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BHS: Sir Philip Green tells MPs of his sadness at collapse of BHS
« Reply #176 on: June 16, 2016, 01:00:06 AM »

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BHS: Sir Philip Green tells MPs of his sadness at collapse of BHS

BHS: Sir Philip Green tells MPs of his sadness at collapse of BHS



   
   

       
  •    
    15 June 2016


  •            
  • From the section Business



   

                                                                                                   

               
                Sir Philip Green

           
       

Sir Philip Green has apologised for the demise of BHS, saying "nothing is more sad than how this has ended".

The billionaire, whose empire includes Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins, is giving evidence to MPs about the BHS collapse.

Sir Philip sold BHS last year for £1, but its collapse with the loss of up to 11,000 jobs has left a huge hole in the pension scheme.

"There certainly [was] no intent on my part for anything to be like this. It didn't need to be like this," he said.

MPs kicked off the inquiry with questions about why Sir Philip moved to Monaco, a tax haven.

The businessman said he left Britain because of a heart scare. "When I went there, I had no idea I was ever going to do any more business," he said.

Sir Philip said his companies have paid "substantial" tax and could have been set up completely differently if he had wanted to avoid tax by moving everything offshore.

Asked when he first "thought" about selling BHS, Sir Philip replied that it was 2014. He said there was "no thought process - perhaps there should have been - it would have saved a lot of aggravation".

                                                                                                   

The committees have already taken evidence from the pensions regulator and advisers on the sale of the 164-store chain to Dominic Chappell, an ex-racing driver and former bankrupt.

Last week, Mr Chappell told MPs that, as BHS teetered on the edge of collapse earlier this year, Sir Philip blocked a rescue deal involving Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct.

MPs will also want to know why Sir Philip sold BHS to a man with no retail experience, and why in 2014 he abandoned a plan to restructure the retailer and address the pension fund deficit.

Mr Field had called on Sir Philip to fully cover the £571m deficit in the pension scheme, which covers 20,000 current and former employees.

There have been reports that during the hearing, Sir Philip may offer to put money into the pension fund, but he does not want to discuss the details publicly.

Sir Philip initially threatened not to appear at the joint inquiry of the Business and the Work and Pensions committees.

Ahead of the hearing, there was tension between Sir Philip and Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee.

Last week, the businessman claimed that the Labour MP was biased and called for his resignation.

'Honest and open'

However, on Tuesday, Sir Philip said: "Having given long and hard thought to the matter, however,  I have decided I will attend tomorrow morning, hoping and trusting that the committee will give me a fair hearing.

"This will be the first and only opportunity I have had to tell my side of the very sad BHS story and I will do my best to answer all the questions put to me in an honest and open way."

Sir Philip owned the department store chain for 15 years until 2015, when he sold it to Mr Chappell's company, Retail Acquisitions.

BHS went into administration in late April. After no buyer could be found, administrators Duff and Phelps announced that BHS would be wound down, with the shops closed by the end of July.

The BHS pension scheme has had to be absorbed by the Pension Protection Fund at a cost of about £275m.

The hearing can be watched online.


                                                                                               

Source: BHS: Sir Philip Green tells MPs of his sadness at collapse of BHS







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IS conflict: Iraqi forces 'retake Falluja city hall'
« Reply #177 on: June 18, 2016, 01:00:18 AM »
IS conflict: Iraqi forces 'retake Falluja city hall'

IS conflict: Iraqi forces 'retake Falluja city hall'



   
   

       
  •    
    17 June 2016


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  • From the section Middle East



           

       

   

       
           

   
       
       

           

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                Vehicles of Iraqi Counter Terrorism Force in Falluja's southern Shuhada district (16 June 2016)Image copyright
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                    Iraqi government forces launched an operation to recapture Falluja in late May
               

           

Iraqi government forces have retaken the main government compound in the city of Falluja from Islamic State (IS) militants, a top commander says.

Lt Gen Abdul Wahhab al-Saadi told the BBC that elite Counter Terrorism Force troops and rapid response forces had "liberated" the city council building.

They earlier reportedly recaptured the Industrial District in the city's east.

Falluja, which is 50km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, has been held by IS longer than any other city in Iraq or Syria.

The jihadist group overran Falluja in January 2014, six months before seized control of large parts of northern and western Iraq.


                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Source: IS conflict: Iraqi forces 'retake Falluja city hall'







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Twelve arrests as Belgium swoops on terror suspects
« Reply #178 on: June 19, 2016, 01:00:10 AM »
Twelve arrests as Belgium swoops on terror suspects

Twelve arrests as Belgium swoops on terror suspects



   
   

       
  •    
    18 June 2016


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  • From the section Europe



           

       

   

       
           

   
       
       

           

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                A police officer in Brussels, 17 JuneImage copyright
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                    Police staged a reconstruction of the March attacks in Brussels just this week
               

           

Police in Belgium have made 12 arrests in a huge anti-terror operation, nearly three months after the deadly bomb attacks on Brussels. 

Those detained overnight are suspected of plotting a terrorist attack, prosecutors say. They were among 40 taken in for questioning.

Searches were conducted in 16 municipalities, mainly around Brussels, with checks on 152 lock-up garages.

On 22 March, bombs killed 32 people at a Brussels airport and a metro station.

No arms or explosives were found during the searches, which passed off without incident, Belgium's federal prosecutor said in a statement.

Among the areas where searches took place was Molenbeek, a Brussels district which has become notorious because of its associations with jihadists.

The federal prosecutor said the operation had been launched after investigations which  "necessitated an immediate intervention".

However, the Belgian government has not raised the threat level.

There were several warnings of new attacks in recent days.

On Friday evening, four federal ministers including Prime Minister Charles Michel were placed  under heightened police protection along with their families, Belgian media report.

Belgian police are said to have recently received a warning that a group of militants from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group had left Syria en route for Europe, planning new attacks in Belgium and France.


               
               
               

               
               
                 Image copyright
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Image caption
               
                    A dog was used during Friday's reconstruction of the Brussels attacks
               

           

An unnamed security source was quoted by Belgian newspaper DH (in French) on Wednesday as saying the group had "left Syria about a week-and-a-half ago aiming to reach Europe via Turkey and Greece by boat without passports".

Meanwhile, a Belgian national named as Youssef EA was arrested on Friday and charged on suspicion of terrorist activities in connection with the March attacks, which were claimed by IS.

Belgian media report that he is the eighth person to have been charged over the attacks, which were carried out by three suicide bombers.

Investigators have established connections between the Brussels bombers and the IS attacks on Paris on 13 November, in which 130 people were killed.

Several of the Paris bombers came from Belgium and some of the bombs were made in a flat in Brussels.


                                                                                               

Source: Twelve arrests as Belgium swoops on terror suspects







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Kirsty Aitchison: River body find confirmed as missing deaf woman
« Reply #179 on: June 20, 2016, 01:00:13 AM »
Kirsty Aitchison: River body find confirmed as missing deaf woman

Kirsty Aitchison: River body find confirmed as missing deaf woman



   
   

       


           

       

   

       
           

   
       
       

           

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                Police near scene where body was found

           
           
Image caption
               
                    Police sealed off an area near the Broomielaw, where Kirsty Aitchison was last seen
               

           

Police have confirmed that a body found in the River Clyde is that of missing deaf woman Kirsty Aitchison.

The body was recovered by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service near to the Kingston Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

The spot is close to where Ms Aitchison went missing in Glasgow a week ago.

The 30-year-old mother-of-four had disappeared in the early hours of last Sunday after leaving a social event for deaf people in the city centre.

The death is not being treated as suspicious, Police Scotland said.

Walking barefoot

Ch Insp John McBride said: "We would like to thank members of the public and the Deaf/BSL community for their support and assistance throughout this investigation.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with Kirsty's family and friends during this difficult time."

After leaving the Campus bar in Sauchiehall Street at about 03:00 last Sunday, Ms Aitchison was seen on CCTV images heading towards the Broomielaw, holding her high-heeled black sandals and walking barefoot.

                                                                                                   

It had been reported she may have been planning to meet friends at a casino moored on the river.

During the week, police divers were brought in to search the river, and an air support unit was used to assist community policing officers as they conducted inquiries.


               
               
               

               
               
                 Image copyright
                 Police handout
               
           

           
           
Image caption
               
                    Ms Aitchison was wearing a black top, cream skirt and high-heeled black sandals at the time of her disappearance
               

           

               
               
               

               
               
           

           
           
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                    She was last seen walking near the River Clyde in central Glasgow in the early hours of Sunday
               

           

Source: Kirsty Aitchison: River body find confirmed as missing deaf woman







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Anton Yelchin, Star Trek's Chekov, killed by his own car
« Reply #180 on: June 21, 2016, 01:00:05 AM »
Anton Yelchin, Star Trek's Chekov, killed by his own car

Anton Yelchin, Star Trek's Chekov, killed by his own car



   
   

       


           

       

   

       
           

   
       
       

           

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                Anton Yelchin poses during the Venice Film Festival photo call for Burying the ex in 2014Image copyright
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                    Yelchin is seen here at a photo call for the film Burying The Ex at the 71st Venice Film Festival in 2014
               

           

Anton Yelchin, who was best known for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek films, has been killed by his own car at his home in Los Angeles, police say.

It struck him after rolling backwards down the steep drive at his Studio City home, pinning him against a brick postbox pillar and a security fence. 

He died shortly after 01:00 (08:00 GMT) on Sunday.

JJ Abrams, who directed Yelchin in the first two Star Trek films, paid tribute on Twitter saying he was "brilliant".

"You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented. Anton, you weren't here nearly long enough. Missing you," he wrote.

Yelchin played Pavel Chekov, the role originally made famous by Walter Koenig, in the rebooted Star Trek films released in 2009 and 2013.

He reprised the role in a third film, Star Trek Beyond, which is due for release next month.


               
               
               

               
               
                 Image copyright
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Image caption
               
                    Star Trek director JJ Abrams paid tribute to the actor on Twitter
               

           

Justin Lin, who directed Star Trek Beyond, said: "Still in shock.  Rest in peace, Anton.  Your passion and enthusiasm will live on with everyone that had the pleasure of knowing you."

                                                                                                   

Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the franchise, wrote on Instagram: "Our dear friend. Our comrade. Our Anton.

"One of the most open and intellectually curious people I have ever had the pleasure to know. So enormously talented and generous of heart. Wise beyond his years. And gone before his time. All love and strength to his family at this impossible time of grief."


               
               
               

               
               
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Fellow Star Trek actor John Cho, who plays Sulu, tweeted: "I loved Anton Yelchin so much. He was a true artist - curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I'm in ruins."

The official @StarTrek Twitter account marked his death with a simple, sombre image.


               
               
               

               
               
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Jodie Foster, who directed Yelchin in 2011 film The Beaver, described him as "a rare and beautiful soul with his unstoppable passion for life".

Yelchin, was was 27, also appeared in films including 2011's Like Crazy, opposite Felicity Jones, and Fright Night.

An only child, he was born to professional figure skaters in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) in Russia, who moved to the US when he was still a baby.

Los Angeles police officer Jenny Hosier said Yelchin had just got out of the vehicle when it rolled back.

He had been on his way to meet friends for a rehearsal but when he did not arrive, the group came to his home and found him dead, she added.

The actor's publicist, Jennifer Allen, confirmed the actor's death and said his family had requested privacy.


               
               
               

               
               
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                    He appeared with Alia Shawkat in the film Green Room (2015)
               

           

Other stars to pay tribute to Yelchin on Twitter included Captain America star Chris Evans, who praised the actor as "thoughtful, kind and gifted", while Tom Hiddleston said he was a "natural actor and a deeply kind man".

2 Broke Girls star Kat Dennings tweeted: "Anton Yelchin was one of my best friends. Can't say anything that conveys what this feels like."

Director Guillermo del Toro added he was "the sweetest, most humble, delightful, talented guy you'd ever meet".

Yelchin's first screen role was in US drama ER in 2000 and appeared in more than a dozen TV series and films before his break out role in 2006's Alpha Dog.

Among his other big screen credits were Charlie Bartlett (2007), Terminator Salvation (2009), Odd Thomas (2013) and horror Green Room, released last year.

According to IMDB, he had four other film projects due for release.


                                                                                               

Source: Anton Yelchin, Star Trek's Chekov, killed by his own car







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Hard-and-fast prostate radiotherapy 'a win-win for NHS'
« Reply #181 on: June 22, 2016, 01:00:07 AM »
Hard-and-fast prostate radiotherapy 'a win-win for NHS'

Hard-and-fast prostate radiotherapy 'a win-win for NHS'

   
   
            21 June 2016

            From the section Health


           
       

   
       
           
   
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        The NHS could save money and patients' time by giving fewer but stronger doses of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, say experts.The UK doctors told the Lancet Oncology there was now enough proof the hard-and-fast treatment worked just as well and did not cause more side-effects. For a patient, the new regime would mean 17 fewer trips to hospital. Nationally, it would free more than 150,000 visits, saving the NHS tens of millions of pounds each year.Prostate cancer makes up more than a quarter of the workload of UK radiotherapy departments, and many cancer centres are already making savings by following the new regime
   
       
Prof David Dearnaley and his team, from the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, say others should do the same.Win-winThey estimate about 10,000 men a year could benefit from the new treatment regime.The treatment is given over four weeks instead of seven and a half, and uses higher doses of radiation to zap the prostate gland and kill the cancer.                                                                                                     Studies in thousands of men suggest giving 20 high doses for a month is as effective as giving 37 standard doses over two months. Prof Dearnaley said: "There are no losers with this. Everybody wins - the NHS and patients."The work was part-funded by the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK.Prof Arnie Purushotham, of Cancer Research UK, said: "It is clear that this is safe and effective, so it is now up to the NHS to ensure all men who are suitable are offered this treatment immediately."

Source: Hard-and-fast prostate radiotherapy 'a win-win for NHS'







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Rio 2016: Rory McIlroy pulls out of Olympics because of fears over Zika virus

Rory McIlroy has pulled out of the Olympic Games in Rio because of concerns about the Zika virus.In a statement, McIlroy said that "my health and my family's health comes before everything else"."Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take," said McIlroy, 27.Vijay Singh and Australia's Marc Leishman have already pulled out of the games because of the Zika issue.Earlier this month, four-time major winner McIlroy, who was set to represent Ireland in Rio, said that his concerns over the virus had eased.The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to brain defects in newborn babies.World number four McIlroy's decision is to a blow to a sport which will be making a return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.McIlroy added:"I trust the Irish people will understand my decision."The unwavering support I receive every time I compete in a golf tournament at home or abroad means the world to me. "I will continue to endeavour to make my fans and fans of golf proud with my play on the course and my actions off it."Ireland's Olympic governing body said that it was "extremely disappointed not to be taking Rory with us to Rio" but added that it "respected his decision".The Olympic Council of Ireland statement added that it had "total confidence that the games will be safe for all athletes"."The OCI and our medical team have taken our lead from the International Olympic Committee on the Zika situation, as we do in all matters. "We are now following the IOC's recommendations, as well as the recommendations of the Rio 2016 organisers, the World Health Organisation and national health authorities, to ensure that Team Ireland's athletes are kept fully updated with the latest and best advice and that they are equipped to take all necessary precautions."After deliberating over the issue, Northern Ireland man McIlroy announced in May 2014 that he had decided to play for Ireland and not Great Britain at the Rio Games.

Source: Rio 2016: Rory McIlroy pulls out of Olympics because of fears over Zika virus







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Tesco 'encouraged' by sales progress
« Reply #183 on: June 24, 2016, 01:00:06 AM »
Tesco 'encouraged' by sales progress

Tesco 'encouraged' by sales progress

   
   
            23 June 2016

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        Tesco has said it is "encouraged" by its progress in a challenging market as it reported a second consecutive quarter of higher sales.In a trading statement, the supermarket said its UK like-for-like sales were up 0.3% in the 13 weeks to 28 May.For the group as a whole, including its businesses in Ireland, the European mainland and Asia, the rise was 0.9%.Tesco also said it had agreed to sell its Harris & Hoole coffee shop chain to Caffe Nero.In the past few weeks, the retailer has announced the sale of its Dobbies Garden Centres chain and restaurant chain Giraffe, so that it can focus on the main supermarket business.
   
       
Dobbies was sold to a group of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital, while the owner of Harry Ramsden's restaurants, Boparan, snapped up Giraffe.In April, Tesco announced its first growth in quarterly sales for three years, with UK like-for-like sales up 0.9%.'Fictional farms'"We have delivered a second quarter of positive like-for-like sales growth across all parts of the group in what remains a challenging market with sustained deflation," said Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis.                                                                                                    "We are encouraged by the progress we are making."
               
               
               
               
               
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                    Harris & Hoole is the latest Tesco business to be sold off
               
            Tesco also hailed the success of its new "exclusive fresh food brands", with two-thirds of its customers having already tried the ranges."Customer ratings for the quality of our fresh food offer as a whole have improved to their highest level in more than two years," the supermarket said.The fresh food ranges, launched in March, caused controversy because they were named after "fictional farm" brands with British-sounding names.However, the "farms" do not exist and the produce is often sourced from abroad. "While the naming controversy provoked something of a media storm, this may have been lost on customers," said David Alexander, senior analyst at Verdict Retail."After all, the strategy is similar to that employed by Aldi and suggests that for most shoppers, the perception of provenance is sufficient, provided the products are perceived to be good value."Price pressureTesco and its "big four" peers - Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - are under continuing pressure as they face competition from discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl.And earlier this month, online retailer Amazon launched its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service in central and east London, with plans to roll the deliveries out further across the UK.Since taking over as Tesco chief in September 2014, Mr Lewis has put Tesco's focus on price cuts and putting more staff in stores in an attempt to revive the company's fortunes.As a result of its price-cutting efforts, Tesco said, the cost of a weekly shop in its supermarkets was now 6% lower than when Mr Lewis took over.
               
               
               
               
               
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                    The Giraffe restaurant chain has already changed hands
               
            Richard Hunter, head of research at Wilson King Investment Management, said Mr Lewis was "clearly aiming to return the stock to its former status as a market darling, an accolade which has long since disappeared". "Nonetheless, a number of red flags remain," he added."Ongoing investment in the business as announced at the full-year results will drag on profits, competition in the sector remains fierce and the shares are on an expensive multiple compared to its peers."Even so, the previously highlighted reductions in net debt and costs are complemented by strong revenue streams and there appears to be a clear line of progress emerging. "It remains to be seen whether this new-found optimism will percolate to a share price which has dropped 22% over the last year, as compared to an 8% dip for the wider FTSE 100."

Source: Tesco 'encouraged' by sales progress







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