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Chief Rat

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Chief Rat last won the day on January 3 2017

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  1. 2 August 2018 The Bank of England has raised the interest rate for only the second time in a decade. The rate has risen by 0.25% to 0.75% - the highest level since March 2009. The move will increase the interest costs of more than three-and-a-half million residential mortgages that have variable or tracker rates. But it will be welcomed by savers, who could see a lift in their interest rates over the coming months. However, after the last rate rise in November, half of savings accounts did not move at all. Why are they doing this now? The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee had been expected to raise interest rates in May, but held fire because the economy went through a weak patch at the start of the year - partly because of the harsh weather conditions, dubbed the Beast from the East. Led by governor Mark Carney, the Bank is now confident that the dip was temporary and that economic growth will recover from the 0.2% rate seen in the first quarter, to 0.4% in the second quarter and maintain that pace later in the year. The pick-up is being supported by household spending, which the Bank said had been "erratic" earlier in the year. It is also believes the recent series of store closures on the High Street does not reflect a lack of appetite for shopping. In its Quarterly Inflation Report, the Bank said: "Although in the past year the number of retail closures have increased and retail footfall has fallen, contacts of the Bank's agents suggest that mainly reflects shifts in consumer demand to online stores and from goods to services." What is the outlook? The Bank sees continuing "modest" economic growth of 1.4% this year and an increase to 1.8% next year. The unemployment rate is expected to fall further from 4.2% and wage growth is expected to pick up. Inflation is forecast to fall back to 2% - the Bank of England's target - by 2020. The Bank sees some clouds on the economic horizon. Image copyright Getty Images It said the outlook for the global economy was a bit gloomier, partly owing to the trade war between the US and China which has seen tariffs imposed on a range of goods. It also highlighted a slowdown in the UK housing market this year, which has been "concentrated in London", where mortgage completions are down 12% on 2016. But the Bank thinks that weakness might just be specific to the capital and may not say much about the prospects for the UK housing market as a whole. What happens next? The Bank is sticking to its guidance that interest rates will continue to head higher, but only at gradual pace and to a limited extent. The financial markets have taken this on board and are forecasting one, and perhaps two, rises of 0.25% before 2020. It also seems unlikely the UK will return to interest rates of 5% and above. In its inflation report ,the Bank published what it thinks is the natural interest rate for the UK economy. It puts that at between 2% and 3%. That relatively low rate is partly due to an ageing population. Older people tend to save more and in the future, that will provide a greater pool of savings for lending to households and industry and help prevent the economy from overheating. View the full article
  2. Elsie Scully-Hicks: Baby murderer seen as 'positive dad' 2 August 2018 Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMatthew Scully-Hicks made a 999 call two months before Elsie died claiming she fell down stairs A father who murdered his baby just weeks after adopting her may have slipped under the radar as he was seen as a "positive parent", a review has found. Elsie Scully-Hicks died in May 2016 when she was 18 months old. She was subjected to a catalogue of injuries by killer Matthew Scully-Hicks in the eight months he had care of her. A child practice review said these were never considered anything other than "childhood accidents". Cardiff and Vale's Regional Safeguarding Children Board agreed that while Elsie's death could not have been predicted it could potentially have been prevented. Elsie's catastrophic injuries included a fractured skull, bruises and a broken leg at the hands of her adopted father at their Cardiff home. But a report said professionals failed to "see a pattern emerging with injuries", and that they viewed the adoption as "very successful" with events in the child's life viewed through a "positive lens". Personal trainer Scully-Hicks, originally of Delabole, Cornwall, had denied murdering the 18-month-old but was found guilty at Cardiff Crown Court after trial last year. He must serve at least 18 years behind bars before being considered for release. Baby murder 'a rogue' adoption Elsie Scully-Hicks: Dad of adopted baby guilty of murder Baby Elsie's catalogue of injuries 999 call made four days before Elsie died The review, published by the Regional Safeguarding Children's Board on Thursday, said there were missed opportunities "to raise safeguarding concerns and instigate child protection procedures" and no evidence was seen of injuries being considered as a pattern. This is despite Elise needing medical treatment on numerous occasions while in Scully-Hick's care, including: In November 2015 she went to the GP as she could not bear weight on her leg - an x-ray later found she had a fracture In December 2015 she suffered a large bruise on her forehead In March 2016 she was described as vomiting after falling through stair gates Despite the list of injures, Scully-Hicks' explanations were accepted by health professionals, the report said. The failure to spot a second fracture on the x-ray in 2015 meant an opportunity was missed to flag up safeguarding concerns, as getting two fractures from a minor fall would have been highly unusual. Scully-Hicks and his husband Craig went through a year-long assessment before being formally allowed to adopted Elsie. The couple decided Scully-Hicks would stay at home while Craig continued to work as a company director with frequent trips away overnight. But the report said the overall presentation was of a "happy united family" and those working with the child either did not consider or did not raise the possibility that the child was being harmed. The sharing of information between social workers and the adoption service did not happen until three weeks after she fell down the stairs, it added. Who was Elsie Scully-Hicks? Elsie was named Shayla O'Brien by her birth family when she was born in November 2014. She was put up for adoption in May 2015, and adopted by personal trainer Scully-Hicks and his husband Craig. But her birth family said they always hoped she would be reunited with them. However they were visited by social services in January 2017 and were told Elsie had died in May the previous year. Image caption Scully-Hicks said he did not know how Elsie sustained her fatal injuries During his trial, Scully-Hicks claimed he never harmed Elsie and said she must have suffered her fatal injuries after he changed her for bed at home on 25 May 2016. She died at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales four days later after doctors determined she could not be saved and her ventilator was switched off. A pathologist said her injuries were "very typical" of a shaken baby. A CT scan showed she had bleeding on the brain and a post-mortem examination revealed she had also suffered broken ribs, a fractured left femur and a fractured skull. There was also haemorrhaging within both of Elsie's retinas - associated with inflicted trauma or injury. Dr Sarah Harrison, who examined Elsie after her death. said her leg injuries looked like those sustained in major trauma incidents such as a car accident. Image caption Scully-Hicks said Elsie fell down these stairs less than three months before she died View the full article
  3. Four dead in Bradford police chase crash 2 August 2018 Image copyright Google Image caption The road is likely to remain closed for most of the day Four people have died in a car crash during a police pursuit in Bradford. The crash happened at about 05:30 BST on Bingley Road at the junction with Toller Lane. The four who died are all male, West Yorkshire Police said. Bingley Road has been closed and is likely to remain closed for most of Thursday. The crash has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, with evidence being gathered at the scene. View the full article
  4. Interest rates: Bank of England expected to increase base rate By Szu Ping Chan Business reporter, BBC News 2 August 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mortgages can become more expensive when the Bank of England raises the base rate The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates for only the second time in a decade later on Thursday. Economists and investors expect the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to increase rates from 0.5% to 0.75%. Changes to the Bank rate affect tens of thousands of savings accounts, loans and mortgages. This is because banks use it to as a reference point for the amount they pay savers and charge borrowers. Any increase on Thursday would follow a similar rise in November 2017, when the MPC raised rates from a record low of 0.25%. It would also take the so-called Bank Rate to its highest level since 2009. Simon Jack: Why interest rates are going up Investors are betting there is more than a 90% chance that interest rates will rise to 0.75%. Many economists had expected rates to rise earlier. However, weak economic data, partly due to the freezing winter temperatures caused by the "Beast from the East" have seen the Bank keep rates on hold this year. The UK economy expanded by just 0.2% in the first three months of the year. Bank staff believe this weakness was temporary and expect the economy to expand by 0.4% in the second quarter. In June, three out of nine policymakers, including the Bank's chief economist Andy Haldane, voted for rates to rise to 0.75%. Five votes are needed to change policy. While many analysts expect another split decision on Thursday, solid employment growth, steady pay growth and a rebound in consumer spending are expected to justify an increase. Economists at Goldman Sachs expect Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, to "stress that the August hike is a slow and steady step on the MPC's path to normalisation". I'm a saver or a borrower - what does it mean for me? When the Bank Rate goes up, so should rates on mortgages and savings accounts. When policymakers raised interest rates last November, it predicted that savers would reap the benefits of a rate rise more quickly than borrowers would feel the pinch. In reality, however, it's not so simple. Sir Dave Ramsden, one of the Bank's deputy governors, warned savers "never" to expect banks and building societies to fully pass on rate rises. He said the financial crisis had triggered in a change in the returns savers should expect. While rates remain low, he said many savings accounts were now offering higher returns than Bank Rate. Cheaper mortgage deals in recent years have also encouraged people to lock in promotional rates. Those on fixed-rate deals will feel no immediate impact from a rate rise. Back in 2010, just 38% of people who took out a new mortgage fixed their rates, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. That figure is now 90% for new mortgages, and two-thirds of all home loans. Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates to 0.75% How has the economy performed? The Bank of England will also release its latest forecasts for economic growth, jobs and inflation on Thursday. While pay is finally starting to outpace price rises, wage growth remains modest by historical standards. Inflation, as measured by the consumer prices index (CPI), rose by 2.4% in the year to June. This is slightly lower than the 2.5% rate expected by the Bank in its forecast three months ago. Unemployment, at 4.2% in the three months to May, is slightly higher than the 4.1% predicted by the Bank. How many more rate rises can we expect? On Thursday, the Bank will provide an indication of the level of the rate we should expect in normal times. In other words: when inflation is steady at the Bank's 2% target and the economy is running at its maximum speed limit. Of course, these are not normal times. While any interest rate rises are expected to be "limited and gradual", Mr Carney has warned that "guidance is not a promise of the future path of policy". He said the final Brexit deal was "potentially the most important" factor that would influence monetary policy in the coming months and years, and added that the Bank was ready for all outcomes. In short, guidance is good, but not gospel - and all bets are off in the event of a Brexit shock. Five interest rate facts More than 3.5 million residential mortgages are on a variable or tracker rate The average standard variable rate mortgage is 4.72% On an £150,000 variable mortgage, a rise to 0.75% is likely to increase the annual cost by £224 A Bank rate rise does not guarantee the equivalent increase in interest paid to savers No easy access savings account at a major High Street bank pays interest of more than 0.5% What would a rate rise mean for you? Sources: UK Finance, Moneyfacts, Nationwide Building Society View the full article
  5. Phone and internet use: Number of mobile calls drops for first time By Jane Wakefield Technology reporter 2 August 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption On average, people pick up their phone once every 12 minutes The number of voice calls made on mobile phones in the UK fell for the first time ever in 2017 - despite the fact we seem hooked on our devices. That is according to the latest report from telecoms regulator Ofcom, which charts what it describes as a decade of digital dependence. A total of 78% of all adults now own a smartphone. On average, people check them once every 12 minutes during their waking hours, the study claims. Two in five adults look at their phone within five minutes of waking, while a third check their phones just before falling asleep, according to the report. A high percentage (71%) say they never turn off their phones and 78% say they could not live without it. While three-quarters of the British public still regard voice calling as an important function of their phones, more (92%) say web browsing is crucial. The report finds that the total volume of calls made on mobiles fell by 1.7% in 2017, even though making them is the cheapest it has ever been. That does not necessarily mean people are talking less, however, because Ofcom has not collated figures for chat apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which could account for some of the decline. "Over the last decade, people's lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services," said Ofcom's director of market intelligence Ian Macrae. "Whether it is working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. "But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online, or frustrated when they're not." Image caption The Louis family all use their phones daily, for different reasons The Louis family all depend on their smartphones but for different reasons, While mum Kirsten uses it from the moment she wakes up to check social media, the family calendar, the weather as well as for shopping, her husband Andre - who is visually impaired - relies on it for a whole range of things, including booking taxis and reading emails. He describes himself as "hooked", saying the phone has been life-changing because, before he had one, he had to rely on the kindness of strangers when out and about. Son Jake currently has his usage restricted to when he is in the family home, where he uses it to play games, message family and friends and go on YouTube. Five-year-old Alice has yet to catch the mobile bug - she does not have a phone and does not want one. For now. Data usage The average daily time spent on a smartphone is two hours 28 minutes, rising to three hours 14 minutes for 18 to 24-year-olds, the report indicates. Most people expect a constant internet connection, with the majority of adults saying the internet is an essential part of their lives, and one in five spending more than 40 hours a week online. The average is a more modest 24 hours a week online, with more than half of that time spent on mobile phones. Confessions of a smartphone addict Facebook and Instagram introduce time limit tool Is social media causing childhood depression For the first time, women spent more time online than men, particularly in the age group 18 to 34 where females spent an average half an hour longer online than men. Seven in 10 commuters use their smartphones on their journey to work, with nearly a half saying they use it to complete "essential tasks". On average, users get through 1.9GB (gigabytes) of data each month, according to the report. The amount of time people spend glued to screens has become a focus of the big tech firms in recent months, with both Apple and Google offering dashboards built into their operating systems which allow people to see how much time they spend on various apps and websites. Facebook has also just announced tools to limit how much time people spend on the social network. Meal time misery The fact that mobile phones are now integral to people's lives means they are having to develop a set of etiquette rules about their usage. More than half agree that connected devices interrupt face-to-face conversations with family and friends, with 43% admitting to spending too much time online. The vast majority object to people using their phones during meal times, with both young and old agreeing. But when it comes to whether it is acceptable to be on a phone while watching TV, 62% of the over-55s object compared with only 21% of those aged 18-34. The key function of a mobile device also divides the generations. While older people think web browsing is the most crucial use of their devices, youngsters regard video streaming as more important. Our obsession with our phones is good news for advertisers. Nearly a quarter of all advertising spend is now on mobiles, and if mobile advertising was stripped away, ad revenue would be in decline for the first time. Phone replacing TV? When asked in 2008 what was the most important device they owned, more than half the respondents to that year's report said it was the TV with only 13% identifying their mobile phone as the crucial gadget. Fast forward to 2018 and 48% regard their smartphone as the most important, followed by the TV (28%). The TV remains important though and despite the rise of on-demand and subscription services, broadcast TV still accounts for the majority (71%) of viewing time. Other findings from the report include: 42% of houses now own a smart TV - with Ofcom predicting this will rise substantially in coming years the average household spends £124 on communication services each month 40% of households subscribe to Netflix one in eight homes now has a smart speaker View the full article
  6. 1 August 2018 comments Image copyright Getty Images The future of House of Fraser has been thrown into doubt after its potential new owner walked away from a rescue. C.banner, which owns the toy store Hamley's, had planned to take control of the struggling department store chain and inject £70m of cash. However, the Chinese firm said it would no longer proceed with its investment, plunging House of Fraser into crisis. That deal would have involved closing 31 of its 59 stores, with the loss of 6,000 jobs. House of Fraser agreed a controversial restructuring deal with its landlords in June to cut stores and save money. A legal challenge contesting the process has been made by landlords. The retailer employs 17,500 people - 6,000 direct and 11,500 concession staff. Andrew Busby, of the consultancy Retail Reflections, said the proposed rescue deal had "always been on fairly shaky ground" and its collapse did not surprise him. The chain's only chance of survival could be some type of merger with rival Debenhams. "House of Debenhams is becoming more and more of a reality - that's the best outcome for House of Fraser," he said. "Unless you are Harrods or Selfridges the department store concept is not quite dead, but severely challenged." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption House of Fraser's flagship store on Oxford Street in central London had been threatened with closure under the rescue deal C.banner had been planning to raise the money needed to invest in House of Fraser by issuing new shares. However, the Hong Kong-listed company's shares have fallen by 70% in the past two months and it issued a profit warning on Wednesday. In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, C.banner said the share placing had been "rendered impracticable and inadvisable" and the agreement was therefore being terminated immediately. In response, House of Fraser said it was in talks with other investors and was exploring other financing options: "Discussions are ongoing and a further announcement will be made as and when appropriate." The loss-making department store chain is now understood to be talking to new potential buyers. On Monday, it emerged that House of Fraser had been approached by Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley over a fresh investment deal. He controls an 11.1% stake in House of Fraser and a near-30% stake in Debenhams. View the full article
  7. Grenfell fire: Government to manage site after police probe 1 August 2018 Related TopicsGrenfell Tower fire Image copyright PA The government will take responsibility for Grenfell Tower when the police release the site as a crime scene. The housing ministry will take over safety and security until the community decides how the site should be used. Kensington and Chelsea Council still own the west London site but will not have a decision-making role. Survivors of the fire in June 2017, which killed 72 people, had feared the council would take control of the site and said they were "relieved". View the full article
  8. Tommy Robinson bailed after Court of Appeal win 1 August 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Tommy Robinson founded the English Defence League in 2009 but quit the group in 2013 Far-right activist Tommy Robinson has been bailed after winning an appeal against a finding of contempt of court. Robinson, 35, from Luton, admitted the charge and received a 13-month jail term in May over a film outside Leeds Crown Court during a trial. At the Court of Appeal, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett ruled there had been technical flaws by the judge who jailed him and quashed the finding. He will attend the Old Bailey for the Leeds allegation to be reheard. Robinson, also known as Stephen Yaxley Lennon, was not present for the ruling and is expected to be released from prison later. Image copyright PA Image caption Supporters of Tommy Robinson, pictured outside the Court of Appeal In his written judgement, Lord Burnett said: "We are satisfied that the finding of contempt made in Leeds following a fundamentally flawed process, in what we recognise were difficult and unusual circumstances, cannot stand. "We will direct that the matter be reheard before a different judge." A film involving people in a criminal trial that was subject to reporting restrictions was recorded and the footage broadcast on social media. The footage, lasting about an hour, was watched 250,000 times within hours of being posted on Facebook. Lord Burnett said a suspended sentence Robinson was given for contempt of court relating to a trial in Canterbury in May 2017 should stand. The former English Defence League leader was given 10 months for contempt of court and a further three months for breaching the suspended sentence handed to him in Canterbury. View the full article
  9. Jeremy Corbyn apologises for hosting 2010 Holocaust event 1 August 2018 Related TopicsThe Holocaust Image copyright Reuters Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has apologised for appearing on platforms with people whose views he "completely rejects". Mr Corbyn's statement was in response to the Times reporting that he hosted an event in 2010 at which a Holocaust survivor compared Israel to Nazism. The event was held at the House of Commons on Holocaust Memorial Day. Labour MP Louise Ellman told BBC Newsnight she was "absolutely appalled" to hear about Mr Corbyn's involvement. The Labour leader's apology comes after one of his supporters in the party's National Executive Committee suggested that Jewish "Trump fanatics" were behind accusations of anti-Semitism in Labour ranks. Peter Willsman has apologised and said not all his remarks were accurately reported. Labour action urged over Peter Willsman's anti-Semitism remarks What's the anti-Semitism row doing to Labour? How widespread is anti-Semitism in the UK? At the 2010 event in the Commons, Jewish Auschwitz survivor and anti-Zionist Hajo Meyer gave a talk entitled The Misuse of the Holocaust for Political Purposes. Mr Mayer, who died in 2014 aged 90, compared Israeli policy to the Nazi regime. The Times said that Palestinian activist Haidar Eid also addressed the meeting, saying: "The world was absolutely wrong to think that Nazism was defeated in 1945. "Nazism has won because it has finally managed to Nazify the consciousness of its own victims." Mr Corbyn said views were expressed which he did not "accept or condone". He added: "In the past, in pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace in Israel /Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject. "I apologise for the concerns and anxiety that this has caused." Skip Twitter post by @BBCNewsnight Report End of Twitter post by @BBCNewsnight In July, Labour faced criticism over its new code of conduct on anti-Semitism, which critics claimed did not sign up fully to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition. Ms Ellman said she was "exceedingly disturbed" by the situation, adding that by diluting the definition of anti-Semitism, Labour had "made it possible to compare Israel with the Nazis". She added: "Jeremy is our leader, we want to be the next government, we need to change the way that this country is run to address the injustices in our society. "But we can't do that while we are engulfed in this crisis of the Labour Party's inability to deal with anti-Semitism in its own ranks." View the full article
  10. Aid sector 'almost complicit' in sex scandal, say MPs 31 July 2018 Related TopicsCharities' sexual misconduct scandal Image copyright Oxfam Image caption Allegations surfaced about abuse in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 The aid sector is guilty of "complacency verging on complicity" over an "endemic" sex abuse scandal, a damning report from MPs has said. International Development Committee chairman Stephen Twigg said charities were "more concerned to protect their own reputation" rather than victims. In February the Times revealed senior staff at Oxfam had paid survivors of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti for sex. Charities welcomed the report, and Oxfam said it has "further to go". The MPs' report said "so much more" could have been done to tackle the "open secret" of people working in the aid sector committing such acts. But despite the charities knowing about the problem, the committee said there had been a "collective failure of leadership", and action only when there was a crisis. The committee said this "episodic" response had been "reactive, patchy and sluggish", and meant safeguarding policies were created but never effectively implemented. The report also said leaders were "self-deluded" in thinking they had addressed problems before they became public. How the Oxfam scandal unfolded Murdered MP's widower quits charities 22 aid organisations apologise after scandal The Charity Commission has called for the sector to show a "real commitment to lasting and demonstrable change". MPs called for more resources to be given to tackling the issue - and said victims had to be at the "heart of solutions", or the response could be "harmful". The committee said charities needed to focus on four areas: Empowerment - ensuring the beneficiaries of humanitarian aid have knowledge and confidence in their rights Reporting - reports of sexual exploitation and abuse should be proactively sought and responded to robustly with feedback to victims and survivors Accountability - a zero tolerance culture on sexual exploitation and abuse is the least that victims should expect Screening - it is imperative that known perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse, identified through improved reporting and accountability, are prevented from moving into new positions The MPs also recommended the appointment of an independent aid ombudsman to provide assistance to victims and survivors if these other areas fail. "The sector's movement on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in the past few months is welcome but it is also long overdue," they said. "We are yet to be reassured that the momentum will be maintained." 'Horror must be confronted' The committee chairman Stephen Twigg described the report as "damning", but said it was just a "small, first step". "Take note," he added. "We are putting all the relevant authorities on notice. "No matter how insurmountable this looks, solutions must be found. This horror must be confronted." Image copyright EPA Image caption Oxfam's chair of trustees, Caroline Thomson, apologised to "vulnerable women" in Haiti. Caroline Thomson, the chair of trustees at Oxfam, said that while the report was "incredibly painful reading", it was welcome. She said she was "truly sorry" for the organisation's failure to protect vulnerable women in Haiti, adding: "We have made improvements since 2011 but recognise we have further to go." Ms Thomson praised the committee for challenging all in the sector to do better, and agreed that victims and survivors "must be at the heart of our approach". Allegations emerge A number of other incidents at charities emerged after the Oxfam revelations, including allegations against Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox. In 2015, the Mail on Sunday reported that Mr Cox had stepped down from his position as chief strategist at Save the Children over allegations of "inappropriate behaviour" towards female colleagues - which he at the time denied. After further allegations against him, Mr Cox resigned from two charities he set up in his wife's memory, again denying the accusations but admitting he "made mistakes" whilst working for Save the Children Kevin Watkins, chief executive officer of Save the Children UK, said the charity had commissioned an independent internal review, adding: "We have made mistakes in our own handling of historical sexual harassment complaints from staff in the UK. "Although some progress has been made in creating a more respectful working culture, there is a great deal more to do." Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has welcomed the report Mr Twigg said the Department for International Development should report annually on the safeguarding performance of the sector and ensure the Charity Commission has enough resources to police it. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt welcomed the report, saying: "Until the sector is fully prepared to address the power imbalance, cultures, and behaviours that allow sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment to happen, we will never stamp it out." Michelle Russell, director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the Charity Commission, added: "The charity sector must go further than simply box-ticking against their legal duties or improving processes and policies." An international summit on the issue is due to take place in October, and Ms Mordaunt has called for the sector to demonstrate the progress they have made by then. View the full article
  11. Corrie Mckeague: Airman 'somewhere in Suffolk waste disposal system' 31 July 2018 Image copyright Family photo Image caption Corrie Mckeague, from Dunfermline, Fife, was last seen at 03:25 BST on 24 September 2016 Missing airman Corrie Mckeague is "somewhere in the Suffolk waste disposal system," his father has said. Corrie Mckeague was 23 years old when he vanished on a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on 24 September 2016. Police believe he climbed into a waste bin and was taken away by a refuse lorry. Writing on Facebook, Martin Mckeague said: "Corrie is no longer missing... after looking at all of the facts and evidence we now know what happened." He added: "We are certain he is somewhere in the Suffolk waste disposal system, but his remains are essentially irretrievable." Martin Mckeague said his son was "known to sleep in and on top of bins, a fact that has been corroborated by Suffolk Police from their interviews". He also said the bin had a recorded weight of 116kg - "an unusually high number for this bin, which tells us my son was inside". Image copyright Nicola Urquhart Image caption Corrie Mckeague, pictured with his mother, was last seen in Bury St Edmunds Mr Mckeague, originally from Dunfermline and serving at RAF Honington in Suffolk, disappeared after a night out in Bury St Edmunds. No trace of him has been found, and police said in March that the investigation was being handed to a cold case team. 'Compelling' evidence His father Martin Mckeague wrote that police came to visit the family in Scotland to review the facts of the investigation in detail in October and February. He was presented evidences that was "as thorough as it was compelling", he said, and experts had "concluded beyond any doubt that Corrie had ended up in the Suffolk waste disposal system". "Accepting that conclusion has clearly not been easy for the Mckeague family in Scotland, nor anyone else," he wrote. He said the remaining areas were either "too toxic to search" or "so vast it could take years to do so". He added: "We thought there might be a small glimmer of hope for the Mckeague family that a card reader could be used to identify the whereabouts of Corrie's bank card in the landfill site. "I myself searched the internet to see if that technology could help but found nothing to support that theory. "It was also the view of the National Crime Agency and Suffolk Police...there is no technology currently available that can, in these case circumstances, undertake such a task." Mr Mckeague there are plans for a memorial for his son in the future. Image copyright Suffolk constabulary Image caption The airman was last seen on CCTV pictures walking through Bury St Edmunds after a night out View the full article
  12. Northern: Most cancelled services to resume after timetable disruption 30 July 2018 Related TopicsEngland rail timetable disruption Image copyright Northern Northern rail is reinstating 75% of the services it cancelled after a new timetable led to severe disruption. It scrapped 168 services per day last month to try to relieve chaos caused by the timetable's introduction in May. On Monday, services in Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire are partially resuming while all trains on the Lakes Line, in the Lakes District, are being reinstated. The remaining 25% of its cancelled trains do not restart until September. The company, which has faced calls for it to be stripped of its franchise, says a "more gradual" reintroduction will ensure a more stable and reliable service. But Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has written to the prime minister, asking her to personally intervene over the "chaos" caused by Northern this summer. "This is no way to run a railway and we cannot continue to put up with a rail service provided when the operators can be bothered," he wrote. "People's lives are being badly affected by this chaos and the government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the plight of Northern commuters." Rise in late trains since new timetables Rail timetable chaos inquiry launched Rail industry 'has failed passengers' Two-year-old emails 'predicted rail chaos' A government spokesman said: "The disruption that Northern passengers have experienced is unacceptable and it is vital that services continue to improve and passengers are compensated fully." Thousands of passengers have applied for compensation from Northern, which made the first pay-outs last week. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNorthern: Passengers react after delays David Brown, managing director at Northern, said the cancellations since 4 June had been an attempt to alleviate "significant disruption" caused by the nationwide introduction of the new timetable in May. He added: "Whilst we are ready to reintroduce all 168 daily services, given the need to drive further improvements across Manchester, we have agreed to a more gradual reintroduction of our services. "A phased introduction is the right approach to ensure a more stable and reliable service for customers." In May, what was billed as the biggest ever overhaul of rail timetables led to significant and widespread rail disruption. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNorthern passengers say delays are 'a joke' The timetable overhaul - for Northern as well as Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) lines - was aimed at improving punctuality and boosting capacity, but instead led to a huge number of train services being cancelled or severely delayed. Northern and GTR had to remove hundreds of trains in a temporary timetable change to deal with the chaos on the rail network. Image copyright Stephen Pimlott Image caption Rail users expressed their frustrations at Manchester Piccadilly Last month, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling defended his handling of the saga and announced an inquiry into what went wrong. The inquiry, by transport professor Stephen Glaister, will look at the implementation of the new timetable. A final report will be published by December. The Transport Select Committee is also asking for evidence from passengers and as well as rail industry groups. Train timetables are usually changed twice a year, in summer and winter, but normally on a much smaller scale. A rail timetable overhaul planned for December has since been scaled back amid fears of a repeat of the chaos seen in May. Services to be reintroduced on Monday: Lakes Line: All services Blackpool: All services from Blackpool to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly Blackpool: Seventeen services a day, out of 30, between Blackpool South and Colne, via Preston Lancashire: Ten daily services, out of 16, between Ormskirk and Preston Lancashire: All 24 services on the Lancaster to Morecambe line Lancashire: All four services between Preston and Blackburn Manchester: Four services a day, of 10 removed, from Kirkby to Manchester Victoria via Wigan Services to be reintroduced in September: Blackpool: The remaining 13 services between Blackpool South and Colne, via Preston Lancashire: The remaining six services between Ormskirk and Preston Lancashire: The six Blackburn to Southport services Manchester: The remaining six services from Kirkby to Manchester Victoria via Wigan Manchester: The 12 Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge services View the full article
  13. Geraint Thomas was keen to show off the Welsh flag on the run-in to ParisGeraint Thomas became Britain's third winner of the Tour de France when he crossed the finish line in Paris. The Team Sky rider, 32, follows Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and four-time Tour champion Chris Froome as Britain celebrates a sixth win in seven years. Alexander Kristoff won the sprint finish on the Champs-Elysees as Thomas crossed the line arm-in-arm with Froome in the middle of the peloton. He beat Dutchman Tom Dumoulin by one minute 51 seconds, with Froome third. Welshman Thomas, who rode in support of Froome in each of his wins, had built up that lead over the previous 20 stages and Tour convention dictates that the yellow jersey is not challenged on the final stage. Froome was heavy favourite to become the fifth rider to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title. He came into the race as defending champion and holder of all three Grand Tour titles, having won the Vuelta a Espana last September and the Giro d'Italia in May. But his hopes of also matching Eddy Merckx's record of four consecutive Grand Tour victories were ended in the Pyrenees mountains in the final week as Thomas proved the strongest rider. A procession into Paris The final 116km stage began in Houilles, to the north-west of Paris, and the riders took a leisurely pace into the capital before embarking on eight laps of the centre. Team Sky led the peloton into Paris, having allowed France's Sylvain Chavanel to ride clear for one lap in his final Tour in recognition of his achievement of completing a record 18th Tour. Six riders built an advantage of about 45 seconds as the laps ticked down but they were eventually reeled in on the final lap, with 6km remaining. World champion Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates did the bulk of the chasing, but Norwegian Kristoff outsprinted Frenchman Arnaud Demare and Germany's John Degenkolb. Thomas rode over the line a few seconds later, alongside Froome, the man he dethrones as champion. Thomas' Tour pedigree Thomas' victory comes in his ninth Tour, one fewer than the record for most appearances before winning, held by 1980 winner Joop Zoetemelk of the Netherlands. Thomas first rode in the Tour in 2007, when he finished 140th of the 141 finishers. Like many British riders, he raced on both the track and the road in the early part of his career, winning two Olympic and three world team pursuit titles on the track between 2007 and 2012. His sacrifice in helping Froome win four Tours has meant Thomas' best finish before this year was 15th. He has also been dogged by bad luck. He fractured his pelvis on stage one in 2013 but rode the remaining 20 stages to help Froome win; in 2015 he crashed head first into a telegraph pole; and in 2017 broke a collarbone on stage nine. This year, he has ridden a near faultless race to cement his place among Britain's greatest cyclists. Cavendish leads praise for 'G' Mark Cavendish, a former Team Sky and Great Britain team-mate of Thomas, said he was "so, so proud" of his achievement. Asked if he ever thought Thomas could win a Grand Tour, Cavendish, who has won 30 Tour de France stages, told BBC Sport: "Recently, yes. There is a definite hierarchy in Team Sky so I didn't know if he'd get the opportunity. "If they (Team Sky) had said to Geraint 'right, now you've got to work for Froome' he'd have done it. That's the kind of guy he is. That's what is special about him and why he deserves the win. "He's the most loyal guy you'll ever meet. He's incredible. I love him. I'm so so proud of him." Peter Kennaugh, another former Team Sky and GB team-mate, added: "It's incomprehensible. It's G and he's won the Tour de France. I can't imagine how he feels. I'm just so proud of him." Ex-Team Sky team-mate Ben Swift, who shared a house with Thomas when they lived in Manchester, said: "It's amazing to see. We've grown up together, been at the British Academy together, lived together, so to see him do this is incredible." Three-time world team pursuit world champion Dani Rowe said: "I did see him as a Tour winner. He's one of the most hard-working riders I've ever come across, so I think he deserves this more than anyone." The stages that defined Thomas' victory Thomas went in to this year's race saying he was hoping to challenge his team leader Froome. He told BBC Sport: "The team have said that with the way I've been riding they're confident to give me that role of a back-up guy and to race at least until the first rest day (after stage nine)." He was second after stage nine and took hold of the race leader's yellow jersey on stage 11. Stage three: Team Sky finish second in the team trial to propel Thomas up the standings to third overall, three seconds adrift of race leader Greg van Avermaet. Stage six: A tactically aware Thomas picks up two bonus seconds near the finish to move himself up to second overall. Stage 11: Thomas attacks with 6km remaining on the final ascent to the summit finish at La Rosiere in the Alps to finish 20 seconds ahead of Dumoulin and Froome and take the race leader's yellow jersey. Stage 12: Another late surge sees Thomas become the first British rider to win on the fabled Alpe d'Huez as he again leaves Dumoulin and Froome in his wake to cement his position as a real threat in the race. "There wasn't a chance in hell I was going to win," Thomas said. "I just kept following Dumoulin and Froome. Can we just go to Paris now?" Stage 17: Into the Pyrenees and an attack in the closing few hundred metres helps Thomas finish third to put another nine seconds into Dumoulin as Froome falters on the final climb, finishing 48 seconds behind his team-mate. Stage 19: The final stage in the mountains and Thomas follows the attacks of all his rivals before sprinting to second on the stage to pick up more bonus seconds and move two minutes five seconds clear. He has accrued 33 bonus seconds, 21 more than Dumoulin. Stage 20: Dumoulin wins the time trial, beating Froome by one second, but Thomas finishes third on the stage to maintain a lead of 1min 51secs. View the full article
  14. Online trolls may be barred from being MP or councillor 29 July 2018 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Diane Abbott and Boris Johnson both received high levels of online abuse during the 2017 election Online trolls who intimidate election candidates or campaigners could be barred from public office under government proposals being considered. Extreme intimidation cases are already punishable with a jail sentence. A 2017 parliamentary report highlighted the "significant factor" of social media abuse of candidates in that year's general election. Constitution Minister Chloe Smith said intimidation was putting "talented people" off standing for election. She added that the measures being consulted on would "protect voters, candidates and campaigners so they can make their choice at the ballot box or stand for public service without fear of being victims of misinformation or abuse". The length of the ban on convicted abusers standing for or holding public office would be a part of the consultation, a Cabinet Office spokeswoman said. MPs call for misogyny to be hate crime MPs 'being advised to quit Twitter' Outlaw online abuse, Katie Price tells MPs A joint analysis of tweets in the run-up to the election in 2017, by the University of Sheffield and BuzzFeed News. found that male Conservative candidates received the highest percentage of abuse on Twitter. Amnesty International had carried out a separate analysis of the accounts of 177 female MPs in the six months leading up to the election and found that Labour's Diane Abbott received almost half (45.1%) of all abusive tweets that were sent to female MPs. Analysis By BBC political correspondent Alex Forsyth In reality this may not prevent swathes of people from standing for office who otherwise would have. There are existing rules which stop those convicted of crimes carrying a certain sentence from standing as an MP or local councillor. In addition, the vetting processes of political parties should - in theory at least - stop unsuitable candidates from being selected. But there has been pressure for ministers to do something to tackle online trolls who target people in public office. After last year's general Election, several MPs reported some of the worst abuse and harassment that they'd experienced. There was even a debate in Parliament during which men and women from all political parties recounted their experience of sexist and racist comments, graphic language and even death threats. No doubt the government is keen to be seen to be taking this seriously. Currently, to stand in a general election, you must be at least 18 years old and either a British citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or an eligible Commonwealth citizen. Certain people are disqualified from becoming an MP including: civil servants members of police forces members of the armed forces judges a person who has been convicted of an offence and has been detained for more than a year peers who can sit in the House of Lords bishops of the Church of England who are entitled to sit in the House of Lords someone currently subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order View the full article
  15. Thomas becomes the third Briton to win the Tour de France - a sixth British victory in seven yearsBritain's Geraint Thomas is set to win the Tour de France after maintaining his overall lead on the penultimate stage of the race, a 31km time trial. The Team Sky rider, 32, finished third behind Tom Dumoulin but still leads the Dutchman by one minute, 51 seconds. Tour convention dictates that the race leader is never challenged on the final stage, so Thomas only needs to reach the finish in Paris on Sunday to win. Dumoulin beat defending champion Chris Froome by one second to win the stage. Froome's second place in the time trial means the four-time Tour champion climbs to third overall, leapfrogging Slovenia's Primoz Roglic. Froome's hopes of winning a record-equalling fifth Tour title were effectively ended in the Pyrenees mountains over the past few days, as his team-mate Thomas proved he was the man to beat. Thomas will be the first Welshman to win a Grand Tour and will become the third Briton to win the Tour de France, after Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and four-time champion Froome. Thomas' Tour pedigree This victory will come in his ninth Tour, one fewer than the record for most appearances before winning, held by 1980 winner Joop Zoetemelk of the Netherlands. Thomas first rode in the Tour in 2007, when he was 140th of the 141 finishers. But, like many British riders, Thomas raced on both the track and the road in the early part of his career, with the two disciplines requiring markedly different physical conditioning. He won three world and two Olympic team pursuit titles on the track between 2007 and 2012, and joined the fledgling Team Sky in 2010. He has been given a freer rein in one-day races but has mainly been used as a domestique - a rider who sacrifices his own chances in the service of a team leader - for Froome in each of his four Tour victories, and before this year his best finish had been 15th, twice. His own Tours have not been without incident. In 2013, he broke his pelvis after crashing on the opening stage, but managed to complete the race and help Froome pick up his first Tour title. In 2015, he ended up in a ditch after crashing head first into a telegraph pole on a descent on stage 16. He lost just 38 seconds to stay sixth overall but struggled on a climb on stage 19, losing more than 22 minutes to drop down the standings. And last year, after wining the opening individual time trial to become the first Welshman to wear the yellow jersey, he had to abandon the race when he crashed on stage nine and broke a collarbone. In 2014, which started in Yorkshire, he ended up being the only Briton to finish the Tour, in 22nd, after Mark Cavendish crashed out on stage one and Froome pulled out on stage five. The stages that defined Thomas' victory The Welshman went in to this year's race saying he was hoping to challenge his team leader Froome. Before the Tour started, he told BBC Sport: "The team have said that with the way I've been riding they're confident to give me that role of a backup guy and to race at least until the first rest day [after stage nine]." He was second after stage nine and took hold of the race leader's yellow jersey on stage 11. Stage three: Team Sky finish second in the team trial to propel Thomas up the standings to third overall, three seconds adrift of race leader Greg van Avermaet. Stage six: A tactically aware Thomas picks up two bonus seconds near the finish to move himself up to second overall. Stage 11: Thomas attacks with 6km remaining on the final ascent to the summit finish at La Rosiere in the Alps, to finish 20 seconds ahead of Dumoulin and Froome and take the race leader's yellow jersey. Stage 12: Another late surge sees Thomas become the first British rider to win on the fabled Alpe d'Huez as he again leaves Dumoulin and Froome in his wake to cement his position as a real threat in the race. "There wasn't a chance in hell I was going to win," he said. "I just kept following Dumoulin and Froome. Can we just go to Paris now?" Stage 17: Into the Pyrenees and an attack in the closing few hundred metres sees Thomas finish third to put another nine seconds into Dumoulin as Froome falters on the final climb, finishing 48 seconds behind his team-mate. Stage 19: The final stage in the mountains and Thomas follows the attacks of all his rivals before sprinting to second on the stage to pick up more bonus seconds. He has accrued 33 bonus seconds, 21 more than Dumoulin. What happened to Froome? Froome was heavy favourite to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title and become the fifth man to do so. He came into the race as defending champion and holder of all three Grand Tour titles, having won the Vuelta a Espana last September and this year's Giro d'Italia in May. But his hopes of also matching Eddy Merckx's record of four consecutive Grand Tour victories were ended in the Pyrenees mountains in the final week. Froome normally gets stronger as the race progresses but he has never ridden the Giro in the same year as the Tour and the 3,000 extra kilometres in his legs seemed to leave him jaded, particularly on stage 17. That stage was only 65km long, the shortest of the modern era, but featured three brutal ascents, the last of which reached an altitude of 2,215m - the highest point in the race. Froome fell off the pace and had to be nursed home by 21-year-old team-mate Egan Bernal, and the Colombian also had to help Froome stay with the leaders on stage 19, although he lost third place to Roglic. However, he rode a superb time trial on Saturday to jump back above the Slovenian and ensure there will be two Britons on the podium in Paris on Sunday. View the full article