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Re: News Capture - Todays News
« Reply #88 on: April 10, 2016, 02:05:25 AM »



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[Newsview]PM releases tax returns data amid row
« Reply #89 on: April 11, 2016, 01:00:08 AM »
PM releases tax returns data amid row

Cameron releases information on tax returns amid row


    10 April 2016

  • From the section UK Politics



                David CameronImage copyright
                 Getty Images


David Cameron paid almost £76,000 in tax on an income of more than £200,000 in 2014-15, his accounts show.

In a first for a UK prime minister, Mr Cameron released a summary of his tax returns over the past six years as he tried to defuse a row over his financial affairs.

Papers show he was gifted two lots of £100,000 by his mother a year after inheriting £300,000 from his father.

When Ian Cameron died in 2010, the inheritance tax threshold was £325,000.

The prime minster said he was publishing the information to be "completely open and transparent".

On Saturday, he admitted he could have better handled the row over his financial affairs, telling people to "blame me" for this rather than nameless advisors at Downing Street.

In the six years from 2009 to 2015, Mr Cameron earned a total of almost £1.1m and paid about £400,000 in income tax, according to the three-page summary.

Part of his earnings came from rental income from his family home in west London. Last year, Mr Cameron's 50% share of rent, minus expenses, was close to £47,000.

Gifts to children


The payments by Mary Cameron to her son in May and July 2011 were given tax free, and will only become liable to inheritance tax of up to 40% if she dies within seven years of handing over the money.

Solicitor Robert Levy, who specialises in tax affairs, told the BBC there was nothing in the papers that made him "raise his eyebrows".

On the matter of the two £100,000 gifts, Mr Levy said: "It's not unusual for parents to make gifts to children. It's just the figures here are larger than they might otherwise be."

Mr Cameron's £300,000 inheritance from his father had been just below the inheritance tax threshold so people "put two and two together and often make five", he said.

It was hard to know if they were in any way connected without more information, he added, "but it didn't look to me that it was something that looked wrong."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the matter highlighted "a whole ethos" surrounding how the very wealthy handled their tax affairs, adding he would publish his own tax return "very, very soon".




This all comes after a week of questions and successive statements over whether Mr Cameron had owned and sold units in an offshore fund run by his late father, Ian Cameron.

Details of the Blairmore Holdings fund had been contained in a leak of 11 million documents, known as the Panama Papers.

Mr Cameron has announced a new task force to investigate tax-dodging allegations in the Panama Papers.

The figures released by the prime minister show:

  • He and his wife Samantha made a £19,000 profit from the sale in 2010 of their shares in the Blairmore Holdings fund

  • Mr Cameron declared a £9,501 share of that profit, below the then £10,100 capital gains tax threshold

  • Mr Cameron inherited £300,000 when his father died in 2010

  • He was later given two payments of £100,000 by his mother in May and July 2011 in an attempt to balance out the legacy between Mr Cameron and his siblings

  • In 2014-15, David Cameron paid £75,898 in tax on £200,307 earnings

  • On top of his prime ministerial income, and the London rent, he last year received £9,834 in taxable expenses from the Tory party and £3,052 in interest on savings at a High Street bank

  • He earned enough to benefit from the 2013 cut in the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p (for people earning more than £150,000)

  • In 2010 when he first entered Downing Street, he took the prime ministerial expenses deduction - a £20,000 tax-free allowance - as part of his £142,500 salary

  • But he voluntarily cancelled out the allowance by declaring the equivalent amount as taxable income from 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14, before waiving it from 2014-15



                 Image copyright


By BBC political correspondent Iain Watson

Outside the Conservative spring conference on Saturday protesters called on the prime minister to come clean about his financial affairs. Now he hopes he has provided the proof that he has done just that.

David Cameron has produced a summary of his tax affairs, not the full returns. Downing Street says that is to aid clarity and is similar to information other politicians have put in the public domain.

None of the details suggests he didn't pay what was due. There is, however, further proof of his wealth - something which his opponents will hope is a political liability.

And there will be questions over whether income from share dividends which he derived while opposition leader came from other overseas trusts as well as from his late father's investment vehicle. 

But while Labour will argue that the prime minister is still too opaque when it comes to transparency, some Conservative politicians worry he has revealed too much.

There may be pressure on other cabinet ministers including the chancellor to go public. And some fear if tax no longer remains a private matter, successful people could be dissuaded from going in to politics.

Addressing the Tories' spring forum on Saturday, Mr Cameron had said he was to blame for the handling of revelations about his investment in the Bahamas-based Blairmore Holdings fund.

"It has not been a great week. I know that I should have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them," he said.

As he was speaking, hundreds of protesters marched through Whitehall calling on Mr Cameron to "close tax loopholes or resign".


The fund was named in the leak of documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They revealed Ian Cameron had been a client of Mossack Fonseca when establishing the fund for investors.

The prime minister first promised his tax return data in 2012 but details for the past seven years have now been made public in the wake of the furore over the documents.




BBC political correspondent Carole Walker said the decision to publish the tax returns summary would keep the prime minister's finances in the headlines.

But Downing Street felt the only way to move forward was by confronting the issue head on with an unprecedented level of detail, our correspondent said, adding however that Labour was in no mood to let the row drop.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has committed to publishing his own tax return "very, very soon, when I've got the papers together", insisting there were "no surprises there".

He accused Mr Cameron of misleading people and losing public trust, saying: "It's not about an individual, it's not about one person, it's not about one family.

"It's about a whole ethos where the very rich are able to put their money into tax havens, into offshore accounts where there is often a zero rate of income tax, also sometimes a zero rather of corporation tax."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has demanded an "open and public" inquiry into the Panama Papers revelations on offshore funds and tax havens.


Media captionTax specialist Robert Levy: "It is not unusual for parents to make gifts to children, but the figures here are larger"

London rent

Mr Cameron's tax schedule from RNS Chartered Accountants also showed:

  • As leader of the Opposition in 2009-10, Mr Cameron paid £43,483 in tax on £129,225 income

  • After entering Downing Street for the year 2010-11, he paid £56,155 on a taxable income of £157,286

  • In 2011-12 his income rose to £200,919, boosted by his share of rent from the Camerons' Notting Hill home, and he paid £77,987 in tax

  • In 2012-13, he paid £72,472 tax on an income of £189,506; in 2013-14 he paid £76,288 on a £200,735 income

The prime minister's salary was steady at £142,500 from 2010 to 2015, but there were tax variations due to treatment of his pension contributions and the different approaches to his £20,000 tax-free allowance.

In terms of rent earned on the Notting Hill house, Mr Cameron's 50% share, minus expenses, was £45,041 in 2011-12, £46,700 in 2012-13, £47,764 in 2013-14 and £46,899 last year.

The new tax task force announced by Mr Cameron will have initial funding of £10m and involve staff from the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority as well as HMRC and the NCA.

The government said the agencies had leading technology, experts and resources to tackle money laundering and tax evasion.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said proposals for the task force to report to the chancellor and home secretary were "unacceptable".

"Any inquiry must be fully independent and in public," he said.


Source: PM releases tax returns data amid row

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[Newsview]Obama admits Libya was 'worst mistake'
« Reply #90 on: April 12, 2016, 01:00:12 AM »
Obama admits Libya was 'worst mistake'

President Obama: Libya aftermath 'worst mistake' of presidency


    11 April 2016

  • From the section US & Canada



                President Obama appears in ChicagoImage copyright

Image caption
                    Libya tumbled into chaos after the US and others intervened to protect civilians


US President Barack Obama has said failing to prepare for the aftermath of the ousting of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi was the worst mistake of his presidency.

Mr Obama was answering a series of questions on the highs and lows of his time in office on Fox News.

He said, however, that intervening in Libya had been "the right thing to do".

The US and other countries carried out strikes designed to protect civilians during the 2011 uprising.

But after the former Libyan president was killed, Libya plunged into chaos with militias taking over and two rival parliaments and governments forming.

So-called Islamic State (IS) gained a foothold, and Libya became a major departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe.

A UN-backed national unity government has arrived in the capital Tripoli but is waiting to take charge.

Sandy Hook 'worst day'

It is not the first time President Obama has expressed regret over Libya. He told the Atlantic magazine last month the operation went as well as he had hoped, but Libya was now "a mess".


In that interview, he also criticised France and the UK, in particular saying British Prime Minister David Cameron became "distracted" after the intervention.

President Obama told Fox that his biggest accomplishment in office was "saving the economy from the great depression".

He said the best day of his presidency was when he passed the healthcare reforms. The worst, he said, was responding to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Mr Obama discussed his legacy in a BBC interview last year, saying his failure to pass tighter gun control laws was the biggest frustration of his presidency.


Source: Obama admits Libya was 'worst mistake'

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[Newsview]Huge rise in child Boko Haram bombers
« Reply #91 on: April 13, 2016, 01:00:20 AM »
Huge rise in child Boko Haram bombers

Boko Haram crisis: Huge rise in child suicide bombers


    12 April 2016

  • From the section Africa




Image caption
                    Children and women accounted for 37% of suicide attacks, Unicef said


Boko Haram's use of child bombers has increased over the last year with one in five suicide attacks done by children, the UN's child agency says.

Girls, who are often drugged, were behind three-quarters of such attacks committed by the militant Islamist group in Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad.

It is an 11-fold increase with four attacks in 2014 compared to 40 the next year, including January 2016.

The change in tactics reflects the loss of territory in Nigeria by the group.

The seven-year insurgency which has mainly affected north-eastern Nigeria as well as its neighbours around Lake Chad has left some 17,000 people dead.

Unicef says up to 1.3 million children have been forced from their homes across four countries: Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger.

It is nearly two years since more than 200 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok.

It sparked the global campaign Bring Back Our Girls, but none have yet to be found.

Boko Haram at a glance:


                 Image copyright

Image caption
                    Boko Haram fighters still appear well armed in recent propaganda videos

  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language

  • Launched military operations in 2009

  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls

  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS's "West African province"

  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate

  • Regional force has retaken most territory last year

'Boko Haram took my children'

Town divided by Boko Haram legacy

On patrol against Boko Haram

Who are Boko Haram?

Source: Huge rise in child Boko Haram bombers

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[Newsview]Minister under fire over escort story
« Reply #92 on: April 14, 2016, 01:00:05 AM »
Minister under fire over escort story

Labour calls to curb John Whittingdale's powers after escort relationship


    13 April 2016

  • From the section UK Politics




Media captionWhy Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is under pressure - Newsnight report

Labour has called for Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to withdraw from press regulation decisions after news of his relationship with an escort.

Four newspapers knew about the relationship, which ended in 2014, but decided not to publish the story.

Shadow culture secretary Maria Eagle said it had left him "vulnerable" to pressure from the press.

Mr Whittingdale, who said he had not known she was a sex worker, said it had not affected any of his decisions.

Downing Street said Mr Whittingdale was "a single man entitled to a private life" and had the full confidence of the prime minister.

As culture secretary, Mr Whittingdale's job is to regulate newspapers and he is currently overseeing a whole new regulatory framework under consideration in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

Ms Eagle said Mr Whittingdale should "recuse" himself from any further involvement in decisions relating to the inquiry.

'Bit embarrassing'

Mr Whittingdale told BBC's Newsnight: "Between August 2013 and February 2014, I had a relationship with someone who I first met through


"She was a similar age and lived close to me. At no time did she give me any indication of her real occupation and I only discovered this when I was made aware that someone was trying to sell a story about me to tabloid newspapers. As soon as I discovered, I ended the relationship.

"This is an old story which was a bit embarrassing at the time. The events occurred long before I took up my present position and it has never had any influence on the decisions I have made as culture secretary."

At the time of the relationship, Mr Whittingdale was chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee. He was appointed culture secretary the following year.

Who is John Whittingdale?


                 Image copyright


  • Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport since May 2015

  • Chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee for a decade

  • Conservative MP for Maldon since 1992

  • Educated at Winchester College and  studied economics at University College, London

  • Has two children, and enjoys television, films and music

Four newspapers - the People, part of the Mirror Group, the Mail on Sunday, from the Daily Mail group, the Sun, part of News UK, and the now-closed Independent - had investigated the claims but had concluded the story was not in the public interest, Newsnight reported.

James Cusick, a former Independent reporter who looked at the story for five months, said: "If this individual is making these decisions - decisions that would affect the way people look at newspapers, the way newspapers behave, the way the BBC is allowed to be - you have a right to know about this man's private life and whether there is something in it he is trying to hold back from you."

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the question for Mr Whittingdale was not about his relationship, but about his role in regulating the press when the newspapers had a story about his private life.

Shadow culture secretary Ms Eagle accused Mr Whittingdale of changing his stance over the Leveson Inquiry, having previously supported the second stage set to look into ties between newspapers and the police.

Earlier this year, it was reported in the Times that the second half would be "quietly" shelved.

The government says it has not decided whether to pursue it yet, and a No 10 spokesman said: "We've always said that criminal investigations and legal processes relating to Leveson need to have fully concluded before we consider part two."

Shadow International Development Secretary Diane Abbott said it has long been her view that Mr Whittingdale's close relationship with the Murdochs (whose company News UK publishes the Sun) makes him an "unsuitable person to deal with press regulation".

'Doing the right thing'

On Sunday the journalism website Byline reported that Mr Whittingdale had had a relationship with a professional dominatrix and fetish escort.

The newspapers told Newsnight they did not run the story because it was not in the public interest.

Media commentator and former newspaper editor Roy Greenslade said newspapers would have been wary about covering such a story in the aftermath of the Leveson report on press standards.

"They would have all taken separate legal advice, they would have all looked at their code of practice. I think it is a bit much to castigate the newspapers for doing the right thing for once," he told Newsnight.

"I can't see that there was a genuine story there," he added.

Journalist and media commentator, Steve Hewlett, said there was not "a single shred of evidence" that any form of direct contact, influence or attempted influence had actually happened but there remained "the question of perception".

'No faith'

However, Brian Cathcart, co-founder of campaign group Hacked Off which wants tougher press regulation, said Mr Whittingdale's credibility had been damaged.

"The public cannot have faith in his judgment, in his independence in making decisions about the media," he told Newsnight.

"It is not a story about John Whittingdale's private life. It is a story about why the press didn't cover this.

"To suggest in the very week we have newspapers baying for the right to cover a story about a celebrity's private life which a judge has told them they have no right to cover, they would be too scrupulous, too high-minded to report a story about a Cabinet minister which any judge in the country would tell them they have a right to cover is just absurd."


Source: Minister under fire over escort story

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[Newsview]PC seriously injured arresting 'axe man'
« Reply #93 on: April 15, 2016, 01:00:09 AM »
PC seriously injured arresting 'axe man'

Sheffield police officer seriously injured arresting 'axe man'





                Police responding to incident

Image caption
                    The officer was injured during attempts to arrest a man in Plowright Close, in the Gleadless area of the city


A female police officer is in hospital with serious injuries after being injured by a man, reportedly armed with an axe, South Yorkshire Police have said.

Four other officers, all men, suffered less serious injuries during the incident at Plowright Close in Sheffield at about 19:50 BST on Wednesday night.

A man was later arrested nearby inside the Co-op store in Blackstock Road on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in custody

The force is appealing for witnesses.

More on this and other local stories in South Yorkshire



Image caption
                    The area remains cordoned off while investigations take place


A force spokesman said: "The Sheffield PC suffered multiple serious injuries while responding to a domestic incident in Plowright Close at around 19:50 last night where a man was reportedly armed with an axe.

"The PC and a second male officer were injured as they made attempts to arrest the man.

"Then, three other officers, all men, were also injured as they arrested the man, in his 30s, inside the Co-op store, in Blackstock Road."


People living in the area reported the arrival of large numbers of police vehicles as the area was cordoned off.


Source: PC seriously injured arresting 'axe man'

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Re: News Capture - Todays News
« Reply #94 on: April 15, 2016, 01:04:39 AM »
Next thing you know "the axe man will be prosecuting the police and making a legal claim for damages - such is the need of companies behind legal claims to make money out of people

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[Newsview]'Death risk' warning over birth options
« Reply #95 on: April 16, 2016, 01:00:19 AM »
'Death risk' warning over birth options


'Risk of death' warning over access to caesareans


    15 April 2016

  • From the section Health



                Kristian Jaworski, with his parents Tracey Taylor and Bartosz JaworskiImage copyright
                 Tracey Taylor

Image caption
                    The inquest into Kristian Jaworski's death found that he died as a result of brain damage from a prolonged delivery


A senior coroner has warned of a risk of future deaths if the NHS favours vaginal delivery over caesarean sections on the basis of cost.

Andrew Walker wants action taken after an inquest into the death of a newborn.

Kristian Jaworski died five days after his birth in June 2015 as a result of brain damage during a "prolonged and extended instrumental delivery".

North Middlesex University Hospital has accepted liability for his death, but said cost had not been a consideration.

Mr Walker's report, sent to the Department of Health, says that in the case of Kristian Jaworski there appeared to be a financial reason for favouring a vaginal delivery "that needed to be rebutted".

The coroner described how Tracey Taylor, Kristian's mother, repeatedly told medical staff that she needed a caesarean after complications during the birth of her first child Sebastian, three-and-a-half years earlier.

She told the inquest that doctors had informed her at that time that she had a "narrow birth canal" and would need a caesarean section if she ever had another child.

But the information was never recorded in her medical notes and she said her requests for a caesarean during a lengthy and difficult labour were ignored.


The inquest heard that doctors tried repeatedly to deliver Kristian in theatre using suction and then forceps, before performing an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic.

But when he was born, Kristian had already been starved of oxygen and suffered severe brain damage from which he never recovered.

His mother Tracey Taylor told the Today programme why she wanted to tell her story.

"I don't want anyone else to go through the same thing. I feel that I was treated like an over-anxious woman who was too frightened to give birth.

"I went in there with a reason which is something that a woman wouldn't just make up. I was told I had a narrow birth canal."

'Tragic death'

North Middlesex University Hospital's director of medicine, Dr Cathy Cale, said: "We are very sorry for the tragic death of baby Kristian. The team of doctors and midwives were deeply affected and both they and the hospital trust have expressed sincere apologies to the family.

"Although the coroner did not find the trust negligent, we have accepted liability for Kristian's death because we accept we made mistakes.

"As a result of our own detailed investigation, we have drawn up new guidance for all our staff about limiting prolonged instrumental delivery and avoiding the sequential use of instruments."

Dr Cale said that the hospital had taken steps to ensure that if a mother expresses concerns about her means of delivery, the reasons for them are clearly recorded in her notes.

But she said doctors and midwives always had to weigh up competing risks.

"It is usually safer and better for women to give birth naturally rather than to have a caesarean, because every surgical procedure carries risks of its own, including haemorrhage, injury to the mother's bladder and infection.

"Our team took their decision to continue with the natural delivery in this case for clinical reasons alone and would have had no concerns about intervening surgically had they believed this risk was warranted. There was and never is any question of cost being a consideration."

'Full consultation with women'

According to the Department of Health, the average cost of all vaginal deliveries (including normal and assisted deliveries) is calculated to be £1,985, while the average cost of all caesareans (planned and emergency) is £3,781.

The latest figures from NICE, The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, suggest that a planned caesarean costs £2,369 and an emergency caesarean costs £3,042, while planned vaginal births cost £1,665.

The Department of Health now has 56 days to respond to the coroner's report.

In the meantime, Health Minister Ben Gummer said his deepest sympathies lay with Kristian's family, who had "been let down terribly". 

"Treatment decisions in maternity care should always be made by clinicians in full consultation with women. These should be based on a woman's individual clinical needs and in line with NICE guidelines in terms of best practice."

He added: "It is vital that we learn from tragedies like this to ensure they are not repeated and far fewer families have to experience this kind of heartache."

'Trust women'

Elizabeth Prochaska, barrister and chair of Birthrights, a charity which fights to improve women's experience of pregnancy, said the case was a tragic reminder that medical professionals do not always listen to women.

"When a woman requests a caesarean she is asking for the care she has decided is safest for her and her baby. We must trust women to make that decision. Hospital policies which refuse to honour women's decisions ultimately make birth less safe for women and babies."

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Source: 'Death risk' warning over birth options

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