes the use of deadly force on a public servant — including an officer of the law — in cases of “unlawful intrusion.” Proponents of both the Second and Fourth Amendments — those that allow for the ownership of firearms and the security against unlawful searches, respectively — are celebrating the update by saying it ensures that residents are protected from authorities that abuse the powers of the badge. Others, however, fear that the alleged threat of a police state emergence will be replaced by an all-out warzone in Indiana. Under the latest changes of the so-called Castle Doctrine, state lawmakers agree “people have a right to defend themselves and third parties from physical harm and crime.” Rather than excluding officers of the law, however, any public servant is now subject to be met with deadly force if they unlawfully enter private property without clear justification. “In enacting this section, the general assembly finds and declares that it is the policy of this state to recognize the unique character of a citizen's home and to ensure that a citizen feels secure in his or her own home against unlawful intrusion by another individual or a public servant,” reads the legislation. Although critics have been quick to condemn the law for opening the door for assaults on police officers, supporters say that it is necessary to implement the ideals brought by America’s forefathers. Especially, argue some, since the Indiana Supreme Court almost eliminated the Fourth Amendment entirely last year. During the 2011 case of Barnes v. State of Indiana, the court ruled that a man who assaulted an officer dispatched to his house had broken the law before there was “no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.” In turn, the National Rifle Association lobbied for an amendment to the Castle Doctrine to ensure that residents were protected from officers that abuse the law to grant themselves entry into private space. “There are bad legislators,” the law’s author, State Senator R. Michael Young (R) tells Bloomberg News. “There are bad clergy, bad doctors, bad teachers, and it’s these officers that we’re concerned about that when they act outside their scope and duty that the individual ought to have a right to protect themselves.” Governor Daniels agrees with the senator in a statement offered through his office, and notes that the law is only being established to cover rare incidents of police abuse that can escape the system without reprimand for officers or other persons that break the law to gain entry. “In the real world, there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met,” Daniels says. “This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers.” Officers in Indiana aren’t necessarily on the same page, though. “If I pull over a car and I walk up to it and the guy shoots me, he’s going to say, ‘Well, he was trying to illegally enter my property,’” Sergeant Joseph Hubbard tells Bloomberg. “Somebody is going get away with killing a cop because of this law.” “It’s just a recipe for disaster,” Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police President Tim Downs adds. “It just puts a bounty on our heads.”

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Friday, 8 June 2012

ON CLOUD NINE: BATH SALTS BY ANOTHER NAME... WITH STRONG COMPULSIONS TO REDOSE

After the recent stream of disturbing news reports of people eating others' flesh, Hornaday Manufacturing has released bullets that promise to ‘make dead permanent.’

The ammunition, branded as Zombie Max offers Proven Z-Max bullets, is live ammunition, but is actually only intended for use on targets – not people.

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The Walking Dead: Hornady Manufacturing has started selling Zombie bullets, 'just in case'; it is live ammunition

The Walking Dead: Hornady Manufacturing has started selling Zombie bullets, 'just in case'; it is live ammunition

A violent attack in Scott is eerily similar to a case out of Florida connected to the dangerous bath salts line drug known as Cloud Nine
Police arrested homeless Brandon De Leon on Saturday Deleon on June 2

Attacks: Carl Jacquneaux, left, who was arrested for allegedly biting another man's face and Brandon De Leon, right, who allegedly tried to bite two policemen while threatening to eat them

 

Hornaday spokesman Everett Deger told WWJ Newsradio 950 that the company’s president has a love of zombie culture – including popular shows like the Walking Dead – and was inspired to make the bullets in honour of the cultural phenomenon. 

ON CLOUD NINE: BATH SALTS BY ANOTHER NAME... WITH STRONG COMPULSIONS TO REDOSE

Cloud Nine bath salts

The 'bath salts' sold under the name Cloud Nine are likely to be stimulant drugs such MPDV or ephedrine. 

'Bath salts' does not refer to a single chemical, but instead to a range of synthetic drugs that can be sold legally in the U.S. as long as they are not marked for human consumption – hence the misleading name.

Drugs such as MPDV are highly potent stimulants, similar to some amphetamines, and in MPDV's case particularly, cause a strong compulsion to 'redose' with more of the drug. 

In high doses, such drugs can cause violent and unpredictable behaviour, and terrifying hallucinations – and the compulsion to take more of the drug continues, even once the 'high' has begun to make the user feel bad.

Various different compounds use the name 'Cloud Nine', and it's still not confirmed which exact chemical was in the drug reported to have caused these attacks, but some reports have pointed the finger at MPDV. 

The chemical is already illegal in Florida – although other 'bath salts' remain perfectly legal in the state.  

 

‘We decided just to have some fun with a marketing plan that would allow us to create some ammunition designed for that…fictional world,’ he told the radio station.

Mr Deger noted that the bullets are some of the ammunition company’s most popular products.

The news comes as two more cannibal attacks have been reported in the US as police warn of a dangerous new mind-altering drug called Cloud Nine.

 

Last week Rudy Eugene - who is believed to have taken the over-the-counter ecstasy-like drug - growled at officers as he chewed off most of a homeless man's face before being shot dead by Miami police.

Since then two further incidents have been linked to the substance, which is part of a new line of 'bath salts'.

 

 

More...

  • Revealed: Miami cannibal's girlfriend shows herself in public for the first time and claims her beau was carrying a BIBLE before the attack
  • Caught on camera: The moment woman driver rams into pedestrian and travels for hundreds of yards with him clinging on 'because of her hormones'
  • Revealed: The videos 'Canadian cannibal' sent to his 'fans' while on the run from police - and one of them contains infamous song from American Psycho

 

The second occurred on Saturday when a snarling homeless man, identified as Brandon De Leon, threatened to eat two officers, echoing the Miami attack.

A third incident took place in Louisiana where Carl Jacquneaux, 43, bit off a chunk of his victim's face. Miami police have issued a warning about Cloud Nine and told their officers to exercise extreme caution when dealing with homeless men who appear to be acting unusually.

Police investigating the case of Rudy Eugene, who ate the face off a homeless man, say as well as being naked, he was carrying a bible.

Some pages had been ripped out of the book and were found close by, according to CBS Miami. A preliminary toxicology examination has also found that the 31-year-old had been smoked cannabis shortly before the incident.

They were forced to fit 21-year-old De Leon with a Hannibal Lecter-style mask after he was arrested for disturbing the peace in North Miami Beach. When put in a police cruiser De Leon slammed his head against the plexiglass divider and shouted at officers, 'I'm going to eat you', NBC Miami reported. 

He then growled, gnashed his teeth and tried to bite the hand of an officer attempting to treat his head wounds.

'Brandon growled and opened and closed his jaw, slamming his teeth like an animal would,' the report said. Miami police said they believe he was on a cocktail of drugs, including Cloud Nine. 

In a second case Carl Jacquneaux, 43, is accused of attacking Todd Credeur at his home in Scott, Louisiana, over the weekend after he became upset following a domestic issue.Victim: Todd Credeur, though in shock, managed to spray his attacker in the face with wasp spray to stop him from eating any more of his face

Victim: Todd Credeur, though in shock, managed to spray his attacker in the face with wasp spray to stop him from eating any more of his face

 

Scene: Todd Creneur was attacked while working on the yard outside his home in Scott, Louisiana

Scene: Todd Creneur was attacked while working on the yard outside his home in Scott, Louisiana

 

KATC reported that Mr Credeur was working in his front yard when he was attacked.

Scott Assistant Police Chief Kert Thomas said: 'During the attack, the suspect bit a chunk of the victim's face off.'

Mr Credeur reportedly managed to spray Jacquneaux in the face with wasp spray to stop him from eating any more of his face.

Jacquneaux then allegedly left the home and went to another man's home where he held him at knife point and stole a hand gun. This is where police found him and arrested him.

A friend of the victim said she believes Jacquneaux was under the influence of Cloud Nine, which is the same drug which is believed to have been taken by the 'Miami Cannibal' Rudy Eugene.

Eugene ate the face of homeless man Ronald Poppo in Miami last week and a police memo to officers has highlighted the dangers surrounding the drug's use. 

It warned the De Leon case 'bears resemblance to an incident that occurred in the city of Miami last week, when a male ate another man's face'.

'Please be careful when dealing with the homeless population during your patrols.'

Police have suggested Eugene was under the influence of the synthetic stimulant usually sold in drug paraphanelia shops.

Cloud Nine is 'addictive and dangerous', the memo said, part of a 'disturbing trend in which new drugs are sold in the guise of household products'.

The drug, which is also as Ivory Wave in the U.S., comes in harmless-looking packets, police said, adding that it is illegal in Britain and Australia.

Rudy Eugene attacked and chewed the face off a homeless man
Ronald Poppo was attacked by a man who hurled him to the ground and tore into his face with his teeth

Crazed attack: Cloud Nine, which is the same drug which is believed to have been taken by the 'Miami Cannibal' Rudy Eugene (left) when he savagely attacked 65-year-old Ronald Poppo (right)

The potentially addictive drug stimulates the central nervous system and symptoms include heart palpitations, nausea, hallucinations, paranoia and erratic behaviour.

The series of shocking incidents began on May 26 when a naked Eugene encountered his victim, 65-year-old Ronald Poppo, who was sleeping in the shade on elevated train tracks.

In surveillance footage from the nearby Miami Herald building, Eugene was seen struggling with the naked homeless man, throwing him to the ground and then tearing into his face with his teeth as cars and bicycles sped by.

About 18 minutes into the attack, an officer appeared on the scene and yelled at Eugene to stop, but the 31-year-old just growled at him and continued chewing Poppo’s face.

The officer then opened fire on Eugene, shooting him to death.

Enlarge Horrific attack: The spot on MacArthur Causeway where a man was killed after chewing the face off a stranger

Horrific attack: The spot on MacArthur Causeway when a man was killed after chewing the face off a stranger

 

Poppo miraculously survived the attack, but was left without a nose, mouth or eyes

Disfigured: Poppo, here on a stretcher, miraculously survived the attack, but was left without a nose, mouth or eyes

Poppo remains in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital with his nose, mouth and eyes torn off. He faces months of treatment to rebuild his features and psychological care.

Controversially this week the scene of the attack on Poppo has been Miami added to sites visited by a tourist tour's itinerary.

The famous Miami Mystery & Mayhem: Crime Tour tour led by Miami-Dade College professor Dr Paul George will stop on the road that connects downtown Miami to popular South Beach.

Dr Paul told the South Florida Business Journal: 'Horrible as it was, it is part of our history. Currently, our tour takes us over the causeway right past the site, so this fits well.'

In a completely separate case not involving the drug, Canadian Luka Rocco Magnotta has been sent back to his country from Germany after an international manhunt.

He is alleged to have killed his partner, Jun Lin, before eating parts of his body then chopping it to pieces that were then posted to different authorities. Mr Lun's head has not yet been found.

'ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE': RECENT CANNIBAL ATTACKS ACROSS AMERICA

shows Rudy Eugene, the man who was shot dead by police as he ate the face of a homeless man during Memorial Day weekend in Miami.

Since Rudy Eugene attacked and ate the face of homeless man Ronald Poppo on May 26 in Miami, Florida, while allegedly high on 'bath salts' there has been a spate of similar attacks.

The 'Miami Cannibal' case shocked the nation after police had to shoot dead Eugene when he refused to stop eating his victim's face off. Poppo is now recovering in hospital with horrific injuries.

 

 Police arrested homeless man Brandon Deleon on June 2

Brandon DeLeon, 21, was high on drugs and drunk on Four Loko on June 2 when he tried to bite off a police officer’s hand after he was arrested for disturbing customers in a Miami fast food restaurant.

The homeless man repeatedly banged his head against the patrol car’s Plexiglas and yelled, ‘I’m going to eat you.’

At the police station, De Leon tried to bite the officer who was taking his blood pressure and tending to his self-inflicted wounds. The police report noted that he 'growled and opened and closed his jaw slamming his teeth like an animal would.'

 

A violent attack in Scott is eerily similar to a case out of Florida connected to the dangerous drug known as bath salts

Carl Jacquneaux, 43, is accused of attacking Todd Credeur at his home in Scott, Louisiana, over the weekend after he became upset following a domestic issue.

Mr Credeur reportedly managed to spray Jacquneaux in the face with wasp spray to stop him from eating any more of his face.

A friend of the victim said she believes Jacquneaux was under the influence of Cloud Nine, which is the same drug which is believed to have been taken by the 'Miami Cannibal' Rudy Eugene.

 

 Alexander Kinyua, a 21-year-old Kenyan college student accused of killing a housemate.

Alex Kinyua, 21, a college student, used a knife to carve up Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie, 37, before eating his heart out and parts of his brain.

He then took to his social networking site to boast about it to his friends saying: 'Are you strong enough to endure ritual HBCU mass human sacrifices around the country and still be able to function as human beings?'

He referred to the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech and 'other past university killings around the country' and warned 'ethnic cleansing is the policy, strategy and tactics that will affect you, directly or indirectly in the coming months.'

 




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A mind-altering drug banned in Britain two years ago is being blamed for the spate of cannibal attacks in America.

Narcotic Cloud Nine was blamed for the attack when Rudy Eugene ate 75% of homeless man Ronald Poppo’s face in Miami last month.

Horrific images surfaced of the attack that only ended once police shot and killed 31-year-old Eugene.

Mr Poppo is still recovering from his injuries in hospital.

Police are now warning people to stay away from Cloud Nine – also known as ‘bath salts’ - after two similar attacks were reported.

The most recent prompted an internal memo to police warning officers the case “bears resemblance to an incident that occurred in the city of Miami last week, when a male ate another man’s face”.

The memo called the synthetic drug “addictive and dangerous” and said it was part of a “disturbing trend in which new drugs are sold in the guise of household products”.

It added: “Please be careful when dealing with the homeless population during your patrols.”

 

This undated booking mug made available by the Miami-Dade Police Dept., shows Rudy EugeneRudy Eugene, 31: Ate 75% of a man's face in Miami before being shot dead

AP

Brandon De Leon, who allegedly tried to bite and threatening to eat two policemen in MiamiBrandon De Leon, 21: Tried to bite two police officers after he was arrested in North Miami BeachCarl Jacquneaux, who was arrested for allegedly biting another man's faceCarl Jacquneaux, 43: Bit a man's face in Scott, Louisiania. Wasp spray was used to end the attackAlexander KinyuaAlex Kinyua, 21: Accused of eating the heart and brain of friend in Maryland

Splash

The Silence of the LambsHorror: Film cannibal Hannibal Lecter

Channel 5

 

During the latest attack homeless Brendon De Leon threatened to eat two Miami police officers and had to be fitted with a Hannibal Lecter-style mask to prevent him carrying his threats out.

He had been arrested for disturbing the peace in North Miami Beach while high on drugs and put in a police cruiser when he slammed his head against the plexiglass divider and shouted: “I’m going to eat you” to officers before growling and baring his teeth.

Miami police said they believe he was on a cocktail of drugs including Cloud Nine.

In another case, Carl Jacquneaux, 43, was accused of attacking Todd Credeur in his front garden in Scott, Louisiana, over the weekend after being upset over a domestic issue while under the influence of what is said to be bath salts.

Jacquneaux bit Mr Credeur before being sprayed in the face with wasp spray.

Scott Assistant Police Chief Kert Thomas said: “During the attack, the suspect bit a chunk of the victim’s face off.”

Jacquneaux was then said to have left the property and gone to another man’s home where he held him at knife-point and stole a handgun before being apprehended by police.

The drug, which is also known as Ivory Wave, was blamed for several deaths in Britain during 2010 before being banned. It is also illegal in Australia.

The potentially addictive drug stimulates the central nervous system and symptoms include heart palpitations, nausea, hallucinations, paranoia and erratic behaviour and is often sold in plain packaging with the contents purporting to be harmless.

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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

UK Jobseekers who reject help for alcohol and drug addiction face benefits cut

Unemployed people suspected of suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction will have their benefits cut if they refuse treatment for their condition, the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, will signal on Wednesday. In a sign of the government's new benefits regime, which lies at the heart of Duncan Smith's cost-cutting welfare changes, staff in Jobcentre Plus offices will be encouraged to cut the jobseeker's allowance of claimants who reject treatment for addiction. The new rules will come into place in October 2013 when the universal credit, which is designed to wrap benefits into one payment, is introduced. A new claimant contract lies at the heart of the universal credit reforms. Claimants will have to sign a contract in which they agree to look for work in exchange for an undertaking from the government to support them while they do so. Government sources said the contract would allow Jobcentre Plus staff to say that a suspected addict is in breach of their commitments if they refuse help for alcoholism or drug addiction. Duncan Smith will give a flavour of the new rules when he addresses an event in parliament organised by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). He will say: "The outdated benefits system fails to get people off drugs and put their lives on track. We have started changing how addicts are supported, but we must go further to actively take on the devastation that drugs and alcohol can cause. "Under universal credit we want to do more to encourage and support claimants into rehabilitation for addiction and starting them on the road to recovery and eventually work. Getting people into work and encouraging independence is our ultimate goal. Universal credit will put people on a journey towards a sustainable recovery so they are better placed to look for work in future and we will be outlining our plans shortly." It is understood that the work and pensions secretary will not make a formal announcement on Wednesday of the powers that will be handed to Jobcentre Plus staff. Duncan Smith wants to use the event to focus on what he regards as the positive work AA does in helping to treat alcoholism. A government source said: "Iain wants to focus on the brilliant work Alcoholics Anonymous does in changing people's lives. He really wants to encourage people who have drink problems to go to AA for treatment. It will transform their lives and will help them into work." The source said Duncan Smith believes it is right to give jobcentre staff powers to cut benefits if an addict refuses treatment because they can detect signs of trouble. The source said: "The universal credit will allow staff in Jobcentre Plus offices to say: this person has been unemployed for some time. The staff know if people are addicted to alcohol. They know the people they are dealing with. "But we want this to be positive and to be about signposting people to superb organisations that can help them. This is about changing their lives. It is very important to support addicts into the workplace." But if claimants refuse they will have their benefits docked. "There will be sanctions," the source said, citing cuts to the jobseeker's allowance as an example. Ministers believe that one indicator Jobcentre Plus staff can use to see whether a claimant is an addict is the amount of times they apply for a crisis loan. "If you are applying for that up to 10 times a year then that is a sign of a chaotic life," one source said. Analysis by the Department of Work and Pensions shows that almost 40,000 people claim incapacity benefit with alcoholism declared as their "primary diagnosis". Of these, 13,500 have been claiming for a decade or more. There are about 160,000 "dependent drinkers" in England who receive one or more of the main benefits. There are 1m violent crimes a year that are related to alcoholism and 1.2m admissions to hospitals a year related to alcoholism. Universal credit is the most important element of Duncan Smith's welfare reforms, developed during his years in opposition through his Centre for Social Justice, which is designed to achieve his central goal of encouraging people into work. It will integrate tax credits and out-of-work benefits into one payment, with the aim of smoothing the transition to work. Labour has given the universal credit a cautious welcome, though it has taken issue with the scale of benefit cuts. Lord Low of Dalston, the vice-president of the Royal National Institute of Blind People who sits as a crossbencher, told peers this year: "Though it has some very sensible and progressive things at its core, in the shape of the universal credit, nevertheless it goes too far to most people's consciences in the way in which it takes vital support away from some of the most needy in our society."

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Metropolitan police anti-corruption unit investigated over payments

Scotland Yard is investigating allegations that detectives working for its anti-corruption unit have been paid thousands of pounds by a firm of private investigators. A parliamentary inquiry was told today that invoices, also seen by the Guardian, purport to show how a firm of private investigators made payments in return for information about the Metropolitan police investigation into James Ibori, a notorious Nigerian fraudster. On Tuesday, the Commons home affairs select committee was told by a lawyer involved in the case that invoices showed about £20,000 of potential payments to police officers in what amounted to an undetected case of "apparent corruption right at the heart of Scotland Yard". In recent weeks, as the Guardian investigated the allegations, the Met has sought to discourage the paper from publishing details about the case. But , after MPs heard the evidence, the Met dropped its previous insistence that there was "evidence that casts doubt on the credibility" of the allegations. A police source with knowledge of the investigation, which has been ongoing since October, said developments over the last 24 hours had now led police to take the allegations more seriously. The case revolves around a private investigation firm called RISC Management. Five years ago the firm was hired to work for Ibori, a former Nigerian state governor, after he discovered he was being investigated by the Met for serious fraud. Ibori recently pleaded guilty to money laundering and was jailed in the UK, after the conclusion of a major investigation into his financial affairs. The allegation now being investigated by police is that some detectives on the Met's Proceeds of Corruption Unit, which investigated Ibori, were receiving payments in exchange for information about the ongoing investigation. Invoices and other documents appearing to support the allegations have been anonymously posted to the Met and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The documents have also been seen by the Guardian and separately sent to the home affairs committee, which is conducting an inquiry in whether private investigators should be subject to statutory regulation. Keith Vaz, the chair of the committee, has said there is growing concern in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that some private investigators are operating in "the shadows" of the law. The Commons inquiry has been scrutinising the nexus between private investigators - many of whom are retired police officers - and their former colleagues who are still serving. On Tuesday morning, Mike Schwarz, a lawyer who represents one of Ibori's co-accused, told the inquiry about what he understood to be the significance of the material. He said it indicated possible corruption at the heart of the police investigation into the Nigerian politician's money laundering activities. The invoices are alleged to be from RISC Management to Speechly Bircham, a top firm of lawyers hired by Ibori to prepare his defence. Schwarz told MPs the invoices "perhaps" documented "payments made by RISC Management to sources, presumably police officers or those close to the investigation". He added: "The records, which I think the committee have, show about half-a-dozen payments totalling about £20,000 over a period of eight or nine months [...] it appears to be inappropriate if not corrupt." Schwarz told the committee that he believed RISC Management had been hired to "extract" information from the police investigation into Ibori. He said he had also seen emails - which he believed had also been forwarded to the committee - which confirmed "contact" between detectives investigating Ibori and the private investigators. Schwarz, from Bindmans solicitors, represents Bhadresh Gohil, a London-based solicitor jailed along with Ibori for orchestrating his money laundering scam. Gohil is now considering an appeal. Gohil is understood to have been sent the invoices, anonymously, while in Wandsworth Prison last summer. In a statement, the Met said: "The [force] is investigating an allegation that illegal payments were made to police officers for information by a private investigation agency. The Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in October 2011 which agreed to supervise a DPS investigation into the allegations." Following Schwarz's evidence to parliament, the Met said it had dropped its previous claim to have recently "uncovered evidence" casting doubt on the allegations. Previously, the force had suggested an active line of inquiry was the theory that Gohil or his associates had fabricated the allegations to undermine the prosecution. In a previous statement, provided on Friday, the force said: "As a result of inquiries police have uncovered evidence that casts doubt on the credibility of these allegations. Warrants have been executed at two addresses in London and a quantity of paperwork and computer equipment recovered." Two weeks ago, following raids on properties, one of which was the Gohil's family home in Kent, the force said: "Officers believe that they have identified the originator of the information and a line of enquiry suggests that there may have been an attempt to pervert the course of justice." However, sources at the Yard said previous statements no longer fully represented their position. A source with knowledge of the Met inquiry said the change of stance was unrelated to Schwarz's parliamentary evidence. The source said that, instead, there had been developments in the investigation over the last 24 hours. Schwarz named three serving Met police officers in his testimony to parliament as being potential "culprits": detective inspector Gary Walters, detective constables named as John MacDonald and "Clark". All three officers declined an opportunity to respond to the allegations when contacted by the Guardian last week. However, RISC Management indicated Walters would deny "any and all allegations". RISC Management denied all the allegations about the company, saying it was not aware of the Scotland Yard investigation and had no knowledge of the alleged financial records. The firm confirmed it had been hired by Ibori's lawyers but denied making corrupt payments, saying it "has never paid a serving police officer for information and would never approve such payments". Keith Hunter, chief executive of the company, said: "RISC management does not need to pay serving police officers for confidential information as we pride ourselves on our ability to provide positive solutions and accurate information legitimately. RISC Management has a highly respected reputation for conducting professional investigations". He added that his company was "proud to have a network of highly professional consultants, contacts and resources. These individuals are hired precisely because of their unique skill set and expertise". He accused Schwarz of "grandstanding" in front of the Commons committee, instead of taking the "correct course of reporting the matter to the police". He said Schwarz had not produced any evidence to support his claims and acted for a convicted solicitor, Gohil, who was jailed for seven years for money laundering. Speechly Bircham denied any knowledge of wrongdoing and said it would be willing to assist with any police inquiries. The law firm stressed Schwarz did not suggest in his evidence to parliament that Speechly Bircham was "party to illegal or corrupt payments" and said any such allegation would be false and defamatory. Ian Timlin, the former Speechly Bircham lawyer who was at the time representing Ibori, said neither he nor the firm had "any knowledge of any payments to police officers for information." He added: "At no time, did RISC ever inform me who or what was the source/s they were paying."

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Thursday, 17 May 2012

'Queen of Disco' Donna Summer 'thought she became ill after inhaling 9/11 particles'

The 63-year-old singer, who had hits including Hot Stuff, Love to Love You, Baby and I Feel Love, died in Florida on Thursday morning. She had largely kept her battle with lung cancer out of the public eye. But the website TMZ reported that the singer had told friends she believed her illness was the result of inhaling toxic dust from the collapsed Twin Towers. On Thursday night tributes were paid to the singer, considered by many to be the voice of the 1970s. A statement released on behalf of her family — husband Bruce Sudano, their daughters Brooklyn and Amanda, her daughter, Mimi from a previous marriage and four grandchildren — read: “Early this morning, surrounded by family, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith. "While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.

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Investigators are questioning Mexico's former deputy defence minister and a top army general for suspected links to organised crime

49 BODIES FOUND IN A HIGHWAY NORTHERN MEXICO
Grafitti saying 'Z 100%', referring to the Los Zetas cartel, near to where 49 mutilated bodies were found in Northern Mexico. Photograph: Miguel Sierra/EPA

Investigators are questioning Mexico's former deputy defence minister and a top army general for suspected links to organised crime, in the highest level scandal to hit the military in the five-year-old drug war.

Mexican soldiers on Tuesday detained retired general Tomás Angeles Dauahare and general Roberto Dawe González and turned them over to the country's organised crime unit, military and government officials said.

Angeles Dauahare was number 2 in the armed forces under President Felipe Calderón and helped lead the government's crackdown on drug cartels after soldiers were deployed to the streets in late 2006. He retired in 2008.

Dawe González, still an active duty general, led an elite army unit in the western state of Colima and local media said he previously held posts in the violent states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua.

An official at the attorney general's office said they would be held for several days to give testimony and then could be called in front of a judge.

"The generals are answering questions because they are allegedly tied to organised crime," the official said.

Angeles Dauahare said through a lawyer that his detention was unjustified, daily Reforma newspaper reported.

If the generals were convicted of drug trafficking, it would mark the most serious case of military corruption during Calderón's administration.

"Traditionally the armed forces had a side role in the anti-drug fight, eradicating drug crops or stopping drug shipments," said Alejandro Hope, a security analyst who formerly worked in the government intelligence agency.

"After 2006, they were more directly involved in public security, putting them at a higher risk of contact [with drug gangs]," he said.

About 55,000 people have been killed in drug violence over the past five years as rival cartels fight each other and government forces.

Worsening drug-related attacks in major cities are eroding support for Calderón's conservative National Action Party, or PAN, ahead of a 1 July presidential vote.

Over the weekend, police found 49 headless bodies on a highway in northern Mexico, the latest in a recent series of brutal massacres where mutilated corpses have been hung from bridges or shoved in iceboxes.

Opinion polls show Calderón's party is trailing by double digits behind opposition candidate Enrique Peña Nieto from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which says the government's drug strategy is failing.

Traditionally, the military has been seen as less susceptible to cartel bribes and intimidation than badly paid local and state police forces, who are often easily swayed by drug gang pay offs.

But there have been cases of military corruption in the past. Angeles Dauahare himself oversaw the landmark trial of two generals convicted of working with drug gangs in 2002.

Those two generals were convicted of links to the Juárez cartel once headed by the late Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who was known as the Lord of the Skies for flying plane load of cocaine into the United States.

Since then, the Sinaloa cartel - headed by Mexico's most wanted man Joaquín "Shorty" Guzmán - has expanded its power and is locked in a bloody battle over smuggling routes with the Zetas gang, founded by deserters from the Mexican army.

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JPMorgan's Trading Loss Is Said to Rise at Least 50%

The trading losses suffered by JPMorgan Chase have surged in recent days, surpassing the bank’s initial $2 billion estimate by at least $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the losses. When Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, announced the losses last Thursday, he indicated they could double within the next few quarters. But that process has been compressed into four trading days as hedge funds and other investors take advantage of JPMorgan’s distress, fueling faster deterioration in the underlying credit market positions held by the bank. A spokeswoman for the bank declined to comment, although Mr. Dimon has said the total paper trading losses will be volatile depending on day-to-day market fluctuations. The Federal Reserve is examining the scope of the growing losses and the original bet, along with whether JPMorgan’s chief investment office took risks that were inappropriate for a federally insured depository institution, according to several people with knowledge of the examination. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still under way. The overall health of the bank remains strong, even with the additional losses, and JPMorgan has been able to increase its stock dividend faster than its rivals because of stronger earnings and a more solid capital buffer. Still, the huge trading losses rocked Wall Street and reignited the debate over how tightly giant financial institutions should be regulated. Bank analysts say that while the bank’s stability is not threatened, if the losses continue to mount, the outlook for the bank’s dividend will grow uncertain. The bank’s leadership has discussed the impact of the losses on future earnings, although a dividend cut remains highly unlikely for now. In March, the company raised the quarterly dividend by 5 cents, to 30 cents, which will cost the bank about $190 million more this quarter. A spokeswoman for the bank said a dividend cut has not been discussed internally. At the bank’s annual meeting in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Mr. Dimon did not definitively rule out cutting the dividend, although he said that he “hoped” it would not be cut. John Lackey, a shareholder from Richmond, Va., who attended the meeting precisely to ask about the dividend, was not reassured. “That wasn’t a very clear answer,” he said of Mr. Dimon’s response. “I expect that shareholders are going to suffer because of this.” Analysts expect the bank to earn $4 billion in the second quarter, factoring in the original estimated loss of $2 billion. Even if the additional trading losses were to double, the bank could still earn a profit of $2 billion. And many analysts and investors remain optimistic about the bank’s long-term prospects. Glenn Schorr, a widely followed analyst with Nomura, reiterated on Wednesday his buy rating on JPMorgan shares, which are down more than 10 percent since the trading loss became public last week. What’s more, the chief investment office earned more than $5 billion in the last three years, which leaves it ahead over all, even given the added red ink. But the underlying problem is that while these sharp swings are expected at a big hedge fund, they should not be occurring at a bank whose deposits are government-backed and which has access to ultralow cost capital from the Federal Reserve, experts said. “JPMorgan Chase has a big hedge fund inside a commercial bank,” said Mark Williams, a professor of finance at Boston University, who also served as a Federal Reserve bank examiner. “They should be taking in deposits and making loans, not taking large speculative bets.” Not long after Mr. Dimon’s announcement of a dividend increase in March, the notorious bet by JPMorgan’s chief investment office began to fall apart. Traders at the unit’s London desk and elsewhere are now frantically trying to defuse the huge bet that was built up over years, but started generating erratic returns in late March. After a brief pause, the losses began to mount again in late April, prompting Mr. Dimon’s announcement on May 10. Beginning on Friday, the same trends that had been causing the losses for six weeks accelerated, since traders on the opposite side of the bet knew the bank was under pressure to unwind the losing trade and could not double down in any way. Another issue is that the trader who executed the complex wager, Bruno Iksil, is no longer on the trading desk. Nicknamed the London Whale, Mr. Iksil had a firm grasp on the trade — knowledge that is hard to replace, even though his anticipated departure is seen as sign of the bank’s taking responsibility for the debacle. “They were caught short,” said one experienced credit trader who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the situation is still fluid. The market player, who does not stand to gain from JPMorgan’s losses and is not involved in the trade, added, “this is a very hard trade to get out of because it’s so big.” He estimated that the initial loss of just over $2 billion was caused by a move of a quarter percentage point, or 25 basis points, on a portfolio with a notional value of $150 billion to $200 billion — in other words, the total value of the contracts traded, not JPMorgan’s exposure. In the four trading days since Mr. Dimon’s disclosure, the market has moved at least 15 to 20 basis points more against JPMorgan, he said. The overall losses are not directly proportional to the move in basis points because of the complexity of the trade. Many of the positions are highly illiquid, making them difficult to value for regulators and the bank itself. In its simplest form, traders said, the complex position assembled by the bank included a bullish bet on an index of investment-grade corporate debt, later paired with a bearish bet on high-yield securities, achieved by selling insurance contracts known as credit-default swaps. A big move in the interest rate spread between the investment grade securities and risk-free government bonds in recent months hurt the first part of the bet, and was not offset by equally large moves in the price of the insurance on the high yield bonds. As the credit yield curve steepened, the losses piled up on the corporate grade index, overwhelming gains elsewhere on the trades. Making matters worse, there was a mismatch between the expiration of different instruments within the trade, increasing losses. The additional losses represent a worsening of what is already the most embarrassing misstep for JPMorgan since Mr. Dimon became chief executive in 2005. No one has blamed Mr. Dimon for the trade, which was under the oversight of the head of the chief investment office, Ina Drew, but he has repeatedly apologized, calling it “stupid” and “sloppy.” Ms. Drew resigned Monday and more departures are anticipated.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Rebbeca Brooks learned this morning that she will be taken to court over accusations of perverting the course of justice in relation to the phone hacking scandal.

The former editor of the News of the World and the Sun is to be charged with five others, including her husband Charlie Brooks.

Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, announced the decision at 10am, days after Mrs Brooks appeared at the Leveson inquiry into press ethics.

Mr and Mrs Brooks said: "We deplore this weak and unjust decision. After the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS we will respond later today after our return from the police station."

Rebekah Brooks arriving at the Leveson Inquiry

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Friday, 11 May 2012

Rebekah Brooks turns screw on Jeremy Hunt with 'hacking advice' email

Jeremy Hunt, came under renewed pressure when the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks disclosed an email appearing to show he had sought the company's advice over how Downing Street should respond to the mounting phone-hacking scandal. The email, which also suggests Hunt sought to avoid a public inquiry into phone hacking, emerged on another day of extraordinary disclosures about the intimacy between Rupert Murdoch's company and government ministers. The email from News Corporation lobbyist Frédéric Michel written in June 2011 told Brooks that Hunt was poised to make an "extremely helpful" statement about the company's proposed acquisition of BSkyB, saying the takeover would be approved regardless of phone-hacking allegations. Michel also warned her, days before the Guardian revealed that murdered teenager Milly Dowler's voicemail had been targeted by the News of the World, that "JH [Jeremy Hunt] is now starting to looking into phone-hacking/practices more thoroughly" and that he "has asked me to advise him privately in the coming weeks and guide his and No 10's positioning". During five hours of testimony, Brooks revealed she dined with George Osborne on 13 December 2010, when she discussed Ofcom's initial objections to News Corp's £8bn bid. The objections had been sent in a confidential "issues letter" by the media regulator to her company three days before. Following a short discussion, the then News International boss reported to James Murdoch the next day that Osborne had expressed "total bafflement". In a steely and at times tetchy performance, Brooks said her lobbying of the chancellor had been "entirely appropriate" because she was "reflecting the opposite view to the view he had heard by that stage from pretty much every member of the anti-Sky bid alliance". But Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, said that the email demonstrated that it was "obvious that he was supportive of your bid, wasn't he", a suggestion Brooks rejected. The disclosures about her conversations with the chancellor will increase the likelihood that he is called to appear before the inquiry. He is the only one of eight ministers who have submitted statements to Leveson not to have been asked to appear. Though less damaging than some in Downing Street had feared, Brooks' testimony also proved embarrassing for David Cameron. She revealed the prime minister signed texts "DC" or sometimes "LOL" – until she explained that the phrase meant "laugh out loud", not "lots of love". She said she typically texted Cameron once a week, and twice a week during the 2010 election campaign, dismissing as preposterous reports that he sometimes texted her up to 12 times per day. Brooks said any email correspondence between her and politicians was now held by News International. She had only copies of emails and texts that were on her BlackBerry during a six-week period in June and July 2011, but a single message from Cameron had been "compressed" and could not now be read. Brooks confirmed that she had socialised with Cameron at least twice within four days in Oxfordshire during Christmas 2010, the culmination of a year in which they had already met at least five times. The first contact of the festive season was at a dinner at her house on 23 December, when there was a conversation about the BSkyB bid. The second was a previously undisclosed "mulled wine, mince pie" party organised by her sister-in-law on Boxing Day 2010, an event at which she was unsure if she had spoken to Cameron or his wife, Samantha, although "my sister-in-law tells me they were definitely there". Although Brooks has been arrested in connection with phone hacking and bribery investigations, and on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, the inquiry also heard that she had discussed the growing hacking allegations with Cameron at some point during 2010. She said the prime minister – who at that point was still employing former News of the World editor Andy Coulson – had asked her for an update. "I think it had been on the news that day, and I think I explained the story behind the news. No secret information, no privileged information, just a general update," Brooks said. The disclosure will add to the pressure on Cameron to explain why he failed to challenge Coulson about the hacking allegations against him at any time after the Guardian broke the story in July 2009. However, the most serious evidence to emerge regarded Hunt, whose fate has been hanging in the balance since Rupert Murdoch provided 163 pages of News Corp emails to the Leveson inquiry, which suggested that Michel had obtained a large amount of information about the progress of ministerial approval of the BSkyB bid. Finding a fresh email from Michel that had eluded Murdoch's legal team last month, Brooks showed that she had been told that Hunt would essentially approve the long-delayed takeover because he believed "phone hacking has nothing to do with the media plurality issues" that were increasingly concerning rivals. Michel told Brooks that the sought-after approval would happen later in the last week of June 2011.

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David Cameron sent commiserations to Rebekah Brooks after she resigned as News International chief executive over the phone hacking scandal

David Cameron sent commiserations to Rebekah Brooks after she resigned as News International chief executive over the phone hacking scandal, the Leveson Inquiry has heard. Ms Brooks said the indirect messages from the Prime Minister were "along the lines" of "keep your head up" and had also expressed regret that he could not be more loyal in public. She also received sympathetic messages from other senior figures in 10 and 11 Downing Street, the Home Office, the Foreign Office and some Labour politicians, including Tony Blair. The glimpse of Ms Brooks's network of high-powered friends and contacts came as she took to the witness box, despite being under investigation by police. Ms Brooks said she only had access to around six weeks of texts and emails from her time as NI chief executive, from the beginning of June to July 17 last year. Only one of those emails was relevant to the inquiry, according to her evidence. One of the text messages had been from Mr Cameron, but the content was compressed and unreadable, she said. Robert Jay QC, counsel for the inquiry, asked Ms Brooks about reports that she had received sympathetic messages after her resignation last July. "I had some indirect messages from some politicians but nothing direct," she replied. "A variety - some Tories, a couple of Labour politicians. Very few Labour politicians. I received some indirect messages from Number 10, Number 11, the Home Office, the Foreign Office..." She said Tony Blair had been among them but Gordon Brown had not. "He was probably getting the bunting out," she added, provoking laughter in the courtroom. Questioned on whether reports were correct that Mr Cameron's message had urged her to "keep your head up", Ms Brooks responded: "Along those lines." Pressed on whether the premier had also conveyed regret that political circumstances meant he could not be more "loyal", Ms Brooks replied: "Similar, but very indirect."

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Rebekah Brooks to lift lid on David Cameron friendship

Former Sun and News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks is expected to lift the lid on her close relationship with the Prime Minister in evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. David Cameron is said to have texted Mrs Brooks, telling her to "keep her head up" after she resigned from News International last July. It has also been claimed that the 43-year-old former editor sent Mr Cameron more than 12 text messages a day. After her editorships Mrs Brooks went on to become chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's UK newspapers division News International in September 2009 until she resigned in the wake of the hacking scandal last July. She and racehorse trainer husband Charlie are key members of the influential Chipping Norton set, which also includes Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, and Mr Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth and her PR guru husband Matthew Freud. The inquiry has already heard that Mrs Brooks regularly met Mr Cameron and other top politicians along with Rupert and James Murdoch. She hosted a Christmas dinner on December 23 2010, just two days after Business Secretary Vince Cable was stripped of his responsibility for media takeovers for saying he had "declared war" on the Murdochs' News Corporation empire. Mrs Brooks's wedding on June 13 2009 was attended by Mr Cameron and former prime minister Gordon Brown, and in March Mr Cameron was forced to admit that he rode a retired police horse loaned to Mrs Brooks by Scotland Yard from 2008 to 2010. An updated biography of Cameron: Practically A Conservative, claims he told Mrs Brooks she would get through her difficulties just days before she stood down over the phone hacking scandal. There has speculation that the Leveson Inquiry could release emails and text messages sent between Mr Cameron and the former News International chief executive. According to Daily Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne, Mrs Brooks has kept all the texts she received from the Prime Minister. Mrs Brooks has twice been arrested by Scotland Yard detectives investigating allegations of phone hacking, corrupt payments to public officials, and an attempt to pervert the course of justice. She was bailed and has not been charged. She will not be questioned about anything that could prejudice the continuing police investigation into phone hacking or any potential future trials. Mr Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry last July in response to revelations that the now-defunct News of the World hacked murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002. The first part of the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the Press in general and is due to produce a report by October.

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Thursday, 10 May 2012

US blacklists sons of Mexico drug lord Joaquin Guzman

The US treasury department has put two sons of Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on its drugs kingpin blacklist. The move bars all people in the US from doing business with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, and freezes any US assets they have. Joaquin Guzman, on the list since 2001, runs the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. Mexico has seen an explosion of violence in recent years as gangs fight for control of trafficking routes. The US administration "will aggressively target those individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking operations, including family members," said Adam Szubin, director of the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control . "With the Mexican government, we are firm in our resolve to dismantle Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking organisation." Ovidio Guzman plays a significant role in his father's drug-trafficking activities, the treasury department said. Ivan Archivaldo Guzman was arrested in 2005 in Mexico on money-laundering charges but subsequently released. As well as the Guzman brothers, two other alleged key cartel members, Noel Salgueiro Nevarez and Ovidio Limon Sanchez, were listed under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. They were both arrested in Mexico in 2011 and are still in custody. Under the Kingpin Act, US firms, banks and individuals are prevented from doing business with them and any assets the men may have under US jurisdiction are frozen. More than 1,000 companies and individuals linked to 94 drug kingpins have been placed on the blacklist since 2000. Penalties for violating the act range include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10m (£6m). The US has offered a reward of up to $5m a for information leading to the arrest of Joaquin Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.

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Monday, 7 May 2012

FBI offers up to $100,000 for info leading to capture of Eduardo Ravelo

Eduardo Ravelo, born on October 13, 1968 was added as the 493rd fugitive to the FBI 10 most wanted list on October 20, 2009. He is originally from Mexico, however he holds permanent residency status in the United States which gives him free movement across the border. An FBI informant and former lieutenant in the Barrio Azteca, a prison gang active in the U.S. and Mexico, testified that Ravelo told him to help find fellow gang members who had stolen from the cartel. In March 2008, he became the leader of the gang shortly after betraying his predecessor, stabbing him several times and shooting him in the neck. (Eduardo Ravelo: Wikipedia) Eduardo Ravelo was indicted in Texas in 2008 for his involvement in racketeering activities, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and conspiracy to possess heroin, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute. His alleged criminal activities began in 2003. He is believed to be living in an area of Cuidad Juarez controlled by the Barrio Ravelo, with his wife and children just across the border from El Paso, Texas. He is also said to have bodyguards and armored vehicles to protect him from rival gangs as well as rival cartels.

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Brink's Mat the reason that Great Train Robber was shot dead in Marbella

The Brink’s-Mat curse even touched on the Great Train Robbery gang of 1963. One of them, Charlie Wilson, found himself in trouble when £3 million of Brink’s-Mat investors’ money went missing in a drug deal. In April 1990, he paid the price when a young British hood knocked on the front door of his hacienda north of Marbella and shot Wilson and his pet husky dog before coolly riding off down the hill on a yellow bicycle.

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

British tourist falls to her death from hotel balcony in Magalluf

23 year old British tourist has fallen to her death from the third floor balcony of her hotel in Magalluf, Mallorca. Emergency sources said it happened at 4.25am Saturday morning at the Hotel Teix in Calle Pinada. Local police and emergency health services went to scene. After 20 minutes of an attempt to re-animate her heart, the woman was pronounced dead. Online descriptions for the Hotel say it is the best place to stay of you are looking for non-stop partying, adding it not suitable for families.

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Friday, 4 May 2012

Greek far-right parties could end up with as much as 20 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has intensified the xenophobic atmosphere in the country.

At night, the streets leading to Omonoia Square are empty. That wasn't always the case. The area was the premier multicultural neighborhood of Athens and one of the first quarters to be gentrified. Jazz bars and Indian restaurants lined the streets, separated by the occasional rooms-by-the-hour hotel. It was a quarter full of immigrants, drug addicts and African prostitutes, but also of journalists, ambitious young artists and teenagers from private schools. Today, the immigrants stay home once night falls. They are afraid of groups belonging to the "angry citizens," a kind of militia that beats up foreigners and claims to help the elderly withdraw money from cash machines without being robbed. Such groups are the product of an initiative started by the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi -- Golden Dawn -- the party which has perpetrated pogroms in Agios Panteleimon, another Athens neighborhood with a large immigrant population. There are now three outwardly xenophobic parties in Greece. According to recent surveys, together they could garner up to 20 percent of the vote in elections on Sunday: the anti-Semitic party LAOS stands to win 4 percent; the nationalist party Independent Greeks -- a splinter group of the conservative Nea Dimokratia party -- is forecast to win 11 percent; and the right extremists of Golden Dawn could end up with between 5 and 7 percent. My name is Xenia, the hospitable. Greece itself should really be called Xenia: Tourism, emigration and immigration are important elements of our history. But hospitality is no longer a priority in our country, a fact which the ugly presence of Golden Dawn makes clear. A Personal Attack Shaved heads, military uniforms, Nazi chants, Hitler greetings: How should a Greek journalist deal with such people? Should one just ignore them and leave them unmentioned? Should one denounce them and demand that they be banned? One shouldn't forget that they are violent and have perpetrated several attacks against foreigners and leftists. I thought long and hard about how to write about Golden Dawn so that my article was in no way beneficial to the party. On April 12, the daily Kathimerini ran my story under the headline "Banality of Evil." In the piece, I carefully explained why it was impossible to carry on a dialogue with such people and why I thought the neo-Nazi party should disappear from media coverage and be banned. Five days later, an anonymous reply to my article appeared on the Golden Dawn website. It was a 2,500-word-long personal attack in which the fascists recounted my entire career, mocked my alleged foreign roots (I was born in Hamburg) and even, for no apparent reason, mentioned my 13-year-old daughter. The unnamed authors indirectly threatened me as well: "To put it in the mother tongue of foreign Xenia: 'Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat, kommt Attentat!'" In other words, watch your back. Most Greeks believe that Golden Dawn has connections to both the police and to the country's secret service. Nevertheless, I went to the authorities to ask what I should do. I was told that I should be careful. They told me that party thugs could harass me, beat me or terrorize me over the phone. It would be better, they said, if I stopped writing about them. If I wished to react to the threats, they suggested I file a complaint against Golden Dawn's service provider. That, however, would be difficult given that the domain is based somewhere in the United States. Like Weimar Germany A friend told me that I should avoid wearing headphones on the street so that I can hear what is going on around me. My daughter now has nightmares about being confronted by members of Golden Dawn. Three of her classmates belong to the party. The three boys have posted pictures of party events on their Facebook pages. For their profile image, they have chosen the ancient Greek Meandros symbol, which, in the red-on-black manifestation used by Golden Dawn, resembles a swastika. The group's slogans include "Foreigners Out!" and "The Garbage Should Leave the Country!" The fact that immigration has become such an issue in the worst year of the ongoing economic crisis in the country can be blamed on the two parties in government. The Socialist PASOK and the conservative Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy, or ND) are running xenophobic campaigns. ND has said it intends to repeal a law which grants Greek citizenship to children born in Greece to immigrant parents. And cabinet member Michalis Chrysochoidis, of PASOK, has announced "clean up operations" whereby illegal immigrants are to be rounded up in encampments and then deported. When he recently took a stroll through the center of Athens to collect accolades for his commitment to the cause, some called out to him: "Golden Dawn has cleaned up Athens!" Yet, Chrysochoidis is the best loved PASOK politician in his Athens district, in part because of his xenophobic sentiments. His party comrade, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, is just as popular. Loverdos has warned Greek men not to sleep with foreign prostitutes for fear of contracting HIV and thus endangering the Greek family. High unemployment of roughly 22 percent, a lack of hope, a tendency toward violence and the search for scapegoats: Analyses in the Greek press compare today's Greece with Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic. "We didn't know," said many Germans when confronted with the truth of the Holocaust after Nazi rule came to an end. After elections on May 6, no Greeks should be able to make the same claim.

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Locked Up Abroad is different.

Reality TV is, at its core, about letting viewers revel in the bad decision-making of others: those who speak without thinking, who backstab, who have sex without condoms, who cheat. Frustratingly, though, reality shows—to which I am unapologetically addicted—tend to reward bad behavior, by giving its villains notoriety, spinoffs, opportunities to endorse weight-loss products, a nice sideline in paid interviews with supermarket tabloids, and other D-list rewards.

Locked Up Abroad is different. The National Geographic show, the sixth season of which premiered last week, gives its stars something they wouldn’t get on other reality shows: their comeuppance.

Having debuted in the U.K. (under the title Banged Up Abroad), Locked Up Abroad showcases one person (sometimes a couple) who ends up in prison overseas. Participants fit into one of two categories. The first group are the (largely) innocent: the married missionary couple who were kidnapped in the Philippines by the Islamist group Abu Sayyaf, for instance, or the seemingly goodhearted duo who wanted to help children in Chechnya, but ended up held hostage. These tales of the altruistic and naive can be difficult to watch.

But then there are those who rather deserve what happens to them. Typically these are drug smugglers, and their episodes follow a familiar arc. A young person—they’re almost always young—is bored or in need of cash (usually both). She is desperate or feels invincible (usually both). Someone approaches her and offers a seemingly great deal: an all-expenses-paid, luxurious overseas trip in exchange for a small favor. Sometimes the would-be employer is upfront and admits he needs a drug mule, but downplays the risk; other times, he hints at harmless-sounding illegalities, like bringing back legal goods to beat the export tax. In a few cases, the cover story is painfully thin: Come with me to check out this cool new nail polish technology only available in Thailand, for example. (That woman was in a vulnerable place: She had just been released on bail after killing her partner’s former husband—in self-defense, she claimed.)

The drug smugglers are caught, of course, usually at the airport, and brought to prison. And while a few episodes have taken place in developed countries—Spain, Japan, South Korea—the majority of our anti-heroes end up incarcerated in places with some of the dirtiest and most dangerous penitentiaries in the world.

Take last week’s episode, “From Hollywood to Hell.” (And pardon my spoilers, but this installment is too good not to describe in detail.) In 2001, actor Erik Aude was living the marginal Hollywood dream. An ür-bro, he had played bit parts in Dude, Where’s My Car?(credited as “Musclehead”) and 7th Heaven (“Boyfriend”) when a gym buddy asked him to go to Turkey to bring back “leather goods.” Aude makes the trip, and though a drug-sniffing dog alerts authorities at the Turkish airport, they find nothing—so Aude feels sure the whole thing is legit. He even recommends that one of his brothers start couriering for his friend. Then, when his brother backs out of a planned trip to Pakistan in 2002, Aude steps in, and shit gets real.

It is difficult to feel sorry for Aude. After his escort dumps him in an Islamabad hotel and warns him not to leave because the area is unsafe for Americans, he doesn’t head to the embassy or the airport. Instead, he goes jogging—and even tries to flirt with girls in headscarves on the street (with disastrous results). And when he is taken to the airport with just one suitcase, he is (he claims) not the least bit suspicious that he might be a drug mule. When a customs official asks him whether his trip was for business or pleasure, he cheeses, “Pleasure is my business.”

Aude’s episode is mind-bogglingly watchable, not least because he—of course!—plays himself in the re-enactment. In his telling, he was a virtual action star: On at least three occasions, he single-handedly fights back dozens of Pakistanis. After he takes out a prison bully, he is hailed a hero. He rejects a reduced sentence because it would require him to plead guilty—and his pride is more valuable than his freedom, he says.

Aside from those truly in the wrong place at the wrong time, the most sympathetic characters of Locked Up Abroad may be the embassy employees called in to assist the suspected smugglers. Inevitably, Locked Up Abroad participants are horrified that the embassies of their homelands—usually English-speaking countries like the U.S., the U.K., or Australia—can’t do more for them. I can just imagine U.S. Embassy workers calling “not it” every time they get word from local authorities about some young American knucklehead who thought he could sneak past security with a bag full of cocaine.

Tonight’s episode is called “The Juggler Smuggler,” and its “hero” is Mark Greening, a “party-loving” drug-runner who knows his latest trip is “doomed” when he doesn’t get his fortune told by “his favorite Gypsy woman.” I can’t wait.

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Low fare airline bmibaby to close

Low fare carrier bmibaby is set to close later this year, threatening the loss of hundreds of jobs and the ending of its flights. The carrier transferred to International Airlines Group, the owners of British Airways, last month, but consultations have now started with unions about its closure in September. The GMB union said it was "devastating" news, especially for the East Midlands, where hundreds of jobs are now threatened with the axe. With bmi Regional, bmibaby transferred to International Airlines Group ownership on completion of the purchase from Lufthansa. IAG has consistently said that bmibaby and bmi Regional are not part of its long-term plans. A statement said: "Progress has been made with a potential buyer for bmi Regional, but so far this has not been possible for bmibaby, despite attempts over many months by both Lufthansa and IAG. Bmibaby has therefore started consultation to look at future options including, subject to that consultation, a proposal to close in September this year." Peter Simpson, bmi interim managing director, said: "We recognise that these are unsettling times for bmibaby employees, who have worked tirelessly during a long period of uncertainty. Bmibaby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than £100 million in the last four years. In the consultation process, we will need to be realistic about our options. "To help stem losses as quickly as possible and as a preliminary measure, we will be making reductions to bmibaby's flying programme from June. We sincerely apologise to all customers affected and will be providing full refunds and doing all we can with other airlines to mitigate the impact of these changes." Jim McAuslan, general secretary of the pilots' union Balpa, said: "This is bad news for jobs. Bmibaby pilots are disappointed and frustrated that, even though there appears to be potential buyers, we are prevented from speaking with them to explore how we can contribute to developing a successful business plan. "The frustration has now turned to anger following the news that Flybe (which is part owned by BA) has moved onto many of these bmibaby routes without any opportunity for staff to look at options and alternatives. Balpa's priority is to protect jobs; and we will use whatever means we can to do so." The changes mean that all bmibaby flights to and from Belfast will cease from June 11, although this will not affect bmi mainline's services to London Heathrow. Bmibaby services from East Midlands to Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Nice, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newquay, and from Birmingham to Knock and Amsterdam, will end on the same date.

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sam Ibrahim headed to jail

Former Sydney bikie boss Sam Ibrahim has been sent back to jail for allegedly breaching his parole. The 46-year-old was arrested yesterday at his home in Sydney's north-west at Bella Vista by a police strike force targeting the city's bikie gun war. The New South Wales Parole Authority revoked parole for the former Nomads boss after receiving a report from parole officers alleging he had been taking prohibited drugs and failing to obey directions. The arrest followed a police raid of his house last Friday, which was part of an operation targeting 18 homes and businesses linked to feuding Hells Angels and Nomads bikies. The house had been sprayed with bullets only a week earlier, in one of nine tit-for-tat shootings between the gangs in just over a week. Ibrahim is being held at Silverwater jail, ahead of a public hearing by the NSW Parole Board later this month. The board will decide whether to keep the former Nomads boss in prison until his sentence expires on October 7, or whether to extend his jail time. Ibrahim spent five months in jail as part of the 15-month sentence over the violent kidnapping of a 15-year-old boy in 2009. His arrest was part of a crackdown by the Gangs Squad's Strike Force Kinnara, which was set up to combat an escalation in bikie gun crime. The strike force also arrested convicted Sydney drug boss Bill Bayeh a fortnight ago for an alleged breach of parole.

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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company


 Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company in a bombshell report by MPs today. His son and business heir James was accused of “wilful ignorance” towards phone hacking, while Murdoch executives were accused of lying to cover it up. The verdicts leave the 81-year-old tycoon fighting to justify his leadership of a worldwide empire including the broadcaster BSkyB. He faces being dragged before Parliament to apologise. The force of the report was partly diminished by a row between members of the culture select committee. Four Conservatives voted against the final draft because they felt the attack on Rupert Murdoch’s fitness  to run a company was over the top. However, the final 100-page report backed by the Labour and Lib-Dem MPs on the committee amounted to one of the most scathing parliamentary verdicts on an international business. The MPs said Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor and chief executive of News International, “should accept responsibility” for the culture that led to Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked, along with hundreds of others. The report also found editors, lawyers, the police and prosecutors guilty of a catalogue of failings. Several former Murdoch lieutenants were singled out for misleading Parliament, including former News International executive chairman Les Hinton, former News Group  lawyer Tom Crone, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler. It criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and the former Metropolitan Police acting deputy commissioner John Yates, saying “they both bear culpability for failing to ensure that the evidence ... was properly investigated.” Rupert Murdoch was accused of “wilful blindness” about the mounting evidence of phone hacking. The verdict will add muscle to shareholders seeking to topple Mr Murdoch and to critics demanding that media regulator Ofcom strip him of his broadcasting licence. The report accused the Murdoch companies of trying to “buy the silence” of victims by awarding huge payouts to victims of hacking such as football players’ union boss Gordon Taylor. Verdicts on some figures who have been arrested by the police were held back in case they hampered fair trials. Among these was Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was hired by David Cameron as his spin chief at No 10. The ferocious conclusion, which divided the committee in a series of votes on the final wording, was that Mr Murdoch was ultimately to blame and therefore not fit to hold his position. It said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The committee branded it “simply astonishing” that Rupert and James said it was not until December 2010 that they realised that News International’s claim that hacking involved a single “rogue reporter” was untrue. It poured scorn on James Murdoch’s “lack of curiosity” that raised “questions of competence”. Mr Hinton was “complicit in the cover-up at News International” that included paying inflated compensation to victims. Mr Crone and Mr Myler misled the committee by answering questions “falsely”. The final devastating verdict on Mr Murdoch was a triumph for Labour MP Tom Watson who drafted the conclusions. But the 11-member committee divided along party lines, with the full denunciation being passed by the vote of a single Liberal Democrat member. Mr Watson said of Rupert Murdoch: “More than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are his. He paid the piper and he called the tune.” Conservative MPs Louise Mensch and Philip Davies insisted the MPs had no right to make such a ruling and hit out at “partisan” voting by Labour members led by Mr Watson and Paul Farrelly. Mrs Mensch said Tory members could not back the declaration, describing it as “wildly outside the scope” of the committee and “improper attempt to influence” watchdog Ofcom.” Mr Davies said Mr Murdoch was “very clearly” a fit and proper person to run a major firm, pointing to the jobs he had created. He added: “Many people may conclude that some people’s conclusions were written before any of the evidence was heard, and that is very sad.” Mr Watson said he was disappointed there had been splits, but insisted Mr Murdoch must be held to account for crimes at News Corporation. Committee chair John Whittingdale said he did not vote on any of the amendments in the report, but hinted at his opinion on whether it should have branded Mr Murdoch unfit, saying: “I would merely observe that as well as being the chairman of the committee, I am a Conservative MP.” Lib-Dem member Adrian Sanders who was effectively left with the casting vote, sided with the Labour view. He said he would have faced accusations of party bias whichever way he had decided. After the report was published Mr Watson said he had “reason to believe” that even more the material in the form of hard drives was in the hands of the Serious Organised Crime Agency. He sought to extend the probe into new areas — including claims News Corp could be in contempt of Parliament over claims they sought to use private investigators to dig dirt on committee members. He also said politicians — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as well as David Cameron and George Osborne — should reveal their email and text message contacts with News Corp executives.

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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Lock your doors alert as Whitby double murder suspect spotted on run

Detectives hunting double murder suspect James Allen have urged Yorkshire residents to lock their doors and windows after reported sightings of him on the East Coast raised fears the killer could strike again. Allen, a 35-year-old drug user with previous convictions for violence, is believed to have killed his former next-door neighbour in Middlesbrough and murdered a Whitby housewife while on bail for other offences. Police called on him to hand himself in yesterday as they revealed sightings of the suspect had been reported in Whitby, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. More than 100 officers from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces are investigating the murders of Colin Dunford, 81, and Julie Davison, 50. Both victims suffered head injuries. The detective leading the inquiry, Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police, said it was a “24/7 operation” that would not stop until Allen is found.

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Friday, 27 April 2012

Gas canister man storms office

One of the country's busiest shopping streets has been closed as a man wearing gas canisters stormed into an office and threatened to blow himself up, it was reported. Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after police received emergency calls at midday. Scotland Yard sent a hostage negotiator to the scene amid reports the man had held people hostage inside the building several floors up. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment being thrown through one of the office windows. A police spokesman said it was "too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages" but businesses and nearby buildings were evacuated. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: "There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. "All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. "We don't know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage."

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Credit card fraud websites shut down on three continents

Three men have been arrested and 36 criminal websites selling credit card information and other personal data shut down as part of a two-year international anti-fraud operation, police have confirmed. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as authorities in Germany; the Netherlands; Ukraine; Australia and Romania, swooped after identifying the sites as specialising in selling card and bank details in bulk. The move comes as a blow to what is a growing black market for stolen financial data. Detectives estimated that the card information seized could have been used to extract more than £500m in total by fraudsters. SOCA claimed it has recovered more than two and a half million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years. “The authorities have shut down 36 websites but it is difficult to know how many other people had access to that data. They could spring back up somewhere else if a gang is not eradicated completely,” said Graham Cluley of internet security firm Sophos. He added: “This is big business and, just as in any legitimate company there are people who specialise in different things, so there are those who actually get their hands on the personal data and those who sell it on; they are not often the same person.” An investigation by The Independent last summer found that scammers were making a “comfortable living” getting their hands on sensitive information and selling it online. Card details were being offered for sale for between 4p and £60 per card – depending on the quality – according to one source in the business. Some cards would be sold with incomplete or unreliable information; others ready to use. Some of the card details for sale on the websites shut down by SOCA were being sold for as little as £2 each. Investigators said that the alleged fraudsters were using Automated Vending Carts, which allowed them to sell large quantities of stolen data. They are said to be a driver of the growth in banking fraud over the last 18 months because of the speed with which stolen data can be sold. Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.” An alleged operator in Macedonia was one of those arrested, while two British men accused of buying the information were also detained. Britain’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit also seized computers suspected of being used to commit fraud.

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